Acts 27
Contemporary English Version

Paul Is Taken to Rome

1When it was time for us to sail to Rome, Captain Julius from the Emperor's special troops was put in charge of Paul and the other prisoners. 2We went aboard a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail to some ports along the coast of Asia. Aristarchus from Thessalonica in Macedonia sailed on the ship with us.

3The next day we came to shore at Sidon. Captain Julius was very kind to Paul. He even let him visit his friends, so they could give him whatever he needed. 4When we left Sidon, the winds were blowing against us, and we sailed close to the island of Cyprus to be safe from the wind. 5Then we sailed south of Cilicia and Pamphylia until we came to the port of Myra in Lycia. 6There the army captain found a ship from Alexandria that was going to Italy. So he ordered us to board that ship.

7We sailed along slowly for several days and had a hard time reaching Cnidus. The wind would not let us go any farther in that direction, so we sailed past Cape Salmone, where the island of Crete would protect us from the wind. 8We went slowly along the coast and finally reached a place called Fair Havens, not far from the town of Lasea.

9By now we had already lost a lot of time, and sailing was no longer safe. In fact, even the Great Day of Forgiveness+ was past. 10Then Paul spoke to the crew of the ship, “Men, listen to me! If we sail now, our ship and its cargo will be badly damaged, and many lives will be lost.” 11But Julius listened to the captain of the ship and its owner, rather than to Paul.

12The harbor at Fair Havens wasn't a good place to spend the winter. Because of this, almost everyone agreed that we should at least try to sail along the coast of Crete as far as Phoenix. It had a harbor that opened toward the southwest and northwest,+ and we could spend the winter there.

The Storm at Sea

13When a gentle wind from the south started blowing, the men thought it was a good time to do what they had planned. So they pulled up the anchor, and we sailed along the coast of Crete. 14But soon a strong wind called “The Northeaster” blew against us from the island. 15The wind struck the ship, and we could not sail against it. So we let the wind carry the ship.

16We went along the island of Cauda on the side that was protected from the wind. We had a hard time holding the lifeboat in place, 17but finally we got it where it belonged. Then the sailors wrapped ropes around the ship to hold it together. They lowered the sail and let the ship drift along, because they were afraid it might hit the sandbanks in the gulf of Syrtis.

18The storm was so fierce that the next day they threw some of the ship's cargo overboard. 19Then on the third day, with their bare hands they threw overboard some of the ship's gear. 20For several days we could not see either the sun or the stars. A strong wind kept blowing, and we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21Since none of us had eaten anything for a long time, Paul stood up and told the men:

You should have listened to me! If you had stayed on in Crete, you would not have had this damage and loss. 22But now I beg you to cheer up, because you will be safe. Only the ship will be lost.

23I belong to God, and I worship him. Last night he sent an angel 24to tell me, “Paul, don't be afraid! You will stand trial before the Emperor. And because of you, God will save the lives of everyone on the ship.” 25Cheer up! I am sure that God will do exactly what he promised. 26But we will first be shipwrecked on some island.

27For 14 days and nights we had been blown around over the Mediterranean Sea. But about midnight the sailors realized we were getting near land. 28They measured and found that the water was about 40 meters deep. A little later they measured again and found it was only about 30 meters. 29The sailors were afraid that we might hit some rocks, and they let down four anchors from the back of the ship. Then they prayed for daylight.

30The sailors wanted to escape from the ship. So they lowered the lifeboat into the water, pretending that they were letting down some anchors from the front of the ship. 31But Paul said to Captain Julius and the soldiers, “If the sailors don't stay on the ship, you won't have any chance to save your lives.” 32The soldiers then cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall into the sea.

33Just before daylight Paul begged the people to eat something. He told them, “For 14 days you have been so worried that you haven't eaten a thing. 34I beg you to eat something. Your lives depend on it. Do this and not one of you will be hurt.”

35After Paul had said this, he took a piece of bread and gave thanks to God. Then in front of everyone, he broke the bread and ate some. 36They all felt encouraged, and each of them ate something. 37There were 276 people on the ship, 38and after everyone had eaten, they threw the cargo of wheat into the sea to make the ship lighter.

The Shipwreck

39Morning came, and the ship's crew saw a coast they did not recognize. But they did see a cove with a beach. So they decided to try to run the ship aground on the beach. 40They cut the anchors loose and let them sink into the sea. At the same time they untied the ropes that were holding the rudders. Next, they raised the sail at the front of the ship and let the wind carry the ship toward the beach. 41But it ran aground on a sandbank. The front of the ship stuck firmly in the sand, and the rear was being smashed by the force of the waves.

42The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming away and escaping. 43But Captain Julius wanted to save Paul's life, and he did not let the soldiers do what they had planned. Instead, he ordered everyone who could swim to jump into the water and head for shore. 44Then he told the others to hold on to planks of wood or parts of the ship. At last, everyone safely reached shore.


27.9 Great Day of Forgiveness: This Jewish festival took place near the end of September. The sailing season was dangerous after the middle of September, and it was stopped completely between the middle of November and the middle of March.
27.12 southwest and northwest: Or “northeast and southeast.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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