Author: Ron Graham
This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 27:1-44. These verses describe Paul’s journey from Jerusalem toward Rome, the storm at sea and shipwreck on Malta.
¶ "When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were delivered to a centurion named Julius. He belonged to the Augustan battalion. We embarked on ship of Adramyttium. It was about to sail along the coast of Asia Minor. So we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. The next day we landed at Sidon. Julius treated Paul considerately, allowing him to go to his friends for comfort. When we put out to sea again, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. Passing through the waters off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. At Myra, the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing to Italy. He put us aboard. We sailed slowly for many days, and hardly managed to come off Cnidus. With the wind against us, we sailed under the shelter of Crete. Passing Salmone with difficulty, we made it to Fair Havens near the city of Lasea." (Acts 27:1-8).
¶ "Much time had been lost. The Fast was already over, and the season had come when it was dangerous to sail. Paul made an urgent plea: “Sirs, I foresee that continuing this voyage will result in much damage and loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also of our lives.” The centurion, however, was more inclined to take advice from the pilot and the ship’s owner. The harbour was not suitable for wintering. So the majority favoured a decision to put out to sea and try to reach Phoenix, a harbour of Crete that lies south west and north west. There they would spend the winter. When a moderate south wind arose, supposing it favoured their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed close along the shore of Crete." (Acts 27:9-12).
¶ "However soon a violent wind arose, known as Euraquilo. The ship was caught in the storm and could not face into the wind, so we let her be driven. The ship ran under the lee of a small island called Clauda. We could hardly make the lifeboat secure, but they got it hoisted up. They passed ropes under the ship to help it hold together in case they were driven aground in the shallows of Syrtis. They let down the anchor and let themselves be driven. The next day we were so violently tossed by the storm that the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. On the third day we lent our hands to throwing the ship’s tackling overboard. For days we could see neither sun nor stars, and were battered by storm. All hope of being saved was abandoned." (Acts 27:14-20).
¶ "The ship’s occupants had not eaten for a long time. Paul stood up among them and said, “Sirs, you should have listened to my advice, and not set sail from Crete. Then you wouldn't have suffered all this damage and loss. Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of life among you. Only the ship will be lost. I know this because this very night the angel of the God whom I belong to and worship stood before me and said, 'Fear not Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and behold God has granted that all who sail with you shall live.' Sirs, let this encourage you, for I believe that what God has told me will happen. We must, however, be shipwrecked on an island.”" (Acts 27:21-26).
¶ "On the fourteenth night, as we were driven along in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed land ahead. They took soundings and measured twenty fathoms. A little further, they sounded again, and measured fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run aground on rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for dawn. The sailors were trying to escape ship. They had let down the lifeboat into the sea pretending that they would lay out anchors from its bow. Paul warned the centurion and the soldiers, “If those men don't stay in the ship, you can't be saved.” So the soldiers cut the lifeboat’s ropes and let her drift away." (Acts 27:27-32).
¶ "While they waited for dawn, Paul urged them all to eat some food. He said, “Fourteen days you've been on watch and have eaten nothing. I urge you to take some food for your health. Not a hair of your head is going to perish.” And when he had said this, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all. When he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were all encouraged, and they also ate. There were 276 persons in the ship. When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by casting the wheat into the sea." (Acts 27:33-38).
¶ "When daylight came, they could not recognise the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach. They thought it might be possible to drive the ship in there and beach it. They cut the anchors and left them in the sea. They were also releasing the ropes on the rudder and hoisting the foresail to the wind. Thus they made toward shore. But the ship went aground and the prow stuck fast between two channels. The ship could not move and the stern broke up in the violence of the waves. The soldiers were going to kill the prisoners, in case any of them should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their purpose. He commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land. The rest should follow on boards and other flotsam from the ship. In this way it happened that they all escaped safely to land." (Acts 27:39-44).