Acts 27 Paul's Voyage to Rome
Summary

After the decision was made to take Paul to Rome, the journey began. They sail on a ship of Adramyt-tium from Caesarea to Myra (1-5). Then they sail on an Alexandrian ship from Myra until the shipwreck in Malta (6-44). Paul warned that travel was dangerous at that time, but he was ignored (9-12). When the storm came up, they tried desperately to secure the ship but their efforts were to no avail. An angel appeared to Paul telling him not to be afraid because he would be brought before Caesar in Rome. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners, lest any escape, but the centurion wanted to save Paul and so all escaped safely to land. Paul spoke three times in this chapter (27:10; 21-26; 31; and 33-34).

Paul Sails for Rome

27And 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. 2And 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. 3The 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. 4And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7We 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. 8Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

Question 1

Who traveled with Paul on the trip to Rome?

9Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast[1] was already over, Paul advised them, 10saying, “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.” 11But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12And 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.

Question 2

Why was Paul prompted to warn them of a storm on the sea?

The Storm at Sea

13Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda,[2] we managed with difficulty to secure the ship's boat. 17After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear,[3] and thus they were driven along. 18Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. 20When 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.

21Since 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. 22Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26But we must run aground on some island.”

Question 3

How did Paul help during the storm?

Question 4

How many persons were on the ship and how many escaped the storm?

27When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms.[4] A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.[5] 29And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30And 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, 31Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go.

33As 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. 34Therefore 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.” 35And 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. 36Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37(We were in all 276[6] persons in the ship.) 38And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

The Shipwreck

39Now 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. 40So 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. 41But striking a reef,[7] they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43But 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, 44and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

Question 5

Why did the soldiers want to kill the prisoners?

People
  • Paul
  • Journey to Rome

  • Aristarchus and Luke with Paul
  • “us” (v.2)

  • Julius
  • Centurion in charge

  • 276 soldiers and prisoners on the second trip
Places
  • Caesarea to Sidon to Cyprus to Cilia and Pamphilia to Myra under Crete to Fair Havens
  • From Crete driven by winds for 14 days up and down the Adriatic Sea until finally wrecked on Malta

Paul Sails for Rome

27And 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. 2And 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. 3The 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. 4And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7We 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. 8Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

Acts 26:1

Notice the “we” pronoun indicating Luke is traveling with Paul. Aristarchus is also with them (2).

The “Augustan Regiment” was an imperial unit, probably assigned to Judea and Syria.

The time is likely the fall of the year in AD 60. The trip should take about five weeks by cargo ship.


Acts 26:3

Sidon had long been a sister city to Tyre and was located north of Caesarea on the coast.


Acts 26:4

Cyprus is an island west of Sidon.


Acts 27:5

Cilicia, Pamphylia, and Lycia were regions of Asia Minor.


Acts 27:6

This ship from Alexandria is probably a private commercial cargo ship


Acts 27:7

Crete is another island in the Mediterranean south of the Aegean Sea and Greece.

9Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast[1] was already over, Paul advised them, 10saying, “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.” 11But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12And 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.

Acts 27:9

“The Fast” refers to the Day of Atonement, the only prescribed fast day in the Pentateuch.

The Day of Atonement took place in late September or early October annually before winter.

The Storm at Sea

13Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda,[2] we managed with difficulty to secure the ship's boat. 17After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear,[3] and thus they were driven along. 18Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. 20When 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.

Acts 27:14

“Euyroclydon” was a northeaster wind storm which drove them into the Adriatic, not to Malta. The word used to describe the storm is typhonikos from which we get our word “typhoon.”


Acts 27:17

The Syrtes or Syrtis Sands appear to have been shallow sand bars off the coast of Africa. Some have thought this included quicksand below the surface or may refer to sand-storms in the region.


Acts 27:18

The ship was tossed (18), they tossed cargo (19), and would have tossed their lunch if eating (21).

21Since 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. 22Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26But we must run aground on some island.”

Acts 27:23

Here is the Divine help needed in the appearance and message of an angel.

27When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms.[4] A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.[5] 29And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30And 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, 31Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go.

Acts 27:28

A “fathom” is 1.85 meters (a little less than 6 feet. So 20 fathoms would be about 120 feet deep.

33As 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. 34Therefore 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.” 35And 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. 36Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37(We were in all 276[6] persons in the ship.) 38And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

Acts 27:35

This is not a reference to the Lord’s Supper. Vs 36, they were “encouraged and took food.”


Acts 27:37

The 276 persons would have included crew, soldiers, prisoners, and perhaps other passengers.

The Shipwreck

39Now 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. 40So 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. 41But striking a reef,[7] they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43But 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, 44and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

Acts 27:41

Probably the hard clay bottom locked the ship in place.


Acts 27:43

The soldiers did not wish for prisoners to escape and so wished to kill them.

Perspectives

Paul was encouraging and helpful to the centurion and crew even as a prisoner on this ship.

God was protecting Paul because he had a mission to preach the gospel for him at Rome.

The Providence of God saved Paul not only from the storm but also from the soldiers who desired to kill all the prisoners.