In recent years, BASE Institute has been involved in painstaking research into Luke’s amazingly detailed account of Paul’s voyage and shipwreck off the coast of Malta, as recorded in Acts 27-28. This is exciting confirmation of the accuracy and truth in the Bible.
In approximately 60 A.D., a ship carrying 276 men and a cargo of grain shipwrecked off the coast of Malta. Two of the passengers on that ship were the biblical writers Paul and Luke, who were on their way to Rome–Paul as a prisoner, and Luke as his attending physician and friend. Through Luke’s meticulously-detailed account of the voyage and shipwreck, as recorded in Acts chapter 27, we can today undertake a journey back in time to find the remains of that shipwreck. And, even more precisely, we can attempt to find the four anchors described in the Bible that were abandoned in the sea.
“When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves” (Acts 27:39-41).
For the past 500 years, tradition has held that the shipwreck of Paul occurred at St. Paul’s Bay on the northeast shore of Malta, a view held by the people of Malta today. But the biblical narrative and geography of the Mediterranean and Malta tell us that the site of the shipwreck must be located somewhere other than the traditional site, where no physical evidence has been found to-date, in spite of extensive research and exploration.
In order to solve this biblical mystery, we need to review the biblical narrative written by Luke. Luke was a trusted historian and medical professional, whose careful attention to detail will prove invaluable in our quest. Eventhough Luke uses nautical terms which were understood at the time but have vague meaning today, extensive research involving weather, ocean topography, landmarks, and maritime lore, gives us a well-defined path of the ship that the Apostle Paul was sailing on in the Mediterranean Sea….
Here is the conclusion at the Base Institute website:
All of these factors, taken together, argue convincingly not only that today’s St. Thomas’ Bay is the correct site of Paul’s shipwreck, but also, that the four anchors recently retrieved from those waters were the very anchors mentioned in Acts 27. As such, that one anchor may well be the only artifact mentioned in the New Testament that has been recovered and preserved in our era–nearly two thousand years after the fact.
[Bob Cornuke can be contacted at the Biblical Archaeology Search & Exploration (BASE) Institute: (719) 540-9799 or www.baseinstitute.org.]