Acts 27:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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 on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.

King James Bible
Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.

Darby Bible Translation
which having hoisted up, they used helps, frapping the ship; and fearing lest they should run into Syrtis and run aground, and having lowered the gear they were so driven.

World English Bible
After they had hoisted it up, they used cables to help reinforce the ship. Fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis sand bars, they lowered the sea anchor, and so were driven along.

Young's Literal Translation
which having taken up, they were using helps, undergirding the ship, and fearing lest they may fall on the quicksand, having let down the mast -- so were borne on.

Acts 27:17 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Undergirding the ship - This method has been used even in modern times. It is called frapping the ship. A stout cable is slipped under the vessel at the prow, which they can conduct to any part of the ship's keel; and then fasten the two ends on the deck, to keep the planks from starting: as many rounds as they please may be thus taken about the vessel. An instance of this kind is mentioned in Lord Anson's Voyage round the World. Speaking of a Spanish man-of-war in a storm: "They were obliged to throw overboard all their upper-deck guns, and take six turns of the cable round the ship, to prevent her opening." P. 24, 4to. edit. The same was done by a British line-of-battle ship in 1763, on her passage from India to the Cape of Good Hope.

The quicksands - Εις την συρτιν, Into the syrt. There were two famous syrts, or quicksands, on the African coast; one called the syrtis major, lying near the coast of Cyrene; and the other, the syrtis minor, not far from Tripoli. Both these, like our Goodwin Sands, were proverbial for their multitude of ship-wrecks. From the direction in which this vessel was driven, it is not at all likely that they were in danger of drifting on any of these syrts, as the vessel does not appear to have been driven near the African coast through the whole of her voyage. And as to what is said, Acts 27:27, of their being driven up and down in Adria, διαφερομενων εν τῳ Αδριᾳ, it must mean their being tossed about near to Sicily, the sea of which is called Adria, according to the old Scholiast upon Dionysius's Periegesis, ver. 85: το Σικελικον τουτο το πελαγος Αδριαν καλουσι· they call this Sicilian sea, Adria. We are therefore to consider that the apprehension, expressed in Acts 27:17, is to be taken generally: they were afraid of falling into some shoals, not knowing in what part of the sea they then were; for they had seen neither sun nor stars for many days; and they had no compass, and consequently could not tell in what direction they were now driving. It is wrong therefore to mark the course of this voyage, as if the vessel had been driven across the whole of the Mediterranean, down to the African coast, and near to the syrts, or shoal banks; to which there is scarcely any reason to believe she had once approximated during the whole of this dangerous voyage.

Strake sail - Χαλασαντες το σκευος. What this means is difficult to say. As to striking or slackening sail, that is entirely out of the question, in such circumstances as they were; when it is evident they could carry no sail at all, and must have gone under bare poles. Some think that lowering the yards, and taking down the top-mast, is what is intended; but in such a perilous situation this would have been of little service. Others think, letting go their main or sheet anchor, is what is meant; but this seems without foundation, as it would have been foolishness in the extreme to have hoped to ride out the storm in such a sea. Passing by a variety of meanings, I suppose cutting away, or by some means letting down the mast, is the action intended to be expressed here; and this would be the most likely means of saving the vessel from foundering.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Acts 27:29,41 Then fearing lest we should have fallen on rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day...

A Short Confession of Faith
'...There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.'--ACTS xxvii. 23. I turn especially to those last words, 'Whose I am and whom I serve.' A great calamity, borne by a crowd of men in common, has a wonderful power of dethroning officials and bringing the strong man to the front. So it is extremely natural, though it has been thought to be very unhistorical, that in this story of Paul's shipwreck he should become guide, counsellor, inspirer, and a tower of strength; and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Seasons of Covenanting.
The duty is never unsuitable. Men have frequently, improperly esteemed the exercise as one that should be had recourse to, only on some great emergency. But as it is sinful to defer religious exercises till affliction, presenting the prospect of death, constrain to attempt them, so it is wrong to imagine, that the pressure of calamity principally should constrain to make solemn vows. The exercise of personal Covenanting should be practised habitually. The patriot is a patriot still; and the covenanter
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

'Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.' I Pet 1:1. The fifth and last fruit of sanctification, is perseverance in grace. The heavenly inheritance is kept for the saints, and they are kept to the inheritance. I Pet 1:1. The apostle asserts a saint's stability and permanence in grace. The saint's perseverance is much opposed by Papists and Arminians; but it is not the less true because it is opposed. A Christian's main comfort depends upon this doctrine of perseverance. Take
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

First Missionary Journey Scripture
STUDY III FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY Scripture, Acts 13:1-14:26 INTRODUCTION TO THE THREE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS Before taking up the study of the first missionary journey, attention is called to certain points which should be considered in regard to all three of them (Acts 13:1-21:17). We have now arrived at what we might call the watershed of the Acts of the Apostles. Hitherto we have had various scenes, characters, personages to consider. Henceforth Paul, his labors, his disputes, his speeches, occupy
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

Cross References
Acts 27:16
As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure,

Acts 27:26
Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

Acts 27:29
Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.

Acts 27:40
Cutting loose the anchors, 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.

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