If you go to church regularly, you will likely be regularly exposed to teachings on major Christian topics such as grace, faith, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and salvation. You might spend weeks or months studying one of those topics.
There are probably many times you have heard a Scripture and said to yourself, “I wish someone would give me a short lesson on a particular word or topic. Not a long treatise, but enough to get a better understanding.” The purpose of this series is to do that for a wide variety of topics. For that reason, some of these videos are shorter than the typical Eyewitness episodes.
As we often caution, we are not trying to add to what the Bible says, we are trying to add context that will help you understand the Bible better. So, please read the applicable Scriptures in the study guides for these stories so you will know exactly what the Bible says.
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Acts 10 is a turning point in the history of the world. It is many years after the death of Jesus. Christians are essentially a sect of the Jewish religion and almost all Christians are Jews. The Christians still follow the Jewish laws as much as they can, and they still meet in public places and the synagogues. They have not yet started evangelizing non-Jews, who are all called Gentiles. Some of the Gentiles do worship God and follow some Jewish rites, but are not allowed to participate in the full worship of the synagogue. These worshipers are called God-fearers.
Caesarea is the location of the Roman government in Israel. It is the only deep-water port on this portion of the Mediterranean Sea. One of the people in charge of keeping peace and order in the city is the centurion of the Italian Regiment named Cornelius, a God-fearer. The world changes when God sends Peter to convert Cornelius to being a Christian, which opened the door for all Gentiles to become Christians.
Why did God choose Cornelius to be the first Gentile Christian? Acts 10:3-4 lists some of the reasons: he and his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need, especially the poor; and he prayed to God regularly. The angel told him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”