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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 27

 

 

Verse 1

Sail ( ἀποπλεῖν )

Lit., sail away.

Band

See on Mark 15:16.


Verse 2

Meaning to sail ( μέλλοντες πλεῖν )

This refers the intention to the voyagers; but the best texts read μέλλοντι , agreeing with πλοίῳ , ship; so that the correct rendering is, as Rev., a ship - which was about to sail.


Verse 3

Touched ( κατήχθημεν )

From κατά , down, and ἄγω , to l ead or bring. To bring the ship down from deep water to the land. Opposed to ἀνήχθημεν , put to sea (Acts 27:2); which is to bring the vessel up ( ἀνά ) from the land to deep water. See on Luke 8:22. Touched is an inferential rendering. Landed would be quite as good. From Caesarea to Sidon, the distance was about seventy miles.

Courteously ( φιλανθρώπως )

Only here in New Testament. Lit., in a man-loving way; humanely; kindly. Rev., kindly, better than courteously. Courteous, from court, expresses rather polish of manners than real kindness.

To refresh himself ( ἐπιμελείας τυχεῖν )

Lit., to receive care or attention.


Verse 4

We sailed under ( ὑπεπλεύσαμεν )

Rev., correctly, under the lee of: under the protection of the land.


Verse 6

A ship of Alexandria

Employed in the immense corn trade between Italy and Egypt. See Acts 27:38. The size of the vessel may be inferred from Acts 27:37.


Verse 7

Many ( ἱκαναῖς )

See on Luke 7:6.

Scarce ( μόλις )

Incorrect. Render, as Rev., with difficulty. So, also, hardly, in Acts 27:8. The meaning is not that they had scarcely reached Cnidus when the wind became contrary, nor that they had come only as far as Cnidus in many days; but that they were retarded by contrary winds between Myra and Cnidus, a distance of about one hundred and thirty miles, which, with a favorable wind, they might have accomplished in a day. Such a contrary wind would have been the northwesterly, which prevails during the summer months in that part of the Archipelago.


Verse 9

The Fast

The great day of atonement, called “the Fast” by way of eminence. It occurred about the end of September. Navigation was considered unsafe from the beginning of November until the middle of March.


Verse 10

I perceive ( θεωρῶ )

As the result of careful observation. See on Luke 10:18.

Hurt ( ὕβρεως )

The word literally means insolence, injury, and is used here metaphorically: insolence of the winds and waves, “like our 'sport' or 'riot' of the elements” (Hackett). Some take it literally, with presumption, as indicating the folly of undertaking a voyage at that season; but the use of the word in Acts 27:21is decisive against this.

Damage ( ζημίας )

Better, as Rev., loss. Hurt and damage (A. V.) is tautological. See on the kindred verb, notes on lose, Matthew 16:26, and east away, Luke 9:25.


Verse 11

Master ( κυβερνήτῃ )

Only here and Revelation 18:17. Lit., the steersman.


Verse 12

Not commodious ( ἀνευθέτου )

Lit., not well situated.

Lieth toward the southwest and northwest ( βλέποντα κατὰ Αίβα καὶ κατὰ Χῶρον )

Instead of lieth, Rev., literally and correctly, renders looking. The difference between the Rev. and A. V., as to the points of the compass, turns on the rendering of the preposition κατά . The words southwest and northwest mean, literally, the southwest and northwest winds. According to the A. V., κατά means toward, and has reference to the quarterfrom which these winds blow. According to the Rev., κατά means down: “lookingdown the southwest and northwest winds,” i.e., in the direction toward which they blow, viz., northeast and southeast. This latter view assumes that Phenice and Lutro are the same, which is uncertain. For full discussion of the point, see Smith, “Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul;” Hackett, “Commentary on Acts;” Conybeare and Howson, “Life and Epistles of St. Paul.”


Verse 13

Loosing thence ( ἄραντες )

Lit., having taken up. It is the nautical phrase for weighing anchor. So Rev.


Verse 14

There arose against it ( ἔβαλε κατ ' αὐτῆς )

Against what? Some say, the island of Crete; in which case they would have been driven against the island, whereas we are told that they were driven away from it. Others, the ship. It is objected that the pronoun αὐτῆς it, is feminine, while the feminine noun for ship ( ναῦς ) is not commonly used by Luke, but rather the neuter, πλοῖον . I do not think this objection entitled to much weight. Luke is the only New Testament writer who uses ναῦς (see Acts 27:41), though he uses it but once; and, as Hackett remarks, “it would be quite accidental which of the terms would shape the pronoun at this moment, as they were both so familiar.” A third explanation refers the pronoun to the island of Crete, and renders, “there beat down from it. This is grammatical, and according to a well-known usage of the preposition. The verb βάλλω is also used intransitively in the sense of tofall; thus Homer Iliad,” xi., 722), of a riverfalling into the sea. Compare Mark 4:37: “the the waves beat ( ἐπέβαλλεν ) into the ship;” and Luke 15:12the portion of goods thatfalleth ( ἐπιβάλλον ) to me.” The rendering of the Rev. is, therefore, well supported, and, on the whole, preferable' there beat down from it. It is also according to the analogy of the expression in Luke 8:23, there came down a storm. See note there, and see on Matthew 8:24.

A tempestuous wind ( ἄνεμος τυφωνικὸς )

Lit., a typhonic wind. The word τυφῶν means a typhoon, and the adjective formed from it means of the character of a typhoon.

Euroclydon ( Εὐροκλύδων )

The best texts read Εὐρακύλων , Euraquilo: i.e., between Eurus, “the E. S. E. wind,” and Aquilo, “the north-wind, or, strictly, N. 1/3 E.” Hence, E. N. E.


Verse 15

Bear up ( ἀντοφθαλμεῖν )

Only here in New Testament. From ἀντί , opposite, and ὀφθαλμός ,the eye. Lit., to look the wind in the eye. The ancient ships often had an eye painted on each side of the bow. To sail “into the eye of the wind” is a modern nautical phrase.

We let her drive ( ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα )

Lit., having given up to it, we were borne along.


Verse 16

We had much work to come by the boat ( μόλις ἰσχύσαμεν περικρατεῖς γενέσθαι τῆς σκάφης )

Lit., we were with difficulty able to become masters of the boat: i.e., to secure on deck the small boat which, in calm weather, was attached by a rope to the vessel's stern. Rev., we were able with difficulty to secure the boat. On with difficulty, see note on scarce, Acts 27:7.


Verse 17

Helps ( βοηθείαις )

Any apparatus on hand for the purpose: ropes, chains, etc.

Undergirding ( ὑποζωννύντες )

In modern nautical language, frapping: passing cables or chains round the ship's hull in order to support her in a storm. Mr. Smith (“Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul”) cites the following from the account of the voyage of Captain George Back from the arctic regions in 1837: “A length of the stream chain-cable was passed under the bottom of the ship four feet before the mizzen-mast, hove tight by the capstan, and finally immovably fixed to six ring-bolts on the quarter-deck. The effect was at once manifest by a great diminution in the working of the parts already mentioned; and, in a less agreeable way, by impeding her rate of sailing.”

Quicksands ( τὴν σύρτιν )

The rendering of the A. V. is too general. The word is a proper name, and has the article. There were two shoals of this name - the “Greater Syrtis” (Syrtis Major )and the “Smaller Syrtis” (Syrtis Minor ). It was the former upon which they were in danger of being driven; a shallow on the African coast, between Tripoli and Barca, southwest of the island of Crete.

Strake sail ( χαλάσαντες τὸ σκεῦος )

Lit., as Rev., lowered the gear. See on goods, Matthew 12:29. It is uncertain what is referred to here. To strike sail, it is urged, would be a sure way of running upon the Syrtis, which they were trying to avoid. It is probably better to understand it generally of the gear connected with the fair-weather sails. “Every ship situated as this one was, when preparing for a storm, sends down upon deck the 'top-hamper,' or gear connected with the fair-weather sails, such as the topsails. A modern ship sends down top-gallant masts and yards; a cutter strikes her topmast when preparing for a gale” (Smith, “Voyage,” etc.). The storm sails were probably set.


Verse 18

Lightened ( ἐκβολὴν ἐποιοῦντο )

Lit., made a casting out. Rev., began to throw the freight overboard. Note the imperfect, began to throw. The whole cargo was not cast overboard: the wheat was reserved to the last extremity (Acts 27:38).


Verse 19

Tackling ( σκευὴν )

The word means equipment, furniture. The exact meaning here is uncertain. Some suppose it to refer to the main-yard; an immense spar which would require the united efforts of passengers and crew to throw overboard. It seems improbable, however, that they would have sacrificed so large a spar, which, in case of shipwreck, would support thirty or forty men in the water. The most generally received opinion is that it refers to the furniture of the ship - beds, tables, chests, etc.


Verse 21

Hearkened ( πειθαρχήσαντας )

See on obey, Acts 5:29.

Loosed ( ἀνάγεσθαι )

Rev., set sail. See on Luke 8:22.

Harm ( ὕβριν )

See on Acts 27:10.


Verse 23

The angel

Rev., correctly, an angel. There is no article.

Of God ( τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Rev., correctly, supplies the article: “the God,” added because Paul was addressing heathen, who would have understood by angel a messenger of the gods.


Verse 27

Adria

The Adriatic Sea: embracing all that part of the Mediterranean lying south of Italy, east of Sicily, and west of Greece.

Deemed ( ὑπενόουν )

Better, as Rev., suspected or surmised.

That they drew near to some country

Lit., that some land is drawing near to them.


Verse 30

Under color ( προφάσει )

Lit., on pretence.

Cast ( ἐκτείνειν )

Lit., to stretch out. The meaning is, to carry out an anchor to a distance from the prow by means of the small boat. Rev., lay out.


Verse 33

While the day was coming on ( ἄχρι δὲ οὗ ἔμελλεν ἡμέρα γίνεσθαι )

Lit., until it should become day: in the interval between midnight and morning.


Verse 39

Bay ( κόλπον )

See on bosom, Luke 6:38.

Shore ( αἰγιαλὸν )

See on Matthew 13:2. Better, as Rev.,beach.

They were minded ( ἐβουλεύσαντο )

Better, as Rev., tookcounsel. See on Matthew 1:19.


Verse 40

Taken up ( περιελόντες )

Wrong. The word means to remove, and refers here to cutting the anchor-cables, or casting off, as Rev.

Committed themselves ( εἴων )

Wrong. The reference is to the anchors. Rev., correctly, left them in the sea.

Rudder-bands ( ζευκτηρίας τῶν πηδαλίων )

Lit., the bands of the rudders. The larger ships had two rudders, like broad oars or paddles, joined together by a pole, and managed by one steersman. They could be pulled up and fastened with bands to the ship; as was done in this ease, probably to avoid fouling the anchors when they were cast out of the stern. The bands were now loosened, in order that the ship might be driven forward.

Mainsail ( ἀρτέμωνα )

Only here in New Testament. Probably theforesail. So Rev.

Made toward ( κατεῖχον )

Lit.,held; bore down for.

 


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The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 27:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/acts-27.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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