Lesson 98

Acts 27–28

“Lesson 98: Acts 27–28,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)


Introduction

While traveling to Rome as a prisoner, Paul was shipwrecked on an island. On the island, he was bitten by a snake but remained unharmed, and he healed many who were sick. Paul was eventually taken to Rome, where he lived under house arrest for two years and taught and testified of Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for Teaching

Acts 27

Paul is shipwrecked as he journeys to Rome

Before class begins write the following statements on the board. (These statements are found in For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 41116.)

“Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person.”

“Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way.”

“If your friends urge you to do things that are wrong, be the one to stand for the right, even if you stand alone.”

Invite a student to read aloud the statements written on the board.

  • Why might some youth choose not to heed these statements of warning and counsel?

Invite students to look for truths as they study Acts 27 that will help strengthen their faith to heed the warnings and counsel of the Lord’s servants.

Remind students that Paul had been falsely charged with treason and imprisoned. Paul appealed his case to Caesar in Rome, which was his right as a Roman citizen. Summarize Acts 27:1–8 by explaining that Paul traveled with other prisoners by boat toward Rome, under the custody of a Roman centurion (a Roman military officer who commanded 50 to 100 men). After sailing for many days, they stopped at a harbor on the island of Crete. As they were leaving the harbor, Paul warned those on the ship that they should not continue their journey.

Invite a student to read Acts 27:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul knew would happen if he and the others on the ship continued their journey to Rome. You may want to explain that the word fast in this context means voluntarily abstaining from eating. In this case “the fast” probably referred to the Jewish holy day called the day of Atonement, which marked the beginning of the season during which it was generally regarded as unsafe to travel on the Mediterranean Sea because of violent storms.

  • According to verse 10, what warning and prophecy did Paul give about what would happen if they continued their journey?

Invite a student to read Acts 27:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Roman centurion and others on the ship responded to Paul’s warning.

  • Rather than heeding Paul’s warning, whom did the centurion trust instead?

  • Why do you think it may have been easier for the centurion to believe the owner of the ship rather than Paul?

  • According to verse 12, why did most people on the ship ignore Paul’s warning? (Explain that the word haven refers to a harbor and commodious means comfortable or convenient.)

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Acts 27:13–21. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as the ship continued toward Rome.

  • What happened as the ship continued toward Rome?

  • After seeing that the “south wind blew softly” (verse 13), what might the people on the ship have thought about Paul and the warning he gave?

  • According to verse 20, what were the emotions of those on the ship during the tempest?

  • As illustrated by Paul’s statement recorded in verse 21, what principle can we learn about what can happen if we ignore the warnings and counsel of the Lord’s servants? (Students may use different words but should identify the following principle: If we ignore the warnings and counsel of the Lord’s servants, then we put ourselves in danger. Write this principle on the board. Explain that the danger may include forfeiting blessings that we otherwise would have received.)

Review with students the reasons the centurion and the other people on the ship ignored Paul’s warning and counsel (see Acts 27:11–12).

  • How might people today make similar excuses for ignoring the warnings and counsel of the Lord’s servants?

Using For the Strength of Youth or recent conference addresses, give additional examples of prophets’ warnings and counsel that you feel are relevant to students.

  • What dangers might people put themselves in by ignoring such warnings and counsel from the prophets?

Invite a student to read Acts 27:22–26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul told the people on the ship.

  • If you were on the ship in the midst of the terrible storm, what words from Paul would comfort you?

  • What did Paul prophesy would happen to the people and the ship?

Summarize Acts 27:27–30 by explaining that on the 14th night of the storm, the crew cast four anchors into the sea to prevent the ship from crashing into rocks. The crew then went to the front of the ship and acted as though they were about to cast more anchors. However, they were actually planning to abandon the ship and flee in a small boat because they feared the ship would sink.

Invite a student to read Acts 27:31–32 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the warning Paul gave the centurion and soldiers. Explain that the word these in verse 31 refers to the crew members who were trying to flee.

  • What warning did Paul give the centurion and soldiers?

  • How did the soldiers respond to Paul’s warning and counsel? (They heeded his warning and prevented the crew from escaping by cutting the small boat’s ropes and letting it drift away empty.)

Explain that the next morning Paul pleaded with the crew, who had been fasting, to eat (see Acts 27:33–34). He assured them again that none of them would die.

Invite a student to read Acts 27:35–36 aloud. Ask the class to follow along.

  • How did the crew respond to Paul’s counsel?

Summarize Acts 27:37–41 by explaining that the ship crashed as it sailed toward the island of Malta. Invite students to read Acts 27:42–44 silently, looking for what happened to the people on the ship.

  • What happened to the people on the ship?

Remind students of Paul’s prophecy recorded in Acts 27:22–26 that no one would die even though the ship would be lost.

  • What principles can we learn from this account about what can happen if we heed the counsel and warnings of the Lord’s servants? (Students may identify principles such as the following: If we heed the counsel and warnings of the Lord’s servants, then the Lord will fulfill His promises to us. If we heed the counsel and warnings of the Lord’s servants, then we can withstand the dangers that threaten us. Write these principles on the board.)

To help students understand the principles they identified in Acts 27, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency:

President Henry B. Eyring

“Every time in my life when I have chosen to delay following inspired counsel or decided that I was an exception, I came to know that I had put myself in harm’s way. Every time that I have listened to the counsel of prophets, felt it confirmed in prayer, and then followed it, I have found that I moved toward safety” (“Finding Safety in Counsel,” Ensign, May 1997, 25).

  • How has heeding the warnings and inspired counsel of the Lord’s servants helped you withstand dangers that threaten your spiritual and physical safety? (Remind students that they can study the counsel of the Lord’s modern prophets in Church magazines as well as in For the Strength of Youth.)

Invite students to consider whether they are ignoring any warnings or counsel from the Lord’s servants or to think about ways they can better heed the warnings and counsel they have received. Invite students to write down a goal regarding how they will give better heed to that counsel.

Acts 28

Paul is taken to Rome, where he teaches and testifies of Jesus Christ

Show students a picture of a tornado or whirlwind (or draw one on the board).

tornado

Explain that Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles referred to life’s challenges and trials as “spiritual whirlwinds” (see “Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 18–21).

  • What are some examples of trials and difficulties that can be likened to whirlwinds?

Invite students to look for a principle as they study Acts 28 that can help them faithfully endure the “spiritual whirlwinds” they face.

Explain that in Acts 28 we read about Paul’s experiences on the island, his continued journey to Rome, and his imprisonment in Rome.

Divide the class into three or more groups, depending on the size of your class. Assign each group one of the following scripture blocks: Acts 28:1–6; Acts 28:7–14; and Acts 28:16–24, giving the same block to multiple groups as needed. Invite each group to study their assigned scripture block and then do the following (write these instructions on the board):

  1. Draw a picture or write a newspaper headline that summarizes the events described in your scripture block.

  2. Show the class your picture or read your headline, and summarize the events described in your scripture block.

After sufficient time, invite each group to report to the class. (If there are more than three groups, invite the groups with repeated scripture blocks to share their picture or headline and any further insights they obtained from their reading of their assigned verses.)

  • What trials did Paul experience as he traveled to and dwelt in Rome?

Invite a student to read Acts 28:30–31 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul was able to do in Rome despite being put under house arrest. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What did Paul do that showed he remained faithful to God despite the trials he experienced?

  • What good came from the trials Paul experienced while at sea, while shipwrecked, and while imprisoned in Rome? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we are faithful, God can help us turn trials into blessings for ourselves and others.)

  • What are examples of ways God can help people turn trials into blessings for themselves and others?

  • When has God helped you or someone you know turn a trial into a blessing for yourself or for others? (Consider sharing an example of your own.)

Encourage students to follow Paul’s example and choose to remain faithful when they experience trials so that God can help them turn those trials into blessings for themselves and others.

Commentary and Background Information

Acts 28:17–31. Paul preached the gospel in Rome

“As far as we know, Paul was the first missionary to preach the gospel in Rome. As he had done in other cities, Paul preached first to the Jews, some of whom believed him, and then turned his attention to ‘all that came in unto him’ (Acts 28:30), many of whom were likely Gentiles. While under house arrest, Paul wrote what some term his ‘prison epistles’—Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and Philippians. After he spent two years under house arrest in Rome, it is believed that Paul was tried and released and that he thereafter ministered in Asia, Greece, and perhaps Spain before being imprisoned again in Rome. According to tradition, he was killed during the persecutions under Nero, sometime between A.D. 64 and 68. Paul alluded to his future death in 2 Timothy 4:6–8” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 330).

Acts 28. If we are faithful, God can help us turn trials into blessings for ourselves and others

President John Taylor taught that as we remain faithful and obedient to the Lord, our trials can be for our good and blessing:

“Do you not see the necessity of these trials and afflictions and scenes we have to pass through? It is the Lord who puts us in positions that are the most calculated to promote the best interest of his people. My opinion is that, far from these things that now surround us being an injury to us and the kingdom of God, they will give it one of the greatest hoists [or lifts] that it has ever had yet, and all is right and all will be right if we keep the commandments of God. What is the position, then, that we ought to occupy—every man, woman and child? Do our duty before God, honor him, and all is right. And concerning events yet to transpire, we must trust them in the hands of God and feel that whatever is, is right, and that God will control all things for our best good and the interest of his church and kingdom on the earth” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor [2011], 206–7).