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Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Acts 27

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

We ; Luke, Paul, and others.

Italy ; a country in the south part of Europe, between the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas.

Verse 2

Adramyttium ; a seaport of Mysia in the north-western part of Asia Minor. It lay opposite to the isle of Lesbos.

Aristarchus ; chap Acts 19:29 ; Acts 20:4 .

Verse 3

Sidon ; north of Cesarea, from which Paul sailed. Verse Acts 27:2 ; chap Acts 25:4 ; Acts 25:13 ; Acts 25:21 . When a man’s ways please the Lord, he can make not only his enemies, but strangers, and even heathen, not merely to be at peace with him, but to aid and assist him. Proverbs 16:7 .

Verse 4

Under Cyprus ; along its northern coast, between the island and the main land, to shield themselves from the violence of the wind.

Winds were contrary ; they were the westerly or north-westerly winds which prevail there at that season.

Verse 5

The sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia ; the sea along the coast of those provinces of Asia Minor. Cilicia lay on the south coast of Asia Minor opposite Cyprus, and Pamphylia was the next province west.

Lycia ; next west of Pamphylia.

Verse 6

Alexandria ; a city of Egypt.

Verse 7

Scarce ; with difficulty.

Cnidus ; a town in the province of Caria next west of Lycia. It is in the south-western angle of Asia Minor, and has the isle of Rhodes opposite to it.

Under Crete ; near that island.

Salmone ; the eastern extremity of Crete.

Verse 8

Hardly passing it ; coasting along it with difficulty.

Fair Havens ; on the southern side of Crete, about midway between its eastern and western extremities.

Verse 9

Much time was spent ; on account of the contrary winds.

The fast ; connected with the great day of atonement. Leviticus 16:29-30 . This occurred about the twentieth of September, after which sailing was dangerous.

Verse 10

Much damage-our lives ; these words of Paul seem to express not a revelation from God, but rather his own sound judgment. With regard to his own life, he had received from the Lord the assurance that he should see Rome, chap Acts 23:11 ; but he had not yet received any promise that the lives of all in the ship should be saved. see verses Acts 27:23-24 .

Verse 12

Not commodious to winter in ; being open to the wind and sea on the south.

Phenice ; a place in the south-west part of Crete. The majority are often in the wrong, and it is not always wise or safe to follow them. The great question should not be, on which side are the greatest numbers, but on which are truth and duty; and a truly pious man, in seasons of danger and difficulty, may say and do things which it would be unwise to attempt at other times.

Verse 13

The south wind blew softly ; which would be favorable to their purpose, as the coast a few miles beyond the Fair Havens turn to the north of west.

Close by ; near the shore.

Verse 14

Euroclydon ; these winds, now called Levanters, blow from nearly east-north-east.

Verse 15

Caught ; suddenly met by the wind.

Could not bear up ; sail against it.

Let her drive ; before the wind.

Verse 16

Claudia ; a small island a little south of west from the Fair Havens, at the distance of some forty or fifty miles. Melita, the next place where we find them, is a small island south of Sicily, not quite five hundred miles to the west of Clauda.

To come by the boat ; to secure it, by taking it on board. Verse Acts 27:17 .

Verse 17

Taken up ; taken into the ship, to prevent the boat being broken or lost.

Used helps , undergirding ; putting chains or ropes around the vessel, to strengthen it and keep it together.

Quicksands ; on the coast of Africa, south-west of them.

Strake sail ; these words do not seem to mean that they took in all sail, which would have left them drifting towards the quicksands at the mercy of the wind and waves; but rather, that they reduced their sail very low. This would enable them, while driven before the wind, to keep the ship’s head in a measure towards the north-west, and thus avoid the African coast and the quicksands.

Verse 18

Lightened the ship ; threw overboard some of her cargo.

Verse 19

Tackling ; whatever belonged to the ship which could be spared.

Verse 20

Neither sun nor stars ; the mariner’s compass was not then known. When sailors could not see the heavenly bodies or the land, they did not know their course. God in his providence often shows men, especially those who traverse the ocean, that they are dependent on him; that all their efforts to deliver themselves are utterly insufficient, and that he must save them, or they must perish.

Verse 21

Long abstinence ; from food, on account of the severity of the storm and the greatness of their danger.

Verse 24

God hath given thee all ; for thy sake, and in answer to thy prayers, they shall be preserved.

Verse 27

Fourteenth night ; after the commencement of the storm.

Adria : in the wider sense, including not only the Adriatic gulf, but the Ionian sea south of it.

Deemed ; thought, judged.

Verse 28

Sounded ; let down a lead and line to ascertain the depth of the water.

Twenty fathoms ; one hundred and twenty feet.

Fifteen fathoms ; ninety feet.

Verse 29

Four anchors ; to hold the ship where she was.

Stern ; the hinder part of the ship.

For the day ; for daylight, that they might see where they were.

Verse 30

Shipmen ; sailors.

To flee ; escape to the shore, and leave the others to take care of themselves or perish.

Under color ; under the pretence.

Verse 31

Paul ; who saw what they intended.

These ; the sailors.

Ye cannot be saved ; their agency was necessary to manage the vessel. Though God had given Paul the lives of all in the ship, they were yet to be saved by the use of the appropriate means. A future event may be certain because God has determined and revealed it, and it may also be true that unless men use the proper means it will never take place. It was certain that all the two hundred and seventy-five who were with Paul in the ship would get to land, and it was also certain that unless the sailors should stay and manage the ship they would not get to land. So that the use of proper means is just as necessary to accomplish an event which is beforehand certain, as it would be if it were not certain, and its accomplishment depended solely on those means.

Verse 32

Cut off the ropes ; to let the boat fall into the sea and float away, so that the sailors could not escape.

Verse 33

Taken nothing ; no regular meals, or very little.

Verse 35

The goodness of God should be felt and acknowledged in all our blessings; and when about to partake of the bounties of Providence, we should thank him for them, and ask him to make them the means of our good.

Verse 38

Cast out the wheat ; to lighten the ship, and get it as near the shore as possible.

Verse 39

Creek ; bay, as the original word means.

Shore ; one where they could land.

Verse 40

Taken up ; slipped or cut the ropes which fastened the anchors to the ship, so that the wind might drive her into the bay, now called St. Paul’s bay.

Loosed the rudder - bands ; the rudder had been made fast during the storm. Now it was loosed, that they might again use it to steer the vessel.

Verse 41

Two seas met ; and formed a sand-bar or bank, stretching out into the sea.

Stuck - fast ; in the sand, so that they could get no nearer to the shore.

Verse 42

To kill the prisoners ; those whom they were taking to Rome for trial, lest the soldiers to whose care they had been committed should be punished for letting them go. Soldiers, accustomed to killing men, are apt to think little of the value and sacredness of human life. Fighting is adapted to harden men’s hearts, and to nourish and strengthen those feelings which, if continued, will shut them for ever out of heaven.

Verse 43

The centurion ; Julius. Verses Acts 27:1 ; Acts 27:3 .

Willing ; wishing to save Paul. Thus was Paul made the means of again saving the prisoners from death. Verses Acts 27:24 ; Acts 27:31 . It is often a great blessing to wicked men to have a Christian among them. For his sake they may be saved from death, and also in answer to his prayers, through the abounding grace of God, from endless perdition.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Acts 27". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/acts-27.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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