The Meaning of Acts 10:25 Explained

Acts 10:25

KJV: And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

YLT: and as it came that Peter entered in, Cornelius having met him, having fallen at his feet, did bow before him;

Darby: And when Peter was now coming in, Cornelius met him, and falling down did him homage.

ASV: And when it came to pass that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

And  as  Peter  was  coming in,  Cornelius  met  him,  and fell down  at  his feet,  and worshipped  [him]. 

What does Acts 10:25 Mean?

Context Summary

Acts 10:17-33 - Jew And Gentile Meet
It should be carefully noted that the mental impression which was produced by Peter's vision was corroborated by the fact of the knocking and inquiring group at Peter's door. This is God's invariable method. For us all, as we contemplate taking a new and important step in life, there are the urging of the Spirit, the impression or vision of duty, and the knock or appeal of outward circumstances.
Evidently Cornelius had gathered to his quarters in the barracks his kinsmen and a number of intimate friends, who were as eager as he to discover the will of God. They remained quietly waiting until the party from Joppa had completed their thirty-mile journey. Peter had taken the precaution of bringing with him six brethren, evidently with the expectation that the events of that day would not only create a new era, but would also be called into serious question.
The welcome that Cornelius gave was very significant. That a high-born Roman should prostrate himself before a Jewish evangelist was unprecedented, though it revealed the true reverence and humility of Cornelius's soul; but the noble simplicity of Peter's reply was also a revelation of the true greatness of the Apostle, and ought to have more obviously influenced his would-be successors. [source]

Chapter Summary: Acts 10

1  Cornelius, a devout man, being commanded by an angel, sends for Peter,
11  who by a vision is taught not to despise the Gentiles;
17  and is commanded by the Spirit to go with the messenger to Caesarea
25  Cornelius shows the occasion of his sending for him
34  As he preaches Christ to Cornelius and his company,
44  the Holy Spirit falls on them, and they are baptized

Greek Commentary for Acts 10:25

That Peter entered [tou eiselthein ton Petron)]
This is a difficult construction, for the subject of egeneto (it happened) has to be the articular genitive infinitive tou eiselthein with the accusative of general reference ton Petron Most commentators consider it inexplicable. It is probably an extension of the ordinary articular infinitive under the influence of the Hebrew infinitive construct without regard to the case, regarding it as a fixed case form and so using it as nominative. Precisely this construction of tou and the infinitive as the subject of a verb occurs in the lxx (2 Chronicles 6:7, etc.). See Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1067f. for full discussion of this obvious Hebraism. Somewhat similar examples appear in Acts 20:3; Acts 27:1. But the Codex Bezae avoids this awkward idiom by the genitive absolute (proseggizontos tou Petrou) and some additional details (one of the servants ran forward and announced that he was come). [source]
Worshipped him [prosekunēsen)]
“Cornelius was not an idolator and would not have honoured Peter as a god” (Furneaux). The word probably means here reverence like old English usage (Wycliff) and not actual worship, though Peter took it that way (Acts 10:26). Jesus accepted such worship (Matthew 8:2; Luke 5:8 by Peter). [source]
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 Matthew 19:19, “Worship thy father and thy mother;” and John 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. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 10:25

Matthew 16:18 Thou art Peter [οὺ εἶ Πέτρος]
Christ responds to Peter's emphatic thou with another, equally emphatic. Peter says, “Thou art the Christ.” Christ replies, “Thou art Peter.” Πέτρος (Peter ) is used as a proper name, but without losing its meaning as a common noun. The name was bestowed on Simon at his first interview with Jesus (John 1:42) under the form of its Aramaic equivalent, CephasIn this passage attention is called, not to the giving of the name, but to its meaning. In classical Greek the word means a piece of rock, as in Homer, of Ajax throwing a stone at Hector (“Iliadvii., 270), or of Patroclus grasping and hiding in his hand a jagged stone (“Iliadxvi., 784).On this rock ( ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέρᾳ )The word is feminine, and means a rock, as distinguished from a stone or a fragment of rock ( πέτρος , above). Used of a ledge of rocks or a rocky peak. In Homer (“Odyssey,” ix., 243), the rock ( πέτρην ) which Polyphemus places at the door of his cavern, is a mass which two-and-twenty wagons could not remove; and the rock which he hurled at the retreating ships of Ulysses, created by its fall a wave in the sea which drove the ships back toward the land (“Odyssey,” ix., 484). The word refers neither to Christ as a rock, distinguished from Simon, a stone, nor to Peter's confession, but to Peter himself, in a sense defined by his previous confession, and as enlightened by the “Father in Heaven.” The reference of πέτρα to Christ is forced and unnatural. The obvious reference of the word is to Peter. The emphatic this naturally refers to the nearest antecedent; and besides, the metaphor is thus weakened, since Christ appears here, not as the foundation, but as the architect: “On this rock will I build.” Again, Christ is the great foundation, the “chief corner-stone,” but the New Testament writers recognize no impropriety in applying to the members of Christ's church certain terms which are applied to him. For instance, Peter himself (1 Peter 2:4), calls Christ a living stone, and, in 1 Peter 2:5, addresses the church as living stones. In Revelation 21:14, the names of the twelve apostles appear in the twelve foundation-stones of the heavenly city; and in Ephesians 2:20, it is said, “Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (i.e., laid by the apostles and prophets), Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.” Equally untenable is the explanation which refers πέτρα to Simon's confession. Both the play upon the words and the natural reading of the passage are against it, and besides, it does not conform to the fact, since the church is built, not on confessions, but on confessors - living men. “The word πέτρα ,” says Edersheim, “was used in the same sense in Rabbinic language. According to the Rabbins, when God was about to build his world, he could not rear it on the generation of Enos, nor on that of the flood, who brought destruction upon the world; but when he beheld that Abraham would arise in the future, he said' 'Behold, I have found a rock to build on it, and to found the world,' whence, also, Abraham is called a rock, as it is said' 'Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn.' The parallel between Abraham and Peter might be carried even further. If, from a misunderstanding of the Lord's promise to Peter, later Christian legend represented the apostle as sitting at the gate of heaven, Jewish legend represents Abraham as sitting at the gate of Gehenna, so as to prevent all who had the seal of circumcision from falling into its abyss” (“Life and Times of Jesus”). The reference to Simon himself is confirmed by the actual relation of Peter to the early church, to the Jewish portion of which he was a foundation-stone. See Acts, Acts 1:15; Acts 2:14, Acts 2:37; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:8; Acts 5:15, Acts 5:29; Acts 9:34, Acts 9:40; Acts 10:25, Acts 10:26; Galatians 1:15.Church ( ἐκκλησίαν ) ἐκ out, καλέω , to call or summon. This is the first occurrence of this word in the New Testament. Originally an assembly of citizens, regularly summoned. So in New Testament, Acts 19:39. The Septuagint uses the word for the congregation of Israel, either as summoned for a definite purpose (Acts 7:38); but for this there is more commonly employed συναγωγή , of which synagogue is a transcription; σύν , together, ἄγω , to bring (Acts 13:43). In Christ's words to Peter the word ἐκκλησία acquires special emphasis from the opposition implied in it to the synagogue. The Christian community in the midst of Israel would be designated as ἐκκλησία , without being confounded with the συναγωγή , the Jewish community. See Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 12:1; Acts 14:23, Acts 14:27, etc. Nevertheless συναγωγή is applied to a Christian assembly in James 2:2, while ἐπισυναγωγή (gathering or assembling together ) is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1; Hebrews 10:25. Both in Hebrew and in New Testament usage ἐκκλησία implies more than a collective or national unity; rather a community based on a special religious idea and established in a special way. In the New Testament the term is used also in the narrower sense of a single church, or a church confined to a particular place. So of the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:5); the church at Corinth, the churches in Judea, the church at Jerusalem, etc.Gates of hell ( πύλαι ᾅδου )Rev., Hades. Hades was originally the name of the god who presided over the realm of the dead - Pluto or Dis. Hence the phrase, house of Hades. It is derived from ἀ , not, and; ἰδεῖν , to see; and signifies, therefore, the invisible land, the realm of shadow. It is the place to which all who depart this life descend, without reference to their moral character. By this word the Septuagint translated the Hebrew Sheol, which has a similar general meaning. The classical Hades embraced both good and bad men, though divided into Elysium, the abode of the virtuous, and Tartarus, the abode of the wicked. In these particulars it corresponds substantially with Sheol; both the godly and the wicked being represented as gathered into the latter. See Genesis 42:38; Psalm 9:17; Psalm 139:8; Isaiah 14:9; Isaiah 57:2; Ezekiel 32:27; Hosea 13:14. Hades and Sheol were alike conceived as a definite place, lower than the world. The passage of both good and bad into it was regarded as a descent. The Hebrew conception is that of a place of darkness; a cheerless home of a dull, joyless, shadowy life. See Psalm 6:5; Psalm 94:17; Psalm 115:17; Psalm 88:5, Psalm 88:6, Psalm 88:10; Job 10:21; Job 3:17-19; Job 14:10, Job 14:11; Ecclesiastes 9:5. Vagueness is its characteristic. In this the Hebrew's faith appears bare in contrast with that of the Greek and Roman. The pagan poets gave the popular mind definite pictures of Tartarus and Elysium; of Styx and Acheron; of happy plains where dead heroes held high discourse, and of black abysses where offenders underwent strange and ingenious tortures. There was, indeed, this difference between the Hebrew and the Pagan conceptions; that to the Pagan, Hades was the final home of its tenants, while Sheol was a temporary condition. Hence the patriarchs are described (Hebrews 11:16) as looking for a better, heavenly country; and the martyrs as enduring in hope of “a better resurrection.” Prophecy declared that the dead should arise and sing, when Sheol itself should be destroyed and its inmates brought forth, some to everlasting life, and others to shame and contempt (Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 13:14; Daniel 12:2). Paul represents this promise as made to the fathers by God, and as the hope of his countrymen (Acts 26:7). God was the God of the dead as well as of the living; present in the dark chambers of Sheol as well as in heaven (Psalm 139:8; Psalm 16:10). This is the underlying thought of that most touching and pathetic utterance of Job (Job 14:13-15), in which he breathes the wish that God would hide him with loving care in Hades, as a place of temporary concealment, where he will wait patiently, standing like a sentinel at his post, awaiting the divine voice calling him to a new and happier life. This, too, is the thought of the familiar and much-disputed passage, Job 19:23-27. His Redeemer, vindicator, avenger, shall arise after he shall have passed through the shadowy realm of Sheol. “A judgment in Hades, in which the judge will show himself his friend, in which all the tangled skein of his life will be unravelled by wise and kindly hands, and the insoluble problem of his strange and self-contradicting experience will at last be solved - this is what Job still looks for on that happy day when he shall see God for himself, and find his Goel (vindicator) in that Almighty Deliverer” (Cox, “Commentary on the Book of Job”). In the New Testament, Hades is the realm of the dead. It cannot be successfully maintained that it is, in particular, the place for sinners (so Cremer, “Biblico-Theological Lexicon”). The words about Capernaum (Matthew 11:23), which it is surprising to find Cremer citing in support of this position, are merely a rhetorical expression of a fall from the height of earthly glory to the deepest degradation, and have no more bearing upon the moral character of Hades than the words of Zophar (Job 11:7, Job 11:8) about the perfection of the Almighty. “It is high as heaven - deeper than Sheol. ” Hades is indeed coupled with Death (Revelation 1:18; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 20:13, Revelation 20:14), but the association is natural, and indeed inevitable, apart from all moral distinctions. Death would naturally be followed by Hades in any case. In Revelation 20:13, Revelation 20:14, the general judgment is predicted, and not only Death and Hades, but the sea give tip their dead, and only those who are not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). The rich man was in Hades (Luke 16:23), and in torments, but Lazarus was also in Hades, “in Abraham's bosom.” The details of this story “evidently represent the views current at the time among the Jews. According to them, the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life were the abode of the blessed. We read that the righteous in Eden see the wicked in Gehenna and rejoice; and similarly, that the wicked in Gehenna see the righteous sitting beatified in Eden, and their souls are troubled (Edersheim, “Life and Times of Jesus”). Christ also was in Hades (Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31). Moreover, the word γέεννα , hell (see on Matthew 5:22), is specially used to denote the place of future punishment. Hades, then, in the New Testament, is a broad and general conception, with an idea of locality bound up with it. It is the condition following death, which is blessed or the contrary, according to the moral character of the dead, and is therefore divided into different realms, represented by Paradise or Abraham's bosom, and Gehenna. The expression Gates of Hades is an orientalism for the court, throne, power, and dignity of the infernal kingdom. Hades is contemplated as a mighty city, with formidable, frowning portals. Some expositors introduce also the idea of the councils of the Satanic powers, with reference to the Eastern custom of holding such deliberations in the gates of cities. Compare the expression Sublime Porte, applied to the Ottoman court. The idea of a building is maintained in both members of the comparison. The kingdom or city of Hades confronts and assaults the church which Christ will build upon the rock. See Job 38:17; Psalm 9:13; Psalm 107:18; Isaiah 38:10. [source]
Luke 17:1 But that occasions of stumbling should come [του τα σκανδαλα μη ελτειν]
This genitive articular infinitive is not easy to explain. In Acts 10:25 there is another example where the genitive articular infinitive seems to be used as a nominative (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1040). The loose Hebrew infinitive construction may have a bearing here, but one may recall that the original infinitives were either locatives -Τα σκανδαλα — Ta skandala is simply the accusative of general reference. Literally, the not coming as to occasions of stumbling. For σκανδαλον — skandalon (a trap) See note on Matthew 5:29; and the note on Matthew 16:23. It is here only in Luke. The positive form of this saying appears in Matthew 18:7. [source]
John 9:38 Worshipped [προσεκύνησεν]
See on Acts 10:25. [source]
John 4:21 Shall ye worship [προσκυνήσετε]
See on Acts 10:25. The word was used indefinitely in John 4:20. Here with the Father, thus defining true worship. [source]
John 9:38 Lord, I believe [Πιστευω κυριε]
και προσεκυνησεν αυτωι — Kurie here = Lord (reverence, no longer respect as in John 9:36). A short creed, but to the point. And he worshipped him (προσκυνεω — kai prosekunēsen autōi). Ingressive first aorist active indicative of proskuneō old verb to fall down in reverence, to worship. Sometimes of men (Matthew 18:26). In John (see John 4:20) this verb “is always used to express divine worship” (Bernard). It is tragic to hear men today deny that Jesus should be worshipped. He accepted worship from this new convert as he later did from Thomas who called him “God” (John 20:28). Peter (Acts 10:25.) refused worship from Cornelius as Paul and Barnabas did at Lystra (Acts 14:18), but Jesus made no protest here. [source]
Acts 14:15 We also are men of like passions with you [και ημεις ομοιοπατεις εσμεν υμιν αντρωποι]
Old adjective from ομοιος — homoios (like) and πασχω — paschō to experience. In the N.T. only here and James 5:17. It means “of like nature” more exactly and affected by like sensations, not “gods” at all. Their conduct was more serious than the obeisance of Cornelius to Peter (Acts 10:25.). υμιν — Humin is associative instrumental case. And bring you good tidings (ευαγγελιζομενοι — euaggelizomenoi). No “and” in the Greek, just the present middle participle, “gospelizing you.” They are not gods, but evangelists. Here we have Paul‘s message to a pagan audience without the Jewish environment and he makes the same line of argument seen in Acts 17:21-32; Romans 1:18-23. At Antioch in Pisidia we saw Paul‘s line of approach to Jews and proselytes (Acts 13:16-41). That ye should turn from these vain things He boldly calls the worship of Jupiter and Mercury and all idols “vain” or empty things, pointing to the statues and the temple. Unto the living God (επι τεον ζωντα — epi theon zōnta). They must go the whole way. Our God is a live God, not a dead statue. Paul is fond of this phrase (2 Corinthians 6:16; Romans 9:26). Who made The one God is alive and is the Creator of the Universe just as Paul will argue in Athens (Acts 17:24). Paul here quotes Psalm 146:6 and has Genesis 1:1 in mind. See also 1 Thessalonians 1:9 where a new allegiance is also claimed as here. [source]
Acts 16:29 Fell down [προσεπεσεν]
Second aorist active indicative of προσπιπτω — prospiptō old verb. An act of worship as Cornelius before Peter (Acts 10:25), when προσεκυνησεν — prosekunēsen is used. [source]
Acts 20:22 Not knowing [μη ειδως]
Second perfect active participle of οιδα — oida with μη — mē That shall befall me (τα συναντησοντα εμοι — ta sunantēsonta emoi). Articular future active participle of συνανταω — sunantaō to meet with (Acts 10:25), to befall (with associative instrumental case) and compare with συμβαντων — sumbantōn (befell) in Acts 20:19. One of the rare instances of the future participle in the N.T. [source]
Acts 20:22 That shall befall me [τα συναντησοντα εμοι]
Articular future active participle of συνανταω — sunantaō to meet with (Acts 10:25), to befall (with associative instrumental case) and compare with συμβαντων — sumbantōn (befell) in Acts 20:19. One of the rare instances of the future participle in the N.T. [source]
Acts 27:1 That we should sail [του αποπλειν ημας]
This genitive articular infinitive with εκριτη — ekrithē like the lxx construction translating the Hebrew infinitive construct is awkward in Greek. Several similar examples in Luke 17:1; Acts 10:25; Acts 20:3 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1068). Luke alone uses this old verb in N.T. He uses nine compounds of πλεω — pleō to sail. Note the reappearance of “we” in the narrative. It is possible, of course, that Luke was not with Paul during the series of trials at Caesarea, or at least, not all the time. But it is natural for Luke to use “we” again because he and Aristarchus are travelling with Paul. In Caesarea Paul was the centre of the action all the time whether Luke was present or not. The great detail and minute accuracy of Luke‘s account of this voyage and shipwreck throw more light upon ancient seafaring than everything else put together. Smith‘s Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul is still a classic on the subject. Though so accurate in his use of sea terms, yet Luke writes like a landsman, not like a sailor. Besides, the character of Paul is here revealed in a remarkable fashion. [source]
Hebrews 1:6 And let all the angels of God worship him [καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ]
Προσκυνεῖν toworship mostly in the Gospels, Acts, and Apocrypha. In Paul only 1 Corinthians 14:25. Very often in lxx. Originally, to kiss the hand to: thence, to do homage to. Not necessarily of an act of religious reverence (see Matthew 9:18; Matthew 20:20), but often in N.T. in that sense. Usually translated worship, whether a religious sense is intended or not: see on Acts 10:25. The quotation is not found in the Hebrew of the O.T., but is cited literally from lxx, Deuteronomy 32:43. It appears substantially in Psalm 96:7. For the writer of Hebrews the lxx was Scripture, and is quoted throughout without regard to its correspondence with the Hebrew. [source]
Revelation 12:7 Going forth to war [του πολεμησαι]
This genitive articular infinitive is another grammatical problem in this sentence. If εγενετο — egeneto (arose) is repeated as above, then we have the infinitive for purpose, a common enough idiom. Otherwise it is anomalous, not even like Acts 10:25. [source]
Revelation 12:7 Michael and his angels [ο Μιχαηλ και οι αγγελοι αυτου]
The nominative here may be in apposition with πολεμος — polemos but it is an abnormal construction with no verb, though εγενετο — egeneto (arose) can be understood as repeated. Michael is the champion of the Jewish people (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1) and is called the archangel in Judges 1:9.Going forth to war (του πολεμησαι — tou polemēsai). This genitive articular infinitive is another grammatical problem in this sentence. If εγενετο — egeneto (arose) is repeated as above, then we have the infinitive for purpose, a common enough idiom. Otherwise it is anomalous, not even like Acts 10:25.With the dragon On the use of μετα — meta with πολεμεω — polemeō see Revelation 2:16; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 17:14 (nowhere else in N.T.). The devil has angels under his command (Matthew 25:41) and preachers also (2 Corinthians 11:14.).Warred (επολεμησεν — epolemēsen). Constative aorist active indicative of πολεμεω — polemeō picturing the whole battle in one glimpse. [source]

What do the individual words in Acts 10:25 mean?

As then was - entering - Peter having met him - Cornelius having fallen at the feet worshiped [him]
Ὡς δὲ ἐγένετο τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν τὸν Πέτρον συναντήσας αὐτῷ Κορνήλιος πεσὼν ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας προσεκύνησεν

τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
εἰσελθεῖν  entering 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: εἰσέρχομαι  
Sense: to go out or come in: to enter.
τὸν  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Πέτρον  Peter 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: Πέτρος  
Sense: one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
συναντήσας  having  met 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: συναντάω  
Sense: to meet with.
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Κορνήλιος  Cornelius 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Κορνήλιος  
Sense: a Roman centurion of the Italian cohort stationed in Caesarea who converted to Christianity.
πεσὼν  having  fallen 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πίπτω 
Sense: to descend from a higher place to a lower.
ἐπὶ  at 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐπί  
Sense: upon, on, at, by, before.
πόδας  feet 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: πούς  
Sense: a foot, both of men or beast.
προσεκύνησεν  worshiped  [him] 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: προσκυνέω  
Sense: to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence.