Acts 10:9-16 — Peter’s Rooftop Vision

February 23, 2008 Matthew Keedy Clifton New Testament Commentary

It is surprising that when surveying standard commentaries on Acts 10:9-16 so little is found in the way of discussion on the meaning of Peter’s rooftop vision. With only the very rare exception,1 nearly universal agreement is found that the rooftop vision ultimately meant that Gentiles were acceptable to God under the New Covenant. After all, Peter himself understood and applied the vision in this manner.2

However, the further question of whether the vision also displays God’s new attitude toward the previously delivered dietary laws of Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 has not received much thorough discussion in popular commentaries. Some recent works brush the question aside by simply saying, “Scholars disagree on whether food laws were indeed abrogated by this vision.”3 Other commentators assume the historical, conservative position that the vision did cancel (or at least reflect the cancellation of) food laws,4 but leave some new questions from recent journal articles unanswered. Others assume a new view in which the vision is strictly parabolic, with the figures in the parable not being meant to apply literally.5

The purpose of this paper is to examine the narrative of Peter’s rooftop vision, study the passage in both the immediate context of Acts and the remote context of related biblical passages, and ascertain whether there is any merit to new arguments being put forth that Acts 10:9-16 has no bearing on the observation of Jewish dietary restrictions as laid out in the Old Testament.

It is the position of this paper that Peter’s rooftop vision did indeed have bearing on dietary restrictions previously observed under the Law of Moses, in addition to the primary meaning in regard to the acceptability of Gentiles under the New Covenant. The process that follows will first reflect a basic exegesis of the passage in question. All scripture passages will be quoted from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Next, the passage will be approached by examining Peter’s behavior both before and after the vision in the biblical record. Then an examination of some arguments made against the passage referring to food laws will be presented before concluding the study.

Basic Exegesis of Acts 10:9-16

The section of Acts detailing the conversion of Cornelius is the longest single narrative in the book of Acts, covering 66 verses from Acts 10:1 to Acts 11:18. Cornelius’ conversion and the narrative of Acts 2 seem to be “anchor points” for the record of the early church found in Acts.

Embedded within this important section, we find the narrative of Peter’s rooftop vision beginning in Acts 10:9. Just before the narrative of the conversion of Cornelius, Peter has been in Joppa where he healed Tabitha (Acts 9:36-41). Following this, we read that Peter stays “many days” in Joppa with Simon, a tanner (Acts 9:42-43). A tanner’s occupation was to make leather from animal skins, and the trade was undesirable for a Jew due to the necessity of handling dead animals.6 Because the trade utilized sea water and created a foul stench, the homes of tanners were most often located by the sea, as we find in this case (Acts 10:6). More discussion will be presented on Peter’s staying with a tanner, but for now it will suffice to place Peter in Joppa at a home near the sea.

At the beginning of chapter 10, we find a description of the subject of the coming conversion. Cornelius is a man living in Caesarea. His name was a very common one in the Roman world, because in 82 B.C. a man named Cornelius Sulla liberated ten thousand slaves and gave them his name. Therefore, it is possible that Cornelius was a descendent of Cornelius Sulla.7 Caesarea was a coastal city set about 30 miles north of Joppa. Serving as the Roman center of administration of Palestine, the city had a temple dedication to Caesar, as well as a famous harbor. The population of Caesarea was mostly Gentiles.8

The Cornelius in Acts 10 was a centurion of the “Italian cohort” (NASB). Other translations, such as the New King James Version and the New International Version read “Italian regiment.” A cohort was a tenth part of a Roman Legion, or about 600 men. Bruce comments that the number of such a unit in this time period would have been more along the lines of 1,000 men.9

Cornelius was a “devout man,” according to Acts 10:2, who feared God, gave alms to the Jewish people, prayed to God continually. He was obviously a Gentile, as is evidenced by the whole account of the gospel now being taught to that group. He was also not a proselyte, meaning a full convert to Judaism, since that would have made him “clean” to the Jews, and thus Acts 11:3 would not make sense. Also, in Acts 10:22, we read that Cornelius was a “righteous man,” and was “well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews.” Therefore, we understand by these facts that Cornelius was a man who believed in the God of Israel, prayed to Him, gave alms and was in some sense a follower of the Jewish religion, but was still a Gentile, and not a proselyte. While he was praying (Acts 10:30), an angel appears to Cornelius in a vision and urges him to send to Joppa for Simon called Peter, who could be found at the seaside home of Simon the tanner.

The scene is now set. Simon Peter is in Joppa, Cornelius is in Caesarea. Cornelius has received a vision to send for Peter. In Acts 10:9 we see that on the next day, as these men from Cornelius are nearing the city of Joppa, Peter goes up onto the housetop to pray. Rooftops were common places for prayer, privacy, and drying plant matter in biblical times.10 Usually they were flat, and constructed by laying plaster of mud and straw over tree boughs or wooden rafters. They often had “booths” constructed of boughs or rushes that were used as sleeping places in the summertime.11 The roof would have been a natural place for Peter to go to pray, since it would separate him from the activity going on in the house. There was the added bonus of the possibility of cool ocean breezes to distract his mind and body from the heat of the day.12

The Bible text tells us that it was about the sixth hour, which was noon. The normal set times for prayer in Judaism are in the early morning in connection with the morning sacrifice, at the ninth hour of the day (3 p.m.), then again at sunset.13 Although the noon hour was not one of these times of public prayer, it is possible that some Jews prayed at this time as well.14 Whatever the case, as Longnecker states, the “stated hours for prayer, while prescriptive, are not restrictive.”15 While the concept of whether or not Peter was praying at a prescribe time may seem inconsequential at this point, the concept of Peter being an “observant Jew” will come into play in our later discussion.

In verse 10 we read that Peter became hungry and wanted to eat. Probably he communicated this fact to those in the house, who began preparations. But before the meal was ready, Peter “fell into a trance (ekstasis),” or a “state of being in which consciousness is wholly or partially suspended.”16 There is some difficulty with that definition, since if one has his consciousness suspended, it would be difficult to listen and ask questions. The text reads as if Peter was fully alert during the vision, but we cannot know fully his feelings and sensations, other than what is recorded in scripture.

Longnecker suggests that after ordering the food and before falling into the trance, Peter became “it seems, somewhat drowsy.”17 Does Longnecker get this idea of drowsiness from the text? Although some might say Peter merely had a “dream” that perhaps bore no miraculous nature, there is no information in the text that suggests Peter was asleep, or even half asleep. Neither man, Cornelius or Peter, was “asleep,” but rather both testify to being in a state of prayer. Longnecker’s suggestion seems to go beyond the text.

Bruce comments that it was “no doubt because of his hunger that the vision centered around food.”18 However, one wonders if Peter had of been having a backache, if the vision would have centered around medical treatment. It seems more appropriate to say that it was because God chose this opportune time to impress upon Peter the message carried by the vision, and the symbols in the vision carried weight in a way that other symbols would not. The time and circumstances were right, with Cornelius’ men literally at Simon the tanner’s doorstep, for Peter to be urged on to preach to the Gentiles, and because of this God took this opportunity to goad Peter on to utilize the “keys to the kingdom” (Matt.16:19) given him by Christ to open the door to the kingdom of heaven for the Gentiles, as he did previously for the Jews (Acts 2).

Next, in verse 11, Peter sees the “sky opened up” and something like a “great sheet” coming down. Speculation abounds as to why a “sheet” was part of this vision. Since some middle eastern houses have awnings,19 some have suggested a flapping awning became part of Peter’s vision.20 A sail on the nearby sea has also been suggested.21 One far out””and perhaps tongue in cheek””suggestion comes from the “Cotton Patch Version” of the Bible: the sheet-like object was a tablecloth.22 The object being “like a sheet” and “four cornered” seems description enough, without having to nail down more detail.

More important than the container was the contents of the sheet, for inside were all kinds of four-footed animals, crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air (Acts 10:12). These animals were both clean and unclean, all mixed together. Quadrupeds that both chewed the cud and had a split hoof were considered clean according to Lev. 11:3. But if “all kinds” of quadrupeds were present in the sheet, obviously there were unclean animals. Similarly, there must have been some birds among the “all” that were restricted (Lev. 11:13-19), and likewise with the “crawling things” (Lev. 11:20-23). So there can be no doubt that both clean and unclean were present in the sheet.

Then comes the command that must have startled Peter: “Get up, Peter, kill and eat” (Acts 10:13). The voice did not tell Peter to “arise and kill and eat the clean animals.” In fact, the voice made no differentiation between any of the creatures in the sheet. Obviously this offended Peter a little, as we can see from his reaction in Acts 10:14: “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” But in answer to Peter’s protest, the voice states, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy” (Acts 10:15). The text tells us this happened three times, and then the sheet was taken back up into the sky.

Peter’s Actions are our Best Evidence

Now that we have performed a basic exegesis of the passage, let us move on to a more detailed examination of the actions of Peter before and after his vision in regard to food laws. After all, scholars can speculate a great deal, but what the scriptures actually say has to be the resting place. So if we want to know whether Peter’s vision has any reflection on food laws, we must consult the hard evidence in the Bible.

Peter’s Actions Before the Vision. First an examination of Peter’s behavior toward Gentiles and the dietary laws will be undertaken. The most notable evidence in regard to Peter’s observance of dietary restrictions comes from the very passage under study. By saying, “I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean” (Acts 10: 14), Peter identifies his position on food laws. He obviously still observed the food restrictions of the Law of Moses.

The second evidence to notice is common sense: Peter could not have been fellowshipping with Gentiles, or else there would be no need for God to send him this vision! Additionally, when Peter finally comes into contact with Cornelius in Acts 10:28, he tells the crowd of many Gentiles that “you know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him…” This statement puts Peter solidly on the side of not associating with or visiting Gentiles. There was no specific law given that prevented association with Gentiles, but the dietary restrictions and ceremonial law made mixing with them a near impossibility.23 It was because the Gentiles handled food in ways not in accordance with the Law of Moses that Jews did not associate with Gentiles. As Bruce writes,

“The most ordinary kinds of food, such as bread, milk, or olive oil, coming from Gentiles, might not be eaten by strict Jews, not to mention flesh, which might have come from a forbidden animal or from one that had been sacrificed to a pagan divinity, and which in any case contained blood. Hence, all forms of intercourse with Gentiles, to accept their hospitality and sit at table with them was the most intolerable.”24

So Peter’s pre-vision state was strict observance to both the food laws and separation from Gentiles. This is evidenced not only by what he said in response to God’s message to “arise, Peter, kill and eat,” but also by his own understanding of the law as he himself stated in Acts 10:28.

It might be mentioned here that some have seen in Peter’s lodging with a tanner in Joppa evidence that Peter was a somewhat relaxed in his observance of the laws of clean and unclean, since tanners worked with dead animals and could cause a Jew to be ceremonially unclean.25 Miller, however, points out that the prohibitions involving the uncleanness of dead animals “applied only to those that died of natural causes (Lev. 11:31-40); otherwise even the priests would have been rendered unclean in their offering of sacrifices.26 This would seem logically correct, and the alternative would seem to go against what we see in scripture of Peter’s pre-vision attention to food restrictions and maintaining ceremonial cleanness by steering clear of the Gentiles.

Peter’s actions after the vision. Following this vision on the rooftop, we see a change in Peter’s actions toward the Gentiles. We notice that directly after the vision, Peter is “perplexed” by the meaning (Acts 10:17). God must have understood that Peter was not quite grasping the concept of Gentile inclusion from the vision alone, because the Spirit tells Peter in Acts 10:20 to go with the men who have come without misgivings, because “I have sent them Myself.” Surely Peter had no doubt that the men who had come were Gentiles, or at least messengers from a Gentile, because in Acts 10:22 the messengers describe Cornelius to Peter as a “centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews.” This is obviously a description of a man who is not an Israelite. Peter knows he must go to a Gentile due to the urging of both the vision, and the voice of the Spirit.

Furthermore, we see that Peter did not merely go and preach to them, but also “went in and ate with them” (Acts 11:3). This is an important point to remember when we review some of the newer arguments against Peter’s vision referring to food laws. It is clear that Peter’s main offense in the eyes of the circumcised in Jerusalem (Acts 11:2) was not the preaching, but the “going in” to the house of Gentiles and eating at their table.

We see further evidence of Peter’s associating with Gentiles and eating with them in one of Paul’s letters. In Gal. 2:11-12, we are told that Paul stood in opposition to Peter at Antioch because Peter was at first eating with the Gentiles, but when “certain men” came from James, Peter began to withdraw from them out of fear of the “party of the circumcision.” So here Peter is eating with the Gentiles, and since we previously established the necessity of Peter’s vision to get him to go in to Gentiles in Acts 10, it is clear that this event recounted in Galatians must refer to a period after Peter’s vision. It also seems to fit within a logical timeline of Acts and Paul’s movements.27

Furthermore, it is likely that this event also took place before the Jerusalem council in Acts 15.28 so we have a further instance of Peter’s actions after his vision there. In Acts 15:8-9, Peter alludes to the conversion of Cornelius and the other Gentiles, stressing that God has made no distinction between.

From these scriptural references, it is clear that following his vision, Peter did eat with Gentiles, though he withdrew from them in one instance for fear of the wrath of the party of the circumcision.

Therefore, it is evident that we see a change in behavior in Peter following his vision of the clean and unclean animals. He began both “going in” to the homes of Gentiles, and eating with them. His withdrawal from this does not signal a disbelief in his new-found attitude toward the Gentiles, but rather seems to be a minor failing on Peter’s part to remain faithful to the teaching of the vision. After all, Paul opposed Peter on this issue because Peter was clearly in the wrong (Gal. 2:11).

Men, Meat, or Both?

In the final analysis, does Peter’s vision refer to men only, meat only, or does it have a double meaning? From the evidence of scripture, it is absolutely certain that Peter’s vision referred to men, which is almost universally accepted. However, some writers contend that the vision had no bearing or reflection whatsoever on the dietary restrictions of the Law of Moses.

One recent writer has presented the argument that Gentile Christians in general have misunderstood Jewish food laws, and because of this misunderstanding they””especially since the third century””have mistakenly deduced that all food restrictions have been lifted, when in truth only some have been.29 Peter J. Tomson puts forth the idea that there are different kinds of food laws in Judaism. First there are laws regarding purity, which have to do with being rendered ceremonially unclean. Impurity, Tomson says, is a temporary status. Then there are laws that are dietary in nature, which Tomson says still apply today to all Jews, apparently no matter whether they are Christian or not.30 These are the laws about clean and unclean animals, restrictions on the consumption of blood, and the combination of meat and milk.

Tomson argues that the reason Gentiles were to be avoided was because their foods may have been tainted by idolatry, and thus would render Jews ceremonially impure. The idea was that idolatry conveys impurity to objects and humans involved with it. Therefore, non-Jewish lands, lands with Gentile majorities, and even Gentile homes within Israel were shunned for this reason. All Gentiles were thought to be idolaters, and contact with them should be avoided.31

Further, Tomson says that the narrative of Peter’s vision in Acts 10 has to do with impurity and idolatry, not that Peter should eat unclean foods. In other words, far from being a sign of lifted restrictions, it simply meant that Gentiles would not render him ceremonially impure. In Acts 10, Tomson says, “Jewish sensitivities about relations with Gentiles are at stake, not biblical dietary laws.”32

While the idea that non-Jewish Christians would misunderstand the food laws of Judaism is understandable, many scholars disagree that there is such a separation between the concepts of ceremonial impurity and dietary laws at work in this passage. Polhill in particular objects to such a separation in this text:

“Some scholars feel that Peter’s vision dealt more with food laws than with interaction with Gentiles. This is to overlook the fact that the two are inextricably related. In Lev. 20:24b-26 the laws of clean and unclean are linked precisely to Israel’s separation from the rest of the nations.”33

Polhill goes on to say that these food restrictions were extremely problematic for Jewish Christians in reaching out with the gospel to the Gentiles. “One simply could not dine in a Gentile’s home without inevitably transgressing those laws.”34 This could result not only from eating unclean flesh, but also clean flesh that had been prepared in a non-kosher fashion.

Jon C. Olson sees evidence that Peter’s vision had nothing to do with the lifting of food restrictions in the simple idea that Jewish Christians continued to observe biblical dietary law.35 This does not seem convincing, however, when we remember that Jewish and Gentile Christians alike continued to practice, from time to time, things not in accordance with God’s will.36 The epistles of Paul, for instance, are in many cases correcting errors being taught and practiced in the early church.

Perhaps some of the most well-reasoned argumentation against Peter’s vision referring to dietary restrictions come from Miller, who lays out the possibilities regarding two different possibilities of meaning. The two possibilities are that the vision refers to men and meat, or men only. In reference to the “men and meat” possibility, Miller spends considerable time refuting the ideas of Dibelius, whose man argument is that when recounting his vision to the Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 11:5-10), Peter is answering the charge of Acts 11:3 that he has eaten with the uncircumcised. Dibelius goes on to say, “obviously, this has involved eating that which is unclean.”37

But does the text actually say Peter ate unclean foods in Acts 11:3? It does not. Rather, the text says he ate with uncircumcised men. Miller’s point seems to gain strength on this point. He further points out that Peter’s objections to being in the presence of Cornelius in his home seem to center around associating with or visiting him, not with food.

Miller also makes the point that it was doubtful that Cornelius, a man who prayed, gave alms, and feared God, would maintain such a home that would have unclean food in the presence of a devout Jew.38 Cornelius’ good reputation among the Jews may make it likely that he followed their food laws.

“Even if Corneliuss kitchen was not kosher, it is hard to imagine that one so sympathetic toward the Jewish nation would be so insensitive as to offer unclean food to his guest, for whose arrival he had four days to prepare and at whose feet he fell at their first meeting.”39

However, using this same reasoning, it would also seem strange that a man that knew so much about Jewish law and custom would fall at the feet of a man. But, whatever the case, Miller here seems to be guilty of the same thing of which he accuses Dibelius, going beyond the text.

Finally, let us look at another of Miller’s points in regard to the meaning of Peter’s vision. Miller says that many writers claim that the Gentiles were now acceptable to God only because the barrier of the Law as symbolized by the food laws was first abolished. This interpretation, he says, is usually supported externally by pronouncements in the epistles “or even earlier pronouncements of purity by Jesus and internally by the alleged meaning of Peter’s vision itself.”40 While this is true enough, Miller acts as if seeking clarification from more clear scripture is an incorrect way to seek meaning. While on the one hand we can be sure that Luke’s meaning is accurate, we must also understand that all of scripture agrees with itself, and it is right and proper to interpret scripture in this manner.

On this point, we can look at other scripture and understand that indeed food laws have been lifted. In particular in Mark 7:14-19, Jesus explains that there is nothing outside of a man that defiles him. Mark gives the parenthetical explanation that “thus He declared all foods clean.” Some writers, however, would argue that this “all foods” does not refer foods outside the allowable for a Jew under his dietary restrictions. We previously discussed Tomson’s view that there was a difference between Jewish dietary law and laws of ceremonial purity. He declares in regard to this section of Mark,

“Indeed the passage can be read as simply stating that Jesus, without ever thinking of food a Jew does not eat, declared the food which passes through the intestines clean just because he rejected the transferal of impurity by food to star with. This solution is simple, is based on the major manuscripts, and therefore seems preferable.”41

As “preferable” as it may seem, there are problems with this view. The first is that Mark seems to be writing to a Gentile Christian audience, possibly Roman.42 One reason we can understand this is that Mark seems to explain practices of the Jewish Pharisees. This can be seen especially in the passage in question, where in Mark 7:3-4 the author explains the Pharisees’ washing procedures. If it is true that Mark is writing to non-Jews, it would seem very strange and improper for Mark to make such a wide-angle pronouncement in verse 19 that Jesus by saying this declared all foods clean. A non-Jew would read this just like we do, that all foods were declared clean. With this in mind, Tomson’s point does not seem to carry much weight.

As for the argument that Jesus was referring only spiritual impurity from unwashed hands, it seems self-evident that the saying in Mark 7:18 is broad in scope.

“”¦it is not just the Pharisaic halakah of washing hands, either, that is in view. The saying is concerned with things entering into the man from outside and thereby defiling him. What else could that be, except foods? Consequently, the commentary supplied in verses 18 f. does not restrict the scope of the saying; it only states explicitly what is implied in the logion itself.”43

Some would argue perhaps that it was “dirt” that Jesus was referring to, but when Jesus says “whatever” enters a man body cannot defile him, He does not seem to leave any doubt about the wide-ranging nature of the saying.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, our understanding that dietary restrictions are no longer in effect do not hinge solely on Acts 10:9-16. After all, we have clear teachings in other places that tell us the Law has passed away (Rom. 7:6; 10:4; Col. 2:14) and that food does not matter (Rom. 14:17; Col. 2:16). The dietary laws are caught up with these and annulled.

For a Jew, a Gentile was unclean because he did not keep the same laws as Israel. If they did keep the Law, they could become a proselyte and be fully clean. It seems that perhaps logic should come into play on the matter in the end. If food laws were not, in fact, done away with, would God have given such a vision to a man like Peter to move him to action? Would God give a vision of an unlawful act to encourage a good behavior? This seems unlikely.

If a Gentile is considered clean and is allowed to eat what he wants, but a Jew is still under food restriction, there is still a separation between Jew and Gentile. But God has declared that Peter, and everyone to follow, should call no man unclean, and we are all one, Jew and Gentile, in Christ Jesus.

  1. Martin Dibelius, Studies in the Acts of the Apostles, London: Clowes, 1956, pp. 111-12. He proposes that since Peter’s rooftop vision deals with food, and the narrative in which it is “placed” in Acts is about the Gentiles, the vision material might have been taken out of context by Luke and applied to the Gentile situation. Dibelius believed the vision referred to food only, and that Luke later applied it to men. While this argument weakens the coherency of the Bible, it strengthens the idea that the vision refers to literal food. []
  2. In Acts 10:28, Peter says God has shown him that he should call no man unclean. In Acts 11 Peter recounts his vision in response to the charge that he “went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” []
  3. Ajith Fernando, The NIV Application Commentary, Acts, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998, p. 321. []
  4. F.F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, New International Commentary on the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988. Bruce, for instance, holds the “two fold meaning” view, but could not address arguments made after publication of his commentary on Acts. Similarly, R.N. Longnecker does not address any objections to the conservative view in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 9 []
  5. L.J. Ogilvie, The Preacher’s Commentary ““ Acts, Nashville, TN: Nelson, 1983, p. 179. Ogilvie assumes this position, although he offers no argumentation to support it, or examination of other views. []
  6. J. Orr, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1939. []
  7. Richard N. Longnecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 9, John and Acts, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981, pp. 384-385. []
  8. Fernando, p. 318. []
  9. Bruce says that since there were no legionary troops in Judea between A.D. 6 and 66, these would have been auxiliary forces with a paper strength of 1,000 men, pp. 203-04. []
  10. See Zeph. 1:5; Josh. 2:6; 1 Sam. 9:25 []
  11. William Smith, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, pp. 255-56. []
  12. Fernando, p. 320. []
  13. Longnecker, p. 293. []
  14. Bruce, p. 205. See also Dan. 6:10; Psalm 55:17 []
  15. Longnecker, p. 387. []
  16. Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, BDAG 3rd edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957. p. 309. []
  17. Longnecker, p. 387. []
  18. Bruce, p. 205 []
  19. Smith, p. 256 []
  20. Longnecker, p. 387. []
  21. Ibid, p. 387 []
  22. David Roper, Truth for Today Commentary, Acts 1-14, Searcy, AR: Resource Publications, 2001, p. 387. Roper quotes Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts. []
  23. John B. Polhill, The New American Commentary, vol. 26, Acts. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992, p. 258. []
  24. Bruce, p. 210. []
  25. William Neil, Acts, New Century Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973, 136. []
  26. Chris A. Miller, “Did Peter’s Vision in Acts 10 Pertain to Men or the Menu?” Bibliotheca Sacra July-September 2002, p. 303-04. []
  27. Scott McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995, p. 100. McKnight has a good discussion of reasons to believe that the “other place” Peter removed himself to in Acts 12:17 was Antioch, where this event took place. []
  28. Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990, p. 247ff. Hemer shows reason to believe that Galatians was written prior to the Jerusalem council by showing a correlation between Paul’s visits to Jerusalem in Acts 9 and 11 with his own stated journeys there in Gal. 1 and 2. []
  29. Peter J. Tomson, “Jewish Food Laws in Early Christian Discourse,” Semeia no 86 1999, p 193-211. []
  30. Ibid, p. 199. []
  31. Tomson, p. 200. []
  32. Tomson, p. 207. []
  33. Polhill, p. 255. []
  34. Ibid. []
  35. John C. Olson, “Which Differences Are Blessed? From Peter’s Visions to Paul’s Letters,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 37 no 3-4, Sum-Fall 2000, p. 457. []
  36. Some notable cases, of course, may be found in the Corinthians’ perversion of the Lord’s supper, 1 Cor. 11, and the Judaizing influence upon the church at Galatia as reflected in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. []
  37. Dibelius, p. 112. []
  38. Miller, p. 309. []
  39. Ibid, p. 310. []
  40. Miller, p. 302. []
  41. Tomson, p. 206. []
  42. D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992, p. 99. []
  43. Heikki Raisanen, “Jesus and the Food Laws: Reflections on Mark 7:15,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament, No. 16, 1982, p. 81. []

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