The Apostle Paul: Paul Sails for Rome

And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.” (Acts 27:1–8 (ESV)

Acts 27 is the penultimate chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and is Luke’s inspired account of the Apostle’s Paul journey to the imperial city of Rome. Throughout Luke’s narrative, we witness the providence of God at work.

Following the events recorded in Acts 26, and after an unspecified amount of time, the arrangements are completed to set sail for Rome. Paul, along with other prisoners, is delivered to a centurion named Julius. It was he who would be in command during the trip.

Do not ignore the personal pronouns Luke used. By using the pronouns “we” and “us” (Acts 27:2-4), Luke inserted himself into the narrative. Luke gave us a first-hand account of what Paul experienced during his journey to Rome because Luke, and Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica (Acts 27:2), accompanied the apostle.

The voyage began pleasantly enough with the intention to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia (Acts 27:2). The first port of call was Sidon. It was there that Julius allowed Paul to visit some of his friends (Acts 27:3). Apparently, Julius trusted Paul enough to know that he would not attempt an escape.

Departing from Sidon, sea travel became more difficult due to the prevailing northwest winds (Acts 27:4). This led the ship’s captain to sail under the shelter of the island of Cyprus. It appears that the voyage occurred during either late summer or early autumn (Acts 27:9).  

The ship now traveled upon the open sea until it reached the city of Myra, located in the province of Lycia (Acts 27:5). It was there that Julius transferred his prisoners to a grain ship from Alexandria, Egypt (Acts 27:6; 38), which was conveniently bound for Rome. Sailing northwest to the city of Cnidus (Acts 27:7), the freighter then sailed southwest to the Island of Crete, finally landing with difficulty at a harbor called Fair Havens (Acts 27:8).

Throughout the voyage, the providential sovereignty of God is apparent. No matter the obstacles, the Apostle Paul would reach the city of Rome. How sweet to know that no matter the obstacles we believers in Christ face in this life, God causes all things to work together to the good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).

More to come. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!   

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