Acts 27

Worldly men insist on being guided by human prudence, but the Christian who is in communion with Jesus, the great Pilot, may know more about sailing than any unpraying Captain could ever know. Since God has promised to be faithful to His own in the storms, let them be cheerful in the storms, knowing that while He has work for them to do, no difficulty can get in the way.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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;

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

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;

28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.

29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

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,

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

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.

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.

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.

37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

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.

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.

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.

42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.

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:

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.

Acts 27:1-13 – ​On a Dangerous Voyage

   The we indicates that the good physician, Luke, had rejoined the party. Separated from Paul by the Apostle’s imprisonment, he now accompanied him on the ship to Rome. The centurion was indulgently disposed toward Paul. He may have been one of the brilliant crowd who had listened to Paul’s last address. It was a most merciful Providence that placed the Apostle with such a man. He showed exceptional kindness in releasing Paul on parole at Sidon, that he might visit his friends, and, no doubt, provide himself with necessaries against the stormy and hazardous winter voyage.
   The travelers were fortunate enough to find at Myra a large vessel carrying wheat from Egypt to Rome. There was room for the centurion, his soldiers, and prisoners, as well as such others as chose to accompany them. It was toward the close of September, and perhaps at Fair Havens the Apostle and any Jewish Christians on board may have observed the great Day of Atonement, the one fast of the Jewish calendar. The season for navigation with sailing vessels was drawing to a close, and Paul counseled delay, but his words were unheeded. The man who knew God was wiser than the men who knew the sea. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 27:14-26 – ​Savior of the Ship’s Company

   The crew, being greatly exhausted by severe exertion and want of food, were the more willing to listen to the Apostle when he came to the front with his wise counsels and good cheer. They had previously ignored His advice, but were glad and wise enough to take it on this second occasion.
   How calm faith makes us! We can sleep soundly amid the roar of the storm and dream of angels when our hearts are stayed on God. His messengers can cleave their way through the murkiest skies and most drenching storms, to succor those who need their help. What a beautiful confession that was: Whose I am, and whom I serve! Can we all appropriate it? The first clause is literally true of us all. We belong to Christ by creation and redemption. But do we acknowledge His ownership and place our all in His service?
   In the midst of the excitement, Paul was able to give thanks. Let not the good habit of grace before meals drop out of our practice or homes. What a magnificent sentence is this also–I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Yes, there is no peace outside of that faith. And it shall be, O believer, your happy experience! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 27:23-24—There stood by me this night the angel of God, saying, Fear not, Paul.

​   Yes, the angels of God can find their way through the murkiest air, and alight on the most weatherbeaten vessel that ever ploughed its difficult way through the stormy seas. Wheresoever thou art, O child of God, God’s angels have their eyes fixed lovingly on thee; and in a moment, if it were God’s will to give thee eyes, thou wouldest behold them.

       “How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
          To come to succour us that succour want!
       How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
          The flitting skyes, like flying pursuivant,
          Against fowle feandes to ayd us militant!
       They for us fight, they watch and dewly ward,
          And their bright squadrons round about us plant
       And all for love, and nothing for reward
       Oh, why should Heavenly God to men have such regard?”

   But if, like Paul, we would have the angel ministry, with their assurances against fear, like him we must be able to comply with two conditions—of being owned and being loyal.
   Whose I am.—We are His by creation, by purchase, by consecration. That sentiment of being owned, which in the case of slaves is inimical to the highest development, is the elementary condition of our truest growth and well-being. We belong to One who is infinitely worthy. We cannot do as we would with ourselves. We may not take our own course.
   Whom I serve.—The word rendered serve is the deepest and most expressive term that Paul could employ of the prostration of the soul at the feet of God. It is employed of the glorified, who serve Him day and night in his temple, and of whom it is said that his servants shall do Him service. The heavenly life begins here; and following its course, angels minister to us, and the stars in their courses fight for us. —Our Daily Homily

​Acts 27:27-34 – Safety Dependent on Obedience

   Paul presents a noble picture, standing there in the gray dawn while the heavy seas are breaking over the ship. He seems to have become by force of character the commander of the entire company. Certainly the soldiers and passengers owed their lives to his sagacity in penetrating the purpose of the sailors in leaving the ship. Note that he said to Julius, ye cannot be saved not we. The Apostle was so sure of God that he had no shadow of doubt as to his own preservation, Acts 27:24.
   Once more he encouraged them, and urged them to take food. He himself set the example, giving thanks to God in the presence of them all. How brave and how inspiring was his behavior! They all began to be of good cheer. Men may say what they will about the impracticability of Christ’s teachings, but let a man once begin to live by them, obeying them absolutely and trusting Christ utterly, and he becomes like a lion in courage. Through God we can do valiantly, for He treads down our enemies, Psalm 60:12. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 27:35-44 – ​Saving Paul Saved Them All

   The sailors endeavored to head the vessel toward the mouth of a creek that appeared before them, but she ran aground and stuck fast. It was here that a new and unexpected peril confronted Paul and his fellow-prisoners. The soldiers proposed to kill them, lest they should swim ashore and escape; but the centurion, perhaps out of gratitude to the man to whom they all owed their lives, forbade the soldiers and ordered everyone to endeavor somehow to get to land.
   It does not so much matter how we get to heaven, as that we get there. Some who trust most in ritual and ceremonies may get there on broken pieces of the ship, but happier are they who can cast themselves directly upon the mercy of God in Jesus Christ. It was a drenched and shivering group that stood on the shore on that chill November day. Thank God, our condition will be very different when we emerge on the shore of eternity after crossing the cold waters. And as we stand on the beach of the glassy sea, all of us will render praise to Him who has brought us safe home. —Through the Bible Day by Day