Daily Word

Spirit falls on Gentiles | Acts 10:44-48

44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 10:44-48 (ESV) 中文


Peter has arrived at the house of Cornelius the Roman army centurion, a gentile. Both had revelations from God to connect them. Cornelius has shared his part of the story. Peter told the critical gospel truth he has learned – the Gospel is for gentiles also; God determines clean and unclean (v34). He has also shared the Gospel of salvation from sin and judgment through faith in Christ.

Spirit falls on Gentiles

These Gentiles (which is highlighted in this account) have a prior knowledge of the God of the Jews. Cornelius is “a devout man who feared God with all his household” (Acts 10:2). His character and devotion is acknowledged by the Angel who visits him (v4) and tells him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”  But maybe they don’t know so much about Jesus.

They hear Peter’s message (literally “word”) and they must have believed because the Holy Spirit fell on them as He did at first in Acts 2:1-4 on the believers (including the apostles) gathered together in prayer and fellowship. How did Peter and the other Jews know? Cornelius’ household folk were speaking in tongues and praising the Lord. So it seems either they spoke in a language foreign to them but known to the Jews or, the Jews had a gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). 

This is a big deal for the early church (and us). It demonstrates (starting with God’s message to Peter about clean and unclean) that Gentiles are equally welcome in the Kingdom.

Theological practice points

This passage brings up a few theological topics we can touch on.

  • Order of salvation. What comes first? It seems here like the Spirit fell first. But as noted above, they believed the message Peter preached. Salvation is by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Then the Spirit comes.
  • There was no altar call. Is it needed? Does someone need to walk down to the altar and receive Christ? Nope. If you’re not a believer, you can become born again right where you are, right now. Click here.
  • Is baptism necessary for belief? No. But it is commanded and, as here, demonstrated in almost every case of faith. Click here for more on the topic.
  • Should baptism be done only in the name of Jesus? In Acts 2:38 Peter says the same. Some churches make this a doctrine – based on these verses. If these are the only verses we have about baptism, there might be reason to consider this. But when Jesus commanded the disciples to go make disciples in Matthew 28:19, He said baptize in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Suffice it to say when Peter baptized them into the name of Jesus, since God is a triune God, he baptized into all three.


  • Have you been baptized? If you haven’t, why not? It’s a command and expected. But it should be done after repentance and belief in Christ. It is a public testimony of identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.
  •  Thank God for His gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to fill you with the Spirit.
Holy Spirit Pentacost. Image from pxfuel.com

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