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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Acts 27

 

 

Introduction

God's Grace In The Storm

- Acts Twenty-Seven -

Paul had been judged and found innocent. However, it was God"s will that he preach in Rome. His appeal to Caesar was what made it possible for him to bear witness in that place. He was sent as a prisoner, under guard with other prisoners, to Rome. As they make the trip they faced a vicious storm and a horrible shipwrecked off the island of Malta. It is easy to see as we look back, that the will of God was at work in Paul"s life!

Paul and other prisoners were put under the charge of Julius, a centurion of Augustus" band. Augustus was the Roman Dictator called Caesar. Paul would be allowed to take the gospel to his palace. Paul was put on a ship of Adramyttium to make the journey toward Rome. As the journey started a brief stop was made at Sidon. There Julius permitted Paul to visit other Christians.

The centurion gave orders for the journey even over the captain of the ship. He was totally unwilling to follow the advice Paul gave him. Later, the ship was caught in a horrible storm and hope of survival was gone. God appeared to Paul and promised him that there would be no lose of life. The ship and its cargo would be lost but all the people would be spared.

As the storm raged some of the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship. Paul spoke ten words that saved many lives -- "Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved." Paul had been a persecutor, a preacher and now he becomes a preserver for those that were in the ship. Through the grace of God the two hundred and seventy six tired and frightened men on that ship were spared.

In the midst of the storm Paul showed great faith in God. He ate, prayed and talked about God. He said, "Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me." The ship was torn apart and the soldiers suggest killing the prisoners. "But Julius wanted to save Paul"s life, and he did not let the soldiers do what they had planned." Remember shipwrecks may come in life but God never deserts you.


Verses 1-12

Paul is taken to Rome - Acts 27:1-12 : It was the will of God that Paul preach in Rome. When it was time to sail to Italy he and some other prisoners were handed over to Julius, a centurion of Augustus" band. They went aboard a ship from Adramyttium. Aristarchus from Thessalonica in Macedonia was on this ship also. He was with Paul at Ephesus, and accompanied him into Asia. (Acts 19:29, Acts 20:4) He became Paul"s fellow prisoner. (Philemon 1:24)

When they stopped at Sidon Julius was kind to Paul. He allowed him to visit his friends so that they could minister to his needs. Leaving Sidon the wind was so contrary that they had to sail below Cyprus to be safe. They sailed south of Cilicia and Pamphylia and came to Myra, a city of Lycia. At Myra, Julius found a ship from Alexandria that was going to Italy. He ordered Paul and the other prisoners to board that ship. They had a difficult time reaching Cnidus. They sailed under Crete, over against Salmone. After a long time they reached a place called Fair Havens, not far from the town of Lasea.

They lost a great deal of time on the trip. The Day of Atonement had now passed and it was dangerous to sail on. Paul warned the sailors saying, "Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage." But Julius listened to the captain of the ship instead of Paul. Almost everyone said that the "Fair Havens" was not a good place to spend the winter. So they attempted to reach Phoenix in order to spend the winter there.


Verses 13-20

The terrible storm at sea - Acts 27:13-20 : When a gentle wind from the south blew the sailors thought it was a good time to sail as they had planned. They pulled up the anchor and sailed along the coast of Crete. But then a tempestuous wind, called "Euroclydon" or "The Northeaster" blew against them. The ship was driven in the wind. They ran under an island called Clauda. They had to work hard to hold the lifeboat in place. The sailors wrapped ropes around the ship to hold it together and allowed the wind to drive it.

Psalms 107:25-27 described the situation they found themselves in. "For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits" end." The storm was so fierce that they threw some of the ship"s cargo and gear overboard. After not seeing either stars or sun for many days they gave up hope of being saved. The storm just kept beating upon them!


Verses 21-38

Encouragement from God - Acts 27:21-38 : They ate nothing for many days. Afterward Paul stood and told them that they should have listened to him and not sailed. He also revealed to them that God had told him the ship would be lost but that there would be no loss of life. His faith showed as he said, "I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."

Paul knew that they would be shipwrecked on some island. For fourteen days and nights they had been blown about. About midnight the sailors realized that they were getting near land. They anchored the ship and prayed for day.

The sailors tried to escape in the lifeboat, but Paul told them that they must stay in the ship to be saved. God has a place of safety today. The place of safety is the church. We must remain in the church to be saved. (Acts 2:47)

Paul encouraged everyone to take some food and assured them that God would spare their lives. There were 276 people on the ship. After they had eaten they threw the wheat into the sea to lighten the ship.


Verses 39-44

The horrors of a shipwreck - Acts 27:39-44 : When morning came they decided to try to run the ship aground on the beach. They raised the sail and allowed the wind carry the ship toward the beach. When the ship ran aground the front stuck in the sand and the "hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves."

The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners to keep them from escaping. Julius wanted to save Paul so he ordered everyone who could swim to head for shore. Others held on to wood from the ship and all reached safely. Again we see the faithfulness of God"s promise.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 27:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/acts-27.html. 2014.

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