They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep.
Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.
In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow.
Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."
So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.
Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food--you haven't eaten anything.
Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head."
After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.
They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.
Altogether there were 276 of us on board.
When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.
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.
But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.
But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.
The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.
Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.
When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."
But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.
His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.
When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.
They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.
We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.
From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli.
There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.
The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.
When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.
They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.
But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar--not that I had any charge to bring against my own people.
For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."
They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you.
But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect."
They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.