What Is the Story of Cornelius in the Bible?

Thanks to the Roman Centurion Cornelius, Christianity is open to people of all denominations. Read about Cornelius' baptism and who baptized him.

By Petal Mashraki
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Published November 22, 2021.

Cornelius the Centurion was the first gentile convert to Christianity. The story of Cornelius in the Bible opens the Christian church to people of all denominations. Before the baptism of Cornelius, only Jews had converted to Christianity.

So, what exactly does the Bible say about Cornelius the Centurion?

Let's find out.

What the Bible Says About Cornelius the Centurion

Cornelius was a Roman Centurion stationed in Caesarea. His story is told in the Acts of Apostles 10 when we read how Cornelius was a God-fearing man who abandoned paganism and began worshipping God. An angel came to Cornelius and said that God was pleased with him and would answer his prayers (Acts 10:5). The angel instructs Cornelius to send men to fetch God's envoy, Peter, who was staying at the house of Simon the tanner in Joppa. 

Peter receives a message from God releasing him and all Christians from the Mosaic dietary restrictions. When Peter and Cornelius meet, Peter realizes that his vision refers to Cornelius and all other gentiles who wish to convert to Christianity. Peter teaches Cornelius' household about Jesus, and the Holy Spirit descends on all those in Cornelius' home, and they are baptized into Christianity. 

The date of Cornelius' conversion or baptism is unknown, but we do know he was baptized by Saint Peter, and the baptism took place in Caesarea.

How Did Cornelius Die in the Bible?

The Bible doesn't tell us how Cornelius died. He may have died of natural causes, or like many other early Christians, he may have been killed at the hands of the Romans.

What Can We Learn from Cornelius?

The baptism of Cornelius the Centurion in the Bible is an integral part of the history of the early Christian church. As the first non-Jew to accept Jesus, we learn that all people are welcome to join Christ's church. In the countries that Jesus may have visited, Cornelius would have been an example of gentile conversion. You can learn more about Cornelius by joining a Corn
elius Bible study group.