Bible Study Moment

Paul is now one of several prisoners being transported to Rome. Acts 27 gives a detailed account of this journey, including the name of the centurion in charge and what seems like every stop they make. They encounter bad weather which slows their progress greatly and forces them to change ships. Verse 9 notes that the Day of Reconciliation (one of the Jewish high holy days) has passed, so it is Sept-Oct. Paul urges them to stay the winter at Good Harbors, aka Fair Havens on the south side of Crete. Apparently the name overstates the condition of the harbor because the consensus is that this is not a good harbor to winter. The sailors want to get to Phoenix on the west end of Crete.

When there is a gentle south breeze they set sail for Phoenix, but shortly thereafter a strong northeaster (hurricane type) storm develops and they are left to go where the wind carries them. Two weeks later they haven’t eaten, the ship has been carried across the Adriatic Sea, and the soldiers realize that the sailors are planning on abandoning the ship in the lifeboat. In verses 33-35 Paul urges them to eat. He takes bread and blesses it and gives to those there to eat. Cargo is dumped; basically everything is thrown overboard to lighten the ship. The soldiers plan on killing the prisoners but the centurion stops them because he wants to save Paul. Finally those who can swim do so while the others hang on to pieces of the broken ship and all 276 make it safely to land, the island of Malta.


Mark Phillips