What Is A Centurion In The Bible

When it comes to the Bible, centurions are among the characters most widely know by readers. But what exactly is a centurion in the Bible, and what role do they play? In this article, we’ll explore what a centurion was in biblical times and their implications for the modern world.

Military Position

Centurions were military officers in Biblical times who were in charge of a “century”, which is a unit of 100 men. Roman centurions in particular were key figures in the New Testament. Roman centurions were a regular fixture in the New Testament, usually as a source of opposition to the work of Jesus and his disciples. In the New Testament, centurions often serve as a symbol of Roman occupation and power, as seen with the centurion who condemned Jesus before his crucifixion.

Exemplary Character

Despite their connections to the imperial Roman military, the Bible also speaks positively of many centurions throughout its stories. The centurion of Capernaum is perhaps the most prominent example. This centurion was praised and rewarded by Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew, after he demonstrated great faith. He is mentioned in all four gospels and is the first gentile to be praised by Jesus in the New Testament. This example demonstrate that centurions could, in some cases, be portrayed as devoted to their faith.

Important Character

In addition to the centurion of Capernaum, there were other important centurions in the New Testament. Centurions were often in charge of major projects and were governors of Roman provinces. For example, Cornelius was a centurion who was tasked by Emperor Tiberius to hunt down certain criminals. He eventually became an early believer in Jesus Christ and was later baptized, making him the first gentile convert in the New Testament.

Significance for Modern Times

Centurions in the Bible provide an interesting case study. Their presence in the New Testament shows that occupation and faith can at times conflict with each other. On one hand, they could be examples of evil and power, while in other cases they could be champions of faith. These stories can still provide insight today. In an era of religious freedom and equality, centurions in the Bible can still make us ponder our own roles, faith and morals.

Role of Centurion

Centurions in the Bible occupied a distinct social position. They were typically men of great strength, both physically and morally, who commanded a great deal of respect. It’s interesting to note that centurions are often placed in tough situations that test their moral fortitude. For example, in the Gospel of Luke, centurion was sent to arrest Jesus and was commended for his kindness and restraint. Despite his profession, he still followed his conscience and displayed a great level of moral courage.

Significance of Centurion

A centurion in the Bible was an important figure who often acted as a bridge between the Jews and foreigners. Their task was to interpret laws and carry out orders on behalf of the Roman Empire. Behind this role, however, we also find stories of compassion and courage. These stories are still relevant today and can offer valuable lessons about the importance of moral courage and faith in difficult times.

Unique Role of the Centurion

In the Bible, the centurion often acts as the one in charge of the situation. He is the one who will make the difficult rulings, especially when it comes to matters of faith. Even though the centurion’s allegiance is to Rome, we often see him trying to balance his loyalty between Rome and his faith. For example, when Cornelius sends for Peter, despite his status as a Roman centurion, he still respects the authority of Peter, who is a righteous man of God.

Connection between Centurion and Today’s Military

In many ways, the centurion still has an influence today. The military still resembles the system of ranks and command as it did in biblical times. Some of the main principles of centurions, such as self-discipline, loyalty, and obedience, have been passed down to modern military forces. Centurions are also celebrated and praised as heroes in the Bible and in popular culture, something that reflects on how modern soldiers are appreciated today.


Centurions in the Bible were important figures who occupied a unique position in the Roman Empire. On one hand, they served as a symbol of Roman occupation, but at the same time, they could also exemplify moral courage and faith. The unique role of the centurion and their moral dilemmas still offer valuable lessons for today’s world. Their presence in the New Testament also gives us insight into how the Roman Empire operated and how faith and power were balanced during those times.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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