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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Acts Chapter 10

Acts 10:1

act 10:1


See on Luk 7:2.

Band (σπείρης)

See on Mar 15:16.


Probably because consisting of Roman soldiers, and not of natives of the country.

Acts 10:2

act 10:2

Devout (εὐσεβὴς)

See on godliness, Pe2 1:3.

Prayed (δεόμενος)

See on prayers, Luk 5:33.

"Unheard by all but angel ears

The good Cornelius knelt alone,

Nor dream'd his prayers and tears

Would help a world undone.

"The while upon his terrac'd roof

The lov'd apostle to his Lord,

In silent thought aloof

For heavenly vision soared."

Keble, Christian Year.

Acts 10:3

act 10:3

A vision

See on Act 7:31.

Evidently (φανερῶς)

Better, clearly or distinctly, as opposed to a fancy.

Acts 10:4

act 10:4

When he looked (ἀτενίσας)

Rev., more accurately, fastening his eyes. Compare Act 7:55; and see on Luk 4:20.

Acts 10:6

act 10:6

A tanner

Showing that the strictness of the Jewish law was losing its hold on Peter; since the tanner's occupation was regarded as unclean by strict Jews, and the tanners were commanded to dwell apart. "If a tanner married without mentioning his trade, his wife was permitted to get a divorce. The law of levirate marriage might be set aside if the brother-in-law of the childless widow was a tanner. A tanner's yard must be at least fifty cubits from any town" (Farrar, "Life and Work of St. Paul").

By the seaside

Outside the walls, both for proximity to the business, and because of the ceremonial requirement referred to above. Mr. William C. Prime, describing a visit to Joppa, says: "I was walking along the sea-beach, looking for shells, and at about a fourth of a mile from the city, to the southward, I found two tanneries directly on the seaside. I observed that the rocks in front of them were covered with the water a few inches deep, and that they soaked their hides on these rocks, and also submitted them to some process in the water which I did not stop to understand" ("Tent-life in the Holy Land").

Of them that waited on him continually (προσκαρτερούν των αὐτῷ)

See on Act 1:14.

Acts 10:8

act 10:8

Declared (ἐξηγησάμενος)

Better, as Rev., rehearsed. See on Luk 24:35.

Acts 10:9

act 10:9

They (ἐκείνων)

Those messengers, the servants and the soldier. The pronoun has a more specific reference than the English they.

Acts 10:10

act 10:10

Very hungry (πρόσπεινος)

Only here in New Testament.

Would have eaten (ἤθελε γεύσασθαι)

Rev., correctly, desired to eat. Γευέσθαι is rendered both to eat and to taste, more frequently the latter. See Mat 27:34; Joh 2:9; Pe1 2:3; and compare Act 20:11.

He fell into a trance (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπ' αὐτὸν ἔκστασις)

Lit., an ecstasy fell upon him. The best texts, however, read ἐγένετο, came upon him, or happened to him. See on astonishment, Mar 5:42. Luke alone employs the word in this sense of ecstasy or trance.

Acts 10:11

act 10:11

Saw (θεωρεῖ)

Rev., better, and more literally, beholdeth. See on Luk 10:18. The present tense is graphically introduced into the narrative.

Unto him

The best texts omit.

Sheet (ὀθόνην)

Only here and Act 11:5. Originally fine linen; later, sail-cloth or a sail. Dr. J. Rawson Lumby suggests that the word, "applied to loose, bellying sails of ships," may indicate that the form of vessel which appeared to Peter "recalled an image most familiar to his previous life - the wind-stretched canvas of the craft on the Lake of Galilee" ("Expositor," iii., 272).

Knit (δεδεμένον)

If this is retained, we must render bound, or attached; but the best texts omit, together with the following and. Render, as Rev., let down by four corners. Compare Act 11:5.

Corners (ἀρχαῖς)

Lit., beginnings; the extremity or corner, marking a beginning of the sheet. "We are to imagine the vessel, looking like a colossal four-cornered linen cloth letting itself down, while the corners attached to heaven to support the whole." The word is used in this sense by Herodotus, describing the sacrifices of the Scythians. The victim's forefeet are bound with a cord, "and the person who is about to offer, taking his station behind the victim, pulls the end (ἀρχὴν)of the rope, and thereby throws the animal down" (iv., 60). The suggestion of ropes holding the corners of the sheet (Alford, and, cautiously, Farrar) is unwarranted by the usage of the word. It was the technical expression in medical language for the ends of bandages. The word for sheet in this passage was also the technical term for a bandage, as was the kindred word ὀθόνιον, used of the linen bandages in which the Lord's body was swathed. See Luk 24:12; Joh 19:40; Joh 20:5, Joh 20:6, Joh 20:7. Mr. Hobart says: "We have thus in this passage a technical medical phrase - the ends of a bandage - used for the ends of a sheet, which hardly any one except a medical man would think of employing" ("Medical Language of St. Luke").

Acts 10:12

act 10:12

All manner of four-footed beasts (πάντα τὰ τετράποδα)

Lit., all the four-footed beasts. Without exception, clean and unclean. Not, of very many kinds.

Wild beasts

The best texts omit.

Acts 10:14

act 10:14

Not so (μηδαμῶς)

Stronger: by no means. "With that simple and audacious self-confidence which in his (Peter's) character was so singularly mingled with fits of timidity and depression, he boldly corrects the voice which orders him, and reminds the divine Interlocutor that he must, so to speak, have made an oversight" (Farrar, "Life and Works of Paul"). Compare Mat 16:22.

Common (κοινὸν)


Acts 10:15

act 10:15

Call not thou common (σὺ μὴ κοίνου)

The thought goes deeper than merely styling "common." Lit., do not thou defile. Do not profane it by regarding and calling it common. Rev., "make not thou common."

Acts 10:17

act 10:17

Doubted (διηπόρει)

See on Luk 9:7.

In himself

On reflection, as compared with his ecstatic state.

Had made inquiry (διερωτήσαντες)

"Having inquired out;" having asked their way through (διά) streets and houses, until they found the dwelling of the tanner, who was an obscure man, and not easily found.

Acts 10:18

act 10:18


A general summons to any one within, in order to make inquiries.

Acts 10:19

act 10:19

Thought on (διενθυμουμένου)

Was earnestly (διά) pondering.

Acts 10:22

act 10:22

Was warned (ἐχρηματίσθη)

See on Mat 2:12.

Acts 10:24

act 10:24

Near (ἀναγκαίους)

The word originally means necessary; hence of those who are bound by necessary or natural ties; blood-relations. But as relatives or kinsmen is expressed by συγγενεῖς, this must be taken in the sense of intimate friends, a meaning which it has in later Greek writers.

Acts 10:25

act 10:25

Worshipped (προσεκύνησεν)

An unfortunate translation, according to modern English usage, but justified by the usage of earlier English, according to which to worship meant simply to honor. Worship is worthship, or honor paid to dignity or worth. This usage survives in the expressions worshipful and your worship. In the marriage-service of the English Church occurs the phrase, "With my body I thee worship." So Wycliffe renders Mat 19:19, "Worship thy father and thy mother;" and Joh 12:26, "If any man serve me, my Father shall worship him." Here the meaning is that Cornelius paid reverence by prostrating himself after the usual oriental manner.

Acts 10:28

act 10:28

An unlawful thing (ἀθέμιτον)

The word is peculiar to Peter, being used only here and Pe1 4:3. See note there. It emphasizes the violation of established order, being from the same root as τίθημι, to lay down or establish. The Jews professed to ground this prohibition on the law of Moses; but there is no direct command in the Mosaic law forbidding Jews to associate with those of other nations. But Peter's statement is general, referring to the general practice of the Jews to separate themselves in common life from uncircumcised persons. Juvenal says that the Jews were taught by Moses "not to show the way except to one who practises the same rites, and to guide the circumcised alone to the well which they seek" (Sat., xiv., 104, 105). Tacitus also says of the Jews that "among themselves they are inflexibly faithful, and ready with charitable aid, but hate all others as enemies. They keep separate from all strangers in eating, sleeping, and matrimonial connections" ("Histories," v., 5).

Of another nation (ἀλλοφύλῳ)

Only here in New Testament. Used of the Philistines, 1 Samuel 13:3-5 (Sept.).


Emphatic, by contrast with ye. "Ye know," etc., "but God hath showed me."

Acts 10:29

act 10:29

With what intent (τίνι λόγω)

More strictly, for what reason.

Acts 10:30

act 10:30

Four days ago (ἀπὸ τετάρτης ἡμέρας)

Lit., from the fourth day; reckoning backward from the day on which he was speaking.

I was fasting, and

The best texts omit.

At the ninth hour I prayed (τὴν ἐννάτην προσευχόμενος)

Lit., praying during the ninth hour. With the omission of I was fasting, and, the rendering is as Rev., Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer.

Acts 10:31

act 10:31

Said (φησι)

Rev., saith. The historical present, giving vividness to the narrative.

Acts 10:33

act 10:33

Well (καλῶς)

You have done a courteous and handsome thing in coming. Compare Jo3 1:5, Jo3 1:6.

Acts 10:34

act 10:34

I perceive

See on Act 4:13.

Respecter of persons (προσωπολήμπτης)

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

Acts 10:36

act 10:36

The word (τὸν λόγον)

The message.

Acts 10:37

act 10:37

That word (ῥῆμα)

The contents of the message: the report or history which it proclaimed.

Acts 10:38

act 10:38

Anointed (ἔχρισεν)

See on Christ, Mat 1:1.

Went about (διῆλθεν)

Lit., went through (the country). Compare Act 8:4.

And healing

The and (καὶ) has a particularizing force: doing good, and in particular, healing.

Oppressed (καταδυναστευομένους)

Only here and Jam 2:6, on which see note.

Acts 10:39

act 10:39

They slew

The best texts insert καὶ, also: "whom also they slew;" also having an incressive force. They added this crowning atrocity to other persecutions.


See on Luk 23:31.

Acts 10:40

act 10:40

Shewed him openly (ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν ἐμφανῆ γενέσθαι)

Lit., gave him to become manifest. Compare, for the construction, Act 2:27.

Acts 10:41

act 10:41

Chosen before (προκεχειροτονημένοις)

Only here in New Testament. The simple verb χειροτονέω, to appoint, occurs Act 14:23; Co2 8:19; and originally means to stretch out the hand for the purpose of giving a vote. Hence to elect by show of hands, and generally to appoint. Plato uses the word of the election of leaders of choruses ("Laws," 765). In later ecclesiastical usage it signified ordain, as bishops or deacons.

Who (οἵτινες)

The compound pronoun marks them more strongly as belonging to the class of eye-witnesses.

Acts 10:42

act 10:42

Testify (διαμαρτύρασθαι)

See on Act 2:40.


See on Luk 3:3; and Jam 5:15.

Acts 10:43

act 10:43

His name

As in the Lord's prayer: not simply the title, but all that is embraced and expressed by the name: Christ's "entire perfection, as the object revealed to the believer for his apprehension, confession, and worship" (Meyer).

Acts 10:44

act 10:44

The Holy Ghost fell

The only example of the bestowment of the Spirit before baptism.

Acts 10:45

act 10:45

They of the circumcision

From this point Luke distinguishes Christians into two classes - those of the circumcision and those of the uncircumcision; calling the former, Jews, and the latter Gentiles or Greeks.

Were amazed

See on Act 2:7.

Acts 10:47

act 10:47

Water (τὸ ὕδωρ)

Note the article: the water; co-ordinating the water with the Spirit (see Jo1 5:8), and designating water as the recognized and customary element of baptism.

Next: Acts Chapter 11