2. The gospel spreads into Palestine, 6:1-12:25

xv] Peter explains his actions


Peter has just baptised Cornelius and his family and friends, all of whom are Gentiles. When the leaders of the Jerusalem church get to hear the news, there is some criticism of Peter's actions. His baptising of the uncircumcised is somewhat of a shock for the church members, so Peter heads to Jerusalem to explain his actions.


The good news of God's abundant grace in Christ is not the exclusive property of old Israel, but belongs to all humanity.


i] Context: See 10:1-16.


ii] Background:

iGentile inclusion in the Christian church: The issue of the full inclusion of Gentiles into the Christian community, and this apart from compliance with Mosaic law, became a burning issue in the New Testament church. It is an issue that Paul had to contend with in his missionary churches due to the interference of the judaizers, the members of the circumcision party in the Jerusalem church. These law-bound believers followed up Paul's mission, seeking to correct his antinomian teachings. This struggle is evidenced in Paul's letters, particularly in his letters to the Galatians and Romans. In fact, the letter to the Romans, written in Corinth during Paul's third missionary journey, presents as a general treatise authored to deal specifically with the law / grace issue. The problem is even evidenced in the book of Revelation.

Luke, a colleague of Paul, goes out of his way in his Acts of the apostles, to establish the divine authority by which the promised blessings of the covenant apply, not just to circumcised Jews, but also to uncircumcised / lawless Gentiles; it is by grace through faith that we are saved, and not by race, cult, or works of the law. Luke's prime aim is to authenticate the Gentile ministry of Paul, and he does this by carefully revealing the authority by which the Gentile mission proceeds.

In his detailed recounting of the conversion of Cornelius, 10:1-48, and Peter's report to the Jerusalem church, 11:1-18, Luke establishes the authority on which Gentiles are included in the way and thus the authority upon which Paul's Gentile mission rests, namely on the authority of God, which authority is confirmed by that most significant of apostles, Peter, and the Jerusalem church as a whole.

As to the extent to which Gentile converts are bound by Old Testament Law, this debate is yet to come, but Luke will again go to great lengths to support Paul's contention that salvation is by grace through faith apart from obedience to the Law. In detailing the Jerusalem Conference in chapter 15, Luke will establish Paul's contention that Gentiles should not be expected to comply with Mosaic Law, a proposition supported by none other than James, the apostles and elders, along with the whole Jerusalem church.


ii] Structure: Peter explains his actions:

The Visions:

The Lord directs Cornelius to seek out Peter, 10:1-8;

Peter's vision, v9-16;

Peter meets with Cornelius' delegation, v17-23a;

Peter's meeting with Cornelius, v23b-29.

The Speeches

Cornelius explains the reason for the invitation, v30-33.

Peter's Sermon, v34-43:

The Holy Spirit came upon them, v44-48;

Peter explains his actions, 11:1-18:

Setting, v1-3;

"the circumcised believers criticised him."

Peter testifies to his vision, v4-10;

"don't call impure what God has made clean."

Peter's meeting with Cornelius, v11-14;

Cornelius receives the Spirit and so is baptised, v15-17;

"who was I to think that ......?"

Conclusion, v18:

"they had no further objections and praised God."


iii] Interpretation:

In v1-3, Luke records how the news of Gentile conversions has spread among the believers in Judea. The news of the saving impact of the gospel on Gentiles is a great joy, but the full inclusion of the uncircumcised in the fellowship of circumcised believers causes some disquiet. Peter's actions have infringed the Law of Moses with respect to defilement - he "ate with them."

In v4-17, Luke records Peter's defence for his actions before the Jerusalem church, with respect to his behaviour in Caesarea. Peter's argument does not directly answer the criticism implied in the question recorded in v3. Peter simply recounts what happened in his dealings with Cornelius such that against his own better judgment, he complied with God's instruction that he preach the gospel to Cornelius and his household and that he stay in his home. Peter supports this contention with an account of his encounters with God, v4-14, with the evidence of Cornelius' conversion ("God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ"), v15-16, and with his own observation, "who was I that I could hinder God"? v17. The Jerusalem church accepts Peter's explanation and responds with praise to God, v18.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 11:1

Luke describes Peter's return to Jerusalem and his report concerning the admission of Cornelius, along with his household and friends, into the assembly of The Way, v1-18. This description serves to set the ground for the full admission of the uncircumcised / the lawless into the Christian church.

i] Disquiet in the Jerusalem church over the inclusion of Gentile believers in The Way, v1-3. We get the impression that the Jerusalem church is divided between liberals and conservatives. The liberals are mainly Jews of the dispersion, Greek speaking Jews, those who aligned with Stephen. The conservatives are primarily residents of Jerusalem and Judea who continue to participate in the temple cult. The conservatives see themselves as kosher believers, in varying degrees, sticklers for the law. After the pogrom against Stephen and his associates, the believers were initially left alone by the Jewish authorities. Paul will soon find himself in dispute with the hard-line members of the Jerusalem church, the Circumcision party, Judaizers. It is likely that it is these members of the church who challenge Peter over his open neglect of the Law by associating with lawless Gentiles.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

oiJ onteV "-" - [heard the apostles and the brothers] the ones being. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "brothers" = "believers"; "the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea", ESV.

kata + acc. "throughout" - according to [judea]. A distributive use of the preposition, so "throughout", as NIV.

oJti "[heard] that" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they heard.

edexanto (decomai) aor. "received" - [the gentiles and = also] received. The verb of a neuter plural subject is usually singular (the subject is treated as a collective noun) although here it is plural. This is sometimes the case in the NT, especially with persons, cf., Bruce. "The Gentiles believed the gospel."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [the word] of god. The genitive is adjectival, possibly possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic, "God's word", or verbal, subjective, "the word proclaimed by God", or ablative, source/origin, "the word from God."


The Western text / Codex D expands this verse somewhat: "Now Peter wanted for a long time to journey to Jerusalem. He called the brothers and strengthened them. He spoke much and taught them throughout the region. He also met them and announced to them the grace of God. But the brothers from the circumcision (party) criticised him ........." It seems as if the author is making the point that the criticism directed at Peter is not from the whole church, but from the circumcision party.

de "so" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, as NIV.

oJte "when" - when. Temporal conjunction used to introduce a temporal clause.

anebh (anabainw) aor. "went up" - [peter] went up [into jerusalem]. It is interesting how different cultures use the "going up" or "going down" term. In Australia, "going up" means going North, while "going down" means going South. Jerusalem is on a highland plateau, higher than Jericho, so for a first-century Jew, "Peter went up to Jerusalem."

oiJ + gen. "[the circumcised believers]" - the ones [from the circumcision party]. The article serves as a nominalizer, turning the prepositional phrase "from circumcision" into a substantive, subject of the verb "were divided" = were criticising." The preposition ek is probably partitive / wholative; "those of the circumcision" = "members of the circumcision party." It is unlikely that they are unbelieving Jews. They are obviously believers of Jewish birth, but specifically Jewish believers who are unhappy with Peter's association with ritually impure Gentiles. Given the ongoing debate over the place of the law in the life of the early church and the degree to which it should be applied to Gentile believers, it is likely that Luke wants us to view "the ones of the circumcision" as nomist Christians, believers who will continue to be a thorn in Paul's side. Note the sharpening of this polemic against "the circumcision" in the Western textual variant above.

diekrinonto (diakrinw) imperf. "criticised" - were divided = were taking issue, disputing ..... criticising. The imperfect is durative and so ongoing criticism may be intended, although an imperfect is often used of speech as a matter of form. The word can mean entering into a controversy with someone (which is probably the meaning here), or can take a gentler tack, eg., "questioned his action", Barclay. Note how Luke uses the same verb for the Spirit's instruction to Peter in 10:20, mhden diakrinomenoV, used in the sense of self-criticism, "be not double-minded." This negative critique is now being applied to Peter's opponents in the Jerusalem church. The implication is that their action is against the Spirit's instructions.

proV + acc. "-" - to, toward [him]. Here the preposition expresses association; "they disputed with him."


There are various degrees of association in Jewish society, and eating with a person involves a degree of intimacy which implies agreement with the values of the host. For a Jew to eat with a Gentile implies acceptance of their pagan values, idolatry etc., which, under the Law of Moses, produces defilement. It is not stated that Peter ate with Cornelius, but it may be assumed.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "and said" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, as NIV, "they criticised him and said", or adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his criticism, "they criticised him saying ....", ESV, but see legonteV, 1:6.

oJti "-" - that. Possibly recitative, introducing a dependent statement of direct speech, as NIV, although legonteV, "saying", probably serves this function. Possibly a causal / interrogative ti, "because why?" so Bruce; "why did you go ...?", so also NRSV. Barrett views an interrogative usage as unreliable, particularly if the 3rd person, instead of the 2nd person, is read for the verbs "to go" and "to eat".

econtaV (ecw) pres. part. "-" - [you entered toward = into a house] having [uncircumcised men]. The participle is adjectival, limiting an assumed "house", "entered into a house which has uncircumcised men in it." "You went into the homes of uncircumcised heathens", Barclay.

sunefageV (sunesqew) aor. "ate with" - [and] you ate with. A variant 3rd. person singular, sunefagen, exists, as against the 2nd. person singular here. Entering the home of a Gentile is not an acceptable act for a law-abiding Jew, but eating with them is totally forbidden.

autoiV dat. pro. "them" - them. Dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to eat with."


ii] Peter recounts his vision to the leaders of the Jerusalem church, v4-10. He begins with his vision on the roof of the Tanner's house in Joppa. The account is now personalised, with some extra details. There is a fourth group of unclean animals in his vision - "wild beasts". The quadrupeds seem to be clean animals, ie., animals that chew the cud and had cloven hooves, cf., Lev.11. Yet, clean animals, as well as unclean, seem to undermine the point of the vision and the command "kill and eat". Of course, not all four-footed animals are clean, so they are probably the unclean ones. Note how Peter's response is similar to the response made by Ezekiel, Ezk.4:14.

arxamenoV (arcw) aor. part. "[Peter] began" - [but/and] having begun. The participle is probably adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his explanation, "Peter explained starting from the beginning", or even instrumental, "by starting at the beginning." Peter's account starts with the very first things that had happened to him.

autoiV dat. pro. "[told] them" - [peter was explaining] to them. Dative of indirect object.

kaqexhV adv. "precisely as it had happened / the whole story" - in order, sequence. The adverb expresses sequence in time or space. Peter gave an account of what had happened "point by point"

legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Redundant attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "explained"; "explained .... and said"; Semitic construction serving to introduce direct speech, see legonteV, 1:6.


egw pro. "I" - i. Emphatic by use and position.

hmhn ..... proseuxomenoV (proseucomai) pres. part. "was ...... praying" - was .. praying [in city, joppa]. The imperfect of the verb to-be with the present participle forms an imperfect periphrastic construction, possibly emphasising durative aspect; "I was in the city of Joppa engaged in prayer", Cassirer. "Joppa" stands in apposition to "city", dative in agreement.

en + dat. "in [a trance]" - in [a trance i saw a vision]. The preposition en is adverbial, possibly temporal, "and I saw, while in a trance, a vision."

wJV "like [a large sheet]" - [a certain object] as, like [a large cloth]. Comparative; marking a relationship, the something descending was like a sheet descending; "having fallen into a trace I saw a vision of something like a large sheet."

katabainon (katabainw) pres. part. "being let down" - coming down. This participle could be treated as adjectival, attributive, limiting the nominal phrase "something like a large sheet", " that was coming down, or predicative / object complement standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object, namely that it was coming down.

ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - from [heaven]. Expressing source / origin. Peter may simply mean the sky, but probably he is saying that "the heavens opened", ie.. the spiritual domain became visible to Peter's human senses by means of a visionary image.

arcaiV dat. "by it's [four] corners" - by [four] beginnings = corners [and it came until = up to me]. The dative is adverbial, instrumental.

acri + gen. "down to where [I was]" - [it came] up to, near [me]. Here spatial, not temporal. The sheet was lowered into Peter's presence.


atenisaV (atenizw) aor. part. "I looked" - having looked [into which = at it]. The participle is probably adverbial, temporal, "As I looked steadily at it", although Culy and Kellum opt for attendant circumstance. The prepositional phrase eiV h}n, "into which", probably goes with the participle, rather than the imperfect verb "was observing."

katenooun (katanoew) imperf. "-" - i was observing [and saw]. The imperfect verb, being durative, is probably iterative, and is followed by a punctiliar aorist eidon "I saw"; "I focused my gaze and saw."

ta qhria "wild beasts" - four-footed animals. Accusative direct object of the verb "to see." An addition to the list in 11:6.

tou ouranou (oV) gen. "[birds] of the air / birds" - [of the earth, and beasts and reptiles and birds] of the heaven. As with "of the earth", the genitive is adjectival, possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic; "pertaining to the sky"; "Birds of the sky", Barclay, although better just "birds", TNIV. Culy suggests source / origin. "I saw four-footed creatures of the earth as well as wild beasts, and there were also reptiles and birds of the air", Cassirer.


fwnhV (h) gen. "[I heard] a voice" - [but/and i heard] a voice. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to hear", a verb of perception.

legoushV (legw) gen. pres. part. "telling" - saying. The participle serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "a voice", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object.

moi dat. pro. "me" - to me. Dative of indirect object.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "get up" - having arisen [peter]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperatives, "kill" and "eat", so also imperative, as NIV. "Up Peter", Barclay.

quson (quw) aor. imp. "kill" - sacrifice, kill [and eat]. The word means to kill for the purpose of a sacrifice, but this is obviously not intended here. The spiritual significance of the occasion has probably prompted the use of this word.


mhdamwV adv. "surely not" - [but/and i said] by no means [lord]. Certainly not. The adverb expresses strong negation.

oJti "-" - because. Here introducing a causal clause explaining why Peter believes he should not eat unclean food; "For nothing common or unclean has ever ....."

koinon h akaqarton "impure or unclean" - defiled or unclean [never entered into the mouth of me]. Nominative subjects of the verb "to enter." The sense is of ritually defiled or unclean, impure.


ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - [the voice] from [heaven]. Expressing source / origin.

ek + gen. "[a second] time" - from [second]. The preposition ek is virtually redundant here, other than to indicate a temporal expression is intended with the use of the adjective deuterou, "second", so "a second time", as NIV.

mh koinou (koinow) pres. imp. "do not call anything impure" - [you] do not call unclean. The "you", su, is emphatic; "You must not call unholy ...." "Do not declare unclean that which God has cleansed", Cassirer.

a} pro. "that" - what. Introducing a headless relative clause that serves as the object of the verb "to call unclean."

ekaqarisen (kaqarizw) aor. "has made clean" - [god] made clean, cleansed. Made suitable to be eaten. What God has declared suitable is suitable.


epi "[this happened three times]" - [this happened] upon [three]. Temporal use of the preposition, "three times." Did the vision repeat itself three times or did God tell Peter to eat three times? The second option is to be preferred.


iii] Peter recounts his meeting with Cornelius, v11-14. Peter continues his account of what happened in Caesarea: Right at this moment, Peter is visited by three men who invite him to journey with them to Caesarea, and to visit the home of Cornelius. Cornelius is not mentioned, but the invitation is obviously his. Peter sets off with six brothers who serve as Jewish Christian witnesses. On arriving, "he", obviously Cornelius, tells of an angelic visitation and the instruction to summon Peter so that he and his household may be saved.

exauthV adv. "right then" - [and behold] at once, immediately, suddenly. Also possibly just a transitional phrase "in the meantime". "At that very moment", ESV.

apestalmenoi (apostellw) perf. pas. part. "who had been sent" - [three men] having been sent. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "men", as NIV.

proV + acc. "to" - to, toward [me]. Spatial.

apo + gen. "from" - from [caesarea]. Expressing source/origin.

epi + acc. "at [the house]" - [stood] upon = at [the house]. Spatial.

en + dat. "where" - in [which]. Local, expressing space.

hJmen (eimi) imperf. "I was staying" - i was. A plural variant, hJmhn, exists which is the more difficult reading; "three men arrived at the house in which we were", ESV.


Peter now specifies those "from the circumcision", 10:45, as six brothers = believers. These men not only serve as witnesses of the unfolding events, they are also participants who, by their participation, give their tacit approval.

to pneuma "the Spirit" - [but/and] the spirit. Nominative subject of the verb "to say." Note that in v8 Peter addresses the voice with the title "Lord".

moi dat. pro. "to me" - [said] to me. Dative of indirect object.

diakrinanta (diakrinw) aor. part. "have no hesitation" - [without] making a distinction. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of "going with them." A textual variant here causes a minor problem. The NIV, along with the NEB, opts for the middle diakrinomenoV "without hesitation / doubting", while NRSV sides with the UBS Geek NT. reading "without making a distinction", so Barrett. See 10:20, 11:2

sunelqein (sunercomai) aor. inf. "about going" - to accompany. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the Spirit told Peter; "the Spirit said to me that I should accompany them without making a distinction between Jews and Gentiles / without doubting."

autoiV dat. pro. "with them" - them. Dative of direct object after a sun prefix verb "to accompany."

sun + dat. "with" - [and these six brothers came] with [me]. Expressing association / accompaniment.

tou androV (hr roV) gen. "[the] man's [house]" - [and we entered into the house] of the man. The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "the house belonging to the man."


hJmin dat. pro. "[he told] us" - [but/and he announced] to us. Dative of indirect object.

pwV "how" - how [he saw an angel in the house of him]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, expressing something about what is said, unlike a particle like oJti which states (directly or indirectly) what is said.

staqenta (iJsthmi) aor. pas. part. "appear [and say]" - having stood [and having said]. As with "having said", the participle serves as the complement of the object "an angel", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object. "He related how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying", Moffatt.

ton epikaloumenon (epikalew) pres. pas. part. "who is called [Peter]" - [send into joppa and summon simon] the one being called [peter]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Simon", as NIV. "Someone named Simon Peter", CEV.


proV + acc. "[he will bring you a message]" - [he will speak words] toward = to [you]. The preposition is used to introduce an indirect object instead of a dative.

en + dat. "through [which]" - in = by [which] - The dative is instrumental, expressing means; "by which you will be saved."

sou gen. pro. "your [household]" - [you and all the house] of you. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. The salvation of households is an interesting feature in Acts. This incorporation may involve salvation, but it may just mean that household members are brought under the sound of the gospel and therefore given a greater opportunity to find salvation in Christ. For Salvation by households, see Background, 10:44-48.


iv] The Spirit comes upon Cornelius and so Peter baptises him, v15-17. We now come to the centre of Peter's argument. He states that as he "began to speak the Holy Spirit came on them." Acts 10 records Peter's gospel presentation to Cornelius and his family. His sermon begins with the declaration that "God does not show favouritism", and goes on to outline the life of Jesus, his resurrection, the coming judgment and the forgiveness of sins to those who believe. Before Peter can finish his gospel message, the Spirit falls on his audience - they believe and receive the Holy Spirit. The evidence of this lay in their reception of the Holy Spirit "as he had come on us at the beginning", ie., "they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God", Act.10:46. Clearly, this is a Pentecost type experience where ecstatic prophecy serves to evidence a widening of membership in the kingdom of God. If the belief of these Gentiles prompts the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is Peter to think he "could oppose God" (ie. refuse baptism, Act.10:47-48). The visible fulfilment of Joel 2:28-32 on this occasion, serves to prove that the promise applies to all mankind, not just to Jews.

en ... tw/ arxasqai (arcw) aor. inf. "As I began" - [but/and] in to begin. This preposition, with the dative articular infinitive, usually forms a temporal clause, contemporaneous time, "while, during"; "as I began to speak", ESV.

lalein (lalew) pres. inf. "to speak" - to speak. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the infinitive "to begin".

ep (epi) + acc. "[came] on" - [the holy spirit fell upon] upon [them]. An idiomatic repetition of the prepositional prefix of the verb epipiptw, "to fall upon." Always an interesting language problem for the modern mind. To a Jew, the Spirit obviously proceeds from an opening in the heavens and falls upon the recipient. To our mind, a spiritual confrontation involves our being surrounded and possessed.

wJsper "as" - just as, as [and = also upon us]. Comparative, expressing similarity.

en + dat. "at [the beginning]" - in [beginning]. Temporal use of the preposition; when first the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, namely, at the time of the feast of Pentecost following Jesus' crucifixion.


Here we have an example of the preservation of Jesus' teachings in the memory of the apostles. This saying is initially attributed to the Baptist, Luke 3:16, and later Jesus, Act 1:5.

tou kuriou (oV) "[what] the Lord [had said]" - [but/and i remembered the word] of the lord. Possibly an objective genitive, "the words ascribed to our Lord", Bruce, or subjective, as NIV, or adjectival, possessive, "the words that belong to Jesus", or ablative, expressing source/origin, "the words from the Lord."

wJV "what" - as / while / that [he was saying]. Probably recitative, introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Peter remembered, namely, that the Lord had spoken on the distinction between his baptism and that of John, as NIV. Possibly temporal, "I remembered when the Lord said ....", so Culy.

men ...... de ".... but ..." - on the one hand [john immersed with water], but on the other hand [you will be immersed]. Adversative comparative / correlative construction.

ebaptisen (baptizw) aor. "baptized" - immersed. As already noted, the word "baptized" can cause problems, given that the type of immersion intended is unclear. Here it is obviously referring to water baptism and Spirit baptism. A word such as "immerse" is better than "baptise" since it is not so powerfully tied to water christening / baptising and therefore, easily includes a figurative sense, eg., "I am immersed in my work..." NT. figurative uses include: immersed in the Holy Spirit; immersed in suffering; immersed in the Name = the person of Jesus = his Word, teaching / authority of Jesus.

en + dat. "with [the Holy Spirit]" - with [holy spirit]. It is interesting that Luke has chosen to use the preposition here rather than the simple dative uJdati "in / with water"; either instrumental, or local. Barrett thinks it is just stylistic although Moule thinks that Luke is making a point, but then, what is the point? Is en local, "in", or instrumental, "with"? In Eph.5:18 an instrumental use is likely, plrousqe en pneumati, "be filled with the Spirit." Here, if we take "baptized" to mean "immersed", a local "immersed in the Holy Spirit" seems more likely, such that en expresses incorporative union.


oun "so" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion.

ei + ind. "if" - if. Introducing a conditional clause, 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, ..... then ...." The apodosis is in the form of a question, probably two questions, see below.

autoiV dat. pro. "[gave] them - [god gave the same gift] to them. Dative of indirect object.

wJV "[he gave us]" - as [and = also to us]. Comparative.

pisteusasin (pisteuw) dat. aor. part. "who believed" - having believed. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the dative hJmin, "to us", as NIV, although possibly descriptive, idiomatic, temporal, "when / after we believed." It is possible that the participle is modifying the dative autoiV, "to them", ie., Cornelius and friends - this is the logical sense, but syntactical separation makes this unlikely, so Barrett. "Belief" in the NT is a key word, meaning something like a firm resolve to take God at his word, to rest upon, firmly rely on.

epi "in" - upon [the lord jesus christ]. This preposition, followed by the accusative, means movement onto. "I put the weight of my resolve onto/upon Jesus."

egw tiV h[mhn "who was I" - then who am i? Page in the old London commentary, as does Culy, suggests that the apodosis of the conditional clause is made up of two questions. The imperfect verb to-be h[mhn may cover both questions, or the first question may carry an assumed present tense of the verb to-be.; "who am I?" The second question is then "Was I able to hinder God?" "Who was I - how could I try to thwart God?" Moffatt.

kwlusai (kwluw) aor. inf. "[to think that I could] oppose [God]?" - [was able] to hinder [god]? The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the periphrasis h[mhn dunatoV, "was able." Who was Peter to think that he was able to hinder God's will? Peter knew the answer to this question and it seems his opponents did as well.


v] Luke tells us that the leaders of the Jerusalem church warmly receive the news that God has given to the Gentiles the gift of salvation through repentance of sins, v18. The right of Gentiles to access the Christian church is therefore now established (by God), although the debate over the extent to which Gentiles were bound by Old Testament law is yet to come. The church then gave praise to God.

akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "when they heard" - [but/and] having heard [these things]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

hJsucasan (hJsucazw) aor. "they had no further objections" - they remained quiet [and glorified god]. A literal rendering is "they remained silent", NRSV, but the sense is that they dropped further criticism of Peter's actions.

legonteV (legw) "saying" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "glorified / praised"; "praised God and said". For an adverbial classification see legonteV, 1:6.

a[ra "so then" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion / inferential, "but in drawing conclusions, more subjective than oun", Barrett. "Why then, even to Gentiles ...."

kai "even" - and = even / also. Adverbial, ascensive, "even", or adjunctive, "also".

toiV eqnesin (oV) dat. "to Gentiles" - to the gentiles. Dative of indirect object.

eiV + acc. "repentance unto life" - [god gave] repentance [into life]. Interestingly, the NRSV, which tends to be a more literal translation than the NIV, has "repentance that leads to life." The TEV certainly breaks open the meaning of this phrase with its rendering "the opportunity to repent and live." The preposition eiV often expresses purpose and that sense is probably found here; "the repentance which is the way to life", Barclay. Given that today the word "repentance" means little more than to apologise for some indiscretion, the sense may be better expressed "conversion that leads to life", Johnson.


Acts Introduction


Exegetical Commentaries


[Pumpkin Cottage]