27 Arrangements were finally made to start us on our way to Rome by ship; so Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of an officer named Julius, a member of the imperial guard. We left on a boat[a] that was scheduled to make several stops along the Turkish coast.* I should add that Aristarchus,* a Greek from Thessalonica, was with us.

The next day when we docked at Sidon, Julius was very kind to Paul and let him go ashore to visit with friends and receive their hospitality. Putting to sea from there, we encountered headwinds that made it difficult to keep the ship on course, so we sailed north of Cyprus between the island and the mainland[b] and passed along the coast of the provinces of Cilicia and Pamphylia, landing at Myra, in the province of Lycia. There our officer found an Egyptian ship from Alexandria, bound for Italy, and put us aboard.

7-8 We had several days of rough sailing, and finally neared Cnidus;[c] but the winds had become too strong, so we ran across to Crete, passing the port of Salome. Beating into the wind with great difficulty and moving slowly along the southern coast, we arrived at Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea. There we stayed for several days. The weather was becoming dangerous for long voyages by then because it was late in the year,[d] and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it.

10 “Sirs,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—perhaps shipwreck, loss of cargo, injuries, and death.” 11 But the officers in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. 12 And since Fair Havens was an exposed[e] harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew advised trying to go further up the coast to Phoenix in order to winter there; Phoenix was a good harbor with only a northwest and southwest exposure.

13 Just then a light wind began blowing from the south, and it looked like a perfect day for the trip; so they pulled up anchor and sailed along close to shore.

14-15 But shortly afterwards the weather changed abruptly, and a heavy wind of typhoon strength (a “northeaster,” they called it) caught the ship and blew it out to sea. They tried at first to face back to shore but couldn’t, so they gave up and let the ship run before the gale.

16 We finally sailed behind a small island named Clauda, where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat that was being towed behind us, 17 and then banded the ship with ropes to strengthen the hull. The sailors were afraid of being driven across to the quicksands of the African coast,[f] so they lowered the topsails and were thus driven before the wind.

18 The next day as the seas grew higher, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. 19 The following day they threw out the tackle and anything else they could lay their hands on. 20 The terrible storm raged unabated many days,[g] until at last all hope was gone.

21 No one had eaten for a long time, but finally Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Fair Havens—you would have avoided all this injury and loss! 22 But cheer up! Not one of us will lose our lives, even though the ship will go down.

23 “For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul—for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God has granted your request and will save the lives of all those sailing with you.’ 25 So take courage! For I believe God! It will be just as he said! 26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”

27 About midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven to and fro on the Adriatic Sea, the sailors suspected land was near. 28 They sounded and found 120 feet of water below them. A little later they sounded again and found only 90 feet. 29 At this rate they knew they would soon be driven ashore; and fearing rocks along the coast, they threw out four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.

30 Some of the sailors planned to abandon the ship and lowered the emergency boat as though they were going to put out anchors from the prow. 31 But Paul said to the soldiers and commanding officer, “You will all die unless everyone stays aboard.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes and let the boat fall off.

33 As the darkness gave way to the early morning light, Paul begged everyone to eat. “You haven’t touched food for two weeks,” he said. 34 “Please eat something now for your own good! For not a hair of your heads shall perish!”

35 Then he took some hardtack and gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it. 36 Suddenly everyone felt better and began eating, 37 all 276 of us—for that is the number we had aboard. 38 After eating, the crew lightened the ship further by throwing all the wheat overboard.

39 When it was day, they didn’t recognize the coastline, but noticed a bay with a beach and wondered whether they could get between the rocks and be driven up onto the beach. 40 They finally decided to try. Cutting off the anchors and leaving them in the sea, they lowered the rudders, raised the foresail, and headed ashore. 41 But the ship hit a sandbar[h] and ran aground. The bow of the ship stuck fast, while the stern was exposed to the violence of the waves and began to break apart.

42 The soldiers advised their commanding officer to let them kill the prisoners lest any of them swim ashore and escape. 43 But Julius[i] wanted to spare Paul, so he told them no. Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard and make for land, 44 and the rest to try for it on planks and debris from the broken ship. So everyone escaped safely ashore!


  1. Acts 27:2 a boat, literally, “a ship of Adramyttium.” the Turkish coast, literally, “the coast of Asia.” Aristarchus, see 19:29; 20:4; Philemon 1:24.
  2. Acts 27:4 so we sailed north of Cyprus between the island and the mainland, implied; literally, “we sailed under the lee of Cyprus.” Narratives of that period interpret this as meaning what is indicated in the paraphrase above.
  3. Acts 27:7 Cnidus, a port on the southeast coast of Turkey.
  4. Acts 27:9 because it was late in the year, literally, “because the Fast was now already gone by.” It came about the time of the autumn equinox.
  5. Acts 27:12 exposed, implied.
  6. Acts 27:17 were afraid of being driven across to the quicksands of the African coast, literally, “feared lest they should be cast upon the Syrtis.”
  7. Acts 27:20 The terrible storm raged unabated many days, literally, “Neither sun nor stars shone upon us.”
  8. Acts 27:41 a sandbar, literally, “a place where two seas met.”
  9. Acts 27:43 Julius, implied.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Paul Sails for Rome

27 When it was decided that we(A) would sail for Italy,(B) Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.(C) We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia,(D) and we put out to sea. Aristarchus,(E) a Macedonian(F) from Thessalonica,(G) was with us.

The next day we landed at Sidon;(H) and Julius, in kindness to Paul,(I) allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.(J) From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.(K) When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia(L) and Pamphylia,(M) we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship(N) sailing for Italy(O) and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course,(P) we sailed to the lee of Crete,(Q) opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement.[a](R) So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”(S) 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete,(T) facing both southwest and northwest.

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force,(U) called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat(V) secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground(W) on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.(X) 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice(Y) not to sail from Crete;(Z) then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage,(AA) because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel(AB) of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve(AC) stood beside me(AD) 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar;(AE) and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’(AF) 25 So keep up your courage,(AG) men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.(AH) 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground(AI) on some island.”(AJ)

The Shipwreck

27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic[c] Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet[d] deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet[e] deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat(AK) down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”(AL) 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”(AM) 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it(AN) and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged(AO) and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.(AP)

39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach,(AQ) where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors,(AR) they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.(AS)

42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life(AT) and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.(AU)


  1. Acts 27:9 That is, Yom Kippur
  2. Acts 27:17 Or the sails
  3. Acts 27:27 In ancient times the name referred to an area extending well south of Italy.
  4. Acts 27:28 Or about 37 meters
  5. Acts 27:28 Or about 27 meters
New International Version (NIV)

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