Acts 27:1-8 — The Journey to Rome Begins

1 And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.

2 So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

3 And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.

4 When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

5 And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.

7 When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.

8 Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

This voyage and journey occupied, as we find by observing the time notes of the story, about six months. Paul left Caesarea in August AD 60, and they were shipwrecked at the beginning of November. That is indicated by the fact that they were three months on the island of Melita, that they sailed again after the three month’s stay there at the beginning of February AD 61, and arrived in Rome about the first day of March. — Morgan, page 529.

we (v.1) — Luke is again a companion of Paul.

Augustan regiment (v.1) — Perhaps a centurion of some local cohort named after Augustus, but more probably one of the Praetorian Guard, who may have been in the vicinity in connection with Festus’ installation into office. — Stam, page 159


Adramyttium (v.2) — A seaport of Mysia (Acts 16:7), at the top of the Gulf of Adramyttium, and a little distance east-southeast of Troas. It was an important trading center and exported ointment, etc. Its vessels were engaged in the coasting trade along the coast of Asia Minor as far as Syria. — Walker, page 544.

Aristarchus (v.2) — He is also mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; Colossians 4:10 (as a fellow-prisoner) and Philemon 1:24.

Sidon (v.3) — about 70 miles (approx. 10-hours sail) from Caesarea

receive care (v.3) — Paul was apparently unwell, probably from his two years in prison in Caesarea. This is another of the several occasions in which Paul received kind treatment from Romans.

under the shelter of Cyprus (v.4) — They sailed, that is, between Cyprus and the mainland of Asia Minor, under shelter of the island. Since the prevalent wind in the Levant is westerly through the summer months, they could not strike directly across the open sea (to Lycia), as Paul had done in the opposite direction during his last voyage to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1-2).

sailed over (v.5) — A nautical term peculiar to this passage. The meaning is that the vessel sailed slowly along the coast off Cilicia and Pamphylia, taking advantage of every breath of land breeze and probably having to anchor every few miles.

Myra (v.5) — An important seaport of Lycia. It was the place from which navigation was made direct, when favorable winds allowed, across sea to Alexandria and Syria, and so it grew more and more influential as seafaring methods improved.

Lycia (v.5) — A country in the southeastern portion of Asia Minor, rising, in many parts, into lofty mountains almost direct from the sea coast. It was formed into a Roman province (imperial) in AD 43. — Walker pages 546-547

ship of Alexandria (v.6) — carrying grain to Rome

Cnidus (v.7) — At the extreme southwest corner of Asia Minor, a town situated in Caria at the end of a narrow peninsula. It possessed two good harbors. After leaving Cnidus, a vessel would part with the shelter of the Asian coast.

Salmone (v.7) — Cape Salmone. This was a promontory on the northeast of Crete, and vessels sailing under its lee would be sheltered from the northwest wind.

Fair Havens (v.8) — A small bay, still bearing the same name, about six miles east of Cape Matala, a promontory near the middle of the southern coast of Crete, beyond which the land trends to the north.

Lasea (v.8) — Identified in AD 1856 with the ruins of a small town some four miles east of the Bay of Fair Havens, and still called Lasea by the peasants. The town is probably mentioned by name because, while the ship lay at Fair Havens, provisions, etc. were obtained from it. — Walker, pages 547-548

I’m not sure what I think of this next quote. It works as an analogy, but I question whether the Holy Spirit intended this interpretation. But I thought I’d include it as food for thought.

The passage depicts the voyage of the Church through the present dispensation, as it leaves Judaism behind. The sea symbolizes the unsaved masses (Isaiah 57:20); the contrary wind, the antagonism of Satan (Ephesians 2:2). The ship [as the organized church, I guess] is finally wrecked, but all who sail with Paul are brought safe to shore (v.44).

Paul is the outstanding figure aboard ship. He gives advice as to the journey (vs. 9-10) and when this is rejected and trouble results, he rebukes them saying: “Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me” (v.21). It is he who cheers his fellow-passengers as, by divine revelation, he declares that all those sailing with him will survive the storm (vs. 24-25) and it is he who persuades them finally to partake of food and presides in the giving of thanks (vs. 34-36). — Stam, page 158.

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