Acts 27: Shipwrecked

Why might it have been important to name the captain who was put in charge of Paul?

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Acts 27:1 After the group judged that Paul must be sent to Italy, he and other prisoners were assigned to Julius, a captain in the Roman army.
King James
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.

What were the circumstances that allowed non-prisoners to travel with Paul?

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Acts 27:2 Paul, Luke, and others boarded a ship from Adramyttium ready to sail along the Asian coast. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with them.
King James
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.

How could Captain Julius have given Paul liberty to be with friends in Sidon?

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Acts 27:3 The next day, the ship docked at Sidon, and Captain Julius gave Paul the liberty to meet friends and enjoy their hospitality.
King James
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.

In Paul’s day, what would travel on rough seas have been like?

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Acts 27:4 From there, they encountered strong adverse winds and took a course north of Cyprus, between the island and the mainland.
27:5 After sailing near Cilicia and Pamphylia, they docked at Myra in the province of Lycia.
King James
Acts 27:4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

During their days at sea, what do you think Paul, prisoners, and other travelers were doing?

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Acts 27:6 There, Julius found a ship from Alexandria that was bound for Italy and ordered everyone on board.
27:7 Contrary winds made slow sailing for several days. After finally reaching Cnidus, they sailed under the shelter of Crete opposite Salmone.
27:8 They skirted the coast with great difficulty until reaching the safe harbor near the city of Lasea.
King James
Acts 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
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;
27:8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.

Why would Captain Julius have listened to the ship’s owner and captain rather than heed Paul’s warning?

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Acts 27:9 So many days had been spent getting this far that the Day of Atonement had come and gone. The mid-October weather was making sailing treacherous. Paul offered a stern warning,
27:10 saying, “Men, I see disaster ahead. If we continue our journey now, we will not only suffer damage to the ship and loss of cargo, but many of us will die.”
27:11 But Captain Julius believed the ship’s owner and captain and ignored what Paul had said.
King James
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,
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.
27:11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

How did the present weather conditions affect what people thought lay ahead?

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Acts 27:12 Since this port was exposed to the prevailing winter storms, the majority of counsel advised moving on with the hope of reaching Phoenix. With only southwest to northwest exposure, the harbor farther up the coast of Crete provided greater safety for spending the winter.
27:13 With a light breeze from the south, they anticipated safe sailing, pulled anchor, and headed up the coast.
King James
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.
27:13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.

Why were people surprised at the sudden change in the weather? What might Paul have had to say about that?

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Acts 27:14 The wind soon shifted, and a violent tempest from the northeast struck,
27:15 making it impossible to hold course as the ship was tossed at the will of the wind upon the sea.
King James
Acts 27:14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
27:15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.

In a sailing ship, how did sailors deal with the problems caused by high winds?

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Acts 24:16 Knowing this, I live with a clear conscience, holding no offense toward God and people.
24:17 After many years away from Jerusalem, I returned to give money to benefit my people and to offer sacrifices.
24:18 When some Jews from Asia found me in the Temple following our rites of purification, no crowd was gathered around me. There was no uproar among the people.
King James
Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
24:17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
24:18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

“Medicanes” are tropical-like cyclones on the Mediterranean sea. After days of battling such winds and losing, why would they hold little hope for survival?

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Acts 27:19 The day following, as the storm raged unabated, they pitched every piece of equipment that could be removed from the ship.
27:20 After so many days of violent winds, raging seas, and heavy rain with no glimpse of the sun or stars, the men had exhausted all hope for survival.
King James
Acts 27:19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
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.

Why would the sailors not have eaten anything for a long time?

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Acts 27:21 They had eaten nothing for a long time when Paul stood in their midst and said, “Listen, men, you should have taken my advice not to set sail from Crete. We could have avoided this great loss.
King James
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.

What would have motivated Paul to basically say, “I told you so”?

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Acts 27:21 They had eaten nothing for a long time when Paul stood in their midst and said, “Listen, men, you should have taken my advice not to set sail from Crete. We could have avoided this great loss.
King James
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.

How encouraged or discouraged do you think the men would have been after hearing what an angel told Paul?

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Acts 27:22 “But take heart, for we will lose the ship but no man will lose his life.
27:23 I know this because the God I belong to and serve sent his angel last night.
27:24 He said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You will surely appear before Caesar, and God has granted safety to all those who are traveling with you.’
27:25 Therefore, cheer up, because I know we can trust God’s promise. Everything will happen exactly as he has said.
27:26 However, we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
27:27 About midnight after two weeks at sea, the ship was still being thrown up and down upon the Adriatic Sea when the sailors thought they were approaching land.
King James
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.
27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
27:26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
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.

After two weeks in the storm, unable to see the sun, moon, or stars, how could the sailors know where they were?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 27:27 About midnight after two weeks at sea, the ship was still being thrown up and down upon the Adriatic Sea when the sailors thought they were approaching land.
King James
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.

What did the sailors do when the ship was driven into shallow waters?

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Acts 27:28 They dropped a weighted line and measured 120 feet. A little later, the depth was only 90 feet.
27:29 Afraid they were about to be driven against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the rear of the ship and prayed for daylight.
King James
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.
27:29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

Why would the sailors think they needed to deceive the others when they wanted to lower the lifeboat?

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Acts 27:30 Pretending that they were about to drop anchors at the front of the ship, they let down the lifeboat, ready to flee.
King James
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.

Why would Paul think anyone who took the lifeboat would die?

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Acts 27:31 Paul said to Captain Julius and the soldiers, “If you leave the ship, you will die.”
King James
Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

What reasons might the soldiers have had for heeding Paul’s warning?

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Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes and let the lifeboat fall into the sea.
King James
Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

Why was the lifeboat lost?

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Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes and let the lifeboat fall into the sea.
King James
Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

Why did Paul tell people they should now eat, when he hadn’t given that advice earlier?

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Acts 27:33 At dawn, Paul begged them to eat, saying, “You haven’t eaten anything for two weeks while waiting, hoping, and praying for the storm to calm.
27:34 You can go ahead and eat now, for no harm will come to you. Please. You need to eat and regain your strength.”
King James
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.
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.

What might unbelievers have thought when Paul took bread and gave God thanks?

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Acts 27:35 Standing in front of everyone, he took some bread and gave thanks to God. Then he broke off a piece and began to eat.
27:36 Others found hope in Paul’s encouragement and also ate.
King James
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. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
27:36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

How large a ship would have carried a load of grain and 276 passengers and crew?

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Acts 27:37 Two hundred seventy-six people were on the ship.
King James
Acts 27:37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

Why did the men dump the ship’s grain cargo?

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Acts 27:38 After they had eaten all they wanted, they further lightened the ship by dumping all the sacks of grain into the sea.
King James
Acts 27:38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

What considerations might have led to the decision to run the ship aground? What did they expect to happen?

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Acts 27:39 In the daylight, they still didn’t recognize the coastline. When they saw a cove with a beach, they discussed whether they could get to shore by running the ship aground there.
27:40 They pulled the anchors and released the rudders, then hoisted the mainsail into the wind and headed for shore.
King James
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.
27:40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.

When the ship began to break apart, would people have recognized the fulfillment of what Paul had predicted? Why or why not?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 27:41 When they hit a crosscurrent, the bow of the ship stuck fast in a sandbar. The stern was exposed to the violence of the waves and began to break apart.
King James
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.

What reasons might Captain Julius have had for not wanting to kill Paul and the other prisoners?

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Acts 27:42 The soldiers thought they needed to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming ashore and escaping.
27:43 But Captain Julius, wanting to save Paul, commanded everyone who could swim to leap into the water and get to land.
King James
Acts 27:42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
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.

How unusual would it have been for 276 swimmers and non-swimmers to all reach land safely?

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Acts 27:44 hose who couldn’t swim found planks or any piece of the ship that would float, so everyone reached the shore safely.
King James
Acts 27:44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.