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Paul's Crash Landing

The apostle Paul's voyage to Rome as a prisoner (see Sailing To Phoenix) was interrupted by a great storm (see Tempests).

"27:14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon." (Acts 27:14 KJV)

"27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away." (Acts 27:14 KJV)

All of the others gave up hope of survival, but Paul knew that they would make it to land, albeit with the loss of the ship.

"27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. 27:26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island." (Acts 27:23-26 KJV)

"They ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves"

It was a long ordeal, driven in circles in The Mediterranean Sea for two weeks - before shallow water was encountered at "some island" (which turned out to be Malta). Preparations were then made for a crash landing - they were not going to risk missing the island and being driven back out into the still-storming sea.

Malta Map

"27:27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; 27:28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. 27:29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. 27:30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 27:32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

27:33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 27:34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. 27:36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. 27:37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 27:38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea." (Acts 27:27-38 KJV)

With shallower water (still dangerous, with inherent rocks and sand bars), they raised the sail (which was taken down during the high winds of the storm) for maneuvering power toward land. It was a "crash landing" strategy - that worked.

"27:39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. 27:40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. 27:41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

27:42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. 27:43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: 27:44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." (Acts 27:39-44 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why was Paul given to journey more extensively (at least as "far" as recorded Bible History is concerned) than Peter?
See The Acts Of Peter And Paul


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