Acts 21:3

ESV When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo.
NIV After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo.
NASB When we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre; for the ship was to unload its cargo there.
CSB After we sighted Cyprus, passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, since the ship was to unload its cargo there.
NLT We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
KJV Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.

What does Acts 21:3 mean?

Many issues in the Bible inspire modern people to wish for more information. Given our current perspective, we'd prefer the authors had been more specific on certain points. Some points are theological and have inspired debate among teachers and scholars for two thousand years. Luke, as it happens, seems interested in making sure there is never any doubt…about the route a ship takes while he is onboard.

Luke, Paul, and a group of others (Acts 20:4) sail from Miletus, on the southwest coast of modern-day Turkey, to Caesarea Maritima, on the Judaean coast. They have already weaved around the islands of Cos and Rhodes and changed ships in the city of Patara. The original ship may have been a smaller vessel that didn't sail far from shore; they need a larger sea-fairing ship to cross the open water to Phoenicia (Acts 21:1–2).

From Patara, they sail along the southern shore of the island of Cyprus. Paul has not returned there since he and Barnabas released the proconsul of Cyprus from the influence of a Jewish magician. This was during the first stop of their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4–12). Barnabas is from Cyprus (Acts 4:36), and when the two fell out over John Mark's involvement in their second trip, Paul and Silas traveled north to modern-day Turkey while Barnabas and Mark sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:36–41). Still, Paul doesn't stop; he wants to make Jerusalem by Pentecost (Acts 20:16).

Phoenicia is the district on the southern shore of Syria; today its borders would encompass western Lebanon as well as southwest Syria and northwest Israel. Tyre is the same city mentioned in the Old Testament; the king of Tyre once gave David supplies for his palace (2 Samuel 5:11). It was in Tyre and its sister-city Sidon that Jesus met the Syrophoenician woman with the humble faith (Mark 7:24–30).

In the Old Testament, Tyre was a major port consisting of a large city on the mainland as well as a heavily defensible island city. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great easily conquered the mainland city but could not breach the island. He eventually carried the rubble from the mainland and built a causeway to the island his army could march over. Today, the causeway is expanded to the point the once-island is a peninsula.
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