Devout (eusebēs). Old word from eu (well) and sebomai (to worship, to reverence), but rare in the N.T. (Act 10:2, Act 10:7; 2Pe 2:1). It might refer to a worshipful pagan (Act 17:23, sebasmata, objects of worship), but connected with “one that feared God” (phoboumenos ton theon) Luke describes “a God-fearing proselyte” as in Act 10:22, Act 10:35. This is his usual term for the Gentile seekers after God (Act 13:16, Act 13:26;Act 17:4, Act 17:17, etc.), who had come into the worship of the synagogue without circumcision, and were not strictly proselytes, though some call such men “proselytes of the gate” (cf. Act 13:43); but clearly Cornelius and his family were still regarded as outside the pale of Judaism (Act 10:28, Act 10:34; Act 11:1, Act 11:8; Act 15:7). They had seats in the synagogue, but were not Jews.
Gave much alms (poin eleemosunas pollas). Doing many alms (the very phrase in Mat 6:2), a characteristic mark of Jewish piety and from a Gentile to the Jewish people.
Prayed (deomenos). Begging of God. Almsgiving and prayer were two of the cardinal points with the Jews (Jesus adds fasting in his picture of the Pharisee in Matthew 6:1-18).