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27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. 28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off. 33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. 37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship. 38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea. 39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 40 And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves. 42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.  

 

The final verses of Acts 27 show how those on the ship were saved (Acts 27:27-44). 

27:27 

Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. 

The ship drifted across the Adriatic Sea for 14 days. This Adriatic Sea is not what we now call the Adriatic but a body of water toward the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. About midnight, the sailors sensed that they were near an island.  

27:28 

And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 

Drifting nearer to land, the sailors measured the depth of the sea first at 20 fathoms, then at 15 fathoms. A “fathom” is about six feet. The measurement indicated they were getting closer to land.  

27:29 

Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. 

Fearing they would run aground on rocks, they dropped four anchors while waiting for dawn.  

27:30 

And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow, 

The sailors panicked and started to abandon the ship in a skiff.  

27:31 

Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 

Paul warned the centurion that they could be saved only if the men stayed on the ship.  

27:32 

Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off. 

Before the sailors could abandon the ship, the soldiers cut the ropes off the skiff, and it drifted away.  

27:33 

And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 

Paul encouraged the group to eat to gain strength for what would come.  

27:34 

Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 

The group needed to eat to survive. The apostle assured the group again that they would not face physical death.  

27:35 

And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 

After taking bread, Paul thanked God before everyone and began to eat.  

27:36 

Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. 

Everyone took courage after Paul set the example of eating and trusting God for deliverance.  

27:37 

And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship. 

The number on the doomed ship was 276 people.  

27:38 

So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea. 

After eating, they threw the wheat overboard to lighten the ship so that it could go closer to land through shallower waters.  

27:39 

When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 

Verses 39-44 tell of the shipwreck on Malta 

27:40 

And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. 

The sailors lifted anchors so that the ship could move closer to shore.  

27:41 

But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves. 

The ship ran aground and began to break up under violent waves.  

27:42 

And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 

After the failure to ground the ship on shore, the soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent their escape. Under Roman law, if a prisoner escaped from a soldier, the soldier himself would be disciplined.  

27:43 

But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 

The centurion assured the soldiers that everyone would make it to shore. They did not need to fear that the prisoners would escape. His purpose in this statement was to “save Paul.”  

27:44 

and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.  

Everyone escaped to land by swimming and using parts of the ship as flotation.  

PRINCIPLE: 

God sovereignly cares for Christians in peril.  

APPLICATION: 

The purpose of the shipwreck account was to show God’s sovereign protection and direction in the life of Paul. God had a purpose for him in going to Rome. The possible purpose was to extend his ministry to the Gentiles.  

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