The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 27

Paul sailing toward Rome, 1-9, foretells of the danger of the voyage, 10, but is not believed, 11-13. They are tossed to and fro by the tempest, 14-40; and suffer shipwreck, 41-43; yet all come safe to land 44.

1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. 2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us. 3 And the next day, we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously treated Paul and gave him liberty to go to his friends to refresh himself. 4 And when we had launched from there, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Mira, a city of Lycia. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy and he put us therein. 7 And when we had sailed slowly many days and with difficulty had come over against Cnidus, the wind not allowing us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone, 8 And hardly passing it, came to a place which is called The Fair Havens, near to which was the city of Lasea.

9 Now when much time was spent and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 10 And said to them, "Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives." 11 Nevertheless, the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship more than the things which were spoken by Paul. 12 And because the haven was not suitable to winter in, the greater part advised to depart from there also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice and winter there, which is a haven of Crete looking toward the southwest and northwest.

13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they raised the anchor and sailed close by Crete.

14 But not long after, there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under the sheltered side of a small island which is called Clauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat. 17 And when they hoisted it up, they used ropes to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would fall into the quicksands, they struck sail and were thus driven. 18 And as we labored exceedingly with the storm, on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 And on the third day, we cast out the tackling of the ship with our own hands. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

21 But after long abstinence, Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, "Sirs, you should have listened to me and not set sail from Crete and gained this harm and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve, 24 Saying, 'Do not fear, Paul. You must be brought before Caesar. And behold, God has given you all those who sail with you.' 25 Therefore, sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God that it will be even as it was told to me. 26 But we must be cast upon a certain island."

27 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they drew near to some country. 28 They sounded and found it twenty fathoms. And when they had gone a little further, they sounded again and found it fifteen fathoms. 29 Then fearing, lest we should fall upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern and wished for the day. 30 And as the sailors were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea under color as though they would cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, "Unless these abide in the ship, you cannot be saved." 32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat and let her fall off.

33 And while the day was coming on, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, "This day is the fourteenth day that you have waited and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore, I pray you to take some food, for this is for your health. For there shall not a hair fall from the head of any of you." 35 And when he had said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in presence of them all. And when he had broken it, he began to eat. 36 Then they were all of good cheer and they also took food. 37 In all, we were two hundred and seventy-six souls on the ship. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and cast the wheat into the sea.

39 And when it was day, they did not know the land. But they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into which they purposed, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. 40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea, loosened the rudder ropes, hoisted the mainsail to the wind, and made toward the shore. 41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground. And the forepart stuck firmly and remained immovable, but the back part was broken with the violence of the waves. 42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out and escape. 43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose and commanded that those who could swim should cast themselves first into the sea and get to land, 44 And the rest, some on boards and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they all escaped safely to land.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Acts, Chapter 27[➚]


[v.13] - "raised the anchor" - The nautical term used here is "weighed" the anchor.

[v.16] - WBS/KJV: "And running under a certain island..." ASV: "And running under the lee of a small island..." The ASV gives a better understanding of what is going on in this story. To run under the lee of an island is to pass close to an island on the sheltered side. On the sheltered side of an island, the waves and wind would be more favorable.