centurion Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
centurion in Easton's Bible Dictionary
a Roman officer in command of a hundred men (Mark 15:39, 44,
45). Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was a centurion (Acts
10:1, 22). Other centurions are mentioned in Matt. 8:5, 8, 13;
Luke 7:2, 6; Acts 21:32; 22:25, 26; 23:17, 23; 24:23; 27:1, 6,
11, 31, 43; 28:16. A centurion watched the crucifixion of our
Lord (Matt. 27:54; Luke 23:47), and when he saw the wonders
attending it, exclaimed, "Truly this man was the Son of God."
"The centurions mentioned in the New Testament are uniformly
spoken of in terms of praise, whether in the Gospels or in the
Acts. It is interesting to compare this with the statement of
Polybius (vi. 24), that the centurions were chosen by merit, and
so were men remarkable not so much for their daring courage as
for their deliberation, constancy, and strength of mind.", Dr.
Maclear's N. T. Hist.
centurion in Smith's Bible Dictionary
centurion in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
It is a propriety in the New Testament that centurions are so often favorably noticed. Good conduct was generally the cause of their promotion to the command of a century (properly 100 men). Truthful straightforwardness would make them open to conviction. For instance, the one whose faith Jesus so commends in Matthew 8; Cornelius, whom Peter was by vision sent to, and who is described as "devout, fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people, and praying to God always" (Acts 10); Julius, the centurion of Augustus' band, who entreated Paul courteously and saved his life when threatened by the soldiers (Acts 27:1; Acts 27:3-42; Acts 27:43). In Acts 24:23 translate "the centurion," namely, the commander of the horse who had conveyed Paul to Caesarea after the other of the two centurions had come back with the infantry (compare Acts 23:23; Acts 23:32). The centurion at the Lord's crucifixion uttered the testimony so remarkable from a Gentile: "certainly this was a righteous man"; Luke's explanation (Luke 23:47) of what a Gentile would mean by saying, "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54).