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Lesson7: Paul Imprisoned in Rome, Conversion Examples, Evidences

Book of Acts Bible Study Lessons - Course B
The Book of Acts - Course B, Lesson 7: Free online Bible study lessons; Paul's imprisonment and trip to Rome; conversion examples, purpose of miracles, evidences

Made available by David E. Pratte


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Travels to Rome & Imprisonment - Acts 27,28
Lesson 7


Paul had appealed to Caesar, so the authorities determined to send him to Rome. These chapters conclude the book of Acts by describing the trip to Rome and Paul's imprisonment there. Please note that a good Bible map of this trip will be helpful in following the story.

I. The Storm - Acts 27:1-26

Beginning of the Journey

>>> Please read Acts 27:1-8. <<<

*1* What was the name of the centurion in charge of Paul? (a) Cornelius, (b) Lysias, (c) Julius, (d) Augustus. Answer: ______.

*2* The ship Paul boarded at Myra was bound for where (v6)? Answer: The ship was bound for ______.

Comments: The Roman authorities sent Paul to Rome by ship. This chapter describes the dangers of sea travel in times when ships were powered by sail.

Together with other prisoners, Paul was placed in charge of a Roman centurion named Julius, along with his soldiers. Paul himself was accompanied by a man named Aristarchus (v2) and Luke himself (note "we"). Generally, Paul was given kind and generous treatment.

They first set sail in a ship that took them north from Caesarea along the coast, then around Cyprus to the southern coast of Asia Minor. At a city named Myra, the centurion put them in a ship from Alexandria that was headed for Italy. The winds that time of year were contrary. The ship sailed along the island of Crete, finally landing at Fair Havens.

The Storm Begins

>>> Please read Acts 27:9-17.

*3* What warning did Paul give (v10)? (a) the voyage would lead to disaster, (b) Jesus would return soon, (c) Caesar would die soon. Answer: ______.

*4* What was the name of the storm that struck the ship? Answer: The storm was named ______.

Comments: Sailing became increasingly dangerous as winter drew near, because of storms. Paul advised the crew not to leave the harbor or disaster would occur. However, people with greater authority wanted to move the ship to a better harbor to spend the winter. When weather appeared favorable, they set sail only to be caught in a terrible wind storm.

Unable to control the ship, the men tried to strengthened the hull and let the ship run before the wind.

Paul's Efforts to Encourage the Men

>>> Please read Acts 27:18-26. <<<

*5* What assurance did Paul give to the men? Answer: He said no one would die but they would lose the ______.

*6* How did Paul know this to be true? (a) he consulted dead spirits, (b) an angel spoke to him, (c) he was guessing, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

Comments: The crew tried to lighten the ship, but after many days in the storm they gave up hope of being saved. Paul tried to give them courage, however, by telling them of an angel who spoke to him. The angel said only the ship would perish, but all the people would be saved. Especially he assured Paul that he would stand before Caesar. Nevertheless, he said they would be wrecked on an island.

Remember that the ability to predict the future accurately was a power possessed only by God, speaking through His true prophets. If the prediction came true, Paul would be confirmed to all the men (and to us) as a true prophet, and the God Paul served would be the true God.

II The Shipwreck - Acts 27:27-44

Land Is Sighted.

>>> Please read Acts 27:27-38. <<<

*7* How were the sailors prevented from leaving the ship? Answer: Paul warned the ______ that the sailors had to stay.

*8* How did Paul encourage the crew again? Answer: Paul said they would not die, then he gave thanks and ______.

*9* How many people altogether were on the ship? Answer: Altogether there were (give a number not words) ______ men.

Comments: On the fourteenth night the men knew by sounding the depth of the sea that they were nearing land. Some of the sailors tried to escape to land in the little boat, but Paul warned the soldiers that they needed the sailors on the ship in order to survive. So the soldiers cut the small boat loose and let it fall overboard.

Since the men were weak from not eating for fourteen days, Paul tried to encourage them to eat. He assured them that none of them would die. He offered thanks for the food and ate. Everyone else ate, then they threw overboard the rest of the wheat to lighten the ship. Altogether 276 people were on the ship.

Note that Paul gave thanks before his meal. This was typical of Jesus and His disciples (cf. Matt. 14:19; 15:36). We should imitate their example.

Normally it might be surprising to see a prisoner possessing the influence Paul had. However, by this time his predictions had been so accurate that the men began to trust him.

The Wreck

>>> Please read Acts 27:39-44. <<<

*10* How was the ship destroyed? Answer: The ship ran aground and was broken up by the ______.

*11&12* Why weren't the prisoners killed like the soldiers wanted? Answer: The ______ spared the prisoners in order to save ______.

*13* How many people died? (a) all, (b) most, (c) a few, (d) none. Answer: ______.

Comments: When daylight came the crew tried to run the ship into a bay, but it ran aground and began to be broken up by the waves. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to prevent their escape. However, the centurion prevented this in order to save Paul. Some people swam to shore and others held to floating pieces of wreckage. So all escaped safely to shore.

This story illustrates God's providential power to provide for His people. It also shows that God hears and answers prayer and that He always keeps His promises. And since Paul's predictions came true completely, we have clear evidence that he was a prophet from God.

Finally we learn that, although God through His mercy blesses people, yet we are still obligated to do what work we can to bring about what God has willed. God's grace does not eliminate the need for people to work to achieve what is needed.

III. The Island of Malta - Acts 28:1-10

>>> Please read Acts 28:1-6. <<<

*14&15* As Paul laid sticks on the fire, what happened to him? Answer: A ______ came out and fastened itself on his ______.

*16* When he was unharmed, what did the natives think? (a) he was a snake charmer, (b) he was a god, (c) he was a ghost, (d) all of these. Answer: ______.

Comments: The company had been wrecked on the island of Malta (or Melita) south of Sicily (see a map). There they built a fire, and as they did a viper came out of the sticks and attached itself on Paul's hand. The natives, presumably knowing the men were prisoners, assumed Paul was some terrible criminal. Though he had escaped the wreck, fate was punishing him another way.

Many people assume that bad things happen in life to people who have done bad things; but good things happen to those who do good. The Bible shows this is not necessarily so. Sometimes good people suffer, but bad people do not. This is the theme of the book of Job. We cannot tell, by observing people's good fortune or misfortune, whether they are good people or bad. God's rewards for good or evil are given after this life, not necessarily during it (Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 5:10).

Paul shook the viper off into the fire and was unharmed, as Jesus had described in Mark 16:18. This convinced the natives that, instead of a criminal, Paul was a god! Like the superstitious idol worshippers in Lystra (Acts 14:8-19), they swung from one extreme to the other.

>>> Please read Acts 28:7-10. <<<

*17* What was the name of the chief man of the island? (a) Claudius, (b) Pius, (c) Publius, (d) Constantine. Answer: ______.

*18* What miracle did Paul do for this man? Answer: Paul healed his ______, who had a fever and dysentery.

Comments: Several other miracles followed. The chief man of the island, named Publius, had a father who was sick of a fever and dysentery (inflammation and bleeding of the bowels). Paul healed him, then healed other sick people on the island. The people expressed great appreciation, though we are not told whether or not any were converted.

IV. Journey from Malta to Rome - Acts 28:11-16

>>> Please read Acts 28:11-16. <<<

*19* Paul's company left the island on a ship from where? (a) Alexandria, (b) Jerusalem, (c) Spain, (d) Ephesus, (e) Athens. Answer: ______.

*20* What privilege was granted to Paul, when they reached Rome? Answer: Paul was allowed to live by himself with a ______ as guard.

Comments: A ship from Alexandria had wintered at Malta. When better weather came three months later, Paul and his company left on this ship to Sicily and eventually to Italy. As Paul traveled, disciples from Rome encouraged him by coming to meet him. When he was finally delivered to the Roman guard, Paul was given the privilege of living alone with a soldier as a guard.

V. Teaching Jews at Rome - Acts 28:17-31

The Initial Meeting

>>> Please read Acts 28:17-22. <<<

*21* To whom in Rome did Paul first state his case? Answer: Paul called the leaders of the ______ and spoke to them.

*22* What did these people say about Christianity? (a) It was true, (b) it was false, (c) it was everywhere spoken against, (d) none of these. Answer: ______.

Comments: In Rome Paul sought an early opportunity to present his case to the Jewish leaders. This would help overcome prejudice against him and would give him opportunity to teach. He told these leaders that he had nothing against the Jews, but in fact he stood for the hope of Israel (salvation in Jesus). Opposition from the Jews against him, however, had compelled him to appeal to Caesar.

The leaders said they personally had heard nothing against Paul. But they wanted to hear more about the gospel, because they knew it was spoken against everywhere.

Paul's Message to the Jews in Rome

>>> Please read Acts 28:23-31. <<<

*23&24* How did the Jews react to Paul's teaching (v24)? Answer: Some hearers ______ but others ______.

*25* What did Paul say caused them to reject the message? Answer: They had closed their ______ to the truth.

*26* Where did Paul live the next two years? (a) in a dungeon, (b) in a prison tower, (c) in Caesar's household, (d) in a rented house. Answer: ______.

Comments: On an appointed day, many Jews came and Paul taught them like he taught other Jews. Some were persuaded, but some disbelieved. Paul explained their unbelief by quoting Isaiah 6:9,10. Isaiah had said that some people have their minds made up, so they close their eyes, ears, and minds to the truth (see Matt. 13:13-15). Paul concluded that he would turn to teaching the Gentiles.

Some people do not accept the true gospel, because they have never heard it. But others hear it and still reject it, because it simply is not what they want. Some have preconceived ideas or were brought up to believe a different way. Others do not want to make the changes and sacrifices the gospel requires. Only those, like the Bereans, who study God's word diligently with open minds and honest hearts, will truly accept the gospel (Acts 17:11). What is your attitude toward the truths taught in this study?


The Book of Acts concludes as Paul continued living in a rented house in Rome for two years. Though a prisoner, he was allowed the freedom of teaching all who came to him. From here he also wrote several books of the New Testament. Some people believe he was eventually set free, but was later arrested again and returned to Rome, where he was made a martyr for the cause of Christ.

Clearly Acts does not record all the history of the early church. But it tells enough that we can understand many major lessons about the gospel, the church, and salvation by Jesus' blood. The challenge to you and to everyone is to accept this message and obey it.

Are you a true Christian like these we have read about in the book? Note that all true disciples received forgiveness of sins and became members of Jesus' true church without ever joining any denomination. Denominations were unknown then, but were added by men many years later. As such, they are another human perversion in God's pattern (Matt. 15:9; Gal. 1:8,9; 2 John 9-11).

Like the early Christians, you need to be forgiven and become part of Jesus' church, but not part of any denomination. If you would like further information or help in doing this, please indicate so on the answer form.

Review & Application Questions

These questions are designed to help you review our study of the whole book of Acts. If you need to do so, please feel free to look back over previous lessons in answering.

Note: Our computer will not grade these review and application questions. However, our answer page will list brief statements of correct answers. After you complete the lesson, we encourage you to compare your answers to the correct answers. If you have any further questions, we have articles on nearly all these topics on our web site at For many questions we will also list a specific link where you can find more information.

*27* List three proofs inspired men used to prove people should believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Answer: __________

*28&29* When and where did Jesus' kingdom or church begin? Answer: It began in _________ on the day of __________.

*30&31* What are the only two cases of Holy Spirit baptism recorded in the Scriptures? Answer: (1) __________ and (2) __________

*32* When should the church partake of the Lord's supper? Answer: We should take the Lord's supper on __________.

*33* Will all sincere, zealous religious people be saved? Explain. Answer: __________

*34* To be an apostle, one had to be an eyewitness of what? Answer: Apostles were eyewitnesses of __________.

*35* What purpose does the Bible give for being baptized? Answer: Baptism is necessary for __________.

*36* Explain why miraculous healings are not needed today. Answer: ____________.

*37* What is the work of elders? Answer: Elders serve to __________.

*38* Explain our relationship to the Old Testament law of Moses. Answer: __________

*39* While you have been studying this course, have you made any significant changes in your faith, spiritual conduct, church membership, or relationship with God? If so, please explain. _____________________

A Summary of Conversions in Acts

People Hear Believe Repent Confess Baptized Result
(Acts 2)
v14-41 (v36) v38   v38,41 Remission (v38)
(Acts 8)
vv 5,12 vv 12,13     vv 12,13 Saved (cf. Mark 16:16)
(Acts 8)
v35 v37   v37 vv 38,39 Rejoicing (v39)
(Acts 9,22)
9:6       9:18
Sins washed away (22:16)
(Acts 10,11)
11:14 10:43 11:18   10:47,48 Saved (11:14)
(Acts 16)
16:13f       16:15  
(Acts 16)
16:31f 16:31,34     16:33 Rejoicing (16:34)
(Acts 18)
18:8 18:8     18:8  

Have you been converted like these people were?

Are you a member of Jesus' church, like these people were?

Note: We would be glad to help in your attempt to learn the truth of God's word about salvation or about Jesus' church. If you would like to find a faithful church in your area or someone to personally discuss the Scriptures with you, please let us know when you complete your answer form.

When you have carefully studied this lesson and written down answers to all the questions, click on this link to submit your answers.

(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1999

Topics for further Bible study

Why So Much Religious Confusion and Division?
Why Should You Believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible?
Where Can You Find Jesus' Church?
Miracles and Direct Revelation for Today?
The Proper Day for the Lord's Supper
The Importance of Obedience
The Purpose and Importance of Baptism
Church Organization and Work
Must We Keep the Old Law and the Sabbath? - Return to the Bible Study Lessons home page.

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