Paul gets Shipwrecked

After Paul changed to believe correctly in God, he worked very hard for God. He travelled to lots of places telling them about God, but most of the people didn’t want to listen.

They even complained to their rulers about Paul, and eventually Paul was put in prison.

The rulers asked Paul questions, and said he wasn’t doing anything wrong against the country; but the people were so angry with Paul, that Paul asked for his trial to be in Rome in Italy instead.So when a boat was leaving with other prisoners on it, Paul was taken with them. The boat was going to call at a few ports around the Mediterranean Sea on the way; and up the coast quite a way, the soldiers in charge of the prisoners found a boat going to Rome so they changed boats. The wind was strong and it blew them in the wrong direction. Finally they managed to get to a harbor along the coast, but by this time they were well behind schedule. In those days the boats were only sailing boats, and they had to be very careful to sail only at the right time of year.

Paul tried to warn them that he knew that it was going to be a voyage of disaster, but they didn’t listen to him. Instead they thought that the harbor where they were, wasn’t a very good one to stay in for the winter. They would go to a better harbor they knew about, in the big island of Crete. So they set off. To start with, the winds were nice and gentle, and they were sure they had made the right decision. But it wasn’t long at all until a hurricane came; it was so strong that they couldn’t do anything, and they just had to let the wind blow their boat along.

The sailors became very scared that their boat would fall to pieces, so they put ropes around underneath the boat to help hold it together. Then they started to throw out all the cargo to make the boat lighter, and then they even threw away the ropes from the rigging of the boat, because they were so worried. The storm was so bad that they couldn’t see either the sun or the stars for days, and it continued so long that they thought they were had it.

Then Paul stood up, and told them they should have listened to him. Paul then told them that God’s angel had talked to him and told him that he had to appear before the ruler in Rome, and that everyone on board, all 276 of them, would survive but they would run aground.

Not long after, when the hurricane was still blowing, the sailors felt as though they were approaching land, so they measured how deep the water was, then measured it again soon after and found it was getting shallower very quickly. They immediately put out all their anchors and hoped for the morning to come soon.

In the morning, they could see a sandy beach but they didn’t know where they were. They wanted to run the boat aground towards the beach but they hit a sandbar instead and the bow (the front) stuck there, then the stern (the back) started to break up. So everyone got safely to the shore, some swimming and some using pieces of broken ship to help them float in. Then they found that they were on an island called Malta, and the people of the island built a fire to help warm them, and were very kind to them all.

After three months on the island, it was safe to sail again and another boat took them all to the end of their journey, and Paul safely arrived in Rome.

You can read this story for yourself in Acts chapters 27 and 28.

See if you can answer these questions:
1. Why was Paul going to Rome?
2. What sort of boats did people travel in then?
3. How did Paul know that everyone would survive?
4. How did everyone get to land?

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