What does Acts 10:35 mean?
ESV: but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
NIV: but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
NASB: but in every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.
CSB: but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
NLT: In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.
KJV: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
NKJV: But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
Verse Commentary:
Peter is in Caesarea Maritima, in a house filled with Gentiles who are anxiously listening to hear how they can worship the one true God. Many of them already follow the Jewish God. They know a bit about Jesus, including His ministry and crucifixion (Acts 10:38–39). Peter is telling them about the resurrection and the fact God has given Jesus the authority to judge the rebellious and save the faithful.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the disciples they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). They spent the first several years focused on Jerusalem. When persecution drove the Jerusalem believers out, they took Jesus' message out to Samaria and Judea. Peter, himself, validated the salvation of Samaritans (Acts 8:14–17). Very likely Philip started the church in Caesarea (Acts 8:26–40). Peter now affirms that anyone who has faith can be saved (see also Ephesians 2:8–9). This verse will be fulfilled more fully in the end times; even Israel's sometimes-enemies will be God's people (Isaiah 19:24–25).

The statement Peter makes here in verse 35 combined with the fact the Holy Spirit came to the crowd before Peter was done with his gospel message (Acts 10:44) make some think the devout will be saved even if they haven't heard the gospel. That's wrong. Cornelius' friends already have a rudimentary understanding of Jesus' work; they are primed to hear and accept more, and Peter does explain that Jesus lives (Acts 10:40), is judge (Acts 10:42), and gives forgiveness of sins to those who believe in Him (Acts 10:43). The Holy Spirit coming on them shows they understand and accept Peter's words (Acts 11:14) and that further explanation or affirmation is not necessary for salvation. Cornelius' acts (Acts 10:2, 4) didn't save him. They were signs of his already strong faith in God (James 2:14–26). He just needed faith in Jesus.
Verse Context:
Acts 10:34–43 describes the first group of Gentiles receiving salvation. A Roman centurion in the Roman capital of Caesarea Maritima has filled his house with friends and family to hear from Peter, one of the leaders of a new Jewish sect. As a God-fearing Gentile in Samaria, the centurion knows about the prophets and the events around Jesus' ministry and crucifixion. He apparently needs to know about the resurrection and Jesus' role in God's plan of forgiveness. Before Peter is even finished speaking, the Holy Spirit falls on the group, and the era of Gentile Jesus-followers begins.
Chapter Summary:
Peter has been a dominant voice in the spread of Jesus' message to Jews and proselytes. Now he brings the gospel to Gentiles. An angel tells Cornelius, a centurion, to ask Peter to come to him. Peter is praying when he receives a vision of food—including non-kosher food—and God's voice telling him to eat. When the centurion's messengers arrive, Peter realizes the dream meant that Gentiles are no longer unclean. He follows the messengers and tells Cornelius' household about salvation through Jesus. Before Peter can lay his hands on them or baptize them, the Holy Spirit falls on them.
Chapter Context:
Jesus told the disciples they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Oddly, the disciples didn't understand this meant the Holy Spirit would come upon Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles alike. After several years reaching Jews and proselytes in Jerusalem (Acts 1—7) and Samaritans in Samaria (Acts 8:4–25), God calls Peter to bring the message to Gentiles. Peter's witness that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 11) clears the way for Paul's ministry to Gentiles in modern-day Turkey, Greece, and Italy (Acts 13—28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/27/2024 11:48:26 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com