A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Paul in the storm


As a Roman citizen, Paul had requested that he should stand trial before the Emperor. He and other prisoners were put in the charge of a centurion called Julius and they began the sea voyage to Rome. Owing to wind conditions, progress was slow, and soon the usual season for such voyages was past. After praying, Paul warned the Julius that they would be in danger if they carried on, but the centurion was swayed by the opinion of the pilot and the ship owner, who wanted to retain the payment. They sailed onwards, hoping to reach winter shelter on Crete, but a local wind of hurricane force blew them off course. The sailors did all they could to keep the ship safe, not even stopping to eat for days.

Shipwreck of Paul on MaltaPaul told them, ‘I knew we were sailing into danger, But don’t give up hope. God has told me that all of us will be safe, even though the ship will be destroyed.’ During the fourteenth night, they were driven near to land. The anchors were dropped, but the sailors were sure the ship would be broken on the rocks. They planned to get off safely in the lifeboat, leaving the soldiers and prisoners helpless, but Paul warned Julius of this and he stopped them. Paul encouraged them all to eat, to strengthen them. Next morning, they tried to run the ship aground on a sandy beach, but she hit a sandbar. The soldiers prepared to kill the prisoners as they would be punished if they escaped, but Julius stopped them. Using planks from the ship, everybody reached land safely.

They found out that they were on Malta. The local people looked after them. While he was collecting firewood, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake. The islanders expected him to die, but God kept him safe.   

The story illustrates:

  • The power of God, using and manipulating natural events
  • Paul’s faith and belief that God is in control.

Related Topics

Big Ideas: Prayer

Bible References

Acts 25:24-25, Acts 27:1-44, Acts 28:1-6
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