10 1-3 There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there. He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer. One day about three o’clock in the afternoon he had a vision. An angel of God, as real as his next-door neighbor, came in and said, “Cornelius.”
4-6 Cornelius stared hard, wondering if he was seeing things. Then he said, “What do you want, sir?”
The angel said, “Your prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention. Here’s what you are to do. Send men to Joppa to get Simon, the one everyone calls Peter. He is staying with Simon the Tanner, whose house is down by the sea.”
7-8 As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two servants and one particularly devout soldier from the guard. He went over with them in great detail everything that had just happened, and then sent them off to Joppa.
9-13 The next day as the three travelers were approaching the town, Peter went out on the balcony to pray. It was about noon. Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.”
14 Peter said, “Oh, no, Lord. I’ve never so much as tasted food that was not kosher.”
15 The voice came a second time: “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.”
16 This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the skies.
17-20 As Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant, the men sent by Cornelius showed up at Simon’s front door. They called in, asking if there was a Simon, also called Peter, staying there. Peter, lost in thought, didn’t hear them, so the Spirit whispered to him, “Three men are knocking at the door looking for you. Get down there and go with them. Don’t ask any questions. I sent them to get you.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I think I’m the man you’re looking for. What’s up?”
22-23 They said, “Captain Cornelius, a God-fearing man well-known for his fair play—ask any Jew in this part of the country—was commanded by a holy angel to get you and bring you to his house so he could hear what you had to say.” Peter invited them in and made them feel at home.
God Plays No Favorites
23-26 The next morning he got up and went with them. Some of his friends from Joppa went along. A day later they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had his relatives and close friends waiting with him. The minute Peter came through the door, Cornelius was up on his feet greeting him—and then down on his face worshiping him! Peter pulled him up and said, “None of that—I’m a man and only a man, no different from you.”
27-29 Talking things over, they went on into the house, where Cornelius introduced Peter to everyone who had come. Peter addressed them, “You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. But now I’d like to know why you sent for me.”
30-32 Cornelius said, “Four days ago at about this time, midafternoon, I was home praying. Suddenly there was a man right in front of me, flooding the room with light. He said, ‘Cornelius, your daily prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention. I want you to send to Joppa to get Simon, the one they call Peter. He’s staying with Simon the Tanner down by the sea.’
33 “So I did it—I sent for you. And you’ve been good enough to come. And now we’re all here in God’s presence, ready to listen to whatever the Master put in your heart to tell us.”
34-36 Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.
37-38 “You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change. Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.
39-43 “And we saw it, saw it all, everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem where they killed him, hung him from a cross. But in three days God had him up, alive, and out where he could be seen. Not everyone saw him—he wasn’t put on public display. Witnesses had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand—us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead. He commissioned us to announce this in public, to bear solemn witness that he is in fact the One whom God destined as Judge of the living and dead. But we’re not alone in this. Our witness that he is the means to forgiveness of sins is backed up by the witness of all the prophets.”
44-46 No sooner were these words out of Peter’s mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on “outsider” non-Jews, but there it was—they heard them speaking in tongues, heard them praising God.
46-48 Then Peter said, “Do I hear any objections to baptizing these friends with water? They’ve received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did.” Hearing no objections, he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then they asked Peter to stay on for a few days.
New International Version
Cornelius Calls for Peter
10 At Caesarea(A) there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing;(B) he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon(C) he had a vision.(D) He distinctly saw an angel(E) of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering(F) before God.(G) 5 Now send men to Joppa(H) to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner,(I) whose house is by the sea.”
7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.(J)
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof(L) to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.(M) 11 He saw heaven opened(N) and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”(Q)
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision,(R) the men sent by Cornelius(S) found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision,(T) the Spirit said(U) to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”(V)
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man,(W) who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”(X) 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
Peter at Cornelius’s House
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers(Y) from Joppa went along.(Z) 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea.(AA) Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”(AB)
27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.(AC) 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.(AD) But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.(AE) 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes(AF) stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism(AG) 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.(AH) 36 You know the message(AI) God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news(AJ) of peace(AK) through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.(AL) 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed(AM) Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing(AN) all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.(AO)
39 “We are witnesses(AP) of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross,(AQ) 40 but God raised him from the dead(AR) on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people,(AS) but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate(AT) and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people(AU) and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.(AV) 43 All the prophets testify about him(AW) that everyone(AX) who believes(AY) in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”(AZ)
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on(BA) all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter(BB) were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out(BC) even on Gentiles.(BD) 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[b](BE) and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water.(BF) They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”(BG) 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.(BH) Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.