Paul Sails for Rome
27 It was decided that we would sail for Italy. An army officer named Julius, who served in the emperor’s special army, was put in charge of guarding Paul and some other prisoners on the trip. 2 We got on a ship from the city of Adramyttium that was ready to sail to different places in Asia. Aristarchus, a man from Thessalonica in Macedonia, went with us.
3 The next day we came to the city of Sidon. Julius was very good to Paul and gave him freedom to go visit his friends there, who gave him whatever he needed. 4 We left that city and sailed close to the island of Cyprus because the wind was blowing against us. 5 We went across the sea by Cilicia and Pamphylia. Then we came to the city of Myra in Lycia. 6 There the army officer found a ship from the city of Alexandria that was going to Italy. So he put us on it.
7 We sailed slowly for many days. It was hard for us to reach the city of Cnidus because the wind was blowing against us. We could not go any farther that way, so we sailed by the south side of the island of Crete near Salmone. 8 We sailed along the coast, but the sailing was hard. Then we came to a place called Safe Harbors, near the city of Lasea.
9 We had lost much time, and it was now dangerous to sail, because it was already after the Jewish day of fasting.[a] So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that there will be a lot of trouble on this trip. The ship, everything in it, and even our lives may be lost!” 11 But the captain and the owner of the ship did not agree with Paul. So the army officer accepted what they said instead of believing Paul. 12 Also, that harbor was not a good place for the ship to stay for the winter, so most of the men decided that we should leave there. They hoped we could reach Phoenix, where the ship could stay for the winter. Phoenix was a city on the island of Crete. It had a harbor that faced southwest and northwest.
13 Then a good wind began to blow from the south. The men on the ship thought, “This is the wind we wanted, and now we have it!” So they pulled up the anchor. We sailed very close to the island of Crete. 14 But then a very strong wind called the “Northeaster” came from across the island. 15 This wind took the ship and carried it away. The ship could not sail against the wind, so we stopped trying and let the wind blow us.
16 We went below a small island named Cauda. With the island protecting us from the wind, we were able to bring in the lifeboat, but it was very hard to do. 17 After the men brought the lifeboat in, they tied ropes around the ship to hold it together. The men were afraid that the ship would hit the sandbanks of Syrtis. So they lowered the sail and let the wind carry the ship.
18 The next day the storm was blowing against us so hard that the men threw some things out of the ship.[b] 19 A day later they threw out the ship’s equipment. 20 For many days we could not see the sun or the stars. The storm was very bad. We lost all hope of staying alive—we thought we would die.
21 The men did not eat for a long time. Then one day Paul stood up before them and said, “Men, I told you not to leave Crete. You should have listened to me. Then you would not have all this trouble and loss. 22 But now I tell you to be happy. None of you will die, but the ship will be lost. 23 Last night an angel came to me from God—the God I worship and belong to. 24 The angel said, ‘Paul, don’t be afraid! You must stand before Caesar. And God has given you this promise: He will save the lives of all those sailing with you.’ 25 So men, there is nothing to worry about. I trust God, and I am sure everything will happen just as his angel told me. 26 But we will crash on an island.”
27 On the fourteenth night we were still being blown around in the Adriatic Sea. The sailors thought we were close to land. 28 They threw a rope into the water with a weight on the end of it. They found that the water was 120 feet[c] deep. They went a little farther and threw the rope in again. It was 90 feet[d] deep. 29 The sailors were afraid that we would hit the rocks, so they threw four anchors into the water. Then they prayed for daylight to come. 30 Some of the sailors wanted to leave the ship, and they lowered the lifeboat to the water. They wanted the other men to think that they were throwing more anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul told the army officer and the other soldiers, “If these men do not stay in the ship, you will lose all hope of survival.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes and let the lifeboat fall into the water.
33 Just before dawn Paul began persuading all the people to eat something. He said, “For the past two weeks you have been waiting and watching. You have not eaten for 14 days. 34 Now I beg you to eat something. You need it to stay alive. None of you will lose even one hair off your heads.” 35 After he said this, Paul took some bread and thanked God for it before all of them. He broke off a piece and began eating. 36 All the men felt better and started eating too. 37 (There were 276 people on the ship.) 38 We ate all we wanted. Then we began making the ship lighter by throwing the grain into the sea.
The Ship Is Destroyed
39 When daylight came, the sailors saw land, but they did not know what land it was. They saw a bay with a beach and wanted to sail the ship to the beach if they could. 40 So they cut the ropes to the anchors and left the anchors in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that were holding the rudders. Then they raised the front sail into the wind and sailed toward the beach. 41 But the ship hit a sandbank. The front of the ship stuck there and could not move. Then the big waves began to break the back of the ship to pieces.
42 The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so that none of the prisoners could swim away and escape. 43 But Julius the army officer wanted to let Paul live. So he did not allow the soldiers to kill the prisoners. He told the people who could swim to jump into the water and swim to land. 44 The others used wooden boards or pieces of the ship. And this is how all the people went safely to land.
- Acts 27:9 day of fasting The Day of Atonement, an important Jewish holy day in the fall of the year. This was the time of year that bad storms happened on the sea.
- Acts 27:18 threw some things … ship The men did this to make the ship lighter so that it would not sink easily.
- Acts 27:28 120 feet Literally, “20 fathoms,” about 40 meters.
- Acts 27:28 90 feet Literally, “15 fathoms,” about 30 meters.