Acts 27 – The Storm

Paul and his companions were booked as passengers on a grain ship bound for Rome.  There was no such thing as a passenger ship, so this was a commercial vessel and Paul’s passage was likely commandeered by the Romans (Dunn, Beginning form Jerusalem, 995).  It is possible these was a financial bonus for delivering grain to Rome before the end of the sailing season, explaining why the captain attempted to sail so late in the season.  Acts 27:9 tells us that they did not sail until after the Day of Atonement (“the Fast”), which is late September, early October.  Paul advises they not sail until spring, since after mid-November sailing to Rome would be impossible.

Ancient boats were not built to handle sailing into the wind, and the sailors try to keep the ship together during the storm.  Verse 17 describes the lashing of ropes to hold the ship in one piece, it is difficult to know how they did this. The area to the south of Crete was a kind of “Bermuda Triangle,” a part of the sea feared by the sailors.  They were in no real danger of going that far south, but they knew that the sandbars were dangerous.  Cargo is tossed overboard, then the extra equipment.  This was done to lighten the load (although one wonders if the extra weight would keep them from being overturned).  The clouds are so thick that they cannot make a sighting on stars or the sun, so they have no way of knowing which way the are headed.  The sailors become despondent, thinking they are not going to survive.

Paul speaks again and tells the captain that he has been told “by an angel” that they will all survive.  There is a bit of “I told you so” in his speech, but it is not an angry condemnation either.  Paul  knew what he was talking about in the first place, and now his knowledge was based on something more that sailing skill, it was based on divine revelation!

Paul encourages them, and tells them that he knows from an angel of God that they will survive, even though the ship will be destroyed.  Why an angel?  In other cases, the Lord simply speaks directly to Paul.  This is likely an accommodation to the Roman sailors who would have no idea who “The Lord” is, or respect his revelation over their own superstitions and beliefs.  An angel can be taken as a “divine messenger” here.

Paul’s message (verses 23-25) is that they will all survive because the God he serves has told him so. This speech is a remarkable statement of faith:  It is the God whom Paul belongs that will save the people on the ship.  The God Paul worships is the God who is in divine control of these events.  Paul is once again promised that he will stand trial before Caesar despite the fact that the ship will run aground.  No one will be lost even if the ship is destroyed.

42 thoughts on “Acts 27 – The Storm

  1. I love this narrative. When I read Acts, sometimes I skip to this part. I have to admit though, it’s interesting to read it in the context of the entire book. Although most of the book is narrative, this just seems especially riveting. This section is also a lot like Luke, where towards the end of the book the actions seems to happen a lot faster, leading to the climax.

    It’s also interesting to put this story in historical context and say that there were no commercial ships at the time, just shipments of goods. It puts a whole different perspective on the events of the shipwreck, especially because those on the ship were expert crewmen, not just average travelers with no concept of sailing. Even though they were professionals, God was more powerful… although it doesn’t take much.

    • Good point, not many people knew about sailing – but Paul had been on merchant ships often. He probably knew more about sailing than any of the rest of the passengers and apparently more than the Centurion!

    • Very interesting points Joe. I especially liked how you mentioned how God was more powerful in this situation and that is not hard to believe since He is God. This story made me think about Jonah when he told the sailors to throw him overboard. Although Jonah did not talk to God in that story he still knew God would save the crew and the ship from wrecking just like Paul did. Do you think God uses similar stories throughout the Bible to show He is real? This is not the only two stories found in the Bible that deal with a ship in a storm. mean, what are the chances of all these huge storms occurring where all the sailors lost hope but they make it out? Pretty small.
      I also liked how you mentioned that this story is exciting and leads to a climax. I think this is key because although the Bible is for Christians to learn about God and figure out how to follow Him, I believe God wanted us to be excited about reading it. At times, it is easy to think God is this powerful ruler who does not care about His people and their happiness. This is far from the truth. God longs for us to be happy and excited in all areas of life, including when we read our Bible.

  2. I like where you talk about the “angel” being known to the Roman’s and sailors as a divine messenger. It’s like you already addressed, if Paul were to tell them that God told him that they would be ok, it probably wouldn’t give them much comfort because they do not know who this God fellow is. Paul, as he has done in the past, uses language that the sailors would understand. It is possible that the sailors would have taken Paul’s words as being a message from Hermes/Mercury seeing as he was the messenger/trade god. Could it be that Paul’s intent, although very mission oriented, could have been in part, spoken to keep the morale high and the sailors fighting for their lives lest they give up and die?

    • Probably, he presents a positive message and makes it clear that his God is going to keep them safe, but he also explains it in a way a Roman is going to understand without too much trouble. I suppose we could be cynical and say Paul was playing the Roman for more time to avoid execution, but that is likely not the case.

      • I agree with Jason in this post. It is really smart of Paul to say that an angel had come to him and that may be the actual event that happened. God uses all kinds of ways to communicate with his people. It would make sense like Jason said to send an angel so that the Roman’s would not misinterpret which God Paul was refering to in this situation. They believe in multiple gods in the Roman culture and I know from history, from fine arts and from the scripture that beings like angels were more tangible things for the Roman’s to understand that it was the God of Israel knowing that no other god in the Roman belief system had angels, I think..

  3. The part of this story that I love is in the ways that God accommodates to the needs of Paul and the sailors. He sends an angel to speak to Paul for divine reassurance for him, and also to speak to the sailors. I like what Jason says about how Paul speaks in a way that all involved will understand. Despite the turmoil and chaos surrounding him, he had the faith that his God would deliver them from the intense storm. This is made clear through his dialogue with the sailors as well.

    I think this is a story that we often read as encouraging and go on wishing that we had the same faith of Paul. At some level we allow a story like this to be looked at as just a story of faith from the life of Paul and don’t allow the truth of scripture to apply to our own lives. It’s easy to say we want or will have this type of faith in the midst of life’s storms, but is it really ever lived out? Paul had this faith and understanding of God because he lived a life that required this level of faith. I believe that’s where the story applies to our lives.

  4. Here we find a good example of Luke’s writing ability. Luke was a great writer and we see this in this passage. Paul has a confidence about the storm that is tossing him around. God has communicated to Paul that he will be alright even though the situation looks grim. Paul tells the captain that things will be ok, but the captain is thinking about his boat and ability to sail it in a storm of this volume. I like what Dave says about this being a story of faith. We see a literal example of having faith through the storm, and yet sometimes fail to believe that we can have such faith. Paul was faced with death but if God said he would be ok, then he would be.

  5. When I read this story and your view on it, I totally see this story as almost a Three Stooges act. The fact that they set sail in fall instead of spring, that they sailed into the wind though the ship was not built for that, and that they lightened the load though it is possible that the cargo may have kept them from tipping over just makes me see this as totally comical. I picture the sailors running around the ship and throwing stuff off the side (maybe even a person) and colliding with each other as the frantically run about. It seems to me that Paul is the only voice of reason on the ship. He trusts God and knows that they will be safe. At the same time, it must have been very frightening to know that they were going to be in a shipwreck. I was in a hurricane this summer, and even though I knew God was going to protect me, I was still scared waiting for it to come. I can totally relate to the feeling of anticipation yet peace.

    • I suppose there is some humor, but I thought it was more about the providence of God, he is looking out for Paul and ensuring that he gets to Rome (which was the plan all along). There might be a comedy of errors, but it is not slapstick!

  6. I always find this section of Acts interesting. I think it is just another amazing example of God’s faithfulness and control. It also exemplifies Paul’s strength and willingness to surrender and have faith. He knows that there is nothing he, nor anyone else, can do and God said that they would all stay safe, so what is there to worry about? Although, I had never really thought much about the angel before. I had always assumed it was actually an angel, but the idea that it really was the Lord and Paul said angel in order to relate to the other sailors makes sense. Also an effective way of reaching the people with the Gospel–you have to share things with them in ways and using terms that they would understand and have no question about.

  7. This story is a nice reminder that at the end of the day God is in Control.

    This is a Cargo that has 276 people on it, how big was this thing.

    Another part that I find interesting is that if the Roman Centurion was not so loyal to his orders and let the soldiers have there way, Paul’s life would have ended differently.

    I also wonder and try to picture what the guys on the ship thought of Paul, at first they would have called him a religious Jesus Freak, who then achieve some credibility for being right, and is encouraging and feeding people.

  8. I like how Stefan put it about the end of the day. I will admit this is probably the first time I have ever read this passage before, even though I have been taught it in Sunday School and Youth Group before, I tend to not read things that I feel like I already know about, or that I am getting taught over and over again. But it is interesting how when it is studied, there are so many different things in one passage. Like the Centurion, God must have touched his heart if he had kindness for Paul at the beginning and allowing him to go see friends, considering how known and wanted Paul was for his teachings. The Lord does work in awesome and interesting ways. I always think that there is so much we can learn from Paul, even in passages where he is not the main thing, Like Jessica said before, this passage shows off Luke’s writing abilities and his variety. I wonder if he was on the ship? Maybe that is a stupid question…it does say we in the passages though so I am deciding he must have been.

  9. I have to agree that this account is a huge testimony to Paul’s faith. I understand this story indeed as a reflection of Jesus because it seems that Paul keeps so calm amidst the chaos. The disciples accused Jesus of this seemingly apathetic attitude amidst the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Mark records Jesus sleeping and the disciples waking him in a panic asking, “don’t you care if we drown?!” And Paul is able to carry this same peace because God has promised him that not one life will be lost. It is faith, more specifically trust, and I think that this trust is formed in the small moments and the small concerns of life. I too hope that I can respond in chaos like Paul did so many times.

  10. This is an awesome story of how amazing God is. I find it very interesting that you point out that Paul told them it was an angel. I like that you say it is because they would not understand Paul’s God. I really love that God used that, he wanted to show these people his power but also wanted to make sure they would listen and not continue to freak out they way they were. By the way, yes you would think keeping more stuff would keep the ship from over turning but whatever. Anyways, Paul does an awesome job of standing firm here and telling them what he heard. I mean think about it Paul could have kept that good news to himself and watched everyone panic and have a good ol’ time doing it.

  11. I had never thought about this story in the way that Porter and a few others present it here. Unlike Jason, I’ve never had a particular affinity for this passage, except for the fact that Paul effectively communicates that EVERYONE on the ship is going to survive. That in itself is kind of impressive to me. I’m sure some were skeptical, but he seems to at least convince the centurion that he knows what he is talking about, probably due in some part to the fact that he had originally suggested that they wait until spring to set sail. At any rate, that is how I have generally thought about this passage, but Porter’s comments and some other simlilar ones on here are interesting in that the emphasis is not that Paul convinced the Romans, but that he had the faith himself. Like Porter said, It is really pretty impressive that he could have that sort of faith and know that everyone on that boat was going to survive because an angel told him so. No doubts, confusions, or second guessing himself. He just knew it. That is a pretty intense sort of confidence and faith.

  12. Just as many others have said it is very interesting to note that professionalism of the sailors that accompanied Paul on this trip. Also, the professionalism of the ship itself, being a merchant ship and not a passenger ship (on account of their non-existence) is interesting. Paul would have been quite confident in his ability sailing and he knew enough to realize that sailing this late in the season was not a very good idea.
    The amazing thing about this story is not that they survive, but Paul’s stillness of mind and confidence in God’s power. He stands strong behind his statement of survival because he was told, either by God or an angle, that they all would survive. Paul could have kept this information to himself but instead he is confident enough to share the information with the rest of the crew probably to help calm them down a little. Which I can imagine worked. I like this story because no matter what storm comes your way, God is in control, even if the end result is not survival. God is still in control.

  13. I find this passage both humorous and spectacular at the same time Here Paul has warneed all these men not to go the path they are choosing yet they ignore him. Then when the storm, exactly as Paul said it would, and the centuron finaly turns to Paul. Yet at the same time this huge storm is raging and no one dies. This was very uncommon and shows God’s amazing power and His desire for Paul to reach Rome.

  14. I really like the discussion that is going on here. I saw the blog heading storm and thought to myself, ” I preached on storms a couple days ago” this narrative is by far one of my favorites. Like Joe, I might fidn myself skipping over all the other parts just so I oculd get to this one. Most of the book is Narrative anyways but this one really takes the cake. It is a sure reminder that in the midst of such powerful storms in which the waves are crashing in, God is still in control no matter what and he will never leave us. IN the midst of storms, we need to rely on God to carry us through the, THis narrative in Acts would be one heck of a sermon illustration for a future homiletics student.

  15. I thoroughly enjoy this section of Acts (hence I wrote an entire research paper on it) I think it is interesting that Paul tells the people not to sail, yet they don’t listen to him. He kind of has a nice “told-you-so” moment when the sailors realize that they are not going to survive without help. It is amazing to look at this section of Acts and look at God’s provision for the people. God sends an angel to tell Paul that everyone will survive. This is an awesome feat that only God could provide for. If God can save all those people from the shipwreck, there is no reason we shouldn’t place our complete trust in his provision…

  16. I think this is really important to note the comparison between the sailors and the people Paul travels with. The sailors were disappointed and devastated at the state of the boat and the storm. The only option they see in the end is them dying at sea. On the other hand, Paul and his companions are waiting for God to intervene. They see this trip ending with the more spreading of God’s word. They see Gods intervention in their travel and the options with God are limitless.

  17. I think that this story is a good reminder to those reading it that ultimately, God is in control. Paul was able to have faith and to share his faith with the people who were keeping him a prisoner. He shared with them that they were all going to be okay if they listened to what he had to say. The faith that the Romans has that were on that trip to actually listen to what one of the prisoners had to say is actually incredible. The fact that they listened to Paul at all was something that amazes me. When Paul says that they will all be okay and tells them that they should eat something, it is recorded in Acts 27 that “they were all encouraged and ate some food themselves” (Acts 27:36). It would take a leap of faith for the Romans on that ship to also feel encouraged by the God that Paul served. At the end of Acts 27 it also says that “all were brought safely to land,” meaning that what Paul told them came true (Acts 27:44).

  18. This story reminds me of the one found in Matthew 8:23-27, that is the story of Jesus calming the storm. In both of these stories there is a storm that batters a ship. And the waves are big enough to hit the deck and began to sink the boat. In Matthew 8:24 Jesus was sleeping like it was no big deal. While in Acts 27:22 Paul stood up and told them to keep courage because not one of them was going to die. Paul says that and angel appeared to him and told him that he will see Creaser and that God will spare the lives of those sailing with Paul. So, that not one single person will die, but the ship will be destroyed (Acts 27:21-24). But what both stories share is the common belief in God that no harm shall come to them. And in the case of Paul what the angel had told him turned out to be true. What makes this particular situation different is that God had sent an angel to tell Paul that he and everyone else would be fine. In other situations God tells Paul to stand strong in the face of persecution and hardships. the question is then, why did God send an angel to tell Paul that everyone would be fine? Perhaps it was to encourage him that God hasn’t forgotten about him. Or maybe it was provided as a way for Paul to evangelize to those traveling with him. Well for whatever reason it could’ve been, what the angel told Paul turned out to be true.

  19. Paul begins a journey on a boat that he did not feel was the safest or smartest idea. He must have known a little bit about sailing from his many journeys and knew the risk they were taking for this journey. The area they would be traveling was also not a smooth ride, sailors knew this was a dangerous area, to begin with. Acts 27:9 shows us they were traveling after the Day of Atonement, Paul recommends waiting until spring. This recommendation was not taken, it is thought because you could gain more money for delivering rain to Rome so late. This boat was not the newest version and was not built to handle the harsh sailing it was going to face. When they hit high sandbars they were faced with no other option than to throw overboard their cargo and equipment. If I were in Paul’s situation I would want to throw people overboard for not listening to him and ending up in this unnecessary situation. At this point, they realized they were in danger of death because they lost sight of the stars and sun, and couldn’t see ahead. Paul was encouraged and comforted by an angel that they were going to survive. Paul passes on this comfort to others and explains to him that they will live, he uses the word angel of God, because they would not know who he meant by the Lord. Paul gives them the hope that they will live even though the ship will sink. This message goes deep in understanding God’s faithfulness and promises, but also Paul’s obedience and reliance on God, even though he will stand trial before Caesar. I’ve never been on a cruise ship or even a significant size boat, but I do not think I would be as calm as Paul was in this situation and reliant on God’s promise that they will live.

  20. Like many people have already said, this passage reminds me of Jesus calming the storm. Jesus calming the storm is one of my favorite miracles because he says “Peace! Be Still” and I like to compare that to life sometimes being like a storm and Jesus telling us to be still. When it comes to these two passages, I believe that there are several parallels between them. Not only are their parallels, but I believe that since Paul was on the boat when Jesus calmed the storm and He witnessed this miracle with his own eyes, this made him even more confident in the fact that they would be safe when the angel of the Lord spoke to him. I think he still would have believed the voice he heard, but I also think to experience something very similar and seeing how Jesus worked miracles through that moment gave Paul even more confidence. This is true to our relationship with Christ today. We can have faith in Jesus with things coming up in the future that we have never experienced, but this can be hard for us. If we look back at past experiences and seasons of our lives where we can see our prayers were answered or God moved greatly in those moments, this will give us stronger faith and even more confidence in Him.

  21. I love the fact that Paul is still confident even after everyone else is thinking they are going to die. This shows just how unwavering his faith was. He did not jump on the bandwagon when everyone thought they were doomed but he kept believing in the one true
    God who has and would keep him safe throughout his travels. Paul kept his faith and never turned away from it. I really love Paul’s story for this reason. He started out as a foe to the gospel, and yet God uses him to proclaim the gospel even through all of the trial he went through. Paul might have been knocked down so many times but he kept getting back up and kept going. He did not stop because he was confident in his God and what he was doing.

  22. The transportation of the day of cargo ships was a fast and common way to venture around to areas while it was not the safest method to travel. Paul warns the captain of the ship of what is to happen and that if he follows everything he tells him to do as an angel has told him everyone will be alive and safe from the shipwreck. Through this Paul uses this as a way to share the gospel to the crew and those on the ship. As Paul also promise to the captain that he will still go to Caesar for his hearing. Paul remains true and loyal to the promises that he claims and states. As told Paul’s word remains true and life change happens.

  23. If you have ever been on a boat during a storm you will know it is not something you want to experience for any length of time. The sooner you can get off the boat the better. I had once been on a large boat during the middle of a big thunderstorm on Lake Michigan. We were about a half-hour away from our destination, but the storm turned the thirty-minute trip into an hour. I felt sick, was worried about everyone on the boat, and did not know what would happen. When we reached the shore, I could not have been happier, I was relieved and thankful that we had made it back safe. As I read through Paul’s experience during the storm, I remember my own and think of how minuscule it is in comparison to the story in Acts 27. Paul was on the boat for fourteen days, and the storm was so bad that the sailors could not even see the stars or the sun making them ultimately blind at sea. Polhill points to this statement “before the advent of the compass, sailors depended for their bearings on the sun and stars, which were not visible in the storm” (p. 2142). It seems the men had lost all hope and believed they would die on the stormy waters. Long touches on this saying, “the sailors become despondent, thinking they are not going to survive” (para. 2). When all had seemed lost, God spoke to Paul through an angel and Paul shared with the passengers that the angel said they would live. By boldly stating this to a group of 276 fearful people Paul is claiming his God is in complete control. Through Paul’s boldness, God is able to show this group of people His power and truth. I think we should also claim God as boldly as Paul did so that more people can see His power and truth today.

  24. It is interesting how often human pride can get in the way of things. Although I can really only speculate the motives behind the ship’s caption, I know if it were me oftentimes when people tell me not to do something it can make me want to do it all the more. Paul warns against sailing because it was too late in the season. This seems to imply that it was common knowledge not to sail that late into the winter season. Verse 12 seems to explain that the harbor was not one good to winter in, although Paul seems to argue that it would be better than setting sail. Once at sea the storm inevitably hit. Polhill describes it as a “northeaster” an extremely dangerous wind, caused by the meeting of opposite air currents. I found this interesting that the type of wind would have been so well known in that region and at the time. Although I guess it would be like predicting that a blizzard would hit in the middle of January in Northern Michigan. It amazes me how long these storms last. As someone who has lived their short life in the north I have never experienced a 14 day storm or hurricane. Paul, however, is not concerned. His faith is unwavering and true. He, although being right about not sailing in the winter weather, does not gloat but takes the opportunity to encourage the crew and share the gospel. This is inspiring his faith and closeness to God unwavering. His attitude reminds me of Jesus in the boat with the disciples, calmly taking on each wave at a time knowing and sure of the outcome.

  25. At this point in the Book of Acts, it would be crazy for Paul to not believe what the angel of the Lord said to him. Time after time God shows up and takes care of Paul and His people. Even in the midst of a huge storm, Paul chooses to trust in God, and the Lord speaks to him saying everyone will be okay, but the ship, maybe not. This shows that still, every single time, God is given the glory. Paul did not say that he was the one saving them or the ship, but rather tells them that they will be okay, unto the name of the Lord. The God who Paul serves, not any of the idols anyone else may worship, but it is God who is in control of this outcome.
    I cannot imagine the storms in boats from thousands of years ago. It would be reckless, and far worse than anything we could imagine with the technology and navigation we have today. Yet the Lord showed Himself to be faithful in the storm, never leaving nor forsaking.
    I wonder how this story would be translated into today’s time. With the dependence on technology that we have, I wonder if we would be even close to the dependence Paul had upon the Lord.

  26. When reading about Paul’s experience on the boat in the storm, it reminded me of other stories in the Bible where God showed his power and sovereignty in dangerous sailing situations. The first I thought of was when Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. In a similar sense, the disciples feared for their lives before Jesus had calmed the storm the same way that the men on the ship with Paul were fearing for their lives. While the storm in Acts is not calmed in divine intercession, the insight that Paul received from God that no one would die came true showing that God still had his hand on the situation. Another storm that comes to mind is that in the book of Jonah after he tries to run away from what God tells him to do. Because of Jonah’s disobedience to God, the storm came upon the ship he traveled on. Polhill also notes a correlation between the story of Jonah and the story of Paul’s shipwreck. He points out that Jonah’s presence on the ship he had traveled on threatened the safety of all who were on board while Paul’s presence in his story secured the safety of all on the ship (2143). The two stories are opposites of each other as Paul is on the ship to fulfill the mission that God sent him to do while Jonah had been on the ship to run away from what God wanted him to do. Still, both show the power that God has as Jonah’s storm stopped the moment he was thrown overboard and in Paul’s storm, all lives were saved when everyone stayed on board. The great flood is also just another story that shows that God is in control and has the power and ability to protect even in the worst of situations that seem completely out of your control. In each story as well, there was an aspect of having to listen to and obey God for the outcomes to be lifesaving.

  27. I found this testimony with Paul on the boat to be especially intriguing. The idea that stood out to me the most is that an angel of the Lord appeared to Paul in a dream rather than Jesus Himself telling Paul that the men would be okay (Long). Even before the men had set sail, Paul warned them that the journey would be unsafe. However, he was ignored and thus they experienced the tragedy of losing cargo and fearing for their lives in this storm. On the other hand, while this was a rough part of their journey, it can be assumed that God planned for this to happen. God desired Paul to appeal before Caesar so he would have had to make this journey at some point. God kept Paul and the men safe so that Paul could appeal to Caesar. Reflecting back to the point that an “angel of God” appeared to Paul instead of the voice of God – this “divine intervention” – reflects on the intentionality of God. Romans would have more than likely disregarded what Paul said if he heard from God, but hearing from an “angel” was much more believable to these Romans. God wanted this testimony of Paul’s intended actions to reach the Romans, so instead, an angel of God appeared to Paul. This intentionality can easily be looked over, but I believe that this was one of the most obvious of intentions that God displayed through Paul’s testimony and ministry.

  28. The passage of Acts 27 is such a testament of Paul’s faith in God and as well as a testament of God’s power and providence overall. Paul had faith in God delivering him and the men on the ship where they needed to be, and most likely told this to Paul, as it was mentioned in the blog post. Long also points out that the men on the ship probably would not have understood if Paul said the “Lord told him”, which is why he states that an angel spoke to him, to allow the sailors to understand in their own context. I find this interesting, and culturally sensitive on Paul’s part, which can be taken as a good thing. This story in Acts seems to have striking parallels, at least to me, of the story in Mark 4:35-41 where there was a great storm while Jesus and his disciples were sailing, and after the disciples pestering him enough, he calmed the seas with his words. Jesus says in this passage to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid. Do you still have no faith?” (v.40). Paul almost has the same kind of tones within his words to the sailors, but he has undertones of “I told you so,” as Long mentioned. Paul has this faith that Jesus asks of his disciples, and he tries to show the sailors this faith through his actions and words of direction and comfort. Polhill states, “Once again, Paul’s presence assured the deliverance of the others–this time the other prisoners” (p.2143). It is almost safe to assume that Paul’s faith in God saved the sailors overall, but let’s not overlook the fact that God kept them alive and all the men away from harm, as Paul said God would in verse 34b. This story is a testament to both the importance of faith and the power of God.

  29. Reading Acts chapter 27 I found myself looking over the significance of the storm scene. Although, it seems like another storm that they face and overcome it has a great lesson for us to learn from it. Here Paul publicly displays his faith and gives credit to God. The situation here is different because the Roman Sailors here do not know exactly who Paul’s God is. To me this is intriguing because in my life I find people not knowing the same God I know. Here Paul did not shy away from pointing to God but used the moment to give credit to the Lord, our Savior. In the article above it points out that Paul most likely used the word “angel” to describe the Lord’s message to the people. We as Christians should be doing this today. We are not to lie and say that God is Alah or Buddha but we need to speak the language of those who we are talking to. In order for non-believers to understand the gospel we need to stray away from “Church talk” and speak to the people in ways they will understand. By doing this we are understanding that not everyone understands the same way and we need to try as Christians to make the gospel presentable and understandable to those of the world. We do need to make sure that we do not misinterpret the Bible while doing this.

  30. This is a great story and a reminder for anyone. This story of the storm and Paul saying that nobody was going to die is a reminder that God is in control. Even with Paul being a prisoner on the ship he continued to minister the people abord the ship. Even though that is was simple and Paul was not sharing the gospel, he reassured every one that they would be okay and make it out alive. For the Romans to even give Paul the time of day with him being a prisoner is remarkable. They put faith into Paul that they would make it off the ship and through the storm. Paul stating, “they were all encouraged and ate some food themselves” (Acts 27:36). This verse shows us that the Romans had faith in Paul and truly God. They believed that God would get them through that. At the end of Acts 27 it says, “all were brought safely to land” (Acts 27:44). This verse shows us that God was working through Paul and with the guard’s faith in Paul, they had survived. God is always in control if we put our faith in Him just as Paul did in the storm.

  31. I can imagine the confusion of the passengers on board when Paul said that no lives would be lost but that the ship would. I wonder if that’s why many of the sailors tried to escape in the lifeboats because they knew that Paul had said the ship wasn’t going to survive (Acts 27:30, ESV). I had never considered that there was a reason behind why Jesus didn’t speak to Paul directly during this time, but it makes sense that it would’ve been easier for Paul to explain an angel or divine messenger appeared to him instead of an unfamiliar Lord (Phillip Long). I think it’s amazing that the centurion had so much faith in the words that Paul was saying after the storm actually happened that he was willing to cut the lifeboats away, their only humanly possible escape, simply because of his faith and trust in what Paul said. Polhill also comments that the reason that Paul states that “unless these men stay in the ship you cannot be saved” is because without those men the ship “would have left no one on the ship to handle it, leading to much loss of life” (Acts 27:31, ESV) (2143). It’s amazing how many people one person’s faith can affect.

  32. I know a fair amount about cars. I used to work in a Honda assembly plant in Ohio, I taught driver’s education, and I was a school bus driver! In more than a few ways I was a driving professional, and one of my biggest pet peeves was when somebody would try to tell me how to drive. After I was the one being paid to do the job, not them, so I think my annoyance was understandable. In this way I can see how the centurion, and the ship’s owner would be strongly reluctant to take any advice from Paul seriously. After all, there is a major difference in being a frequent passenger, and a professional operator. We have the benefit of reading this as history, and we obviously know that Paul was right, but in those men’s shoes would you take him seriously? After all we know that Paul is a frequent traveler, an apostle, and an important part of God’s plan, but they didn’t know that. And while we can see Paul’s faith in action while he trusts God with his safety, I would argue that the more remarkable faith here is that of the others, who listen to Paul (their prisoner), because he has been proven right once.

  33. I wonder about the many times that people are in these situations, or especially those who know that there is a storm coming or something and say that “the Lord told them” that it was going to be alright. I wonder if they are referencing this, or just trying to make a spectacle if they do make it. I am mainly referencing those who do this and don’t make it back. It’s sad, but I wonder how many times people might do this with other portions of scripture (maybe like end-times, or something else) to sort of, “name it and claim it”. Not saying God can’t do that because obviously he can speak to people when he chooses, but just thinking out loud. I also wasn’t aware before that that section of sea was like that of the “Bermuda triangle”. I have heard this story many times and thought that was a cool nugget of information that I could pull out of this story. I admire Paul’s trust and faith during this (lack of a better word) trial. I would probably have soiled my paints at the sight of a giant storm like this before I get any sort of calm out of the situation.

  34. When I first read this chapter, I did not think anything of the angel talking to Paul. It did not seem odd to me, but it is very interesting to read the reasoning behind it being an angel rather than God talking to Paul. I can see why the Romans would be more likely to listen to Paul if an angel told him since they had very different religious beliefs. Angels may have been a lot easier to believe since Paul believes in the one, true God, while the Romans had many different gods that they believed in. Due to the severity of the storm and fear that may have come over some of the people on the boat, I wonder if the Romans would have been more likely to do something even if they knew it came from God since they were worried for their lives. It worked out the way it happened though, which is good. I also like the part of the story where Paul tells the captain of the boat that he knew what he was talking about. I think that this is cool because Paul does not say it in a mean way, but rather points to the fact that he knew they would be safe because of God, even though they should not have been sailing at that time because of the weather that they were bound to run into. This is a fun story to read and I think that there are some things we can learn from it.

  35. Paul could have easily taken another route with this situation. He could have taken credit of what the angel of the Lord said, but instead he made sure to bring up that he in fact did hear it from the angel of the Lord. He brought it up so that the people on the boat could hear a little bit about the Lord without causing problems. Although the people did not listen to Paul, it showed that Paul tried to preach about the Lord in any context.

    Paul could have easily taken things in an angry I told you so approach as listed in the article, but he took a route that displayed the Lord. This is something that we need to practice – showing our actions in a way that shows Jesus. That reminded me of a quote that says preach the gospel, and if needed, use words.

  36. I find this section of Acts to mind-blowing and a situation I could learn from. I say it is mind-blowing because the faith Paul demonstrated in this life or death situation was just remarkable. He not only believed in himself but also for the other 275 men that were aboard the ship. He spoke with so much faith in what the angel told him that they even listened and believed him also. And I believe I can learn from this by just relying on God and believing that he can get me out of any situation I find myself in. Because If he could get Paul through that storm so that he could fulfill his purpose then he will do the same for me. So when things happen in my life that I struggle with I will now just refer back to this story and remember to have faith like Paul and believe that God will get me through this storm so that I can fulfill my purpose.

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