Summary of Acts 27:1-26:
Paul and his companions (267 men in total) boarded a ship for Rome. Julius, a Roman centurion, was in charge. They landed in Sidon where Paul was allowed to meet his friends and receive supplies from them. Then they pass Cyprus with heavy winds keeping them from landing and out across the sea to Myra in Lycia.
They switched ships and sailed until Cnidus. The wind was still blowing hard as they made their way to Fair Havens on the island of Crete. Much time had been lost and it was now Autumn where winds blew incessantly over the Mediterranean. Paul advised the centurion to stay in Crete for the winter but he was ignored.
They set sail and a huge northeaster swept down from the island, catching the ship, and pushing it along. The men had to throw the ship’s cargo and tackle overboard and they drifted for days, losing hope of being saved.
Paul then tells the men to take heart for they will be saved and only the ship and cargo will be lost (he tells them this after he says “I told you so.”). An angel of God stood beside him and told him he and the crew would make it safely to Rome because he had to stand trial, but that they would run aground on some island.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 27, Day 2: Acts 27:1-26
3) Paul was warning the sailors to listen to him because he had been visited by the Angel of the Lord and that he had been given a foresight of what would happen. He was ignored.
4) He tells them that they will live through this crisis because God told them that they would.
5) Personal Question. My answer: God intends for Paul to get to Rome one way or another. The storms give God an opportunity through Paul to predict the future and hopefully get some to believe when it comes true.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 27, Day 2: Acts 27:1-26
Again, we did Acts 27 & 28 in Lesson 31 last go around in one day.
Great lesson for the coronavirus that is affecting most people worldwide. God has got this; we only have to believe.
Why did the men throw the cargo, tackle, and lastly the food overboard? To lighten the ship. A heavy cargo makes the ship sit deeper in the water, which is dangerous in shallow water. So the men threw the cargo overboard so the ship would sit higher in the water in case they were blown near land where their boat would get destroyed on the shallow reefs, rocks, and harbors. If the bottom of the ship ran aground miles from any shore, they faced the prospect of being tossed into the sea. Thus, when you are faced with life or death, everything (even the grain) becomes expendable.
Lightening the ship also stabilizes it in rough seas. If the ship got tossed to one side and became unbalanced, a heavy ship would be more likely to follow the energy and due to inertia (the law where objects in motion want to stay in motion), it would tip over.
Further, throwing cargo overboard makes the ship go faster in case the men wanted to try to outrun the storm.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 27, Day 2: Acts 27:1-26
It was common for Roman soldiers to accompany the transport of criminals, those awaiting trial, and merchant ships filled with grain going from Egypt to Rome.
Aristarchus and Luke (notice the us of verse 2 and beyond) accompanied Paul on this voyage. The favor Paul enjoyed from Julius (as in Acts 27:3) meant he was allowed to take these companions with him.
The ship first sailed to Sidon, where Paul met with Christians and could receive care from them. The Roman commander gave Paul a lot of liberty because he wasn’t a condemned man (yet), but waiting for trial before Caesar. Paul’s godly character and display of Christian love were also helpful in gaining favor.
Paul was different from the other prisoners on board. The other prisoners were probably all condemned criminals being sent to Rome to die in the arena.
The ship was a grain freighter, taking grain grown in Egypt to Italy, but they were meant to be steered by oars, not the wind. As winter approached, the weather became more dangerous for sailing.
2 Corinthians 11:25 tells us that by this time, Paul had already shipwrecked three times. He, like most everyone, knew that sailing in this season was dangerous.
It isn’t a surprise that the centurion had more respect for the opinion of the chief sailor and the owner of the ship than for Paul’s opinion. They both had much to lose if the ship didn’t make it to Rome.
Taking a vote of the crew, they decided to sail on to the harbor of Phoenix. The port at Phoenix was on the same island of Crete and only about 40 miles away. It didn’t seem unreasonable to be able to make it to Phoenix and be spared a miserable winter at Fair Havens.
This wind was feared among ancient sailors for its destructive power. Helpless to navigate with this wind in their face, all they could do is let her drive.
Cables to undergird the ship was a normal emergency measure, helping to prevent the ship from breaking apart in a storm.
The fear of crashing on the Sytris Sands (an infamous wrecking area of ships off the coast of North Africa) made them go with the wind and give up hope of navigating the ship in the storm.
Throwing the ship’s cargo and equipment overboard was obviously a last-ditch attempt to save the ship. After all, these were worth a lot of money back then.
Acts 27:37 tells us there were 276 people on board, both passengers and crew. They had little hope that they would survive.
Showing God in the Midst of Disaster
As a messenger of God, Paul hoped to bring hope to these passengers and crew who had given up all hope. His point wasn’t simply to tell them he was right, but to bring them good news.
This wasn’t a direct appearance of Jesus (as in Jerusalem, Acts 23:11), but of an angel. God’s word came to Paul different ways at different times. God never forgets those who belong to Him and serve Him.
In his strong moments, Paul knew he would make it to Rome because God promised it. Yet in the storm (here, a literal storm) it was easy to doubt and Paul needed the assurance.
This implies that Paul sought God for the safety of everyone on the ship. He already had a promise for his own safety, but that wasn’t enough for Paul. He labored in prayer for the safety and blessing of those with him, believers and not-yet-believers.
Paul encouraged them to take heart just a moment before (Acts 27:22). He repeats the encouragement again, this time in light of the revelation from God. “You have reason to take heart – God has given me assurance of your safety, and I believe God.”
Paul didn’t say, “I believe in God.” Every demon in hell agrees with the existence of God. Paul declared his total confidence in God’s knowledge of his situation and His promise in his situation.
Paul believed God when there was nothing else to believe. He couldn’t believe the sailors, the ship, the sails, the wind, the centurion, human ingenuity or anything else – only God. This was not a fair-weather faith; he believed God in the midst of the storm, when circumstances were at their worst. Paul would say along with Job: Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).
A certain island means that God did not tell Paul everything about what was going to happen. Paul had to trust that God knew which island they would run aground on, even if Paul didn’t know.
God only reveals what we need to know. He’s got the rest.