Acts 27:36

ESV Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.
NIV They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.
NASB All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.
CSB They all were encouraged and took food themselves.
NLT Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat —
KJV Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
NKJV Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.

What does Acts 27:36 mean?

A few weeks before, Paul faced the new Governor Festus in a court in Caesarea Maritima. There, the Sanhedrin presented charges so blatantly false that even Festus, who knew nothing about Judaism or Jews, could see how unfounded they were. Not wishing to irritate the Jewish leaders, Festus tried to satisfy both sides. When Paul realized Festus would not release him, he appealed his case to Caesar (Acts 25:6–12). Festus placed him, Aristarchus, and other prisoners under the custody of the centurion Julius and his soldiers; Luke is accompanying them (Acts 27:1).

The sea voyage has not been easy. After spending two weeks holding on for dear life to a ship in the clutches of a Mediterranean winter storm, the crew and passengers are exhausted. The ship has finally reached an island; the sun is slowly rising. They can't yet see what lies between the ship and the shore, but the anchors are set and at last they have some calm.

God has promised Paul that everyone will live, but until now it seems the crew and passengers weren't convinced (Acts 27:22–25). Paul knows the ship and cargo will be lost. It's a large ship that can't just ride up onto the beach; they will run aground at some point, and the people will have to swim or paddle to shore. They need energy.

As if remembering how to eat, the passengers and crew follow Paul's example and take some bread. This gives them the strength they need to jettison the remainder of the cargo and lighten the ship as much as they can. When the sun rises, they find a bay with a beach. Hoping to run the ship onto the land, the crew draws up the anchors, raises the sails for the first time since the storm started, and unlashes the rudder. The ship approaches the shore but hits an underground reef and sticks fast. As the surf smashes against the already-battered hull, the passengers and crew jump ship. The soldiers realize how difficult it will be to keep track of all the prisoners and plan to kill them onboard, but the centurion stops them. It's because of Paul they're even alive. The centurion can trust Paul not to escape (Acts 27:39–44).
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