27:1 When it was decided we 1 would sail to Italy, 2 they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion 3 of the Augustan Cohort 4 named Julius. 27:2 We went on board 5 a ship from Adramyttium 6 that was about to sail to various ports 7 along the coast of the province of Asia 8 and put out to sea, 9 accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian 10 from Thessalonica. 11 27:3 The next day we put in 12 at Sidon, 13 and Julius, treating Paul kindly, 14 allowed him to go to his friends so they could provide him with what he needed. 15 27:4 From there we put out to sea 16 and sailed under the lee 17 of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 27:5 After we had sailed across the open sea 18 off Cilicia and Pamphylia, 19 we put in 20 at Myra 21 in Lycia. 22 27:6 There the centurion 23 found 24 a ship from Alexandria 25 sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. 27:7 We sailed slowly 26 for many days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus. 27 Because the wind prevented us from going any farther, 28 we sailed under the lee 29 of Crete off Salmone. 30 27:8 With difficulty we sailed along the coast 31 of Crete 32 and came to a place called Fair Havens that was near the town of Lasea. 33
27:9 Since considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous 34 because the fast 35 was already over, 36 Paul advised them, 37 27:10 “Men, I can see the voyage is going to end 38 in disaster 39 and great loss not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 40 27:11 But the centurion 41 was more convinced 42 by the captain 43 and the ship’s owner than by what Paul said. 44 27:12 Because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided 45 to put out to sea 46 from there. They hoped that 47 somehow they could reach 48 Phoenix, 49 a harbor of Crete facing 50 southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there. 27:13 When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought 51 they could carry out 52 their purpose, so they weighed anchor 53 and sailed close along the coast 54 of Crete. 27:14 Not long after this, a hurricane-force 55 wind called the northeaster 56 blew down from the island. 57 27:15 When the ship was caught in it 58 and could not head into 59 the wind, we gave way to it and were driven 60 along. 27:16 As we ran under the lee of 61 a small island called Cauda, 62 we were able with difficulty to get the ship’s boat 63 under control. 27:17 After the crew 64 had hoisted it aboard, 65 they used supports 66 to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground 67 on the Syrtis, 68 they lowered the sea anchor, 69 thus letting themselves be driven along. 27:18 The next day, because we were violently battered by the storm, 70 they began throwing the cargo overboard, 71 27:19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s gear 72 overboard with their own hands. 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent 73 storm continued to batter us, 74 we finally abandoned all hope of being saved. 75
27:21 Since many of them had no desire to eat, 76 Paul 77 stood up 78 among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me 79 and not put out to sea 80 from Crete, thus avoiding 81 this damage and loss. 27:22 And now I advise 82 you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost. 83 27:23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong 84 and whom I serve 85 came to me 86 27:24 and said, 87 ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before 88 Caesar, 89 and God has graciously granted you the safety 90 of all who are sailing with you.’ 27:25 Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God 91 that it will be just as I have been told. 27:26 But we must 92 run aground on some island.”
27:27 When the fourteenth night had come, while we were being driven 93 across the Adriatic Sea, 94 about midnight the sailors suspected they were approaching some land. 95 27:28 They took soundings 96 and found the water was twenty fathoms 97 deep; when they had sailed a little farther 98 they took soundings again and found it was fifteen fathoms 99 deep. 27:29 Because they were afraid 100 that we would run aground on the rocky coast, 101 they threw out 102 four anchors from the stern and wished 103 for day to appear. 104 27:30 Then when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and were lowering the ship’s boat into the sea, pretending 105 that they were going to put out anchors from the bow, 27:31 Paul said to the centurion 106 and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you 107 cannot be saved.” 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes 108 of the ship’s boat and let it drift away. 109
27:33 As day was about to dawn, 110 Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense 111 and have gone 112 without food; you have eaten nothing. 113 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food, for this is important 114 for your survival. 115 For not one of you will lose a hair from his head.” 27:35 After he said this, Paul 116 took bread 117 and gave thanks to God in front of them all, 118 broke 119 it, and began to eat. 27:36 So all of them were encouraged and took food themselves. 27:37 (We were in all two hundred seventy-six 120 persons on the ship.) 121 27:38 When they had eaten enough to be satisfied, 122 they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat 123 into the sea.
27:39 When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed 124 a bay 125 with a beach, 126 where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 27:40 So they slipped 127 the anchors 128 and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the linkage 129 that bound the steering oars 130 together. Then they hoisted 131 the foresail 132 to the wind and steered toward 133 the beach. 27:41 But they encountered a patch of crosscurrents 134 and ran the ship aground; the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern was being broken up by the force 135 of the waves. 27:42 Now the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners 136 so that none of them would escape by swimming away. 137 27:43 But the centurion, 138 wanting to save Paul’s life, 139 prevented them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land, 140 27:44 and the rest were to follow, 141 some on planks 142 and some on pieces of the ship. 143 And in this way 144 all were brought safely to land.
[27:1] 2 sn Sail to Italy. This voyage with its difficulty serves to show how God protected Paul on his long journey to Rome. From the perspective of someone in Palestine, this may well picture “the end of the earth” quite literally (cf. Acts 1:8).
[27:1] 4 tn According to BDAG 917 s.v. σεβαστός, “In σπεῖρα Σεβαστή 27:1 (cp. OGI 421) Σεβαστή is likew. an exact transl. of Lat. Augusta, an honorary title freq. given to auxiliary troops (Ptolem. renders it Σεβαστή in connection w. three legions that bore it: 2, 3, 30; 2, 9, 18; 4, 3, 30) imperial cohort.” According to W. Foerster (TDNT 7:175), “In Ac. 27:1 the σπεῖρα Σεβαστή is an expression also found elsewhere for ‘auxiliary troops.’” In no case would this refer to a special imperial bodyguard, and to translate “imperial regiment” or “imperial cohort” might give this impression. There is some archaeological evidence for a Cohors Augusta I stationed in Syria during the time of Augustus, but whether this is the same unit is very debatable.
sn The Augustan Cohort. A cohort was a Roman military unit of about 600 soldiers, one-tenth of a legion. There is considerable debate over the identification of this particular cohort and the meaning of the title Augustan mentioned here. These may well have been auxiliary (provincial) troops given the honorary title.
[27:2] 8 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.
sn Although not explicitly stated, the ship put out to sea from the port of Caesarea (where the previous events had taken place (cf. 25:13) and then sailed along the Asiatic coast (the first stop was Sidon, v. 3).
sn Treating Paul kindly. Paul’s treatment followed the pattern of the earlier imprisonment (cf. Acts 24:23).
[27:4] 16 tn Grk “putting out to sea.” The participle ἀναχθέντες (anacqente") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. BDAG 62 s.v. ἀνάγω 4 states, “as a nautical t.t. (ἀ. τὴν ναῦν put a ship to sea), mid. or pass. ἀνάγεσθαι to begin to go by boat, put out to sea.”
[27:4] 17 tn BDAG 1040 s.v. ὑποπλέω states, “sail under the lee of an island, i.e. in such a way that the island protects the ship fr. the wind Ac 27:4, 7.” Thus they were east and north of the island.
[27:6] 25 sn Alexandria (modern Alexandria) was a great city of northern Egypt which was a center for grain trade to Rome. Therefore this type of travel connection was common at the time. For a winter journey (considered hazardous) there were special bonuses and insurance provided (Suetonius, Life of Claudius 18.1-2).
[27:7] 28 tn This genitive absolute construction with προσεῶντος (prosewnto") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle. L&N 13.139 translates the phrase μὴ προσεῶντος ἡμᾶς τοῦ ἀνέμου (mh prosewnto" Jhma" tou anemou) as “the wind would not let us go any farther.”
[27:8] 31 tn Grk “sailing along the coast…we came.” The participle παραλεγόμενοι (paralegomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. L&N 54.8, “παραλέγομαι: (a technical, nautical term) to sail along beside some object – ‘to sail along the coast, to sail along the shore.’ …‘they sailed along the coast of Crete’ Ac 27:13.”
[27:9] 35 sn The fast refers to the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. It was now into October and the dangerous winter winds would soon occur (Suetonius, Life of Claudius 18; Josephus, J. W. 1.14.2-3 [1.279-281]).
[27:9] 36 tn The accusative articular infinitive παρεληλυθέναι (parelhluqenai) after the preposition διά (dia) is causal. BDAG 776 s.v. παρέρχομαι 2 has “διὰ τὸ τὴν νηστείαν ἤδη παρεληλυθέναι because the fast was already over Ac 27:9.”
[27:9] 37 tn Grk “Paul advised, saying to them.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in English and has not been translated. On the term translated “advised,” see BDAG 764 s.v. παραινέω, which usually refers to recommendations.
sn Paul advised them. A literary theme surfaces here: Though Paul is under arrest, he will be the one to guide them all through the dangers of the storm and shipwreck, showing clearly God’s presence and protection of him. The story is told in great detail. This literary effect of slowing down the passage of time and narrating with many details serves to add a sense of drama to the events described.
[27:11] 43 tn BDAG 456 s.v. κυβερνήτης 1 has “one who is responsible for the management of a ship, shipmaster…W. ναύκληρος, the ‘shipowner’…Ac 27:11” See further L. Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World, 316-18.
sn More convinced by the captain and the ship’s owner than by what Paul said. The position taken by the centurion was logical, since he was following “professional” advice. But this was not a normal voyage.
[27:12] 47 tn Grk “from there, if somehow” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun here in the translation and the introductory phrase “They hoped that” supplied (with the subject, “they,” repeated from the previous clause) to make a complete English sentence.
[27:13] 52 tn Or “accomplish.” L&N 68.29, for κρατέω, has “to be able to complete or finish, presumably despite difficulties – ‘to accomplish, to do successfully, to carry out.’ …‘thinking that they could carry out their purpose’ Ac 27:13.”
[27:13] 54 tn L&N 54.8, “παραλέγομαι: (a technical, nautical term) to sail along beside some object – ‘to sail along the coast, to sail along the shore.’…‘they sailed along the coast of Crete’ Ac 27:13.” With the addition of the adverb ἆσσον (asson) this becomes “sailed close along the coast of Crete.”
[27:15] 58 tn Or “was forced off course.” Grk “The ship being caught in it.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle συναρπασθέντος (sunarpasqento") has been taken temporally; it could also be translated as causal (“Because the ship was caught in it”).
[27:15] 59 tn BDAG 91 s.v. ἀντοφθαλμέω states, “Metaph. of a ship τοῦ πλοίου μὴ δυναμένοι ἀ. τῷ ἀνέμῳ since the ship was not able to face the wind, i.e. with its bow headed against the forces of the waves Ac 27:15.”
[27:16] 61 tn BDAG 1042 s.v. ὑποτρέχω states, “run or sail under the lee of, nautical t.t.…Ac 27:16.” The participle ὑποδραμόντες (Jupodramonte") has been taken temporally (“as we ran under the lee of”). While this could also be translated as a participle of means (“by running…”) this might suggest the ship was still under a greater degree of control by its crew than it probably was.
[27:16] 63 sn The ship’s boat was a small rowboat, normally towed behind a ship in good weather rather than stowed on board. It was used for landings, to maneuver the ship for tacking, and to lay anchors (not a lifeboat in the modern sense, although it could have served as a means of escape for some of the sailors; see v. 30). See L. Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World, 248f.
sn On the Syrtis. The Syrtis was the name of two gulfs on the North African coast (modern Libya), feared greatly by sailors because of their shifting sandbars and treacherous shallows. The Syrtis here is the so-called Great Syrtis, toward Cyrenaica. It had a horrible reputation as a sailors’ graveyard (Pliny, Natural History 5.26). Josephus (J. W. 2.16.4 [2.381]) says the name alone struck terror in those who heard it. It was near the famous Scylla and Charybdis mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey.
[27:17] 69 tn Or perhaps “mainsail.” The meaning of this word is uncertain. BDAG 927 s.v. σκεῦος 1 has “τὸ σκεῦος Ac 27:17 seems to be the kedge or driving anchor” while C. Maurer (TDNT 7:362) notes, “The meaning in Ac. 27:17: χαλάσαντες τὸ σκεῦος, is uncertain. Prob. the ref. is not so much to taking down the sails as to throwing the draganchor overboard to lessen the speed of the ship.” In spite of this L&N 6.1 states, “In Ac 27:17, for example, the reference of σκεῦος is generally understood to be the mainsail.” A reference to the sail is highly unlikely because in a storm of the force described in Ac 27:14, the sail would have been taken down and reefed immediately, to prevent its being ripped to shreds or torn away by the gale.
[27:18] 71 tn Or “jettisoning [the cargo]” (a nautical technical term). The words “the cargo” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
sn The desperation of the sailors in throwing the cargo overboard is reminiscent of Jonah 1:5. At this point they were only concerned with saving themselves.
[27:19] 72 tn Or “rigging,” “tackle”; Grk “the ship’s things.” Here the more abstract “gear” is preferred to “rigging” or “tackle” as a translation for σκεῦος (skeuos) because in v. 40 the sailors are still able to raise the (fore)sail, which they could not have done if the ship’s rigging or tackle had been jettisoned here.
[27:20] 74 tn Grk “no small storm pressing on us.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle ἐπικειμένου (epikeimenou) has been translated as parallel to the previous genitive absolute construction (which was translated as temporal). BDAG 373 s.v. ἐπίκειμαι 2.b states, “of impersonal force confront χειμῶνος ἐπικειμένου since a storm lay upon us Ac 27:20.” L&N 14.2, “‘the stormy weather did not abate in the least’ or ‘the violent storm continued’ Ac 27:20.” To this last was added the idea of “battering” from the notion of “pressing upon” inherent in ἐπίκειμαι (epikeimai).
[27:20] 75 tn Grk “finally all hope that we would be saved was abandoned.” The passive construction has been converted to an active one to simplify the translation. This represents a clearly secular use of the term σῴζω (swzw) in that it refers to deliverance from the storm. At this point those on board the ship gave up hope of survival.
[27:21] 76 tn Or “Since they had no desire to eat for a long time.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle ὑπαρχούσης (Juparcoush") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle. It could also be translated temporally (“When many of them had no desire to eat”). The translation of πολλῆς (pollhs) as a substantized adjective referring to the people on board the ship (“many of them”) rather than a period of time (“for a long time”; so most modern versions) follows BDAG 143 s.v. ἀσιτία, which has “πολλῆς ἀ. ὑπαρχούσης since almost nobody wanted to eat because of anxiety or seasickness…Ac 27:21.” This detail indicates how turbulent things were on board the ship.
sn By saying “you should have listened to me and not put out to sea from Crete” Paul was not “rubbing it in,” but was reasserting his credibility before giving his next recommendation.
[27:22] 83 tn Grk “except the ship.” Here “but” is used to translate the improper preposition πλήν (plhn; see BDAG 826 s.v. πλήν 2) since an exception like this, where two different categories of objects are involved (people and a ship), is more naturally expressed in contemporary English with an adversative (“but”). The words “will be lost” are also supplied for clarity.
sn The “prophecy” about the ship serves to underscore Paul’s credibility as an agent of God. Paul addressed his audience carefully and drew attention to the sovereign knowledge of God.
[27:24] 88 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 2.a.α states, “Also as a t.t. of legal usage appear before, come before…Καίσαρι σε δεῖ παραστῆναι you must stand before the Emperor (as judge) Ac 27:24.” See Acts 23:11. Luke uses the verb δεῖ (dei) to describe what must occur.
[27:24] 90 tn Grk “God has graciously granted you all who are sailing with you.” The words “the safety of” have been supplied to clarify the meaning of the verb κεχάρισται (kecaristai) in this context.
sn The safety of all who are sailing with you. In a sense, Paul’s presence protects them all. For Luke, it serves as a picture of what the gospel does through Christ and through the one who brings the message.
[27:25] 91 tn BDAG 817 s.v. πιστεύω 1.c states, “w. pers. and thing added π. τινί τι believe someone with regard to someth….W. dat. of pers. and ὅτι foll…. πιστεύετέ μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρί J 14:11a. Cp. 4:21; Ac 27:25.”
[27:27] 93 tn Here “being driven” has been used to translate διαφέρω (diaferw) rather than “drifting,” because it is clear from the attempt to drop anchors in v. 29 that the ship is still being driven by the gale. “Drifting” implies lack of control, but not necessarily rapid movement.
[27:27] 95 tn Grk “suspected that some land was approaching them.” BDAG 876 s.v. προσάγω 2.a states, “lit. ὑπενόουν προσάγειν τινά αὐτοῖς χώραν they suspected that land was near (lit. ‘approaching them’) Ac 27:27.” Current English idiom would speak of the ship approaching land rather than land approaching the ship.
[27:28] 96 tn Grk “Heaving the lead, they found.” The participle βολίσαντες (bolisante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. See also BDAG 180 s.v. βολίζω. Although the term is used twice in this verse (and thus is technically not a NT hapax legomenon), it occurs nowhere else in the NT.
[27:28] 97 sn A fathom is about 6 feet or just under 2 meters (originally the length of a man’s outstretched arms). This was a nautical technical term for measuring the depth of water. Here it was about 120 ft (36 m).
[27:29] 103 tn BDAG 417 s.v. εὔχομαι 2 states, “wish…τὶ for someth.…Foll. by acc. and inf….Ac 27:29.” The other possible meaning for this term, “pray,” is given in BDAG 417 s.v. 1 and employed by a number of translations (NAB, NRSV, NIV). If this meaning is adopted here, then “prayed for day to come” must be understood metaphorically to mean “prayed that they would live to see the day,” or “prayed that it would soon be day.”
sn And wished for day to appear. The sailors were hoping to hold the ship in place until morning, when they could see what was happening and where they were.
[27:30] 105 tn BDAG 889 s.v. πρόφασις 2 states, “προφάσει ὡς under the pretext that, pretending that…Ac 27:30.” In other words, some of the sailors gave up hope that such efforts would work and instead attempted to escape while pretending to help.
[27:32] 109 tn Or “let it fall away.” According to BDAG 308 s.v. ἐκπίπτω 1 and 2 the meaning of the verb in this verse could be either “fall away” or “drift away.” Either meaning is acceptable, and the choice between them depends almost entirely on how one reconstructs the scene. Since cutting the boat loose would in any case result in it drifting away (whether capsized or not), the meaning “drift away” as a nautical technical term has been used here.
[27:33] 113 tn Grk “having eaten nothing.” The participle προσλαβόμενοι (proslabomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb (with subject “you” supplied) due to requirements of contemporary English style.
[27:34] 114 tn Or “necessary.” BDAG 873-74 s.v. πρός 1 has “πρ. τῆς σωτηρίας in the interest of safety Ac 27:34”; L&N 27.18 has “‘therefore, I urge you to take some food, for this is important for your deliverance’ or ‘…for your survival’ Ac 27:34.”
[27:40] 127 tn That is, released. Grk “slipping…leaving.” The participles περιελόντες (perielonte") and εἴων (eiwn) have been translated as finite verbs due to requirements of contemporary English style.
[27:41] 134 tn Grk “fell upon a place of two seas.” The most common explanation for this term is that it refers to a reef or sandbar with the sea on both sides, as noted in BDAG 245 s.v. διθάλασσος: the “τόπος δ. Ac 27:41 is a semantic unit signifying a point (of land jutting out with water on both sides).” However, Greek had terms for a “sandbank” (θῖς [qis], ταινία [tainia]), a “reef” (ἑρμα [Jerma]), “strait” (στενόν [stenon]), “promontory” (ἀρωτήρον [arwthron]), and other nautical hazards, none of which are used by the author here. NEB here translates τόπον διθάλασσον (topon diqalasson) as “cross-currents,” a proposal close to that advanced by J. M. Gilchrist, “The Historicity of Paul’s Shipwreck,” JSNT 61 (1996): 29-51, who suggests the meaning is “a patch of cross-seas,” where the waves are set at an angle to the wind, a particular hazard for sailors. Thus the term most likely refers to some sort of adverse sea conditions rather than a topographical feature like a reef or sandbar.
[27:42] 136 sn The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners. The issue here was not cruelty, but that the soldiers would be legally responsible if any prisoners escaped and would suffer punishment themselves. So they were planning to do this as an act of self-preservation. See Acts 16:27 for a similar incident.
sn Thanks to the centurion who wanted to save Paul’s life, Paul was once more rescued from a potential human threat.
sn Both the planks and pieces of the ship were for the weak or nonswimmers. The whole scene is a historical metaphor representing how listening to Paul and his message could save people.
[27:44] 144 tn Grk “And in this way it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.