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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Acts of the Apostles

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Frameworks: Acts 28: Malta to Rome


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. )

v.1-10 Paul Ashore on Malta

v.11-16 Paul's Arrival at Rome

v.17-22 Paul explains to the Jews there why he was there

v.23,24 He shares about Jesus, some believe, some wouldn't

v.25-29 He rebukes them from the prophetic scriptures

v.30,31 He continues speaking of the kingdom in his rented home



v.1-10 Paul Ashore on Malta


v.1  Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

v.2  The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

v.3  Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.

v.4  When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.”

v.5  But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.

v.6  The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

v.7  There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days.

v.8  His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.

v.9  When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.

v.10 They honoured us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.


[Passage Synopsis: They find they are on Malta and the islanders welcome them. While starting a fire, a snake bites Paul but he has no ill effects despite the expectations of the onlookers, who acclaim him a god. Visiting the chief official on the island, Paul prays for his sick father who is healed. Hearing of this all the sick on the island came to him and were also healed.]



v.11-16 Paul's Arrival at Rome


v.11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.

v.12  We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.

v.13  From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli.

v.14  There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

v.15  The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged.

v.16  When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.


[Passage Synopsis: Delays, stop-offs, friendships, caring and fellowship. Paul arrives in Rome.]



v.17-22 Paul explains to the Jews there why he was there


v.17  Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

v.18  They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.

v.19  The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people.

v.20  For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

v.21  They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you.

v.22  But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”


[Passage Synopsis: Paul gets together with the Jewish leaders in Rome and rejects any thought of him having broken the law, suggesting it was more the circumstances that ended up with him being in Rome. They say they have heard nothing about him and so would be interested in hearing what he has to say.]



v.23,24 He shares about Jesus, some believe, some wouldn't


v.23  They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus.

v.24  Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.


[Passage Synopsis: Large numbers of the Jews gather for the whole day as he links Moses, the Prophets, and Jesus. Some believed, some didn't.]



v.25-29 He rebukes them from the prophetic scriptures


v.25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

v.26 “‘Go to this people and say,“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;   you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

v.27  For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,  and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,   hear with their ears,  understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.' [ Isaiah 6:9,10 ]

v.28  “Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” [29] [ Some manuscripts include here After he said this, the Jews left, arguing vigorously among themselves. ]


[Passage Synopsis: Paul then (?unwisely or bringing them to a point of committed decision?) rebukes them from the prophetic scriptures for their unbelief.]



v.30,31 He continues speaking of the kingdom in his rented home


v.30  For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.

v.31  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

[Passage Synopsis: We end the book with Paul, for the next two years, teaching in his own rented house. Some of his own letters and tradition suggest he was released and continued his travels for a further two years after which he was rearrested, retried, condemned, and executed in AD64. Thinking about why Luke stopped his recording what Paul did at this point has to be the domain of pure speculation as nothing more is said.]



Overall Summary of Part 2 of Acts – Mainly about Paul


Part A: Paul's Missionary Travels


Ch.13 & 14 Paul's First Missionary Journey

15:41 to 18:22 Paul's Second Missionary Journey

18:23 – 21:16 Paul's Third Missionary Journey


Part B: Paul in Jerusalem and Caesarea


Ch.21 Returning to Jerusalem with two warnings of what will happen, his arrival and subsequent arrest.

Ch.22 Paul speaks to the crowd and is rescued by the Roman commander.

Ch.23 A plot to kill Paul is discovered and he is sent to Caesarea.

Ch.24 He is kept before Felix the governor for two years with little happening.

Ch.25 Paul appeals to Caesar and King Agrippa comes to hear him.

Ch.26 Paul before Agrippa and arguing with Festus


Part C: Paul's goes to Rome


Ch.27 Sailing for Rome, concluding in a shipwreck

Ch.28 Paul on Malta and then going to Rome


It is interesting the each ‘Part' leads o to the next:

•  Part A concludes with his third missionary journey ending up in Jerusalem, reporting back to the apostles there.

•  Part B starts in Jerusalem where a riot over Paul's presence ends with him being arrested and sent to Caesarea for his protection. Staying there eventually meant that he had to appeal to Caesar to stop Festus sending him back to Jerusalem where his life would be under threat again. That Part ends with Festus having to agree to send him to Rome.

•  Part C is simply his eventful journey to Rome, and then him settling in Rom teaching (presumably before continuing on his travels – see the final notes.]



Concluding Comments: Whereas the first Part of Acts – Mainly about Peter – focuses more widely on the activities of the church in Judea, the second Part, from chapter 13 on, shows the gospel being shared in a wide number of places in that part of the world and as that happens we have seen four particular things of note:

•  the large number of people referred to.

•  observe the names, Jews, Romans, Greeks and others.

•  the amazing amount of travelling that went on and the distances covered.

•  probably on foot, some no doubt on donkey or horseback, and a lot by boat.

•  the amazing amount of hostility and persecution that Paul endured from his own people.

•  possibly seen as a traitor to Judaism, his teaching about Jesus would constantly challenge the Jews as to their part in his death, and his exposition of the Old Testament scriptures, being applied to the coming of Jesus, highlighted their obstinacy and blindness to what he presented. As noted at least twice, some believed and some didn't and those who didn't often took their unbelief to lengths where, under the scrutiny of history, they would be considered highly antisocial and unethical to say the least. To balance the picture it should also be noted that Gentiles also sometimes opposed him because his challenges of faith challenged their work, e.g. idol-making.

•  although we may question Paul's wisdom in rejecting the Spirit-led guidance from others, we cannot help but note that:

•  his ministry is clearly anointed by God with signs and wonders accompanying the gospel,

•  the Lord brings frequent reassurances to him:

•  18:9,10 to stay and preach boldly at Corinth

•  22:17 to send him from Jerusalem for his own protection

•  23:11 to send him to preach the gospel in Rome

•  27:24 to promise protection in the face of the shipwreck.


The student of the Bible will find each of these the foundation for fascinating and rewarding studies that reveal something of the vitality of the early church and the endurance of those who took the Gospel, both of which should perhaps challenge us today. Paul's courage, determination, endurance etc. in the face of so much opposition, clearly marks him out in the history of the Church as a most remarkable apostle.