What does Acts 27:21 mean?
ESV: Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.
NIV: After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.
NASB: When many had lost their appetites, Paul then stood among them and said, 'Men, you should have followed my advice and not have set sail from Crete, and thereby spared yourselves this damage and loss.
CSB: Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, "You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss.
NLT: No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, 'Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss.
KJV: But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
NKJV: But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is on a ship supposedly headed to Rome. The ship left Myra on the southwest coast of modern-day Asia Minor and was promptly blown off course. They managed to reach Fair Havens, a port on the southern coast of Crete, just as the winter storms began. Paul told the ship owner and pilot to stay there; presumably his extensive travel experience warned him they would very likely lose the ship, the cargo, and everyone on board if they risked moving. The sailors knew the harbor they'd reached wasn't good to stay the winter. Instead, they resolved to make for Phoenix, a little farther west. But, the winds shifted and drove them into a storm very close to the sand bars off the coast of Libya (Acts 27:6–17).

Paul's "I told you so" may sound petty, but it's purposeful. He's reminding them that he was right once before, so they will listen to what he says next. He's apparently been praying, and the Holy Spirit has promised that no one will die (Acts 27:22, 24). He was right about the danger of leaving Crete; they need to believe him now.

The text isn't clear why no one has eaten, but it's likely a combination of seasickness and the impossibility of preparing food in the middle of a typhoon (Acts 27:14). Beyond waves and wind, supplies may have gotten wet with sea water or destroyed by the violent waves. Passengers typically stayed on the deck and were responsible for their own food; it's hard to imagine anyone has anything left that isn't soaked with sea water. On day fourteen, they will eat a little wheat from the cargo but then throw the rest overboard (Acts 27:35–38).

We don't know if anyone is injured; Luke likely would have said so if there were any notable casualties. The "loss" includes the time as well as some of the cargo and the ship's tackle (Acts 27:18–19).
Verse Context:
Acts 27:21–26 again shifts attention to Paul. He, Luke, and Aristarchus are on a grain ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. They're supposed to be on their way to Rome. Winter winds blew them off course and a fierce storm threatened to push them to a dangerous series of underwater reefs near Africa. At first, Paul thought they all might die. But he has prayed for the lives of the sailors, soldiers, and passengers onboard, and God has promised that although the ship and cargo will be lost, everyone will survive.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 27 is an account of a famous sea voyage. Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus travel from Caesarea Maritima on their way to Rome. False charges and two years of imprisonment in Caesarea led Paul to appeal his case to a higher Roman court, and he is now on his way to that court. The chapter can be divided into seven paragraphs, alternating between descriptions of the sea voyage and Paul trying to keep everyone alive during a horrific storm. Eventually, they shipwreck on Malta. The ship and cargo are a complete loss, but no one dies.
Chapter Context:
Twice the Sanhedrin brought unfounded charges against Paul. In both cases, the ruling governor knew Paul was innocent but refused to let him go. Finally, Paul appealed his case to Caesar (Acts 24:22–27; 25:1–12). He, Luke, Aristarchus, and 273 others sail for Rome. But they shipwreck on a reef off the island of Malta. When they finally reach Rome, Paul will meet with Jewish leaders and tell them how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Some will believe and some won't. This leads Paul to resolve, once again, to focus his efforts on the Gentiles (Acts 28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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