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Acts 11 Commentary

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Acts 11:1-3 meaning

Critics of Peter: The apostles and believers in Judea learn that Gentiles in Caesarea received the gospel from Peter. When Peter returns to Jerusalem, some confront him for doing wrong (in their minds). They criticize him for associating with the uncircumcised, specifically for eating with them.

Acts 11:4-10 meaning

Peter's Defense, The Vision: Peter teaches his critics in detail of the vision he had in Joppa. During a trance, he saw a large sheet descending from the sky, filled with various unclean animals according to the Mosaic Law. A voice from Heaven instructed him to eat these animals, but Peter refused, attesting that he had never eaten anything unholy or unclean. The voice rebuked Peter that what God has cleansed should not be considered unholy. This conversation repeated two times before the sheet was drawn back into the heavens.

Acts 11:11-18 meaning

Peter's Defense to the Skeptical Jews continues: The Spirit Fell on the Gentiles. After Peter's vision in Joppa, three men sent from Caesarea arrived at his location. Commanded by the Holy Spirit, Peter went with them to meet the centurion Cornelius who had been instructed by an angel to seek Peter. Peter preaches the gospel to Cornelius, his friends, and his family—Gentiles all. The Holy Spirit falls upon the Gentiles as they believe in Jesus. After hearing this account, the Jerusalem believers realize that God had granted Gentiles the opportunity to be saved from sin to eternal life.

Acts 11:19-26 meaning

Gentiles in Antioch Believe in Jesus: At the murder of Stephen years prior, a persecution against the church began. Due to the persecution, believing Jews spread out to regions like Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, initially preaching about Jesus only to Jews. However, some began preaching to Greeks in Antioch. A significant number of Greeks believed in Jesus. Hearing this, the Jerusalem church sends Barnabas to Antioch, who, seeing God at work among the Antiochians, further encourages the believers in their faith. Barnabas then seeks Saul (Paul) to join him in teaching the rapidly growing community. Paul ministers there for a year.

Acts 11:27-30 meaning

The Charity of the Gentile Believers: Prophets from Jerusalem visit Antioch, and one named Agabus prophesies a global famine during Claudius Caesar's reign. Moved by this warning, the Antiochian disciples decide to send relief money in preparation for the famine to their Judean brethren, according to their wealth. Barnabas and Saul are entrusted to deliver these contributions to the Judean elders.