Request an Exam Copy

Can Cornelius and Luke tell Time? (Acts 10:30) - Mondays with Mounce

“Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago at this hour, I was praying at the ninth hour in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.’” The challenge here is that it was only three days earlier that Cornelius had his vision. So is this an error?

First of all, it seems highly unlikely that Luke, a trained physician, can’t count, or that he made a silly math error that would have been caught when proofreading. There must be an explanation. And there is.

The answer is the different way in which people count days. When I travel, my wife Robin will talk about how many days I will be gone. If I leave on a Saturday and return on the next Friday, how many days will I be gone? I say 7 days. Robin says 5 days; she doesn’t count the days she will see me, namely Saturday and Friday.

What’s happening in Acts 10:30 is that Cornelius is counting the day he saw the vision as one day. We tend not to do that.

  Cornelius Us
Vision Day 1
Friends come to Caesarea Day 2 Day 1
Travel to Caesarea Day 3 Day 2
Meet with Cornelius Day 4 Day 3

So this is not an error but an alternate way of counting days.

This blog is an extract from my upcoming book, Why I Trust the Bible, due out in September, 2021).

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash.

Why I Trust the Bible William D. Mounce
In Why I Trust the Bible, one of the world's foremost Bible scholars and translators explains simply and clearly why, despite critiques from nearly every angle,...
Not Available Request an Exam Copy
Basics of Biblical Greek 1 Instructor: Dr. William D. Mounce
Part of a two-course series, Basics of Biblical Greek 1 will introduce you to the vocabulary and grammar of New Testament Greek, so you can begin studying the New Testament in its original language.
Course Details
  • 16 Units

  • 8 hours of video

  • Self-paced

  • Beginner

View Course
What is “Genuine” Love? (Rom 12:9–13) - Mondays with Mounce
What is “Genuine” Love? (Rom 12:9–13) - Mondays with Mounce Romans 12:9 and the following verses give us an interesting challenge as to what it means and how to translate it. Speci...
Your form could not be submitted. Please check errors and resubmit.

Thank you!
Sign up complete.

Subscribe to the Blog Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales.
By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at This form is protected by reCAPTCHA.