|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
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).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. A devout man, &c.—an uncircumcised Gentile proselyte to the Jewish faith, of whom there were a very great number at this time; a distinguished proselyte, who had brought his whole household establishment under the hallowing influence of the Jewish faith and the regular observance of its principal seasons of worship.
gave much alms to the people—that is, the Jewish people, on the same principle as another centurion before him (Lu 7:5); thinking it no "great thing," if they had "sown unto him spiritual things, that they should reap his carnal things" (1Co 9:11).
prayed to God alway—at the stated daily seasons. (See on Ac 10:3).
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