Acts 28: 22“But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.”23When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.
What will our reputation be like? Will it be such that others will want to bring their friends to hear what we have to say? It may not be if they are just going to get a lecture about their lives from someone who doesn’t really know them. But, if we practice story evangelism, simply telling our own story of what Jesus has done in our lives, as Paul has done, it could certainly be like that.
Paul Is Sent to Rome
1When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius. 2And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. 3The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care. 4From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary. 5When we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. 7When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone; 8and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.
9When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them, 10and said to them, “Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul. 12Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
13When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.
14But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo; 15and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along. 16Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat under control. 17After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. 18The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo; 19and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.
21When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, “Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. 22“Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23“For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25“Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26“But we must run aground on a certain island.”
27But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land. 28They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak. 30But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship’s boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, 31Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” 32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it fall away.
33Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. 34“Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” 35Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. 36All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food. 37All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons. 38When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.
39When day came, they could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could. 40And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach. 41But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves. 42The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape; 43but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.
Safe at Malta
1When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. 2The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all. 3But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” 5However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
7Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. 8And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured. 10They also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed.
Paul Arrives at Rome
11At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. 12After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome. 15And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
16When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
17After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18“And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death. 19“But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation. 20“For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.” 21They said to him, “We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. 22“But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.”
23When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26saying,
‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY,
“YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”’
28“Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” 29When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.
30And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
5 A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible.
6 Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness.
10 Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way;
He who hates reproof will die.
11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD,
How much more the hearts of men!