Luke 7:2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.

The elders of the Jew had a good relationship with this Gentile centurion. Jesus didn't think twice to visit this Gentile.

Acts 10:28 He [Peter] said to them [Gentiles]: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.

Apparently, these Gentiles knew some Jewish law that forbade some relationships between Jews and Gentiles. Where can we find the wording of this law?

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    This was very instructive to look into and it would never have occurred to me to ponder on it, had you not asked the question. Thank you. (+1). – Nigel J Aug 5 '20 at 20:33
  • The expression could be like the modern 7 principles of Kwanzaa, which encourage racial segregation and a mutually beneficial society and economy. Someone shopping at a store owned by someone of a different race would be considered to be going against principle #4. It isn't a real "law", but people might refer to it as such. – Ray Butterworth Jan 6 at 14:52

The word ('unlawful' or 'against the law') used by Peter, in Acts 10:28, or at least the word reported by Luke, as used by Peter, is αθεμιτος athemitos which is only used one other time in scripture, by Peter (again) in 1 Peter 4:3 where he admits that :

... the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the nations (or, Gentiles) when we walked in ... abominable idolatries. [KJV]

It is remarkable that Peter, a Jew, says 'we' counting himself among such as had committed such things as the whole list, and the abominable idolatries as well.

The word is not what one might have expected. One might have supposed that nomos would have been used. But it is not.

The word is, of course, a negative but I cannot find the corollary ever used in scripture which is not θεμιτος themitos but (so my Liddell & Scott tells me) θεμιστος themistos which means 'agreeable to law'. It is stating that there is an understandable divide between persons keeping law and persons not keeping law.

But Paul has much to say in the first three chapters of Romans about the hypocrisy of supposed law-keepers, who do not actually keep it, and the tendency of non-law-keepers to conform, to some extent, to sensible conduct anyway. And there are lessons to be learned by both in what Paul expounds throughout Romans dealing with the very large issue of Jew and Gentile.

I would say that 'not agreeable to law' is not exactly the same as saying 'unlawful'.

Law does not 'agree' or 'disagree' to anything. Law just states law.

The word used by Peter would appear to have the meaning 'not agreeable to persons following law'.

Thus, considering Peter's careful use of a word only ever twice used in scripture (and that both times by himself) and considering the context of Peter being taught by a vision to be careful about what he called 'common' or 'unclean' and considering the second context in his epistle where he is counting himself, a Jew, as guilty - to some extent - of Gentile sins or at least of such tendencies, perhaps, it would seem that Peter is treading carefully.

'Disagreeable to law-keeping persons' is not stating that there is a definite Law which forbids Jews and Gentiles congregating together.

One could say a lot more about the history of Israel, about the development of the Gospel, about the bringing in of Gentiles into the church - but I think the context of Peter's words is obvious and does not need to be enlarged upon.


I don't think there is a Mosaic law that directly forbid association with gentiles. It was a pharisaical custom/law added to the Mosaic law like the washing of hand and Corban.

Mark 7
9He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintaine your own tradition. 10For Moses said: ‘Honor your father and your mother’f and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’g 11But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever you would have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12he is no longer permitted to do anything for his father or mother. 13Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters.”

  • Why choose an example of a law which Jesus specifically condemned as contrary to God's law an example of a legitimate law? – Sola Gratia Aug 6 '20 at 20:01
  • It shows how far and how wrong they had gone overboard. – Glukrom Aug 11 '20 at 11:40
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    Why choose an example of a law which Jesus specifically condemned as contrary to God's law an example of a legitimate law ("our law forbids")? He means the law forbids this, not Pharisaical laws. He said the vision about eating unclean foods referred to being allowed ("what God has called clean [now]") only then and not before. – Sola Gratia Aug 11 '20 at 17:10
  • Do you have a better example that I can choose? – Glukrom Aug 12 '20 at 11:04
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    Well, I wouldn't approach it from your angle. For example, Jesus calls the Psalms, "your [the Jews'] law." He could mean that. Or he could have been speaking about a traditional understanding of a passage in the Torah, which has been lost to time. Both are quite possible. – Sola Gratia Aug 12 '20 at 17:28

The Mosaic Law. Which has 613 commands, out of which most know up to 10.

JOSHUA 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

In this account, Joshua is nearing death, and warning the children of God to honour the commandments.

DEUTERONOMY 7:3  Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

They were to be separate that is, Holy, apart. A people separated unto God. (God hates mixture)


In the time of the Christ, the Jews regarded the Gentiles as dogs, unclean and unchosen.

Jewish girls and boys could not marry Gentiles.

In Deuteronomy 7, the Jews were instructed to destroy the seven Gentile nations when they took possession of the holy land.

Peter could not and did not want to go to the house of a Gentile, Gentiles were unclean.

  • Hi user39905, welcome. There's no specific law in the OT that forbids interaction with Gentiles. – Tiago Martins Peres 李大仁 Jan 6 at 8:46
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