Acts 27:28

Super nifty Indian memorial. Wyoming Capitol.

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. Acts 27:28

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

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More literally, it reads, “And, having sounded, they found twenty fathoms. And having distanced a little, having sounded again, they found fifteen fathoms” (CG).

In the last verse, the sailors sensed that they were approaching land. To confirm this, it next says, “And, having sounded, they found twenty fathoms.”

Here are two words found only in this verse. Each is used twice by Luke. The first is bolizó. It is derived from bolis, a dart or a javelin. In this case, it is something like a dart that is attached to a line. When it is cast out, it sinks directly to the bottom.

The distance until it stops is then measured. That measurement is known as an orguia. This word signifies “outstretched.” HELPS Word Studies notes that it was “originally the distance between the tips of the left and right hands when outstretched; a fathom, the unit of measure (roughly) five to six feet long.”

Assuming six feet, the depth would then be about one hundred and twenty feet deep. Once that was determined, a baseline is now set to know if it is getting deeper or shallower. Thus, it next says, “And having distanced a little.”

This is a word used for the third and last time, diistémi. It signifies to set apart, make an interval, etc. It can be used for time, such as waiting for an hour to elapse, or space, such as being separated from another person. In this case, it includes both.

They waited a certain amount of time which would have meant a certain distance had been traversed. After this interval, Luke next records, “having sounded again, they found fifteen fathoms.”

The depth is now about ninety feet. By taking soundings and finding that the depth was decreasing, the logical deduction is that they were approaching land. It would be welcome to know that there was land nearby after such a long, agonizing time.

And yet, it would be a fearsome thing knowing that land was near while it was still the middle of the night. Due to Paul’s words that they would be shipwrecked on some island, some level of fear factor may have set in, even if they had been assured that all would survive.

Life application: Paul had told those on the ship what would take place. Depending on who trusted his words, there would be anything from relief at the coming end of the ordeal to mild trepidation about how it would transpire, or even to fear in some measure knowing that any type of greeting may meet them, from a sandy shore to a rocky reef or a high cliff.

Paul was an apostle of Jesus. Because of this, he was conveying words that ultimately came from the Lord. Luke, for example, may have pulled out a harmonica and started playing a song, knowing that standing on firm, dry ground was not far off.

We have the words of Paul written down. At times, they have come directly from Jesus. At other times they came while being under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Either way, they have come from God. When Paul writes that God will receive those who have died in Christ, raising them from the dead and bringing them to Himself, how do we personally take the otherwise bad news of an incurable malady or disease?

Will you be filled with terror, mild trepidation, or will you pull out a harmonica and play a tune to the Lord? The attitude you display will reflect just how much you trust the words of Scripture which reveal the promises of God.

The words of Scripture are true. Unless the rapture occurs, we are all going to die. There is no escaping this. So don’t be frustrated at the news that you or a saved loved one has come to the point where death is not far off. The Lord already has a plan for retrieving you or your loved one from that state. Without a doubt, it will come about.

Lord God Almighty, You have the days of our lives already numbered and set. You know how our departure will come about at the end of this earthly life. And You already have the moment of our resurrection set and prepared. Why should we worry when we know these things are true? Hallelujah that You have a plan. Amen.