Acts 27:21-44 (web)

A Prophetic Shipwreck - Part II

27:21 When they had been long without food, Paul stood up in the middle of them, 
and said, "Sirs, you should have listened to me,
and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss. 
27:22 Now I exhort you to cheer up,
for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship
27:23 For there stood by me this night an angel, 
belonging to the God whose I am and whom I serve, 
27:24 saying, 'Don't be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. 
Behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.' 
27:25 Therefore, sirs, cheer up!
For I believe God, that it will be just as it has been spoken to me. 
27:26 But we must run aground on a certain island." 

27:27 But when the fourteenth night had come, 
as we were driven back and forth in the Adriatic Sea, 
about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some land. 
27:28 They took soundings, and found twenty fathoms.
{20 fathoms = 120 feet = 36.6 meters} 
After a little while, they took soundings again, and found fifteen fathoms.
{15 fathoms = 90 feet = 27.4 meters}
27:29 Fearing that we would run aground on rocky ground,
they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for daylight. 
27:30 As the sailors were trying to flee out of the ship,
and had lowered the boat into the sea,
pretending that they would lay out anchors from the bow, 
27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, 
"Unless these stay in the ship, you can't be saved." 
27:32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it fall off. 

27:33 While the day was coming on, Paul begged them all to take some food, saying, 
"This day is the fourteenth day that you wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing. 
27:34 Therefore I beg you to take some food, for this is for your safety;
for not a hair will perish from any of your heads.
27:35 When he had said this, and had taken bread,
he gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it, and began to eat. 
27:36 Then they all cheered up, and they also took food. 
27:37 In all, we were two hundred seventy-six souls on the ship. 
27:38 When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship,
throwing out the wheat into the sea. 

27:39 When it was day, they didn't recognize the land, 
but they noticed a certain bay with a beach, 
and they decided to try to drive the ship onto it. 
27:40 Casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, 
at the same time untying the rudder ropes. 
Hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 
27:41 But coming to a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground.
The bow struck and remained immovable, 
but the stern began to break up by the violence of the waves. 

27:42 The soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, 
so that none of them would swim out and escape. 
27:43 But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stopped them from their purpose, 
and commanded that those who could swim 
should throw themselves overboard first to go toward the land; 
27:44 and the rest should follow, some on planks,
and some on other things from the ship. 
So it happened that they all escaped safely to the land. 


vs 21 "See I told you so!" Too often this is said by those who simply guess right, but here Paul points to his prophetic visions so as to help to lead these men to faith. For now I'm sure they took his word more seriously. Wise men can learn from other people's experience. But others learn from their own experience and by doing so gain wisdom.

vs 24 "God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you" There seems a principle that unbelievers can benefit just by associating with believers.  For example in the case of marriage to an unbeliever it is written, "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband:"1Cor 7:14 And in the Old Testament there are many examples such as the fact that the city of Sodom and Gomorrah would have been saved from destruction if but 10 righteous men dwelt there. And similarly those groups and even whole nations who persecute and try to eliminate the children of God from among them doom themselves to destruction. And is it by coincidence that it has been primarily "Christian" nations which have become the most prosperous? Though seldom acknowledged, the world would be a much worse place if it wasn't for the presence of Christians who go about the Lord's work.

Pr 13:20 "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: 
but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

vs 27-31 "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved." Here again we see that Biblical prophecy is non-fatalistic. The Calvinistic puppet theology doesn't reflect the way the Bible deals with God's sovereignty. Cooperation is involved in the fulfillment of prophecy as it is also involved in one coming to saving faith in Christ. Paul prophecied that they would all be saved. Of course I'm referring to salvation from drowning. But now he places conditions upon their salvation. This is a test of faith. To be saved they must act upon their faith. Let us allegorize this:

The men in the boat are as one person. They receive the word of God from Paul. But there are doubts represented by the sailors trying to escape. To be saved a person must act upon their faith, cutting away their doubts and burn their bridges. Jesus must not be viewed simply as another way to be saved, but rather as the only way.

vs 33-38 In the midst of seeking God's salvation there is relief even in the midst of such trouble. I am reminded of David after returning from battle to find his army's families taken captive.

1Sa 30:6  And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
And of course by faith all was shortly restored. In the midst of trouble let us encourage ourselves in the Lord being reminded of our ultimate destiny. 

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022