New English Translation
Paul on Malta
28 After we had safely reached shore,[a] we learned that the island was called Malta.[b] 2 The local inhabitants[c] showed us extraordinary[d] kindness, for they built a fire and welcomed us all because it had started to rain[e] and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood[f] and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the local people[g] saw the creature hanging from Paul’s[h] hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself[i] has not allowed him to live!”[j] 5 However,[k] Paul[l] shook[m] the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 But they were expecting that he was going to swell up[n] or suddenly drop dead. So after they had waited[o] a long time and had seen[p] nothing unusual happen[q] to him, they changed their minds[r] and said he was a god.[s]
7 Now in the region around that place[t] were fields belonging to the chief official[u] of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably as guests for three days. 8 The father[v] of Publius lay sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him[w] and after praying, placed[x] his hands on him and healed[y] him. 9 After this had happened, many of the people on the island who were sick[z] also came and were healed.[aa] 10 They also bestowed many honors,[ab] and when we were preparing to sail,[ac] they gave[ad] us all the supplies we needed.[ae]
Paul Finally Reaches Rome
11 After three months we put out to sea[af] in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island and had the “Heavenly Twins”[ag] as its figurehead.[ah] 12 We put in[ai] at Syracuse[aj] and stayed there three days. 13 From there we cast off[ak] and arrived at Rhegium,[al] and after one day a south wind sprang up[am] and on the second day we came to Puteoli.[an] 14 There[ao] we found[ap] some brothers[aq] and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome. 15 The brothers from there,[ar] when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius[as] and Three Taverns[at] to meet us. When he saw them,[au] Paul thanked God and took courage. 16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live[av] by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Paul Addresses the Jewish Community in Rome
17 After three days[aw] Paul[ax] called the local Jewish leaders[ay] together. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers,[az] although I had done[ba] nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors,[bb] from Jerusalem I was handed over as a prisoner to the Romans.[bc] 18 When[bd] they had heard my case,[be] they wanted to release me,[bf] because there was no basis for a death sentence[bg] against me. 19 But when the Jews objected,[bh] I was forced to appeal to Caesar[bi]—not that I had some charge to bring[bj] against my own people.[bk] 20 So for this reason I have asked to see you and speak with you, for I am bound with this chain because of the hope of Israel.”[bl] 21 They replied,[bm] “We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor have any of the brothers come from there[bn] and reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for regarding this sect we know[bo] that people[bp] everywhere speak against[bq] it.”
23 They set[br] a day to meet with him,[bs] and they came to him where he was staying[bt] in even greater numbers.[bu] From morning until evening he explained things[bv] to them,[bw] testifying[bx] about the kingdom of God[by] and trying to convince[bz] them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets. 24 Some were convinced[ca] by what he said,[cb] but others refused[cc] to believe. 25 So they began to leave,[cd] unable to agree among themselves, after Paul made one last statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly to your ancestors[ce] through the prophet Isaiah 26 when he said,
‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing,[cf] but will never understand,
and you will keep on looking,[cg] but will never perceive.
27 For the heart of this people has become dull,[ch]
and their ears are hard of hearing,[ci]
and they have closed their eyes,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn,[cj] and I would heal them.”’[ck]
30 Paul[cq] lived[cr] there two whole years in his own rented quarters[cs] and welcomed[ct] all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God[cu] and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ[cv] with complete boldness[cw] and without restriction.[cx]
- Acts 28:1 tn Grk “We having been brought safely through” [to land] (same verb as 27:44). The word “shore” is implied, and the slight variations in translation from 27:44 have been made to avoid redundancy in English. The participle διασωθέντες (diasōthentes) has been taken temporally.
- Acts 28:1 sn Malta is an island (known by the same name today) in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily. The ship had traveled 625 mi (1,000 km) in the storm.
- Acts 28:2 tn Although this is literally βάρβαροι (barbaroi; “foreigners, barbarians”) used for non-Greek or non-Romans, as BDAG 166 s.v. βάρβαρος 2.b notes, “Of the inhabitants of Malta, who apparently spoke in their native language Ac 28:2, 4 (here β. certainly without derogatory tone…).”
- Acts 28:2 tn BDAG 1019 s.v. τυγχάνω 2.d states, “δυνάμεις οὐ τὰς τυχούσας extraordinary miracles Ac 19:11. Cp. 28:2.”
- Acts 28:2 tn Or “because it was about to rain.” BDAG 418 s.v. ἐφίστημι 4 states, “διὰ τ. ὑετὸν τὸν ἐφεστῶτα because it had begun to rain Ac 28:2…But the mng. here could also be because it threatened to rain (s. 6).”
- Acts 28:3 tn Or “sticks.”
- Acts 28:4 tn Although this is literally βάρβαροι (barbaroi; “foreigners, barbarians”) used for non-Greek or non-Romans, as BDAG 166 s.v. βάρβαρος 2.b notes, “Of the inhabitants of Malta, who apparently spoke in their native language Ac 28:2, 4 (here β. certainly without derogatory tone…).”
- Acts 28:4 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 28:4 tn That is, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live. BDAG 250 s.v. δίκη 2 states, “Justice personified as a deity Ac 28:4”; L&N 12.27, “a goddess who personifies justice in seeking out and punishing the guilty—‘the goddess Justice.’ ἡ δίκη ζῆν οὐκ εἴασεν ‘the goddess Justice would not let him live’ Ac 28:4.” Although a number of modern English translations have rendered δίκη (dikē) “justice,” preferring to use an abstraction, in the original setting it is almost certainly a reference to a pagan deity. In the translation, the noun “justice” was capitalized and the reflexive pronoun “herself” was supplied to make the personification clear. This was considered preferable to supplying a word like ‘goddess’ in connection with δίκη.
- Acts 28:4 sn The entire scene is played out initially as a kind of oracle from the gods resulting in the judgment of a guilty person (Justice herself has not allowed him to live). Paul’s survival of this incident without ill effects thus spoke volumes about his innocence.
- Acts 28:5 tn BDAG 737 s.v. οὖν 4 indicates the particle has an adversative sense here: “but, however.”
- Acts 28:5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 28:5 tn Grk “shaking the creature off…he suffered no harm.” The participle ἀποτινάξας (apotinaxas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:6 tn Or “going to burn with fever.” According to BDAG 814 s.v. πίμπρημι, either meaning (“swell up” or “burn with fever”) is possible for Acts 28:6.
- Acts 28:6 tn The participle προσδοκώντων (prosdokōntōn) has been taken temporally.
- Acts 28:6 tn The participle θεωρούντων (theōrountōn) has been taken temporally.
- Acts 28:6 tn Grk “happening.” The participle γινόμενον (ginomenon) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:6 tn Grk “changing their minds.” The participle μεταβαλόμενοι (metabalomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:6 sn And said he was a god. The reaction is like Acts 14:11-19 where the crowd wanted to make Paul and Barnabas into gods. The providence of God had protected Paul again.
- Acts 28:7 tn BDAG 798 s.v. περί 2.a.γ states, “of nearby places…τὰ περὶ τὸν τὸπον the region around the place Ac 28:7.” The presence of ἐκεῖνον (ekeinon) results in the translation “that place.”
- Acts 28:7 tn That is, the chief Roman official. Several inscriptions have confirmed the use of πρῶτος (prōtos) as an administrative title used on the island of Malta for the highest Roman official. See further BDAG 852 s.v. Πόπλιος.
- Acts 28:8 tn Grk “It happened that the father.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Acts 28:8 tn Grk “to whom Paul going in.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) was replaced by a personal pronoun (“him”) and a new sentence begun here in the translation. The participle εἰσελθών (eiselthōn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:8 tn The participle ἐπιθείς (epitheis) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:8 sn And healed him. Here are healings like Luke 9:40; 10:30; 13:13; Acts 16:23.
- Acts 28:9 tn BDAG 142 s.v. ἀσθένεια 1 states, “ἔχειν ἀ. be ill Ac 28:9.”
- Acts 28:9 sn Many…also came and were healed. Again, here is irony. Paul, though imprisoned, “frees” others of their diseases.
- Acts 28:10 tn Or “they also honored us greatly”; Grk “they also honored us with many honors” (an idiom).
- Acts 28:10 tn BDAG 62 s.v. ἀνάγω 4, “as a nautical t.t. (ἀ. τὴν ναῦν put a ship to sea), mid. or pass. ἀνάγεσθαι to begin to go by boat, put out to sea.” In this case the simpler English “sail” is more appropriate. The English participle “preparing” has also been supplied, since the provisioning of the ship would take place some time before the actual departure.
- Acts 28:10 tn BDAG 384 s.v. ἐπιτίθημι 1.b has “give τινί τι someth. to someone…ἀναγομένοις τὰ πρὸς τὰς χρείας when we sailed they gave us what we needed Ac 28:10.”
- Acts 28:10 sn They gave us all the supplies we needed. What they had lost in the storm and shipwreck was now replaced. Luke describes these pagans very positively.
- Acts 28:11 tn BDAG 62 s.v. ἀνάγω 4, “as a nautical t.t. (ἀ. τὴν ναῦν put a ship to sea), mid. or pass. ἀνάγεσθαι to begin to go by boat, put out to sea.”
- Acts 28:11 tn Or “the ‘Twin Gods’”; Grk “the Dioscuri” (a joint name for the pagan deities Castor and Pollux).sn That had the ‘Heavenly Twins’ as its figurehead. The twin brothers Castor and Pollux, known collectively as the Dioscuri or ‘Heavenly Twins,’ were the twin sons of Zeus and Leda according to Greek mythology. The Alexandrian ship on which Paul and his companions sailed from Malta had a carved emblem or figurehead of these figures, and they would have been the patron deities of the vessel. Castor and Pollux were the “gods of navigation.” To see their stars was considered a good omen (Epictetus, Discourses 2.18.29; Lucian of Samosata, The Ship 9).
- Acts 28:11 tn Or “as its emblem.”
- Acts 28:12 tn Grk “And putting in.” The participle καταχθέντες (katachthentes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. On the meaning of the participle, BDAG 516 s.v. κατάγω states, “Hence the pass., in act. sense, of ships and seafarers put in εἴς τι at a harbor…εἰς Συρακούσας Ac 28:12.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
- Acts 28:12 sn Syracuse was a city on the eastern coast of the island of Sicily. It was 75 mi (120 km) from Malta.
- Acts 28:13 tc A few early mss (א* B Ψ [gig] sa [bo]) read περιελόντες (perielontes, “[From there we] cast off [and arrived at Rhegium]”; cf. Acts 27:40). The other major variant, περιελθόντες (perielthontes, “[we] sailed from place to place”), is found in P74 א2 A 066 1739 M lat sy. Although περιελόντες is minimally attested, it is found in the better witnesses. As well, it is a more difficult reading, for its meaning as a nautical term is uncertain, requiring something like “τὰς ἀγκύρας be supplied = ‘we weighed anchor’” (BDAG 799 s.v. περιαιρέω 1). It thus best explains the rise of the other readings.
- Acts 28:13 sn Rhegium was a city on the southern tip of Italy. It was 80 mi (130 km) from Syracuse.
- Acts 28:13 tn Grk “after one day, a south wind springing up, on the second day.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle ἐπιγενομένου (epigenomenou) has been translated as a clause with a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:13 sn Puteoli was a city on the western coast of Italy south of Rome. It was in the Bay of Naples some 220 mi (350 km) to the north of Rhegium. Here the voyage ended; the rest of the journey was by land.
- Acts 28:14 tn Grk “where.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“where”) has been replaced with the demonstrative pronoun (“there”) and a new sentence begun here in the translation.
- Acts 28:14 tn Grk “finding.” The participle εὑρόντες (heurontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:14 sn That is, some fellow Christians.
- Acts 28:15 sn Mention of Christian brothers from there (Rome) shows that God’s message had already spread as far as Italy and the capital of the empire.
- Acts 28:15 sn The Forum of Appius was a small traveler’s stop on the Appian Way about 43 Roman miles (62 km) south of Rome (BDAG 125 s.v. ᾿Αππίου φόρον). It was described by Horace as “crammed with boatmen and stingy tavernkeepers” (Satires 1.5.3).
- Acts 28:15 sn Three Taverns was a stop on the Appian Way 33 Roman miles (49 km) south of Rome.
- Acts 28:15 tn Grk “whom, when he saw [them], Paul.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) was replaced by the personal pronoun (“them”) and a new sentence begun here in the translation.
- Acts 28:16 tn Or “to stay.”sn Allowed to live by himself. Paul continued to have a generous prison arrangement (cf. Acts 27:3).
- Acts 28:17 tn Grk “It happened that after three days.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Acts 28:17 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 28:17 tn L&N 33.309 has “‘after three days, he called the local Jewish leaders together’ Ac 28:17.”
- Acts 28:17 tn Grk “Men brothers,” but this is both awkward and unnecessary in English.
- Acts 28:17 tn The participle ποιήσας (poiēsas) has been translated as a concessive adverbial participle.
- Acts 28:17 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”sn I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors. Once again Paul claimed to be faithful to the Jewish people and to the God of Israel.
- Acts 28:17 tn Grk “into the hands of the Romans,” but this is redundant when παρεδόθην (paredothēn) has been translated “handed over.”
- Acts 28:18 tn Grk “who when.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“who”) has been replaced by the personal pronoun (“they”) and a new sentence begun at this point in the translation.
- Acts 28:18 tn Or “had questioned me”; or “had examined me.” BDAG 66 s.v. ἀνακρίνω 2 states, “to conduct a judicial hearing, hear a case, question.”
- Acts 28:18 sn They wanted to release me. See Acts 25:23-27.
- Acts 28:18 tn Grk “no basis for death,” but in this context a sentence of death is clearly indicated.
- Acts 28:19 tn That is, objected to my release.
- Acts 28:19 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
- Acts 28:19 tn BDAG 533 s.v. κατηγορέω 1 states, “nearly always as legal t.t.: bring charges in court.” L&N 33.427 states for κατηγορέω, “to bring serious charges or accusations against someone, with the possible connotation of a legal or court context—‘to accuse, to bring charges.’”
- Acts 28:19 tn Or “my own nation.”
- Acts 28:20 sn The hope of Israel. A reference to Israel’s messianic hope. Paul’s preaching was in continuity with this Jewish hope (Acts 1:3; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25).
- Acts 28:21 tn Grk “they said to him.”
- Acts 28:21 tn Or “arrived”; Grk “come” (“from there” is implied). Grk “coming.” The participle παραγενόμενος (paragenomenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:22 tn Grk “regarding this sect it is known to us.” The passive construction “it is known to us” has been converted to an active one to simplify the translation.
- Acts 28:22 tn Grk “that everywhere it is spoken against.” To simplify the translation the passive construction “it is spoken against” has been converted to an active one with the subject “people” supplied.
- Acts 28:22 tn On the term translated “speak against,” see BDAG 89 s.v. ἀντιλέγω 1.
- Acts 28:23 tn Grk “Having set.” The participle ταξάμενοι (taxamenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 28:23 tn Grk “Having set a day with him”; the words “to meet” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
- Acts 28:23 tn Or “came to him in his rented quarters.”
- Acts 28:23 tn BDAG 848 s.v. πολύς 1.b.β.ב states, “(even) more πλείονες in even greater numbers Ac 28:23.”
- Acts 28:23 tn The word “things” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
- Acts 28:23 tn Grk “to whom he explained.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been replaced by the pronoun (“them”) and a new sentence begun at this point in the translation.
- Acts 28:23 tn BDAG 233 s.v. διαμαρτύρομαι 1 has “to make a solemn declaration about the truth of someth. testify of, bear witness to (orig. under oath)…God’s kingdom 28:23.”
- Acts 28:23 sn Testifying about the kingdom of God. The topic is important. Paul’s preaching was about the rule of God and his promise in Jesus. Paul’s text was the Jewish scriptures. This is yet another summary of the message like that in 18:28. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching (along with Paul’s teaching here) has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself. See also Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21; Acts 1:3.
- Acts 28:23 tn Or “persuade.”
- Acts 28:24 tn Or “persuaded.”
- Acts 28:24 tn Grk “by the things spoken.”
- Acts 28:24 sn Some were convinced…but others refused to believe. Once again the gospel caused division among Jews, as in earlier chapters of Acts (13:46; 18:6).
- Acts 28:25 tn The imperfect verb ἀπελύοντο (apeluonto) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.
- Acts 28:25 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”
- Acts 28:26 tn Grk “you will hear with hearing” (an idiom).
- Acts 28:26 tn Or “seeing”; Grk “you will look by looking” (an idiom).
- Acts 28:27 tn Or “insensitive.”sn The heart of this people has become dull. The charge from Isaiah is like Stephen’s against the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 7:51-53). They were a hard-hearted and disobedient people.
- Acts 28:27 tn Grk “they hear heavily with their ears” (an idiom for slow comprehension).
- Acts 28:27 sn Note how the failure to respond to the message of the gospel is seen as a failure to turn.
- Acts 28:27 sn A quotation from Isa 6:9-10.
- Acts 28:28 tn Grk “Therefore let it be known to you.”
- Acts 28:28 tn Or “of God.”
- Acts 28:28 sn The term Gentiles is in emphatic position in the Greek text of this clause. Once again there is the pattern: Jewish rejection of the gospel leads to an emphasis on Gentile inclusion (Acts 13:44-47).
- Acts 28:28 tn Grk “they also.”
- Acts 28:28 tc Some later mss include 28:29: “When he had said these things, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.” Verse 29 is lacking in P74vid א A B E Ψ 048 33 81 1175 1739 2464 and a number of versions. They are included (with a few minor variations) in M it and some versions. This verse is almost certainly not a part of the original text of Acts, as it lacks the best credentials. The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.
- Acts 28:30 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 28:30 tn Or “stayed.”
- Acts 28:30 tn Or perhaps, “two whole years at his own expense.” BDAG 654 s.v. μίσθωμα states, “the customary act. mng. ‘contract price, rent’…is not found in our lit. (Ac) and the pass. what is rented, a rented house is a mng. not found outside it (even Ammonius Gramm. [100 ad] p. 93 Valck. knows nothing of it. Hence the transl. at his own expense [NRSV] merits attention) ἐν ἰδίῳ μισθώματι in his own rented lodgings Ac 28:30 (for the idea cf. Jos., Ant. 18, 235).”
- Acts 28:30 tn Or “and received.”
- Acts 28:31 sn See the note on the kingdom of God in v. 23.
- Acts 28:31 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
- Acts 28:31 tn Or “openness.”
- Acts 28:31 sn Proclaiming…with complete boldness and without restriction. Once again Paul’s imprisonment is on benevolent terms. The word of God is proclaimed triumphantly and boldly in Rome. Acts ends with this note: Despite all the attempts to stop it, the message goes forth.