Acts 10:2 MEANING

Acts 10:2
(2) A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house.--The word for "devout" is not the same as that used in Acts 2:5; Acts 8:2, and Luke 2:25, and appears to be used by St. Luke, as again in Acts 10:7, for the special type of devotion that belonged to Gentile converts to Judaism. The phrase "those that feared God" is employed distinctly for this class in Acts 10:22; Acts 10:35, and again in Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26. There is a special significance in the addition "with all his house." The centurion was not satisfied with having found a higher truth for himself, but sought to impart it to the soldiers and slaves, possibly to those nearer and dearer to him, who came under his influence (Comp. Acts 10:7.)

Which gave much alms to the people--i.e., to the Jews of Caesarea as distinct from the Gentiles. (Comp. Acts 26:17; Acts 26:23; Acts 28:17.)

And prayed to God alway.--As the vision that follows may rightly be regarded as an answer to the prayers thus offered, it is natural to infer that Cornelius was seeking for guidance as to the new faith which Philip had brought to Caesarea, and of which he could scarcely fail to have heard. Was it really a new revelation from God to man? Could he be admitted to the fellowship of the society which confessed Jesus as the Christ without accepting the yoke of circumcision and the ceremonial law from which, as a "proselyte of the gate," he had hitherto kept back?

Verse 2. - Who for which, A.V. A devout man (εὐσεβής); and in ver. 7. It is an interesting question as to what was the precise religions status of Cornelius, whether he was a proselyte in any technical sense. But the whole narrative, in which he is spoken of simply as a Gentile and uncircumcised, seems to indicate that, though he had learnt from the Jews to worship the true God, and from the Jewish Scriptures read or heard in the synagogue to practice those virtues which went up for a memorial before God, yet he was in no sense a proselyte. It is pleasant to think that there may have been many such in the different countries where the Jews were dispersed (comp. Acts 13:16, and probably Acts 11:20).

10:1-8 Hitherto none had been baptized into the Christian church but Jews, Samaritans, and those converts who had been circumcised and observed the ceremonial law; but now the Gentiles were to be called to partake all the privileges of God's people, without first becoming Jews. Pure and undefiled religion is sometimes found where we least expect it. Wherever the fear of God rules in the heart, it will appear both in works of charity and of piety, neither will excuse from the other. Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God's word, as far as he understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This was the work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus, even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all when we, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Through Christ also his prayers and alms were accepted, which otherwise would have been rejected. Without dispute or delay Cornelius was obedient to the heavenly vision. In the affairs of our souls, let us not lose time.A devout man,.... A truly religious person, who had forsaken the Roman idolatry and superstition, in which he was brought up:

and one that feared God: the one only living and true God, the God of Israel; he had the fear of God wrought in his heart, which is a part of the covenant of grace, a blessing of it, and the beginning of wisdom; he was truly a gracious man, a converted person, and who from an internal principle worshipped God externally:

with all his house; he brought up his family in a religious way, as every good man should; and which was very remarkable in a Gentile, a soldier, and an officer:

which gave much alms to the people; to the Jews that dwelt at Caesarea, and therefore was of good report among them, and much beloved by them, Acts 10:22 he had regard to both tables of the law, both to the worship of God, and the love of the neighbour: and prayed to God always; every day, at the usual times of prayer; prayed privately in his closet, and with his family, as well as attended public service of this kind.

Courtesy of Open Bible