Acts 27

Soldiers take Paul to Rome

1 Some time after that, Festus decided that we should sail to Italy. So he ordered a soldier called Julius to guard Paul and some other prisoners. Julius was an officer in the Roman army. He had authority over 100 soldiers in a group called ‘The Emperor Augustus Group’.

27:1Luke was with Paul on this journey.

2 We went on to a ship that had come from Adramyttium. This ship was ready to leave. It would sail to the towns on the coast of Asia region. A man called Aristarchus also sailed with us. He came from a city in Macedonia called Thessalonica.

3 The next day after we left Caesarea, we arrived at Sidon. Julius was kind to Paul. He said, ‘Paul, you can go and visit your friends here. They can give you anything that you need.’ 4 Then we sailed out across the sea again. But the wind was blowing against our ship. So we sailed round the island called Cyprus. We sailed on the side of the island where the wind was not strong. 5 When we were near to Cilicia and Pamphylia, we sailed straight across the sea. Then we arrived at Myra, in the region called Lycia. 6 The Roman officer found another ship there. It had sailed from Alexandria and it would sail to Italy. So the officer put us on this ship. 7 We sailed slowly for several days. It was difficult to sail, but after some time we arrived near the town called Cnidus. Because of the strong wind, we could not continue to sail in that direction. So we sailed along the side of the island called Crete, where the wind was not strong. We sailed past the point of land called Salmone. 8 It was still difficult to sail, so we sailed close to the coast. Then we arrived at a place called ‘Safe Port’. This port was near to the town called Lasea.

9 We remained there for many days. By then it had become dangerous to continue the journey. It was already after the Day of Atonement.

27:9If all this happened in the year AD 59, the Day of Atonement was on 5th October that year. It was dangerous to go by boat after the beginning of October. The winds were very strong. The Day of Atonement was a special day when the Jews asked God to forgive them.

So Paul spoke to the army officer and to the sailors. 10 He said, ‘Friends, I understand that now our journey will be dangerous. The ship may break in pieces. You may lose the things that the ship is carrying. All of us may even die.’ 11 But the army officer did not believe what Paul said. Instead, he decided to do what the owner of the ship and the captain said.

27:11The owner was the man who bought the ship. The captain had authority on the ship to sail it and to order the sailors.

12 This port was not a good place for a ship to remain during the winter. Most of the men on the ship wanted to continue the journey. They wanted to sail as far as Phoenix, if they could get there. They could stay there for the winter. Phoenix was a port on the island called Crete. It was open to the sea both to the south-west and to the north-west.

27:12South-west means in a direction between south and west. North-west means in a direction between north and west.

The ship is in a storm

13 The wind began to blow from the south, but it was not strong. So the sailors thought, ‘Now we can do what we wanted to do. We can sail to Phoenix.’ So they pulled up the ship's anchor and left the port. Then we sailed as close as we could to the coast of Crete.

27:13An anchor is a heavy, metal weight. People used it to stop a ship moving in the water.

14 But soon a very strong wind began to blow. This wind blew from the north-east and it blew strongly across the island. 15 The wind blew strongly against the ship. It was not possible for the sailors to sail the ship straight into the wind. So they did not try to do that any more. Instead, they let the wind blow the ship along. 16 After that, we passed the south end of a small island called Cauda. Here we found a place where the wind did not blow so strongly. The sailors lifted the ship's small boat out of the water to make it safe. 17 They tied it on the ship with ropes. Then they tied some more ropes under the ship so that it would not break in pieces. The men were afraid of what might happen. There were some places along the coast of Libya where the water was not very deep. The ship might hit one of these places and then it might break. So they took the ship's largest sail down. Then they let the wind blow the ship along. 18 The strong storm continued to blow against the ship. The ship was carrying many things. So the next day, the sailors threw some of these things into the sea. 19 The day after that, they took hold of the sails and ropes and they threw them into the sea. 20 For many days, we did not see the sun or any stars. The storm continued to blow strongly. So then we thought, ‘It is not possible for us to remain alive.’

27:20At that time, sailors looked at the sun and the stars. Then they knew where they were.

21 The men on the ship had not eaten any food for a long time. So Paul stood in front of them and he said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me! We should not have sailed away from Crete. If we had not left there, the ship and everything on it would still be safe. 22 Now I ask you, please be brave. The storm will completely destroy the ship, but not one of you will die. 23 Last night one of God's angels spoke to me. I am a servant of God and I belong to him. He sent his angel to come to me. 24 The angel said, “Paul, do not be afraid. You must go to Rome and Caesar will judge you there. Because of you, God will be kind to all the people on the ship with you. None of them will die.” 25 Because of the angel's message, I say to you, “Be brave, my friends!” I trust God. I know that everything will happen in the way that the angel told me. 26 But the wind will blow the ship so that we hit an island.’

27 The storm had continued for 14 days and nights. The strong wind was blowing the ship across the Mediterranean Sea. About midnight, the sailors thought that we were near to the land. 28 So they used a rope to measure how deep the water was. They saw that the water was nearly 40 metres deep. A short time later they did this again. This time the water was only 30 metres deep. 29 The sailors were afraid that the ship would hit some rocks. So they dropped four anchors on ropes from the back of the ship into the sea.

27:29An anchor is a heavy, metal weight that stops a ship moving in the water. They did this to keep the ship in one place.

After that, they prayed that dawn would come soon. 30 Some of the sailors tried to leave the ship. They put the little boat into the sea. They tried to go away secretly. They said, ‘We are going to the front of the ship to put some more anchors down into the sea.’ But that was not true. 31 Paul said to the army officer and to the soldiers, ‘These sailors must stay on the ship. If they do not stay, you will not be safe. You will die.’ 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the small boat to the ship. The small boat fell into the water and the wind blew it away by itself.

33 Now it was almost dawn. Paul said to everyone, ‘Please eat some food. You have now waited for 14 days for the storm to stop. You did not know what would happen. You have not eaten anything during all that time. 34 You must eat some food now. Then you will be strong enough to get to the shore safely. None of you will die. You will not even lose one hair from your head.’

35 After Paul said this, he took some bread in his hands. He stood in front of them all and he thanked God for the bread. Then he broke the bread into pieces and he began to eat it. 36 Everyone became less afraid and we all ate some food. 37 There were 276 people on the ship. 38 After everyone had eaten enough, the sailors threw bags of wheat off the ship into the sea. Then the ship was not so heavy.

27:38Wheat is a plant. People use wheat to make bread. But this wheat was not food for the sailors. The ship was carrying the wheat to Rome.

The sea completely destroys the ship

39 In the morning, the ship was close to some land, but the sailors did not recognise the place. They saw a place on the shore where the water was quieter. There was a lot of sand there. They wanted to drive the ship on to the sand. 40 So the sailors cut the ropes which had the anchors on them. They left the anchors there in the sea. They also removed the ropes which had tied the rudders. Then they raised the sail at the front of the ship. Now the wind could blow the ship straight towards the shore. 41 But there was a place in the sea where the water was not deep. The ship sailed on to the sand in this place and it stayed there. The front of the ship pushed into the sand and it could not move. The sea was very strong and it hit against the back of the ship. As a result, the back of the ship broke into pieces.

42 The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners that they were guarding. They did not want these men to swim to the land. They could run away and be free. 43 But the army officer wanted to save Paul. So he ordered the soldiers not to kill the men. Instead he said, ‘Everyone who can swim, jump into the water first. Then swim to the shore. 44 You other people must follow them. Hold on to pieces of wood, or pieces of the ship.’

In this way all of us got safely out of the sea and we arrived on the land.