Ship tossing goods overboard on rough seas | What We Can Learn From Paul's Shipwreck In The Bible

What We Can Learn From Paul’s Shipwreck In The Bible

Paul’s shipwreck in the Bible isn’t one we tend to hear a lot about in church, but it’s a story that we can take so much away from. It’s an incredible story of enduring someone else’s storm, and the consequences it brings, while holding firmly to our faith. It stands a beacon through time to impact us in the midst of our own life’s storms, with powerful reminders that He is God in the storm.

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The Story Of Paul In The Bible

The story of Paul in the Bible is probably one of the best known New Testament stories. His life and writings hold so much wisdom for the life of a believer, but let’s take a look at

Who Is Paul In The Bible?

Paul is one of the shinning figures of the New Testament, we are first introduced to Paul as he is actively persecuting and killing Christians. The Bible tells us that as he was on his way to Damascus he had an encounter with God that changed his life forever. He became a believer in the same faith that he had once tried to wipe from the earth.

What did Paul do you might ask. Paul went on to write a good chunk of the New Testament and preach the truth of the gospel across the globe, suffering persecution, arrests, and hardship until he gave his life for his faith in Jesus Christ. The story of Paul’s shipwreck takes place toward the end of his life on his way to Rome where he would be eventually executed.

Where Can We Find Paul’s Shipwreck In The Bible?

We find the story of Paul’s shipwreck recounted in the book of Acts chapter 27 & 28. As we read the story we learn that Paul is being transported to Rome to stand trial in front of Caesar, under the guard of a Roman officer named Julius, who was a captain of the Imperial Regiment.

After slow sailing they begin to experience stormy seas, the slow voyage has pushed them late into the fall and it’s quickly becoming unsafe to sail. But the port they were docked in was not the best to stay the winter in. Paul attempts to warn them not to continue but to stay where they are:

“Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only a southwest and northwest exposure. Acts 27:10-12

So they continued on their journey, ignoring Paul’s warnings.

When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale. Acts 27:13-15

In verses 13-15 we come upon the storm that will eventually sink the ship that Paul is sailing on. As the days progress and no relief in sight the sailors begin to lighten their load, first by throwing over board the cargo they are carrying and then some of the ships gear. At last they come to the conclusion that all hope is lost. All their skill, all their endeavors have failed and they are at the mercy of the raging storm.

Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down.  For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” Acts 27:21-26

What Can We Learn From Paul’s Shipwreck?

There are so many takeaways from the story of Paul’s shipwreck in the Bible, let’s take a look at a few of these lessons and how they apply to our own lives.

Paul’s Shipwreck Reminds Us He Is God In The Storm

Sometimes we go through a storm that we didn’t cause but we’ve been pulled in through the actions of others. And we find ourselves driven by the wind and tossed by the sea- and all the things that guide us, that bring comfort are blocked from sight so all we have is God.

Much like in the story of Paul’s shipwreck we come to a place where the stars that the sailors would navigate by were out of view, the sea anchor that was meant to stop or slow the boat was useless against the wind and waves. And all that’s left is God’s promise to see us through.

No where in the Bible do we see that God will never give us more than we can handle– in fact it says quite the opposite. In John 16:33 we read:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Paul’s Shipwreck Shows God Is With Us In Troubled Times

Storms will arrive on our doorstep because we live in a fallen world, but we can be sure that just like in this story of Paul’s shipwreck that our God is merciful, and good. That He will never leave us nor forsake us, even when we are lost by human eyes in the storm and every hope is gone.

Our God is master over the storm, and nothing can pluck us from His mighty hand. Nothing can separate us from Him, even when the storm is raging. Even when it looks like the darkness is going to take over, remember who your God is.

He is the one who spoke the work into creation, that breathed life into all of the world, that wove you together intricately, that knows every hair on your head, who saw you before you were born, who knew you and loved you before any other.

He is the God who intricately crafted galaxies and planets setting them spinning through ever expanding space and who cared enough to meet people like the woman at the well, the woman with the issue of blood, and the man possessed by demons right where they were. The one who sought these and so many more like them to set them free.

Paul’s Shipwreck Reminds Us To Trust God In The Storm

Believe. Believe the God who you belong to, even if you are the only one like Paul and your words fall of deaf ears. Paul knew God’s faithfulness. He remembered His promises, and kept them close to his heart. He trusted that God had power over the storm he was physically experiencing and put His faith in the only firm foundation- His God.

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