08 July 2015

Paul's Journey to Rome


God's plans are perfect


paul's shipwreck


A1 Objectives

B1 Explain how God protected Paul on his journey to Rome.

B2 Explain how the gospel spread while Paul was under arrest in Rome.

A2 Scriptures

B1 Acts 27:9-44

B2 Acts 28:16-31

A3 Notes

B1 Outline

C1 Acts 27--Paul's journey to Rome--Rome to Malta

D1 The Peaceful Start--Acts 27:1-8

D2 Paul's Warning--Acts 27:9-11

D3 The Horrible Storm--Acts 27:12-20

D4 God's Promise--Acts 27:21-26

D5 Shipwreck--Acts 27:27-36

D6 On Malta--Acts 27:37-44

C2 Acts 28--Paul's journey to Rome--Malta to Rome

D1 Paul and the Viper--Acts 28:1-6

D2 Healing of Publius' Father--Acts 28:7-9

D3 Respect from the people--Acts 28:10

D4 Malta to Rome--Acts 28:11-16

D5 Paul speaks to the Jews at Rome--Acts 28:17-22

D6 Jews reject the message--Acts 28:23-29

D7 Paul under house arrest preaches the Gospel for 2 years--Acts 28:30-31

B2 Paul's warning

C1 Probably October

C2 Paul, of Tarsus, would know these times. He had also sailed on his missionary journey's many times.

C3 The pilot is the one who steers the ship.

C4 Note the ship's officers: "An inscription from the island of Cos, dated to the First Mithridatic War, provides us with a list of a ship's officers, the nautae: the gubernator (kybernētēs in Greek) was the helmsman or pilot, the celeusta (keleustēs in Greek) supervised the rowers, a proreta (prōreus in Greek) was the look-out stationed at the bow, a pentacontarchos was apparently a junior officer, and an iatros (Lat. medicus), the ship's doctor." Source.

C5 Phoenix is about 49 miles (from my measure on Google Earth Pro) from Fair Havens. ~34 miles from the cape straight to "Phoenix." At 6 mph, it would take about 6 hours.

D1 Fair Havens has no protection from east or southeast winds and essentially no protection from the sea.

Fair Havens would have been the westernmost harbor Paul's ship could reach while staying under the lee of Crete. Beyond the cape west of Fair Havens, the shore turns north dramatically, exposing the ship to the winds they were trying to avoid. The fact that the harbor was "unsuitable to winter in" was confirmed in 1853 by an explorer named Captain T. A. B. Spratt, who observed that winter winds from the east and southeast blow right into the harbor. (Source here).

D2 Phoenix does.

E1 Looking northeast and southeast (βλεποντα κατα λιβα και κατα χωρον — bleponta kata liba kai kata chōron). There are two ways of interpreting this language. Λιπς — Lips means the southwest wind and χωρος — chōros the northwest wind. But what is the effect of κατα — kata with these words? Does it mean "facing" the wind? If so, we must read "looking southwest and northwest." But κατα — kata can mean down the line of the wind (the way the wind is blowing). If so, then it is proper to translate "looking northeast and southeast." This translation suits Lutro, the other suits Phoenike. Ramsay takes it to be Lutro, and suggests that sailors describe the harbour by the way it looks as they go into it (the subjectivity of the sailors) and that Luke so speaks and means Lutro which faces northeast and southeast. On the whole Lutro has the best of the argument. (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Source here).

E2 βλέποντα κατὰ λίβα κ. κατὰ χῶρον] looking (literally) down the S.W. and N.W. winds; i.e. in the direction of these winds, viz. N.E. and S.E. For λίψ and χῶρος are not quarters of the compass, but winds; and κατά, used with a wind, denotes the direction of its blowing,—down the wind. This interpretation, which I was long ago persuaded was the right one, I find now confirmed by the opinion of Mr. Smith, who cites Herod, iv. 110, ἐφέροντο κατὰ κῦμα καὶ ἄνεμον, and Arrian, Periplus Euxini, p. 3, ἄφνω νεφελὴ ἐπαναστᾶσα ἐξεῤῥάγη κατʼ εὖρον. So also κατὰ ῥόον, Herod, ii. 96. And in Jos. Antt. xv. 9. 6, the coasts near Cæsarea are said to be δύσορμα διὰ τὰς κατὰ λίβα προσβολάς. See also Thucyd. vi. 104. In the reff., the substantive is not one of motion like λίψ, χῶρος, or ῥόος, but of fixed location, as μεσημβρία, σκόπος. The direction then is towards the spot indicated, just as in the present case it is in that of the motion indicated. The harbour of Lutro satisfies these conditions; and is even more decisively pointed out as being the spot by a notice in the Synecdemus of Hierocles, φοινίκη ἤτοι ἀράδενα· νῆσος κλαῦδος. Now Mr. Pashley found a village called Aradhena a short distance above Lutro, and another close by called Anopolis, of which Steph. Byz. says, ἀράδην πόλις κρήτηι· ἡ δὲ ἀνωπόλις λέγεται, διὰ τὸ εἶναι ἄνω. From these data it is almost demonstrated that the port of Phœnice is the present port of Lutro. Ptolemy's longitude for port Phœnice also agrees. See Smith, pp. 51 ff. Mr. Smith has kindly sent me the following extract from a letter containing additional confirmation of the view: 'Loutro is an excellent harbour; you open it unexpectedly, the rocks stand apart and the town appears within. During the Greek war, when cruising with Lord Cochrane, … chased a pirate schooner, as they thought, right upon the rocks; suddenly he disappeared, and when rounding in after him,—like a change of scenery, the little basin, its shipping, and the town of Loutro, revealed themselves.' See Prof. Hackett's note, impugning the above view and interpretation; which however does not alter my opinion. Dean Howson gives his solution thus: "The difficulty is to be explained simply by remembering that sailors speak of everything from their own point of view, and that the harbour (see chart in C. and H. ii. 397) does look—from the water towards the land which encloses it—in the direction of S.W. and N.W." But I cannot believe, till experience can be shewn to confirm the idea, that even sailors could speak of a harbour as 'looking' in the direction in which they would look when entering it. ( Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary Source here).

E3 So it comes down to how we translate "kata." If it is translated one way, it refers to the old "Phoenix." It is translated the other way, it refers to Lutro.

B3 It is believed that the time from Paul's arrest to coming to Rome was about 3 years.

B4 Paul was in Rome (this time) for 2 years.

B5 Here is a handy timeline of Paul's life and how it corresponds to the various letters he wrote.

B6 For a discussion/explanation of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility see here, here, and here. Genesis 2:16, Deuteronomy 23:23, Matthew 15:19, Luke 7:30, John 6:67).

C1 God can do what He wants, how He wants, when He wants, and no one can resist Him (Psalm 115:3, Isaiah 46:10), yet there are some things God cannot do--sin (1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5), lie (Titus 1:2), or deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

C2 Some things that people think up and do have never entered God's mind (Jeremiah 19:5)

C3 He has chosen in His sovereignty to grant/decree a measure of true freewill to humanity (libertarian freewill). (Acts 14:16, 2 Peter 3:5).

C4 Any human does not have the same sovereign freewill than God has (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).

C5 All humans are evil (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, 1 John 1:8-10).

C6 No humans seeks God (Romans 3:10-19)

C7 God opens everyone's heart at some point (John 1:9, Romans 1:19-21).

C8 After God initiates salvation, He calls and demands obedience. Humans can resist or not resist (Acts 7:51, Nehemiah 9:30, 2 Timothy 3:8). Salvation from beginning to end is all of God. He initiates, and He completes.

A4 Questions

B1 Paul was on his way to Rome according to his request, which was granted (Acts 25:10-12). Paul had been warned that in going to Jerusalem, he would be arrested (Acts 20:23). He was arrested, had spent time in prison, appealed to be tried by the Emperor, and was now on his way there. Since Paul was warned, should he have avoided going to Jerusalem? What should we do? Should we go or do something that we know we will be arrested or even killed for?

B2 Acts 27:9--What does "the Fast" refer to? (Atonement).

B3 Acts 27:9--Why time of the year is that? (September to October. Early October is mentioned as the latest possible for safe sailing).

B4 Acts 27:10--Why did Paul plead with the Centurion and the Captain?

B5 Acts 27:10--Paul said, "Men, I perceive this voyage is going to be with hardship and much loss, not only of the cargo and of the ship but also our lives." Why did Paul mention loss of life, even when we read later there was no loss of life? Is this a contradiction in the Scriptures? (No, Paul said this from good sense, natural, even perhaps, learned, but the actual no loss of life was by revelation (Acts 27:24-25).

B6 Acts 27:11--Why did the centurion believe the pilot and owner instead of Paul?

B7 Acts 27:24--Why did God spare everyone?

B8 Acts 27:25--What trait did Paul show towards God? (Faith, that is, he believed what God said).

B9 Acts 27:21-26--Why should all the people on the ship take courage?

B10 Why should they believe Paul?

B11 If all is hopeless in our life, is there any reason to be encouraged?

B12 How can we be encouraged?

B13 Does faith (believing God) make us strong or weak?

B14 In what way do we believe God today?

B15 Is there any time or any person we should speak them "words of cheer?"

B16 What is the greatest "word of cheer" we could give anyone? (The Gospel).

B17 Should we be discouraged at the state of affairs in today's church and in today's world?

C1 (Yes, except--"Many are in distress about the spread of error. The signs of the times are very bad, and the would be prophets say that a dreadful storm is coming on. But God is not dead, and He will beat the devil yet. It is true it is a hard time for Christianity, and infidels are fighting us with new arguments; but when I think of them I feel inclined to say what the Duke of Wellington said at Waterloo to the generals, "Hard pounding, gentlemen! hard pounding! but we will see which will pound the longest." (Quoted from the Biblical Illustrator (published in 1849) note on Acts 27:25)).

C2 "Those who are labouring for Christ. Sometimes workers for the Lord get cast down. "I have taught a class for years," says one, "and seen no fruit." "I have been preaching for months, but have never heard of a conversion," says another. Well, do you think that you have preached Jesus Christ, and nothing has come of it? I do not believe it for a moment. I believe God, that it shall be even as He has told me, and He has said, "My word shall not return unto Me void." Be not so cowardly as to say, "I will leave the work." You are not to win a battle in a moment, or reap a harvest as soon as you sow the seed. Keep on!" (C. H. Spurgeon).

B18 What is faith good for?

B19 Acts 27:27--How many nights have they endured the storm? (14. It has been estimated that the ship drifted at about 1.25 mph in the storm. See here)

B20 Acts 27:27--How did the sailors suspect/sense they were near land?

C1 There is a point (see Resources/St Paul's Bay/View 3) that is believed to have been near enough the ship that the sailors could hear the waves on the shore.

C2 The waves' sound would be louder than usual because of the storm.

C3 They really didn't know where they were, so they feared they would wreck at any minute.

B21 Acts 27:28--How deep is 20 fathoms? (About 120 feet).

B21 Acts 27:30--Why were the sailors trying to escape? (They thought they would die otherwise). But what was the truth? (They had to stay on the ship to be saved).

B22 Acts 27:31--Why would the sailors have to stay aboard ship for them to be saved? There are different opinions.

C1 God told Paul more than what Paul told all the people. It was a conditional promise. God would save them, if they all stayed on board ship.

C2 If the sailors had abandoned ship, there would be only soldiers and passengers, who would not have the necessary skill and training to handle a ship in such a storm.

C3 Both views are true.

B23 Acts 27:33-36

C1 What is Paul's motive? (Compassion)

C2 What did he do before eating? (Prayed. He gave thanks to God).

C3 Can we thank God in trying situations?

B24 Acts 27:39--What did the sailors notice? (A sandy beach)

B25 Acts 27:45--How many of the crew and passengers survived the wreck? (All)

B26 Acts 28:17--What did Paul do the first week in Rome? (Called together the Jews to explain why he was there and preach the Gospel).

B27 Acts 28:19--Who wanted Paul to be imprisoned and killed? (The unbelieving Jews).

B28 Acts 28:25-27--What did the Holy Spirit say about unbelieving Israel? (They are rejecters of God's grace).

B29 Acts 28:27--What was wrong with their heart? (For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn--and I would heal them.' (Acts 28:27 NRSV). Who opens the heart and minds of people? (God. God initiates salvation and completes salvation. After opening someone's heart, He commands them to repent and believe the Gospel. We can resist or not resist. See here, and here).

A5 Resources

B1 Roman Merchant Ship

B2 St Paul's Islands (the traditional site)

C1 View 1

C2 View 2

C3 View 3 Picture#13 (at the time of this writing) shows the point to the traditional site of the wreck, which is about 2 miles away).

C4 View 4 The little white building in the distance is St. Paul's Chapel. This is the traditional site of the wreck and shows the area to be quite rough.

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