Acts 27:30

ESV And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship 's boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,
NIV 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.
NASB But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship’s boat into the sea, on the pretense that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow,
CSB Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow.
NLT Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship.
KJV And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under color as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
NKJV And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow,

What does Acts 27:30 mean?

Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus are nearing the end of their terrible sea voyage. Two weeks prior, Paul warned the ship's owner and pilot not to leave Fair Havens on the southern coast of Crete. Should they leave, they would lose their ship, their cargo, and the lives of their crew and passengers. The crew and the centurion ignored Paul's warning, and nearly as soon as they set sail for a safer harbor, a great winter storm caught them. The horrific winds (Acts 27:14) pushed them around the Mediterranean like a child with a toy boat in a puddle (Acts 27:9–15). Since that time, God has answered Paul's prayers and promised no one will die (Acts 27:21–26). God's promise requires the action of the people involved, however.

The ship has finally neared land, but at night; the crew doesn't know how close they are, what rocks are jutting up, or what reefs hide beneath the waves. The crew dropped the stern anchors to ensure the waves don't push the ship into a hazard, and now they go to drop bow anchors, so the waves don't spin the ship around. At least, that's what they should be doing (Acts 27:27–29).

Shortly after the storm caught the ship, the waves and wind threatened to swamp and sink the lifeboat. The crew managed to pull it in and secure it to the bow (Acts 27:16–17). Now, they're quietly lowering it to the black waters beneath them. If they can climb in before the passengers notice, they have a chance to make it to shore.

Paul notices. He warns the centurion, and the soldiers cut the boat away. The sailors are forced to remain onboard and wait out the night. Come daylight, they manage to get the ship a little closer to the beach before it hits a reef and breaks apart. Even so, everyone manages to get to shore (Acts 27:31–32, 39–44).
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