Acts 27:39

ESV Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.
NIV When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.
NASB Now when day came, they could not recognize the land; but they did notice a bay with a beach, and they resolved to run the ship onto it if they could.
CSB When daylight came, they did not recognize the land but sighted a bay with a beach. They planned to run the ship ashore if they could.
NLT When morning dawned, they didn’t recognize the coastline, but they saw a bay with a beach and wondered if they could get to shore by running the ship aground.
KJV And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.

What does Acts 27:39 mean?

Paul appealed his case to a higher court in Rome only because governors in Caesarea Maritima refused to admit he was innocent. They ignored clear evidence that the Sanhedrin's charges were false and gave no hint they would ever release him (Acts 25:6–12). Paul most likely didn't think that going to Rome would involve two weeks in a typhoon, a shipwreck on a tiny island, and soldiers who would rather see their prisoners executed than risk them escaping.

The ship is anchored off an island. The crew has already tried to escape in the lifeboat, but Paul and the centurion forced them to stay (Acts 27:30–32). Now, as the sun rises, the crew sees a convenient beach. They cut away the anchors, raise the foresail, and try to carefully maneuver into the harbor. This trip, however, shows no signs of easing, even in its last moments. The ship hits an underwater reef and holds fast. The surf pounds the aft section of the hull, tearing it apart. The soldiers plan to kill the prisoners, most likely because their lives will be forfeit if any escape. Julius the centurion has great respect for Paul and stops their swords. Those who can swim, jump in the cold water. Those who can't swim grab onto planks and other bits of the ship that still float. Eventually, everyone makes it safely to shore (Acts 27:40–44).

They soon learn the island is Malta, just south of Sicily. Everyone will wait out the winter there and, three months later, a ship will take them to Italy (Acts 28:1, 11). For now, they're just grateful to be on land.
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