Acts 10: The Gospel Is for Everyone

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 100–101

Since the time of Moses there had been a very careful distinction made between God’s covenant people and everyone else. The Jews believed that the only way a Gentile (non-Israelite) could be acceptable to God was for that person to first become a Jew by submitting to all of the ordinances and requirements of the law of Moses.Peter had two experiences that dramatically changed the practice of the Church and a thousand years of Jewish tradition. Through a vision, he learned that God is truly “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). Peter then had a remarkable meeting with some devout Gentiles. Until then it appears that all who had joined the Church were either Jews or were Gentiles who had previously been converted to Judaism. Peter was able to teach the people that the law of Moses had been completely fulfilled and that Gentiles could come directly into the Church without first becoming Jews.

Understanding the Scriptures

Acts 10

Centurion (v. 1) Roman military commander  
Ninth hour (v. 3) About 3:00 P.M.  
Alms (v. 4) Donations to the poor  
Sixth hour (v. 9) About noon  
Fell into a trance (v. 10) The Holy Spirit came upon him  
Common or unclean (v. 14) Forbidden by Mosaic law  
Accompanied (v. 23) Went with  
Gainsaying (v. 29) Objecting  
Perceive (v. 34) Understand  
They of the circumcision (v. 45) Jewish converts to Christianity  

Ninth hour

Acts 10—A Modern Parallel

Peter’s vision, teaching him that God is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), brought a major change in the Church. For the first time, Gentiles were baptized into the Church without regard to the requirements of the law of Moses. This helped the Church grow rapidly among all people, not only among Jews.

A similar situation existed in the Church in our day. Since Old Testament times, Heavenly Father had restricted the right to hold the priesthood. At the time of Abraham the right to the priesthood was patriarchal, meaning that it was passed from father to son (see D&C 107:40; Abraham 1:2–4, 26–27). In the days of Moses the Melchizedek Priesthood was taken from Israel and the Aaronic Priesthood was held only by the tribe of Levi (see Numbers 18:6–8). When the gospel was restored in the latter days, the Melchizedek Priesthood was also restored and the right to bear that priesthood was given to many outside of the house of Israel.

In June of 1978 the Lord revealed to President Spencer W. Kimball that the time had come that “all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color” (Official Declaration 2). Again the Lord acted to help the Church take the gospel to all of Heavenly Father’s children throughout the world.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study Acts 10.

Activity A iconA Thousand Years of Law and Tradition Ended by Revelation

After reading Acts 10, write a diary entry about Peter’s experience as if you were he. Imagine what it would have been like to receive a revelation that ended a practice of the law of Moses that was observed for many generations. Be sure to tell about the following events and how Peter might have felt about them:

Explain why this was such an amazing event (see the introduction for Acts 10).

Activity B iconPeter’s Vision of a Great Sheet

Draw a picture of Peter’s vision of the great sheet or list the unclean animals Peter may have seen. See Leviticus 11 for a list of unclean animals.