The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Acts of the Apostles
There was, at Caesarea, a centurion named Cornelius, belonging to what is called the Italian cohort,
a pious man who worshipped the true God, like all his household, gave alms freely to the people, and prayed to God continually.✻
He, about the ninth hour of the day, had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and address him by his name.
What is it, Lord? he asked, gazing at him in terror. And he answered, Thy prayers and alms-deeds are recorded on high in God’s sight.
And now he would have thee send men to Joppa, to bring here one Simon, who is surnamed Peter;
he lodges with a tanner, called Simon, whose house is close to the sea; thou wilt learn from him what thou hast to do.✻
So the angel visitor left him, and thereupon he summoned two of his servants, and one of the soldiers who were in attendance on him, a man of piety;
he told them all that had passed, and sent them on their way to Joppa.
Next day, while these were on their journey and were drawing near the city, Peter went up to the house-top about noon, to pray there.
He was hungry, and waiting for a meal; and while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance.
He saw heaven opening, and a bundle, like a great sheet, let down by its four corners on to the earth;
in it were all kinds of four-footed beasts, and things that creep on the earth, and all the birds of heaven.
And a voice came to him, Rise up, Peter, lay about thee and eat.
It cannot be, Lord, answered Peter; never in my life have I eaten anything profane, anything unclean.✻
Then the voice came to him a second time, It is not for thee to call anything profane, which God has made clean.
Three times this happened, and then the bundle was drawn up again into heaven.
Peter was still puzzling in his mind over the meaning of his vision, when Cornelius’ messengers, who had now found their way to Simon’s house, were seen standing at the gate;
where they called out and asked if Simon, who was also called Peter, lodged there.
To Peter, as he was turning over the vision in his mind, the Spirit said, Here are three men asking for thee;
rise and go down, and accompany them without misgiving; it is I who have sent them.
So Peter went down to the men; Here I am, he said, the man you are looking for; what is your errand?
The centurion Cornelius, they said, a man who worships the true God and keeps his law, as all the Jewish people will testify, has received a revelation from one of the holy angels; he was to have thee brought to his house, and listen to what thou wouldst say.
Thereupon Peter bade them come in, and made them welcome; and next day he set out with them, accompanied by some of the brethren from Joppa.
The day after that, they reached Caesarea, where Cornelius was awaiting them; he had gathered his kinsmen and his closest friends about him.
And as soon as Peter had entered, he was met by Cornelius, who fell at his feet and did reverence to him;
but Peter raised him; Stand up, he said, I am a man like thyself.
So he went in, still conversing with him, and found a great company assembled.
You know well enough, he told them, that a Jew is contaminated if he consorts with one of another race, or visits him; but God has been shewing me that we ought not to speak of any man as profane or unclean;
and so, when I was sent for, I came without demur. Tell me then, why you have sent for me.
And Cornelius said, Three days ago, at this very time, I was making my afternoon prayer in my house,✻ when suddenly I saw a man standing before me, in white clothes,
who said to me, Cornelius, thy prayer has been heard, thy almsdeeds have won remembrance in God’s sight.
Thou art to send to Joppa, and summon thence that Simon who is also called Peter; he is lodging with a tanner called Simon, close to the sea.✻
I lost no time, therefore, in sending for thee, and thou hast done me a favour in coming. Now thou seest us assembled in thy presence, ready to listen to whatever charge the Lord has given thee.
Thereupon Peter began speaking; I see clearly enough, he said, that God makes no distinction between man and man;
he welcomes anybody, whatever his race, who fears him and does what piety demands.
God has sent his word to the sons of Israel, giving them news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
You have heard the story, a story which ran through the whole of Judaea, though it began in Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed;
about Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, so that he went about doing good, and curing all those who were under the devil’s tyranny, with God at his side.
We are witnesses of all he did in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem. And they killed him, hanging him on a gibbet;
but on the third day God raised him up again, and granted the clear sight of him,
not to the people at large, but to us, the witnesses whom God had appointed beforehand; we ate and drank in his company after his rising from the dead.
And he gave us a commission to preach to the people, and to bear witness that he, and none other, has been chosen by God to judge the living and the dead.
All the prophets bear him this testimony, that everyone who has faith in him is to find remission of sins through his name.
Before Peter had finished speaking to them thus, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to his message.✻
The faithful who had come over with Peter, holding to the tradition of circumcision as they did, were astonished to find that the free gift of the Holy Spirit could be lavished upon the Gentiles,
whom they heard speaking with tongues, and proclaiming the greatness of God.
Then Peter said openly, Who will grudge us the water for baptizing these men, that have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?
And he gave orders that they should be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And after this, they asked him to stay on some days with them.
The Holy Bible