Acts 11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Acts 11
Uncial 0244 (GA) recto.jpg
Acts 11:29–12:2 on the recto side of Uncial 0244 (Gregory-Aland) from the 5th century.
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5

Acts 11 is the eleventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records that Saint Peter defends his visit to Cornelius in Caesarea and retells his vision prior to the meeting as well as the pouring of Holy Spirit during the meeting. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[1]


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 30 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:


Places mentioned in (blue) and related to (black) this chapter.

This chapter mentions the following places:

The vision of Peter, painted by Domenico Fetti.

Ratification in Jerusalem (11:1–18)[edit]

Some church members, identified as 'circumcised believers' (Acts 11:2), objected to the reception of Gentiles into the church, using precisely the kind of 'discrimination' that Peter was warned against in Acts 10:20 (cf. Acts 11:12), on the issue of the 'traditional restrictions on table-fellowship between Jews and Gentiles' (as Peter himself referred in Acts 10:28), that was significant in the early church as written by Paul in Galatians 2:11–14.[2] Peter emphasizes 'the role of the Spirit, the importance of not 'making a distinction' (verse 12), and the parallel with Pentecost (verse 15)' in relation to Jesus' words (verse 16; cf. Acts 1:5), and warns that 'withholding baptism from the Gentiles would be tantamount to hindering God' (verse 17) because each step in the development of the church is initiated by God.[2]

Verse 17[edit]

[Simon Peter said to the assembly:] “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”[3]

The words "them" and "us" emphasize the parallel of the two cases (cf. Acts 11:15), for just as faith existed before the gift of the Spirit in the case of Peter and the Apostles, so in the case of Cornelius and his companions there should exist a degree of faith, otherwise the gift was not manifested in them.[4]

Verse 18[edit]

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."[5]

This concludes the 'unified and tightly constructed episode of Cornelius' conversion.'[2]

The church in Antioch (11:19–26)[edit]

Map of Antiochia (Antioch) in Roman and early Byzantine times

This section extends Acts 8:1 ('those who were scattered', following Stephen's death) as the traveling disciples 'speaking the word' (verse 19; cf. Acts 8:4) to wide regions (Phoenicia, Cyprus) and then focuses to the development in Antioch in Syria (c. 300 miles (480 km) north of Jerusalem).[2] Here some of them started preaching to 'Greeks' (verse 20; Greek: Ἑλληνιστάς, Hellēnistas, "Hellenists"; some manuscripts, such as Papyrus 74, have Ἑλληνάς, Hellēnas, "Grecians"), a development from earlier Cornelius episode.[2] The apostles reacted to the news (verse 22) similar to that in Acts 8:14, but this time they first sent Barnabas (introduced in Acts 4:36) who plays important roles as the liaison to the church in Jerusalem and as the one who brings Saul (or Paul) from Tarsus (verses 25–26) to spend a year quietly engaged in 'teaching'.[2]

Verse 26[edit]

And when he (Barnabas) had found him (Saul or Paul of Tarsus), he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.
And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.[6]

Famine relief measures (11:27–30)[edit]

The sending of help for the famine in Judea (during the reign of Claudius, 41-54 CE) raises up some historical difficulties:[2]

  1. The placement of the narrative before the death of Herod Agrippa I (44 CE; cf. Acts 12:20–24), seems to be in conflict with the date 46—48 CE given by Josephus (Ant. 20.101). However, Acts also records the return of the relief party to Antioch after Herod's death (Acts 12:25).[8]
  2. It appears to contradict Paul's claim that he visited Jerusalem only once before he attended the council there (Galatians 2:1-10; Acts 15). If Paul's first visit was the one recorded in Acts 9, then Paul would have made an extra visit to Jerusalem against his statement in Galatians 1:17–24,[9] or it is possible the epistle to the Galatians was written before the council in Jerusalem (which clarifies why Paul does not mention it) and this visit is the "private" one mentioned in the epistle [10]

See also[edit]

  • Related Bible parts: Acts 9, Acts 10, Acts 15
  • References[edit]

    1. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
    2. ^ a b c d e f g Alexander 2007, p. 1042.
    3. ^ Acts 11:17 NKJV
    4. ^ Moule, H. C. G., Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Philippians 1. Accessed 28 April 2019
    5. ^ Acts 11:18 NKJV
    6. ^ Acts 11:26 NKJV
    7. ^ Wuest 1973, p. 19. The word is used three times in the New Testament, and each time as a term of reproach or derision. Here in Antioch, the name Christianos was coined to distinguish the worshippers of the Christ from the Kaisarianos, the worshippers of Caesar.
    8. ^ Alexander 2007, pp. 1042-1043.
    9. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1043.
    10. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1047.


    • Alexander, Loveday (2007). "62. Acts". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 1028–1061. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
    • Coogan, Michael David (2007). Coogan, Michael David; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann; Perkins, Pheme (eds.). The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Issue 48 (Augmented 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195288810.
    • Wuest, Kenneth Samuel (1973). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament. 1. ISBN 978-0-8028-2280-2.

    External links[edit]