Acts Chapter Twenty-seven
I. Content of the Chapter
Paul Encountered the Storm when He Was Delivered to Rome
I. From Caesarea to Fair Havens:
A. Festus delivered Paul to Julius a centurion who sent him to Rome (v.1).
B. They sailed to Sidon and Julius gave Paul liberty (v.2-3).
C. The winds were contrary, they had sailed slowly many days and arrived at Fair Havens (v.4-8).
II. They went past a time limit and sailed with difficulty and they encountered the strong wind on the way:
A. Paul predicted that they would suffer disaster (v.9-10).
B. The centurion did not believe what Paul had said (v.11).
C. They wanted to set sail to Phoenix and winter there (v.12-13).
D. Not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose and the ship was caught by the wind (v.14-17).
E. The boat was exceedingly tempest-tossed and all hope that they would be saved was finally given up (v.18-20).
F. Paul comforted the fellow travelers by God and predicted that there would be no loss of life among them (v.21-26).
G. The boat was driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land (v.27-29).
H. The sailors were seeking to escape from the ship and Paul told the centurion to stop them (v.30-32).
I. As day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to set their mind at ease and take food (v.33-36).
J. They ran the ship aground in a place where two seas met (v.37-41).
K. The centurion did not allow the soldiers to kill the prisoners and they all escaped safely to land (v.42-44).
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Acts. 27:1 “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.”
YLT: “And when our sailing to Italy was determined, they were delivering up both Paul and certain others, prisoners, to a centurion, by name Julius, of the band of Sebastus,”
Meaning of Words: “Italy”: calf-like; “the Augustan Regiment”: the Augustan troops; “Julius”: soft hair.
Literal Meaning: “that we should sail to Italy” “We” included Luke the author. Previously, the last time that “we” occurred is in Acts. 21:18. What Paul encountered from his being arrested to his arriving at Rome and the course of his being judged were recorded in detail, showing that Luke the author of this book accompanied Paul all the time.
Luke and Aristarchus (See v.2) were not listed among the prisoners. According to the routines at that time, the relatives, friends and slaves of the prisoner were allowed to accompany the prisoner so as to serve him.
“To one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment” “The Augustan Regiment” may refer to the emissaries of the emperor who took on the positions of communications between emperor and the troops in various provinces. Please note that “the centurions” who occurred in the New Testament all seemed friendly to Christians and they even believed in the Lord (See v.3, 43; Matt. 8:5-13; Luke. 23:47; Acts. 10:22-33).
Acts. 27:2 “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.”
YLT: “and having embarked in a ship of Adramyttium, we, being about to sail by the coasts of Asia, did set sail, there being with us Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica,”
Meaning of Words: “Adramyttium”: haven’t taken part in the race, I still exist after death; “Asia”: east, soil; “Macedonian”: expansion; “Thessalonica”: victory, overcoming the disturbance of the law; “Aristarchus”: best ruling.
Literal Meaning: “entering a ship of Adramyttium” “Adramyttium” was a port on the west coast of the province of Asia and it was on the east of Assos (See Acts. 20:13) and on the southeast of Troas (See Acts. 20:5).
“Meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia” It indicates that this ship shall stop at all wharfs in the province of Asia in order.
“We put to sea” Many Bible exegetes regarded Paul’s being judged as his fourth journey which began with this verse and ended in Acts. 28:31.
“Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us” “Aristarchus” accompanied Paul in Ephesus and he was arrested with Gaius by mobs and almost lost his life (Acts. 19:29). Later he accompanied Paul to send the contributions to Jerusalem (Acts. 20:4). Then he accompanied Paul to Rome and did not depart from him (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is good that Christians go with each other, especially for the work and witness of the Lord. There must be of great effect that we complement each other and take care of each other.
2) Luke and Aristarchus accompanied the imprisoned Paul voluntarily and took care of him along the way. It is the expression of the brotherly love. Only those who truly love brothers are able to surrender themselves for the brother and accompany him to suffer.
Acts. 27:3 “And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.”
YLT: “on the next [day] also we touched at Sidon, and Julius, courteously treating Paul, did permit [him], having gone on unto friends, to receive [their] care.”
Meaning of Words: “Sidon”: fishing, hunting; “treat…kindly”: treat…humanely, courteously; “care”: care, kind attention, refreshing.
Literal Meaning: “And the next day we landed at Sidon” “Sidon” was about one hundred and ten kilometers away from the north of Caesarea and one day was needed to go there by ship.
“And gave him liberty to go to his friends” “Friends” refer to those they knew each other and had communion with each other. There is a definite article here in the original and therefore his friends specially refer to the Christian friends (3John. 15). The ship had moored at the coast, however, prisoners always had to stay in the ship for supervision. It was the special treatment that Paul was given liberty to go ashore to meet believers.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “And Julius treated Paul kindly” Certainly God made Julius treat Paul in this way. It shows us that all things work together for good to those who love God (Rom. 8:28).
2) The unbelieving Gentiles even treat Christians kindly and Christians who are all of God should treat each other kindly and should never “begin to smite the fellow-servants” (Matt. 24:49).
Acts. 27:4 “When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.”
YLT: “And thence, having set sail, we sailed under Cyprus, because of the winds being contrary,”
Meaning of Words: “Cyprus”: beauty, justice, love, a flower.
Literal Meaning: “because the winds were contrary” They ship sailed to the west from Palestine to Italy and the west or the northwest wind blew in the summer and autumn in the Mediterranean Sea. It is unfavorable for the ships to head west.
“We sailed under the shelter of Cyprus” “Cyprus” was a big island in the east of the Mediterranean Sea and it was on the way from Palestine to Asia. “Shelter” was the northeastern seacoast of the island and there were cliffs that blanked the strong blow of the west winds. “Sail” shows that they sailed to the north along the eastern coast of Cyprus and then they sailed to the west along the north coast.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is of the will of God that Paul went to Rome to bear witness to the Lord before the king (Acts. 23:11; 9:15). It is supposed to be smooth without a hitch, however, the fact is that they encountered the contrary wind when they began to sail. It shows that it is uncertain that in the will of God there will be the smooth environments.
2) The life of Christians is just like sailing in the sea. We always “toil in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto us” (Mark. 6:48). However, the Lord remembers us and makes intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). And therefore though we have tribulation in the world, we have peace in the Lord (John. 16:33).
Acts. 27:5 “And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.”
YLT: “and having sailed over the sea over-against Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myria of Lycia,”
Meaning of Words: “Cilicia”: roll, fabric of hair; “Pamphylia”: heterogeneousness of races; “Lycia”: wolf; “Myra”: cry, the juice of myrtle.
Literal Meaning: “when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia” “Cilicia” and “Pamphylia” were two smaller provinces in southeast of the province of Asia that were next to the Mediterranean Sea.
“We came to Myra, a city of Lycia” “Lycia” was a small province in the south of the province of Asia. “Myra” was an important center in the maritime traffic and it was an important harbor that the Egyptian ships which carried food to Rome must pass through. Since they passed Myra from Egypt to Rome, they detoured because the west wind always blew in the Mediterranean Sea and the ships cannot directly sail to the northwest. And therefore they sailed to the north by the way of Myra and then turned to the west along the coast.
Acts. 27:6 “There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.”
YLT: “and there the centurion having found a ship of Alexandria, sailing to Italy, did put us into it,”
Meaning of Words: “Alexandrian”: protector of men.
Literal Meaning: “found an Alexandrian ship” “Alexandrian” was the main harbor in Egypt. At that time Egypt was the biggest barn in the Roman Emperor and therefore there were always ships sailing from Alexandrian to Rome. In addition, the ships for the transportation of wheat between the two places belonged to the national organizations and therefore the ships were also used to send public servants.
Acts. 27:7 “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.”
YLT: “and having sailed slowly many days, and with difficulty coming over-against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over-against Salmone,”
Meaning of Words: “Cnidus”: age, era, exacerbation; “Crete”: fleshly; “Salmone”: in clothes, because of the undulation.
Literal Meaning: “and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus” “Cnidus” was in the end of the southwest strait in the Asia Minor.
“We sailed under the shelter of Crete” “Crete” was a big island between the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It was as long as two hundred and sixty kilometers from east to west. And its widest place from north to south was only about fifty kilometers. “The shelter” refers to the east and south coast of the island.
“Off Salmone” “Salmone” was the strait in the northeast of Crete Island which extended into the sea. They sailed to the south along the eastern coast of Crete and then sailed to the west along the south coast.
Acts. 27:8 “Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.”
YLT: “and hardly passing it, we came to a certain place called `Fair Havens,' nigh to which was the city [of] Lasaea.”
Meaning of Words: “Fair Havens”: good harbor, good shelter; “Lasea”: the root of ignorance, disorderly.
Literal Meaning: “Passing it” indicates that they sailed to the west along the southern coast.
“With difficulty, we came to a place” “With difficulty” describes the difficulty of the sail because there were many reefs along the coast in that area.
“Called Fair Havens” “Fair Havens” was a bay in the middle of the southern coast of Crete. It was not suitable for ships to anchor or winter (See v.12).
“Near the city of Lasea” Lasea was about ten kilometers away from Fair Havens and the old city now had become ruins.
Acts. 27:9 “Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,”
YLT: “And much time being spent, and the sailing being now dangerous -- because of the fast also being already past -- Paul was admonishing,”
Literal Meaning: “because the Fast was already over” “The Fast” refers to the day of the atonement and it was on July 10th in the Jewish calendar (Lev. 16:29; 23:27). It was about the last third part of September or the second part of October in the solar calendar. Under common conditions, the storm in the Mediterranean Sea increased from the second part of September and therefore the danger increased. After Number 11th, the sail over the high seas paused completely in the whole winter.
“And sailing was now dangerous” At that time, common people held that the safe period of sail in the Mediterranean Sea was before the second part of September in the solar calendar.
“Paul advised them” “Advised” in the original includes warning.
Acts. 27:10 “saying, ‘Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.’”
YLT: “saying to them, `Men, I perceive that with hurt, and much damage, not only of the lading and of the ship, but also of our lives -- the voyage is about to be;'”
Literal Meaning: Paul said so in this verse probably according to his acute sense of the Spirit besides his experience of much sail in the Mediterranean Sea and he clearly knew God’s revelation and guidance (See v.23-26).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If one believer has truly understood the guidance of God in the Spirit, he is able to make the prediction with warning to those who are around him. However, we should never speak without a well-defined object in mind and prophesy randomly, lest we humiliate the name of the Lord.
2) Today some false prophets do not have God’s revelation and predict boldly, exaggerate things just to scare people and deceive many believers according to their own opinions. God shall avenge on them.
3) If we want to have the same spiritual consciousness as Paul had, we need to draw near to God more and do exercise of godliness more than the bodily exercise daily (1Tim. 4:8).
Acts. 27:11 “Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.”
YLT: “but the centurion to the pilot and to the shipowner gave credence more than to the things spoken by Paul;”
Meaning of Words: “was persuaded”: trust, be convinced; “the helmsman”: steersman; “the owner of the ship”: captain.
Literal Meaning: “Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman” “The centurion” was the senior official in the boat and therefore he made the final decision. Here he trusted in the opinion of the old hand at sailing more than that of Paul.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The world values the experience because experience is the knowledge accumulated by many successes and failures and the experience could provide men the basis on which they decide and walk. However, we Christians rely on the Lord of experience more than experience. We could do nothing without Him (John. 15:5).
2) When we Christians walk, we should seek the Lord and rely on the Lord’s words by faith more than relying on experience. The Lord’s words are above the experience and the Lord’s presence is indeed above the smoothness of the things.
Acts. 27:12 “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 there.”
YLT: “and the haven being incommodious to winter in, the more part gave counsel to sail thence also, if by any means they might be able, having attained to Phenice, [there] to winter, [which is] a haven of Crete, looking to the south-west and north-west,”
Meaning of Words: “Phoenix”: palm.
Literal Meaning: “Phoenix, a harbor of Crete” Concerning where Crete exactly was, the Bible exegetes had two kinds of statements: 1) it was the present Phoenix which was on the southwest coast of Crete Island and Clauda Island was in the southwest of it (See v.16). However, the terrain of its seaport was not like what was recorded in this verse; 2) it was another port Porto Loutro which was next to Phoenix and Clauda Island was in the south of it. The terrain of its seaport was just like what was recorded in this verse.
“Opening toward the southwest and northwest” is “opening toward the northeast and southeast” in the Chinese union version. And its terrain was just like what was recorded in the Chinese union version. And therefore the author should mean “with the southwest and northwest wind” and some people suggested translating this sentence into “under the southwest and northwest wind”.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Because the harbor was not suitable to winter in” Men always lay the Lord aside because they pursuit the ease of life. The richer one is, the further he may depart from the Lord.
2) The affairs in the church are decided by the will of the Lord instead of how “the majority” advised. When we serve the Lord, we do not seek to please men but seek to please the Lord (Gal. 1:10).
3) The one who serves the Lord faithfully would rather be like Paul who was turned away by all those who were in Asia (2Tim. 1:15) than disobey the will of the Lord, until he meets the countenance of the Lord (2Tim. 4:7-8).
4) When things are decided in the church, it is neither according to “democracy” nor by “despotism” but by “giving priority to the will of God”. May we all respect God more than everything.
Acts. 27:13 “When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.”
YLT: “and a south wind blowing softly, having thought they had obtained [their] purpose, having lifted anchor, they sailed close by Crete,”
Literal Meaning: “When the south wind blew softly” “The south wind” is convenient for them to navigate.
“They sailed close by Crete” It means that they sailed to the southwest.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire.” The ignorant ones regard the smoothness of the environments as “having obtained their desire”, however, we believers regard the Lord’s smiling countenance that is above the environments as “having obtained our desire”.
2) Those who walk by the environments always “suppose that they have obtained their desire” and then turn to be “disappointed”.
Acts. 27:14 “But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.”
YLT: “and not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, that is called Euroclydon,”
Meaning of Words: “a tempestuous head wind”: a storm, hurricane; “Euroclydon”: a storm from the East; northeasterly wind.
Literal Meaning: “called Euroclydon” “Euro” was the Greek and it means “the east wind”. “Clydon” was Latin and it means “the north wind”. When the two words are united together, it means “the northeasterly wind”. At that time, if the boat which sailed by the power of the wind encountered such wind, the boat would always be turned over or got around.
Acts. 27:15 “So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.”
YLT: “and the ship being caught, and not being able to bear up against the wind, having given [her] up, we were borne on,”
Meaning of Words: “caught”: seize, snatch; “could not head”: not being able to bear up; “let her drive”: be carried, be driven.
Acts. 27:16 “And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.”
YLT: “and having run under a certain little isle, called Clauda, we were hardly able to become masters of the boat,”
Meaning of Words: “Clauda”: mournful.
Literal Meaning: “an island called Clauda” “Clauda” Island was a small island and it was about forty kilometers away in the south of the western end of Crete the great island.
“We secured the skiff with difficulty” “The skiff” is the traffic tool for short distance when the big boat anchors along the shore and it is the lifeboat when the big boat goes to sea. When the wind and waves are not great, it is linked to the stern with rope and it is dragged on the water surface. In great winds, the skiff has to be secured to the big boat, lest the big boat and the skiff hit each other and the skill hit the big boat to leave or the skiff be hit into ruins by the big boat.
“With difficulty” in the original means that “they made great effort and with difficulty…” “Secured” indicates that they pulled the skiff and linked it to the deck or the edge of the boat.
The word “we” seemed to imply that Luke the author also joined in securing the skiff.
Acts. 27:17 “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.”
YLT: “which having taken up, they were using helps, undergirding the ship, and fearing lest they may fall on the quicksand, having let down the mast -- so were borne on.”
Meaning of Words: “Syrtis”: quicksand, quick sand.
Literal Meaning: “they used cables to undergird the ship” “Cables” refer to the rough ropes that circle the hull. “To undergird the ship” indicates that they used ropes to circle the hull and bulge for several circles so that the hull would be sturdier, lest the frame of the ship be loosed because it cannot bear the attack of waves.
“And fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands,” “Syrtis” was in the southwest of Crete Island and in the south end of the Mediterranean Sea. It was the shoal close to North Africa Libya.
“They struck sail” They did so to decrease the area that the wind blew so that they could decrease the speed that the boat went forward. However, “sail” in the original means “instrument”. And therefore some Bible exegetes held that this sentence could be translated into “lay down the instrument of the boat” and it means to “transfer the weight of the things that were not necessary in the top deck to the orlop deck”.
Acts. 27:18 “And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.”
YLT: “And we, being exceedingly tempest-tossed, the succeeding [day] they were making a clearing,”
Literal Meaning: “they lightened the ship” We could image that what they had abandoned was the goods. They did so to lighten the ship so that they could control the boat more conveniently. The goods of the boat were mainly the food provisions (See the note in v.6).
Acts. 27:19 “On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.”
YLT: “and on the third [day] with our own hands the tackling of the ship we cast out,”
Meaning of Words: “tackle”: furniture, instrument.
Literal Meaning: “we threw the ship's tackle overboard” “The ship's tackle” included the sail, mast, board, beam and others. The aim of throwing the goods (See v.18) and tackle was to lighten the hull and decrease the ship’s draft.
Acts. 27:20 “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 up.”
YLT: “and neither sun nor stars appearing for more days, and not a little tempest lying upon us, thenceforth all hope was taken away of our being saved.”
Meaning of Words: “tempest”: rainstorm; “beat on”: press hard, lie upon.
Literal Meaning: “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days” “Sun and stars” was the only way by which the navigators counted where the boat was. And therefore under such condition, they cannot measure the position and voyage of the boat in the vast sea.
“All hope that we would be saved was finally given up” Since they cannot identify the position of the ship and were beaten on by the tempest, the common people would be desperate under such condition.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Paul said that “our trouble which came to us…that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2Cor. 1:8-9). When the hope of the world is given up, everything is gone, however, we Christians could still turn to God when all hope is given up.
2) “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2Cor. 4:8-9).
Acts. 27:21 “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.”
YLT: “And there having been long fasting, then Paul having stood in the midst of them, said, `It behoved [you], indeed, O men -- having hearkened to me -- not to set sail from Crete, and to save this hurt and damage;”
Literal Meaning: “But after long abstinence from food” There were two reasons for long abstinence from food: 1) the wind and waves were so great that they were greatly seasick and therefore they were unable to eat; 2) the hope that they would be saved was finally given up and therefore they did not have the mood to eat.
“Then Paul stood in the midst of them” When all the people in the boat were desperate, Paul stood up and gave them the necessary courage. He was the high tower of strength for all the desperate people in the boat.
“You should have listened to me” Paul said so not to blame them or gloat over their misfortune but to establish the authority of his words so that all the people may be convinced of his following words.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The mood of the world is influenced by the outer environments and they are depressed when the environments are bad and they are even unable to eat. However, the peace in the hearts of Christians is not influenced by the outer environments (John. 16:33).
2) When men are encountered with disasters and are anxious, it is the time that Christians play the role of “salt and light”. We should not have the wavy motion as the world and should surpass the environments and then we are able to manifest the difference between Christians and the world.
Acts. 27:22 “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.”
YLT: “and now I exhort you to be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of life among you -- but of the ship;”
Meaning of Words: “urge”: admonish, exhort.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Paul is the example of everyone who follows the Lord------he stood firmly when all the people were anxious.
2) The most useful men in the world are those who are calm themselves and are able to give others the key of faith.
Acts. 27:23 “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,”
YLT: “for there stood by me this night a messenger of God -- whose I am, and whom I serve --”
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Since we believers belong to God, He must be responsible for us and therefore we should set our mind at ease and commit ourselves to God under every circumstance.
2) The angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14).
3) After the tempest and surge “for many days” (See v.20), God sent His angel to speak to Paul until “this night”. However, he was able to keep his hearts calm in the tempest.
Acts. 27:24 “saying, "Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'”
YLT: “saying, Be not afraid Paul; before Caesar it behoveth thee to stand; and, lo, God hath granted to thee all those sailing with thee;”
Literal Meaning: “you must be brought before Caesar” It was not sure he would stand before the Roman Emperor (Nero was the Emperor at that time) and was judged by himself. Usually he was delivered to the court that was appointed by the emperor for trial.
“And indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you” It implies that Paul prayed for the safety of all the people and received the answer from God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The men that are around Christians are of God’s arrangement and we should take the responsibility for preaching the gospel to them.
2) The gospel overcomes in all circumstances. God’s servants could bear witness in all circumstances because God is with them.
3) All those who are saved through us are counted in our account and it is the basis by which God rewards us.
4) God kept those who were with Paul for the sake of Paul. Wherever we Christians are, we should be the key for others to receive blessings.
Acts. 27:25 “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.”
YLT: “wherefore be of good cheer, men! for I believe God, that so it shall be, even as it hath been spoken to me,”
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Paul’s words (See v.21-26) show his manner of calms in facing danger and it is also the condition that the spiritual leaders should have.
2) “It will be just as it was told me” because in the very heavens will He establish His faithfulness (Ps. 89:2).
3) God’s words are the root of our faith (Rom. 10:14, 17). And therefore we should let the word of God dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16) and we are able to appropriate God’s words to strengthen our faith when necessary.
4) The more words of God one has, the more faith he will have. The less words of God one has, the less faith he will have. Without the word of God, one won’t have faith.
5) For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke. 1:37). We should never hesitate to trust the word of God because if we do not mix the word that we have heard with faith, the word that we have heard will not profit us (Heb. 4:2).
6) The key of one’s being saved lies in the reliance on God’s promise. If we make effort relying on our ways, it will be in vain finally.
7) God comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2Cor. 1:4).
Acts. 27:26 “However, we must run aground on a certain island.’”
YLT: “and on a certain island it behoveth us to be cast.'”
Acts. 27:27 “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.”
YLT: “And when the fourteenth night came -- we being borne up and down in the Adria -- toward the middle of the night the sailors were supposing that some country drew nigh to them;”
Meaning of Words: “Adriatic”: without wood; “some land”: a country.
Literal Meaning: “Now when the fourteenth night had come” “The fourteenth night” was counted from the day they departed from Fair Haven (See v.8, 12-13).
“As we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea” “The Adriatic Sea” was the sea between Greek and Italy and its area was bigger than Adriatic Sea today. The wide costal waters to the median of the Mediterranean Sea to the south (i.e. from Grete to the west to Sicily Island) were included. “Being driven up and down” in the original means “carrying through”.
“The sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land” Probably the sailors could hear the waves lashing the hidden reefs indistinctly and therefore they thought that they were close to some land.
Acts. 27:28 “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.”
YLT: “and having sounded they found twenty fathoms, and having gone a little farther, and again having sounded, they found fifteen fathoms,”
Literal Meaning: “And they took soundings” It means that they put the plummet with rope into the sea in order to sound the depth of the water.
“And found it to be twenty fathoms” It was about thirty-seven meters.
“And found it to be fifteen fathoms” It was about twenty-eight meters.
Acts. 27:29 “Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.”
YLT: “and fearing lest on rough places we may fall, out of the stern having cast four anchors, they were wishing day to come.”
Literal Meaning: “they dropped four anchors from the stern” They did so in order to make the hull stable so that the stormy waves would not press the boat to go forward wantonly. They dropped anchors from the stern, showing that the bow of the ship kept moving towards the coast.
Acts. 27:30 “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,”
YLT: “And the sailors seeking to flee out of the ship, and having let down the boat to the sea, in pretence as [if] out of the foreship they are about to cast anchors,”
Literal Meaning: “And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship” Probably the sailors held that the boat cannot anchor to the port and it would be struck to ruins sooner or later. And therefore they had better flee by skiff firstly, lest they be implicated by so many passengers then. In this way, their chance of survive would be greater.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The sailors only sought to keep themselves and disregarded others’ life. However, Paul always minded the life of all the people (See v.10, 22, 31, 34). Christians live in the world for the benefit of others (Pill. 1:24-25).
2) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it (Jer. 17:9)? He that is spiritual judges all things (1Cor. 2:15). We should pray to the Lord for giving us the spiritual discernment.
3) “Under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow” Some people in the church also pretend to do something that benefits all the people and actually they plan for themselves in their hearts. What’s the most important for Christians before God is truth (John. 4:23-24). Once we are hypocritical, actually we have fallen in the trap of the devil.
Acts. 27:31 “Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.’”
YLT: “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, `If these do not remain in the ship -- ye are not able to be saved;'”
Literal Meaning: “Unless these men stay in the ship” If there were not skilled sailors operating the ship in the sea, the ship cannot approach to the land and they would sit still waiting for death.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Paul advised others to “take heart” (See v.25) and he himself was not “careless”. And therefore he was able to observe the bad intention of the sailors (See v.30) and took the way to avoid the tragedy. The true reassurance of faith is not insouciance or idleness but carefulness and being practical.
2) Christians’ “taking heart” is not careful about our life and for the morrow, however, we should still be sufficient to the day (Matt. 6:25, 34) and be responsible for what we should take charge of.
3) God had promised that there would be no loss of life among men in the boat (See v.22-24), however, it did not indicate that we could do nothing and watch with folded arms. We need to use our work of faith to cooperate with God’s promise and assurance.
Acts. 27:32 “Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.”
YLT: “then the soldiers did cut off the ropes of the boat, and suffered it to fall off.”
Literal Meaning: “the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff” means “cutting away the capstan that was used to lift and drop the skiff” so that the skiff would not be connected with the boat. This behavior could prevent the sailors from climbing to the skiff, however, it made it difficult for them to go ashore.
Acts. 27:33 “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.”
YLT: “And till the day was about to be, Paul was calling upon all to partake of nourishment, saying, `Fourteen days to-day, waiting, ye continue fasting, having taken nothing,”
Acts. 27:34 “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 you.’”
YLT: “wherefore I call upon you to take nourishment, for this is for your safety, for of not one of you shall a hair from the head fall;'”
Literal Meaning: “Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival” Taking nourishment gives men strength to deal with the dangerous environments and swim to the shore (See v.40-44). And therefore “taking nourishment” was closely related to their “survival”.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christians should not ignore their normal food and drink and “taking nourishment” is to keep their life healthy so as to serve the Lord well.
2) May all believers prosper and be in health, even as their soul prospers (3John. 2).
Acts. 27:35 “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.”
YLT: “and having said these things, and having taken bread, he gave thanks to God before all, and having broken [it], he began to eat;”
Enlightenment in the Word: Paul’s example shows us that food is gifted by God and therefore we should receive it with thanksgiving (1Tim. 4:3-4).
Acts. 27:36 “Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.”
YLT: “and all having become of good cheer, themselves also took food,”
Acts. 27:37 “And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.”
YLT: “(and we were -- all the souls in the ship -- two hundred, seventy and six),”
Meaning of Words: “persons”: souls.
Acts. 27:38 “So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.”
YLT: “and having eaten sufficient nourishment, they were lightening the ship, casting forth the wheat into the sea.”
Literal Meaning: “and threw out the wheat into the sea” “The wheat” was the grain that they kept for their provisions and it was different from the goods that they threw away (See v.18) and the goods were the food provisions sent to Italy (See the note in v.6).
“They lightened the ship” The lighter the boat was, the easier it was for men to pull it to shore.
Acts. 27:39 “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.”
YLT: “And when the day came, they were not discerning the land, but a certain creek were perceiving having a beach, into which they took counsel, if possible, to thrust forward the ship,”
Acts. 27:40 “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.”
YLT: “and the anchors having taken up, they were committing [it] to the sea, at the same time -- having loosed the bands of the rudders, and having hoisted up the mainsail to the wind -- they were making for the shore,”
Literal Meaning: “meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes” “Rudder” was always set on both sides of the stern and it was used to control the direction of the sail. “Loosing the rudder ropes” means that they got back the rudder to the stern so that the ship would sail to the shore.
“And they hoisted the mainsail” “The mainsail” refers to the small sail in the front-mast.
Acts. 27:41 “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.”
YLT: “and having fallen into a place of two seas, they ran the ship aground, and the fore-part, indeed, having stuck fast, did remain immoveable, but the hinder-part was broken by the violence of the waves.”
Meaning of Words: “stuck fast”: stick fast.
Literal Meaning: “But striking a place where two seas met” It refers to the cramped channel between two lands (islands). Whirlpools and underflows are usually formed there because the seawater of two sides meets there.
Acts. 27:42 “And the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.”
YLT: “And the soldiers' counsel was that they should kill the prisoners, lest any one having swam out should escape,”
The Background: it was ordered in the Roman law that if prisoners had gotten away, the soldiers would take the punishment what the prisoners would take.
Acts. 27:43 “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,”
YLT: “but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, hindered them from the counsel, and did command those able to swim, having cast themselves out first -- to get unto the land,”
Enlightenment in the Word: God is my helper and what will man do unto me (Heb. 13:6)?
Acts. 27:44 “and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.”
YLT: “and the rest, some indeed upon boards, and some upon certain things of the ship; and thus it came to pass that all came safe unto the land.”
Literal Meaning: “some on boards and some on parts of the ship” “Parts of the ship” could refer to objects or persons. The former refers to any parts or things that were of the ship that could help men to float on the surface of the water. The latter indicates that “they attached to some persons of the ship” and it means that those who were unable to swim and did not have anything to rely on attached themselves to the back of sailors and went ashore.
“They all escaped safely to land” The “being saved” and “safely” (See v.20, 31, 34, 43) that were mentioned for several times in this chapter refer to keeping their life (See v.10, 22) instead of receiving the salvation of soul.
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
Working out Your Own Salvation
I. Believers are in the world just like sailing in the sea:
A. “We should sail to Italy” (v.1)------reaching the destination is God’s appointed will (Acts. 23:11).
B. “The winds were contrary” (v.4), “the wind not permitting us” (v.7), “a tempestuous head wind arose” (v.14), “when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive” (v.15), “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 up” (v.20)------we have tribulation in the world (John. 16:33).
C. “With difficulty, we came to…” (v.8), “we secured the skiff with difficulty” (v.16)------they toil in rowing (Mark. 6:48).
D. “All hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (v.20), “unless…you cannot be saved” (v.31), “this is for your survival” (v.34), “and so it was that they all escaped safely to land” (v.44)------believers’ spirirts have been saved, however, they still have to experience the salvation in the environments (Pill. 1:19; 2Cor. 1:10).
II. Believers’ principle of walking is different from that of the world:
A. “Men, I perceive that this voyage” (v.10), “when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire” (v.13)------believers have the spiritual sight and the world walks by sight (2Cor. 5:7).
B. “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (v.25), “Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship” (v.11)------believers believe on God and the world relies on men and experience.
III. The reaction of the world when they are in the storm and tribulation:
A. “We sailed under the shelter” (v.4, 7, 16)------They resisted relying on the natural environments.
B. “The majority advised…” (v.12)------They accepted the opinion of the majority.
C. “They used cables to undergird the ship” (v.17a)------They firmed the equipments on which they rely to live.
D. “They struck sail and so were driven” (v.17b)------They tried their best to avoid the wind.
E. “They lightened the ship” (v.18)------When the tribulation hung over them, they knew that the property was unreliable.
F. “We threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands” (v.19)------They even gave up the tools by which they made a living.
G. “After long abstinence from food” (v.21)------They were anxious and had no appetite for food and drinks.
H. “The sailors were seeking to escape from the ship” (v.30), “and the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners” (v.42)------They only took care of themselves and disregarded the safety of others.
IV. The example of believers in the storm and tribulation:
A. “I urge you to take heart” (v.22)------he rested upon the Lord.
B. “The God to whom I belong and whom I serve” (v.23)------he looked upon and held fast God.
C. “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (v.25)------he received the word of God and mixed what he had heard with faith (Heb. 4:2).
D. “Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.’” (v.31)------he took the responsibility of a man and observed carefully in order to assure the required conditions of existence.
E. “I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival” (v.34)------he took care of health (3John. 2).
F. “He gave thanks to God in the presence of them all” (v.35)------he gave thanksgiving to God and gloried Him.
G. “The centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose” (v.43)------he experienced God’s care.
The Manifest Token that God Kept His Servant
I. God made him receive the care from companions and believers (v.2-3).
II. God made him meet the centurion who treated him kindly (v.3, 43).
III. God gave him the foresight (v.10).
IV. God sent angel to encourage him with words (v.23-24).
V. God made him see through the intention of the sailors (v.30-32).
VI. God made all men take food to refresh their hearts (v.33-36).
VII. God gave him help timely in tribulation (v.42-43).
The Comparisons of the World and the Spirit from Acts. 27
I. The comparison of the carnal and the spiritual sight (v.9-12):
A. The carnal------they relied on experience and the opinion of the majority.
B. The spiritual------they relied on the consciousness in the Spirit.
II. The comparison of the carnal and spiritual reaction to the environments (v.13, 20-25):
A. The carnal------they were pleased when the environments were good and were desperate when the environments were bad.
B. The spiritual------they were calm under all environments, set their mind at ease and trusted God’s words and were able to encourage others.
III. The comparisons of the carnal and spiritual ways (v.30-32):
A. The carnal------they were hypocritical and only took care of themselves and disregarded others; they would rather perish together than allow others to live.
B. The spiritual------he saw through the evilness of men, however, he still relied on each other for support and survive with them together.
IV. The comparison of the carnal and spiritual attitude to food and drink (v.33-36):
A. The carnal------they eat for enjoyment and once they met danger, they had no appetite to take food.
B. The spiritual------they eat for health and thanked God every meal.
V. The comparison of the carnal and spiritual way of keeping their life (v.43-44):
A. The carnal------they kept their life by the swimming skill and tools.
B. The spiritual------he kept his life by God’s care.
The Three Obstacles that Christians should Break through
I. Breaking through men’s opinions:
A. The centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by Paul (v.11)------walking by experience.
B. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire (v.13)------making decisions by the present situation.
II. Breaking through men’s fear:
A. A tempestuous head wind arose. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind (v.14-15)------being afraid of the power that is impossible to resist.
B. Fearing lest they should run aground on the sands (v.17)------being afraid of the sudden tribulation.
C. Neither sun nor stars appeared for many days (v.20)------being afraid of the environments that we cannot control.
III. Breaking through men’s ways:
A. “Sensing” (v.27)------guess.
B. “Fearing” (v.29)------anxiety.
C. “Seeking” (v.30)------plan.
D. “Under pretense of” (v.30)------hypocrisy.
He was Saved from Nine “Death”s
I. He was saved from “being drowned” (the tempest of sin) (v.14-20).
II. He was saved from “desperation” (the disappointment and desperation) (v.20b).
III. He was saved from “being frightened to death” (the threat of the devil)------“take heart” (v.22, 25, 36).
IV. He was saved from “being killed” (the scheme of the wicked) (v.30-31).
V. He was saved from “being starved to death” (having waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing) (v.21, 33).
VI. He was saved from “being struck to death” (a place where two seas met ------the trade of the world) (v.41a).
VII. He was saved from “being stuck to death” (the prow stuck fast and remained immovable------in the dilemma) (v.41b).
VIII. He was saved from “being killed” (the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners------murder) (v.42).
IX. They were saved from “being put to death” (if prisoners had escaped, the soldiers would be put to death) (v.42).
The Attitude that Christians should Have when Facing Trouble
I. Toward God------trusting His faithfulness and great power (v.25).
II. Toward men------urging, comforting and encouraging them (v.21-25, 34-36).
III. Toward himself------being calm and composed (v.21-36).
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Sharon Ren