Acts 27 Commentary


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Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

THE EXPANDING WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT-EMPOWERED CHURCH


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John Hannah's Outline for Third  Missionary Journey (see map)

  • The third missionary journey of Paul  (Acts 18:23-21:16)
    1. The ministry in Galatia and Phrygia  (Acts 18:23)
    2. The ministry in Ephesus  (Acts 18:24-19:41)
      1. Instruction of Apollos  (Acts 18:24-28)
      2. Instruction of some of John's followers  (Acts 19:1-7)
      3. Instruction of the Ephesians  (Acts 19:8-20)
      4. Instructions concerning his plans  (Acts 19:21-22)
      5. The riots in Ephesus  (Acts 19:23-41)
    3. The ministry in Macedonia and Achaia  (Acts 20:1-5)
    4. The ministry in Troas  (Acts 20:6-12)
    5. The ministry in Miletus  (Acts 20:13-38)
      1. His journey to Miletus  (Acts 20:13-16)
      2. His message to the Ephesian elders  (Acts 20:17-35)
        1. Concerning his ministry  (Acts 20:17-27)
        2. Concerning the church  (Acts 20:28-35)
      3. His farewell to the Ephesians  (Acts 20:36-38)
    6. The  ministry at Tyre  (Acts 21:1-6)
      1. His journey to Tyre  (Acts 21:1-3)
      2. His ministry in Tyre  (Acts 21:4-6)
    7. The ministry in Caesarea  (Acts 21:7-16)
      1. Agabus' prediction  (Acts 21:7-12)
      2. Paul's reply  (Acts 21:13-14)
      3. The journey toward Jerusalem  (Acts 21:15-16)
  • The journey of Paul to Rome  (Acts 21:17-28:31)
    1. His witness in Jerusalem  (Acts 21:17-23:35)
      1. Paul's report to the elders  (Acts 21:17-26)
      2. Paul's arrest  (Acts 21:27-36)
      3. Paul's defense  (Acts 21:37-23:10)
        1. His first defense  (Acts 21:37-22:23)
          1. The background  (Acts 21:37-40)
          2. The content  (Acts 22:1-21)
          3. The result  (Acts 22:22-23)
        2. His second defense  (Acts 22:24-23:10)
          1. The background  (Acts 22:24-29)
          2. The council  (Acts 22:30)
          3. The content  (Acts 23:1-9)
          4. The conflict  (Acts 23:10)
      4. Paul's deliverance  (Acts 23:11-35)
        1. The encouragement  (Acts 23:11)
        2. The plot  (Acts 23:12-16)
        3. The counterplot  (Acts 23:17-24)
        4. The letter to Felix  (Acts 23:25-30)
        5. The deliverance to Felix  (Acts 23:31-35)
    2. His witness in Caesarea  (Acts 24:1-26:32)
      1. Paul's defense before Felix  (Acts 24:1-27)
        1. The setting  (Acts 24:1)
        2. The accusations of Tertullus  (Acts 24:2-9)
        3. The reply of Paul  (Acts 24:10-21)
        4. The consequences  (Acts 24:22-27)
      2. Paul's defense before Festus  (Acts 25:1-12)
        1. The setting  (Acts 25:1-5)
        2. The trial  (Acts 25:6-11)
        3. The result  (Acts 25:12)
      3. Paul's defense before Agrippa  (Acts 25:13-26:32)
        1. The arrival of Agrippa  (Acts 25:13)
        2. Festus' presentation of Paul's case  (Acts 25:14-22)
        3. Festus' presentation of Paul  (Acts 25:23-27)
        4. Paul's defense before Agrippa  (Acts 26:1-23)
        5. Paul's answer to Festus  (Acts 26:24-26)
        6. Paul's interaction with Agrippa  (Acts 26:27-29)
        7. The conclusion  (Acts 26:30-32)
    3. His witness on the way to Rome  (Acts 27:1-28:15)
      1. His witness aboard ship  (Acts 27:1-44)
      2. His witness on Malta  (Acts 28:1-15)
        1. Paul's miraculous preservation  (Acts 28:1-6)
        2. Paul's healing of Publius' father  (Acts 28:7-10)
        3. Paul's continued journey toward Rome  (Acts 28:11-15)
    4. His witness in Rome  (Acts 28:16-31)
      1. The occasion for his witness  (Acts 28:16-22)
      2. The content of his witness  (Acts 28:23-28)
      3. The result of his witness  (Acts 28:29)
      4. The summary of Paul's witness in Rome  (Acts 28:30-31)
  • Hannah's Bible Outlines - Recommended Resource

PAUL'S JOURNEY TO ROME
Acts 27:1-28:16
DEPARTURE > DESTINATION MILES
Jerusalem to Caesarea 65
Caesarea to Sidon 70
Sidon to Myra 500
Myra to Cnidus 130
Cnidus to Salmone 130
Salmone to Fair Havens 80
Fair Havens to Phoenix 40
Phoenix to Cauda 50
Cauda to Malta 500+
Malta to Syracuse 85
Syracuse to Rhegium 85
Rhegium to Puteoli 200
Puteoli to Forum of Appius 100
Forum of Appius to Three Taverns 10
Three Taverns to Rome 35
Approximate Distance Traveled 2,130

Note click names of the places above that have active links to go to verse and the related map. 

Acts 27:1  When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius.

NET  Acts 27:1 When it was decided we would sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.

GNT  Acts 27:1 Ὡς δὲ ἐκρίθη τοῦ ἀποπλεῖν ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν Ἰταλίαν, παρεδίδουν τόν τε Παῦλον καί τινας ἑτέρους δεσμώτας ἑκατοντάρχῃ ὀνόματι Ἰουλίῳ σπείρης Σεβαστῆς.

NLT  Acts 27:1 When the time came, we set sail for Italy. Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment.

KJV  Acts 27:1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.

ESV  Acts 27:1 And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.

CSB  Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we were to sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Imperial Regiment.

NIV  Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.

NKJ  Acts 27:1 And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.

NRS  Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius.

YLT  Acts 27:1 And when our sailing to Italy was determined, they were delivering up both Paul and certain others, prisoners, to a centurion, by name Julius, of the band of Sebastus,

NAB  Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they handed Paul and some other prisoners over to a centurion named Julius of the Cohort Augusta.

NJB  Acts 27:1 When it had been decided that we should sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion called Julius, of the Augustan cohort.

GWN  Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were turned over to an army officer. His name was Julius, and he belonged to the emperor's division.

Note regarding map below (click map to enlarge) - This excellent map is from the Holman Bible Atlas which is available for purchase in digital book and Hardcover/Paperback versions and is copyright © 1998 B&H Publishing Group, and is used by permission with all rights reserved. The Holman Bible Atlas is one of the best resources for Bible maps as all of the maps also include helpful short descriptions of the events portrayed. Please do not download for use on another website. Thank you.

PAUL SAILS FOR ROME ON AN
"ALL-EXPENSE-PAID" TRIP

Some writers refer to Acts 27-28 as Paul's "Fourth Missionary Journey," which is an apt description considering he is evangelizing territories (including the imperial court) that were new to him, even if there was an established church in Rome. And in one sense this last voyage of Paul might in a sense be seen as a fulfillment of Jesus' commission in Acts 1:8+ "even to the remotest part of the earth.” Of course, in time the "remotest part of the earth" would encompass the entire circumference of the globe for we have the sure Word of God that there will be members from all four corners of the world, John writing

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (Rev 5:9+)

William MacDonald writes that "This chapter presents the thrilling saga of the apostle's voyage from Caesarea to Malta, en route to Rome. If Paul had not been a passenger, we would never have heard of the trip, or of the shipwreck. The passage is full of nautical terms, and is therefore not always easy to follow." (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Kent Hughes writes that "Acts 27 is the tale of one of the most famous shipwrecks in history—that of the Apostle Paul on his way to Rome. It is also one of the best-told, most-detailed shipwreck accounts in ancient history—and certainly the most profitable to the hearer. (Preaching the Word - Preaching the Word – Acts: The Church Afire)

Constable adds that Acts 27-28 "also throws more light on the personality and character of Paul. Though he was a prisoner, he became the leader and savior of all those who travelled with him. Though he was weak, God made him strong. He was God's man, the Holy Spirit working in and through him, for the blessing of everyone he touched. Paul is the main subject. Some people on the trip even concluded that he was a god (Acts 28:6; cf. Luke 8:25; 23:47)."

H A Ironside has an interesting note on how this chapter changed an unbeliever's life! - 

Acts 27 is one of the chapters of the Bible that we really ought to study with a map of the Mediterranean before us. Those who have carefully investigated Luke’s record are amazed at the accuracy with which he refers to the various ports and to ancient shipping routes. Some people have suggested that perhaps certain portions of the Bible were written at a date later than they professed to be. The book of Acts has been particularly attacked. Some years ago a little group of freethinkers in Scotland (UNBELIEVERS) decided on a plan whereby they might show up the supposed inaccuracies of Scripture, and so discredit the Word of God. One member was given the task of going to Asia Minor, southern Europe, and the islands of the Mediterranean, visiting all the places mentioned by Luke in connection with Paul’s journeys. It was hoped that he would be able to unearth enough information to make evident any falsity in Luke’s record, so that many who had pinned their faith to the book of Acts as a part of God’s inspired Word would have to give it up. The young man chosen was Sir William Mitchell Ramsay. He investigated very carefully, and after the most minute examination concluded that Luke was absolutely accurate in every particular. He himself, once a freethinker, became a Christian and wrote some splendid books in defense of the Word of God. (Acts 27 Commentary

When it was decided that we would sail for Italy - It was decided by the Roman authorities, presumably Festus and/or King Agrippa (Acts 26:31, 32+) Notice the "we" indicating that Luke is on board the ship with Paul. There are four "we" sections in Acts and this is the last and the longest. Why is this section so long? Constable things Luke wanted to "wanted to demonstrate God's protection of Paul, to illustrate the increasingly Gentile nature of gospel expansion, and to document the sovereign Lord's building of His church." (See more detailed discussion below)

The reappearance of "we" at the onset of the trip to Rome raises the possibility that Luke was not with Paul during his appearances before Felix, Festus and Agrippa. On the other hand the fact that "we" was not used in the passages on Paul's trial would make sense as Paul was the continual focus of attention so that it would have been unnecessary to even use the plural pronoun "we." I personally think Luke was on the scene but just in the background. Why would he all of a sudden appear after the trial and the inception of the trip? 

Richard Rackham comments that Luke tells this story "with such a wealth of detail that in all classical literature there is no passage which gives us so much information about the working of an ancient ship." (Acts 27 Commentary)

  • Acts 16:10-17+
  • Acts 20:5-15+
  • Acts 21:1-18+
  • Acts 27:1-28:16

What was the approximate date of Paul's departure for Rome? Sometime about October, A.D 59 (some sources say 60), but definitely during the reign of Nero which was from AD 54 to AD 68. Below is a timeline from Ryrie's Study Bible with approximate dates of key events to help you keep a temporal perspective of Paul's travels in these closing chapters.

Related Resource:

Was decided (2919)(krino) has the basic meaning of to divide or separate and thus to be of opinion. Louw-Nida "to come to a conclusion in the process of thinking and thus to be in a position to make a decision." And so in this context krino means to reach a decision that it was now right, proper and expedient to set sail for Rome. 

Homer Kent "Ever since the purpose of going to Rome had been planted in Paul's mind by the Holy Spirit, his plans had been formulated with that goal in view (Acts 19:21+). No warnings of dangers to come could make him deviate from that ultimate aim, nor from the intermediate stages (Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem). The intervening weeks had stretched into months and then into years, and Paul had been confronted with one crisis after another, but he had divine assurance that Rome would yet be reached (Acts 23:11+). The means were not what Paul could have foreseen nor what he might have chosen, but God was in control and the apostle was fully willing to leave the details in His hands (ED: Simple Application - Am I willing to trust the "multi-colored" details of my life to my Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer?)." (Jerusalem to Rome: Studies in the Book of Acts)

They proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort (speira) named Julius - The Augustan was an honorary title given to more than one legion of the Roman army. These cohorts may have acted as bodyguards for the emperor or procurators.

Robertson on some other prisoners Bound (desmōtas) like Paul, but not necessarily appellants to Caesar, perhaps some of them condemned criminals to amuse the Roman populace in the gladiatorial shows, most likely pagans though heterous (other) does not have to mean different kind of prisoners from Paul.

Proceeded to deliver (hand over) (3860)(paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another.

Paradidomi in Acts - 

 Acts 3:13; Acts 6:14; Acts 7:42; Acts 8:3; Acts 12:4; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:26; Acts 15:40; Acts 16:4; Acts 21:11; Acts 22:4; Acts 27:1; Acts 28:17

Prisoners (1202)(desmotes from desmos = bond, band, shackles that impede) one who is involuntarily bound, under custody or confinement

Demostes uses in Septuagint and NT - Ge 39:20 = "king’s prisoners were confined"; Jer. 24:1; Jer. 29:2; Acts 27:1; Acts 27:42

Centurion (1543)(Hekatontarches from hekaton = one hundred + archo = to command) means a commander of a hundred soldiers, a centurion, and would be our equivalent of an army captain or company commander. Centurion is from Latin centurio an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers (the Latin equivalent being used by Mk 15:39-45). "The favourable references to centurions in the New Testament suggest that they may have been carefully chosen because of their quality of character. Some even became believers in Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 27:54; Acts 10:1-2; Acts 23:17-18; Acts 27:43)." (Bridgeway) Centurions received double the salary of ordinary soldiers. It usually took fifteen years or more of military service to work one's way to the rank of centurion.  Polybius says "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." Another translation says “They wish centurions not so much to be venturesome and daredevil as natural leaders, of a steady and sedate spirit. They do not desire them so much to be men who will initiate attacks and open the battle, but men who will hold their ground when worsted and hard pressed and be ready to die at their posts” (Histories 6.24.9). Barclay translates it this way "Centurions are desired not to be overbold and reckless so much as good leaders, of steady and prudent mind, not prone to take the offensive to start fighting wantonly, but able when overwhelmed and hard-pressed to stand fast and die at their posts." 

Hekatontarches  in Acts

Acts 10:1; Acts 10:22; Acts 21:32; Acts 22:25; Acts 22:26; Acts 23:17; Acts 23:23; Acts 24:23; Acts 27:1; Acts 27:6; Acts 27:11; Acts 27:31; Acts 27:43

Julius - This Roman centurion was a man of superior character and was very kind to Paul, treating him with consideration and kindness (Acts 27:3, 43; cf Acts 28:16). One wonders if we will meet him in Heaven, for we know Paul shared the Gospel with him and undoubtedly every soul on the good ship. Some suggest, but it is only supposition, that Julius was among those dignitaries in the court when Paul made his defense before King Agrippa (Acts 25:23+). 

Here is one summary of Acts 27 from Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible - 

1.  The journey to Rome began (Acts 27:1-3).

2.  A picture of greed and godly counsel (Acts 27:4-12).

3.  A picture of deceptive calm and great courage (Acts 27:13-26).

4.  A picture of man's way vs. God's way to save men (Acts 27:27-32).

5.  A picture of fear and hunger and godly trust (Acts 27:33-38).

6.  A picture of trial and God's providence (Acts 27:39-44).

Swindoll's introduction to Acts 27 - I’ve seen a number of bumper stickers that read, “I’d rather be sailing.” That’s understandable. Sea lovers can’t resist the exhilaration of skimming the water in a beautiful sailing vessel pushed along by the silent power of the wind. Captains tell me they love the challenge of harnessing nature’s energy and equally enjoy the calm, peaceful isolation of the open water. To hear them talk, I want to purchase a thirty-six-foot sailing yacht, take lessons, and chart a course for leisure on the sea. Then I recall my first sea voyage, which began in San Diego aboard a troop ship. The first several hours felt like a pleasure cruise, but two days later, forty-foot swells tossed our ship like a toothpick and our commander ordered each man to tie himself to his bunk. I never see bumper stickers that read, “I’d rather be shipwrecked.” No one sets sail with the hope of running aground somewhere, but experienced sailors have learned to accept certain risks in exchange for their love of the sea. You have to take the bad with the good. Likewise, Paul learned to accept suffering and difficulties as a natural part of the remarkable life God had planned for him. Read 2 Cor 11:24-28.  I’ll admit that sometimes I would like to be a man like Paul; then I think about some of his experiences, and I feel more content with who I am and what God has for me instead. If that is the price of greatness, I’m tempted to be content with mediocrity! (Acts - Swindoll's Living Insights)


H A Ironside - As we read the book of Acts we are struck by the way in which Paul the prisoner takes command. This man of God, wherever you find him, seems to be master of every situation. When they put him and Silas in jail and made their feet fast in the stocks, he and his companion put on a sacred concert. There were only two of them and they had no organ accompaniment, but they gave such a splendid performance that they brought down the house! There was an earthquake, and next thing you know the jailer and all of his household were converted.

Then when Paul was arraigned before various dignitaries, he always came out as the real master of the situation. Again and again we have seen the roles reversed-the prisoner questioning the judge! When he appeared before Felix he dared to reason with him concerning righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. When he stood before Festus he said, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” To King Agrippa he declared, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day. were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds”-a Christian.

In this present chapter, when he was a prisoner on shipboard, it was not long before all the crew, the soldiers, the master of the ship, and Julius the centurion, were taking orders from Paul. He is God’s man for every occasion. There is one thing about a man who walks with God-circumstances never affect his fellowship and communion with the Lord. Paul could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Php 4:11-13+) A brother once asked another brother in my hearing, “How are you getting on?” The other answered, “I am doing very well under the circumstances.” The first brother replied, “I am very sorry to hear that you are under the circumstances. You know, if you keep your eyes on the Lord, He will keep you above the circumstances.” So Paul always seemed to be above the circumstances. (Acts 27 Commentary) (See comments on Proverbs 18:10 on how to get "above" the circumstances) (Acts 27 Commentary)


Michael Trull -  On April 15, 1912, at approximately 2:20 A.M. the stern of the White Star liner Titanic (picture of Titanic) swung slowly upward toward the stars. Her lights went out, flashed on again, and then went out for good. Only a single kerosene lantern flickered high in the after mast. As her stern reached higher, a steady roar thundered across the water as every movable thing aboard her broke loose. There has never been a mixture like it: 15,000 bottles of ale and stout, huge anchor chains (each link weighed 175 pounds), thirty cases of golf clubs, 30,000 fresh eggs, potted palms, five grand pianos, a cask of china from Tiffany’s, a case of gloves from Marshall Fields, and, most valuable of all, 1,500 passengers who had not been able to get off the great ship.

The great and the unknown tumbled together in a writhing heap as the bow eased deeper and the stern rose higher. The Titanic was now absolutely vertical, with her three dripping propellers glistening in the darkness. For nearly two minutes she stood poised as the noise finally stopped. Then she began sliding slowly under, until the sea closed over the flagstaff on her stern with an audible gulp.

A wreck of any kind is a terrifying experience, whether it is a train derailment, an automobile collision, or a crash of an airplane. But probably the most terrifying of all is a shipwreck, because of the prolonged agony that the passengers and crew endure. Well, probably one of the most famous shipwrecks ever told is found in the Scriptures. It was the shipwreck that Paul and his crew experienced while heading to Rome. Luke describes every detail of the shipwreck vividly so that we can imagine being on board that ship. (Acts 27 - The Anchor Holds)


Stanley D. Toussaint addresses the question - Why did Luke go into such lengthy detail about the voyage from Caesarea to Rome? There is no easy answer.

(1) It may simply be a device to emphasize Paul's journey to and his arrival at Rome. As the Gospel writers stressed the Lord's final approach to Jerusalem and His last days there to heighten the impact of His death and resurrection, so Luke climaxed his Luke-Acts work with the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom to Gentiles in the Roman capital.

(2) Luke may have used the example of great ancient epics of his day which commonly employed the theme of a storm and shipwreck. This would parallel the modern use of a chase scene in a movie or television drama. The problem with this view is a simple one. How does this contribute to Luke's purpose in writing? Simply following the example of ancient epics would not really add to the book.

(3) Possibly the writer desired to show a parallel with Jonah and his storm (Jonah 1:4-15). After Jonah lived through the storm by miraculous means he preached to a large Gentile capital city. The comparison with Paul is obvious.

(4) The purpose of this account is to show God's sovereign protection and direction in Paul's ministry. It was God's will for the apostle to minister the gospel in Rome.

(5) It was Luke's intention to show Paul's leadership and thereby to underscore the fact that God's program had become primarily Gentile and therefore Paul was God's man of the hour. In the account Paul certainly does come off as the one who is in control even in the spheres of ocean travel and shipwreck.

(6) Some think the story is something of an allegory. In the Old Testament the sea was portrayed as an enemy; so here it figures opposition to the spread of the gospel. In spite of all antagonism the good news of the kingdom will survive and will ultimately reach its predetermined goal. But this is so allegorical it is a highly improbable view.

The answer to the question of Luke's great emphasis on the journey to Rome may be a combination of answers 1, 3, 4, and 5, though it is difficult to be dogmatic. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty)

Background on the Sea Voyages
In the Ancient World & Acts 27-28

Richard Rackham - The modern joy and delight in the sea was a sentiment almost unknown to the peoples of antiquity. One Greek poet, Aeschylus, could write of ‘the many-twinkling smile of ocean,’ but to the ancients generally the sea only inspired emotions of dislike and dread. The incommodious ships and the possibilities of long delays owing to contrary winds made a voyage anything but a pleasure: the lack of nautical instruments and the imperfect knowledge of navigation made the perils of the sea ten times worse than they are to-day. Hence the allusions to the sea in classical literature are generally prompted by the violence of storms and the horrors of shipwreck, or (in private correspondence) by the tediousness of a voyage or the unexpected good luck of a quick passage. During the winter months the sea was practically closed for navigation; and the present narrative is an illustration of what a traveller who ventured too near that season might expect. The party start from Palestine in August or September and do not reach Rome till the following March, having in the meanwhile lost their ship with all their belongings.

If the sea had perils and drawbacks even for born sailors such as the Greeks and Phenicians, to the agricultural Israelites the Mediterranean which formed their western boundary must have indeed been an object of awe. This aspect of the sea was part of their most ancient heritage. In Babylonian mythology, before the earth was created there had existed chaos, a waste of waters, the realm of disorder and confusion. From this the earth or kingdom of order had been won, and the existing ocean was a remnant of the original waste, and therefore it was the symbol and the sphere of evil both physical and spiritual. These ideas we find reflected in the OT. There was the primeval chaos when ‘darkness was upon the face of the deep and the wind of God was brooding upon the face of the waters.’ In prophecy and apocalypse the raging waves were the symbol, as of confusion in general, so of the restless and tumultuous surging of the nations. The passage of the Red Sea made the sea the established type of the greatest peril through which man must pass on his way to the promised land,—the peril of death. Lastly, as the home of evil, the ocean represented the pit: it was the abyss, and the swallowing up of shipwrecked men in its cruel billows was the fittest picture of man’s going down into the deep. Turning to the NT, it is true that in the Gospels the sea of Tiberias casts a halo of beauty over the Galilean ministry. Yet it was but a lake, and to the apostles was chiefly associated with nights of fruitless toil, with storms and sudden squalls. S. Paul’s experience of the sea was similar: some years before now he could write that he had ‘three times suffered shipwreck and been a night and a day in the deep’ (2 Cor 11:25). In the Revelation one condition of the ideal heaven and earth is that ‘there shall be no more sea.’ (Rev 21:1)

It comes upon us, then, somewhat as a surprise to find in the Acts full and picturesque accounts of two voyages. This is indeed an illustration of the all-embracing sympathies of Christianity, which extend to those also ‘who go down to the sea in ships and occupy themselves in great waters.’ The narratives seem specially written for sea-faring and sea-loving nations like our own (England): it is said that Nelson was reading this 27th chapter on the morning of the battle of Copenhagen. If Luke was a Greek, the fulness of the narrative might be put down to his national instincts: but, as we shall see, such a hypothesis is not needed. In these voyages the chief interest, as is natural, centres on the shipwreck. The story is told with such a wealth of detail that in all classical literature there is no passage which gives us so much information about the working of an ancient ship. Accurate as it is, nautical critics tell us that it is the account not of a sailor, but of a landsman—of a landsman, however, familiar with the sea and with a faculty of careful observation, who must have been himself on board. This being so, the terrible experience he went through must have indelibly impressed the details on his memory. To have been not one day but fourteen days in the deep, driven by a tempest along an unknown course, without light of sun or stars, unable to take food and expecting at any moment to founder—such an experience in itself is sufficient to prompt the pen of a ready writer.

But we shall strangely fail to understand Luke, if we suppose that the vividness of the picture is simply due to the traveller’s impulse to tell his adventures to the public. We cannot but see how the whole narrative, the very desperateness of the situation, throws into the strongest relief the personality of Paul. At the moment of utter despair, he rises up in the midst and is found to be a rock on which all can trust, the inspirer of hope and the master-mind which is able to direct and command as the crisis requires—in a word their saviour. Nowhere in the Acts is there a finer display of sympathy and strength. Thus the very passages which glorify the apostle—and are for that reason suspected by some critics—are those which contain Luke’s motive for relating the history of the voyage, and the multitude of details supply the necessary background. Paul is the main subject throughout. The narrative begins with his own physical weakness. Then he appears as a counselor and a prophet, with his warnings and foresight of danger. In the crisis, like the rest he too falls into the deep of despair (though for others rather than himself), but as an intercessor he has recourse to prayer. Strengthened by a heavenly vision, he rises up to inspire his companions with courage. In the hour of danger he commands like a captain, like a priest he offers thanks to God, and like a deliverer brings them into a haven of safety. The Maltese, in the words which conclude the history, unconsciously express its true lesson—they said that he was a god.

Besides the personal element, there is the inner spiritual meaning. There is one scene in the OT of which this is the most obvious counterpart—the shipwreck of Jonah. If Paul in some respects resembled Jeremiah, the parallel between the NT prophet and Jonah is still more striking,—all the more so because of the equally obvious contrast in character. Jonah is the prophet in the OT who more than any other might, like Paul, be called ‘the prophet of the Gentiles.’ Jonah indeed received his mission in a very different way: he fled from the presence of the Lord and took ship for Tarshish. But in their voyages the experience of the prophets coincided. Both suffered shipwreck; and although Jonah, unlike Paul, brought the storm upon his vessel, yet in each case the prophet won the salvation of his company,—Jonah by the sacrifice of himself. Finally both alike experienced deliverance, Jonah from the deep, Paul from the peril of death; and after this they fulfil their respective missions to the great cities of Nineveh and Rome.

Jonah, however, was above all the sign of one greater than either, viz. of the Lord, who afforded the supreme example of the law that suffering goes before victory, going down to the deep before deliverance or resurrection. This experience had been realized by Peter in chapter 12. Now in Paul we have here another and a conspicuous instance. For if in the scheme of the Acts the last chapters correspond to the last chapters of the Gospel, this chapter forms the parallel (as is fairly evident) to the crucifixion or Lk 22–23. Of this a hint is given by one of the incidents of the shipwreck, viz. the breaking of bread on the last morning of the wreck before they committed themselves to the sea. No doubt Luke’s medical experience made him appreciate Paul’s sagacity in insisting on the partaking of food. But the very words with which he describes the apostle’s action recall at once the picture of the Lord breaking bread before his apostles on his last evening (Lk 22:19). It is difficult to believe that this meal was what we should call a celebration of the Holy Eucharist; yet we cannot but feel that Luke wishes to remind his readers of the Last Supper. Without, however, insisting upon this or noticing many resemblances which might be pointed out in details, we can draw attention to the parallelism in the general scheme. The storm and darkness correspond to the spiritual storm and darkness on Calvary, as the actual wreck and plunging into the deep to the death upon the cross (Lk 23:26–49, Acts 27:14–44). The rest and peace of the three winter months at Malta, when the apostle was entirely cut off from the outside world and his old life, is like the rest of the three days in the grave (Lk 23:50–6, Acts 28:1–10). The voyage to Rome in the spring, which was to the apostle the entrance into a new life, will correspond to the joyful period after the resurrection (Lk 24:1–49, Acts 28:11–28); and lastly the picture of quiet and expectant work at Rome is like that of the praying and waiting church at Jerusalem (Lk 24:52–3, Acts 28:30–1).

But the application of this law is universal and not confined to Paul. The keynote to the interpretation is given in verse 34 in the word salvation. This and cognate words occur altogether 7 times: hope to be saved, ye cannot be saved, to be completely-saved (RV escape). While the contrary fate is no less richly depicted—injury, loss, throwing away (Acts 22), perish, kill, and to be cast away. The history, then, is a parable of the great salvation, by which man is brought through death to life. It is the companion to the picture in Acts 3–4; and in Acts 4:12 S. Peter has already given the means by which the salvation is won.

Of all the narratives in the Acts this chapter bears the most indisputable marks of authenticity. In one passage (Acts 27:9–12) there is some obscurity due to editing or revision, but the attempt of some critics to remove as interpolations those passages which bring out the spiritual power of Paul (e.g. Acts 27:21–26, 31, 2, Acts 27:31–36) is as impossible as it is to eliminate the miraculous element from the Gospels; for, as we have seen, it was Paul’s action which inspired the writer to pen the narrative. Historical research and inscriptions have confirmed Luke’s facts, while the accuracy of his nautical observations is shown by the great help he has given to our understanding of ancient seamanship. None have impugned the correctness of his phrases; on the contrary, from his description contained in a few sentences, the scene of the wreck has been identified. Its traditional identification with St Paul’s Bay has been tested and, we may say, satisfactorily proved by Mr James Smith, of Jordanhill, who also thoroughly examined the whole narrative from the seaman’s point of view. Into such nautical investigations we need not enter, but it is quite easy for an ordinary landsman to follow the general course of the voyage, which we will proceed to do. (Acts 27 Commentary)

Acts 27:2  And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.

NET  Acts 27:2 We went on board a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail to various ports along the coast of the province of Asia and put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.

GNT  Acts 27:2 ἐπιβάντες δὲ πλοίῳ Ἀδραμυττηνῷ μέλλοντι πλεῖν εἰς τοὺς κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν τόπους ἀνήχθημεν ὄντος σὺν ἡμῖν Ἀριστάρχου Μακεδόνος Θεσσαλονικέως.

NLT  Acts 27:2 Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with us. We left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia; it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province.

KJV  Acts 27:2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.

ESV  Acts 27:2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.

CSB  Acts 27:2 So when we had boarded a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, intending to sail to ports along the coast of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

NIV  Acts 27:2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

NKJ  Acts 27:2 So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

NRS  Acts 27:2 Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.

YLT  Acts 27:2 and having embarked in a ship of Adramyttium, we, being about to sail by the coasts of Asia, did set sail, there being with us Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica,

NAB  Acts 27:2 We went on board a ship from Adramyttium bound for ports in the province of Asia and set sail. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

NJB  Acts 27:2 We boarded a vessel from Adramyttium bound for ports on the Asiatic coast and put to sea; we had Aristarchus with us, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.

GWN  Acts 27:2 We set sail on a ship from the city of Adramyttium. The ship was going to stop at ports on the coast of the province of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from the city of Thessalonica, went with us.

BBE  Acts 27:2 And we went to sea in a ship of Adramyttium which was sailing to the sea towns of Asia, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.

  • we: Ac 21:1 Lu 8:22 
  • about to sail: Ac 20:15,16 21:1-3 
  • Aristarchus: Ac 19:19 20:4 Col 4:10 Phm 1:24 
  • with us: Ac 16:10-13,17 20:5 21:5 28:2,10,12,16 
  • Video - Paul Sails for Rome
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And embarking (epibaino) in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia -  Asia refers to the Roman Province of Asia. The ship would sail north for 70 miles to the coastal city of Sidon and then on the Asia. The home port of the ship was Adramyttium (see below) on the northeast coast of the Aegean Sea. In Acts 27:5 we see the prisoner party did not go all the way to Adramyttium but disembarked at Myra and began to sail south on a grain ship bound for Rome (Acts 27:6).  The ship traveled along the coast to avoid the more unpredictable, dangerous open sea. If the departure date was indeed about October, 59, that would have been too late in the season to travel on the open seas. 

NET Note Doubtless the centurion expected to find another ship, bound for Italy, at some of the ports of Asia Minor, without having to go with this ship all the way to Adramyttium; and in this he was not disappointed. (Ac 27:6).

Sail (4126)(pleo; Latin = pluo, fluo - float, flow, etc) to sail, describing movement of a boat through water whether blown by wind or powered by rowing. Travel by sea or by ship. To navigate.  There are only 2 uses in the Septuagint - Isa 42:10, Jonah 1:3. Used metaphorically once in a secular setting = "while we keep [the ship of] our country right" 

Pleo -passenger*(1), sail(1), sailing(4).  Lk. 8:23; Acts 21:3; Acts 27:2; Acts 27:6; Acts 27:24; Rev. 18:17


Adramyttium-Click to Enlarge

Adramyttium - (See also Wikipedia article) An ancient city of Mysia in the Roman Province of Asia. The only reference in the New Testament to it is in Acts 27:2 which says that Paul, while being taken a prisoner from Caesarea to Rome, embarked upon a ship belonging to Adramyttium. The city, with a good harbor, stood at the head of the Gulf of Adramyttium facing the island of Lesbos, and at the base of Mt. Ida. Its early history is obscure. While some authors fancy that it was the Pedasus of Homer, others suppose that it was founded by Adramys, the brother of the wealthy Croesus; probably a small Athenian colony existed there long before the time of Adramys. When Pergamus became the capital of Asia, Adramyttium grew to be a city of considerable importance, and the metropolis of the Northwest part of the province. There the assizes were held. The coins which the peasants pick up in the surrounding fields, and which are frequently aids in determining the location and history of the cities of Asia Minor, were struck at Adramyttium as late as the 3rd century A.D., and sometimes in connection with Ephesus. Upon them the effigies of Castor and Pollux appear, showing that Adramyttium was the seat of worship of these deities. The ancient city with its harbor has entirely disappeared, but on a hill, somewhat farther inland, is a village of about one thousand houses bearing the name Edremid, a corruption of the ancient name Adramys. The miserable wooden huts occupied by Greek fishermen and by Turks are surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, hence the chief trade is in olive oil, raisins and timber. In ancient times Adramyttium was noted for a special ointment which was prepared there (Pliny, NH, xiii0.2.5).

We put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica We identifies Luke as one of the companions and was with Paul in the end in 2 Ti 4:11 at his second imprisonment just prior to his execution. While Paul was clearly a man of unique talent and resolve, even this great apostle benefited from Christian fellowship. Paul Tournier, M.D. wrote that "There are two things we cannot do alone; one is to be married. The other is to be a Christian." Notice that the epistle to the Colossians was written during Paul's first Roman imprisonment and in that epistle Paul writes describes Aristarchus as "my fellow prisoner." 

Aristarchus was a Jewish believer (Col 4:11), though like many Jews of the Diaspora, he had a Greek name. He was a native of Thessalonica (Acts 20:4+; Acts 27:2). Aristarchus first appeared during Paul’s three year ministry at Ephesus. He was seized by the rioting mob, who recognized him as one of Paul’s companions (Acts 19:29+). He accompanied Paul on his return trip to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4+), and on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:4). It is possible he stayed with Paul throughout his imprisonment in Palestine as well. As Paul writes Colossians, Aristarchus is still beside the apostle. This is an amazing testimony to this man Aristarchus! Would I have been willing to stay with Paul in prison? 

Jack Arnold has an interesting comment which may be true but I cannot find other support for his statement - Aristarchus was a young man whom Paul had met in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey.  The only way the Romans would allow Aristarchus to travel with Paul was if he was Paul's slave (ED: THIS ASSUMPTION IS PROBABLY BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF RAMSAY WHO MAKES THAT ASSUMPTION IN HIS FAMOUS WORK "ST PAUL THE TRAVELLER"-SEE PAGE 165 OR IN PDF ACTUALLY 170).  So great was Aristarchus' love for Paul and so strong were his desires to minister to his need that he volunteered to be Paul's slave.  That is true Christian love."

Aristarchus obviously was not ashamed to be identified with Paul and thus with Christ. His lot (prison with Paul) reminds me of Paul's exhortation to young Timothy

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power (dunamis) and love and discipline. Therefore (BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE SUPERNATURAL POWER - SEE SECOND USE OF POWER AT END OF THIS VERSE) do not be ashamed (epaischunomai) of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering (aorist imperative = command - the only way for one to keep a command like this is to be filled with/controlled by the Holy Spirit - see more discussion of this topic) for the Gospel according to the power (dunamis) of God."  (2 Ti 1:7-8+)

Aristarchus - mentioned 5x in the NT

Acts 19:29+ The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.

Acts 20:4+ (See context Acts 20:1,2,3) And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.

Acts 27:2 And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.

Colossians 4:10+  Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him);

Philemon 1:24  as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. 

Put out to sea (321)(anago from ana = up + ago = bring, lead) literally speaks of movement from a lower to a higher point and in this nautical context was a technical term meaning to lead out to the high sea, to put (out) to sea, to take to sea or set sail. Anago is the opposite of katago (put in) in the following verse. 

Anago in Acts

Acts 7:41; Acts 9:39; Acts 12:4; Acts 13:13; Acts 16:11; Acts 16:34; Acts 18:21; Acts 20:3; Acts 20:13; Acts 21:1; Acts 21:2; Acts 27:2; Acts 27:4; Acts 27:12; Acts 27:21; Acts 28:10; Acts 28:11;

Dennis Gaertner - This ship was most likely a coasting vessel, one of the smaller ships which customarily sailed along the coast, stopping at major ports along the way. Such vessels were used for commercial purposes all over the Roman world. The Romans were quite content to transport their prisoners in a commercial vessel because it was as quick and inexpensive as any other procedure. This ship had probably traveled down the coast and, after completing its business, was now headed back to the home port, Adramyttium. (The College Press NIV Commentary – Acts)


Bruce Barton - A BUILT-IN NEED

Paul constantly received assistance from others as he traveled to Rome and during his imprisonment there. He had help from his colleagues Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:1-2). The centurion Julius took care of Paul, as did the Sidonian Christians (Acts 27:3). Following his shipwreck, the Maltese people demonstrated unusual kindness (Acts 28:2), and later they showered Paul and his friends with gifts, supplies, and articles of appreciation (Acts 28:10). Publius, the chief official of the island, gave Paul (and his entourage) a warm welcome and three days of hospitality (Acts 28:7). Then, upon arriving in Italy, Paul was met by two delegations of Roman Christians. This encouraged Paul and prompted him to thank God (Acts 28:15). The point is this: Everyone, even the great apostle Paul, needs others. Do you have people you can rely on for encouragement? for insight? for advice? Get involved with a fellowship of believers where you can both receive help and offer assistance. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)

Acts 27:3  The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.

NET  Acts 27:3 The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius, treating Paul kindly, allowed him to go to his friends so they could provide him with what he needed.

GNT  Acts 27:3 τῇ τε ἑτέρᾳ κατήχθημεν εἰς Σιδῶνα, φιλανθρώπως τε ὁ Ἰούλιος τῷ Παύλῳ χρησάμενος ἐπέτρεψεν πρὸς τοὺς φίλους πορευθέντι ἐπιμελείας τυχεῖν.

NLT  Acts 27:3 The next day when we docked at Sidon, Julius was very kind to Paul and let him go ashore to visit with friends so they could provide for his needs.

KJV  Acts 27:3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.

ESV  Acts 27:3 The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for.

CSB  Acts 27:3 The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul kindly and allowed him to go to his friends to receive their care.

NIV  Acts 27:3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.

NKJ  Acts 27:3 And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.

NRS  Acts 27:3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul kindly, and allowed him to go to his friends to be cared for.

YLT  Acts 27:3 on the next day also we touched at Sidon, and Julius, courteously treating Paul, did permit him, having gone on unto friends, to receive their care.

NAB  Acts 27:3 On the following day we put in at Sidon where Julius was kind enough to allow Paul to visit his friends who took care of him.

NJB  Acts 27:3 Next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius was considerate enough to allow Paul to go to his friends to be looked after.

GWN  Acts 27:3 The next day we arrived at the city of Sidon. Julius treated Paul kindly and allowed him to visit his friends and receive any care he needed.

BBE  Acts 27:3 And on the day after, we came to Sidon; and Julius was kind to Paul, and let him go to see his friends and take a rest.


CAESAREA> SIDON
Click to Enlarge

The next day we put in at Sidon - So they traveled about 70 in a day indicating a fair wind. At Sidon they presumably took on supplies because the next leg of their journey was about 500 miles to Myra at Lycia.  The unloading process at the port in Tyre took another ship seven days (Acts 21:3-4), so they may have been in Sidon a week or more.

Put in (2609)(katago from kata = down + ago = bring) means literally to lead or bring down (Acts 9:30; 22:30; 23:15, 20, 28) but in the present context is a navigation term, which means to cause a boat to put in at a shore or to land (cf Lk 5:11) or be brought to shore (cf Acts 21:3; Acts 28:12). The idea is to bring the ship down from deep water to the land. In the preceding passage the opposite sense is seen in anago which means to bring the ship up (ana) from the land to deep water.

Katago in Acts - Acts 9:30; Acts 22:30; Acts 23:15; Acts 23:20; Acts 23:28; Acts 27:3; Acts 28:12

And Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care - This is stated so simply it would easy to miss the import of Luke's statement. Clearly the centurion Julius allowed Paul to disembark, even though he was prisoner of Rome and the death penalty was usually administered to Roman guards who allowed their prisoners to escape. Either during this 70 mile trip from Caesarea or during Paul's trials, Julius had developed a sincere trust in Paul. Otherwise he would never have allowed him to leave the ship! 

Robertson This is Paul's first visit to Sidon, but Christians were already in Phoenicia (Acts 11:19) and so Paul had "friends" here.

Treated (5530)(chraomai from chrao = to lend) means to use, make use of, make the most of. In the present context the meaning is "to conduct oneself in a particular manner with regard to some person - 'to treat, to behave toward" (Louw-Nida)

Friberg - 1) with the dative of the thing = use, make use of, employ (L-N = "to engage in the activity of making use of something") (Acts 27.17, 1 Cor 9:12, 1 Ti 5:23); (2) with an adverb = act toward, deal with in a certain way (2Co 13.10, 1 Cor 7:31); (3) with the dative of person treat, behave toward someone in a certain way (Acts 27.3)

Gilbrant Chraomai occurs most commonly with the dative but occasionally with the accusative; in either case it means “to use” or “to employ.” With the dative of characteristic or with an adverb, chraomai also means “to act” or “to proceed.” With the dative of person it means “to treat” someone in a certain way. In classical Greek the verb chraomai occurs from Homer (Eighth Century B.C.) on in the sense of “use, employ.” It also appears in the fifth-century B.C. writings of Herodotus where it means “act, proceed.” The use of chraomai meaning “to treat” is not attested until the early Hellenistic period (Third Century B.C.). The word chraomai is rather rare in the Septuagint, but it appears with its full scope of meanings. Thus, “instruction is to them that use it a gracious reward” (Proverbs 17:8 [Septuagint only]). Isaiah 28:21 says the Lord’s wrath “shall act strangely” (author’s translation); according to Esther 2:9 King Xerxes “treated her (Esther) well” (author’s translation; cf. also Genesis 12:16). In the New Testament - In all four instances in 1 Corinthians the verb has the primary meaning “to use.” As an eschatological people, the married who “use” the things of the world must not misuse them (1 Cor 7:31). For the sake of the gospel Paul did not “make use of” the rights pertaining to his ministry (1 Cor 9:12,15). In 1 Corinthians 7:21 the phrase mallon chrēsai (literally, “to make the most of”) lacks an explicit object; in the context, however, Paul likely had a slave’s freedom in mind, as reflected in most translations. In 2 Corinthians 1:17 Paul asked, “Did I use lightness?” in reference to the clarity of his purpose for coming. And in Acts 27:3 Luke mentioned how the centurion Julius “entreated” Paul and gave him certain liberties even though he was a prisoner. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Chraomai - do(1), treated(1), use(5), used(2), uses(1), vacillating*(1).

Acts 27:3; Acts 27:17; 1 Co. 7:21; 1 Co. 7:31; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 9:15; 2 Co. 1:17; 2 Co. 3:12; 2 Co. 13:10; 1 Tim. 1:8; 1 Tim. 5:23

Chraomai in the Septuagint

Ge 12:16 = "he treated Abram well for her sake"; Ge 16:6; Gen. 19:8; Gen. 26:29; Gen. 34:31; Exod. 11:3; Exod. 12:36; 1 Sam. 2:20; 2 Ki. 6:5; Est. 1:19; Est. 2:9; Est. 3:11; Est. 8:11; Est. 8:12; Est. 9:12; Est. 9:13; Est. 9:27; Job 10:17; Job 13:20; Job 16:9; Job 18:4; Job 19:11; Job 23:6; Job 30:14; Job 34:20; Prov. 5:5; Prov. 10:4; Prov. 10:26; Prov. 17:8; Prov. 24:29; Prov. 25:13; Isa. 28:21; Jer. 13:7; Jer. 13:10; Dan. 1:13; Dan. 1:14; Dan. 7:7;

Consideration (5364)(philanthropos from phileo = to love + anthropos = man; Eng "philanthropy") depicts acts which are taken in a human loving manner and so conveys the sense of humanely, benevolently, philanthropically, with mercy, with friendly concern and kindness toward Paul. The related noun philanthropia is used by Luke to describe the natives showing Paul and his traveling companions "extraordinary kindness." (Acts 28:2) which in fact is used to describe God's kindness toward us in Titus 3:4 "when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared" He saved us! Now that's extraordinary kindness! In any event it seems that Julius and the natives are so predisposed to show "godly" kindness even though they are presumably pagans. One has to believe this is the hand of God showing favor to Paul. 

Receive (5177)(tugchano/tynchano) literally means to hit (as a target with an arrow) means to experience some happening. In the present context Friberg says is "as a litotes, what one doesn't experience or meet up with every day...of hospitality" of a type that was unusual or unexpected. Luke uses the very same verb in a similar context in Acts 28:2 writing that "The natives showed us extraordinary (tugchano) kindness."

Care (1958)(epimeleia from epimeleomai = to attend to, take care of) means "to care for with diligent concern" (LN). BDAG = "careful attention displayed in discharge of obligation or responsibility, care, attention, of care received." In this context the word likely means they gave him food and other provisions for the journey. This is the only NT use but there are 5 uses in the Septuagint - Est. 2:3; Prov. 3:8 ("refreshment to your bones"); Prov. 3:22; Prov. 13:4; Prov. 28:25

James Smith on Acts 27:3 - On the day after they left Cæsarea they touched at Sidon. From the distance accomplished, sixty-seven geographical miles, we must infer that they had a fair, or at least a leading wind, probably westerly, which is the wind which prevails in this part of the Mediterranean (NOTE: ‘The wind continues to the westward. I am sorry to find it almost as prevailing as the trade winds.’ (4th July 1798, near Alexandria.—Life of Lord de Saumarez, i. 210.) ‘We have just gained sight of Cyprus, nearly the track we followed six weeks ago, so invariably do the westerly winds prevail at this season.’ (19th. Aug. 1798.—Ib. i. 243.) A westerly wind would be fair between Cæsarea and Sidon, as the bearing of the coast line between the two places is about N.N.E. See Sailing Directions for the Coast of Syria, by Capt. E. Smith, R.N.). We are not informed of the cause of their stopping at Sidon; probably, however, it was for the purposes of trade. (NOTE: According to Strabo, Sidon was situated on the finest harbour of the Continent, and contested with Tyre the supremacy of the Phœnician cities (lib. xvi. c. 2). Achilles Tatius calls it the metropolis of the Phœnicians, μήτηρ Φοινίκων ἡ πόλις; he describes it as having two harbours, one of which is large with a narrow entrance, where merchant ships can winter in safely (lib. i.). To judge from its present state, the shelter was afforded by a ridge of rocks, parallel to the coast, forming a natural breakwater. The harbour was filled up during the wars of the Middle Ages. For an account of its present state, see Robinson’s Biblical Researches, and Wilson’s Lands of the Bible. The latter author gives a plan of the harbour. See a view of it in Carne’s Syria and the Holy Land Illustrated, vol. iii. p. 6) Whatever was the cause of the delay, it afforded the centurion an opportunity of showing kindness to St. Paul, for we are told in the narrative that he ‘gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself’ [or rather ‘to receive their attention;’ i.e., perhaps, ‘to obtain from them that outfit for the voyage which, on account of the official precision of his custody at Cæsarea, he could not there be provided with.’—ALFORD.] (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul - 284 page book - A T Robertson says this book is a classic on this subject)

NOTE: James Smith, the Scottish yachtsman and classical scholar from the last century, spent years in the study of Acts 27-28, including personal experience at the sites mentioned in the text. His conclusion was that this report was written by someone who had actually observed the techniques used in a voyage on a Roman vessel during a real journey on the Mediterranean Sea.

Acts 27:4  From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary.

NET  Acts 27:4 From there we put out to sea and sailed under the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.

GNT  Acts 27:4 κἀκεῖθεν ἀναχθέντες ὑπεπλεύσαμεν τὴν Κύπρον διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἀνέμους εἶναι ἐναντίους,

NLT  Acts 27:4 Putting out to sea from there, we encountered strong headwinds that made it difficult to keep the ship on course, so we sailed north of Cyprus between the island and the mainland.

KJV  Acts 27:4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

ESV  Acts 27:4 And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us.

CSB  Acts 27:4 When we had put out to sea from there, we sailed along the northern coast of Cyprus because the winds were against us.

NIV  Acts 27:4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.

NKJ  Acts 27:4 When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

NRS  Acts 27:4 Putting out to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us.

YLT  Acts 27:4 And thence, having set sail, we sailed under Cyprus, because of the winds being contrary,

NAB  Acts 27:4 From there we put out to sea and sailed around the sheltered side of Cyprus because of the headwinds,

NJB  Acts 27:4 From there we put to sea again, but as the winds were against us we sailed under the lee of Cyprus,

GWN  Acts 27:4 Leaving Sidon, we sailed on the northern side of the island of Cyprus because we were traveling against the wind.

BBE  Acts 27:4 And sailing again from there, we went on under cover of Cyprus, because the wind was against us.


SIDON > MYRA
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From there - From Sidon (Acts 27:3+) see the red line in the map above) to Myra

We put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus -  "The lee of Cyprus." The verb sailed under the shelter is explained in more detail below where the same verb is used (Acts 27:7) Jamieson adds that from Sidon "they sailed under the lee of Cyprus (which was on the ship's left side)." As shown on the map above, the eastern side of Cyprus protected the ship from the prevalent westerly winds (blowing from west to east) during part of the journey from Sidon. As they turned the northeast corner (see map above) of Cyprus, they would have then begun sailing in a westerly direction and this they did by staying close to the southern coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia (Acts 27:5) which would have provided some "buffering" of the northwesterly winds. 

Robertson -  "Cyprus was thus on the left between the ship (SEE MAP ABOVE) and the wind from the northwest, under the protection of Cyprus.The Etesian winds were blowing from the northwest (SEE DEPICTION OF THE ETESIAN WINDS) so that they could not cut straight across from Sidon to Patara with Cyprus on the right. They must run behind Cyprus and hug the shore of Cilicia and Pamphylia." 


CYPRUS-click to enlarge

Cyprus - all uses in Acts - Acts 11:19; Acts 13:4; Acts 15:39; Acts 21:3; Acts 27:4

Because - Term of explanation, explaining why they had to sail under the shelter of Cyprus. 

The winds were contrary - The verb were (eimi) is in the present tense indicating that the winds were continually "facing them, in their very teeth if they went that way." (enantios) (ATR) These northwesterly winds prevented them from sailing straight toward Italy. 

Contrary (1727)(enantios from enanti = over against in turn from en = in + antíos = set against) is used primarily of place and means over against which pertains to being opposite (as in face to face or fronting someone). In his verse it is used metaphorically to describe the winds as set against them or opposite them. In other words if their went that direction they would be going face to face (so to speak) with the winds. 

Dennis Gaertner adds that "Although the wind across the Mediterranean was generally from the west, ships could make progress along the coast (especially at night) due to the land breezes blowing out to sea from the mountains. The difference in temperature between the mountains and the sea produced these breezes, and coupled with the strong westward current (of perhaps two miles per hour) close to the coast, they could tack along the coastline whenever necessary." (and many Roman vessels were outfitted for tacking maneuvers in which a sail cold be rotated to catch the wind from a variety of directions.) (The College Press NIV Commentary – Acts)

Acts 27:5  When we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.


NLT  Acts 27:5 Keeping to the open sea, we passed along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, landing at Myra, in the province of Lycia.

KJV  Acts 27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

ESV  Acts 27:5 And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia.

CSB  Acts 27:5 After sailing through the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we reached Myra in Lycia.

NIV  Acts 27:5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.

NKJ  Acts 27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

NRS  Acts 27:5 After we had sailed across the sea that is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia.

YLT  Acts 27:5 and having sailed over the sea over-against Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myria of Lycia,

NAB  Acts 27:5 and crossing the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia we came to Myra in Lycia.

NJB  Acts 27:5 then across the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, taking a fortnight to reach Myra in Lycia.

GWN  Acts 27:5 We sailed along the coast of the provinces of Cilicia and Pamphylia and arrived at the city of Myra in the province of Lycia.

BBE  Acts 27:5 And having gone across the sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia we came to Myra, in Lycia.


SIDON>MYRA
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When we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia - Cilicia and Pamphylia are seen on the southern coast of modern day Turkey in the map above. 

Cilicia - (see map) all 8 NT uses in Acts - Acts 6:9; Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41; Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3; Acts 23:34; Acts 27:5; Gal. 1:21. As the ship sailed through these waters, the coastline may have stirred recollections in Paul's mind - Cilicia being his place of birth (Tarsus in Cilicia - Acts 21:39 Acts 22:3 Acts 23:34) and Pamphylia the site of beginning of his first missionary journey into the interior Roman provinces (Acts 13:13). On Paul's second missionary journey he came to Pamphylia from the interior and departed by sea from there back to his sending church in Antioch (Acts 14:24). 

Pamphylia - - All 5 NT uses in Acts - Acts 2:10; Acts 13:13; Acts 14:24; Acts 15:38; Acts 27:5. Paul would have had one bad memory from his first missionary journey to Pamphylia. 

Swindoll - The better sailing conditions came at the risk of piracy in the dangerous alley between Cyprus and Pamphylia, but with a centurion aboard, the ship’s captain could breathe a little easier. (Acts-Swindoll's Living Insights)

We landed at Myra in Lycia - This would have taken about 2 weeks. At Myra there was a port,a little east of Patara (Acts 21:1+). "The port Andriace which had a fine harbour and did a large grain business. No disciples are mentioned here nor at Lasea, Melita, Syracuse, Rhegium." (Robertson) This destination was by design as in this significant seaport they would be more likely to find a larger ship bound for Rome, which in fact they did find. "The ancient remains in this port indicate a significant trade in the purple dye made from murex shells, a principal export of Tyre." (Swindoll).

Landed  (2718)(katerchomai) is literally to come down, the idea being that of coming from the high sea down to land.


MYRA ON COAST OF LYCIA
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Myra - A city of the ancient country of Lycia (map) about 2.5 miles from the coast. Here, according to Acts 27:6, Paul found a grain ship from Alexandria (Egypt). The city stood upon a hill formed by the openings of two valleys. At an early period Myra was of less importance than was the neighboring city Patara, yet later it became a prominent port for ships from Egypt and Cyprus, and Theodosius II made it the capital of the province. It was also famed as the seat of worship of an Asiatic deity whose name is no longer known (see theater at Myra). Nicholas, a bishop and the patron saint of sailors, is said to have been buried in a church on the road between Myra and Andraki, the port. Here an Arab fleet was destroyed in 807. In 808 Haroun al-Rashid, the renowned kalif of Bagdad, took the city, and here Saewulf landed on his return from Jerusalem. Dembre is the modern name of the ruins of Myra, which are among the most imposing in that part of Asia Minor. The elaborate details of the decoration of theater are unusually well preserved, and the rock-hewn tombs (see picture) about the city bear many bas-reliefs (picture, another picture) and inscriptions of interest. On the road to Andraki the monastery of Nicholas may still be seen.

James Smith - In pursuing this route they acted precisely as the most accomplished seaman in the present day would have done under similar circumstances; by standing to the north till they reached the coast of Cilicia, they might expect when they did so to be favoured by the land wind, which prevails there during the summer months, as well as by the current, which constantly runs to the westward, along the south coast of Asia Minor. M. de Pagès, a French navigator, who made a voyage from Syria to Marseilles, took this course, and has given the reasons why he did so. He informs us, that after making Cyprus, "The winds from the west, and consequently contrary, which prevail in these places during the summer, forced us to run to the north. We made for the coast of Caramania (Cilicia) in order to meet the northerly winds, which we found accordingly."...Favoured, as they probably were, by the land wind and currents, they arrive without any recorded incident at Myra of Lycia, then a flourishing seaport, now a desolate waste. The stupendous magnitude of its theatre attests the extent of its former population; the splendour of its tombs, its wealth. But it is not my intention to describe the ancient or modern state of the places visited, farther than as they illustrate the events of the voyage. (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul )

Acts 27:6  There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.

NET  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found a ship from Alexandria sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.

GNT  Acts 27:6 κἀκεῖ εὑρὼν ὁ ἑκατοντάρχης πλοῖον Ἀλεξανδρῖνον πλέον εἰς τὴν Ἰταλίαν ἐνεβίβασεν ἡμᾶς εἰς αὐτό.

NLT  Acts 27:6 There the commanding officer found an Egyptian ship from Alexandria that was bound for Italy, and he put us on board.

KJV  Acts 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.

ESV  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board.

CSB  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.

NIV  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.

NKJ  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.

NRS  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy and put us on board.

YLT  Acts 27:6 and there the centurion having found a ship of Alexandria, sailing to Italy, did put us into it,

NAB  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship that was sailing to Italy and put us on board.

NJB  Acts 27:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship leaving for Italy and put us aboard.

GWN  Acts 27:6 In Myra the officer found a ship from Alexandria that was on its way to Italy and put us on it.

BBE  Acts 27:6 And there the captain came across a ship of Alexandria, sailing for Italy, and put us in it.

PAUL TRANSFERRED TO 
AN ALEXANDRIAN SHIP

There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing (pleo) for Italy - An Alexandrian ship was one from Egypt that was going toward Rome, for Egypt was the granary of Italy. This is undoubtedly what Julius had hoped he would find as he sailed along the coastal areas. Robertson thinks this grain ship from Egypt was "out of its (normal) course because of the wind," adding that "such grain ships usually carried passengers." In this case Julius commandeered the ship for his use. 

And he put us aboard it - The verb embibazo is used only here and means to put in someone into something, to cause someone to go into, in this case a boat and so to cause to go aboard, to cause to embark, or cause to put aboard ship.

NET Note on Alexandrian ship - Alexandria (modern Alexandria) was a great city of northern Egypt which was a center for grain trade to Rome. Therefore this type of travel connection was common at the time. For a winter journey (considered hazardous) there were special bonuses and insurance provided (Suetonius, Life of Claudius 18.1-2). 

Gaertner adds that "This vessel, known as the “merchantman,” had become one of the most convenient means of travel in the Roman world, used frequently even by imperial officials. (The College Press NIV Commentary – Acts)

Nicolle E. Hirschfeld says "The dimensions of the Alexandrian grain ships were comparable to those of the USS Constitution (picture - 200' x 43') and Nelson's Victory." (Ship of St Paul: Historical Background) (See description of the "Isis" a first century ship). 

The very fact that this ship presumably had wheat bound for Rome as well as room for 276 souls indicates that the preceding dimensions would be quite reasonable. This was no little dingy! 

Kent Hughes describes the Alexandrian ship noting that in "Asia Minor, the centurion transferred Paul and the other prisoners onto a large Egyptian grain ship. The typical grain freighter was 140 feet long and thirty-six feet wide and bore a thirty-three-foot draught. It was a sturdy ship, but in high seas it had definite disadvantages. It had no rudder like a modern ship but was steered by two great paddles extending from the stern. It had only one mast on which was a great square sail. Chief among its drawbacks was that it could not sail into the wind. (Preaching the Word – Acts: The Church Afire)

Marshall There was an important trade route from Egypt to Italy bringing corn for the vast population of Rome. Since ancient ships were not well designed for sailing against the wind, it would be natural for ships from Alexandria to sail more or less due north to Myra and then take advantage of the coast of Asia Minor for the next stage of the journey. The corn trade was in the hands of private owners who received special consideration from the Roman government in view of the importance of this lifeline for Rome. The centurion in charge of Paul had no doubt intended all along to make use of such a ship for the journey to Rome. (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries – Acts)


James Smith - The voyage has hitherto been prosperous, and the object which the party had in view in proceeding to ‘the places in Asia’ is attained. At the first of them which lay in their way, the centurion found a ship of Alexandria, loaded, as we afterwards learn, with wheat, bound for Italy, in which he embarked his charge. Egypt was at this time one of the granaries of Rome, and the corn which was sent from thence to Italy was conveyed in ships of very great size. From the dimensions given of one of them by Lucian,2 they appear to have been quite as large as the largest class of merchant ships of modern times. We need not be surprised, therefore, at the number of souls which we afterwards find were embarked in this one, or that another ship of the same class could after the shipwreck convey them to Italy, in addition to her own crew.

Some commentators have supposed that Myra lay so much out of the track from Alexandria to Italy that the term Alexandrian must mean the particular ‘build’ of the ship, just as we say Liburnian galleys, and not as marking the port to which she belonged. Now it is quite true that Myra is out of the direct course from Alexandria to Italy, which is by the south of Crete. But with the westerly winds which prevail in those seas, ships, particularly those of the ancients, unprovided with a compass and ill calculated to work to windward, would naturally stand to the north till they made the land of Asia Minor, which is peculiarly favourable for navigation by such vessels, because the coast is bold and safe, and the elevation of the mountains makes it visible at a great distance; it abounds in harbours, and the sinuosities of its shores and the westerly current would enable them, if the wind was at all off the land, to work to windward, at least as far as Cnidus, where these advantages ceased. Myra lies due north from Alexandria,1 and its bay is well calculated to shelter a windbound ship. The Alexandrian ship was not, therefore, out of her course at Myra, even if she had no call to touch there for the purposes of commerce. (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul )

Acts 27:7  When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone;

NET  Acts 27:7 We sailed slowly for many days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus. Because the wind prevented us from going any farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.

GNT  Acts 27:7 ἐν ἱκαναῖς δὲ ἡμέραις βραδυπλοοῦντες καὶ μόλις γενόμενοι κατὰ τὴν Κνίδον, μὴ προσεῶντος ἡμᾶς τοῦ ἀνέμου ὑπεπλεύσαμεν τὴν Κρήτην κατὰ Σαλμώνην,

NLT  Acts 27:7 We had several days of slow sailing, and after great difficulty we finally neared Cnidus. But the wind was against us, so we sailed across to Crete and along the sheltered coast of the island, past the cape of Salmone.

KJV  Acts 27:7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;

ESV  Acts 27:7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.

CSB  Acts 27:7 Sailing slowly for many days, we came with difficulty as far as Cnidus. Since the wind did not allow us to approach it, we sailed along the south side of Crete off Salmone.

NIV  Acts 27:7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.

NKJ  Acts 27:7 When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.

NRS  Acts 27:7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind was against us, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.

YLT  Acts 27:7 and having sailed slowly many days, and with difficulty coming over-against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over-against Salmone,

NAB  Acts 27:7 For many days we made little headway, arriving at Cnidus only with difficulty, and because the wind would not permit us to continue our course we sailed for the sheltered side of Crete off Salmone.

NJB  Acts 27:7 For some days we made little headway, and we had difficulty in making Cnidus. The wind would not allow us to touch there, so we sailed under the lee of Crete off Cape Salmone

GWN  Acts 27:7 We were sailing slowly for a number of days. Our difficulties began along the coast of the city of Cnidus because the wind would not let us go further. So at Cape Salmone, we started to sail for the south side of the island of Crete.

BBE  Acts 27:7 And when we had gone on slowly for a long time, and had had hard work getting across to Cnidus, for the wind was against us, we went under cover of Crete, in the direction of Salmone;


CNIDUS>SALOME
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JOURNEY FROM MYRA
AROUND CRETE

When we had sailed slowly for a good many days - Sailed slowly (braduploeo - only here in NT) is in the present tense indicating they were continually sailing slowly which in turn indicates they were facing a persistent wind, the prevailing winds being from the west and northwest.

And with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther - They could not continue westward but headed southwesterly from here. Apparently they did not even put in at the harbor at Cnidus. Notice from the map above that from Cnidus to Crete the ship was more directly exposed to the prevailing westerly winds which made travel difficult.

Click small map below for Cnidus

Cnidus - A city of Caria in the Roman province of Asia, past which, according to Acts 27:7, Paul sailed. At the Southwest corner of Asia Minor there projects for 90 miles into the sea a long, narrow peninsula, practically dividing the Aegean from the Mediterranean. It now bears the name of Cape Crio. Ships sailing along the southern coast of Asia Minor here turn northward as they round the point. Upon the very end of the peninsula, and also upon a small island off its point was the city of Cnidus. The island which in ancient times was connected with the mainland by a causeway is now joined to it by a sandy bar. Thus were formed two harbors, one of which could be closed by a chain. Though Cnidus was in Caria, it held the rank of a free city. There were Jews here as early as the 2nd century B.C. The ruins of Cnidus are the only objects of interest on the long peninsula, and as they may be reached by land only with great difficulty, few travelers have visited them; they may, however, be reached more easily by boat. The nearest modern village is Yazi Keui, 6 miles away. The ruins of Cnidus are unusually interesting, for the entire plan of the city may easily be traced. The sea-walls and piers remain. The acropolis was upon the hill in the western portion of the town; upon the terraces below stood the public buildings, among which were two theaters and the odeum still well preserved. The city was especially noted for its shrine of Venus and for the statue of that goddess by Praxiteles. Here in 1875-78 Sir C. Newton discovered the statue of Demeter, now in the British Museum. See also the Aphrodite of Cnidus in the South Kensington Museum, one of the loveliest statues in the world. From here also came the huge Cnidian lion. The vast necropolis West of the ruins contains tombs of every size and shape, and from various ages.


CAPE OF SALMONE
Red Mark
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We sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone - Salmone was a promontory (and a cape) of Crete on the northeast tip of the island. With Crete on the right side of ship, they got some protection from the northwesterly winds. 

Swindoll explains that "Ancient documents from the period mention medium-sized merchant galleys that were 70 feet long, with the largest running 150 feet. Ships rarely sailed in open water far from land; captains usually navigated by sight. In this case, the captain tried to turn north after passing Rhodes, most likely trying to reach Ephesus. From there, he might follow a straight east–west course across the Aegean to Piraeus using islands for navigation. The ship would be portaged across the Isthmus of Corinth via the Diolkos and then across the Ionian Sea to Italy. The fall winds didn’t cooperate with the planned route. Unable to sail north, they made for Crete, hoping to run along the leeward side, then perhaps turn north toward Achaia." (Ibid)

Shelter (5284)(hupopleo from hupo = under + pleo = sail) means to sail under the "lee" (see Wikipedia note below) of an island. To sail under the shelter of (for protection from the wind). Hupopleo describes the "effort to protect a ship from stormy winds (by sailing) under the lee or sheltered side of an island, usually the southern side in the Mediterranean Sea (because adverse wind was usually from the north)." (Friberg) BDAG is similar - "sail under the lee of an island, i.e. in such a way that the island protects the ship from the wind." 

Wikipedia (see diagram) - Windward is the direction upwind from the point of reference, alternatively the direction from which the wind is coming. Leeward (is the direction downwind (or downward) from the point of reference. The leeward region of mountains generally remains dry as compared to the windward. The side of a ship that is towards the leeward is its lee side. If the vessel is heeling under the pressure of the wind, this will be the "lower side". 


James Smith - IN this ship of Alexandria, in which the centurion and his party embarked, they proceeded on their voyage. Their progress after leaving Myra was extremely slow; for we are told that it was ‘many’ days before they were ‘come over against Cnidus,’ that is before they reached the entrance of the Ægean Sea. As the distance between the two places is not more than 130 geographical miles, which they could easily have accomplished with a fair wind in one day, they must either have met with calms or contrary winds. I infer that the delay was caused by contrary winds, from the expression μόλις, which is translated in our authorised version ‘scarce,’ producing the impression that the ship had scarcely reached Cnidus when the winds became contrary; but which ought to be rendered ‘with difficulty,’ expressing the difficulty which ships experience in contending with adverse winds. The same word occurs in the following verse, where it is translated ‘hardly,’ where there can be no doubt as to its meaning, for the general trending of the south coast of Crete, which they were navigating (παραλεγόμενοι, v. 8), was the same as that of Asia, east and west; and we are now told that the winds were contrary (v. 7). Cicero, in one of his epistles, uses very similar terms to express the effects of contrary winds:—

‘Quum sane adversis ventis usi essemus, tardeque et incommode navigâssemus.’
‘Having met with contrary winds, and sailed slowly and with difficulty.’ 

The wind therefore would in common language have been termed north-west. Now, this is precisely the wind which might have been expected in those seas towards the end of summer.  We learn from the sailing directions for the Mediterranean, that ‘Throughout the whole of the Mediterranean, but mostly in the eastern half, including the Adriatic and Archipelago, the north-west winds prevail in the summer months;’ which agrees with Aristotle’s account of these winds. According to Pliny, they begin in August, and blow for forty days. With north-west winds the ship could work up from Myra to Cnidus; because until she reached that point she had the advantage of a weather shore, under the lee of which she would have smooth water, and as formerly mentioned, a westerly current; but it would be ‘slowly and with difficulty.’ At Cnidus these advantages ceased; and unless she had put into that harbour, and waited for a fair wind, her only course was to run under the lee of Crete, in the direction of Salmone (κατὰ Σαλμώνην), which is the eastern extremity of that island. After passing this point, the difficulty they experienced in navigating to the westward along the coasts of Asia would recur; but as the south side of Crete is also a weather shore, with north-west winds, they would be able to work up as far as Cape Matala. Here the land trends suddenly to the north, and the advantages of a weather shore cease, and their only recourse was to make for a harbour. Now Fair Havens is the last harbour before arriving at Cape Matala, the farthest point to which an ancient ship could have attained with north-westerly winds.
The delays experienced by navigators proceeding westward in this part of the Mediterranean during the summer months, are of such constant occurrence that I have scarcely found an instance in which they have not been encountered.(The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul )

Acts 27:8  and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea

NET  Acts 27:8 With difficulty we sailed along the coast of Crete and came to a place called Fair Havens that was near the town of Lasea.

GNT  Acts 27:8 μόλις τε παραλεγόμενοι αὐτὴν ἤλθομεν εἰς τόπον τινὰ καλούμενον Καλοὺς Λιμένας ᾧ ἐγγὺς πόλις ἦν Λασαία.

NLT  Acts 27:8 We struggled along the coast with great difficulty and finally arrived at Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

KJV  Acts 27:8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.

ESV  Acts 27:8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

CSB  Acts 27:8 With yet more difficulty we sailed along the coast and came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of Lasea.

NIV  Acts 27:8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

NKJ  Acts 27:8 Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

NRS  Acts 27:8 Sailing past it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

YLT  Acts 27:8 and hardly passing it, we came to a certain place called 'Fair Havens,' nigh to which was the city of Lasaea.

NAB  Acts 27:8 We sailed past it with difficulty and reached a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

NJB  Acts 27:8 and struggled along the coast until we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

GWN  Acts 27:8 We had difficulty sailing along the shore of Crete. We finally came to a port called Fair Harbors. The port was near the city of Lasea.

BBE  Acts 27:8 And sailing down the side of it, as well as we were able, we came to a certain place named Fair Havens, near which was the town of Lasea.


ARRIVAL AT FAIR HAVENS
Click to enlarge

SAILING ON TO
FAIR HAVENS

And with difficulty sailing past it - "We struggled along the coast with great difficulty." They were "coasting along" (ESV) the "Cape of Salome" on the northeast side of Crete but even once past Salome it was not easy navigation (presumably the difficulty was due to the effect of northwesterly winds). 

Sailing past (3881)(paralegomai from para = near + lego = meaning to lie, choose, pick out) literally means to lie near (or with someone). It was a technical nautical term that described laying one's course near, sailing nearby or sailing along a coastline. It does not appear in the Septuagint. The only other use is Acts 27:13. Robertson adds that "Diodorus Siculus uses paralegomai in precisely this sense of coasting along." 

Difficulty (3433)(molis from molos = toil, labor pains, drudgery, hardship) means scarcely (barely able), hardly (pertains to being hard to accomplish). Molis means barely able to be done and pictures a struggle to attain something worthwhile only after great effort. Luke uses this adverb three times in this portion of the voyage to describe their difficult circumstances (Acts 27:7, 8, 16). The adverb molis is descriptive of the “toil” (so to speak) of the sailing vessel laboring against the winds.  

Gaertner notes that "The best calculations indicate that the year in which this journey occurred was A.D. 59. In this year the Day of Atonement fell on October 5." (Ibid)

We came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea - Click the smaller map below to see the city of Lasea just to the east of Fair Havens. While Robertson says that Fair Havens and Lasea are not mentioned by ancient writers but James Smith writes "the ruins of this city have been discovered by my friend and relative the Rev. George Brown. (Appendix - with map) It lies just east of Fair Havens, and still retains its name."

Fair Havens -  a harbor on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, is still identified by that name in the modern Greek language.  A roadstead on the South coast of Crete, about 5 miles East of Cape Matala, the most southerly point of the island. The harbor is formed by a bay, open to the East, and sheltered on the Southwest by two small islands. Here Paul waited for a considerable time (Acts 27:9); but while it afforded good anchorage and a shelter from North and Northwest winds, "the haven was not commodious to winter in" (Acts 27:8, 12). Fair Havens is an open bay, a poor harbor in bad weather. Robertson adds "This harbour is named Kalus Limeonas, a small bay two miles east of Cape Matala. It opens to the East and Southeast, but is not fit to winter in. This harbour would protect them for a time from the winds."


James Smith - After working up along the southern coast of Crete, they reached Fair Havens, which we have seen is the farthest point which an ancient ship, navigating under the lee of Crete, could reach with north-west winds.  (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul )

Jack Andrews - Even though we are heading where the Lord has told us to go we can expect difficult days and dark nights! We can expect stormy blasts and unexpected detours! Our ships can be turned by the winds of life. We need to remember the promise of God—He doesn’t always tell us how we will get there, but only that we will get there!

Remember that we can be in the center of God’s will, as Paul was, and still find ourselves in storms, troubles, and trials. Let us be resolved to sail on with Jesus! To continue to be faithful to Him in spite of the persecution and pain! In dark days and difficult nights let us look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith! The Lord is calling for our complete surrender—He’s calling for us to be faithful to Him no matter what! Would you stay true to Him no matter what the world is saying? The Lord is calling for our surrender—our service— our songs of praise even in the dark days! (Jack Andrews Expository Studies – Understanding Acts)

Acts 27:9  When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them,

NET  Acts 27:9 Since considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous because the fast was already over, Paul advised them,

GNT  Acts 27:9 Ἱκανοῦ δὲ χρόνου διαγενομένου καὶ ὄντος ἤδη ἐπισφαλοῦς τοῦ πλοὸς διὰ τὸ καὶ τὴν νηστείαν ἤδη παρεληλυθέναι παρῄνει ὁ Παῦλος

NLT  Acts 27:9 We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall, and Paul spoke to the ship's officers about it.

KJV  Acts 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,

ESV  Acts 27:9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,

CSB  Acts 27:9 By now much time had passed, and the voyage was already dangerous. Since the Fast was already over, Paul gave his advice

NIV  Acts 27:9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them,

NKJ  Acts 27:9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,

NRS  Acts 27:9 Since much time had been lost and sailing was now dangerous, because even the Fast had already gone by, Paul advised them,

YLT  Acts 27:9 And much time being spent, and the sailing being now dangerous -- because of the fast also being already past -- Paul was admonishing,

NAB  Acts 27:9 Much time had now passed and sailing had become hazardous because the time of the fast had already gone by, so Paul warned them,

NJB  Acts 27:9 A great deal of time had been lost, and navigation was already hazardous, since it was now well after the time of the Fast, so Paul gave them this warning,

GWN  Acts 27:9 We had lost so much time that the day of fasting had already past. Sailing was now dangerous, so Paul advised them,

BBE  Acts 27:9 And as a long time had gone by, and the journey was now full of danger, because it was late in the year, Paul put the position before them,

HOLD FAST WHEN
IT'S THE TIME OF THE FAST!

The great annual public fast of the great Day of Atonement which occurred in the month Tishri, corresponding to the new moon of October served to indicate the season of the year after which the navigation of the Mediterranean became dangerous and navigators would be well advised to Hold Fast

When considerable (hikanos) time had passed - The NLT has "We had lost a lot of time." 

And the voyage was now dangerous, since even the Fast was already over - The Greek sentence has the definite article (ten) before "Fast" - the point is that this was not a reference to just any fast or to fasting in general but a reference to a very specific Fast. Thus the Fast refers to the great Fast on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which in 59 AD would have been on October 5. Why does Luke give us this detail? The answer is that it was well known among ship captains that sailing was relatively safe up to September 14, but from September 15 to November 11 sailing was dangerous. After November 12 and through the winter months sailing was virtually impossible. Most writers deduce from these facts that the time of this voyage was most likely in mid-October when sailing was more dangerous.

Had passed (1230)(diaginomai from dia = through + ginomai = to become, be) is used of time and means literally to be through (i.e., past). In classic Greek diaginomai mean “to go through,” “to pass,” “to go through life,” and “to continue through.” 

The Greek word for dangerous (episphalous) is used only here and literally means near to falling, ready to fall, prone to fall and describes that which is unsafe, insecure, hazardous, unstable, precarious. 

Fast (3521)(nesteria from verb nesteuo = to fast) describes fasting, fast, abstinence from eating, generally for want of food. The Pharisees practiced private fastings of the Jews (Mt 17:21;Luke 2:37) which they felt earned great merit with God, in striking contrast to the fasting of Anna which was an act of worship of her great God. (cf. Luke 18:12; Isa 58:3ff.; Da. 9:3).

Robertson comments that "We do not know precisely when the party left Caesarea (possibly in August), but in ample time to arrive in Rome before October if conditions had been more favourable. But the contrary winds had made the voyage very slow and difficult all the way (Acts 27:7) besides the long delay here in this harbour of Fair Havens."

Paul began to admonish them - Admonish is in the imperfect tense indicating Paul advised them again and again with strong emotion. Paul began to admonish them and kept admonishing them. This was more than mere advice, but an earnest desire to persuade the men in charge to heed the truthfulness of his observations. Beloved, here is Paul, a prisoner, boldly offering advice to his superiors and not only offering advice but doing so over and over! Paul is a man led by the Spirit (Gal 5:18). And Robertson adds "Paul had clearly won the respect of the centurion and officers and also felt it to be his duty to give this unasked for warning.

Admonish (3867)(paraineo from para = to the point of + aineo = to praise) means to advise strongly, "indicate strongly to someone what he or she should plan to do." (L-N). The idea is to give urgent advice. Only here and Acts 27:22. 

Gilbrant This verb can be found in classical Greek from the Fifth Century B.C. and means “exhort, recommend,” or “advise” (Liddell-Scott). It can be found only in the apocryphal books of the Septuagint, without a Hebrew equivalent. In 2 Maccabees 7:25,26 it is used of someone who “exhorts . . . with many words,” in the sense of advising. In 3 Maccabees 5:17 it is used with the sense of “strongly suggesting.” (Ibid)


Acts 27:9-25 I Expect Jesus By Richard De Haan

I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. —Acts 27:25

A Sunday school teacher gave every boy in his class a New Testament and encouraged each of them to write his own name inside the front cover. Several weeks later, after repeatedly inviting the boys to receive Christ as their Savior, he asked those who had done so to write these words under his name: “I accept Jesus.” One boy scribbled instead, “I expect Jesus.” When the teacher talked to him, he realized that the boy knew what he had written after all. He had not only trusted the Lord for salvation but expected Him to be with him at all times and to do all He had promised. That boy’s statement presents a simple yet profound commentary on the true meaning of faith.

In Acts 27, we see the apostle Paul’s expectant faith. He was a prisoner being transported by ship to Rome when a violent storm arose and threatened to destroy the vessel. During the night, an angel of the Lord told Paul they would all survive (vv.23-24). He knew the word of the Lord could be trusted. In the midst of the storm, he said, “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (v.25). And so it was. It should be no surprise to us when God keeps His word. It’s to be expected (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O for a faith that will not shrink
Though pressed by many a foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe.
—Bathurst

Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.


Acts 27:9-25

"Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid" (Isaiah 12:2).

An old seaman said, "In fierce storms we can do but one thing. There is only one way [to survive]; we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there." Commenting on this idea, Richard Fuller wrote, "This, Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you. Reason cannot help you. Past experiences give you no light. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there. You must stay upon the Lord; and, come what may—winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers—no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm and hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness and His everlasting love in Christ Jesus."

In the storms of life, we must place our trust in the Lord and cling firmly to the sure promises of His Word. Our confidence in God should be so steadfast that no matter how severe the trial, with Job we can resolutely affirm, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). And to those who trust Him, He gives His "perfect peace" (Isa. 26:3).

With the psalmist we can say, "Be merciful to me, 0 God, be merci­ful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by" (Psalm 57:1). —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We realize the strength of the Anchor when we feel the stress of the storm. 

Acts 27:10 and said to them, "Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

NET  Acts 27:10 "Men, I can see the voyage is going to end in disaster and great loss not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

GNT  Acts 27:10 λέγων αὐτοῖς, Ἄνδρες, θεωρῶ ὅτι μετὰ ὕβρεως καὶ πολλῆς ζημίας οὐ μόνον τοῦ φορτίου καὶ τοῦ πλοίου ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι τὸν πλοῦν.

NLT  Acts 27:10 "Men," he said, "I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on-- shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well."

KJV  Acts 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

ESV  Acts 27:10 saying, "Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

CSB  Acts 27:10 and told them, "Men, I can see that this voyage is headed toward damage and heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but also of our lives."

NIV  Acts 27:10 "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also."

NKJ  Acts 27:10 saying, "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives."

NRS  Acts 27:10 saying, "Sirs, I can see that the voyage will be with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

YLT  Acts 27:10 saying to them, 'Men, I perceive that with hurt, and much damage, not only of the lading and of the ship, but also of our lives -- the voyage is about to be;'

NAB  Acts 27:10 "Men, I can see that this voyage will result in severe damage and heavy loss not only to the cargo and the ship, but also to our lives."

NJB  Acts 27:10 'Friends, I can see this voyage will be dangerous and that we will run considerable risk of losing not only the cargo and the ship but also our lives as well.'

GWN  Acts 27:10 "Men, we're going to face a disaster and heavy losses on this voyage. This disaster will cause damage to the cargo and the ship, and it will affect our lives."

BBE  Acts 27:10 Saying, Friends, I see that this journey will be one of great damage and loss, not only to the goods and the ship, but to ourselves.

  • Men, I perceive: Ac 27:21-26,31,34 Ge 41:16-25,38,39 2Ki 6:9,10 Ps 25:14 Da 2:30 Am 3:7 
  • that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, Ac 27:20,41-44 1Pe 4:18 
  • Video - Paul Sails for Rome
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

STORMY WEATHER
AHEAD!

And said to them, "Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives - Paul's warning was sensible and wise. Paul was not ignorant of the sea for in 2 Cor 11:25 he records "three times I was shipwrecked (NOTE THESE HAVE OCCURRED IN THE PAST AND ACTS 27 WOULD BE THE FOURTH!), a night and a day I have spent in the deep (i.e., he was stranded in the sea that long!)." So Paul realized this would potentially be a very dangerous voyage. He is not necessarily speaking a prophecy but is giving this warning based on his considerable experience with sea travel. Also notice that he says that there would be loss "of our lives," which is somewhat surprising as he knows that Jesus has promised him he would eventually come to Rome. From Acts 27:21+ it appears that Paul addressed these comments to everyone on board. 

Perceive (2334)(theoreo) is a verb of seeing but figuratively in this passage means to come to an understanding and thus speaks of mental perception, a perception Paul is basing on his previous experience. 

Jamieson explains Paul's perception was "not by any divine communication, but simply in the exercise of a good judgment aided by some experience. The event justified his decision."

Damage and...loss is a tautological (saying same thing with different words). 

Damage (5196)(hubris) can refer to insult (2 Cor 12:10+), but clearly in this context hubris refers to injury, harm or damage to a person and/or property arising from the "violence" (force) of the sea. is used again in Acts 27:21.

Vincent on hubris The word literally means insolence, injury, and is used here metaphorically: insolence of the winds and waves, "like our 'sport' or 'riot' of the elements" (Hackett). Some take it literally, with presumption, as indicating the folly of undertaking a voyage at that season; but the use of the word in Acts 27:21 is decisive against this."

Loss (2209)(zemia) describes the state of coming into a worsened situation from previous advantage. Thus zemia is translated as damage, disadvantage, loss, forfeit. In ancient Greek manuscripts zemia referred to commercial or business losses and that is clearly Paul's meaning in his warning. Zemia is used again in Acts 27:21. 

Lives (5590)(psuche or psyche from psucho = to breathe, blow, English = psychology, "study of the soul") is the breath, then that which breathes, the individual, animated creature. Note that psuche is a many-sided word with the meaning derived from the context. In this case clearly Paul is emphasizing loss of physical lives (used with this meaning in Acts 20:10+). 

All uses of psuche in Acts -

Acts 2:27; Acts 2:41; Acts 3:23; Acts 4:32; Acts 7:14; Acts 14:2; Acts 14:22; Acts 15:24; Acts 15:26; Acts 20:10; Acts 20:24; Acts 27:10; Acts 27:22; Acts 27:37

Craig KeenerPagans undertaking sea voyages always sacrificed to the gods and sought their protection. Bad omens, astrological interpretations or dreams sometimes prevented a ship from sailing if they were taken seriously. Before going to war Romans would check the entrails of animals (ED: HARUSPEX = READING ENTRAILS - diagram of sheep's liver), the flight of birds (ED ORNITHOMANCY) and other forms of divination; religious advice was always important to those contemplating a potentially risky venture. Paul would sound to them like the kind of seer who could predict the future without divination. Unlike Greeks, Romans respected divination more than this kind of prophecy (ED: NOT EVERYONE AGREES PAUL'S PRONOUNCEMENT WAS ACTUALLY PROPHETIC!). (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament)

Larkin Vegetius described the dangers of "winter sailing" as scant daylight, long nights, dense cloud cover, poor visibility and the double raging of winds, showers and snows (Military Institutions of the Romans 4.39)....Paul's cautionary word is the first of a number of initiatives in which the apostle demonstrates that he is indeed his "brother's keeper." (Acts 27:1-26 Caesarea to Crete; the Storm)

Acts 27:11  But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul.

GNT  Acts 27:11 ὁ δὲ ἑκατοντάρχης τῷ κυβερνήτῃ καὶ τῷ ναυκλήρῳ μᾶλλον ἐπείθετο ἢ τοῖς ὑπὸ Παύλου λεγομένοις.

NLT  Acts 27:11 But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship's captain and the owner than to Paul.

KJV  Acts 27:11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

ESV  Acts 27:11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

CSB  Acts 27:11 But the centurion paid attention to the captain and the owner of the ship rather than to what Paul said.

NIV  Acts 27:11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.

NKJ  Acts 27:11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.

NRS  Acts 27:11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

YLT  Acts 27:11 but the centurion to the pilot and to the shipowner gave credence more than to the things spoken by Paul;

NAB  Acts 27:11 The centurion, however, paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

NJB  Acts 27:11 But the centurion took more notice of the captain and the ship's owner than of what Paul was saying;

GWN  Acts 27:11 However, the officer was persuaded by what the pilot and the owner of the ship said and not by what Paul said.

BBE  Acts 27:11 But the captain gave more attention to the master and the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

THE CENTURION IS
IN CHARGE BUT IN ERROR

But - Term of contrast - This is a sad contrast! In this case it was the contrast between the wise opinion of Paul and the unwise opinion of the ship's captain and pilot, the latter winning out. 

The centurion was more persuaded (peitho) by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul - They surely reasoned with Julius that Fair Havens was not optimal for wintering and this was a valid statement. The centurion and crew were quick learners for the next time Paul gave advice, they listened! (see Acts 27:31-32+)

Craig Keener Being a practical Roman, the centurion respects the nautical knowledge of the captain more than a Jewish prisoner’s religious insights. Yet such a decision was often made more on economic than nautical grounds. Grain ships sometimes traveled together; this one is making the voyage alone and is probably one of the latest vessels of the shipping season. But the captain at best hopes to make it to a better harbor before the seas close down for the winter; he cannot hope to reach Italy this late in the year (Acts 27:9). The captain is probably also the ship owner here, but because his vessel is part of the imperial grain fleet, the centurion functions as a Roman official with greater authority than the ship owner, just as he would on land in Egypt. (IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament)

Pilot (2942)(kubernetes from kubernao = to govern) is the governor of a ship, the helmsman, the shipmaster who guides the path of the ship and responsible for managing and directing the ship. It was common in the papyri. The only other use is Rev 18:17. BDAG says a figurative extension is "one who directs the destiny of humans." There are no NT uses with this figurative meaning, but there are some early Christian writings which use kubernetes with this sense when referring to Christ. 

Captain (owner - only here in NT)(3490)(naukleros from naus = ship + kleros = lot) refers either to an owner of a ship or one who took passengers and freight for hire. BDAG says naukleros "can also mean captain, since the sailing-master of a ship engaged in state service (esp. for shipment of grain IG 14, 918) was called a naukleros."   

Gilbrant on naukleros In nonbiblical Greek a nauklēros usually describes the owner of a ship (naus [3354]) who leased his vessel out to transport passengers or cargo. Sometimes, though, it refers to the captain who commanded the vessel.

John Phillips comments on the centurion's ignoring of Paul's wise warning - And that is the way it so often is. The scales come down on the side of the expert, on the side of science and scholarship, on the side of the man whose opinion is weighted by his position, by his learning in his particular field. The voice of the humble believer in touch with God is ignored. Darwin is given precedence over Moses; the scientist is preferred before the saint; and all are losers. The final decision seems to have been left to the centurion. He looked at Paul and he saw a prisoner, a missionary, and he underestimated him. He looked at the ship's captain and he saw a successful businessman, owner of a large ship, a seasoned sailor, and he overestimated him. Having given Paul due allowance for his learning (in other fields) and his experience at sea (as a passenger), the centurion decided that the professional should know whether or not it was safe to proceed. And in any case, Phenice was not far—just thirty or forty miles westward along the southern coast of Crete. (Exploring Acts: An Expository Commentary)

Jack AndrewsWord of exhortation: Even though we are not always heeded does not mean that we are to withhold our advice. There are times that we must give our advice—even though it is not sought out and asked for. God has placed us in the world and around the lost to be shining lights for Jesus Christ our Lord! (Let your light shine!) (Ibid)

Acts 27:12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

NET  Acts 27:12 Because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there. They hoped that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

GNT  Acts 27:12 ἀνευθέτου δὲ τοῦ λιμένος ὑπάρχοντος πρὸς παραχειμασίαν οἱ πλείονες ἔθεντο βουλὴν ἀναχθῆναι ἐκεῖθεν, εἴ πως δύναιντο καταντήσαντες εἰς Φοίνικα παραχειμάσαι λιμένα τῆς Κρήτης βλέποντα κατὰ λίβα καὶ κατὰ χῶρον.

NLT  Acts 27:12 And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor-- a poor place to spend the winter-- most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only a southwest and northwest exposure.

KJV  Acts 27:12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.

ESV  Acts 27:12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

CSB  Acts 27:12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to set sail from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor on Crete open to the southwest and northwest, and to winter there.

NIV  Acts 27:12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

NKJ  Acts 27:12 And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.

NRS  Acts 27:12 Since the harbor was not suitable for spending the winter, the majority was in favor of putting to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, where they could spend the winter. It was a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest.

YLT  Acts 27:12 and the haven being incommodious to winter in, the more part gave counsel to sail thence also, if by any means they might be able, having attained to Phenice, there to winter, which is a haven of Crete, looking to the south-west and north-west,

NAB  Acts 27:12 Since the harbor was unfavorably situated for spending the winter, the majority planned to put out to sea from there in the hope of reaching Phoenix, a port in Crete facing west-northwest, there to spend the winter.

NJB  Acts 27:12 and since the harbour was unsuitable for wintering, the majority were for putting out from there in the hope of wintering at Phoenix -- a harbour in Crete, facing south-west and north-west.

GWN  Acts 27:12 Since the harbor was not a good place to spend the winter, most of the men decided to sail from there. They hoped to reach the city of Phoenix somehow and spend the winter there. (Phoenix is a harbor that faces the southwest and northwest winds and is located on the island of Crete.)

BBE  Acts 27:12 And as the harbour was not a good one in which to be for the winter, the greater number of them were for going out to sea, in order, if possible, to put in for the winter at Phoenix, a harbour of Crete, looking to the north-east and south-east.


MYRA - PHOENIX
Click to Enlarge

NOT ALL FAIR HAVENS
ARE SAFE HAVENS

Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering - Human reasoning was in play, for this was a reasonable assertion based on their sailing knowledge. Fair Havens was not well placed and thus was unfit and unfavorably situated as a port in which they could spend the winter. This fact led them to disregard Paul's advice. 

Not suitable (only use in NT)(428)(aneuthetos from a = alpha privative [negates] + thetos = placed or euthetos = fit, opportune) means literally "not well placed." Unfit, inappropriate. It describes something which should not or cannot be used. This is the first word in the sentence for emphasis. 

The majority reached a decision - NLT = "most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix." Hughes explains why this may have been the majority decision writing that "Fair Havens was a rather boring port and the harbor was not ideal for wintering and an enticing south wind began to blow, the captain decided to take a chance and set sail for the much nicer port of Phoenix, about forty miles away." (Ibid)

Decision (plan) (1012)(boule) when used of man expresses a decision, a purpose or a plan which is the result of inner deliberation. Boule is that which has been purposed and planned. Boule has in it the ideas of intelligence and deliberation.

Robertson notes that the verb tithemi (to place, put) with boule is an ancient idiom meaning to take counsel or give council. 

Page paraphrases it ""We vote for going on the chance that we may be able" 

To put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix (picture) - This harbor was about 40 miles away or what would usually be a day's journey, but such was not to be the case. 

Put out to sea (321) see note above on anago

A harbor of Crete, facing (blepo - looking) southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there - Notice the detail about the harbor which indicates the direction in which the harbor was oriented, there would be protection from the northwesterly winds. 

John PhillipsPaul, having been overruled by the experts, no doubt retired to his cabin to pray earnestly that all would be well. For himself he had no doubts at all. He knew that whatever happened, he would end up in Rome (Acts 23:11+); but what about his beloved Luke and Aristarchus? And what about his friend the centurion? And what about the captain and crew and the prisoners and the passengers—all those unsaved men now exposed to the possibility of storm and shipwreck? We can well believe that Paul prayed earnestly once the fateful decision was made. What a good thing, too, for that particular ship that they had a Paul on board, not a Jonah! (Ibid)

Jack AndrewsWrong steps in the wrong direction lead to disaster! We are not always overwhelmed by a tidal wave of sin, but little by little we can be overtaken. There is a laboratory experiment often carried out, in which a frog is placed in water heated at the rate of .0036 of a degree Fahrenheit per second and in which, although it never moves, at the end of 2 1/2 hours the frog is found to be dead. The explanation for this is that the water is heated so gradually that the frog never becomes aware of the rising temperature and is boiled to death without a struggle. If you were to drop him suddenly into hot water he would splash it all over the place in an all-out effort to get out! Satan desires to get us off course—to sail us into danger outside the will of God! Satan wants to cause us to shipwreck our faith and have loss of supplies, loss of the ship, and loss of sailors (saints)! He would lead us astray little by little if we let him. Give him an inch and he will take a mile— give him an inch and he will also take an inch! Little decisions can cause big problems! As we are sailing along life’s sea and living by faith let us keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him! Are you in a storm at sea? Have you set sail when you were supposed to stay put? Would you cry out to the Lord for help? Would you call on the Lord in hope? Phoenix is just a short distance, but if God is calling for you to stay in Fair Havens— by all means you better stay! (Ibid).

Acts 27:13 When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.

NET  Acts 27:13 When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they could carry out their purpose, so they weighed anchor and sailed close along the coast of Crete.

GNT  Acts 27:13 Ὑποπνεύσαντος δὲ νότου δόξαντες τῆς προθέσεως κεκρατηκέναι, ἄραντες ἆσσον παρελέγοντο τὴν Κρήτην.

NLT  Acts 27:13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete.

KJV  Acts 27:13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.

ESV  Acts 27:13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore.

CSB  Acts 27:13 When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they had achieved their purpose. They weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.

NIV  Acts 27:13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.

NKJ  Acts 27:13 When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.

NRS  Acts 27:13 When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore.

YLT  Acts 27:13 and a south wind blowing softly, having thought they had obtained their purpose, having lifted anchor, they sailed close by Crete,

NAB  Acts 27:13 A south wind blew gently, and thinking they had attained their objective, they weighed anchor and sailed along close to the coast of Crete.

NJB  Acts 27:13 A southerly breeze sprang up and, thinking their objective as good as reached, they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close inshore.

GWN  Acts 27:13 When a gentle breeze began to blow from the south, the men thought their plan would work. They raised the anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete.

BBE  Acts 27:13 And when the south wind came softly, being of the opinion that their purpose might be effected, they let the ship go and went sailing down the side of Crete, very near to the land.

  • moderate south wind came up: Job 37:17 Ps 78:26 Song 4:16 Lu 12:55 
  • they weighed anchor: Ac 27:21 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

BASING DECISIONS ON 
"FAVORABLE" CIRCUMSTANCES

A deceptive calm seemingly favored their unwise decision. It is always unwise to avoid godly counsel from a man of God, especially is his name is the apostle Paul!

THOUGHT - Beloved, do you find it difficult to receive (accept) godly counsel (that might counter the course you otherwise favor) of a godly man or woman? If so, beware!  

When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose - The gentle south wind seemed to confirm their decision. Pagans were superstitious and may have seen the gentle south wind as a good "omen." It is interesting that God is in control of gentle south winds! God knew that gentle winds would soon be storm winds. Had God sent stormy winds they may have decided to stay. But God wanted them to experience a storm but even so He would still cause all things to work together for good for Jesus had made a promise to Paul (cf Acts 23:11+, Ro 8:28+)!

THOUGHT - Do you (or have you) based important decision relying primarily on what you interpreted to be a favorable set of circumstances even though either godly counsel or even the Word of God supported that this decision would not be the best? Perhaps like this party, you experienced a season of "stormy weather" (even "shipwreck") so to speak. LESSON -  Natural human wisdom and "serendipitous" circumstances are not necessarily the optimal way to determine the will of God! See more detailed discussion on discerning the Will of God.

John Phillips calls this the "seducing wind" adding that "The south wind blew softly." It so often does!" "Supposing that they had obtained their purpose." We so often do! Beware when the south wind blows softly, especially when it blows in the teeth of advice given by Paul. Too many have been lured away by the soft south wind. It is all too easy to take seemingly favorable circumstances as the deciding factor in the matter of guidance and ignore the sterner counsel of the Word of God. For the believer there are three factors that, generally speaking, should come into line before deciding on an important change of course in life and in determining God's will. There is the inner voice of conviction, the normal reasoning process, and the general inner feeling and heart inclination....The voice of circumstance can be an important factor, for God can open and close doors. The difficulty in that, of course, lies in the fact that so can Satan. Just because a particular offer looks like a golden opportunity to achieve a desired goal does not mean it is a door opened by God....The deciding factor is the Word of God. We must beware, however, of the foolish practice of flipping through the Bible in the hope of spotting a verse that will give us some startling, spectacular, and suitable word from God. We must not use the Bible the way we would flip a coin. That is not to say that God cannot give us spectacular endorsement of His will from His Word. That is exactly what He wants to do. Normally He does do it, over a period of time as we wait on Him in prayer day by day, as we systematically, meditatively, and slowly read His Word page by page, chapter by chapter, in a conscientious and consecutive way. There are many decisions we have to make to which God has already spoken clearly and plainly in some command or principle in His Word. Any move that runs contrary to such a principle (e.g., not to lie, steal, commit adultery, be unequally yoked with an unbeliever, neglect the fellowship of believers) cannot be God's will. We need no further guidance on those things. God has spoken already. The quiet perusal of God's Word will in the end either confirm or contradict the other two voices, conviction and circumstance. When all three come into line, we can be sure we are on the right track—so long as we sincerely want to know and do God's will....Never ignore Paul. Never allow other considerations to outweigh God's Word. Never make a key decision without finding God's mind on the matter. Make your quiet time with God the most important factor in your life. (Ibid)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Robertson on south wind came upto blow under, then to blow gently. "A south wind having blown gently," in marked contrast to the violent northwest wind that they had faced so long. They were so sure of the wisdom of their decision that they did not even draw up the small boat attached by a rope to the vessel's stern (Acts 27:16)." (ED: One might say as we do today they  "threw caution to the wind" so to speak!)

Spurgeon - He is very unwise who trusts the winds, and equally so is he who sets his confidence upon any earthly thing, for fickle as the wind that blows are all things beneath the moon,

Moderate...came (only NT use)(5285) (hupopneo from hupo = under + pneo = blow, make a breeze) means to blow gently, like the air was just slightly moving. 

Gilbrant - A unique term of rare use, hupopneō appears to be a compound form of hupo (in this case does not take one of its many prepositional forms; rather, it has a generally diminutive application), and pneō, “to breathe,” and the resulting compound means “to breathe softly.” Applying the term to the wind the verb means to “blow gently, blow softly.” Its single appearance in classical Greek is in Aristotle’s Problemata at 8.6 where it is translated “blow underneath.” New Testament translators differ little in their renderings of its only appearance; in Acts 27:13 it refers to a light wind. The KJV states: “And when the south wind blew softly . . . they sailed close by Crete.” RSV simply changes it to “when the wind blew gently.” (Ibid)

Had attained (2902)(krateo) in this context means "to be able to complete or finish, presumably despite difficulties - 'to accomplish, to do successfully, to carry out" (L-N). So they assumed they had confirmation that they had accomplished their purpose. The perfect tense speaks of the permanence of this attainment (or so they thought!)

They weighed anchor (142)(airo) means they lifted up, took up, raised as with stones (Jn 8:58), one's hand (Rev 10:5) and in this context an anchor. 

And began sailing along Crete, close inshore - The sailed very close to the southern coast to protect from the northerly winds. 

Began sailing (3881) see above for note on paralegomai

Gaertner writes that "Progressing perhaps a little more than half of the distance, the ship rounded a cape known as Cape Matala. (see map below for location of this cape which is the promontory just south of he Messara Valley). When it did so, the ship was more open to prevailing winds. But what happened caught everyone by surprise."

ILLUSTRATION When people reject the wisdom gained from observing God's natural order, foolish decisions are likely to follow. As one mountaineer said as he turned back from the challenge of climbing an Alaskan peak because his equipment was inadequate for the icy conditions, "There are old mountaineers, bold mountaineers, but no old, bold mountaineers" (Robinson 1993). (Larkin)

God Leads Us Along

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet
God leads His dear children along
Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet
God leads His dear children along

Some through the waters, some through the flood
Some through the fire, but all through the blood
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright
God leads His dear children along
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night
God leads His dear children along

Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose
God leads His dear children along
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes
God leads His dear children along

Away from the mire, and away from the clay
God leads His dear children along
Away up in glory, eternity's day
God leads His dear children along


THE PERIL OF MERE SUPPOSITION ACTS 27:13 - James Smith in Handfuls of Purpose

SUPPOSING. This is a word common enough in everyday language. “Well, now, let us suppose, for the sake of argument,” we say.

LEGITIMATELY NECESSARY. It may be legitimately necessary in some branches of philosophy and science. An example: In one of the latest books on the existence of God, the hypothetical argument is proclaimed as the only satisfactory proof. Supposing there is a God, we find that works.

DANGEROUS. In matters concerning daily life it is dangerous.

1. Moses’ supposition meant forty years’ exile (Acts 7:25).
2. The supposition of the Military and seamen led to loss of ship, cargo, and property (Acts 27:13).

FATAL. In matters concerning Christ and our personal salvation supposition is fatal.

I. Supposing Him to be a Mere Man (Luke 3:23).

1. That was THEN an excusable blunder, for He came so lowly.
2. It is NOW, in view of the discovery of His compatriots, and in view of the full revelation of His Word, and the history of the past two thousand years, inexcusable.
3. To make this mistake means:

a. You have not a Saviour.
b. You are yet in your sins, for He is dead.

II. Supposing Him to be Where He was Not (Luke 2:44).

1. Excusable then, remembering the social custom of the time.
2. It is a tragic mistake if made to-day.
3. Do you “suppose” He is

a. In your heart as Saviour and Lord?
b. With you as Friend and Guide?

4. Oh, see that “supposition” is changed into certainty!

III. Supposing Him to be Less than He really Was. (John 20:15).

1. Excusable to poor Mary, blinded by grief.
2. But fatal to holiness and fellowship to-day.
3. “A Gardener”—yes—but more than that!
4. Don’t imagine He—

a. Loves to bury your hopes, and that He is
b. Saviour only to soul and not Lord of life.


Acts 27:13-26 Every Inch Of Me By Herbert Vander Lugt

Take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. —Acts 27:25

Shortly before Peter Doot died at age 92, he said, “I am six-foot-four, and every inch belongs to the Lord.” I had known him for 65 years, and I’m sure what he said was true.

As a younger man, Peter had left a well-paying job so he could serve as an evangelist for his church. He made a profound impact on hundreds of lives, even though he had little formal training. When I was 19, he challenged me to witness and to preach the gospel in street-corner meetings.

What made Peter so effective? His way of life. Everybody could clearly see that God was his Master.

The same could be said about the apostle Paul. In Acts 27 we read that when he was a prisoner being taken to Rome, the ship on which he was sailing was being battered by a furious storm. The sailors had given up all hope. But when Paul spoke, everybody listened and was encouraged. Even the Roman centurion followed his instructions. Why? Because it was obvious that Paul was a godly man who was telling the truth. They had good reason to believe him when he spoke of “the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,” and when he said there would be no loss of life (vv.22-23).

Let’s yield ourselves to God so that we too can say, “Every inch belongs to the Lord.”  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O loving Savior, here's my will—
With Yours, I pray, may it be one;
I long to know You more each day
So that Your will in me is done.
—D. De Haan

Give your all to Christ; He gave His all for you.


Acts 27:13 DON'T FAIL TO LOOK IN GOD'S BOOK.

When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire… they sailed. Acts 27:13

In Acts 27 we read that Paul, a prisoner headed for Rome, warned the centurion of disaster if they set sail. The man, however, listened to contrary advice and gave orders for the ship to leave port. When a gentle south breeze got them off to a favorable start, it ked as if Paul had been wrong. But soon the sky darkened. The breeze med into a howling wind. Waves battered the ship with merciless fury several days later the vessel ran aground and was broken into pieces by the storm. Paul had been right!

J. C. Macauley used this story to show what happens to a young person who is lured by the soft south wind of pleasant circumstances that may temporarily accompany wicked conduct. He described five stages of decline in Acts 27.

  1. A youth leaves (Acts 27:13) the moorings of home and church,
  2. is caught (Acts 27:15) in a whirl of excitement,
  3. is driven (Acts 27:17) by the winds of passion,
  4. is lightened (Acts 27:18) of his or her former virtues,
  5. and finally is broken by the storm (Acts 27:41).

Don't be lured by the "soft south wind."—H. V L. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

IT IS ONLY WHEN WE ARE DECEIVED BY SIN, THAT WE TAKE DELIGHT IN SIN.

Acts 27:14  But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo;

NET  Acts 27:14 Not long after this, a hurricane-force wind called the northeaster blew down from the island.

GNT  Acts 27:14 μετ᾽ οὐ πολὺ δὲ ἔβαλεν κατ᾽ αὐτῆς ἄνεμος τυφωνικὸς ὁ καλούμενος Εὐρακύλων·

NLT  Acts 27:14 But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a "northeaster") caught the ship and blew it out to sea.

KJV  Acts 27:14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.

ESV  Acts 27:14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land.

CSB  Acts 27:14 But not long afterward, a fierce wind called the "northeaster" rushed down from the island.

NIV  Acts 27:14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island.

NKJ  Acts 27:14 But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.

NRS  Acts 27:14 But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete.

YLT  Acts 27:14 and not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, that is called Euroclydon,

NAB  Acts 27:14 Before long an offshore wind of hurricane force called a "Northeaster" struck.

NJB  Acts 27:14 But it was not long before a hurricane, the 'north-easter' as they call it, burst on them from across the island.

GWN  Acts 27:14 Soon a powerful wind (called a northeaster) blew from the island.

BBE  Acts 27:14 But after a little time, a very violent wind, named Euraquilo, came down from it with great force.

  • But before very long there rushed down: Ex 14:21-27 Jon 1:3-5 
  • a violent wind, called Euraquilo: Ps 107:25-27 Eze 27:26 Mt 8:24 Mk 4:37 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

SUDDEN BURST OF
A EURAQUILO

But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo - As the ship rounded Cape Matala to enter the Gulf of Messara, the southerly breeze changed abruptly to a northerly "hurricane." Luke describes the sudden burst of wind of hurricane force sweeping down the island (presumably from the 7000 foot peaks on Crete) as depicted on the map above. The Euraquilo was well known to ancient sailors. This was not a typhoon per se for a typhoon lets up but this wind did not let dissipate. 

Phillips comments that "There must have been a sinking feeling in the heart of the centurion, who now doubtless wished he had paid more attention to Paul. Many a person, acting without God and suddenly caught by circumstance in which his own folly has placed him, has wished the same thing." (Ibid)

Larkin has an interesting note - It is probably as they round the cape that they meet a wind of hurricane force, called the "Northeaster," blowing down from 8,056-foot Mount Ida. The strong cold wind that blows across the Mediterranean in the winter from a general northeasterly direction is caused by a depression ("low") over Libya which induces a strong flow of air from Greece. (IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Acts)

Violent (only NT use)(5189)(tuphonikos from tuphon/typhon - stormy wind, whirlwind, typhoon) describes a stormy, impetuous wind with the character of a typhoon. It could be a typhoon, hurricane, or monsoon, depending upon the region in which such a violent, protracted storm occurred. "Typhon" was the legendary mythological "father of winds," but is a word not found in the NT. This gives us our English word typhoon.

Euraquilo (2146)(Eurakulon) Others have the similar word eurakludon (2148) from euros = the southeast wind + kludon = a wave and thus a southeast wind raising mighty waves. Zodhiates says "It blows from all points and its danger results from the violence and uncertainty of its course." 

Gilbrant has a different derivation - It appears to be a compound of the Greek word euros, “east wind” (later, “southeast wind”), with the Latin aquilo, “north wind.” Thus its apparent meaning is “northeast wind.”

A T Robertson has a note that comments on the combination of words - Tuphōn = Tuphōs was used for the typhoon, a violent whirlwind (turbo) or squall. This word gives the character of the wind. The Eurakulōn (reading of Aleph A B against the Textus Receptus Eurokludōn) has not been found elsewhere. Blass calls it a hybrid word compounded of the Greek euros (east wind) and the Latin aquilo (northeast). It is made like euronotos (southeast). The Vulgate has euroaquilo. It is thus the east north east wind. Page considers Euroclydon to be a corruption of Euraquilo. Here the name gives the direction of the wind.

Souter has this note - EURAQUILO ( Acts 27:14 RV). There is some doubt as to the reading. The Greek MSS which are esteemed to be the best read Euraklyon ; so do the Bohairic Version, which was made in Egypt in the 6th or 7th cent. from a MS very like these, and the Sahidic Version made in the 3rd cent.; the Vulgate Latin revision, made towards the close of the 4th cent., reads Euroaquilo , which points to a Greek original reading Euroakylon . Our later authorities, along with the Pesh. and Hark. Syriac, read Euroclydon (so AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ). No doubt Eur(o). akylon is the correct name, and the other is an attempt to get a form capable of derivation. The word is, then, a sailor’s word, and expresses an E.N.E. wind, by compounding two words, a Greek word ( euros ) meaning E. wind, and a Latin word ( aquilo ) meaning N.E. wind. This is exactly the kind of wind which frequently arises in Cretan waters at the present day, swooping down from the mountains in strong gusts and squalls. The euraquilo which drove St. Paul’s ship before it was the cause of the shipwreck. (Hastings Bible Dictionary)

Hastings NT Dictionary has this entry on  EURAQUILO - This word is found nowhere in ancient literature except in Acts 27:14. It is the name given to the tempestuous wind (ἅνεμος τυφωνικός, vorticosus, ‘whirling’) which, suddenly beating down from the central mountains of Crete, caught St. Paul’s ship in its passage from Pair Havens to Phœnice, drove it to the island of Cauda, and finally wrecked it on the coast of Malta. The word is a hybrid, made up of Eurus (εὗρος), the cast wind-an ordinary meaning in the Latin poets, though εὖρος properly meant the south-east-and Aquilo, the north-east wind, so that it denotes the east-north-east wind. ‘Euro-auster’ (═ εὐρόνοτος) is an analogous compound. Euraquilo corresponded to the Greek καικίας, for which the Latins had no specific name: ‘Quem ab oriente solstitiali excitatum Graeci καικιάν vocant, apud nos sine nomine est’ (Seneca, Nat. Quaest. v. 16). St. Luke avoids the correct Greek term, characteristically preferring the vivid language which he had doubtless heard the mariners themselves use. His addition ὁ καλούμενος perhaps indicates that he knew the word to be confined to nautical slang. It was doubtless coined by the sailors and traders of the Levant, whose successors at the present day still call the dreaded wind the ‘Gregalia’-the final form of the corruption of ‘Euraquilo,’ just as ‘Egripou’ is of ‘Euripus.’ εὐροκλύδων (TR [Note: Textus Receptus, Received Text.] ; ‘Euroclydon,’ Authorized Version ) is one of a great number of textual variants. It appears in two 9th cent. uncials, H and L, and the majority of the cursives. The oldest authorities, א AB, have εὐροκύλων; in the Codices Bezae and Ephraemi the account of the voyage is wanting. A reviser of the Vaticanus has inserted γ over Α and Δ after Κ, and has altered ΔΩΝinto ΔΩΝ, but in so doing he has left the right foot of the Δ visible beyond the corner of his own Δ. Literature.-J. Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul, 1880, p. 119f.; E. Renan. St. Paul, 1869, p. 551; Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, 1877, ii. 402. 

Related Resource:

  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Euraquilo

Acts 27:15  and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.

NET  Acts 27:15 When the ship was caught in it and could not head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.

GNT  Acts 27:15 συναρπασθέντος δὲ τοῦ πλοίου καὶ μὴ δυναμένου ἀντοφθαλμεῖν τῷ ἀνέμῳ ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα.

NLT  Acts 27:15 They couldn't turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.

KJV  Acts 27:15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.

ESV  Acts 27:15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.

CSB  Acts 27:15 Since the ship was caught and was unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.

NIV  Acts 27:15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.

NKJ  Acts 27:15 So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.

NRS  Acts 27:15 Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven.

YLT  Acts 27:15 and the ship being caught, and not being able to bear up against the wind, having given her up, we were borne on,

NAB  Acts 27:15 Since the ship was caught up in it and could not head into the wind we gave way and let ourselves be driven.

NJB  Acts 27:15 The ship was caught and could not keep head to wind, so we had to give way to the wind and let ourselves be driven.

GWN  Acts 27:15 The wind carried the ship away, and we couldn't sail against the wind. We couldn't do anything, so we were carried along by the wind.

BBE  Acts 27:15 And when the ship got into the grip of it, and was not able to make headway into the wind, we gave way, and went before it.


EXAMPLE OF SHIP'S "EYE"

UNABLE TO LOOK THE 
STORM IN THE EYE!

And when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, - The strong wind immediately blew the ship off course. Ancient vessels were incapable of heading into such strong winds as occurred with Euraquilo. The bow of the ship could not continue heading straight against the force of waves and winds.  The upshot is that the sailors quickly realized that attempting to sail to Phoenix was a lost cause. 

Caught (4884)(sunarpazo from sun = with ~ intensifies meaning + harpazo = to seize, rapture) means to seize (suddenly and violently), to grasp with great violence. Stronger than harpazo by itself! Of a mob seizing Stephen to drag him away (Acts 6.12+, Gaius and Aristarchus dragged in Acts 19:29+); of demon activity seize (Lk 8.29+). In the present passage in the passive voice describes the being "seized" by the storm and forced off course. 

Keener With a favorable wind in their mainsail, these ships could cover about fifty nautical miles in daylight, or ninety miles in twenty-four hours; but they had little resistance to a powerful wind going in a direction they wished to avoid. (Ibid)

Face (503)(antophthalmeo from anti = against + ophthalmos = eye) means to look directly at, to direct the eye against another who is looking and thus to look the person in the face. To face straight ahead. In this solitary NT use it describes the ship "looking" the storm in the face so to speak. Zodhiates explains "On the prow of the ancient ships was placed a round piece of wood, sometimes called ophthalmós, the eye of the ship, because it was fixed in its foredeck." (Ibid) BDAB gives a secular example of "look the truth in the face honestly or defiantly." 

Robertson notes that face the wind is a very descriptive phrase meaning literally "looking in the eye, or eye to eye (anti, facing and opthalmos, eye). Eyes were painted on the prows of vessels. The ship could not face the wind enough to get to Phoenix. Modern sailors talk of sailing into the eye of the wind. We were not able to look the wind in the eye."

We gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along - Notice the "we" which suggest that Dr Luke may have been helping, although it could simply be the way Luke as a spectator was identifying himself with the action. Most writers interpret the phrase gave way as the sailors shortening the sail (or bringing down the topsail and its rigging to make the ship more stable) because they were now at the mercy of the wind and the waves. Ultimately of course they were at the mercy of God Who controls the winds and the waves. 

THOUGHT - When we are in the storms of life (which like the Euraquilo are often sudden and able to throw us "off course") and everything seems to be out of control, we need to remember that our Omnipotent God is still in complete control. See The Providence of God and GOD IS IN CONTROL. Play Twila Paris' great song God is in Control (because He is!)

We gave way (were "handed over")(1929)(epididomi from epi = upon + didomi = to give) means to give forth as from oneself upon or to another, to transfer, to hand over, to deliver over as to put into another's hands, in this context, into the "hands" of the storm so to speak! 

Driven along is in the imperfect tense picturing the waves and wind pounding and pushing the vessel again and again. A vivid scene! 

As Furneaux comments "The suddenness of the hurricane gave no time to furl the great mainsail." So the only choice was to be borne along by the gale! There is a modern idiom "go with the flow" which is literally true in this context! 

Spurgeon applies this text - You may have a calm at one moment, and a storm at the next, and unless your protection it from above, and your confidence in something more stable than can be found in this world, woe betide you. Sometime, it is well to yield to the stress of circumstances. If you have struggled hard, and can do no more, it is well to leave the result with God....Apparently, that was the only thing they could do; and, at times, we may find that it will be well to follow their example. When we have done our best, and can make no headway, we had better commit our vessel to the care of God, and “let her drive” wherever he wills.

James Smith -  The ship was ‘caught’ in a typhoon, which blew with such violence that they could not face it, but were forced, in the first instance, to scud before it, for such is the evident meaning of the expression—ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα—‘yielding to it we were borne along by it.’...The sudden change from a south wind to a violent northerly wind is a common occurrence in these seas. The term ‘typhonic,’ by which it is described, indicates that it was accompanied by some of the phenomena which might be expected in such a case, namely the agitation and whirling motion of the clouds caused by the meeting of the opposite currents of air when the change took place, and probably also of the sea, raising it in columns of spray. Pliny, in describing the effects of sudden blasts, says that they cause a vortex, which is called ‘typhoon;’ and Gellius, in his account of a storm at sea, notices ‘frequent whirlwinds,’ ‘.… and the dreadful appearances in the clouds which they call typhoons.’...Pliny calls the typhoon—‘The chief pest of seamen, destructive not only to the spars but to the hull itself.’...The fact, that the ships of the ancients were provided with hypozomata, or cables ready fitted for undergirding, as a necessary part of their stores, proves how liable they were to such casualties; and I may add as another proof the frequent notice of lightening ships we meet with in ancient authors. In the present narrative they occur not less than three times....It is easy to account for the comparative immunity of modern ships from such casualties. The most obvious cause is the improvement in naval architecture; but another, and I suspect a more efficient one, is the manner in which they were rigged. In modern times the strain is spread over three masts, with small sails which can be quickly taken in; but the ancient ships had to sustain the leverage of a single mast, with a ponderous yard at the upper end. We can scarcely suppose that St. Paul’s ship escaped uninjured. The circumstances mentioned, of her being undergirded, lightened, and finally run ashore, afford conclusive evidence that she did not....At the time the ship was caught in the gale, she must have been near a small group of islands, called the Paximades, in the Gulf of Messara. The island of Clauda lay about twenty-three miles to leeward, and thither they were driven, as the expression ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα (ver. 15) implies, before the gale. Upon reaching it they availed themselves of the smooth water under its lee, to prepare the ship to resist the fury of the storm. Their first care was to secure the boat, by hoisting it on board. This had not been done at first, because the weather was moderate, and the distance they had to go short. Under such circumstances it is not usual to hoist the boats on board, but it had now become necessary. (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul ) (ED: Scud - Move fast in a straight line because or as if driven by the wind. E.g., ‘three small ships were scudding before a brisk breeze’)

Steven ColeWe aren’t necessarily out of God’s will when we get caught in a storm. Sometimes when we find ourselves in the midst of a sudden storm in life, we wonder if we’re out of God’s will. We may be, especially if we got into the storm because of sin in our lives. But we may be exactly where God wants us to be. The Lord had told Paul that he would testify for Him in Rome (Ac 23:11), but He had not bothered to mention the little detail of this storm and shipwreck! Mt 14:22 reports that immediately after feeding the 5,000, Jesus “made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.” The word “made,” which means “to compel by force or persuasion,” shows that the disciples didn’t have much to say about what they were doing. The following verses show that Jesus was deliberately sending them into a storm at sea! He knew that that storm was coming, but He wanted to teach them His power over storms by walking to them on the water. So even though they were in a fierce storm, they were precisely in the will of God for them at that moment.

Jack Andrews - A Christian out of the will of God is in a lonely, difficult, and dangerous place! For Paul—he was in the will of God—Aristarchus and Luke as well—and yet they were going through the storms with the rest of the crew. Sometimes we face storms in life and they are not caused by what we do— even so we must trust the Lord in and through every difficult time. (Ibid)


Jon Courson adds this note on God's will - 

At first the wind blew softly, and in a favorable direction. That's always the way it is. When you don't listen to the Word of the Lord, when you go your own way, when you do your own thing, at first you're just blown along softly. But when the fierce winds come—which they always do—you're blown away totally.

Please note four reasons that make this a perfect example of how not to know God's will as you sail through life and journey towards heaven:

The sailors were impatient. Although it was not the season for sailing, these guys wanted to get on with their journey. The Word says, "He that believeth in the Lord must not make haste" (see Isaiah 28:16). Are you impatient? Slow down. When you don't know what to do—don't do anything. When you're not sure which way to go, stay where you are. Wait on the Lord. It's so hard to do, but so important.

The sailors took a vote. The centurion said, "Okay Paul, I hear what you're saying, but I also hear the owner, the captain, and the crew," and Paul was outvoted. God is not an American, folks, and if we make decisions relating to the kingdom on a democratic basis, we're in a heap of trouble. Ask Moses. If the Israelites had voted during their journey through the wilderness, he would have been ousted the first week. We need to know what the heart of God is—not what the majority says.

The sailors tested the winds. "The answer is blowing in the wind," may be true for Bob Dylan, but it's not true for you and me as believers. We're not to say, "The way the wind is blowing and circumstances are pointing will determine my course." No, there needs to be a solid inner conviction, a Holy Spirit direction.

The sailors sought ease. They wanted to get to Phoenix. Why? Phoenix was where all of the sailors wintered. There were lots of restaurants, movie theatres, golf courses. No doubt these guys thought, Why should we stay here? We're only sixty-eight miles from Phoenix. That's the place to be—we can even pick up a Suns game. Sometimes we, like these sailors, ask, "Where is it most comfortable? Where is it easiest?" instead of "What does the Lord know will be best for me?" (Jon Courson's Application Commentary New Testament)

Acts 27:16  Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda (Cauda), we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control.

NET  Acts 27:16 As we ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able with difficulty to get the ship's boat under control.

GNT  Acts 27:16 νησίον δέ τι ὑποδραμόντες καλούμενον Καῦδα ἰσχύσαμεν μόλις περικρατεῖς γενέσθαι τῆς σκάφης,

NLT  Acts 27:16 We sailed along the sheltered side of a small island named Cauda, where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat being towed behind us.

KJV  Acts 27:16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:

ESV  Acts 27:16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship's boat.

CSB  Acts 27:16 After running under the shelter of a little island called Cauda, we were barely able to get control of the skiff.

NIV  Acts 27:16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure.

NKJ  Acts 27:16 And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.

NRS  Acts 27:16 By running under the lee of a small island called Cauda we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control.

YLT  Acts 27:16 and having run under a certain little isle, called Clauda, we were hardly able to become masters of the boat,

NAB  Acts 27:16 We passed along the sheltered side of an island named Cauda and managed only with difficulty to get the dinghy under control.

NJB  Acts 27:16 We ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda and managed with some difficulty to bring the ship's boat under control.

GWN  Acts 27:16 As we drifted to the sheltered side of a small island called Cauda, we barely got control of the ship's lifeboat.

BBE  Acts 27:16 And, sailing near the side of a small island named Cauda, we were able, though it was hard work, to make the ship's boat safe:


Under Shelter of Cauda
Click to enlarge

Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda (Cauda) - For a short distance their ship was on the protected side of the island of Cauda. .

We were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control - One reason they would have difficulty is that the boat had been towed for 20-30 miles in stormy seas and undoubtedly had taken on much water making hoisting it aboard more difficult. The protection provided by the island allowed them to secure the "lifeboat" and in Acts 27:17 they "hoisted it up." "The “boat” or “lifeboat” (NIV) was used for landings, to maneuver the ship for tacking and so forth. Sometimes these boats were kept on deck; at other times, as here, they were towed behind. Here, filled with water or in danger of breaking loose from the ship, it has to be brought on deck to be rescued." (Keener)

NET Note on ship's boat - The ship's boat was a small rowboat, normally towed behind a ship in good weather rather than stowed on board. It was used for landings, to maneuver the ship for tacking, and to lay anchors (not a lifeboat in the modern sense, although it could have served as a means of escape for some of the sailors; see Acts 27:30+).

Acts 27:17  After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along.

NET  Acts 27:17 After the crew had hoisted it aboard, they used supports to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor, thus letting themselves be driven along.

GNT  Acts 27:17 ἣν ἄραντες βοηθείαις ἐχρῶντο ὑποζωννύντες τὸ πλοῖον, φοβούμενοί τε μὴ εἰς τὴν Σύρτιν ἐκπέσωσιν, χαλάσαντες τὸ σκεῦος, οὕτως ἐφέροντο.

NLT  Acts 27:17 Then the sailors bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it. They were afraid of being driven across to the sandbars of Syrtis off the African coast, so they lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship and were driven before the wind.

KJV  Acts 27:17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.

ESV  Acts 27:17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along.

CSB  Acts 27:17 After hoisting it up, they used ropes and tackle and girded the ship. Then, fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the drift-anchor, and in this way they were driven along.

NIV  Acts 27:17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.

NKJ  Acts 27:17 When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.

NRS  Acts 27:17 After hoisting it up they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they would run on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and so were driven.

YLT  Acts 27:17 which having taken up, they were using helps, undergirding the ship, and fearing lest they may fall on the quicksand, having let down the mast -- so were borne on.

NAB  Acts 27:17 They hoisted it aboard, then used cables to undergird the ship. Because of their fear that they would run aground on the shoal of Syrtis, they lowered the drift anchor and were carried along in this way.

NJB  Acts 27:17 Having hauled it up they used it to undergird the ship; then, afraid of running aground on the Syrtis banks, they floated out the sea-anchor and so let themselves drift.


SHALLOWS OF SYRTIS
Click to Enlarge

FRAPPING THE HULL
AND FEARING THE SANDBARS

Frapping describes the practice of making a ship's hull secure by lashing it with cables. Fearing being run aground on the shoals and sandbars of Syrtis (NIV, NLT) prompted them to let down their anchor. 

After they had hoisted it up - Because they had some protection from the island of Cauda, they were able to rescue the dinghy which was normally towed astern and usually hauled on board at the first sign of bad weather. The storm had come on them so suddenly that they did not have time to carry out this usual procedure.

THOUGHT - Isn't that what "storms" in our life do? We don't have time or energy to carry out some plan that we normally would have carried out if the "storm" had not come on us so suddenly. As my wife and I were setting out on a 200 mile trip recently, at the outset of the trip we experienced 2 successive blowouts of our left front tire within less than a mile (and had never experienced a blow out in my life at age 73!). The second one was very dangerous as my wife and I were suddenly trapped on a causeway leaving Galveston, Texas with cars whizzing past us at high speeds and literally shaking our car. Needless to say, these two sudden physical storms caused a major change in our plans and we were just grateful to God for getting us back to safety. As we later pondered why God would have allowed 2 successive blowouts, we both became convinced that the blowouts were providential as they prevented us from driving the 200 miles in the extremely heavy fourth of July traffic. We believe that God protected us from something that would have been far worse than the blowouts! We may learn more about this is Heaven. "Storms" aren't always bad given the fact that God is the God of Romans 8:28! 

They used supporting cables in undergirding the ship - These cables were to help protect the hull from damage in fierce storms.

Phillips explains that "A necessary part of ancient ships were cables, already fitted in place, to facilitate the undergirding of the vessel when under severe strain. The process of passing lengths of large cable around the hull or frame of a ship to support her in a storm is called frapping. The practice is not wholly unknown even in more modern times." (Ibid)

Supporting cables (996)(boetheia from boetheo = to help from boé = a cry + théō = to run) gives us a literal picture of one who upon hearing a cry for help, runs to give aid to assist or to succorBoetheia describes the assistance offered to meet a need. In secular Greek, this word was used to describe a medical aid or a cure. As used by Luke in the plural boetheia was a nautical technical term for safety devices for a ship such as ropes. The only other NT use of boetheia is in the exhortation in Hebrews 4:16+

Therefore (because of Hebrews 4:14-15) let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help (boetheia) in time of need ("in the nick of time").

THOUGHT - Is your "life boat" (or your marriage, family, et al) being buffeted and pounded by waves of adversity, affliction, etc and in danger of falling apart? Then you need to do spiritually what these sailors did physically and "undergird" yourself with the mercy and grace of God. How? The answer is in the derivation of the word boetheia which describes one who runs to render aid upon hearing the cry for help! The picture is clear -- when we feel like the storms of life are about to "sink" us, we need to cry out to God, Who will run to our aid with His amazing grace, just in the nick of time! (See also notes on Heb 2:18 "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able [has the power] to come to the aid [this phrase is one Greek word - boetheo - source of boetheia] of those who are [present tense, passive voice = continually being] tempted.)

And fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along - They were worried about the sandbars at Syrtis. From the map above they were a considerably north of Syrtis but realized the tempestuous winds could well drive them into this area which was notorious among sailors. 

MacArthur points out that the translation let down the sea anchor may not be accurate - Alternatively, the phrase translated let down the sea anchor may be translated "lowered the gear." In that case, the reference would be to lowering the mainsail, which otherwise would be torn to shreds by the violent wind. However the phrase is translated, the sailors obviously did both—it would have been self-defeating to put out an anchor with the mainsail still rigged. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Larkin on the sandbars of Syrtis One hundred miles off the Libyan coast and three hundred miles in circumference, this area has deep waters with shallows; "the result is, at the ebb and the flow of the tides, that sailors sometimes fall into the shallows and stick there, and that the safe escape of a boat is rare" (Strabo Geography 17.3.20). So ancient sailors sailing along the North African coast kept a safe distance and took precautions not to be "driven by winds into these gulfs" (Strabo Geography 17.3.20).
The IVP New Testament Commentary Series - The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Acts.

Shallows of Syrtis - Syrtis is the modern Gulf of Sidra (pix). There are actually two gulfs on the North African coast known as Syrtis Major and Syrtis Minor. It was well know that "The navigation of them was very dangerous because of their shallow and sunken rocks." (from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography - 1854). 

Wikipedia on Syrtis - In ancient literature, the Syrtes (the Greater, or maiores, in the eastern and the Lesser, or minores, in the western part of the Gulf) were notorious sandbanks, which sailors always took pains to avoid. The local climate features frequent calms and a relatively powerful north wind. The shoreline between Cyrene in the east and Carthage in the west featured few ports. Ancient writers frequently mention the sandbanks and their vicinity as dangerous for shipping. 

NIV Study Bible says that Syrtis was "A long stretch of desolate banks of quicksand along northern Africa off the coast of Tunis and Tripoli—still far away, but in such a storm the ship could be driven a great distance."

I Howard Marshall on Syrtis - This was an area of quicksands and shoals off the coast of Libya and was legendary on account of the danger to shipping, like the ‘Bermuda triangle’ today. It was still about 380 miles (611 km) distant, but the sailors were taking no chances. (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries – Acts)

James Smith - The mode in which ships are undergirded is thus described by Falconer, in his ‘Marine Dictionary:’—‘To frap a ship (ceintrer un vaisseau) is to pass four or five turns of a large cable-laid rope round the hull or frame of a ship, to support her in a great storm, or otherwise, when it is apprehended that she is not strong enough to resist the violent efforts of the sea; this expedient, however, is rarely put in practice.’ ..Captain (now Sir George) Back, on his perilous return from his Arctic voyage, in 1837, was forced, in consequence of the shattered and leaky condition of his ship, to undergird her. It was thus done:—‘A length of the stream chain cable was passed under the bottom of the ship four feet before the mizen mast, hove tight by the capstan, and finally immovably fixed to six ringbolts on the quarter-deck. The effect was at once manifested by a great diminution in the working of the parts already mentioned; and in a less agreeable way, by impeding her rate of sailing; a trifling consideration, however when compared with the benefit received.’....I have already shown that the same wind which drove them, ‘when yielding to it’ (ἐπιδόντες), to Clauda, would, if they had continued to scud, have driven them directly towards the Syrtis. Under the circumstances in which they were now placed, they had but one course to pursue in order to avoid the apprehended danger, which was to turn the ship’s head off shore, and to set such sail as the violence of the gale would permit them to carry. As they did avoid the danger, we may be certain, notwithstanding the silence of the historian, that this was the course which was adopted....when we are told that ‘they were thus borne along,’that it was not only with the ship undergirded and made snug, but that she had storm sails set, and was on the starboard tack, which was the only course by which she could avoid falling into the Syrtis.(The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul )

Acts 27:18  The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo;

NET  Acts 27:18 The next day, because we were violently battered by the storm, they began throwing the cargo overboard,

GNT  Acts 27:18 σφοδρῶς δὲ χειμαζομένων ἡμῶν τῇ ἑξῆς ἐκβολὴν ἐποιοῦντο

NLT  Acts 27:18 The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard.

KJV  Acts 27:18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;

ESV  Acts 27:18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo.

CSB  Acts 27:18 Because we were being severely battered by the storm, they began to jettison the cargo the next day.

NIV  Acts 27:18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.

NKJ  Acts 27:18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.

NRS  Acts 27:18 We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard,

YLT  Acts 27:18 And we, being exceedingly tempest-tossed, the succeeding day they were making a clearing,

NAB  Acts 27:18 We were being pounded by the storm so violently that the next day they jettisoned some cargo,

NJB  Acts 27:18 As we were thoroughly storm-bound, the next day they began to jettison the cargo,

GWN  Acts 27:18 We continued to be tossed so violently by the storm that the next day the men began to throw the cargo overboard.

BBE  Acts 27:18 And, still fighting the storm with all our strength, the day after they made a start at getting the goods out of the ship;

DANGER OF FOUNDERING LEADS TO
JETTISONING CARGO

The storm continued to rage into the next day forcing additional measures to prevent the ship from foundering, which describes a ship sinking beneath the surface because she is taking on water! 

The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo - The verb "began" (poieo) is in the imperfect tense indicating that they were tossing cargo overboard again and again (over and over the side). One can picture this frantic scene that speaks of their fear and state of desperation.

Violently (4971) (sphodros) is used only here in the NT and pertains to being excessive and thus means exceedingly, very much, greatly, violently. Louw-Nida says that sprodros refers to "a very high point on a scale of extent and in many contexts implying vehemence or violence.'" In classic Greek it was used by Plato to refer to men as violent or impetuous. There are 2 uses in the Septuagint - Ge 7:19, Josh 3:16. 

Storm-tossed (5492)(cheimazo from cheima = winter weather) is used only here in the NT and means “to struggle with the elements” such as a storm or fierce gale (Liddell-Scott). Abbott-Smith says it means to expose to winter cold, go into winter quarters or to drive with storm; passive, to be driven with storm, tempest-tossed. Cheimazo implies exposure to bad weather or severe cold such as is common in winter. To experience a tempest. Of a storm that impedes navigation, tossing the ship. In secular use it referred to that which caused physical or psychological stress as the distress of pregnancy. The verb is in the present tense indicating the ship was being continually storm tossed. And all this with no Dramamine! Liddell-Scott adds the verb was used in secular writings meaning to agitate or distress like a storm. 

Jettison the cargo (Only NT use. See English definition)(1546)(ekbole from ek = out + ballo = throw) literally means a throwing or casting out in this context so as to lighten the ship's load. This same noun is used in Jonah 1:5 where the sailors became afraid of the storm and "threw the cargo" into the sea. Robertson adds "This to lighten the ship by throwing overboard the cargo (ED: SO THE SHIP WOULD RIDE HIGHER AND THEY WOULD TAKE ON LESS WATER). The grain in the ship would shift and make it list and so added to the danger."

Jack Andrews - Paul had warned them that this voyage would result in a loss of supplies—and it did! Their lives were in danger—grave danger and they were doing all they could to save themselves. When our lives are in danger possessions are not as important as we once thought they were. Matthew Henry wrote, “Any man will rather make shipwreck of his goods than of his life; but many will rather make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience than of their goods.” (Ibid)

Acts 27:19  and on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.

NET  Acts 27:19 and on the third day they threw the ship's gear overboard with their own hands.

GNT  Acts 27:19 καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ αὐτόχειρες τὴν σκευὴν τοῦ πλοίου ἔρριψαν.

NLT  Acts 27:19 The following day they even took some of the ship's gear and threw it overboard.

KJV  Acts 27:19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.

ESV  Acts 27:19 And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.

CSB  Acts 27:19 On the third day, they threw the ship's gear overboard with their own hands.

NIV  Acts 27:19 On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.

NKJ  Acts 27:19 On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.

NRS  Acts 27:19 and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship's tackle overboard.

YLT  Acts 27:19 and on the third day with our own hands the tackling of the ship we cast out,

NAB  Acts 27:19 and on the third day with their own hands they threw even the ship's tackle overboard.

NJB  Acts 27:19 and the third day they threw the ship's gear overboard with their own hands.

GWN  Acts 27:19 On the third day they threw the ship's equipment overboard.

BBE  Acts 27:19 And on the third day, they let all the sailing apparatus go over the side.

MORE HERCULEAN EFFORTS
TO SECURE THE SHIP

Herculean speaks of a something that is extremely difficult, and requiring the strength of the mythological Hercules. 

And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands - "Vivid and graphic touch by Luke who, of course, watched every movement day by day." (Robertson) So clearly the violent storm had not abated nor dissipated. 

Threw (cast) (4496)(rhipto) means to throw, hurl or cast (Mt 27:5; Lk 17:2; Ac 27:19, 29). Vine - "to throw with a sudden motion, to jerk, cast forth.

NET Note on ship's tackle - Or "rigging," "tackle"; Grk "the ship's things." Here the more abstract "gear" is preferred to "rigging" or "tackle" as a translation for skeue (related to skeuos) because in Acts 27:40 the sailors are still able to raise the (fore)sail, which they could not have done if the ship's rigging or tackle had been jettisoned here. The desperation of the sailors in throwing the cargo overboard is reminiscent of Jonah 1:5. At this point they were only concerned with saving themselves. 

Robertson on tackle The furniture of the ship that could be spared. It was becoming desperate.

Vincent adds this not on the word tackle (skeue) - The word means equipment, furniture. The exact meaning here is uncertain. Some suppose it to refer to the main-yard; an immense spar which would require the united efforts of passengers and crew to throw overboard. It seems improbable, however, that they would have sacrificed so large a spar, which, in case of shipwreck, would support thirty or forty men in the water. The most generally received opinion is that it refers to the furniture of the ship—beds, tables, chests, etc.

Note that the English word tackle refers to gear consisting of ropes, and so on, supporting a ship's masts and sails. 

While some commentators think the ship's tackle refers to the main portion of the sailing apparatus (e.g., the spar =  Any linear object used as a mast, sprit, yard, boom, pole or gaff), this is questionable when one compares Acts 27:30, 32, 40 which suggest that some tackle was remaining. If it had been totally cast off they would not have had any control of the ship. 

With their own hands - This phrase emphasizes the desperate state of the men. In other words the tackle was not washed overboard but was deliberately jettisoned by the sailors. 

Robert Girard calls this passage " Frantic last rites for a dying ship!”

Acts 27:20  Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

NET  Acts 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent storm continued to batter us, we finally abandoned all hope of being saved.

GNT  Acts 27:20 μήτε δὲ ἡλίου μήτε ἄστρων ἐπιφαινόντων ἐπὶ πλείονας ἡμέρας, χειμῶνός τε οὐκ ὀλίγου ἐπικειμένου, λοιπὸν περιῃρεῖτο ἐλπὶς πᾶσα τοῦ σῴζεσθαι ἡμᾶς.

NLT  Acts 27:20 The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.

KJV  Acts 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

ESV  Acts 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

CSB  Acts 27:20 For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope that we would be saved was disappearing.

NIV  Acts 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

NKJ  Acts 27:20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

NRS  Acts 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

YLT  Acts 27:20 and neither sun nor stars appearing for more days, and not a little tempest lying upon us, thenceforth all hope was taken away of our being saved.

NAB  Acts 27:20 Neither the sun nor the stars were visible for many days, and no small storm raged. Finally, all hope of our surviving was taken away.

NJB  Acts 27:20 For a number of days both the sun and the stars were invisible and the storm raged unabated until at last we gave up all hope of surviving.

GWN  Acts 27:20 For a number of days we couldn't see the sun or the stars. The storm wouldn't let up. It was so severe that we finally began to lose any hope of coming out of it alive.

BBE  Acts 27:20 And as we had not seen the sun or stars for a long time, and a great storm was on us, all hope of salvation was gone.

  • neither: Ex 10:21-23 Ps 105:28 Mt 24:29 
  • and no: Ps 107:25-27 Jon 1:4,11-14 Mt 8:24,25 2Co 11:25 
  • all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned: Isa 57:10 Jer 2:25 Eze 37:11 Eph 2:12 1Th 4:13 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MAN'S EXTREMITY IS
GOD'S OPPORTUNITY

Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days - The significance of this detail is that the sun, moon and stars were the only means of navigation on the open sea. In a word, they were now totally helpless. Of course we know that unseen hand of God was still in full control, and without a doubt prevented the ship from veering to Syrtis and certain catastrophe. God's man was on the ship and He would keep His promise to bring Paul safely to Rome, even without the usual means of navigation! 

And no small storm was assailing us - (Another Litotes) Another way of saying the opposite obvious statement that a LARGE storm was assailing them. 

J Vernon McGee adds "Dr. Luke says that "no small tempest" lay on them. We have already seen how Dr. Luke likes to use the diminutive like this. He means that it was really a terrible storm. In fact, they did not think they would escape from it alive. It was in the storm that the voice of the Lord was heard through the lips of Paul." 

John MacArthur gives us a graphic description of what they must have been experiencing writing that "Only those who have been in a violent storm at sea can fully appreciate the terror the passengers and crew must have felt. The towering, white-capped seas; the roaring of the wind; the violent rocking of the ship as first the bow, then the stern rose high in the air, only to plunge quickly down again; the constant motion, inducing seasickness and making it difficult to stand, let alone walk; the wind-driven salt spray stinging and blinding those exposed on deck; and, worst of all, the looming reality of an awful death by drowning—all those factors combined to unnerve even the most experienced sailor." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

John Phillips gives his version of the storm tossed ship - Day followed day, overcast with thick clouds, an invisible sun revealing a wildly heaving sea and a tumultuous wilderness of gray, angry waves. Night followed night—thick, black, dark night with no sign of a single star. Dreadful days followed by appalling nights, with the wind shrieking in the rigging and the vessel lurching and plunging. And all the while the gale-force winds howled like tormented demons so that one could hardly think. On deck was a roaring nightmare. Between decks was a scene of horror, fear, and despair, made worse by seasickness and the fearful knowledge that even the sailors had given up hope. Nobody knew where the ship was. It was being driven before the wind in a sinking condition, still shipping water from the leaks in the hold. (Exploring Acts: An Expository Commentary)

Storm (5494)(cheimon from cheima = winter weather) describes the winter the season of bad weather, when rains would pour on the land, with storms and foul weather. Louw-Nida has "stormy weather involving strong wind, overcast sky, and often cold temperature; thunder and lightning may also be present." Jesus uses cheimon in His Olivet Discourse (in the context of the onset of the Great Tribulation) declares "pray that your flight will not be in the winter." (Mt 24:20+, cf Mk 13:18). 

Cheim - 6x/6v - storm(2), winter(4). 

Matt. 16:3; Matt. 24:20; Mk. 13:18; Jn. 10:23; Acts 27:20; 2 Tim. 4:21. 3x in Septuagint - Ezr. 10:9; Job 37:6; Song2:11

From then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned - This is one of the few times where the word hope (elpis) is used in the sense of "hope so," most of the 54 uses of this work speaking of a "hope sure," of an absolute assurance that God would do good in the future. But even in this context even though Luke includes himself among those who are beginning to lose hope, there is one man on board who while human and still concerned was not about to abandon the hope (absolute assurance of future good) which Jesus had given him in Acts 23:11+

THOUGHT - In a similar way, often when people go through severe storms of life, they are tempted to jettison all hope. Are you going through a storm? Don't lose hope. Fix your eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2+), fix your hope on the "future grace" to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pe 1:13+), Who Paul describes as the Personification of "our hope"(1 Ti 1:1), the One Who shines forth as the Bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16+) even in the darkest circumstances, even in the dark night of the soul, for the will dawn and the Morning Star will arise in your heart." (2 Pe 1:19+)

Being saved (4982)(sozo) means rescued, preserved from harm in this case physical harm, although many were also in danger of eternal destruction because they had not believed in Jesus. Used again with the same sense in Acts 27:31. (Although not using sozo, we see the same idea in Acts 27:34, 43, 44; Acts 28:1, 4)

Sozo in Acts - Acts 2:21; Acts 2:40; Acts 2:47; Acts 4:9; Acts 4:12; Acts 11:14; Acts 14:9; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:30; Acts 16:31; Acts 27:20; Acts 27:31

Ironside - Here we find people who have come to the very end of their own ability. There they are in their ship, the cargo having been tossed overboard, the tackling gone, feeling absolutely hopeless of either the salvation of the ship or of their own lives. But it has been well said, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity,” and so here God intervenes. (ED: Of course given that God is omnipotent ANYTIME can be God's TIME to intervene!)

R. Kent Hughes wrote, “They occupied a ghost ship that again and again climbed toward the unseen heavens, then dove back to the deadly, dark depths. Two years earlier Christ had appeared in Paul’s cell in Caesarea and told him to take courage, for he would bear witness for the Savior in Rome. This was an unconditional promise. Paul would go to Rome—no doubt about it. However, God did not promise smooth sailing along the way. As we serve Christ, there will be storms, hardships, high seas, breakdowns—but also peace, assurance, fruitfulness, the sustaining presence of God.” (PTW-Acts)

Keener writes that "Pagans felt that those who died at sea never entered the realm of the dead; instead their souls wandered aimlessly forever above the waters in which they perished." (IVP Bible Background-NT) Comment - What a horrible thought! No wonder the sailors were fearful!!!

ILLUSTRATION A passenger on an ocean liner was enduring a rough Atlantic crossing. As he leaned over the rail, his face a shade of green, a steward came along and tried to encourage him: “Don’t be discouraged, sir! No one’s ever died of seasickness yet!” The nauseous passenger looked up at the steward with horror and said, “Don’t say that! It’s only the hope of dying that’s kept me alive this long!”

Robertson Despair was beginning to settle like a fog on all their hopes.

Was gradually abandoned  (4014)(periaireo from perí = all around, suggests completeness, encompassing + hairéo = in sense of take, seize, grasp) means to take away from around something (picture it binding and constricting one's movement) and so to remove that which envelops, to totally remove. Used of the veil "taken away" when a person turns to the Lord. (2 Cor 3:16). It is somewhat ironic that in secular Greek periaireo was a nautical term meaning to cast lose by taking up the anchors from both sides of the ship in preparation for departing. In a sense the passengers were casting lose their anchor of hope! 

THOUGHT When do we abandon hope? When we do not know where we are but do have the terrible knowledge that we may not get out alive. And such is the condition of many people today, disoriented in emotional, relational, social or physical storms. (Larkin) As America slips slowly into the dark night of a moral abyss, believers need to flee "for refuge laying hold of the hope (sure hope) set before us." (Heb 6:18+) Why? Because "this hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us (INTO HEAVEN ITSELF OUR TRUE HOME - Php 3:20-21+), having become a High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Heb 6:19-20+). 

Herschel Ford said, “There are some people who will say, ‘I have given up all hope of being saved. I have gone on too long—I have sinned too deeply, it is too late, there is no hope for me.’ Oh, it is never too late! As long as the lamp holds out to bum, the vilest sinner may return.”

Acts 27:21  When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, "Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss.

NET  Acts 27:21 Since many of them had no desire to eat, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not put out to sea from Crete, thus avoiding this damage and loss.

GNT  Acts 27:21 Πολλῆς τε ἀσιτίας ὑπαρχούσης τότε σταθεὶς ὁ Παῦλος ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν εἶπεν, Ἔδει μέν, ὦ ἄνδρες, πειθαρχήσαντάς μοι μὴ ἀνάγεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς Κρήτης κερδῆσαί τε τὴν ὕβριν ταύτην καὶ τὴν ζημίαν.

NLT  Acts 27:21 No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, "Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss.

KJV  Acts 27:21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

ESV  Acts 27:21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.

CSB  Acts 27:21 Since many were going without food, Paul stood up among them and said, "You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss.

NIV  Acts 27:21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.

NKJ  Acts 27:21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.

NRS  Acts 27:21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss.

YLT  Acts 27:21 And there having been long fasting, then Paul having stood in the midst of them, said, 'It behoved you, indeed, O men -- having hearkened to me -- not to set sail from Crete, and to save this hurt and damage;

NAB  Acts 27:21 When many would no longer eat, Paul stood among them and said, "Men, you should have taken my advice and not have set sail from Crete and you would have avoided this disastrous loss.

NJB  Acts 27:21 Then, when they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among the men. 'Friends,' he said, 'you should have listened to me and not put out from Crete. You would have spared yourselves all this damage and loss.

GWN  Acts 27:21 Since hardly anyone wanted to eat, Paul stood among them and said, "Men, you should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete. You would have avoided this disaster and loss.

BBE  Acts 27:21 And when they had been without food for a long time, Paul got up among them and said, Friends, it would have been better if you had given attention to me and not gone sailing out from Crete, to undergo this damage and loss.

  • When they had gone: Ac 27:33-35 Ps 107:5,6 
  • Men, you ought to have followed my advice: Ac 27:9,10 Ge 42:22 
  • not to have set sail from Crete: Ac 27:13 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CHARACTER OF A MAN 
IN CRISIS

Warren Wierse said that "A crisis does not make a person; a crisis shows what a person is made of, and it tends to bring true leadership to the fore."

Ironside comments that Acts 27:21-29 "bring before us in a very striking way the divine sovereignty of God." (Ibid)

When they had gone a long time without food Literally, "There being much abstinence from food." We do not know how long they went without taking in food but possibly going on 7-10 days. Notice their abstinence was not because they did not have food, for they still had wheat which they could have eaten (compare Acts 27:38+). And the Greek word (asitia) for without food can mean loss of appetite rather than deprivation of food. Seasickness can make one lose their appetite! Note that they would hold on to the wheat to the very last minute (so to speak), because this was the source of revenue for the owner of the ship. Isn't that just like human nature when danger strikes, to attempt to aggregate our earthly assets even though we know we cannot take them with us. But if you don't have Jesus as your treasure (Col 2:3+), your earthly goods are your worthless temporal treasure which cannot prevent your eternal doom! Many a man has tragically slipped into a Christless eternity (cf 2 Th 1:8-9) attempting to cling to their Gold, rather than clinging to God! (1 Ti 6:9,10) Notice gold and God are only one letter different, but the presence or absence of that one letter will determine one's eternal destiny!

NET Note adds "since almost nobody wanted to eat because of anxiety or seasickness. This detail indicates how turbulent things were on board the ship." In other words, when seasoned sailors get sea sick the situation is serious!

Robertson They had plenty of grain on board, but no appetite to eat (sea-sickness) and no fires to cook it (Page). "Little heart being left for food" (Randall). Galen and other medical writers use asitia and asitos for want of appetite.

Then - Paul's timing is  , for the men were becoming discouraged. A good word from the Lord is always a good antidote for discouragement, even for those who do not know Him. 

Paul stood up in their midst and said - Paul was a Spirit filled man and such a man is ready and willing to speak boldly. One is reminded of Peter just after he had been filled with the Spirit, Luke says "Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them (the multitude present at Pentecost)." (Acts 2:14+)

Knowling on stood up (statheis) - As in Acts 1:15+; Acts 2:14+; Acts 17:22+. Pictorial word  that sets forth the vividness and solemnity of the scene.

Matthew HenryWe left them in despair, giving up themselves for gone. Whether they called every man on his God, as Jonah's mariners did, we are not told; it is well if this laudable practice in a storm was not gone out of fashion and made a jest of. However, Paul among these seamen was not, like Jonah among his, the cause of the storm, but the comforter in the storm, and as much a credit to the profession of an apostle as Jonah was a blemish to the character of a prophet.

Spurgeon - HERE we see a believer full of comfort cheering others. The words of good cheer now before us are from a man; but inasmuch as he does but repeat what the Lord had spoken to him, they are none the less precious, and they may be all the more profitable if they move us, by their example, to speak words of cheer to others. The believer is sure to come to the front. He may be hidden away in the crowd, and his condition and circumstances may put him in the rear rank for a time; but his light will by some means rise out of obscurity. Paul is nothing but a prisoner all the time the ship sails safely: he is courteously entreated, yet he holds rank among others who are being carried to Rome far trial; but the storm comes on, and the ship is driven before the tempest, and he who was only a prisoner becomes practically the chief man in the ship. The owner, the captain, the centurion,—these are very small figures in the picture; you scarcely notice them in the. group huddled together in the labouring barque. Paul is the centre of the whole company, the observed of all. He is as much the master of the ship as Cæsar was when, in the tempest, he encouraged the mariners with the words, “Fear not, you carry Cæsar and all his fortunes.” Paul is greater than Cæsar, for he says less of himself, and more of the Eternal God. He is evidently reverenced and esteemed even by those who hold him in charge. (See full sermon Acts 27:18-25 Paul in a Tempest)

Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss - Some see this as a rebuke, but others simply as a reminder (which I favor). Recall Paul's advice had been "that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” (Acts 27:10+) Part of this had already come to pass with loss of cargo. But notice that Paul does not berate them and say "I told you so!" (He was not "rubbing it in!") He is reminding them of his earlier warning to establish his credibility for what he was about to tell them. Surely they would all be very attentive to his second declaration!

John Phillips adds that Paul's introduction "was not, however, a petty case of "I told you so." Paul only mentioned it now to make sure the lesson had been learned and that they would listen to him this time. Paul was far too much of a gentleman to indulge in mere self-vindication. The situation was too desperate for rhetoric." "Ye should have hearkened unto me." We could well underline that statement both in our Bibles and in our hearts. Much of this world's ills today are because people will not listen to "Paul." When has Paul been appealed to in Congress or Parliament? When has the United Nations ever convened a session for the express purpose of hearkening unto Paul? Many of our own personal problems and predicaments arise because we do not hearken unto Paul. The philosopher, the psychologist, the learned professor—we will listen to them. But what about listening to Paul? Much of the disarray, division, and deception in church life arises from the same cause. "Ye should have hearkened unto me." Well, they would hearken to him now. His hour had come. He and he alone had a word from God in such an hour of need. (Ibid)

It pays to pay attention to men of God
with a word from God!

Ought (1163)(dei) speaks of necessity.

Followed my advice (3980)(peitharcheo from peitho = to obey + arche = rule, authority) means to obey one in authority. Vincent comments "in every case (in the 4 NT uses it was used), of oedience to established authority, either of God or of magistrates. In Acts 27:21, where it is used of the ship’s officers hearkening to Paul’s admonition not to loose from Crete, Paul speaks of his admonition as divinely inspired (ED: Actually not everyone agrees that Paul was speaking "prophetically"); compare Acts 27:10+

Set sail (321)(anago) put out to sea. 

Incurred (2770)(kerdaino) in this context means gain through avoiding a loss. Robertson explains "A person is said in Greek 'to gain a loss' when, being in danger of incurring it, he by his conduct saves himself from doing so." This is probably Paul's idea here." 

Damage (5196) see note above on hubris

Loss (2209) see note above on zemia

H A Ironside comments on Paul's boldness to remind them of his admonishment - Think of that! Here is a prisoner talking to both the centurion and his guard, as well as the master of the ship and his sailors, saying, “You should have listened to me and let me run this ship. If you had listened to me, everything would have been all right.” He had warned them that they ought not to leave a certain harbor, but they did not believe him. People do not believe God’s messengers; yet some day they are going to find out that as the servants of God tell of a fearful storm coming upon this poor world, they are speaking according to the Word of God. (Ibid)

Keener has an interesting note that "Ancient people evaluated the sincerity of philosophers (e.g., Aristippus) according to how calm they stayed under pressure. A true philosopher consistent with his teachings would remain calm in a dangerous storm at sea (so Pyrrho the Skeptic), whereas as a false prophet like Peregrinus would not." (Ibid)

R Kent Hughes comments "Huge waves were assaulting the ship, but Paul's soul was as calm as a windless pond. Why? He was anchored in a way the rest knew nothing about. Every Christian can have courage amidst life's storms if he or she uses the proper anchors." (ED: See Heb 6:18+, Heb 6:19-20+). (Preaching the Word - Preaching the Word – Acts: The Church Afire)

Matthew Henry speaks of the value of the eternal value of present afflictions writing "Harm and loss in the world, if sanctified to us, may be truly said to be gain; for if they wean us from present things, and awaken us to think of a future state, we are truly gainers by them."

Acts 27:22  "Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

NET  Acts 27:22 And now I advise you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost.

GNT  Acts 27:22 καὶ τὰ νῦν παραινῶ ὑμᾶς εὐθυμεῖν· ἀποβολὴ γὰρ ψυχῆς οὐδεμία ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν πλὴν τοῦ πλοίου.

NLT  Acts 27:22 But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down.

KJV  Acts 27:22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.

ESV  Acts 27:22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

CSB  Acts 27:22 Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship.

NIV  Acts 27:22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.

NKJ  Acts 27:22 "And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

NRS  Acts 27:22 I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

YLT  Acts 27:22 and now I exhort you to be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of life among you -- but of the ship;

NAB  Acts 27:22 I urge you now to keep up your courage; not one of you will be lost, only the ship.

NJB  Acts 27:22 But now I ask you not to give way to despair. There will be no loss of life at all, only of the ship.

GWN  Acts 27:22 Now I advise you to have courage. No one will lose his life. Only the ship will be destroyed.

BBE  Acts 27:22 But now, I say to you, be of good heart, for there will be no loss of life, but only of the ship.

  • Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage: Ac 27:25,36 23:11 1Sa 30:6 Ezr 10:2 Job 22:29,30 Ps 112:7 Isa 43:1,2 2Co 1:4-6 4:8,9 
  • for there will be no loss of life: Ac 27:31,34,44 Job 2:4 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

BETTER A SHIPWRECK
THAN A LIFE-WRECK!

Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship -The first time Paul spoke of disaster, but this time of deliverance. This was quite a bold statement by Paul, for the sailors knew that it would take a great miracle for no one to die in a shipwreck in ancient times. Paul gives hope of salvation from death, but not from shipwreck. In contrast to the earlier warning Paul gave, this is clearly a prophecy (conveyed from God through His angel to Paul). Notice there were consequences for their disbelief of Paul which was the loss of the ship a high price to pay for ignoring Paul's advice.

I urge (present tense)(3867) see note above on paraineo, the same verb Luke had used to describe the initial "urging" or admonition. Used only here and Lk 27:9. 

Keep up your courage (present tense)(2114) see note below on euthumeo. He is saying in essence "Cheer up! The outcome will be positive." Take heart and be brave is the idea.

Loss of (580)(apobole from apo = from + ballo = to cast) means that which is cast away, a casting off. In Ro 11:15 speaks of rejection and here of loss of life. 

Life (5590) see note above on psuche 

John MacArthur comments that "The others were to benefit from the Lord's protection of Paul (cf. Gen. 39:5, 23; 1 Cor. 7:14). Unbelievers have no idea how much they owe, in the mercy of God, to the presence of righteous men among them. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

John G. Butler adds that “While the lying, liberal news media and other liberal organizations, such as the ACLU, scorn Christianity, they will one day discover that but for those Christians they despised, our nation would have been destroyed long ago.”

Ironside comments "Following his rebuke, Paul said: “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer.” I like that. He did not turn to them and exclaim, “Well, it serves you right. You are getting what is coming to you.” He said, “I have been praying and, when I prayed, God answered, and now I have something to tell you that will encourage you. You are going to lose the ship, but you are not going to lose your lives. I can promise you beforehand that every one of you is going to be saved.” (Ibid)

Steven ColeSomeone has said, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Those who do not know Christ need encouragement. Paul describes them as having no hope and without God in the world (Eph 2:12). They need the hope that only Christ can give. The Lord’s people need encouragement. Discouragement is one of Satan’s greatest tools, causing many in Christian service to give up and drop out of the ministry. Our families need encouragement. As husbands and fathers, we need to set an atmosphere of encouragement in our homes. The apostle Paul’s experience here shows us first, how to receive encouragement from the Lord in the storms of life; and, then, how to pass God’s encouragement on to others who desperately need it. Those who have received God’s encouragement in life’s storms should encourage others to look to God. If Paul had not been discouraged and afraid, he would not have needed this encouraging word. But once he experienced God’s encouragement, he then passed it on to others. Before we can pass God’s encouragement along to others, we must personally experience it ourselves.We all need personally to experience God’s encouragement in the storms of life. Howard Hendricks often says, “You cannot impart what you do not possess.” (Pastor Cole than goes on to give seven way in which believers can receive God's encouragement - see the full sermon on Acts 27:2-3,21-26,33-36 Encouragement in Life’s Storms)


Acts 27:21-36 Encouragers By Vernon C. Grounds

I long to see you … that I may be encouraged together with you. . —Romans 1:11-12

Discouragement is a problem for many Christians. While they may not be distressed about health, family, or work, they’re discouraged about their spiritual service. They compare themselves to others who are gifted with musical talents or the ability to teach the Bible. They see people who are able to give generously and pray with evident effectiveness, but they think they can’t do these things. As a result, they feel they are useless to God. They need to realize, however, that every Christian is qualified to carry on at least one helpful ministry—the ministry of encouragement.

Renowned preacher Robert Dale was walking one day in Birmingham, England, where he was pastoring the great Carr’s Lane Church. He was under a dark cloud of gloom when a woman came up to him and exclaimed, “God bless you, Dr. Dale. If you could only know how you have made me feel hundreds of times!” Then off she hurried. Dale later testified, “The mist broke, the sunlight came, and I breathed the free air of the mountains of God.”

The apostle Paul knew how important it was not only to be encouraged by others (Phil. 2:19) but to be an encourager (Acts 20:2; 27:35-36). That’s a ministry all of us can be involved in. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

It may seem insignificant
To say a word or two,
But when it is encouragement,
What wonders it can do!
—K. De Haan

Even if you have nothing else to give, you can always give encouragement.

Acts 27:23  "For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,

NET  Acts 27:23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me

GNT  Acts 27:23 παρέστη γάρ μοι ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τοῦ θεοῦ, οὗ εἰμι [ἐγώ] ᾧ καὶ λατρεύω, ἄγγελος

NLT  Acts 27:23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me,

KJV  Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

ESV  Acts 27:23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship,

CSB  Acts 27:23 For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me,

NIV  Acts 27:23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me

NKJ  Acts 27:23 "For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,

NRS  Acts 27:23 For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship,

YLT  Acts 27:23 for there stood by me this night a messenger of God -- whose I am, and whom I serve --

NAB  Acts 27:23 For last night an angel of the God to whom (I) belong and whom I serve stood by me

NJB  Acts 27:23 Last night there appeared beside me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,

GWN  Acts 27:23 I know this because an angel from the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood by me last night.

BBE  Acts 27:23 For this night there came to my side an angel of the God who is my Master and whose servant I am,

  • Angel...stood before me: Ac 5:19 12:8-11,23 23:11 Da 6:22 Heb 1:14 Rev 22:16 
  • God to Whom I belong: Ex 19:5 De 32:9 Ps 135:4 Song 2:16 6:3 Isa 44:5 Jer 31:33 32:38 Eze 36:38 Zec 13:9 Mal 3:17 Joh 17:9,10 1Co 6:20 Tit 2:14 1Pe 2:9,10 
  • and Whom I serve: Ac 16:17 Ps 116:16 143:12 Isa 44:21 Da 3:17,26,28 6:16,20 Joh 12:26 Ro 1:1,9 6:22 2Ti 1:3 2:24 Titus 1:1 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A DIVINE WORD OF
ENCOURAGEMENT

For (gar) - Term of explanation. In this case it was an important explanation to underscore his integrity, for the source of his words now he says are supernatural, not based solely on his experience as a frequent passenger on sailing vessels. 

This very night an angel of the God - NIV says "last night." Not "the" Angel of the LORD which is a description used in the OT appearances to describe what most conservative commentators interpret to be OT pre-incarnate appearances of Christ. This is "an angel," a supernatural being who functioned as a messenger sent from God to His servant Paul. 

This angelic messenger recalls the words of the writer of Hebrews who asks this rhetorical question regarding the angels (of course expecting an affirmative reply)...

"Are they (ANGELS) not all ministering (leitourgikos) spirits, sent out to render service (diakonia) for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14+). 

Comment - This passage might be especially relevant to the 273 passengers who as of yet were not believers (Paul, Luke, Aristarchus being believers). Surely some of this number were among those who would "inherit salvation," after hearing the Gospel from Paul and witnessing the power of God in his life (e.g., his fulfilled prophecy that all would be physically saved and his preservation from viper bite - Acts 28:3-6+)

Angel (32)(aggelos/angelos) literally means a messenger (one who bears a message - Lk 1:11, 2:9, etc or does an errand). Most of the NT uses refer to heavenly angels (messengers) who are supernatural, transcendent beings with power to carry out various tasks. All uses of aggelos that refer to angels are masculine gender (the feminine form of aggelos does not occur.)

Luke frequently uses angelos - note especially the angelic occurrences in Acts (Acts 5:19, Acts 8:26, Acts 10:3,Acts 10:7; Acts 10:22; Acts 11:13; Acts 12:7-11, Acts 12:23)

Lk. 1:11; Lk. 1:13; Lk. 1:18; Lk. 1:19; Lk. 1:26; Lk. 1:30; Lk. 1:34; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 1:38; Lk. 2:9; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 2:13; Lk. 2:15; Lk. 2:21; Lk. 4:10; Lk. 7:24; Lk. 7:27; Lk. 9:26; Lk. 9:52; Lk. 12:8; Lk. 12:9; Lk. 15:10; Lk. 16:22; Lk. 22:43; Lk. 24:23; Acts 5:19; Acts 6:15; Acts 7:30; Acts 7:35; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:53; Acts 8:26; Acts 10:3; Acts 10:7; Acts 10:22; Acts 11:13; Acts 12:7; Acts 12:8; Acts 12:9; Acts 12:10; Acts 12:11; Acts 12:15; Acts 12:23; Acts 23:8; Acts 23:9; Acts 27:23; 

To Whom I belong - He belongs not to the angel but to God. Paul acknowledged to all these sailors, most of whom were probably pagan, that he was not his own, but belonged to God, even as he wrote to the saints at Corinth "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Co 6:19-20+). Paul understood that he and all believers have been bought with a price (agorazo), the price of the blood of Christ and thus belong to Jesus, Who is our Master and our Lord. He made a similar declaration in Titus 2:14+ that believers are "His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Notice deeds (cf whom I serve) are the supernatural response of understanding we are His possession. Similarly, Peter said we are "God's own possession." (1 Peter 2:9+). 

David Peterson - Like Jonah, he confesses his devotion to the God whom they do not acknowledge (Jon. 1:9). Unlike Jonah, he is not seeking to escape from the implications of his service to God! (Pillar New Testament Commentary – The Acts of the Apostles)

We see this same idea of Jesus' "ownership" of Paul in previous passages...

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; (Acts 9:15+)

But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; (Acts 26:16+)

Note Paul does not say "whose we are or whom we serve" for with exceptions of Luke and Aristarchus, most were strangers to the covenant of grace by faith in Christ. 

Matthew Henry He looks upon God as his rightful owner, who has a sovereign incontestable title to him, and dominion over him: Who I am. Because God made us and not we ourselves, therefore we are not our own but his. His we are by creation, for he made us; by preservation, for he maintains us; by redemption, for he bought us. We are more his than our own.

Related Resource:

Whom I serve stood before me - Note that Paul emphasizes "being" before "doing." In other words Paul's first priority was his relationship to God and his service flowed forth from that relationship. To often in Christianity we put the cart before the horse (so to speak) and seek to serve Jesus (like Martha) without taking time to sit at His feet in worship (like Mary - read Lk 10:38-42+ where Mary chose "the good part"!). In Romans Paul uses the same verb (latreuo) as he describes his mission declaring "God, whom I serve (latreuo) in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son." 

Stood before (3936)(paristemi  from para = near, beside + histemi = place, set) literally means to place or set beside or near and hence to place at someone's disposal. In Luke 1:19+ the angel Gabriel said he "stands (paristemi) in the of God." This is the same verb Paul uses in 2 Ti 4:17+ writing that when everyone else deserted him (cf 2 Ti 4:16) "the Lord stood with (paristemi) me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth." Paul uses this verb paristemi again in the next statement quoting the angel's declaration that he "must stand before Caesar."

Paristemi in Acts

Acts 1:3; Acts 1:10; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:26; Acts 9:39; Acts 9:41; Acts 23:2; Acts 23:4; Acts 23:24; Acts 23:33; Acts 24:13; Acts 27:23; Acts 27:24;

Serve (3000)(latreuo from latris = one hired or latron = reward, wages) means to work for reward, for hire or for pay, to be in servitude, render cultic service. Latreuo was used literally for bodily service (e.g., workers on the land, or slaves), and figuratively for “to cherish.” In the NT the idea is to render service to God, to worship, to perform sacred services or to minister to God in a spirit of worship. Here are the NT uses of latreuo -Matt. 4:10; Lk. 1:74; Lk. 2:37; Lk. 4:8; Acts 7:7; Acts 7:42; Acts 24:14+ ("this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers,"); Acts 26:7; Acts 27:23; Ro 1:9; Ro 1:25; Phil. 3:3; 2 Ti 1:3; Heb. 8:5; Heb. 9:9; Heb. 9:14; Heb. 10:2; Heb. 12:28; Heb. 13:10; Rev. 7:15; Rev. 22:3. As described in Heb 13:10+, latreuo was used of the OT priests who offered their service to God, which depicts a life "set apart" and to be lived with a God-ward focus. The related noun  latreia is used in Romans 12:1+ in which Paul calls for us to over our entire self, our entire life to God as our spiritual service (latreia) of worship." 

THOUGHT - In light of the secular meaning "to work for reward" certainly that is not a disciple's main motive (we serve Him because we love Him and are empowered to serve Him by His indwelling Spirit), but it is a gift of His amazing grace that not only has He saved us, but that one day He will reward us! This is what I would call grace (saved us) upon grace (rewards us)! Amazing indeed!

Cole Every Christian, not just those in so-called “full-time Christian service,” should view himself or herself as the Lord’s servant, always on duty. Every contact is an opportunity to represent our Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the day we should, “Through Him … continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:15-16). If we see ourselves that way, as the Lord’s servants, we can be encouraged in the storms of life, because the Lord looks out for His servants. We’re doing His business, and just as a company looks out for its workers, even more so the Lord looks out for His workers. He has the best employee benefit package of all!

I Serve = present tense emphasizing the habit of Paul was that of ministering and serving God in a spirit of worship. In short, Paul's day to day life was one dominated and directed by an attitude of worship. When daily life is lived as an act of worship to the Most High God, otherwise "mundane" chores take on an entirely different significance. Oh, to live such a God focused, God glorifying life! Amen

Steven Cole applies Paul's bold testimony before the pagans writing that "If we want to stand out in a time of trial from those who do not know the Lord, we’ve got to have a daily walk of seeking God before the trial hits. In Pr 1:24-29, wisdom personified warns us that if we refuse to seek her during normal times, she will laugh at us when our dread comes like a storm and when distress and anguish come upon us. But if we daily seek God and His wisdom during normal times, when a storm hits, we will be different than those in the world, because we know and trust our God." (Ibid)

Bruce Barton - LIFE APPLICATION - IN THE NICK OF TIME - At least three times (Acts 18:9-10; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23-24), God gave Paul a timely word of encouragement. How gracious of God! Here He sends a divine messenger and dispatches him to the rocking, leaking, creaking ship—so as to soothe the troubled minds aboard. For us, encouragement may come in other, less dramatic, but equally meaningful ways: a phone call from a friend, a Bible verse, a needed hug, a note of encouragement, the meeting of a hidden need, the lyric of a song. If you're discouraged, ask God to give you some concrete reminder of his presence and promises. Then watch him act. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)


Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - Tempest and long darkness, coupled with imminent risk of shipwreck, had brought the crew of the vessel into a sad case; one man alone among them remained perfectly calm, and by his word the rest were reassured. Paul was the only man who had heart enough to say, "Sirs, be of good cheer." There were veteran Roman legionaries on board, and brave old mariners, and yet their poor Jewish prisoner had more spirit than they all. He had a secret Friend who kept his courage up. The Lord Jesus despatched a heavenly messenger to whisper words of consolation in the ear of his faithful servant, therefore he wore a shining countenance and spake like a man at ease.

If we fear the Lord, we may look for timely interpositions when our case is at its worst. Angels are not kept from us by storms, or hindered by darkness. Seraphs think it no humiliation to visit the poorest of the heavenly family. If angel's visits are few and far between at ordinary times, they shall be frequent in our nights of tempest and tossing. Friends may drop from us when we are under pressure, but our intercourse with the inhabitants of the angelic world shall be more abundant; and in the strength of love-words, brought to us from the throne by the way of Jacob's ladder, we shall be strong to do exploits. Dear reader, is this an hour of distress with you? then ask for peculiar help. Jesus is the angel of the covenant, and if his presence be now earnestly sought, it will not be denied. What that presence brings in heart-cheer those remember who, like Paul, have had the angel of God standing by them in a night of storm, when anchors would no longer hold, and rocks were nigh.

"O angel of my God, be near,
Amid the darkness hush my fear;
Loud roars the wild tempestuous sea,
Thy presence, Lord, shall comfort me."

Acts 27:24  saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.'

NET  Acts 27:24 and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you.'

GNT  Acts 27:24 λέγων, Μὴ φοβοῦ, Παῦλε, Καίσαρί σε δεῖ παραστῆναι, καὶ ἰδοὺ κεχάρισταί σοι ὁ θεὸς πάντας τοὺς πλέοντας μετὰ σοῦ.

NLT  Acts 27:24 and he said, 'Don't be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What's more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.'

KJV  Acts 27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

ESV  Acts 27:24 and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.'

CSB  Acts 27:24 and said, 'Don't be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.'

NIV  Acts 27:24 and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'

NKJ  Acts 27:24 "saying,`Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'

NRS  Acts 27:24 and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.'

YLT  Acts 27:24 saying, Be not afraid Paul; before Caesar it behoveth thee to stand; and, lo, God hath granted to thee all those sailing with thee;

NAB  Acts 27:24 and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You are destined to stand before Caesar; and behold, for your sake, God has granted safety to all who are sailing with you.'

NJB  Acts 27:24 and he said, "Do not be afraid, Paul. You are destined to appear before Caesar, and God grants you the safety of all who are sailing with you."

GWN  Acts 27:24 The angel told me, 'Don't be afraid, Paul! You must present your case to the emperor. God has granted safety to everyone who is sailing with you.'

BBE  Acts 27:24 Saying, Have no fear, Paul, for you will come before Caesar, and God has given to you all those who are sailing with you.

  • Do not be afraid: Ac 18:9,10 Ge 15:1 46:3 1Ki 17:13 2Ki 6:16 Isa 41:10-14 43:1-5 Mt 10:28 Rev 1:17 
  • you must stand before Caesar;: Ac 9:15 19:21 23:11 25:11 Mt 10:18 Joh 11:9 2Ti 4:16,17 Rev 11:5-7 
  • Behold: Ac 27:37 Ge 12:2 18:23-32 19:21,22,29 30:27 39:5,23 Isa 58:11,12 Mic 5:7 Jas 5:16 
  • Video - The Storm
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DO NOT 
BE AFRAID!

Saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar - This was the first of two promises and of course was the main one. That Paul had to be encouraged (commanded) this way indicates he was fearful, which shows that Paul was human. It would be natural for anyone to have some element of fear in such circumstances. Notice that the angel echoes the promise of Jesus in Acts 23:11 that Paul "must witness at Rome." 

Do not be afraid (phobeo) is present imperative with a negative which can mean either stop an action in progress or don't let it begin. In this context the sense is most likely the former. This is the same command the Lord had given to Paul in Acts 18:9, 10+ "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent." 

Must (1163) (dei from deo = to bind or tie objects together, put in prison and also root of doulos, bond-servant) refers to what is not optional but binding out of intrinsic necessity and inevitability. This is the same verb used in Acts 23:11 and is used 3 times in this chapter (Acts 27:21, 24, 26). Beloved, when the All Powerful God says something is a "must" it is a divine necessity and you can be sure it WILL happen because God is ALWAYS faithful to His promises! It was a necessity because it was part of God's plan and purpose for Paul. 

Behold (2400)(idou) is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which means to see, perceive, look at. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!"

Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a "divine highlighter," or a "divine underlining" of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

THE GRACE OF GOD

Paul now gives the second promise from the angelic messenger.

God has granted you all those who are sailing with you - Do you see the implication of this statement? This phraseology of God granted is often used in the context of prayer, specifically answer to one's prayer. In this context, the implication is that Paul had prayed for each of these 276 souls, because initially he had made the statement that there would not only be loss of cargo but of life! (Acts 27:10) It would not be hard to imagine Paul beginning to intercede for the lives of all on board when he realized they would choose not to heed his wise advice. As John Phillips aptly observes "The world will never know how much it owes to those in its midst who know God and have the key to God's heart in their hands." 

THOUGHT - God's granting Paul all those sailing with him recalls the words of Jeremiah 29:7 "And seek (SPEAKING TO JUDAH) the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile (BABYLON), and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare." When I was in medical practice, most of my associates were unbelievers, but upon reading this passage one day, I began to apply it in frequent intercession for the medical practice. While I am cautious in making this next statement, there is no question in my mind that God blessed our practice to the point that I was able to retire from medicine and go into full-time ministry at the age of 59 (I am 73 in 2019). To God be the glory! While God may not always bless your place of work in the same way, the principle behind this prayer is always worth applying. As James says "ye have not, because ye ask not." (James 4:2KJV). Just make sure that you do not ask with wrong motives (selfish, self-seeking purposes - the best motive is always for God to get the glory from the answer!). (James 4:3).

Polhill – It was Jonah’s presence on the ship that gave rise to the storm, and only in his absence were the others saved. It was altogether different for Paul’s ship. The apostle’s presence on the ship led to the deliverance of all aboard. (New American Commentary )

Has granted is perfect tense indicating God's gift of these men will be for the duration of the voyage. In other words the perfect tense here indicates certainty. It is reasonable to mention that Paul may have interceded (but we cannot be dogmatic) much like Abraham interceded for Sodom repeatedly asking God if He would destroy Sodom if there were 50, 45, 40, 20, 30 or 10 righteous  people there (Ge 18:23-31, 32). 

Has granted (5483)(charizomai from charis = grace, undeserved merit or favor) has the basic meaning of to give or grant as a favor, gratuitously, generously, graciously and in kindness. It means to bestow as a gift of grace or out of grace, giving help to those who don't deserve it. As Robertson says "The lives of those that sailed with Paul God had spared as a gift (charis) to Paul." Little did most of the 276 passengers understand that they owed their lives to Paul's presence! Once again we see God's hand of providence in this promised deliverance.

THOUGHT - Are we as God's children sensitive to His providential activity in our lives which is often beneficial and a manifestation of His great grace. I fear I am too often so self-focused that I fail to see the good hand of the Lord in my life! Open our eyes spiritually Lord to more frequently recognize and gratefully praise you for Your kindnesses and grace in our lives in Jesus' Name. Amen.

All uses of charizomai

Lk. 7:21; Lk. 7:42; Lk. 7:43; Acts 3:14; Acts 25:11; Acts 25:16; Acts 27:24; Rom. 8:32; 1 Co. 2:12; 2 Co. 2:7; 2 Co. 2:10; 2 Co. 12:13; Gal. 3:18; Eph. 4:32; Phil. 1:29; Phil. 2:9; Col. 2:13; Col. 3:13; Phlm. 1:22

Steven Cole adds that "God could have saved Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus, but let the others perish. But instead, He graciously granted to Paul the lives of all on board. The world never knows the protection that it receives because of the presence and prayers of God’s people! Scripture doesn’t tell us how many of those on board eventually came to saving faith in Christ, but I think that many did. Whenever you are going through a storm, not only pray that God will deliver you, but also that He will grant you the souls of others with whom you have contact during the storm. He may be taking you through the storm for the very reason that He wants to use you to bring the gospel to others “on board” with you. The fact that He graciously answers prayer for the salvation of others should encourage us in the storm." (Sermon)

Cole encourages us to pray like Paul - After Paul’s advice not to continue the voyage had been rejected, he easily could have got his feelings hurt and said, “If that’s how they want to be, they deserve to perish!” But he put his feelings aside and prayed that all would be delivered. No doubt these sailors were not nice men with high moral standards. They probably swore a lot, as sailors are notorious for doing. The soldiers guarding Paul and the other prisoners showed their true colors by wanting to kill all the prisoners just prior to the shipwreck. But Paul knew that they all needed the Lord, and so he prayed for them. Even so, we should pray for people in the world who do not deserve God’s grace. None of us do! As we learned in the “Praying for You” seminar several years ago, most unbelievers will respond favorably if you ask, “May I pray for you?” Everyone has needs, and even the most hardened unbelievers will often say, “Well, it can’t hurt!” Your kindness may open a door for the gospel. And with fellow believers who are going through the storm, it will encourage them to know that you are praying for them. (Acts 27:2-3,21-26,33-36 Encouragement in Life’s Storms)

Spurgeon - Oh, what a privilege it would be if God would say the same to us! If, in the night of trouble, when you are tossed to and fro, mother, father, the Lord should say to you, “Fear not, I have given you your whole family they shall all be saved,” you would not mind how fiercely the storm might rage if you could be sure of that. And how happy would my heart be if all that sail in this big vessel were given to me! I should not be satisfied even then; I should want a great many more than that; but, still, what a blessed thing it would be to have every soul that sails with us saved!

H A Ironside - "How did Paul know that? Because God had told him so. He said, “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve” (23). Oh, the dignity of that! Paul could look at these representatives of the Roman Empire who had put him in bonds, and say, “I am the servant of the most high God. I belong to Him, and I serve Him; I am in His service even now. He sent His angel to me. You couldn’t see him. You had eyes only for the storm, the creaking timbers, and the treacherous rocks ahead, but I have seen the angel of the Lord.” The man of God can see things that the man of the world can never see. Here is a striking instance of the sovereignty of God. God spoke through His angel and declared His purpose. He said in effect, “I have settled it that all these men are going to be saved.” Of course. He was speaking of their temporal salvation, their physical salvation, but it is God speaking, you might say, arbitrarily. He speaks in His sovereignty, just as He has chosen in Christ certain ones who are going to be saved for all eternity. Who are they? All who trust in the Lord Jesus. This is not hyper-Calvinistic fatalism. It is divine, elective love." (H A Ironside)

Cole points out that remembering God's presence with us should always serve to bolster our "encouragement quotient" - Paul had experienced it when he was afraid in Corinth. The Lord appeared to him and promised, “for I am with you” (Ac 18:9-10, cf His promise to all of His disciples in Mt 28:20). Paul had also experienced it when he was in custody in Jerusalem, and the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage,” and promised that he would bear witness at Rome” (Ac 23:11). He would later experience it at his final imprisonment, just before his execution. He told Timothy that no one supported him, but all deserted him. Then he added, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2Ti 4:17). Each of these experiences of the Lord’s presence came at times of crisis in Paul’s life. (Acts 27:2-3,21-26,33-36 Encouragement in Life’s Storms)

ILLUSTRATION Late in his life, the great pioneer missionary to Africa, David Livingstone, received an honorary doctorate from Glasgow University. As he rose to speak, he was gaunt and haggard as a result of the hardships he had gone through in tropical Africa. He left arm, crushed by a lion, hung helplessly at his side as he announced his resolve to return to Africa without misgiving and with great gladness. He added, “Would you like me to tell you what supported me through all the years of exile among a people whose language I could not understand, and whose attitude toward me was often uncertain and often hostile? It was this: ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.’ On these words I staked everything, and they never failed!” (“Our Daily Bread,” Fall, 1984.)

ILLUSTRATION OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS TO KEEP HIS PROMISESDuring Donald Grey Barnhouse’s student days in France, he led a girl to Christ who later married a French pastor. She often came to the Barnhouse home and saw them taking verses from a promise box—a small box that held about 200 promises from the Bible printed on heavy paper curled into cylinders. They would take one out and read it when they needed a word of special comfort. So this French woman made her own promise box, writing these same verses in French.Years later, during the war, this French family had no food except for the potato peelings from a nearby restaurant. The children were hungry and were almost in rags, and their shoes were worn through. In one of her lowest moments, this woman turned in desperation to the promise box. She prayed, “O Lord, I have such great need. Is there a promise here that is really for me? Show me, O Lord, what promise I can have in this time of famine, nakedness, peril, and sword.”Her tears blinded her, and in reaching for the box, she knocked it over. The promises showered down around her, on her lap and on the floor. Not one was left in the box. At that moment, the Holy Spirit flooded her with divine light and joy as she realized that all of the promises were indeed for her in that hour of her greatest need (Barnhouse, Let Me Illustrate [Revell], pp. 253-254).

Cole adds "And so it can be for you in whatever storm you are going through. As the Lord promises (Is 43:1-3), "But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.  “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. " (ED: Of course this promise applies literally to Israel but is applicable to all believers in Jesus.)

Acts 27:25  "Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.

NET  Acts 27:25 Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be just as I have been told.

GNT  Acts 27:25 διὸ εὐθυμεῖτε, ἄνδρες· πιστεύω γὰρ τῷ θεῷ ὅτι οὕτως ἔσται καθ᾽ ὃν τρόπον λελάληταί μοι.

NLT  Acts 27:25 So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.

KJV  Acts 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

ESV  Acts 27:25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.

CSB  Acts 27:25 Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.

NIV  Acts 27:25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

NKJ  Acts 27:25 "Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

NRS  Acts 27:25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.

YLT  Acts 27:25 wherefore be of good cheer, men! for I believe God, that so it shall be, even as it hath been spoken to me,

NAB  Acts 27:25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men; I trust in God that it will turn out as I have been told.

NJB  Acts 27:25 So take courage, friends; I trust in God that things will turn out just as I was told;

GWN  Acts 27:25 So have courage, men! I trust God that everything will turn out as he told me.

BBE  Acts 27:25 And so, O men, be of good heart, for I have faith in God that it will be as he said to me.

HOPE IS THE ANCHOR
OF ONE'S SOUL

Hope as used most often in Scripture speaks of the absolute assurance of future good, the firm confidence that God will do good to us in the future. Paul expressed this hope to the men on the ship. Paul is in essence telling them to get their eyes off of the storm and fix them on God. 

As Robertson says "God had spoken. That was enough." 

Kenneth Gangel comments that "Doubtless many gods had received repeated appeals during that two weeks; in a situation like this, the most calloused pagan can all of a sudden find words addressed to some kind of deity who might intervene in a time of obvious disaster. Only one God answered! The angelic messenger was quite precise—they would not only be saved, but the ship would run aground on some island." (Holman New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Therefore, keep up your courage, men - Paul commands them to cheer up, literally to be cheerful. The present imperative calls for this to be their continual internal attitude despite the external circumstances. Take heart in spite of ostensibly disheartening circumstances. Note that Paul was in the storm like everyone else and yet he did not do the natural thing (look out for self), but the supernatural thing in pointing them to the faithful promise of God. Think about this for a moment -- it did turn out exactly as Paul had been promised by God. What might this truth about God convey to these pagans as they heard (as I am certain they did) about God's promise of a greater rescue by grabbing hold by faith of the hand of our Rescuing Redeemer? I am convinced we will see a number of these 276 (we know 3 for sure) in Heaven! And won't they have an amazing testimony of how God led them step by step to faith in Christ! We need to tell others about the power of God help not only in temporal storms but tell of His power to save them from their sins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

THOUGHT - A humorist wrote, “When I was feeling down, someone told me, ‘Cheer up, things could get worse.’ So I cheered up—and they did!” A superficial “cheer up” seldom helps people in distress. They long for reassuring news that life will soon change for the better. Paul's cheer up was not superficial but was substantial. Why? Because it was based on the Word of Truth. God may our "cheer ups" of others be of similar ilk, in Jesus' Name. Amen

Paul's words to the passengers remind us of his words to all believers

Therefore (b/c 1 Co 15:57), my beloved brethren, be (present imperative = only possible as we jettison self-reliance and learn to wholly rely on the Holy Spirit! See Need for Spirit to obey NT commands) steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (Note the qualifier, not "our works" but only those that are IN the Lord, initiated and empowered by His Spirit and for His glory not ours!). (1 Cor 15:58+)

What is even more intriguing is that a number of commentaries feel that some of the men on board may have been condemned prisoners headed for a deadly date with a lion as gladiators in the arena. Their need was even more desperate. Paul's testimony also will minimize the chance that some of the pagans would begin to give thanks to their dead, dumb idols for seeing them through the storm. Paul's declaration in this verse is the the Living God is the (only) One Who would bring them safely through this temporal storm which is a pale foretaste of the eternal storm for all not safe in the Ark of Jesus. Take a moment and listen to Rich Mullins' great song My Deliverer.

God would soon turn disaster into deliverance
and despair into hope. 

Keep up your courage (2114)(euthumeo from eu = good, well + thumos = temperament, mindset) means cheer up, be of good cheer, be encouraged, keep up one's courage. Only 3x in the NT - Acts 27:22; Acts 27:25; Jas. 5:13 "Is anyone cheerful?" The related adjective euthumos (of good cheer) is found only in Acts 27:36. 

Barclay - The prisoner had become the captain, for he is the only man with any courage left. 

For - Term of explanation - Explaining why Paul can confidently exhort them to take heart even though they are all in dire straits. 

I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told - This Pauline declaration of faith should be tattooed on the heart and mind of every follower of Christ, so that we might hold fast to the promises of the One Who holds us. Notice the last phrase as I have been told. What does that imply? Paul had heard the Word from God. How do we hear from Him today? In His Word and through His Spirit's illumination of the Word. Here's the practical point -- it is difficult to make this Pauline declaration if we don't know His precious and magnificent promises! We need to be in the Word daily, so that the Word gets into us, saturates our heart and mind providing a "divine reservoir" we can tap into when we are experiencing manifold or variegated trials and tribulations ("storms")! Of course, one of the most efficient ways to do this is by "eating" the Word, i.e., by regularly and intentionally memorizing it. If you don't know where to begin, see Memory Verses by Topic

Larkin comments that "Paul models for us the stance of one who is convinced that God's gracious purposes cannot be thwarted, even when outward circumstances call that conviction into question. It is not that he is simply a practical man in a critical emergency—"keeping his head when all about him are losing theirs" (contrast Bruce 1988:475). Rather, it is precisely because he is an "impractical" holy man, a Christian apostle who receives messages from angels, that he can be an encouragement in the fury of the storm. His strength comes from beyond the storm: he "believes God," that he can accomplish what he has promised. Such faith is the foundation for a life of encouragement." (IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Acts)

I believe (4100)(pisteuo) in this context speaks of Paul's faith, trust and confidence that he can rely on His faithful God for help in the time of need. Barton adds that "Having faith means taking God at His Word. It means relying wholeheartedly on the clear-cut promises of God. The issue isn't whether a person has great faith but whether he or she has faith in a great God." (Ibid)

I love Laura Daigle's song "You Say" which repeats Paul's powerful words "I believe." O, that every person reading this right now might believe the precious promises of God with such a firm Spirit driven, Word centered, God glorifying assurance for Jesus' sake. Amen 

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know
Ooh oh

REFRAIN:

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe (I)
Oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity
Ooh oh

REFRAIN

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure, God, You have every victory
Ooh oh

REFRAIN

Oh, I believe (I)
Yes I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe


Paul is a man who demonstrates his unshakable faith in his God. Paul's faith was anchored in God. Priscilla J. Owens communicates this thought in these words:

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love.

(Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles)


H A Ironside - Here we get one side of this great truth of the divine sovereignty. God declared these men who sailed with Paul were all going to be saved. That part was settled. But next we notice the source of Paul’s confidence: “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me, Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.” Can you say, “I believe God”? It is a great thing when God speaks, and you can just put your foot down and say, “God says it, and I believe it.” When studying the Chinese language many years ago, I was struck by the symbol for faith (ED: SEE THIS WORD DEPICTED ABOVE). It is partly made up of the character for word: the lower part of that character stands for a mouth, and above it are several lines indicating something coming out of the mouth. After all, that is what a word is! Then to one side there is a character of a man. And is not that what faith is-a man standing by the Word? I wonder where the ancient Chinese got that. They composed that symbol for faith thousands of years ago-long before the dawn of our civilization.

Sometimes a poor soul comes to me in distress and says, “I have been praying and praying for months for salvation, but I don’t seem to get it and I am miserable.” I ask, “Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” “Oh I do,” is the response. “Do you believe He died for you?” “Yes.” “Do you believe He bore your sins in His own body on the tree?” “Yes I do.” “Have you come to Him and told Him you are a sinner and are ready to trust Him?” “Yes, but He doesn’t seem to accept me; I am not saved.” “Where are you looking for assurance?” “Well, I expect to feel different when I am saved.” I answer: “You might feel very happy and not be saved at all. You might be trusting in the wrong thing or the wrong person. The Lord Jesus Himself said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Notice, carefully what is said here. ‘He that heareth my word.’ Have you heard God’s Word? ‘And believeth on him that sent me.’ Do you believe that God sent Jesus to be your Savior, to die for you?” “Yes, I believe that,” “All right; now look at the next phrase: ‘Hath everlasting life.’ Have you everlasting life?” “Well, I hope so,” was her response. “But it does not say that maybe he will have everlasting life. Can’t you take your stand on the Word of God?” That poor woman’s face brightened and she said, “Oh, I see it. I must just take Him at His Word. That is sufficient.”

Why, I know people who say, “I know everything is all right. I have been baptized.” But they were just deluded by the devil, for baptism itself saves nobody. Jesus alone saves and He does it for all who believe in Him. I remember speaking to a woman who had just joined a certain church that teaches salvation by sacraments and legal obedience. She said, “Before I joined this church I never was at peace, but now I just trust my salvation to those in authority.” That is false peace; a peace built on error. Paul said to his frightened traveling companions, “God has spoken and I believe God.” Christian, what about you? Do you believe God? Why do you then go about with your head hanging down like a bulrush, as much as to say, “Oh, if you only knew my circumstances; my health is poor, and I am afraid I shall lose my job; I don’t know what I shall do when I get old”? Do you trust the One who has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”? Do you know that it is written: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”? Do you know the Holy Spirit has declared, “All things work together for good to them that love God”? Well then, why not brighten up and say, “I believe God; the devil is not going to get me down because circumstances seem to be against me? I believe there is a God who is above all circumstances.” (Commentary)

Acts 27:26  "But we must run aground on a certain island."

NET  Acts 27:26 But we must run aground on some island."

GNT  Acts 27:26 εἰς νῆσον δέ τινα δεῖ ἡμᾶς ἐκπεσεῖν.

NLT  Acts 27:26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island."

KJV  Acts 27:26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

ESV  Acts 27:26 But we must run aground on some island."

CSB  Acts 27:26 However, we must run aground on a certain island."

NIV  Acts 27:26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

NKJ  Acts 27:26 "However, we must run aground on a certain island."

NRS  Acts 27:26 But we will have to run aground on some island."

YLT  Acts 27:26 and on a certain island it behoveth us to be cast.'

NAB  Acts 27:26 We are destined to run aground on some island."

NJB  Acts 27:26 but we are to be stranded on some island.'

GWN  Acts 27:26 However, we will run aground on some island."

BBE  Acts 27:26 But we will be sent on to a certain island.

BAD NEWS - SHIPWRECK
GOOD NEWS - LAND

MacArthur comments that Paul makes this statement "perhaps for the benefit of any skeptics who might have wondered how they were going to escape drowning if the ship were lost, the apostle." (Ibid)

But we must run aground on a certain island - Notice that the verb must (dei) speaks of an absolute necessity and is used three times in this description of the storm and shipwreck. The first use is what they should have done (Acts 27:21), the second use of the necessity of Paul to stand before Caesar (Acts 27:24) and the present use that they must strike land. The angel did not reveal to Paul the name of the island on which they would run aground. It was enough for him (and presumably the rest of the party) to know they would wreck on land and not on the open sea. This specific detail would assure those who heard Paul's prediction that His God knew the future and that Paul was not simply guessing. The fact that Paul stated it was an island would mean that they would not be carried into the dangerous sandbanks of Syrtis which were on the coast of Africa, so that was also good news. 

Run aground (1601)(ekpipto from ek = from + pípto = to fall) literally means to fall off or from (like withered blossoms James 1:11), of fetters (Acts 12:7) and here as a technical nautical term meaning to drift off course, be driven onto rocks or in this specific instance to run aground. ,Ekpipto was used there other times in Luke's description of the shipwreck scene (Acts 27:17 = might run aground, Acts 27:29 = might run aground and Acts 28:32 = let it fall away [speaking of ship's ropes]). 

Gangel observes that "Luke records no response to Paul's promise. Had the men cheered or fallen on their knees on the deck to worship Paul's God, we can be sure Luke would have told us. Instead, they would wait to see whether this promise of hope had any substance." (Holman New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Acts 27:27  But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land.

NET  Acts 27:27 When the fourteenth night had come, while we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected they were approaching some land.

GNT  Acts 27:27 Ὡς δὲ τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτη νὺξ ἐγένετο διαφερομένων ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ Ἀδρίᾳ, κατὰ μέσον τῆς νυκτὸς ὑπενόουν οἱ ναῦται προσάγειν τινὰ αὐτοῖς χώραν.

NLT  Acts 27:27 About midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven across the Sea of Adria, the sailors sensed land was near.

KJV  Acts 27:27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;

ESV  Acts 27:27 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.

CSB  Acts 27:27 When the fourteenth night came, we were drifting in the Adriatic Sea, and in the middle of the night the sailors thought they were approaching land.

NIV  Acts 27:27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land.

NKJ  Acts 27:27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.

NRS  Acts 27:27 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.

YLT  Acts 27:27 And when the fourteenth night came -- we being borne up and down in the Adria -- toward the middle of the night the sailors were supposing that some country drew nigh to them;

NAB  Acts 27:27 On the fourteenth night, as we were still being driven about on the Adriatic Sea, toward midnight the sailors began to suspect that they were nearing land.

NJB  Acts 27:27 On the fourteenth night we were being driven one way and another in the Adriatic, when about midnight the crew sensed that land of some sort was near.

GWN  Acts 27:27 On the fourteenth night we were still drifting through the Mediterranean Sea. About midnight the sailors suspected that we were approaching land.


DRIVEN ABOUT IN THE ADRIATIC SEA
Click to enlarge

AT THE MERCY OF THE STORM
BUT IN THE HANDS OF GOD

But when the fourteenth night came - That's about 324 hours on a violently stormy sea! Presumably this is the fourteenth day after departure from Crete (Fair Havens). Thus they have been in this raging storm for two full weeks. Little wonder that they might be seasick!

H A Ironside on the fourteenth night - Think of it! Fourteen awful days and nights in a dreadful storm, and all they had to rest on was the word of God that they would get safely to shore! 

Sir William Ramsay - On the fourteenth midnight, the practised senses of the sailors detected that land was nearing: probably, as Smith suggests, they heard the breakers, and, as an interesting confirmation of his suggestion, one old Latin version reads “that land was resounding”.61 was now necessary to choose where they should beach the vessel; for the sound of the breakers warned them that the coast was dangerous. In the dark no choice was possible; and they therefore were forced to anchor. With a strong wind blowing it was doubtful whether the cables and anchors would hold; therefore, to give themselves every chance, they let go four anchors. (St Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen - page 175)

As we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching (prosago - coming near) some land - Or "being tossed up and down in". Of course Luke did not realize where they were being driven at the time this was occurring but later realized it was over what was known as the Adriatic Sea. Note that this is not the modern Adriatic Sea that is between Italy and Yugoslavia, but is what we today call the Ionian Sea (see map of Adriatic and Ionian Seas). Some sources refer to it as the Sea of Adria, southeast of Italy. Notice that they were supposedly wide awake at midnight! One wonders how much sleep any of the passengers had during this harrowing 2 weeks! These seasoned sailors began to surmise or have a suspicion that it was "Land Ahoy!" Presumably they could hear waves breaking which indicated a beach lay close by.

So after traveling westward for two weeks they had covered about 475 miles from Cauda to Maltal.

Polhill observes that "There was a rocky promontory on the northeast extremity of Malta now known as Point Koura (see map above). The breakers against Koura are audible for some distance, and it was perhaps this sound that alerted the sailors to the possibility that they were nearing land" (New American Commentary – Volume 26: Acts)

Were being driven about (1308)(diaphero from dia = separation, through + phéro = carry, bear) means to bear different ways (dia = duo - two), one way and then another way. Picture the vessel taking a zigzag movement.  Here in the passive sense it describes the ship being driven about, continuing to be tossed to and fro in the rough seas. 

Surmise (imperfect tense - over and over, again and again)(5282)(huponoeo from hupo = under + noeo = think) literally means to "think under" and so to secretly think or think secretly. In a bad sense it means to suspect or suppose something, to hold a suspicion as in Acts 25:18 ("they began bringing charges against him not of such crimes as I was expecting"). More generally it means to suppose, conjecture, assume (as in our present passage). To regard as in  Acts 13:25 (the third and final use in NT) where John the Baptist asked "What do you think I am? I am not He (Jesus)." BDAG has "to form an opinion or conjecture on the basis of slight evidence." Louw- Nida - “to have an opinion based on scant evidence, often with the implication of regarding a false opinion as true." Used once in Septuagint in Da 7:25. 

Liddell-Scott adds -  to suspect that; feel suspicious of. Generally, to suspect, conjecture, form guesses about, by conjecture.  

Gangel reminds that "The true anchors in any storm—physical, emotional, or spiritual—can only be found in faith, hope, prayer, and the sovereignty of God." (Ibid)

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Sometimes we get ourselves into storms for the same reasons: impatience, accepting expert advice that is contrary to God’s will, following the majority, and trusting ‘ideal’ conditions... It pays to listen to God’s Word.” (BEC)

Steven Cole comments on God's sovereignty in what looked like dire straits - God was in control! He always is! This storm did not take Him by surprise. He was not in heaven in a panic, summoning His angels to come up with a rescue plan for Paul. God caused the boat to drift 476 miles from the small island of Clauda to Malta, another speck in that vast sea. Although the sailors were not in control, God was! In the 19th century, an experienced Scottish yachtsman, James Smith, made a careful on-site study of this narrative. He asked experienced Mediterranean navigators what the mean drift of a ship of this kind would be in such a gale. He learned that it would drift about 36 miles in 24 hours. Even today, the soundings mentioned in verse Acts 27:28 indicate that the ship was passing Koura, a point on the east coast of Malta, on her way into St. Paul’s Bay. Smith calculated that a ship leaving late in the evening from Clauda would, by midnight of the 14th day, be less than three miles from the entrance to St Paul's Bay. He also reported that no ship can enter St. Paul’s Bay without passing within a quarter of a mile from the point of Koura, where the sailors would have heard the breakers, thus surmising that they were nearing land, as Luke reports in verse Ac 27:27 (cited by F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts [Eerdmans], pp. 514-515). This shows the perfect accuracy of Luke’s narrative and that we can trust in God’s Word. When things in our lives are out of our control, they are never out of God’s control. Trust in the promises of His Word of truth! 

‘The harbour of St. Paul is open to easterly and northeast winds. It is, notwithstanding, safe for small ships, the ground, generally, being very good; and while the cables hold there is no danger, as the anchors will never start. (P. 161.)(Acts 27:1-44 Weathering Life’s Storms)


Acts 27:27-44 Safe In God’s Care By David C. Egner

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. —Psalm 121:8

President Franklin D. Roosevelt loved the song we call the Navy Hymn. It was sung at his funeral in Hyde Park, New York, on April 14, 1945. The words of the hymn were written in 1860 by William Whiting, who taught and directed a 16-voice boys choir. He penned them for a student who was about to set sail for America and who was apprehensive about the journey.

The beautiful tune was written by John B. Dykes and first published in 1861. He named the hymn tune Melita, the Roman name for Malta, the island where Paul was shipwrecked.

The hymn is a simple prayer based on the profound truth that the eternal God who created the universe controls all the elements of nature and can protect His own no matter how great the peril. Wind and wave are subject to His command. The first verse reads: (ED: The link below begins with a ship at sea!)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

When we or loved ones take a journey to some far-off destination, or if we only travel to and from work, we can be sure of His protection and care.

We need not fear shipwreck with Jesus at the helm.

Acts 27:28  They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

NET  Acts 27:28 They took soundings and found the water was twenty fathoms deep; when they had sailed a little farther they took soundings again and found it was fifteen fathoms deep.

GNT  Acts 27:28 καὶ βολίσαντες εὗρον ὀργυιὰς εἴκοσι, βραχὺ δὲ διαστήσαντες καὶ πάλιν βολίσαντες εὗρον ὀργυιὰς δεκαπέντε·

NLT  Acts 27:28 They dropped a weighted line and found that the water was 120 feet deep. But a little later they measured again and found it was only 90 feet deep.

KJV  Acts 27:28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.

ESV  Acts 27:28 So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.

CSB  Acts 27:28 They took a sounding and found it to be 120 feet deep; when they had sailed a little farther and sounded again, they found it to be 90 feet deep.

NIV  Acts 27:28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep.

NKJ  Acts 27:28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

NRS  Acts 27:28 So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms.

YLT  Acts 27:28 and having sounded they found twenty fathoms, and having gone a little farther, and again having sounded, they found fifteen fathoms,

NAB  Acts 27:28 They took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on, they again took soundings and found fifteen fathoms.

NJB  Acts 27:28 They took soundings and found twenty fathoms; after a short interval they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms.

GWN  Acts 27:28 So they threw a line with a weight on it into the water. It sank 120 feet. They waited a little while and did the same thing again. This time the line sank 90 feet.

BBE  Acts 27:28 And they let down the lead, and saw that the sea was a hundred and twenty feet deep; and after a little time they did it again and it was ninety feet.


SHIP SOUNDING

They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms - The line dropped to a depth of 120 feet. See another picture of soundingA "fathom" was the distance between fingertips with the arms extended and generally considered to be about six feet. 

Robertson notes fathom is orguia derived from "oregō, to stretch, means the distance from one outstretched middle finger tip to the other likewise out-stretched." 

NET Note adds that "A fathom is about 6 feet or just under 2 meters (originally the length of a man's outstretched arms). This was a nautical technical term for measuring the depth of water. Here it was about 120 ft (36 m)."

Wikipedia - Depth sounding refers to the act of measuring depth. It is often referred to simply as sounding.

Took soundings (only NT use)(1001)(bolizo from bolis = javelin, dart) means to drop a plummet, by dropping a rope with a lead with attached to assess the depth. One source says that the ""lead had a hollow on the underside which, filled with tallow or grease, brought up samples of the bottom" (Casson)  "Bolizō combines the idea of throwing something and an object that is thrown and refers to the primitive method in navigation of using a weighted line to measure depth." (Gilbrant) BDAG adds "to use a weighted line to determine depth, take soundings, heave the lead (the sounding would be taken with a bolis ("missile") an implement shaped like a missile and probably made of lead."

And a little farther on Literally, "standing apart a little" describing the ship going a short distance farther.

They took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms - Now the depth was about 93 feet. 

MacArthur suggests "they were only about three miles from the entrance of what is known today (for obvious reasons) as St. Paul's Bay. Remarkably, in the Providence of God, the storm had driven them across the Mediterranean to a small dot of land in the middle of the sea." (Ibid)

F. F. Bruce (NICNT-Acts) relates nineteenth-century British yachtsman James Smith's findings on his study of the voyage in his book The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul...

Smith relates how he made careful enquiries of experienced Mediterranean navigators in order to ascertain the mean rate of drift of a ship of this kind laid-to in such a gale. The conclusion which he reached was a mean drift of about thirty-six miles in twenty-four hours. The soundings recorded in Acts 27:28 indicate that the ship was passing Koura, a point on the east coast of Malta, on her way into St. Paul's Bay.

"But the distance from Clauda to the point of Koura... is 476.6 miles, which, at the rate as deduced from the information... , would take exactly thirteen days, one hour, and twenty-one minutes." And not only so: "The coincidence of the actual bearing of St. Paul's Bay from Clauda, and the direction in which a ship must have driven in order to avoid the Syrtis, is if possible still more striking than that of the time actually consumed, and the calculated time." Then, after carefully reckoning the direction of the ship's course from the direction of the wind, from the angle of the ship's head with the wind, and from the lee-way, he goes on: "Hence according to these calculations, a ship starting late in the evening from Clauda would, by midnight on the 14th [day], be less than three miles from the entrance of St. Paul's Bay. I admit that a coincidence so very close as this, is to a certain extent accidental, but it is an accident which could not have happened had there been any inaccuracy on the part of the author of the narrative with regard to the numerous incidents upon which the calculations are founded, or had the ship been wrecked anywhere but at Malta, for there is no other place agreeing, either in name or description, within the limits to which we are tied down by calculations founded upon the narrative." (See page 124 in Smith's book)

Related Resources:


Jack Andrews applies this passageGod often gives us signs of approaching danger when we get out of the will of God—

  • He sends messengers,
  • we hear messages,
  • He brings conviction about a decision or direction we are taking,
  • He warns us that we are about to make shipwreck of our lives!

It is good to take spiritual “soundings” to check in with daily with the Lord about the direction of our lives! (Ibid)

Acts 27:29  Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak.

NET  Acts 27:29 Because they were afraid that we would run aground on the rocky coast, they threw out four anchors from the stern and wished for day to appear.

GNT  Acts 27:29 φοβούμενοί τε μή που κατὰ τραχεῖς τόπους ἐκπέσωμεν, ἐκ πρύμνης ῥίψαντες ἀγκύρας τέσσαρας ηὔχοντο ἡμέραν γενέσθαι.

NLT  Acts 27:29 At this rate they were afraid we would soon be driven against the rocks along the shore, so they threw out four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for daylight.

KJV  Acts 27:29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

ESV  Acts 27:29 And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.

CSB  Acts 27:29 Then, fearing we might run aground in some rocky place, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight to come.

NIV  Acts 27:29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.

NKJ  Acts 27:29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

NRS  Acts 27:29 Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.

YLT  Acts 27:29 and fearing lest on rough places we may fall, out of the stern having cast four anchors, they were wishing day to come.

NAB  Acts 27:29 Fearing that we would run aground on a rocky coast, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.

NJB  Acts 27:29 Then, afraid that we might run aground somewhere on a reef, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.

GWN  Acts 27:29 Fearing we might hit rocks, they dropped four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for morning to come.

BBE  Acts 27:29 Then, fearing that by chance we might come on to the rocks, they let down four hooks from the back of the ship, and made prayers for the coming of day.

  • Might run aground: Ac 27:17,41 
  • anchors: Ac 27:30,40 Heb 6:19 
  • and wished: De 28:67 Ps 130:6 
  • Video - Shipwreck
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PUT THE "BRAKES" ON
BECAUSE OF BREAKERS!

When we hit the brakes in a car we come to a screeching halt, and anchors were their attempt to "slam their foot on the brakes" of the ship. 

Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks - "Against a rough (rocky) place." The rapid decrease in depth from the soundings combined undoubtedly with the sound of breaking waves was a cause of alarm stimulating the sailors to take action. 

Rocks (5138)(trachus) means rough, uneven and refers to rocks or reefs. BDAB - "of a mountain (Herodian 6, 5, 5) 1. Of stones (Hom. et al.)." This is the only NT use of trachus but there are 4 uses in the Septuagint - Dt. 21:4; 2 Sa 17:8; Isa. 40:4 ("let the rough ground become a plain,"); Jer. 2:25 (English of Lxx = "Withdraw thy foot from a rough way")  Gilbrant on trachus This word was used in ancient literature to denote severe or crude circumstances, such as warfare or natural forces, rough and rocky places, and figuratively of the actions of crude persons (Liddell-Scott). In the New Testament trachus is used in Luke 3:5+ of the rough ways that will be made smooth by the forerunner of Christ (cf. Isaiah 40:4). It is also used in Acts 27:29 of the jagged rocks upon which the sailors feared their vessel would be broken. (Ibid)

They cast (rhipto used in Acts 27:19+) four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak - Ancient sailing vessels had numerous anchors and probably had more than these four. One excavation of an ancient ship discovered 23 stone anchors from a fourteenth century B.C. ship and five lead anchors from a first century B.C. Roman ship. In addition ancient anchors were quite light by modern standards (probably explaining why they cast four). As Ramsay adds below, the advantage of throwing the anchors off of the stern or rear of the ship would be to keep the ship pointed toward the shore and give some ability to beach the ship. 

Sir William Ramsay writes that "Anchoring by the stern was unusual; but in their situation it had great advantages. Had they anchored by the bow, the ship would have swung around from the wind; and, when afterwards they wished to run her ashore, it would have been far harder to manage her when lying with her prow pointing to the wind and away from the shore. But, as they were, they had merely to cut the cables, unlash the rudders, and put up a little foresail (Acts 27:40); and they had the ship at once under command to beach her at any spot they might select."  (Page 175)

J Vernon McGee on the four anchorsPerhaps I should mention here that I have heard sermons on "Four Anchors," and those anchors have been labeled about everything under the sun. Let us not fall into the trap of trying to spiritualize something which is very practical and very realistic. These men were in a ship and they were approaching land. Since they didn't want to be cast upon the rocks, they threw out four anchors. It required all four to hold the ship. If you started to guess how many anchors it would take to hold you or to hold me, you would be trying to spiritualize this passage. In my judgment, that is a very foolish way to handle the Word of God. (Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee)

RobertsonNelson is quoted as saying that he had been reading Acts 27 the morning of the Battle of Copenhagen (April, 1801) where he anchored his ships from the stern.

And wished for daybreak - Many versions translate this as "prayed for daylight" (NLT, NIV, ESV, CSB, NKJV, NRSV) Obviously if they heard breakers, it would be foolish to continue to push for the shore until one could have some sight of where they were heading. While Luke may intend to describe even these pagan sailors praying, it is certainly possible that Paul was praying at this time. 

Someone has said that “There are no atheist in foxholes” or on sinking ships either!

Spurgeon applies this to the believer long night in this dark world writing "Then they “wished for the day, “and how often the Christian throws his great anchor out, and wishes for the day, — waiting “till the day break”, and the shadows flee away.” Well, it will not be long. If night lasts through the whole of this life, the morning cometh, — the everlasting morning." 

Wished (imperfect tense prayed over and over) (2172)(euchomai from euche = a vow in Acts 18:18, a prayer in Jas 5:15) literally meant to speak out or utter aloud and came to mean as used by to express a wish. "In classical Greek euchomai demonstrates a wide range of meanings. In its simplest state it means “offer prayer, pray that." (Gilbrant) In 2 Cor 13:7 Paul says "we pray (euchomai) to God" which clearly indicates intercessory prayer (again in 2 Cor 13:9). James 5:19 used euchomai for intercessory prayer.

Polhill As in the shipwreck of Odysseus, the pagan sailors now prayed to their gods for daylight to come and for deliverance through the night. Their prayer was ultimately answered—not by their gods but by Paul’s God. They owed their salvation to Paul. (ED: TO HIS INTERCESSION TO THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD!)(Ibid)

Keener - Various deities claimed the role of protector at sea, like Isis or the Dioscuri (Acts 28:11); but God is the true protector.

H A Ironside - What a graphic picture of that little ship driven before the tempest all those days and nights! And now in the deep darkness they can’t see what is ahead of them, but they can hear the water dashing against the rocks, so they cast four anchors out of the stern and wish for the day. How we Christians are like that sometimes. Things all seem to be going wrong, and it looks as if we are going to crush against the rocks, but faith’s anchor holds because the Word of God can never fail.

James Smith - THE ship now approaches the termination of her disastrous voyage. Land is not indeed in sight, but to the watchful senses of the ‘shipmen’ the sound or appearance of breakers tells them that it is near, or in the nautical language of St. Luke, that it is approaching. Such indications are the usual harbingers of destruction; here they call forth a display of presence of mind, promptitude and seamanship, which could not be surpassed in the present day, and by which, under Providence, the lives of all on board were saved. However appalling the alarm of breakers may be to a ship unexpectedly falling in with the land on an unknown coast, and in a dark and stormy night, it afforded in the present case a chance at least of safety. The hope which was taken away is restored. They can now adopt the last resource for a sinking ship, and run her ashore; but to do so before it was day would have been to have rushed on certain destruction. They must bring the ship, if it be possible, to anchor, and hold on till day-break, when they may perhaps discover some ‘creek with a shore,’ into which they may be able to ‘thrust the ship.’ (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul)

Jack Andrews They dropped anchors to steady the ship—to help the ship to stay on course! You and I need to make sure we are anchored in the Rock when storms arise! Our souls need anchors to keep it from drifting. Let me remind you of a few anchors: The Bible, Prayer, The Cross, Church Relationship, Christian Fellowship, The Promise and certain return of Jesus Christ. (Ibid)

Acts 27:30  But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow,

NET  Acts 27:30 Then when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and were lowering the ship's boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow,

GNT  Acts 27:30 τῶν δὲ ναυτῶν ζητούντων φυγεῖν ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου καὶ χαλασάντων τὴν σκάφην εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν προφάσει ὡς ἐκ πρῴρης ἀγκύρας μελλόντων ἐκτείνειν,

NLT  Acts 27:30 Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship.

KJV  Acts 27:30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,

ESV  Acts 27:30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship's boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,

CSB  Acts 27:30 Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow.

NIV  Acts 27:30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow.

NKJ  Acts 27:30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow,

NRS  Acts 27:30 But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow,

YLT  Acts 27:30 And the sailors seeking to flee out of the ship, and having let down the boat to the sea, in pretence as if out of the foreship they are about to cast anchors,

NAB  Acts 27:30 The sailors then tried to abandon ship; they lowered the dinghy to the sea on the pretext of going to lay out anchors from the bow.

NJB  Acts 27:30 When the crew tried to escape from the ship and lowered the ship's boat into the sea as though they meant to lay out anchors from the bows, Paul said to the centurion and his men,

GWN  Acts 27:30 The sailors tried to escape from the ship. They let the lifeboat down into the sea and pretended they were going to lay out the anchors from the front of the ship.

BBE  Acts 27:30 Then the sailors made attempts secretly to get away from the ship, letting down a boat as if they were about to put down hooks from the front of the ship;

SELFISHNESS OF LOOKING
ONLY TO ONE'S OWN SAFETY

But as the sailors were trying (zeteo) to escape (pheugo) from the ship - They either did not heed or did not believe Paul's prediction that there would be no loss of life! In short, they had no faith in Paul (at least in this moment of crisis).

Jack Andrews The sailors didn’t trust the Word of the Lord at Fair Havens and they didn’t trust the Word of the Lord after a fourteen day disaster at sea! They were going to try to save themselves! Men and women still try to save themselves! They try to work their way to heaven. They try to give their way to heaven. They try religion to get them to heaven. They try harder and harder, moral reform, clean themselves up, etc...Men try to run away from the problems instead of trusting God through the problems! (Ibid)

And had let down the ship's boat into the sea - This is the boat they had brought on board at Cauda.

Let down (5465)(chalao) means to let go, to let down (from a higher place to a lower place). It is the same word used to describe the lowering of Paul in a large basket over a wall (Acts 9:25). It was used in Acts 27:17 probably referring to lowering the anchor. 

On the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow - Their rationale for letting down the dinghy was that they were putting out anchors from the front end of the ship, but they were lying. Self-preservation and deception were on display in these men who were practicing "survival of the fittest" (so to speak)! Sadly the emotion of fear often causes one to think primarily of one's own needs and self-preservation.

Pretense (4392)(prophasis from prophaíno = to cause to shine before) is that which is alleged as the cause. In other words it denotes something put forward for appearance to conceal what lies behind it and in the NT is alway used in a bad sense with the idea of an ulterior motive (Ulterior = going beyond what is openly said or shown and especially what is proper). All uses - Mt 23:14; Mk 12:40; Lk 20:47; Jn 15:22; Acts 27:30; Php 1:18; 1 Th 2:5

Robertson on the verb lay out - "Note here ekteino (lay out, stretch out) rather than rhipsantes (rhipto casting) in Acts 27:29, for they pretended to need the small boat to stretch out or lay out the anchors in front."

Vincent adds lay out (ekteino) literally means "to stretch out. The meaning is, to carry out an anchor to a distance from the prow by means of the small boat" 

Acts 27:31  Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, "Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved."

 NET  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."

GNT  Acts 27:31 εἶπεν ὁ Παῦλος τῷ ἑκατοντάρχῃ καὶ τοῖς στρατιώταις, Ἐὰν μὴ οὗτοι μείνωσιν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ, ὑμεῖς σωθῆναι οὐ δύνασθε.

NLT  Acts 27:31 But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, "You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard."

KJV  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

ESV  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

CSB  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

NIV  Acts 27:31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."

NKJ  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

NRS  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

YLT  Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, 'If these do not remain in the ship -- ye are not able to be saved;'

NAB  Acts 27:31 But Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."

NJB  Acts 27:31 'Unless those men stay on board you cannot hope to be saved.'

GWN  Acts 27:31 Paul told the officer and the soldiers, "If these sailors don't stay on the ship, you have no hope of staying alive."

BBE  Acts 27:31 But Paul said to the captain and his men, If you do not keep these men in the ship, you will not be safe.

  • Paul said to the centurion: Ac 27:11,21,42,43 
  • Unless these men remain in the ship: Ac 27:22-24 Ps 91:11,12 Jer 29:11-13 Ezek 36:36,37 Lu 1:34,35 4:9-12 John 6:37 2Th 2:13,14 
  • Video - Shipwreck
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL AGAIN TAKES 
COMMAND

With a sense of authority and boldness undoubtedly given to him by the Holy Spirit, he warned the centurion that unless these sailors stayed aboard none of the crew or passengers could be saved.

Paul said to the centurion and to the soldier "Unless these men remain in the ship" - This is a "Condition of the third class (undetermined, but with hope, etc.)." (Robertson) Spurgeon comments that "God had said that they should be (SAVED), so that it is quite consistent to believe in divine predestination and yet to see the utility, nay, the necessity, of the use of means: “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” Paul's point in context of subsequent events is that these seasoned sailors would be needed to try to get the ship to go aground at the best spot. God was not sending angels to carry them to safety! And they could not just let the ship drift on its own any longer. While God is sovereign, clearly He is able to use the ungodly to accomplish His will. 

Gilbrant adds that God "used the ungodly Assyrians to bring His judgment on Israel, even though they did not know He was using them (Isaiah 10:5-7). He used the idol-worshiping Cyrus to send the Jews back to rebuild the temple (Isaiah 45:1-4). He used heathen sailors to throw Jonah overboard, and a big fish to get Jonah headed back in the direction He wanted him to go. There is no limit to what God can use to accomplish His purposes. It is obvious Paul was not using his own imagination to decide how he wanted God to act or what miracle he would like performed. Rather, he was sensitive to the Holy Spirit and was acting on the wisdom given him by the Spirit." (Complete Biblical Library – Acts)

MacArthur God's promise that all would be saved (Acts 27:24) assumed they would stay together; the sailors' treachery threatened that unity. Nor did God's promise negate human responsibility. God uses natural means, and He was there using Paul, the centurion and his soldiers, as well as those wicked sailors. The sailors' skills would be sorely needed the next day (cf. Acts 27:39-41), when escape from the ship actually took place. Not about to repeat their earlier mistake of failing to listen to Paul (which by now they deeply regretted), the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat, and let it fall away. (Ibid)

You yourselves cannot be saved - Presumably by this description includes Julius and all of the other passengers! This would arouse the centurion's attention for sure as he had now witnessed Paul's other predictions being fulfilled! 

RobertsonPaul has no hesitancy in saying this in spite of his strong language in Acts 27:24 about God's promise. He has no notion of lying supinely down and leaving God to do it all. Without the sailors the ship could not be properly beached.

H A Ironside comments on unless these men remain in the ship - The next verses suggest another side of the truth of faith and salvation. The sailors have had the word from God that they are all going to be saved, but it looks as if they are going to be dashed on the rocks. And so these miserable rascals say, “We will save our own lives and let the ship go to pieces.” Under cover of the darkness and pretending to cast out the anchors, they seek to let down the lifeboat, planning to row away and find some cove of safety. But Paul is on the alert. He sees what they are up to, and to the centurion he says, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” Then see what happens. “The soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.” The captain might have said, “What difference does it make? You told us we are all to be saved anyway. It doesn’t make any difference what anybody does; if God has foreordained it, that is what will happen.” Then Paul might have replied: “Yes, it makes a great deal of difference.” You see, human responsibility is one spoke in the great wheel of God’s purpose, and divine foreordination is another, And so, though God foreordained the whole thing, He showed Paul that these men were responsible to abide in the ship. This was how He was to accomplish His purpose. In a similar way, man might say, “If God is going to save me, He will save me; and it doesn’t make any difference what I do.” It makes a great deal of difference! If you do not respond, you will be lost, but if you turn to God and confess your sin and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, then-thank God-you will be saved. And when you are saved, you will be able to look up in gratitude to the God of all grace and say, “Lord, I thank Thee that Thou hast chosen me in Christ before the foundation of the world.” You see, there are two sides: Man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty.

Homer Kent"Acts 27:24 and Acts 27:31 provide an interesting illustration of the Biblical viewpoint regarding divine sovereignty and human responsibility. God knew that all on the vessel would be preserved (and if God knows it, it is certain and cannot be otherwise). At the same time God's sovereignty which insured their safety was not intended to discourage human effort, for this was the means by which God would achieve the end in view. (Jerusalem to Rome: Studies in the Book of Acts)

Larkin suggests that "The assurance of physical salvation through belief in the divine message to Paul and the commitment to remain with him is an acted parable of the essentials of spiritual salvation: believing the gospel message and solidarity with the gospel messenger (Acts 14:3-4; Acts 16:14-15, Acts 16:32-34; Acts 17:2-4, Acts 17:34; Acts 18:8)." (Ibid)


LIFE APPLICATION - HANGING IN THERE - Apparently, a group of sailors concocted a plan to jump ship and leave everyone else to fend for themselves. The thought of remaining on a sinking ship seemed like sheer madness to them. But Paul learned of their plot and boldly spelled out the consequences. In essence, he told them exactly the opposite of what their senses told them: "You think you can find life by ignoring what God has said. Not true. You think you will experience death if you heed what God has said. Not true. No matter how desperate your situation seems, ultimate safety is found in remaining in God's will." This is a great lesson for us: It is far better to be with God in the midst of danger than to be without God in a place of apparent safety. (AMEN!)(Barton) 

Acts 27:32  Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away.

NET  Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes of the ship's boat and let it drift away.

GNT  Acts 27:32 τότε ἀπέκοψαν οἱ στρατιῶται τὰ σχοινία τῆς σκάφης καὶ εἴασαν αὐτὴν ἐκπεσεῖν.

NLT  Acts 27:32 So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away.

KJV  Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

ESV  Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go.

CSB  Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes holding the skiff and let it drop away.

NIV  Acts 27:32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.

NKJ  Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

NRS  Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift.

YLT  Acts 27:32 then the soldiers did cut off the ropes of the boat, and suffered it to fall off.

Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away - Or drift away. On one hand this was foolish as the dinghy could have aided the non-swimmers when the ship did come apart. On the other hand it was still dark and this would prevent a second attempt to escape on the boat. Now they were all forced to trust in what Paul had predicted, that all would survive.

Robertson Diminutive of schoinos, old word, but in N.T. only here and John 2:15. Paul is now saviour of the ship and the soldiers quickly cut loose the skiff and "let her fall off" rather than be the means of the escape of the sailors who were needed. This dastardly scheme of the sailors would have brought frightful loss of life.

NET Note on let it fall away  - Or "let it fall away." According to BDAG the meaning of the verb in this verse could be either "fall away" or "drift away." Either meaning is acceptable, and the choice between them depends almost entirely on how one reconstructs the scene. Since cutting the boat loose would in any case result in it drifting away (whether capsized or not), the meaning "drift away" as a nautical technical term has been used here. 

Acts 27:33  Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.

NET  Acts 27:33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense and have gone without food; you have eaten nothing.

GNT  Acts 27:33 Ἄχρι δὲ οὗ ἡμέρα ἤμελλεν γίνεσθαι, παρεκάλει ὁ Παῦλος ἅπαντας μεταλαβεῖν τροφῆς λέγων, Τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτην σήμερον ἡμέραν προσδοκῶντες ἄσιτοι διατελεῖτε μηθὲν προσλαβόμενοι.

NLT  Acts 27:33 Just as day was dawning, Paul urged everyone to eat. "You have been so worried that you haven't touched food for two weeks," he said.

KJV  Acts 27:33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.

ESV  Acts 27:33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.

CSB  Acts 27:33 When it was about daylight, Paul urged them all to take food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been waiting and going without food, having eaten nothing.

NIV  Acts 27:33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food--you haven't eaten anything.

NKJ  Acts 27:33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing.

NRS  Acts 27:33 Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing.

YLT  Acts 27:33 And till the day was about to be, Paul was calling upon all to partake of nourishment, saying, 'Fourteen days to-day, waiting, ye continue fasting, having taken nothing,

Until the day was about to dawn - Just before daybreak. "Literally., until it should become day: in the interval between midnight and morning." (Vincent)

Paul was encouraging them all to take some food  Was encouraging is in the imperfect tense indicating he was doing this over and over. He would do so by example, always a good practice for one in leadership. Don't simply tell them to do it, but do it yourself giving them an encouraging example to imitate.

Robertson on was encouraging That is Paul kept on exhorting or beseeching them until dawn began to come on (cf. Acts 27:39 when day came).... Paul wanted them to be ready for action when day really came.

Saying, "Today is the fourteenth day (repeated from Acts 27:27) that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing - NLT paraphrases it "You have been so worried that you haven't touched food for two weeks." A few commentaries suggest they were "fasting" but there is no specific suggestion from the text that they were fasting in a spiritual sense. It they had been fasting there is a Greek word which Luke could have used but did not. So while one cannot be dogmatic that they were not fasting, it seems unlikely, especially in view of the fact that other reasons could explain no food intake. More likely they were seasick and nauseated which precluded significant intake over the previous 2 weeks. 

You have been constantly watching - "you have been in suspense" (NET), "constant suspense" (NIV). The idea is they were waiting anxiously and were expecting the worst!

Watching (present tense)(4328)(prosdokao from prós = towards - adds the idea of “mental direction” to the already existing meaning of the verb + dokáo = look for denoting direction of one's mind toward something) means literally to look forward toward, to wait for, to look for, to anticipate. It means to give thought to something that is in the future and the context indicates whether one does this looking/waiting in a hopeful sense, with a longing, or as in the present context with fear (wait with anxiety, live in suspense). 

Prosdokao in the NT - expect(2), expecting(2), look(4), looking(2), state of expectation(1), waited(1), waiting(2), watching(1).

Matt. 11:3; Matt. 24:50; Lk. 1:21; Lk. 3:15; Lk. 7:19; Lk. 7:20; Lk. 8:40; Lk. 12:46; Acts 3:5; Acts 27:33; Acts 28:6; 2 Pet. 3:12; 2 Pet. 3:13; 2 Pet. 3:14

Acts 27:34  "Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish."

NET  Acts 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food, for this is important for your survival. For not one of you will lose a hair from his head."

GNT  Acts 27:34 διὸ παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς μεταλαβεῖν τροφῆς· τοῦτο γὰρ πρὸς τῆς ὑμετέρας σωτηρίας ὑπάρχει, οὐδενὸς γὰρ ὑμῶν θρὶξ ἀπὸ τῆς κεφαλῆς ἀπολεῖται.

NLT  Acts 27:34 "Please eat something now for your own good. For not a hair of your heads will perish."

KJV  Acts 27:34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.

ESV  Acts 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you."

CSB  Acts 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For this has to do with your survival, since none of you will lose a hair from your head."

NIV  Acts 27:34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head."

NKJ  Acts 27:34 "Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you."

NRS  Acts 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads."

YLT  Acts 27:34 wherefore I call upon you to take nourishment, for this is for your safety, for of not one of you shall a hair from the head fall;'

NAB  Acts 27:34 I urge you, therefore, to take some food; it will help you survive. Not a hair of the head of anyone of you will be lost."

NJB  Acts 27:34 I urge you to have something to eat; your safety depends on it. Not a hair of any of your heads will be lost.'

GWN  Acts 27:34 So I'm encouraging you to eat something. Eating will help you survive, since not a hair from anyone's head will be lost."

BBE  Acts 27:34 So I make request to you to take food; for this is for your salvation: not a hair from the head of any of you will come to destruction.

  • for this: Mt 15:32 Mk 8:2,3 Php 2:5 1Ti 5:23 
  • for not a hair: 1Ki 1:52 Mt 10:30 Lu 12:7 21:18 
  • Video - Shipwreck
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

NOT A HAIR ON YOUR
HEAD WILL PERISH

Spurgeon writes "What a grand speech this is! It is the utterance of faith. Talk of eloquence! This is real eloquence, — for Paul to be addressing the people in a storm-tossed ship as calmly as if he were safely on shore." (It is so easy to read these verses in the calm of our study and forget that they were in the middle of a fearful storm!)

Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation - Note that while Paul believed God would deliver all the passengers here he adds human responsibility to God's providence. Paul wisely knew that they would need the energy supplied by intake of food, so he did not rely solely on God's promise of preservation. It is notable that again Paul uses language of this physical salvation that also used to describe spiritual salvation.  And the word for perish is used of perishing eternally. 

Encourage (exhort) (3870)(parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo = call) means literally to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself, to call for, to summon. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action, especially some ethical course of action. Sometimes the word means convey the idea of comfort, sometimes of exhortation but always at the root there is the idea of enabling a person to meet some difficult situation with confidence and with gallantry. See the following discussion for elaboration on the nuances of this great Greek verb.

Parakaleo in Acts - 

Acts 2:40; Acts 8:31; Acts 9:38; Acts 11:23; Acts 13:42; Acts 14:22; Acts 15:32; Acts 16:9; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:39; Acts 16:40; Acts 19:31; Acts 20:1; Acts 20:2; Acts 20:12; Acts 21:12; Acts 24:4; Acts 25:2; Acts 27:33; Acts 27:34; Acts 28:14; Acts 28:20

Larkin Eric Liddell, "the Flying Scotsman," won the four-hundred-meter race at the 1924 Paris Olympics in world-record time. But his real heroics occurred twenty years later, in the Weihsien concentration camp in China. This missionary's faith and energy encouraged many of the eighteen hundred trapped in the camp's squalid conditions. "Uncle Eric" to children separated from their parents, he "organized activities, served as a teacher and a guardian for youth, and fulfilled the role of pastor until a brain tumor claimed his life in February 1945" (Williamson 1991:127). Many centuries and many miles away on the dark, storm-tossed Mediterranean, Paul too determined to make a difference to those around him. His example helps us understand what it is to proclaim by one's life the salvation blessings found in Christ alone. (IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Acts)

Take (3335)(metalambano from meta = with denoting association + lambano = take, receive) means receive a portion, take a share of, partake (Acts 2:46; Acts 27:33, 34; 2 Ti 2:6; Heb 6:7; 12:10). With the word kairos (time) it was an idiom meaning to take opportunity later, to find time (Acts 24:25). In Hebrews 6:7 metalambanō is used metaphorically of the earth “receiving a blessing from God” because it fulfilled divine purpose through producing vegetation after having been watered by the rain that He sent.

Gilbrant says metalambano "is usually used in classical Greek to refer to literally having or getting a physical portion or share of something. It can also be found in a figurative sense meaning “have part in, participate in” activities or ideas that one is in agreement with (Liddell-Scott)."

Metalambano - 7v -  find(1), receive his share(1), receives(1), share(1), take(2), taking...together(1).

Acts 2:46; Acts 24:25; Acts 27:33; Acts 27:34; 2 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 6:7; Heb. 12:10

Preservation  (4991)(soteria from soter = Savior in turn from sozo = save, rescue, deliver) describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. The 5 previous uses of soteria in Acts (except Acts 7:25) refer to spiritual salvation - Acts 4:12, Acts 13:26 Acts 13:47 Acts 16:17.

For not a hair from the head of any of you will perish - This is like our modern idiom "not harm a hair on your head," which means not hurt or injure someone in even the slightest degree. Paul is saying not one person will die. To not lose a hair from one's head was an idiom used in the OT - see 1 Sa 14:45; 2 Sa 14:11; 1 Ki 1:52. In the NT Jesus encouraged His followers declaring "not a hair of your head will perish." (Lu 21:18+). 

Perish (622)(apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy <> root of apollyon [Re 9:11] = destroyer) means to destroy utterly but not to cause one to cease to exist. This is the very word the disciples used when caught in a great storm on the Sea of Galilee in yelling out "Save (aorist imperative), Lord; we are perishing (apollumi)!" (Mt 8:25, Lk 8:24+) Jesus used this to speak not of perishing not just temporally but eternally declaring that "whoever wishes to save his life will lose (apollumi) it, but whoever loses (apollumi) his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses (apollumi) or forfeits himself?" (Lk 9:24-25+)

Apollumi in Acts - Acts 5:37; Acts 27:34

Acts 27:35  Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.

NET  Acts 27:35 After he said this, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began to eat.

GNT  Acts 27:35 εἴπας δὲ ταῦτα καὶ λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐχαρίστησεν τῷ θεῷ ἐνώπιον πάντων καὶ κλάσας ἤρξατο ἐσθίειν.

NLT  Acts 27:35 Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it.

KJV  Acts 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

ESV  Acts 27:35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.

CSB  Acts 27:35 After he said these things and had taken some bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all of them, and when he broke it, he began to eat.

NIV  Acts 27:35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.

NKJ  Acts 27:35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.

NRS  Acts 27:35 After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat.

YLT  Acts 27:35 and having said these things, and having taken bread, he gave thanks to God before all, and having broken it, he began to eat;

NAB  Acts 27:35 When he said this, he took bread, gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began to eat.

NJB  Acts 27:35 With these words he took some bread, gave thanks to God in view of them all, broke it and began to eat.

GWN  Acts 27:35 After Paul said this, he took some bread, thanked God in front of everyone, broke it, and began to eat.

BBE  Acts 27:35 And when he had said this and had taken bread, he gave praise to God before them all, and took a meal of the broken bread.

  • and gave thanks: Ac 2:46,47 1Sa 9:13 Mt 15:36 Mk 8:6 Lu 24:30 Joh 6:11,23 Ro 14:6 1Co 10:30,31 1Ti 4:3,4 
  • in the presence of all: Ps 119:46 Ro 1:16 2Ti 1:8,12 1Pe 4:16 
  • Video - Shipwreck
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE IMPACT OF ONE
MAN IN A STORM

Steven Cole rightly concludes that "One man who trusts God in a storm of life can have a major impact on others who see the reality of God in his life."

Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all (cf. 1 Tim. 4:5-6) - Paul was not ashamed of God and neither should we be ashamed. Do you pray for at your meal in public? Do you ask your waiter if they have any prayer requests? 

Spurgeon - He would not eat without giving thanks to God. There are some who do, even as the swine do; but the Christian finds it good at all times, before he eats, to bless the God that gave the food to him. It is a Christian habit which should not be given up. Paul gave thanks when it was most inconvenient to do so, — when a great storm was raging, and when there were only two or three on board who sympathized with him.

I tend to agree with Gilbrant who comments that "This was no mere formal prayer. It came from the depths of Paul's heart. It was an anointed prayer. All the people on the ship must have felt the impact of the Holy Spirit as he prayed. Then Paul broke the bread and began to eat." (Ibid)

Constable adds that's giving of thanks to God "would have helped all present to connect their deliverance with God. This meal was evidently not a celebration of the Lord's Supper, as some commentators suggested."

Gave thanks (2168)(eucharisteo from eucháristos = thankful, grateful, well-pleasing - Indicates the obligation of being thankful to someone for a favor done <> in turn from  = well + charízomai = to grant, give.; English - Eucharist) means to show that one is under obligation by being thankful. To show oneself as grateful (most often to God in the NT). Eucharisteo is a word that at its very core (eu = good + charis = grace) means to acknowledge how good grace is! In Acts 28:15+ Paul "thanked (eucharisteo) God and took courage." 

Barclay quips ""It could never be said of Paul as it was said of some people that 'they were so heavenly minded that they were of no earthly use.' He knew that hungry men are not efficient men; and so he gathered the ship's company around him and made them eat."

Robertson It was saying grace like the head of a Hebrew family and the example of Paul would encourage the others to eat. Probably Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus had memories of the Lord's supper (Acts 2:42) while to others it was only an ordinary meal (Luke 24:30).

And he broke it and began to eat - Some have suggested this was like communion, but clearly that was not the case. Whether this was bread that had been baked before the voyage or on the voyage is uncertain. 

H A Ironside - Notice how he again took charge of the situation. He appointed himself chief steward, and said, “Come now, you are going to be saved, but you need some food. It has been fourteen days since you have had anything to eat. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health. There shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.” What confidence possessed the soul of this man because he had a word from God that he dared to believe! In gratefulness he looked up to God and thanked Him for preserving their lives and providing them food to eat.

Wiersbe on Paul's example - His example encouraged the others to join him, and before long, everybody felt better. There are times when one dedicated believer can change the whole atmosphere of a situation simply by trusting God and making that faith visible. (BEC)

Steven Cole applies Paul's offering of thanks to God before these pagans - When God encouraged Paul through the angel’s promise, Paul didn’t keep it to himself. Neither did he make everyone think that he was just a positive person, and that they all should keep a positive outlook as well. He used the situation to tell them about God, about his trust in God, and to promise that God would spare all of their lives through this ordeal. When he encouraged them all to eat some bread, Paul could have thought, “These are pagan men. Why ask God’s blessing on the food in front of such rough men?” But rather, he openly gave thanks to God in the presence of all (Ac 27:35). In times of trial, people are especially open to spiritual things. When life is out of control, and nothing seems to be working, people are open to hear about a God who is in control. We should not hesitate to be bold to tell them about the true and living God and the eternal life that He offers them through His Son, Jesus Christ. (Ibid)

J Vernon McGeeDo you remember another instance back in the Gospels when the Lord Jesus put His own disciples into a boat one night and sent them across the Sea of Galilee? He told them to go to the other side, and on the way over a storm arose on the sea. He sent them right into a storm. Now don't say that Jesus didn't know the storm was coming. He deliberately sent them into the storm! He is God. He knew about the storm, and He knew what He was doing. I personally believe that oftentimes the Lord deliberately sends us into a storm. We need to remember that we can be in the storm and still be in the will of God. He has never said we will miss the storms of life, but He has promised us that we will make the harbor. And He will be right there with us through the storm. That is the comfort that should come to the child of God in the time of the storm. (Ibid)


ILLUSTRATION In late 1735, a ship made it’s way to the New World from England. On board was a young Anglican minister, John Wesley, who had been invited to serve as a pastor to British colonists in Savannah, Georgia. A storm hit and the ship found itself in serious trouble. Wesley, who was chaplain of the vessel, feared for his life. But he noticed that the group of German Moravians, who were on their way to preach to American Indians, were not afraid at all. In fact, throughout the storm, they sang calmly. When the trip ended, he asked the Moravian leader about his serenity, and the Moravian responded with a question: Did he, Wesley, have faith in Christ? Wesley said he did, but later reflected, “I fear they were vain words.” Wesley’s experience in Georgia was a failure, both personally and ministry-wise. A bitter Wesley returned to England. After speaking with another Moravian, Peter Boehler, Wesley concluded that he lacked saving faith. On May 24, 1738, he had an experience that changed everything. He described the event in his journal:

In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. (Read Wesley's full journal entry related to this incredible God event!)

God used those Moravians’ trusting Him during that storm at sea to bring about the conversion of the great evangelist, John Wesley. If you’re going through a storm, He wants you to trust Him. He is sovereign over your storm. If you trust Him openly, He will use you to bear witness to many who need to know the Savior, who alone can deliver us from the storm of God’s wrath that is sure to come on the whole earth.

Acts 27:36  All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.

NET  Acts 27:36 So all of them were encouraged and took food themselves.

GNT  Acts 27:36 εὔθυμοι δὲ γενόμενοι πάντες καὶ αὐτοὶ προσελάβοντο τροφῆς.

NLT  Acts 27:36 Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat--

KJV  Acts 27:36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

ESV  Acts 27:36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.

CSB  Acts 27:36 They all became encouraged and took food themselves.

NIV  Acts 27:36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.

NKJ  Acts 27:36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.

NRS  Acts 27:36 Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves.

YLT  Acts 27:36 and all having become of good cheer, themselves also took food,

NAB  Acts 27:36 They were all encouraged, and took some food themselves.

NJB  Acts 27:36 They all plucked up courage and took something to eat themselves.

GWN  Acts 27:36 Everyone was encouraged and had something to eat.

BBE  Acts 27:36 Then they all took heart and did the same.

PAUL'S CONTAGIOUS
COURAGE

All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food - They had seen Paul's words come to pass and were encouraged by his example of eating. Simply the act of eating would indicate that Paul was not planning on dying. If so why eat? It was an expression of Paul's confidence in God's promises and this is turn gave heart to all on the ship. Paul's courage is "contagious." One truly brave soul in a time of danger can save a crowd from panic. Spurgeon said "Courage is contagious, as well as timidity. The holy bravery of one good man may make many others brave."  Billy Graham once said "Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened."

THOUGHT - In Phil 1:14+ we see another example of the "ripple effect" of the courage of one man, Paul writing "that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear." In this case Paul’s courage in chains spread to the believers who watched him witness to the Roman soldiers. And persecution can be productive. Even though Paul was in jail on a trumped-up charge, his incarceration produced a harvest of bold evangelism across the city of Rome. How did Paul encourage others? He faced his difficulty with joy. He used every opportunity to speak up for Christ. He demonstrated a lack of fear. He refused to complain or blame. May we all be imitators of Paul who imitated Christ (1 Cor 11:1).

Warren Wiersbe said, “There are times when one dedicated believer can change the whole atmosphere of a situation simply by trusting God and making that faith visible.”

Encouraged (Only NT use)(2115)(euthumos from eu = good + thumos = temperament, mindset) means literally "well minded" and thus well-disposed, cheerful, encouraged, in good spirits. See cognate or related verb euthumeo used in Acts 27:25. 

F W Brown wrote "Courage gives gladness, it inspires hope, and anticipates, as well as helps to ensure victory. Courage is contagious; just as fear will strike panic into the breasts of others, so pluck (spirited and determined courage) will enkindle enthusiasm, and propagate ardour." (Biblical Illustrator - Acts)

Gilbrant Paul's faith and example had inspired them with new hope, real hope for the first time since the storm began. It is likely they sensed Paul's love as well. The combination of faith, hope, and love is unbeatable under all circumstances. (Ibid)

Andrews May God help us to be faithful to Him in the storms of life and to set the example for others to follow! Are you being a source of encouragement in storms and trials? Are you setting a godly example for others to follow? Let us never be ashamed to go to the Lord in prayer before others—let us not just talk about faith, but let us talk to the Father! (Ibid


ILLUSTRATION FROM LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON - Courage, we are often told, is not the absence of fear. Rather, it is doing the right thing despite fear, inability, and uncertainty about the outcome. Such courage is contagious. In the United States, we remember 1776 as the year of independence, but we forget that it was also a year of military defeat and near-disaster for the new republic. The British easily drove Washington and his troops out of New York City, which both sides saw as a strategic key to the entire war. The Continental Army fled across New Jersey, barely evading the far superior forces of the British army. Finally, it crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania for safety. Even then, the Continental Congress, meeting in nearby Philadelphia, felt so threatened that it fled to Baltimore. Finally, Washington saw an opportunity to turn things around. On Christmas night 1776, in the midst of a freezing storm, he led 2400 of his ill-clad, hungry, discouraged troops back across the Delaware, boatload by boatload, to attack the Hessian garrison at Trenton in the morning. It was the first clear victory for the Americans. A few days later, in response to a British counter-attack, Washington led his troops behind the front to attack Princeton. This led to a second American victory, but only after the field commander was killed and Washington took personal command. One of his officers describes the scene: “I shall never forget what I felt … when I saw him brave all the dangers of the field and his important life hanging as it were by a single hair with a thousand deaths flying around him. Believe me, I thought not of myself.” Courage is contagious. Washington’s display of courage inspired his officers and men to think not of themselves or the danger they faced, but only of the glorious cause. (Russell Resnick)


ILLUSTRATION COURAGE is contagious. A letter arrived from an organization called World Relief asking for prayer for the church in southern Sudan, site of ongoing persecution of Christians by radical Muslims. The facts were grim: churches looted, Christian villages burned, the wholesale murder of Christian leaders, and even stories about Christian children being sold into slavery. This is all accompanied by famine and widespread civil war. I knew a bit about this, and so I read the letter with interest.

Not long after that I was in Chicago taping an interview at the Total Living Network. Since they usually do a whole week in one day, guests from several programs meet in the "Green Room" before the taping. When I walked in, I spotted a nice-looking gentleman and his adult son. He immediately stood and said, "Hi, I'm Clyde Calver with World Relief." I recognized his name and mentioned that I had read his letter. It turns out that he had just returned from Sudan and was going to talk about it on the television program. When I asked if the reports about widespread persecution were true, he replied in the affirmative. Then he added a detail I hadn't heard. He said that in many places the church in southern Sudan is growing rapidly. Despite the persecution (or perhaps because of it), one church leader told him, "We've got too many converts. We can't take care of them all." That's a nice problem to have, isn't it?

How has it happened? An early church father named Tertullian gave the answer when he declared that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. You can kill the messenger but you cant kill the message. For two thousand years, enemies of the gospel have done their best to wipe out Christianity. They may stop it in one place, but it springs up in another. Then when they turn around, it springs back up where they thought they had stamped it out. Too often we say, "I'm waiting for better circumstances." God says, "Go ahead and speak up. I don't need good circumstances in order to do my work." Hard times often give us fantastic opportunities to share the gospel with others. (Ray Pritchard)

Acts 27:37  All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons.

NET  Acts 27:37 (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons on the ship.)

GNT  Acts 27:37 ἤμεθα δὲ αἱ πᾶσαι ψυχαὶ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ διακόσιαι ἑβδομήκοντα ἕξ.

NLT  Acts 27:37 all 276 of us who were on board.

KJV  Acts 27:37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

ESV  Acts 27:37 (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.)

CSB  Acts 27:37 In all there were 276 of us on the ship.

NIV  Acts 27:37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board.

NKJ  Acts 27:37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.

NRS  Acts 27:37 (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.)

YLT  Acts 27:37 (and we were -- all the souls in the ship -- two hundred, seventy and six),

NAB  Acts 27:37 In all, there were two hundred seventy-six of us on the ship.

NJB  Acts 27:37 In all we were two hundred and seventy-six souls on board that ship.

GWN  Acts 27:37 (There were 276 of us on the ship.)

BBE  Acts 27:37 And we were, in the ship, two hundred and seventy-six persons.

  • two hundred and seventy-six: Ac 27:24 
  • persons (literally souls): Ac 2:41 Acts 7:14 Ro 13:1 1Pe 3:20 
  • Video - Shipwreck
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MUSTER IN 
PREP FOR THE WRECK

A muster is a gathering of military personnel for duty, and undoubtedly it was "all hands on deck" at this critical moment in their voyage.

All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons - Note that Luke returns rather abruptly to the first person narrative. Persons is the Greek word (psuche) also translated "souls." You can rest assured that there were 276 persons who heard the pure unadulterated Gospel from the apostle Paul! While this was a large ship, Josephus wrote about a ship he had sailed on that carried 600 passengers. We do not know how many of the 276 were prisoners.  

Robertson If the number 276 seems large, it is to be remembered that we do not know the size of the ship. Josephus (Life, 3) says that there were 600 on the ship that took him to Italy. The grain ships were of considerable size. The number included sailors, soldiers, and prisoners. A muster or roll call may have been made.

H A Ironside - Think of it! God had promised to deliver safely all 276 travelers! But notice how they were delivered. They were saved with difficulty, through great trials; but they were saved. God fulfilled His word.

Paul Powell made this observation about storms and trials and how God brings us in and sees us through:

  • “First: He brought me here; it is by His will that I am in this strait place—in that I will rest.
  • Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
  • Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
  • Last: In His good time He can bring me out again— how and when, He knows.
  • Say: I am here—
    1. By His appointment.
    2. In His keeping.
    3. Under His training.
    4. For His time.”

Every Christian is either in a storm,
coming out of a storm,
or heading into one.

God has not promised us smooth sailing in life,
but He has promised us a safe arrival in heaven!

Acts 27:38  When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.

NET  Acts 27:38 When they had eaten enough to be satisfied, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.

GNT  Acts 27:38 κορεσθέντες δὲ τροφῆς ἐκούφιζον τὸ πλοῖον ἐκβαλλόμενοι τὸν σῖτον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν.

NLT  Acts 27:38 After eating, the crew lightened the ship further by throwing the cargo of wheat overboard.

KJV  Acts 27:38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

ESV  Acts 27:38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

CSB  Acts 27:38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing the grain overboard into the sea.

NIV  Acts 27:38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

NKJ  Acts 27:38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

NRS  Acts 27:38 After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.

YLT  Acts 27:38 and having eaten sufficient nourishment, they were lightening the ship, casting forth the wheat into the sea.

NAB  Acts 27:38 After they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.

NJB  Acts 27:38 When they had eaten what they wanted they lightened the ship by throwing the corn overboard into the sea.

GWN  Acts 27:38 After the people had eaten all they wanted, they lightened the ship by dumping the wheat into the sea.

BBE  Acts 27:38 And when they had had enough food, they made the weight of the ship less, turning the grain out into the sea.

When they had eaten enough - Literally, "Having been satisfied with food." It is amazing that they were able to eat their fill at this time! It is like the Titanic was getting ready to go under and guests were still in the fine dining rooms partaking. 

David Peterson interprets the fact that they took heart and ate showed "the first signs that they too believe in the promise" Paul had passed to them from God's angelic messenger. (Pillar NT Commentary)

They began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea - A lighter ship would be better able to pass over rocky shoals that if struck could quickly destroy the ship. Prior to this they must have been holding on to the slight hope that they would safely bring this valuable cargo to shore, but now it was clear that all profit was loss. One is reminded of Jesus' words in a spiritual context "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mk 8:36-37) As you have surely heard, there are no U-Hauls following the hearse and no pockets in suits made especially for burial. This realization is very difficult for rich people to grasp, for during their life their gold has been their god and has allowed them power to do anything they wish. Death is their final enemy, which can only be defeated by placing one's faith in Jesus and not gold! 

Began to lighten (Only NT use)(2893)(kouphizo from kouphos = hollow, light in weight) means to decrease the weight, make less heavy, in this case by jettisoning the wheat. The imperfect tense pictures them tossing one bag of wheat, then another and another. The lighter the ship, the closer it could come to the beach and make it easier for them to reach land.

Gilbrant on kouphizo - This is a general word meaning “to make light.” It is often used figuratively in the context of lightening taxes or one’s burden. It is often used literally to refer to physical weight. Its one occurrence in the New Testament is in this literal sense. Before the shipwreck on the way to Rome and after Paul encouraged them, “they lightened the ship” (Acts 27:38) by throwing cargo overboard. (Ibid)

Throwing out (1544)(ekbállō from ek = out + bállō = to cast, throw, drive) means to cast, throw out often with the idea of force. Compare ekbole in Acts 27:18+

Acts 27:39 When day came, they could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could.

NET  Acts 27:39 When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.

GNT  Acts 27:39 Ὅτε δὲ ἡμέρα ἐγένετο, τὴν γῆν οὐκ ἐπεγίνωσκον, κόλπον δέ τινα κατενόουν ἔχοντα αἰγιαλὸν εἰς ὃν ἐβουλεύοντο εἰ δύναιντο ἐξῶσαι τὸ πλοῖον.

NLT  Acts 27:39 When morning dawned, they didn't recognize the coastline, but they saw a bay with a beach and wondered if they could get to shore by running the ship aground.

KJV  Acts 27:39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.

ESV  Acts 27:39 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.

CSB  Acts 27:39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land but sighted a bay with a beach. They planned to run the ship ashore if they could.

NIV  Acts 27:39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.

NKJ  Acts 27:39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible.

NRS  Acts 27:39 In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could.

YLT  Acts 27:39 And when the day came, they were not discerning the land, but a certain creek were perceiving having a beach, into which they took counsel, if possible, to thrust forward the ship,

NAB  Acts 27:39 When day came they did not recognize the land, but made out a bay with a beach. They planned to run the ship ashore on it, if they could.

NJB  Acts 27:39 When day came they did not recognise the land, but they could make out a bay with a beach; they planned to run the ship aground on this if they could.

GWN  Acts 27:39 In the morning they couldn't recognize the land, but they could see a bay with a beach. So they decided to try to run the ship ashore.

BBE  Acts 27:39 And when it was day, they had no knowledge of the land, but they saw an inlet of the sea with a floor of sand, and they had the idea of driving the ship up on to it if possible.

ST PAUL'S 
BAY SPOTTED

See location of St. Paul's Bay on the northern side of Malta in the map above.

Sir William Ramsay comments that "“Only the rarest conjunction of favorable circumstances could have brought about such a fortunate ending to their apparently hopeless situation…all these circumstances are united in St. Paul’s Bay.” 

F F Bruce adds that "“If they missed Malta, there would have been nothing for it but to hold on for 200 miles until they struck the Tunisian coast, and no one could have expected the ship to survive that long.” (NICNT- Acts)

When day came, they could not recognize the land - Literally "They were not recognizing the land." All they can discern was a bay and beach (which of course is land). Presumably Luke means that they could not see any elevation like hills or mountains such as one often sees on an island. There is an 800 foot high hill/mountain but it is on the opposite side of the island and thus would not likely have been readily visible. So to see a bay and beach would signify land but would give no clue as to what was beyond the beach. 

Recognize (1921)(epiginosko) means to know fully, to know with certainty, to become thoroughly acquainted with or to know thoroughly, exactly, fully, or completely. Epiginosko means to possess more or less definite information about, and can imply a degree of thoroughness.

Robertson tried to recognize and could not (Conybeare and Howson). The island was well-known (Acts 28:1, epegnōmen), but St. Paul's Bay where the wreck took place was some distance from the main harbour (Valetta) of Melita (Malta).

But they did observe a bay with a beach - A beach would be a smooth area suitable for landing. BUT...sometimes what looks good from a distance doesn’t turn out to be good for us!

They did observe (2657)(katanoeo from kata = down [kata can be used to intensify the meaning] + noéo = to perceive or think) means literally to put the mind down on something and so to observe or consider carefully and attentively. It means to fix one’s eyes or mind upon and to perceive clearly. Katanoeo means to look carefully, cautiously, observantly. The idea is to think about something very carefully or consider closely which denotes the action of one's mind apprehending certain facts about a thing so as to give one the proper and decisive thought about the thing considered.

Vine writes that katanoeo "denotes the action of the mind in apprehending certain facts about a thing."

The imperfect tense indicates they "gradually perceived (the beach) after some effort as in Acts 11:16. This beach seemed their only hope." (Robertson)

And they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could - If they could is the verb dunamai meaning to be capable of or have the power to accomplish something. Luke uses the optative mood which expresses their wish that they could pull this off. It shows there was some uncertainty in their mind whether they would accomplish this feat. And as it played out, they were unable to do so. 

They resolved (1011)(bouleuo from boule = counsel, will) means to take counsel, to deliberate, to resolve in counsel. It is only in the middle voice (reflexive) meaning to consult or deliberate with one another. Pr 15:22 says "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors (Lxx =  bouleuo) they succeed." "The imperfect tense  middle voice shows the process of deliberation and doubt." (Robertson)

Acts 27:40  And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach.

ESV  Acts 27:40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.

CSB  Acts 27:40 After casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and headed for the beach.

NIV  Acts 27:40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach.

NKJ  Acts 27:40 And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.

NRS  Acts 27:40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach.

YLT  Acts 27:40 and the anchors having taken up, they were committing it to the sea, at the same time -- having loosed the bands of the rudders, and having hoisted up the mainsail to the wind -- they were making for the shore,

NAB  Acts 27:40 So they cast off the anchors and abandoned them to the sea, and at the same time they unfastened the lines of the rudders, and hoisting the foresail into the wind, they made for the beach.

NJB  Acts 27:40 They slipped the anchors and let them fall into the sea, and at the same time loosened the lashings of the rudders; then, hoisting the foresail to the wind, they headed for the beach.

GWN  Acts 27:40 They cut the anchors free and left them in the sea. At the same time they untied the ropes that held the steering oars. Then they raised the top sail to catch the wind and steered the ship to the shore.

BBE  Acts 27:40 So cutting away the hooks, and letting them go into the sea, and freeing the cords of the guiding-blades, and lifting up the sail to the wind, they went in the direction of the inlet.

PREPARATION FOR DRIVING
THE SHIP TO LAND

On seeing St. Paul's Bay the sailors sprang into action, Luke describing three specific nautical maneuvers they undertook.

And casting off the anchors they left them in the sea  - There was no need for anchors now! This would further lighten the ship.

Casting off (4014)(periaireo from perí = all around, + hairéo = seize, grasp) means to take away from around something (picture it binding and constricting one's movement) and so to remove that which envelops, thus totally removing it. In secular Greek periaireo was a nautical term meaning to cast lose by taking up the anchors from both sides of the ship in preparation for departing. 

Sea (2281)(thalassa from hals = sea) means sea in contrast to the land (ge) or the shore. Another Greek word for sea is pelagos which describes a large expanse of open water. Thalassa describes water generally in the vicinity of land and refers to several specific seas by name or by implication - Mediterranean (Acts 10:6, 32; 17:14; Ge 13:14; Jon.1:4),  Red Sea (Acts 7:36, 1 Cor. 10:1, 2; Ex. 13:18; 14:2), Sea of Galilee or Tiberias (Aka Lake Gennesaret - Mt 14:34, Mk 6:53, Lk 5:1) (Mt. 4:18; Mark 1:16; John 21:1, Mt. 4:15; Jn 6:16-19; Nu 34:11).

See also Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Sea (Wikipedia on sea)

Vine adds that thalassa is used "metaphorically, of "the ungodly men" described in Jude 1:13 (cp. Isa. 57:20); symbolically, in the apocalyptic vision of "a glassy sea like unto crystal," Rev. 4:6, emblematic of the fixed purity and holiness of all that appertains to the authority and judicial dealings of God; in Rev 15:2+ "I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire  and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God."; "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea,) in Rev. 13:1+.  The combination "sea and land" is common (Mt 23:15 Rev 7:1, 2, 3; 10:2, 5, 8)

Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament writes of the sea that "Even the modern person, with a background of technical progress, encounters the power of the sea, the dynamic energy of the water, with a certain awe and uneasiness. The ancient person, imprisoned in mythic thought, saw in the water the unpredictable, mostly destructive, chaotic element even more. The ancient world, ruled by gods and demons, was believed to be ruled most of all by evil deities of the sea. The sea storm and its effects were considered an expression of divine wrath and punishment. In the ancient oriental myths of creation a good god of light and heaven battles and defeats the evil, dark deity who embodies the sea chaos, the chaos dragon (Marduk-Tiamat, Baal-Yam). But the threat of chaos remains continually present. In the OT use of this tradition, the final conquest of the mythical monster Rahab, Leviathan, the dragon, the primal sea is ascribed to Yahweh, the God of creation. His superiority is demonstrated in his power to call forth and calm the sea and his mastery over the floods. The increasing concern with demons in Jewish apocalyptic and late antiquity gives life to the concept of the "evil sea." The NT "miracle stories of rescue," such as Mark 4:35-41 and Mark 6:45-52 become intelligible against this background. Jesus demonstrates in the stilling of the storm episode, for which the Jonah story provides a basis both in structure and content, that he is the one who surpasses the OT and Hellenistic wonder workers; he acts as Yahweh himself when he threatens the demonic elements and brings them to silence. In the story of Jesus' walking on the water, in which the rescue miracle is dominated by motifs of epiphany, He has fully entered the role of the OT God." (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament - Volume 2)

Gilbrant This word frequently appears in classical Greek writings dating from the time of Homer (ca. Eighth Century B.C.) as the general term for “sea” or “lake” and in some cases for a specific “sea” (frequently the Mediterranean Sea; cf. Liddell-Scott). It is used over 450 times in the Septuagint to translate six different Hebrew words; most frequently yām (“sea”) but also te‛ālāh (“channel” in 1 Kings 18:32). Most New Testament occurrences of this term are literal references, as in the Septuagint, without differentiating between inland “lakes” and open “seas” (i.e., used with Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Sea of Galilee, and Lake Gennesaret). Most of the references are found in Matthew, Mark, Acts, and Revelation. The term has symbolic overtones, especially in Revelation where John described a “sea of glass” (Revelation 4:6). Cosmologically it is one part of God’s created order: heaven, earth, and sea (Acts 4:24); and as such it often becomes a realm where God displays His mighty power over evil (i.e., calming the storm, Matthew 8:23-27; walking on water, Matthew 14:22,23; etc.) Thalassa was also an important feature of the calling of the disciples and of miraculous catches of fish (Matthew 4:18-22; 17:24-27; Luke 5:1-11; etc.). (Ibid)

Thalassa - 91 x in 82v - sea(86), seashore(5). Almost 400 uses in the Septuagint (Just uses in Genesis - Gen. 1:10; Gen. 1:22; Gen. 1:26; Gen. 1:28; Gen. 9:2; Gen. 12:8; Gen. 13:14; Gen. 14:3; Gen. 22:17; Gen. 28:14; Gen. 32:12; Gen. 41:49)

Matt. 4:15; Matt. 4:18; Matt. 8:24; Matt. 8:26; Matt. 8:27; Matt. 8:32; Matt. 13:1; Matt. 13:47; Matt. 14:25; Matt. 14:26; Matt. 15:29; Matt. 17:27; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 21:21; Matt. 23:15; Mk. 1:16; Mk. 2:13; Mk. 3:7; Mk. 4:1; Mk. 4:39; Mk. 4:41; Mk. 5:1; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 5:21; Mk. 6:47; Mk. 6:48; Mk. 6:49; Mk. 7:31; Mk. 9:42; Mk. 11:23; Lk. 17:2; Lk. 17:6; Lk. 21:25; Jn. 6:1; Jn. 6:16; Jn. 6:17; Jn. 6:18; Jn. 6:19; Jn. 6:22; Jn. 6:25; Jn. 21:1; Jn. 21:7; Acts 4:24; Acts 7:36; Acts 10:6; Acts 10:32; Acts 14:15; Acts 17:14; Acts 27:30; Acts 27:38; Acts 27:40; Acts 28:4; Rom. 9:27; 1 Co. 10:1; 1 Co. 10:2; 2 Co. 11:26; Heb. 11:12; Heb. 11:29; Jas. 1:6; Jude 1:13; Rev. 4:6; Rev. 5:13; Rev. 7:1; Rev. 7:2; Rev. 7:3; Rev. 8:8; Rev. 8:9; Rev. 10:2; Rev. 10:5; Rev. 10:6; Rev. 10:8; Rev. 12:12; Rev. 13:1; Rev. 14:7; Rev. 15:2; Rev. 16:3; Rev. 18:17; Rev. 18:19; Rev. 18:21; Rev. 20:8; Rev. 20:13; Rev. 21:1


ROPES & RUDDERS ON STERN

While at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders - The ropes bound two large paddles (rudders) to each side of the ship near the stern which allows the pilot to control the direction. In a storm these rudders would be lifted from the water and tied down. As Constable says "Evidently the sailors had locked these rudders in place when the ship was drifting, but now they put them into use again." 

James Smith - Ancient ships were steered by two large paddles, one on each quarter. When anchored by the stern in a gale, it would be necessary to life them out of the water and secure them by lashings or rudder-bands, and to loose the rudder-bands when the ship was again got under way. (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul)

Were loosening (447)(aniemi from ana = back + hiemi = send) means to send back, to relax with the basic idea of “relaxation of tension.” To release, loosen or slacken chains in Acts 16:26 and ropes in this passage. Unfastening the rudder (or steering paddles) would allow them to head the ship in the right direction.

Rudders (4079)(pedalion from pedon = blade of an oar) was a large plank at the stern of a ship used to direct its course or steering the ship. See ancient steering oars. These were blades of oars and refers to paddle rudders extending from the sides of the ship and were tied while the ship was at anchor. BDAG adds that "each ship had two rudders, connected by a crossbar and operated by one man." 

See picture of an ancient stern mounted steering oar or rudder. 

Gilbrant on Rudders The only two New Testament occurrences of pēdalion continue the most frequent use found throughout classical Greek literature, i.e., to denote a rudder or steering paddle of a ship. The ancient boat did not have a rudder attached to its stern; rather, steering paddles were attached to the right and left (front and/or rear) of the boat. The pēdalion resembled an oversize oar, and by varying the angle of this paddle in relation to the hull a sailor would effectively steer the ship (Casson, pp.224f.). This explains Luke’s use of the plural in Acts 27:40. The single stern rudder is an invention of the medieval period. While both Acts 27:40 and James 3:4 refer to the literal rudder of a ship, James used the rudder to illustrate the incredible power of the tongue. This saying was in all probability a proverbial saying common to James’ readers, with parallels in several Hellenistic documents (Davids, New International Greek Testament Commentary, James, pp.139f.). (Ibid)

Robertson The word for rudders (pēdalion) is an old one (from pēdon, the blade of an oar), but in the N.T. only here and James 3:4. Page notes that the ancient ships had a pair of paddle rudders like those of the early northmen, one on each quarter. The paddle rudders had been fastened while the ship was anchored.

Vincent on ropes of the rudders - Lit., the bands of the rudders. The larger ships had two rudders, like broad oars or paddles, joined together by a pole, and managed by one steersman. They could be pulled up and fastened with bands to the ship; as was done in this ease, probably to avoid fouling the anchors when they were cast out of the stern. The bands were now loosened, in order that the ship might be driven forward.

And hoisting the foresail to the wind - Ancient Romans ships usually had two sails, the mainsail and the foresail, the latter especially for guidance. The foresail was set on the bow of the ship and this maneuver would allow them to catch wind and give them speed as they headed toward the beach. 

Hoisting (raising)(1869)(epairo) means to lift up in this case the sail. 

Foresail (only NT use)(736)(artemon) was a cloth hoisted on a ship to catch the wind sail. As translated it was probably a foresail, a small sail which was hoisted in wind that was too strong for the larger sails. 

James Smith - The artemon was certainly the foresail, not the mainsail, as in authorized version. (See Dissertation on Ancient Ships.) A sailor will at once see that the foresail was the best possible sail that could be set under the circumstances. In the gale in the Crimea, in November 1854, the captain of the ship the Lord Raglan states that he cut away the main and mizen masts, but adds, ‘I held on the foremast in case of her parting, to carry her end on.’ … ‘There was nothing left for us but to beach; accordingly we ran before it, trying to avoid running foul of the other ships on shore, which we fortunately managed. The foresail was blown adrift, which helped her on. On striking, the sea swept over her,’ &c. (Times, December 5, 1854.) (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul)

They were heading for the beach - The imperfect tense (active voice) indicating "They began to hold the ship steadily for the beach."

Heading (2722)(katecho from katá = intensifies meaning + écho = have, hold) means to retain and in the intransitive it was a nautical technical term meaning to hold one's course toward, head for, steer for in this case the beach.

Gilbrant comments that "The storm had not yet ended. It was still raining and the wind was still blowing. The sailors needed to use all the skills they had in order to get the ship as close to the shore as possible. God's promise was good. But He still allowed adverse conditions to test their faith and obedience. Sometimes believers would like Him to bring them to the desired shore on a magic carpet. But instead He makes sure the right people are there with the right skills to help those who need help. In this case it was sailors who knew how to steer the ship and how to set the sail. But whatever the situation, believers too can count on the Lord's care and concern for them. At the same time, believers should not be afraid to use the means which He has made available. Paul and his companions must have been asking God to help the sailors." (Ibid)

Acts 27:41  But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves.

NET  Acts 27:41 But they encountered a patch of crosscurrents and ran the ship aground; the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves.

GNT  Acts 27:41 περιπεσόντες δὲ εἰς τόπον διθάλασσον ἐπέκειλαν τὴν ναῦν καὶ ἡ μὲν πρῷρα ἐρείσασα ἔμεινεν ἀσάλευτος, ἡ δὲ πρύμνα ἐλύετο ὑπὸ τῆς βίας [τῶν κυμάτων].

NLT  Acts 27:41 But they hit a shoal and ran the ship aground too soon. The bow of the ship stuck fast, while the stern was repeatedly smashed by the force of the waves and began to break apart.

KJV  Acts 27:41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

ESV  Acts 27:41 But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf.

CSB  Acts 27:41 But they struck a sandbar and ran the ship aground. The bow jammed fast and remained immovable, while the stern began to break up by the pounding of the waves.

NIV  Acts 27:41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.

NKJ  Acts 27:41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

NRS  Acts 27:41 But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves.

YLT  Acts 27:41 and having fallen into a place of two seas, they ran the ship aground, and the fore-part, indeed, having stuck fast, did remain immoveable, but the hinder-part was broken by the violence of the waves.

NAB  Acts 27:41 But they struck a sandbar and ran the ship aground. The bow was wedged in and could not be moved, but the stern began to break up under the pounding (of the waves).

NJB  Acts 27:41 But the cross-currents carried them into a shoal and the vessel ran aground. The bows were wedged in and stuck fast, while the stern began to break up with the pounding of the waves.

GWN  Acts 27:41 They struck a sandbar in the water and ran the ship aground. The front of the ship stuck and couldn't be moved, while the back of the ship was broken to pieces by the force of the waves.

BBE  Acts 27:41 And coming to a point between two seas, they got the ship to land; and the front part was fixed in the sand and not able to be moved, but the back part was broken by the force of the wav


SHIPWRECK
Click to enlarge

DISASTER
STRIKES!

But - Term of contrast. Contrast is between their intentions (beach) and an accident (hitting a reef).

Striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground - Imagine the sudden, startling jolt as you read this passage! I recently had a sudden, startling blowout of my left front tire and then less than a mile a way a second sudden jolt when the spare blew out! I think we were in the will of the Lord. And so a sudden stop in a sandbar not in their plan and now the ship was hopelessly caught, leaving the stern vulnerable to the pounding waves. While the NAS translates this as a reef, not everyone agrees with the translation because it is not the specific Greek word for reef.  Sometimes we can do all that we know to do and still end up shipwrecked!

Reef (5117)(topos) literally means a place and here the NAS assumes it is a place where there was a reef, but not everyone agrees with this interpretation. E.g., the NET translates it "they encountered a patch of crosscurrents and ran the ship aground." (See other translations above). The convergence of two seas would have resulted in an accumulation of sand and/or mud.

NET Note states that reads more literally as "fell upon a place of two seas." -  The most common explanation for this term is that it refers to a reef or sandbar with the sea on both sides, as noted in BDAG topon dithalasson in Ac 27:41 is a semantic unit signifying a point (of land jutting out with water on both sides)." However, Greek had terms for a "sandbank" , a "reef", "strait", "promontory", and other nautical hazards, none of which are used by the author here. NEB here translates as "cross-currents," a proposal close to that advanced by J. M. Gilchrist, "The Historicity of Paul's Shipwreck," JSNT 61 (1996): 29-51, who suggests the meaning is "a patch of cross-seas," where the waves are set at an angle to the wind, a particular hazard for sailors. Thus the term most likely refers to some sort of adverse sea conditions rather than a topographical feature like a reef or sandbar.

Larkin At the entrance to the bay they unexpectedly struck a sandbar; today the shoal is thirty-nine feet below the surface, but then it probably stood in only thirteen feet of water. The ship effectively ran aground, for the bow stuck fast and would not move. The rocks of Malta disintegrate into extremely minute particles of sand and clay when acted upon by currents or by surface agitation. They form a tenacious deposit of clay (Smith 1978:144). The combination of the bay floor's composition and the direction of the wind made this sandbar the ship's final resting place. But the sea was not through with the ship. (Ibid)

Gilbrant notes that "even using the best of their skills, the winds were such that the sailors could not control the ship. Instead of reaching the beach, they accidentally came to a place between two seas. This was a narrow channel, too shallow for the ship to make it through. Actually, there is a little island called Salmoneta near the entrance to the bay. The rush of breakers on both sides of the island give the appearance of two seas meeting. The bow of the ship ran aground in mud and clay and stuck fast." (Ibid) (Addendum - modern research has confirmed between St. Paul's Bay and the island of Salmonetta the existence of a shallow channel only one to three hundred yards wide).

Striking (4045)(peripipto from peri = around + pipto = to fall) means literally to fall around, and so to fall in with or among and in this passage means to move toward and strike against.

This verb can also convey the sense of falling into something suddenly or unexpectedly -- isn't that what most trials do? They "jump" on us and catch us off guard! I like the picture presented by the Amplified version "whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations." The picture is one encompassed by these trials, something with which we can all readily identify!

Robertson on vessel - Here also we have the only N.T. use of naus for ship (from naō, neō, to swim) so common in ancient Greek. Our word navy is from this word through the Latin.

And the prow stuck fast and remained immovable - The prow became firmly fixed and would not move which placed the ship in a dangerous situation. 

Immovable (761) (asaleutos from a = negates + saleuo = to agitate, shake) is an adjective which describes that which is unshakable and immovable. 

James Smith - The rocks of Malta disintegrate into extremely minute particles of sand and clay, which, when acted upon by the currents or by surface agitation, form a deposit of tenacious clay; whilst in still water where these causes do not act, mud is formed; but it is only in the creeks where there are no currents, and at such a depth as to be undisturbed by the waves, that the mud occurs. In Admiral Smyth’s chart of the bay, the nearest soundings to the mud indicate a depth of about three fathoms, which is about what a large ship will draw. A ship, therefore, impelled by the force of a gale into a creek with a bottom such as that laid down in the chart, would strike a bottom of mud graduating into tenacious clay, into which the fore part would fix itself and be held fast, whilst the stern was exposed to the force of the waves. (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul)

But the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves - Because the prow was stuck immovably the exposed stern was being battered by strong waves breaking the boat into pieces. 

Broken up (imperfect tense - pictures waves lashing forcefully again and again)(3089)(luo) means basically to loose, and in this context means to reduce by violence or force into its components, thus breaking and dismantling the wooden vessel. 

Luo in Acts -  Acts 2:24; Acts 7:33; Acts 13:25; Acts 13:43; Acts 22:30; Acts 27:41;

Force (970)(bia) means strength of waves. Louw-Nida = "strong, destructive force." BDAG - "strength or energy brought to bear in varying degrees on things or persons." 

John G. Butler said, “Though the promise of safety had been given, the final hours on board the ship were still traumatic. The promise did not eliminate the difficulties. It would simply be a great encouragement when things got worse, for things did indeed get worse before they got better. This illustrates an important truth about God’s promises. After they are given, circumstances often get worse to make it look even more impossible than before that the promises will be fulfilled. But it is not the circumstances that determine if the promises will be fulfilled or not. It is the power of God that determines the fulfillment of the promises.”

David Jeremiah wrote, “The paradox of God’s protective care is that sometimes He protects us in the storm instead of removing us from the storm.”


Jack Andrews The Lord allows His people and other people to go through storms for different reasons. He allows men and women to go through storms:

  • Storms and trials are used by God to cause men to turn to God for salvation.
  • Storms and trials prove that a person really trusts God.
  • Storms and trials make a believer stronger so he can stand against even tougher trials in the future and demonstrate the presence and power of God to a greater degree.
  • The world needs to see the demonstration of God's presence and power, and the only way they can see it is in the life of believers as they go through trials.

POSB asks "Why did God not just allow the ship to make it safely to shore without wrecking? Why was the trial made so difficult for the crew and passengers? Very simply...

•  trials are used by God to cause men to turn to God for salvation.

•  trials prove that a person really trusts God.

•  trials make a believer stronger so he can stand against even tougher trials in the future and demonstrate the presence and power of God to a greater degree. The world needs to see the demonstration of God's presence and power, and the only way they can see it is in the life of believers as they go through trials. (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Acts)

Acts 27:42  The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape;

NET  Acts 27:42 Now the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners so that none of them would escape by swimming away.

GNT  Acts 27:42 τῶν δὲ στρατιωτῶν βουλὴ ἐγένετο ἵνα τοὺς δεσμώτας ἀποκτείνωσιν, μή τις ἐκκολυμβήσας διαφύγῃ·

NLT  Acts 27:42 The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure they didn't swim ashore and escape.

KJV  Acts 27:42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.

ESV  Acts 27:42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape.

CSB  Acts 27:42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners so that no one could swim away and escape.

NIV  Acts 27:42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.

NKJ  Acts 27:42 And the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.

NRS  Acts 27:42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape;

YLT  Acts 27:42 And the soldiers' counsel was that they should kill the prisoners, lest any one having swam out should escape,

NAB  Acts 27:42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners so that none might swim away and escape,

NJB  Acts 27:42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners for fear that any should swim off and escape.

GWN  Acts 27:42 The soldiers had a plan to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming away and escaping.

BBE  Acts 27:42 Then the armed men were for putting the prisoners to death, so that no one would get away by swimming.

TIME TO
JUMP SHIP

The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners So that none of them would swim away and escape - Of course the reason was the soldiers were responsible for the prisoners and if any escaped, the soldiers would pay with their own lives. We see this scenario play out after Peter's "great escape" when Herod "examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution" because Peter had vanished. (Acts 12:19+)

Escape (only NT use)(1309)(diapheugo from dia = intensifies + pheugo = escape, flee) means to make a clean (dia - thorough) escape. To escape by flight. To flee successfully. 

John Phillips explains that “The stem code under which Roman soldiers lived made them personally responsible for their prisoners. If one prisoner escaped, their lives were forfeit. It was therefore natural that they should want to execute the prisoners then and there. A dead prisoner could be accounted for. I remember once, in the British army, being put in charge of a prisoner. When I took him over, I had to sign for ‘one live body,’ and I was expected to deliver on live body when I handed him back. In the Roman army, one dead body, under those circumstances, was just as acceptable as one live body. If fifty bodies were signed for, fifty bodies had to be delivered—dead or alive—or the soldiers made up the difference themselves.”

Acts 27:43  but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,

NET  Acts 27:43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul's life, prevented them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land,

GNT  Acts 27:43 ὁ δὲ ἑκατοντάρχης βουλόμενος διασῶσαι τὸν Παῦλον ἐκώλυσεν αὐτοὺς τοῦ βουλήματος, ἐκέλευσέν τε τοὺς δυναμένους κολυμβᾶν ἀπορίψαντας πρώτους ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἐξιέναι

NLT  Acts 27:43 But the commanding officer wanted to spare Paul, so he didn't let them carry out their plan. Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land.

KJV  Acts 27:43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:

ESV  Acts 27:43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land,

CSB  Acts 27:43 But the centurion kept them from carrying out their plan because he wanted to save Paul, so he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.

NIV  Acts 27:43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.

NKJ  Acts 27:43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,

NRS  Acts 27:43 but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land,

YLT  Acts 27:43 but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, hindered them from the counsel, and did command those able to swim, having cast themselves out first -- to get unto the land,

NAB  Acts 27:43 but the centurion wanted to save Paul and so kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to the shore,

NJB  Acts 27:43 But the centurion was determined to bring Paul safely through and would not let them carry out their plan. He gave orders that those who could swim should jump overboard first and so get ashore,

GWN  Acts 27:43 However, the officer wanted to save Paul, so he stopped the soldiers from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and swim ashore.

BBE  Acts 27:43 But the captain, desiring to keep Paul safe, kept them from their purpose, and gave orders that those who had knowledge of swimming were to go off the ship and get first to land:

But the centurion - Julius had begun to trust Paul's word and he acted on that sure word. While clearly there was a human aspect in the preservation of Paul, behind the scenes was God's sovereign hand which had assured Paul that he would reach Rome (Acts 27:24).

Wanting to bring Paul safely through - In one sense all the prisoners were preserved because the centurion wished to save Paul. Compare previous descriptions of Roman protection (undoubtedly "orchestrated" by the good hand of the Lord!) - Acts 21:33-36; Acts 23:10, Acts 23:23; Acts 25:1-12. 

Wanting (1014)(boulomai) refers to a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion. To will, to wish, to will deliberately, to intend, to have a purpose, to be minded. Boulomai underlines the preset determined intention which drives one's planning, wishing, resolving.  In contrast, the verb thelo focuses on the desire ("wishfulness") behind making an offer. 

Gilbrant - The word "save" here is an emphatic one. It seems to imply the soldiers were already intent on carrying out their purpose. They may have already gathered the prisoners together. The centurion actually had to rescue Paul and the other prisoners from them. The same word was used when Lysias provided a guard of 460 men to bring Paul safely to the governor, Felix, in Caesarea, thus preventing the Jews from carrying out their purpose to kill Paul at that time (Acts 23:23, 24+ = "bring him safely [diasozo] to Felix").

Bring safely through (1295)(diasozo from dia = through + sozo = to save) means literally to save through or to bring to safety through danger. In Acts, Luke employed diasōzō of Paul’s “safe passage” from Jerusalem to Felix the governor (Acts 23:24). In Acts 27:43-45 diasōzō describes the “safe arrival” on land of Paul’s shipwrecked captors and companions who “escaped” the clutches of the sea (Acts 27:43,44; 28:1,4). 

Peterson on the theme of physical salvation - The theme is immediately picked up again in the following section (Acts 28:1, 4).(Ibid)

Kept them from their intention - Not physically but by verbally by commanding them.

Kept (forbid, prevent) (2967)(koluo from kólos = docked, lopped, clipped, kolazo = curtail) means to cut off, to cut short, to weaken and generally to hinder, to prevent, to check, to restrain or to forbid by word or act. The idea is to cause something not to happen. To hinder means to make slow or difficult the progress of something by interfering in some way with the activity or progress thereof. In short koluo means to make it difficult for someone to do something or for something to happen.

Koluo in Acts - Acts 8:36; Acts 10:47; Acts 11:17; Acts 16:6; Acts 24:23; Acts 27:43; 

And commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land - Recall it is in the Autumn so this would have been a cold swim. 

Commanded (2753)(keleuo) means to set in motion, urge on. In the NT, used generally with the meaning of to command, order something to be done. Imperfect active, repeatedly ordered. Louw-Nida - to state with force and/or authority what others must do—‘to order, to command.’

Get to (1826)(exeimi from ek = out + eími = to go) means to go out of a place (Acts 13:42, Acts 27:43). In the sense of to go away, depart out of a place (Acts 17:15; 20:7).

H A Ironside notes how "the enemy comes in. Satan would make the plight of the seamen an excuse to destroy Paul. “And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.” (Acts 27:42) It was the voice of the devil, though he spoke through the soldiers’ lips. But the centurion again intervened and God’s word was fulfilled. All were saved, but they had to meet their own responsibility in the matter. There is surely a lesson here for every one of us. No word of God shall be void of power, but we are responsible to obey His Word and manifest our faith by our works.


Application:  Three Spiritual Anchors - When 276 people boarded the grain ship to leave Fair Havens, they expected to sail no more than 40 miles down the coast of Crete to Phoenix, a more suitable harbor for spending the winter. But, as often happens, nature turned their simple plan into a terrifying ordeal. A half-day jaunt became two weeks at sea, forcing them to fight for survival through a long series of life-threatening events. As their situation worsened, each leader aboard grew silent and faded from the narrative, leaving Paul as the standout leader. While the crew threw out anchors to regain control of the ship, Paul cast three spiritual anchors to help the people cling to hope.

Spiritual Anchor #1: Assurance of God’s Presence (Acts 27:22-26). The Lord reassured Paul that he and everyone aboard would survive their distress at sea. Paul passed this along to the people, letting them know that God saw their trouble and had not forsaken them. In fact, he urged them to celebrate like they already had been rescued, because the Lord had, in fact, saved them. It was only a matter of time before His rescue plan played out. Paul trusted God’s word and he encouraged others to do the same. Imagine yourself traveling back in time to stand on the deck of this ship as one of the passengers, knowing the end of the story as you do now. How would your behavior differ from the others aboard? The unpleasant conditions would affect you no less, the wind and rain would chill you just the same, but anxiety would have no effect on your outlook. So it is with your circumstances now. Struggles and difficulties will always be a part of life this side of the grave, and your life in this realm will someday end, but we have been assured of God’s presence in the person of His Holy Spirit within us. And He has promised to save all who trust in Him. Furthermore, every experience—pleasure cruises and shipwrecks—will be used for our good.

Spiritual Anchor #2: Practical Encouragement (Acts 27:33-38). After many days at sea, the people had forgotten God’s promise to preserve everyone alive. Some of the crew tried to get into the dinghy and abandon the ship and its passengers, but Paul intervened. As they appeared to be close to land, Paul urged the people to eat. He gave thanks to God for the food and His assurance of their safety, and he passed the bread. They had not yet spotted land, but they tossed the cargo overboard to prepare for a run toward a coast. Paul’s encouragement took physical, tangible form. Words were fine two weeks earlier; deeds made the promise of God concrete. His behavior reflected his belief that they would step onto dry land soon.

Spiritual Anchor #3: Absolute Faith (Acts 27:39-44). Throughout the ordeal, Paul demonstrated a calm, assured belief in the promise of God, and his faith became contagious. When the soldiers prepared to kill the prisoners, the centurion stopped them. His primary motivation was to preserve Paul’s life, but he made his decision with confidence. The people followed Paul’s lead and never gave up hope of survival. How you face ordeals affects how others regard the Word of God. Your verbal testimony will help reveal the promises of God, but it is your personal demonstration of trust that adds validation to the message. People need to hear the gospel, but seeing the good news have its effect will do more to encourage their faith than anything you say. (Swindoll)

Acts 27:44  and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.

NET  Acts 28:1 After we had safely reached shore, we learned that the island was called Malta.

GNT  Acts 28:1 Καὶ διασωθέντες τότε ἐπέγνωμεν ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται.

NLT  Acts 28:1 Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta.

KJV  Acts 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

ESV  Acts 28:1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

CSB  Acts 28:1 Once ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

NIV  Acts 28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

NKJ  Acts 28:1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.

NRS  Acts 28:1 After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

YLT  Acts 28:1 And having been saved, then they knew that the island is called Melita,

NAB  Acts 28:1 Once we had reached safety we learned that the island was called Malta.

NJB  Acts 28:1 Once we had come safely through, we discovered that the island was called Malta.

GWN  Acts 28:1 When we were safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

BBE  Acts 28:1 And when we were safe, we made the discovery that the island was named Melita.

  • that they all were brought safely to land: Ac 27:22,24 Ps 107:28-30 Am 9:9 Joh 6:39,40 2Co 1:8-10 1Pe 4:18 
  • Video - Shipwreck
  • Acts 27 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MYRA > MALTA
Click to Enlarge

GOD'S PROMISE OF SALVATION
IS FULFILLED

And the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship - The non-swimmers grabbed hold of pieces of wood and other floatable things they could cling to as the kicked toward the shore. 

Robertson - The only N.T. instance of the old Greek word sanis for board or plank. The breaking of the ship gave scraps of timber which some used.

And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land - Why? Because God had given them His immutable promise and He is the "non-lying" God. Spurgeon adds "So God had said, “and so it came to pass.”" 

Swindoll writes "All two hundred seventy-six souls survived—a miracle in itself. They swam, gagged, gasped, struggled, then finally sloshed ashore. Safe yet soaked. Alive yet exhausted. And they found themselves on an unexpected, tumultuous, time-consuming detour. All along they had Italy in their sights, the dream of Rome in their hearts . . . but now were dumped on an out-of-the-way island named Malta. How could they not ask themselves, What now?" (Start Where You Are)

NET Note has an interesting comment that "The whole scene is a historical metaphor representing how listening to Paul and his message could save people."

Keener - In Greco-Roman literature, someone’s escape from disaster at sea could serve as evidence of that person’s religious purity even before a court. (Ibid)

Peterson In various ways, the whole narrative (Acts 27:1-28:16) points to God as Creator and Saviour, and to Paul as his prophet or representative. (Ibid)

Gilbrant All of them must surely have been thankful to be alive. But undoubtedly there was praise and thanksgiving in the hearts of Paul and his friends to God and to the Lord Jesus who loved them, died for them, and was now risen, ascended to the right hand of the Father's throne where He was interceding for them through all this. Truly God had kept His promise, not only for Paul, but also for the 275 others who were on board. (Ibid)

Polhill writes that "all were able to reach shore safely (v. 44b). And the whole narrative from Acts 27:23 on has made it clear that Paul’s presence on the ship and God’s protection of him was responsible for the remarkable deliverance of all 276 on board. In a real sense, it was something of a reversal of expectations. In many ancient shipwreck stories there is a motif in which a storm or shipwreck is attributed to the presence of one on board who has incurred the wrath of a god (Ed: As was the case with Jonah - read Jonah 1:7-10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). The presence of the guilty party endangers the lives of all the voyagers." In this instance the opposite took place. Paul’s presence was in no sense responsible for the storm. Had his advice been followed, the ship would never have encountered the storm in the first place. On the contrary, Paul’s presence was responsible for their deliverance from the storm. His God was with him, and because he was with the apostle, all were saved. (New American Commentary – Volume 26: Acts) 

Vance Havner said, “Our Lord’s life was full of storm and tempest, yet in the darkest days of all, He bequeathed to us His legacy of peace. His rest is no imaginary escape from reality... (but) that blessed consciousness that in the midst of trouble our real lives are beyond the reach of circumstance, hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3+).”

A modern worship song has the words below which would be apropos to the presence of God with Paul in the midst of the violent storm...

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
(Play "Our God")

Brought safely (1295) see note above on diasozo

Larkin comments that "In a very real sense Paul was a "saving presence," for saving him automatically meant saving the other prisoners. Thus as a mediator of physical preservation, Paul again becomes a living parable of spiritual salvation, which is just as certain when persons take refuge in the name Paul preaches (Acts 16:31)." (Ibid)

ILLUSTRATION - Years ago a ship met with disaster off the shores of the Isle of Wight. In the confusion a young woman was swept overboard. She found a piece of wreckage and clung to it, but soon she was drifting down the channel and out to sea. A few hours later the captain of another vessel saw an object floating in the distance. He sent some sailors in a boat to investigate. Before they reached their object, they heard a woman’s voice singing: “Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high! Hide me, O my Savior, hide, ‘till the storm of life is past; Safe into the haven guide, O, receive my soul at last!” On that piece of wreckage, drifting out to sea, the woman had peace in her heart because Jesus was Lord of her life! She had Jesus and she trusted Jesus! You can escape physical dangers and be delivered from death on earth, but if you have never come to Jesus Christ and turned to Him and trusted in Him then you will not reach the other shore safely! (Jack Andrews)

Perhaps you feel like you are drifting out to sea clinging to a piece of wreckage, but even if you are are not, take a moment to worship and join Fernando Ortega as he sings Charles Wesley's  beautiful hymn...

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, oh, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name,
I am all unrighteousness;
Vile and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

Robertson sums up this chapter - So Luke in this marvellous narrative, worthy of any historian in any age, shows how Paul's promise was fulfilled (Acts 27:24). Paul the prisoner is the hero of the voyage and shipwreck, a wonderful example of God's providential care.

Just a Paul had predicted...

Acts 27:22 “Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

Acts 27:24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’


LIFE APPLICATION - THE JOURNEY - Paul's arduous trip to Rome (Acts 27-28) provides us with at least four good tips for making the most of our own journey through life:

1. Recognize the presence of God (27:1-28:31)—understand that God is with you, even in the darkest times.

2. Rely on the people of God (27:1-3; 28:2, 7-10, 14-15, 30)—lean on the people whom God graciously puts in your life.

3. Rest on the promises of God (27:22-25; cf. 23:11)—know that what God has said, he will do.

4. Remember the purposes of God (28:8-9, 17-31)—keep your eyes on the destination and ultimate goal. (Bruce Barton - Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)


John MacArthur gleans several principles from the voyage and the shipwreck - Looking back over this dramatic episode in Paul's life, several key principles of true biblical leadership can be clearly seen.

First, a leader is trusted. Paul was an important prisoner, whose escape or death would have meant serious trouble for Julius. Yet somehow during the brief journey from Caesarea to Sidon, Paul convinced the centurion that he could be trusted. Julius therefore let him leave the ship to be ministered to by the Christians there.

Second, a leader takes the initiative. At the council at Fair Havens, Paul, although a prisoner, did not hesitate to give his advice.

Third, a leader uses good judgment. Had the centurion and sailors heeded Paul's sound advice, they would have been spared a terrible ordeal—and the loss of the ship.

Fourth, a leader speaks with authority. In the midst of the raging storm, Paul's confident assertion that all on board would be saved must have seemed like madness. But his unshakable confidence in God's Word caused him to speak out boldly. Paul also called others to obedience; he was the one who prevented the sailors from abandoning the rest of the passengers (Acts 27:31).

Fifth, a leader strengthens others. Paul three times encouraged the terrified passengers and crew (Acts 27:22, 25, 34)—twice not to lose hope and once to eat. His calmness, confidence, and optimistic trust in God also reassured the others.

Sixth, a leader never compromises his absolutes. Paul prevented the crew from prematurely abandoning the ship. God had said that all would be saved, but all must remain together, and Paul refused to compromise on that instruction.

Seventh, and most important, a leader leads by example. Believing God would do exactly as He said, Paul set an example for the others by remaining calm and confident. Realizing they needed to eat before attempting to get ashore, Paul "took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he broke it and began to eat" (Acts 27:35). His example motivated the others, "and they themselves also took food" (Acts 27:36). Leaders do not push people from behind; they lead them from the front.

These timeless principles of leadership, manifested in the midst of appalling circumstances, reveal Paul as the godly leader he was. They must characterize every leader who wishes to effectively lead God's people. (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Acts)


Wiersbe Before leaving this exciting section of Acts, we should note some practical lessons that it teaches us.

First of all, storms often come when we disobey the will of God. (Jonah is a good example of this truth.) However, it was not Paul who was at fault, but the centurion in charge of the ship. We sometimes suffer because of the unbelief of others.

Second, storms have a way of revealing character. Some of the sailors selfishly tried to escape, others could only hope for the best; but Paul trusted God and obeyed His will.

Third, even the worst storms cannot hide the face of God or hinder the purposes of God. Paul received the word of assurance that they needed, and God overruled so that His servant arrived safely in Rome.

Finally, storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ. Paul was the most valuable man on that ship! He knew how to pray, he had faith in God, and he was in touch with the Almighty. (Bible Exposition Commentary)


PAUL’S SHIPWRECK, OR THE POWER OF FAITH ACTS 27:1–44 - by James Smith

The taking of Paul the apostle to Italy was one of the most important and far-reaching undertakings ever attempted by the powerful Government of Rome. The coming of that lonely prisoner was the coming of the Ambassador of Heaven to establish a new and everlasting kingdom among the Gentile nations of the earth. It was the planting of that new tree, the leaves of which will ultimately heal the nations. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth. We cannot go into detail here, but will seek some spiritual lessons from the outstanding features. We note—

I. A PERILOUS POSITION.—“Exceedingly tossed with tempest … neither sun nor stars … and all hope taken away” (vv. 17–20). We can scarcely imagine a more agonising predicament. Such is a true picture of those who have been awakened by the Holy Spirit to a real sense of their guilt and danger as sinners in the sight of God. Tossed with fear and alarm, without seeing any guiding light, and all hope of salvation taken away. At that time ye were without Christ, having no hope (Eph. 2:12).

II. A MERCIFUL REVELATION.—“The angel of God stood by me, saying, Fear not, Paul … God hath given thee all them that sail with thee” (vv. 23–24) The effectual, fervent prayer of this righteous man hath availed much (James 5:16). It was doubtless in answer to Paul’s earnest pleadings that this answer was given. What a victory of faith it was. Are we not reminded here of God’s answer to the cry of Christ’s heart, “I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance?” All who sail in the same boat with Jesus Christ will be eternally given to Him.

III. A FAITHFUL PROCLAMATION.—“Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God” (vv. 22–25). It was a “glad and glorious Gospel” that Paul had to preach to those whose souls were sinking in despair It was, indeed, the Gospel of Salvation. “There shall be no loss of any man’s life.” It was a Gospel of certainty to Paul, for he adds, “I believe God that it shall be, even as it was told me.” Such is the Gospel of Christ to all who, like Paul, have received it as a revelation from God. Only those who believe the Word of God have any Gospel of certain salvation to preach.

IV. A NECESSARY CONDITION.—“Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (v. 31). Paul warns the soldiers that if the sailors are allowed to desert the ship, they could not be saved (v. 30). There is no inconsistency between the sovereign grace of God and the responsibility of man in the use of prescribed means. The promise was that “all would be saved;” the condition was, “abiding” in the ship. The Gospel of Christ offers salvation to all, but the condition is, believe in Him and abide in Him.

V. A COMPASSIONATE EXHORTATION.—“Wherefore, I pray you to take some meat, for this is for your health” (v. 34). No shepherd could be more careful over his flock than Paul is over those 276 fellow-passengers. He seeks not only their salvation, but their health and comfort. But God’s order is salvation FIRST, then health, and better houses if you will. The Holy Ghost is the agent in every God-sent revival, and He never begins with the social conditions of men, always with their sinful, sorrowful spirits. But here note that eating, as well as abiding, is a condition of full salvation. “Thy Word was found, and I did eat it.”

VI. A WONDERFUL TRANSFORMATION.—“Then were they all of good cheer” (v. 36). What a contrast between the experiences mentioned in verse 29, “all hope taken away,” and verse 36, “good cheer.” What has made the difference? The promise of salvation. After they had got the assurance that none of them would perish, they were able to eat with gladness of heart. It is so with all those who, by faith, receive the promise of God in Christ Jesus (Acts 16:31). Those who have had their feet taken out of the fearful pit of despair and planted upon the rock of God’s Word will have the “good cheer” song put in their mouth (Psalm 40:2–3).

VII. A PERFECTED SALVATION.—“And so it came to pass that they escaped all safe to land” (v. 44). Not all in the same way; not all at the same time; but all enjoyed the fulfilment of the same promise of deliverance. If they had not been obedient and abode in the ship, they would not have got the “boards” and “broken pieces” to float them ashore. It is always safe to trust God and obey His will. “None perish that Him trust.” Christ shall lose none of those whom the Father hath given Him (John 6:39); in some way or other all shall come safely to the heavenly land. But how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation. From Paul’s action at this crisis we may learn the value and power of individual faith in God.


Jon Courson on StormsJust as the Lord promised, everyone on board survived the storm. Please note four types of storms that blow into our lives:

Storms of correction. Ask brother Jonah about these. When a storm arose and he was tossed overboard and swallowed by a great fish, it was because he was rebelling against the Lord (Jonah 1:10). So, too, sometimes when I'm in a place of disobedience or rebellion, the Lord will allow a storm to get me on track again.

Storms of perfection. After Jesus fed the five thousand, He sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14). Midway through their journey, a storm arose around them for their perfection. You see, Jesus knew it wouldn't be too many months before these same disciples would see another multitude of five thousand—not fed, but saved (Acts 4:4)—followed by another storm—not on the sea, but of persecution within the church (Acts 8:1). Thus, Jesus was training His boys to endure the storms of persecution that inevitably follow the seasons of blessing.

Faith is not a pill we take, folks. It's a muscle we work. Therefore, the Lord will send me into a storm from time to time not for correction, but for perfection because the way I react to storms internally will tell me where I'm at spiritually. Storms provide unique opportunity for me to see where I'm at and to grow in my understanding that the Lord will come through at the right time, saying, "Be of good cheer. We're going to make it."

Storms of protection. Because "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8), God sent a storm to drown out all of the carnality, sin, and iniquity that surrounded him. The storm raged for forty days and nights, but Noah and his family were not only protected in the storm—they were protected by the storm. "Oh no!" we cry. "My TV blew up," or, "My stereo doesn't work. What a storm I'm in." But, as in Noah's case, it might be a storm of protection—protecting us from the carnality and iniquity that surround us continually.

Storms of direction. Knowing there was a group of people on the island of Malta in need of ministry, the Lord said, "Before you go to Rome, Paul, I'm going to allow you to be blown off course because there is something I want you to do for Me—something you never would have thought of on your own, something that wasn't part of your agenda. I have some people to whom I want to minister, so I'll allow a storm to arise, which, although it looks like it's blowing you off course, will put you in the very place I want to use you."

"How come I got canned?"

"Why did she dump me?"

"How come it's not working out?" you ask.

Don't be blown away. Realize that the Lord is changing your direction because there's something He wants to do that will ultimately be a blessing.

Storms of correction and perfection, storms of protection and direction—how can you know which one you might be in?

Talk to the Father.

"Why am I in this storm, Lord? Is it correction—or are You perfecting me for what You see is coming my way? Is there a new direction for my life—or are You protecting me from something that would be very damaging?"

How long has it been since you got away to spend time with the Lord? Clear your schedule, seek Him, and you'll be blown away by His goodness rather than by the storm. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary New Testament)

 

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