Evening Bible Study
On the day of Pentecost, the church was born. It began with the Holy Spirit
filling the believers. As the apostles preached about Jesus, the church began
By chapter seven, the church was beginning to experience persecution.
Stephen was the first one to die for his faith. One of the main men behind the
persecution was a man named Saul. But when Saul headed for the city of Damascus
to pursue the Christians there, he was knocked off his horse by a bright light
and he met Jesus. Saul is more well known by his Roman
By chapter 10, the gospel began to reach even the Gentiles, starting with a
Roman Centurion named Cornelius.
In chapter 13, we began a new section of Acts as we began to focus on the
ministry of Paul.
We followed Paul on three different journeys as he planted churches in
cities like Ephesus, Philippi, and Corinth.
On his third journey, while Paul was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover,
a riot breaks out in the Temple, and the Jews try to seize Paul and put him to
Some of the unbelieving Jews thought that Paul had brought a Gentile into
the Temple because they had seen him walking around town with a Gentile.
He had not.
The Romans stepped in to take Paul away from the crowd, but Paul was
allowed first to speak to the crowd.
Paul gave his first defense to the crowd, but they only went wild when he
mentioned that Jesus had sent him to preach to the Gentiles.
Paul’s next defense was before the Sanhedrin.
When the Romans find out that there is a Jewish conspiracy to have Paul
killed, they send him to Caesarea at night to be held for trial before the
Paul’s third defense was before Felix the governor in Caesarea.
His fourth defense was before a new governor, Porcius
Lastly, Paul has given his fifth defense to King Agrippa.
Paul has exercises his right as a Roman citizen and has appealed his case
to Rome, so he is now going to be sent to Rome.
27:1-8 Starting towards Rome
:1 And when it was decided that we should sail to
Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius,
a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.
:1 sail to Italy
We might think that they will simply get on a boat and go straight from
Caesarea to Rome.
In ancient days, sailors kept their boats close to the coastline. They will be sailing along the coast of the
:1 Julius – “soft-haired”
:1 centurion – a commander of 100
:1 Augustan Regiment – an honorary
title given to special elite troops.
:2 So, entering a ship of Adramyttium,
we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a
Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.
:2 a ship of Adramyttium
The ship originates from Adramyttium, a city on
coast of modern Turkey, ancient “Asia”, and it is heading home to Adramyttium.
This is one of Paul’s traveling companions (Acts 19:29; 20:4).
He will be staying with Paul even through his Roman imprisonment. (Col.
4:10; Phile. 24)
:2 was with us
Luke is along for the ride as well.
It has been suggested that Luke and Aristarchus may have been allowed to
accompany Paul on the condition that they were his slaves.
:2 to sail along the coasts of Asia
Video: Adramyttium map clip
The ship is from Adramyttium, and is presumably
heading back there.
Aristarchus is from Thessalonica, a city in northern Greece (Macedonia)
They will depart from Caesarea.
The ship is planning on sailing along the coast of Asia, modern Turkey.
:3 And the next day we landed at Sidon. And
Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and
:3 landed at Sidon
Sidon is 67 miles up the coast from Caesarea, located in modern Lebanon.
The ship is most likely stopping to trade its cargo. Though this is Paul’s first visit to Sidon,
he apparently has some friends there.
:4 When we had put to sea from there, we sailed
under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
:5 And when we had sailed over the sea which is
off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
:4 the winds were contrary
Video: Myra map clip
The winds were blowing from the northwest, so they couldn’t go from Sidon
straight to Cyprus.
Instead they go north and hug the coasts of Cilicia, Pamphylia, and Lycia
to the city of Myra
One of the major harbors of the area, kind of like an airport
This is where they’re going to find one of the larger ships (like a 747) to
take them to Italy.
Or like the space port at Tattoine.
Video: Star Wars Mos
:6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship
sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.
:6 an Alexandrian ship
Alexandria is on the coast of Egypt.
Julius finds a large Egyptian grain ship heading for Rome and transfers his
Egypt was Rome’s breadbasket. The grain ships would commonly sail north to
Asia Minor and then make their way west across the Mediterranean using the
islands for as much protection as they could obtain from them.
This is one big boat – it has 276 people on board besides all the grain.
:7 When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off
Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter
of Crete off Salmone.
:8 Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place
called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
:7 sailed slowly
The wind is against them, they are tacking back and forth to make progress.
Video: Fair Havens map clip
They leave the port city of Myra and make their way to the peninsula of
Then they head to the south side of the island of Crete.
They pass the tip of the island called Salmone.
They finally make port at Fair Havens.
27:9-12 Paul’s warning
:9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing
was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,
:10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will
end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our
:9 the Fast was over
Luke is referring to the main Jewish fast, the Day of Atonement.
In AD 59, it fell on October 5.
Sailing in the Mediterranean was considered dangerous from early October to
mid March because of the weather. It is probable that Julius had expected to be
in Rome by this time, but the bad winds have made the trip last longer than
:10 disaster – hubris – pride, haughtiness, impudence; a wrong springing from
insolence, an injury, affront, insult; injury inflicted by the violence of a
NKJV) Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty
spirit before a fall.
The great loss will come because of the “pride” and arrogance of the
centurion and the ship’s crew to not listen to the advice of Paul.
Listening to advice
Sometimes it is our pride that keeps us from listening to what others might
When Paul was writing to the Corinthians about his experience as an
apostle, he mentioned some experiences at sea:
Corinthians 11:25 NKJV) …three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the
Remember that Paul wrote this about three years earlier
from Philippi (around Acts 20:1).
Paul had a lot of “frequent flyer miles”.
He wasn’t a stranger when it came to travel by ship.
Apparently the centurion Julius was the one making the decisions on the
He’s a good example of how we often make decisions.
He’s making his decision the best way he can, but he chooses to listen to
the wrong “experts”.
Remember – the experts built the Titanic.
The Ark was built by amateurs.
Even if they don’t want to listen, there comes a time that we still need to
lovingly, carefully warn others. We can
only pray that they will understand that:
NKJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the
kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
:10 loss … cargo … ship… lives
This actually didn’t happen exactly as Paul is warning.
They will lose the ship and all the cargo in the end, but no lives will be
Even an apostle can be a little wrong now and then.
:11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded
by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.
:12 And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority
advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix,
a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter
:12 the harbor was not suitable – aneuthetos – not
convenient, not fit, “not” + “well” + “placed”
They knew they were not going to be able to get too much farther at this
time of the year.
They know they are going to need to spend the winter somewhere.
Phoenix is only 40 miles to the west of Fair Havens.
27:13-38 The Storm
:13 When the south wind blew softly, supposing
that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed
close by Crete.
They hugged the coast to play it safe.
:14 But not long after, a tempestuous head wind
arose, called Euroclydon.
:15 So when the ship was caught, and could not
head into the wind, we let her drive.
:16 And running under the shelter of an
island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with
– “a violent agitation”.
The winds start up in the mountains of Crete, 7,000 feet high, and come swooping
down onto the sea.
The wind will drive them past the island of Clauda,
20 miles off the coast of Crete.
:14 the skiff – This was a small
boat that was used for various tasks around the larger ship. Luke writes as if he was pressed into service
to help bring up the small boat.
:17 When they had taken it on board, they used
cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.
:17 the Syrtis
These were well known sandbars where a boat could be caught and destroyed.
The sailors are afraid that they’re going to get the ship caught out in the
middle of the Mediterranean on these sandbars, where the ship will break to
pieces and they will all die.
:17 they used cables – boetheia (“cry” + “run”) – help.
The word is translated “cables” here, but the root idea of the word is
“help”, perhaps making a cry for someone to run to you and help.
They would wrap cables under the ship to help hold it together.
The word is an example of the kind of color and flavor we find in the New
Testament Greek language.
The word is only used one other place in the New Testament:
NKJV) —15 For we do not have a High Priest who
cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we
are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Just as the sailors were trying to wrap the boat with cables to hold it
together, when we come to God’s throne we can find mercy and grace being
“wrapped” under us to hold us together.
:18 And because we were exceedingly
tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.
:18 they lightened the ship
To keep from getting caught on the sandbars, they lighten the load so the
ship rides higher. They did it to save their lives, though I’m sure the
merchants weren’t thrilled that they did it.
Could you imagine the UPS man tossing all the boxes out of his truck
every time he got in a traffic jam?
:19 On the third day we threw the ship’s
tackle overboard with our own hands.
:19 threw the ship’s tackle overboard
Probably stuff like extra ropes, sails, etc.
Notice again that Luke was helping out.
:20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small
tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given
:20 no small tempest
They are going to be in this storm apparently for two weeks.
Video: Master and Commander – storm
:21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul
stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and
not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.
:21 abstinence from food
They may have been conserving their food.
They may have been fasting and praying to their “gods”.
:12 you should have listened to me
It kind of sounds like Paul is saying, “I told you so…”
Perhaps he is just reminding them that he was right is so they will pay
attention to him this time.
:22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there
will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
:23 For there stood by me this night an angel of
the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,
:23 stood by me this night an angel
With you in the storm
Sometimes it’s not until we’re in the fire that we see the fourth one like
the Son of God with us (Dan.3:25).
Sometimes it looks as if He’s asleep at the back of the boat during the
storm, but He’s with you (Mark 4:38).
Sometimes it looks as if He’s going to pass you by in the storm, but He’s
with you (Mark 6:48).
:24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be
brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with
:24 God has granted you all
granted – charizomai – to do something
pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favor to; to give graciously, give
This is the root idea of the word “grace” – a gift, something undeserved.
If God has promised to give Paul the lives of all those with him, there’s a
reason – it seems to me that Paul must have been asking for them, praying for
them. Jesus said,
NKJV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock,
and it will be opened to you.
Pray for your shipmates
This wasn’t a small little boat, it had 276 people on board (Acts 27:37),
yet Paul had apparently been praying for each one of them.
Sometimes when I’m in a storm, all I can think
about is myself. I’m worried that I’m
going to survive.
Paul is worried about the people with him.
:25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God
that it will be just as it was told me.
:25 I believe God
Set the example
Paul believed God.
There are people watching to see if you will believe God.
Can you challenge them to follow your example?
:26 However, we must run aground on a certain
Paul didn’t know which island, but was simply promised by the angel that
they would reach an island.
They are going to run aground on the island of Malta, over 600 miles from
:27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we
were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors
sensed that they were drawing near some land.
:27 Adriatic – the sea between Italy
:28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and
when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it
to be fifteen fathoms.
:28 soundings – measuring the depth
of the sea with a line and a sinker.
:28 twenty fathoms – 120 feet
:28 fifteen fathoms – 90 feet
They’re going to run aground if they aren’t careful.
They’re getting closer to shore
:29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on
the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to
:29 four anchors
They are trying to slow the ship down so they can turn and not run aground.
The intent of the anchors is to keep from becoming shipwrecked.
I think that as believers we will face our own storms from time to
time. We will wonder why we are in a
storm. We wonder if we will survive.
There are a couple of “anchors” I’ve found over the years that help keep me
from being “shipwrecked”.
is all powerful
I wonder sometimes if maybe the trouble I’m in is too big
for God to handle. It isn’t.
1:37 NKJV) For with God nothing will be impossible.”
2. God is good
If I know God can do anything, then why am I in such a
mess? I need to remember that God isn’t
evil and that His plans are for my good.
John 1:5 NKJV) This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to
you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
3. God loves me
If God can do anything, and God is good, then why am I
having such a tough time? Is it because
God doesn’t love me?
5:8 NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us.
4. God never changes
All these things listed above are good, but what if God
changes? I have good moods and bad
moods. Does God get into a bad move?
13:8 NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Timothy 2:13 NKJV) If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
He is all powerful, good, and loves me. That doesn’t change.
I may not always understand why I’m in the storm I’m in, but it sure helps
to have some anchors in your life.
Sometimes all I can do is simply hold on.
:30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from
the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of
putting out anchors from the prow,
:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers,
“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”
:31 unless these men stay in the ship
The sailors are pretending that they’re going to take the little skiff out
to help put out anchors in the front, but they’re really just going to abandon
the ship and escape in the skiff.
Paul knows that they won’t make it without the sailors on board. The prisoners and the soldiers need the
sailors in order to survive.
Don’t abandon ship.
Abandoning ship is no way to go through life, but sadly, this is how many
people operate. Every time things get
difficult, they bail. Their marriage
gets difficult, they’re gone. For some,
every time they find a fault in a church, they leave and look for a better
church. If you are here looking for the
perfect church, I’ll save you some time and let you know that you won’t find it
here. You’re going to find real people
here. People who make
mistakes. People who say things
they wish they had never said. People who unintentionally hurt other people’s feelings.
I think that maturity as a Christian comes when I make a decision that I’m
not going to abandon ship at each hint of difficulty, but instead I’m going to
trust God and see what He wants to do in my life.
Trials, difficulties, are a big part of how we grow as Christians.
NKJV) —2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing
that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let
patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete,
Trials produce “patience” in us, and when we grow in
patience we become more and more mature or “perfect”.
The root idea for the word for patience (hupomone) means
to “remain under”.
Not abandoning ship.
:32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the
skiff and let it fall off.
It looks like the centurion is taking Paul seriously now.
:33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them
all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and
continued without food, and eaten nothing.
:34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for
this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of
:35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God
in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.
:36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took
:36 they were all encouraged
Encourage others by your example.
People were not only encouraged by the words Paul spoke, but by the example
He gave thanks to God in front of them.
He ate in front of them.
They were encouraged.
People watching, but what do they see?
“Small boys learn to be large men in
the presence of large men who care about small boys.” – Phyllis Therous
"You can impress people at a distance but you can impact them only up close. – Howard Hendricks
:37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six
persons on the ship.
Pretty decent sized ship.
:38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened
the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.
If they can just get the boat a little lighter, it will travel closer to
the shore before getting stuck on the rocks.
27:39-44 Making Land
:39 When it was day, they did not recognize the
land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the
ship if possible.
:40 And they let go the anchors and left them
in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and
they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.
:41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and
the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up
by the violence of the waves.
:41 a place where two seas met – the
currents clash against each other.
There’s a place up in Monterey called “the restless sea” where you can
see this happening.
:42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the
prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.
The rule for a Roman guard was that if your prisoner escaped, you would be
punished with their punishment. It
seemed better to just kill them now.
:43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their
purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard
first and get to land,
After all, it was Paul that saved them.
:44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts
of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
:44 they all escaped safely
They are on the island of Malta.
God promised that they would all escape with their lives. God has kept His promise.
Delivered through the storm.