Acts 10:34
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.—In regard to all distinctions of social rank, or wealth, or knowledge, Peter had seen in his Master that absence of “respect of persons” which even His enemies acknowledged (Matthew 22:16; Luke 20:21). St. James lays stress on that element of character, within the same limits, as essential to all who seek to be true disciples of the Christ (James 2:1-7). Both, however, needed to be taught that the same law of an impartial equity had a yet wider application, that the privileges and prerogatives of Israel, whatever blessings they might confer, were not to be set up as a barrier against the admission of other races to an equal fellowship in Christ. God had accepted the centurion. It remained for His servants to accept him also. It is instructive to note that St. Paul reproduces the same thought in nearly the same phrase (Romans 2:11).

Acts 10:34-35. Then Peter opened his mouth — Addressed himself to them, with a seriousness and solemnity answerable to so great an occasion; and said, Of a truth I perceive — More clearly than ever, from such a concurrence of circumstances; that God is no respecter of persons — Is not partial in his love. The words mean, 1st, That he does not confine his love to one nation; as the Jews were ready to suppose that he confined it to their nation. 2d, That he is loving to every man, and willeth that all men should be saved; but in every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness — He that, 1st, Reverences God as infinitely great, glorious, wise, mighty, holy, just, and good; the cause, end, proprietor, and governor of all things: and, 2d, From this awful regard to him, not only avoids all known evil, but endeavours, according to the best light he has, to do all things well; is accepted of him — Through Christ, though he knows him not. The assertion is express, and admits of no exception. He is in the favour of God, whether enjoying his written word and ordinances or not. Nevertheless, the addition of these is an unspeakable blessing to those who were before in some measure accepted. Otherwise, God would never have sent an angel from heaven to direct Cornelius to Peter. See note on Acts 10:6.10:34-43 Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ; but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without regarding names or sects. The fear of God and works of righteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects of special grace. Though these are not the cause of a man's acceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting in knowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who has begun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel, which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of this word was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating to the gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which John preached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace is made between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all, God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both in heaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgment committed to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; he will be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter then declares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of it. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on the testimony given by them. See what must be believed concerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as our Judge; so every one must seek his favour, and to have him as our Friend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified by him as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays a foundation for all other favours and blessings, by taking that out of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin be pardoned, all is well, and shall end well for ever.Then Peter opened his mouth - Began to speak, Matthew 5:2.

Of a truth - Truly, evidently. That is, I have evidence here that God is no respecter of persons.

Is no respecter of persons - The word used here denotes "the act of showing favor to one on account of rank, family, wealth, or partiality arising from any cause." It is explained in James 2:1-4. A judge is a respecter of persons when he favors one of the parties on account of private friendship, or because he is a man of rank, influence, or power, or because he belongs to the same political party, etc. The Jews supposed that they were especially favored by God. and that salvation was not extended to other nations, and that the fact of being a Jew entitled them to this favor. Peter here says that he had learned the error of this doctrine, and that a man is not to be accepted because he is a Jew, nor to be excluded because he is a Gentile. The barrier is broken down; the offer is made to all; God will save all on the same principle; not by external privileges or rank, but according to their character.

The same doctrine is elsewhere explicitly stated in the New Testament, Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25. It may be observed here that this does not refer to the doctrine of divine sovereignty or election. It simply affirms that God will not save a man because he is a Jew, or because he is rich, or learned, or of elevated rank, or on account of external privileges; nor will he exclude a man because he is destitute of these privileges. But this does not affirm that he will not make a difference in their character, and then treat them according to their character, nor that he will not pardon whom he pleases. That is a different question. The interpretation of this passage should be limited strictly to the case in hand - to mean that God will not accept and save a man on account of external national rank and privileges. That he will not make a difference on other grounds is not affirmed here, nor anywhere in the Bible. Compare 1 Corinthians 4:7; Romans 12:6. It is worthy of remark further, that the most strenuous advocate for the doctrines of sovereignty and election - the apostle Paul - is also the one that labored most to establish the doctrine that God is no respecter of persons - that is, that there is no difference between the Jews and Gentiles in regard to the way of salvation; that God would not save a man because he was a Jew, nor destroy a man because he was a Gentile. Yet in regard to "the whole race viewed as lying on a level," he maintained that God has a right to exercise the prerogatives of a sovereign, and to have mercy on whom he will have mercy. The doctrine may be thus stated:

(1) The barrier between the Jews and Gentiles was broken down.

(2) all people thus were placed on a level none to be saved by external privileges, none to be lost by the lack of them.

(3) all were guilty Romans 1-3, and none had a claim on God.

(4) if any were saved, it would be by God showing mercy on such of this common mass as he chose. See Romans 3:22; Romans 10:12; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; compare with Romans 9; and Ephesians 1:

34, 35. Peter opened his mouth—(See on [1987]Mt 5:2).

Of a truth I perceive—that is, "I have it now demonstrated before mine eyes."

that God is no respecter of persons—Not, "I see there is no capricious favoritism with God," for Peter would never imagine such a thing; but (as the next clause shows), "I see that God has respect only to personal character and state in the acceptance of men, national and ecclesiastical distinctions being of no account."

Opened his mouth; an expression used (as formerly) in matters of great moment, as Matthew 5:2.

God is no respecter of persons; God does not accept of one because he is a Jew, and respect another because he is a Gentile; though St. Paul, being prejudiced by his education, had been carried along with that error of the Jews; against which, notwithstanding, God had declared himself even unto them, Deu 10:17, which is also confirmed unto us in the New Testament, Romans 2:11 1 Peter 1:17: so that our being of any nation or any condition, rich or poor, honoured or despised, on the one side recommends us not unto God, and on the other side it will not hinder us from being accepted with the Lord. Then Peter opened his mouth,.... See Gill on Acts 8:35.

And said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; which is to be understood, not of the substances of men, but of the outward state and condition, circumstances and qualities of men; he respects the proper persons of men themselves, but not because of their outward appearances; he does not prefer or despise men, because of their being of this or the other nation, as Jews or Gentiles; or because they are circumcised, or not circumcised; or because they are high or low, rich or poor, free or bound, or the like: the true sense here is, that God valued no man the more, because he was a Jew and circumcised, nor anyone the less, because he was a Gentile and uncircumcised; and this the apostle found to be a most certain truth, of which he was fully persuaded; partly by the vision which he himself saw, and partly by that which Cornelius had, and which the more confirmed him in this matter: these words do not at all militate against the doctrines of personal election and reprobation; and indeed, those acts in God, are not according to the outward state and condition of men, or any circumstances that attend them, or any qualities they have, internal or external; but entirely proceed from the sovereign will of God; See Gill on Romans 2:11

{6} Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that {n} God is no respecter of persons:

(6) Distinction of nations is taken away by the coming of Christ: and it is evidently seen by their faith and righteousness, which ones are agreeable to him and which ones he accepts. {n} That God does not judge according to the outward appearance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 10:34-35. Ἀνοίξας κ.τ.λ.] as in Acts 8:35.

With truth (so that this insight, which I have obtained, is true; comp. on Mark 12:14, and Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 137 ff.) I perceive that God is not partial, allowing Himself to be influenced by external relations not belonging to the moral sphere; but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh rightness (acts rightly, comp. Psalm 15:2; Hebrews 11:33; Luke 1:20; the opposite, Matthew 7:23) is acceptable to Him,—namely, to be received into the Christian fellowship with God. Comp. Acts 15:14. Peter, with the certainty of a divinely-obtained conviction, denies in general that, as regards this acceptance, God goes to work in any way partially; and, on the other hand, affirms in particular that in every nation (ἄν τε ἀκρόβυστός ἐστιν, ἄν τε ἐμπερίτομος, Chrysostom), etc. To take this contrast, Acts 10:35, as no longer dependent on ὅτι, but as independent (Luther, Castalio, and many others), makes its importance the more strongly apparent. What is meant is the ethico-religious preliminary frame requisite for admission into Christianity, which must be a state of fellowship with God similar to the piety of Cornelius and his household, however different in appearance and form according to the degree of earlier knowledge and morality in each case, yet always a being given or a being drawn of God (according to the Gospel of John), and an attitude of heart and life toward the Christian salvation, which is absolutely independent of difference of nationality. The general truth of the proposition, as applied even to the undevout and sinners among Jews and Gentiles, rests on the necessity of μετάνοια as a preliminary condition of admission (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, al.). It is a misuse of this expression when, in spite of Acts 10:43, it is often adduced as a proof of the superfluousness of faith in the specific doctrines of Christianity; for δεκτὸς αὐτῷ ἐστι in fact denotes (Acts 10:36 ff.) the capability, in relation to God, of becoming a Christian, and not the capability of being saved without Christ. Bengel rightly says: “non indifferentismus religionum, sed indifferentia nationum hic asseritur.”

Respecting προσωπολήπτης, not found elsewhere, see on Galatians 2:6.Acts 10:34. ἀνοίξας κ.τ.λ.: a solemn formula, cf. Acts 8:35, Acts 18:14, Matthew 5:2; Matthew 13:35; Hort, Judaistic Christ., p. 57.—ἐπʼ ἀληθ.: used in Luke’s Gospel three times, Luke 4:25, Luke 20:21, Luke 22:59, and in Acts twice, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:34, elsewhere only twice in N.T., Mark 12:14; Mark 12:32; the customary ἐν ἀληθείᾳ is altogether wanting in Luke.—καταλαμβ.: three times in Acts, not found in Luke’s Gospel; here = mente comprehendo, cf. Ephesians 3:15, similar sense; so in Plato, Polybius, and Philo.—προσωπολήπτης, see Mayor on Jam 2:1, πρόσωπον-λαμβάνειν. The actual word is not found in LXX (or in classical Greek), but for the thought of God as no respecter of persons see Deuteronomy 10:17, Leviticus 19:15, Malachi 2:9, etc., etc., and Luke 20:21, Galatians 2:16 (so too προσωπολημψία in N.T. three times). The expression πρόσ. λαμβ. is Hebraistic, not necessarily in a bad sense, and in the O.T. more often in a good one, but in the N.T. always in a bad sense, since πρόσωπον acquired the meaning of what was simply external (through its secondary signification a mask) in contrast to a man’s real intrinsic character, but the noun and adj[242] always imply favouritism: see Lightfoot on Galatians 2:6 and Plummer on Luke 20:21. Even the enemies acknowledged our Lord’s God-likeness at least in this respect, Matthew 22:16, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:21.

[242] adjective.34–43. Speech of Peter to Cornelius and his friends

34. Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons] i.e. I am now fully convinced, from what I have heard of God’s angel appearing to Cornelius and from the connection of that vision with my own, that God is making Himself known to all the workers of righteousness whether they be Jews or Gentiles.Acts 10:34. Ἐπʼ ἀληθείας καταλαμβάνομαι, of a truth I perceive) From the harmonious concurrence of all things. [The very narration of Cornelius suggested to Peter a full knowledge of the state of the case.—V. g.]—οὐκ ἔστι προσωπολήπτης, is no accepter or respecter of the person) Peter had not thought, previously, that God is an accepter of persons; but now for the first time he experiences that whereby it is made most manifestly conspicuous, that GOD is not a respecter or accepter of persons.—ὁ Θεὸς, God) To Him all things are ascribed, Acts 10:38; Acts 10:40, etc.Verse 34. - And for then, A.V. Iperceive

See on Acts 4:13.

Respecter of persons (προσωπολήμπτης)

See on respect of persons, James 2:1. Only here in New Testament.

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