Acts 21:1

ESV And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
NIV After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.
NASB Now when we had parted from them and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos, and on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara;
CSB After we tore ourselves away from them, we set sail straight for Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
NLT After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara.
KJV And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara:

What does Acts 21:1 mean?

Paul is finally on his way back to Jerusalem. He has spent the last several years planting and building up churches around the Aegean Sea. Most significantly, he spent three years in Ephesus fighting demons, freeing people from witchcraft, and showing them how Jesus forgives their sins and reconciles them to God (Acts 19). After Paul left Ephesus, he toured around the Aegean Sea, visiting the churches in Thessalonica, Philippi, Berea, and Troas (Acts 20:1–3). Along the way, he collected a group of men who accompany their churches' donations to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4; Romans 15:26).

When Paul realizes his ship will pass by Ephesus, he does not return. He wants to get to Jerusalem by Pentecost. He knows if he stops he won't want to leave. Instead, the team sails farther south to Miletus and asks the Ephesian elders to meet them there (Acts 20:15–17).

They spend a few emotional hours before "parting." The Greek word used here means they tear away from each other; Luke says, "And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him" (Acts 20:37).

Luke records their progress through the sea voyage. Cos is an island in the southeast Aegean Sea where it meets the Mediterranean; it is south of modern-day Izmir. Rhodes is both an island southeast of Cos and a city on the northeast edge of the island. Patara is the seaport in Lycia and home to the oracle of Apollo.

From Patara, the group will find another ship—probably larger and better able to sail through open water—headed straight to Phoenicia. They will skirt the southern shore of Cyprus before landing in Tyre. After staying a week, they will sail to Ptolemais, stay a day, and continue to Caesarea Maritima where they will catch up with the evangelist Philip. At both Tyre and Caesarea, Paul's friends will discover that when he reaches Jerusalem he will be arrested. They try to convince him not to go, but Paul knows the Holy Spirit has plans for him that require the use of chains (Acts 21:2–14).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: