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Acts 10:4

    Acts 10:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your alms are come up for a memorial before God.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And he, looking on him in fear, said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your offerings have come up to God, and he has kept them in mind.

    Webster's Revision

    And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God.

    World English Bible

    He, fastening his eyes on him, and being frightened, said, "What is it, Lord?" He said to him, "Your prayers and your gifts to the needy have gone up for a memorial before God.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God.

    Definitions for Acts 10:4

    Alms - Acts and deeds of mercy.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 10:4

    Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial - Being all performed in simplicity and godly sincerity, they were acceptable to the Most High.

    Come up for a memorial: This form of speech is evidently borrowed from the sacrificial system of the Jews. Pious and sincere prayers are high in God's estimation; and therefore are said to ascend to him, as the smoke and flame of the burnt-offering appeared to ascend to heaven.

    These prayers and alms came up for a memorial before God: this is a manifest allusion to the meat-offering, which, in Leviticus 2:16, is said to be אזכרה azkerah, a memorial, (speaking after the manner of men), to put God in remembrance that such a person was his worshipper, and needed his protection and help. So the prayers and alms of Cornelius ascended before God as an acceptable sacrifice, and were recorded in the kingdom of heaven, that the answers might be given in their due season.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 10:4

    And when he looked on him - Greek: Having fixed his eyes attentively on him.

    He was afraid - At the suddenness and unexpected character of the vision.

    What is it, Lord? - This is the expression of surprise and alarm. The word "Lord" should have been translated "sir," since there is no evidence that this is an address to God, and still less that he regarded the personage present as the Lord. Compare the notes on Acts 9:5. It is such language as a man would naturally use who was suddenly surprised; who should witness a strange form appearing unexpectedly before him; and who should exclaim, Sir, what is the matter?"

    Are come up for a memorial - Are remembered before God. Compare Isaiah 45:19. They were an evidence of piety toward God, and were accepted as such. Though he had not offered sacrifice according to the Jewish laws; though he had not been circumcised; yet, having acted according to the light which he had, his prayers were hard, and his alms were accepted. This was done in accordance with the general principle of the divine administration, that God prefers the offering of the heart to external forms; the expressions of love to sacrifice without it. This he had often declared, Isaiah 1:11-15; Amos 5:21-22; 1 Samuel 15:22, "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams," Hosea 6:6; Ecclesiastes 5:1. It should be remembered, however, that Cornelius was not depending on external morality. His heart was in the work of religion. It should be remembered, further, that he was ready to receive the gospel when it was offered to him, and to become a Christian. In this there was an important difference between him and those who are depending for salvation on their morality in Christian lands. Such people are inclined to defend themselves by the example of Cornelius, and to suppose that as he was accepted before he embraced the gospel, so they may be without embracing it. But there is an important difference in the two cases. For:

    (1) There is no evidence that Cornelius was depending on external morality for salvation. His offering was that of the heart, and not merely an external offering.

    (2) Cornelius did not rely on his morality at all. His was a work of religion. He feared God; he prayed to him; he exerted his influence to bring his family to the same state. Moral people do neither. "All their works they do to be seen of men"; and in their heart there is "no good thing toward the Lord God of Israel." Compare 1 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 19:3. Who ever hears of a man that "fears God," and that prays, and that instructs his household in religion, that depends on morality for salvation?

    (3) Cornelius was disposed to do the will of God as far as it was made known to him. Where this exists there is religion. The moral man is not.

    (4) Cornelius was willing to embrace a Saviour when he was made known to him. The moral man is not. He hears of a Saviour with unconcern; he listens to the message of God's mercy from year to year without embracing it. In all this there is an important difference between him and the Roman centurion; and while we hope that there may be many in pagan lands who are in the same state of mind that he was - disposed to do the will of God as far as made known, and therefore accepted and saved by his mercy in the Lord Jesus, yet this cannot be adduced to encourage the hope of salvation in those who do know his will, and yet will not do it.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 10:4

    10:4 Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God - Dare any man say, These were only splendid sins? Or that they were an abomination before God? And yet it is certain, in the Christian sense Cornelius was then an unbeliever. He had not then faith in Christ. So certain it is, that every one who seeks faith in Christ, should seek it in prayer, and doing good to all men: though in strictness what is not exactly according to the Divine rule must stand in need of Divine favour and indulgence.