Acts 27:1-26

Mar 22, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment

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.

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.

there were no cruise ships, or passenger ships back then. All ships were either military transport, sea warfare, or trade and commerce vessels.

this was a small trade ship.

greek trade ship.jpg

also note that Paul has two traveling companions. This was unheard of. Roman prisoners only got to have accompaniment if those people were their slaves. The fact that Luke and Aristarchus are traveling with him indicates that the Roman officers understand his arrest is a formality and that he is not guilty of anything. They are granting privileges to this special prisoner. (this favored status may have even been ordered by the procurator, Festus)

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.

Sidon is on West coast of Phoenicia (west of Damascus)

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

meaning they sailed along the East coast of the island of Cyprus to block a contrary wind blowing from the NorthWest

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

Last stop in Asia Minor

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

alexandrian ship.jpg

Larger, slow vessel designed for carrying grain. 

approx 120-130 feet long

carried in amphorae which held 5-6 gallons of grain each, weighing 30-35 lbs each)
could hold over 10,000 amphorae. which is 150 US Tons.


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;

they would have preferred to skip and jump their way to Greek isthmus then sail on to Italy. But the wind is still blowing SouthEast so the best they can do is a right angle to the wind direction which is South West (southern coastline of island of Crete)

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

Fair Havens in on southern coast of Crete.

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,

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.”

what is the danger Paul is referring to ?

Storm season is starting now. “even the fast was over:” referring to Day of Atonement, fell in the Fall, meaning it is now bad sailing time. (sailors knew it was dangerous to sail between September and October and many harbors even closed between mid November to Early March)

Paul has experienced three shipwecks already (2 Cor 11:25)

Basic geography shows that this is a far as they can get without trying to sail against the expected seasonal wind directions (storms)

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.

What does the centurion have to do with it, he’s just a paying passenger ?

Centurion is Roman. Pilots and boat owners are subject to Roman authority. (meaning everyone has to try to persuade the centurion of the course of action)

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.

Fair Havens was likely a great place for Paul to settle down for the winter but not a large enough town for a bunch of sailors.

and they likely wanted to try to get to Phoenix (more along the western part of Crete, a larger town.

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.

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

(greek = eurocludon) euro = east, kludon = surging wave.)  in the US we have Nor’Easters.

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.

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

now being driven south west, they pass the tiny island of Clauda

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.

wrapped up the sail, used the ropes to undergird the hull of the boat to reinforce it against damage. 

lower a sea anchor (meant to drag behind the ship to keep more stabile and slow movement, similar to the drogue stones they have found around one possible site of Noah’s ark)

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

what is the cargo ?  (yup, all those tons of amphorae of grain … all their income !)

money is no longer the priority, staying alive has lowered the value of profit.

(vs 38 indicates they saved some to eat)

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

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.

  • three days of big sea storm (water swells and waves can easily exceed 30-40 feet while seas influenced by hurricanes have produced over 100 feet) this ship may have stood 30 feet above the water line…, 
  • no sail, 
  • off course, 
  • tossed most of the cargo, 
  • tossed all the backup tackle, blocks, ropes, 
  • no way to navigate since there is no sight of sun or stars. 
  • They have surrendered to the belief that they will drown in this storm.

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.

“I told you”  LOL

why would Paul say this ?  (to remind them of his knowledge and encourage them to trust his advice)

Acts 27:22Yet 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 27:23 “For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before 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.’

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

wow !!  Here is the turn-around in the story.  the hero rises. the plot changes direction (emotionally , the sun rises and warms our faces)


is beginning to lead these men (not with orders, but with humble advice)

is going through a life threatening trial and does something we can all learn from:  HOW to do it.

He has three anchors to survive storms:

  1. ownership 
    1. I belong to God
    2. my problems are His to solve
    3. Gal 3:26; Rom 8:14
  2. servanthood
    1. I serve Him and that means I am exactly where He wants me.
    2. This is part of the path He has laid out for me to serve Him.
    3. Rom 6:22; 
    4. 1Pet. 2:16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
  3. trust
    1. He will take care of me (according to His will)
    2. His will is the best thing for me
    3. I have nothing to fear.
    4. Prov 3:5-6; Rom 8:28; Psalm 112:7; 

on fear:

Heb. 2:14 ¶ Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

defeated the devil

Heb. 2:15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

broke our bonds of slavery to sin and defeated and our fear of death  (Isaiah 61)

Heb. 2:16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
psalm 46:1  God is our refuse and strength, our very present help in trouble

Heb. 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Heb 4:14-16

Heb. 2:18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
Heb 4:15 he was tempted in every way

Ownership = I am yours, God. My troubles are yours, and your solutions are mine.

Servanthood =  my purpose is to serve Him without distraction. (I dont get to say “this is too hard”)

Trust = His plan is best, my surroundings and situation is part of His plan.

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