Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 27:33-44
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 27:33-36
vs33-36: While it was still dark before the first light of morning had arrived, Paul began encouraging everyone on board to eat something. They had gone without nourishment for two weeks, so he said to them, “Today is the fourteenth day you’ve continued without bread, eating nothing, while you wait [for disaster to strike]. Now I exhort you to take nourishment, for this will be the beginning of your salvation (rescue), for not a hair of one of your heads will perish.” After saying this, with everyone watching, he took bread, gave thanks to God, broke it and began to eat. After he did that everyone became joyful and they too began to eat.

Monday: Acts 27:37-39
v37: Then, so we won’t miss the magnitude of what’s taking place, Luke adds, “And we, all who were in the ship, were 276 souls.” In other words, hundreds of lives, of “souls,” were being rescued because of the prayers and leadership provided by Paul. v38: Everyone ate until they were no longer hungry. Then they threw the rest of the wheat into the sea. Apparently the ship owner’s valuable cargo of wheat was the last thing to go overboard, but they had to lighten the ship so it would ride as high as possible in the water. They were hoping to make it over any reefs which may have been lying beneath the surface and to run the ship up onto the shore so everyone could walk out safely. v39: When the daylight grew bright enough to allow them to see the shoreline no one knew where they were, but they did spot a certain inlet that had a stretch of shoreline flat enough to drive the ship onto it. After some intense discussion among themselves, they decided to try.

Tuesday: Acts 27:40
v40: Their plan required as much speed as possible, but they were still dragging four anchors (v29). By now those anchors had surely caught the floor of the sea and were preventing the ship from being swept ashore. Once the decision was made to try to run aground, the sailors didn’t bother to hoist the anchors back on board, they simply unhitched the ropes and left them in the sea. Those anchors had been the only “brakes” they had to slow themselves down, so once they were gone, their only hope was speed and to steer away from the rock walls on one side and massive boulders on the other. To get control of the ship the sailors loosened the leather straps that had been tied to the steering rudders in order to keep them in place while the ship was drifting. Ancient ships often had two steering oars located on either side of the stern. These were usually connected by a wooden yoke (crossbar) so they could be turned in unison. But a sailing ship which has no sail up to catch the wind cannot be steered, it is simply drifting. So they hoisted a small sail located at the front of the ship to catch the wind which was still blowing forcefully at their backs. Then, taking hold of the rudders, they aimed for the shore (W.E. Vine. Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Fleming H. Revell, reprint 1966, p.120).

Wednesday: Acts 27:41
v41: The shoreline Luke describes here fits a place along the northeast coast of Malta. The titles “St. Paul’s Island” and “St. Paul’s Bay” are still used. A small island is located about 100 yards offshore with rock walls that rise straight up from the sea. The shore on the mainland is a combination of rock walls and enormous boulders, but just west of that narrow passage there is a flat shelf of rock. Luke says the sailors aimed the ship into that gap, but before they reached the shore the prow slammed into a reef, struck fast and remained immovable. Meanwhile, powerful waves continued to crash against the back of the ship, tearing it apart.

Thursday: Acts 27:42
v42: They were probably no more than 50 yards offshore, and with the stern breaking to pieces, everyone would have to quickly go over the side and swim for shore or drift in clinging to something that floated. This meant the soldiers would have to remove any chains that had been placed on prisoners, and that worried the soldiers. They envisioned one of them trying to escape by swimming ahead and reaching the shore first. If someone did escape, Roman law would severely punish the soldier responsible, probably by executing him.

Friday: Acts 27:43
v43: But Julius, the centurion in charge of transporting these prisoners to Rome, wanted to spare Paul’s life. He had been kind to Paul since the trip began (Ac 27:3), and after all that had happened over the past two weeks, Paul must have risen even higher in his esteem. Luke does not disclose anything about the centurion’s faith, but it’s not out of the question that Paul had been witnessing to this man along the way. Whatever his reason, Julius forbade his soldiers from killing the prisoners and solved the problem by ordering those soldiers who were able to swim to be the first to jump overboard so they would already be on the beach when the prisoners arrived.

Saturday: Acts 27:44
v44: After that, everyone else on board jumped over the side and made their way to land, with some clinging to planks or loose debris they threw overboard or found floating in the water as the ship was breaking apart. Luke concludes his description of the shipwreck with these words, “And thus, it happened that they all escaped safely onto the land.” In other words, this is how God fulfilled His promise to preserve every life (vs 22-26, 34). 

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