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Acts Chapter 28
An Understandable Version of ACTS
Translation by William E. Paul
by Charles Dailey

(Black underlined words match words in the Bible text.)
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1) After we escaped [from the sinking ship] we became aware that the island [on which we had landed] was Melita [i.e., present-day Malta]. – Melita (Malta) would be new territory for Paul. He will plant the Gospel message while he is there. The island is about 10 miles by 20 miles. The word appropriately means "refuge."
2) The natives [there] showed us uncommon kindness. It had begun to rain and was [getting] cold, so they built a fire and made us feel welcome. – The natives - They were perhaps Phoenician people who did not speak Greek or Latin.
- Their hospitality was outstanding. They treated the prisoners the same as the soldiers, sailors and other passengers.
3) But as Paul gathered a bundle of sticks, and was placing them on the fire, a snake crawled out because of the heat and clung to his hand. – There were no trees; the soil is thin.
- Paul continues to be helpful to all by gathering heather for the fire.
4) And when the natives saw the poisonous creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "This man must be a murderer because, even though he escaped from the sea, [divine] justice is not going to allow him to live." – All eyes are focused on Paul. God has interesting ways to get his man in the limelight.
- The islanders knew that he was a prisoner and figured that he was a convicted murderer on his way to feed the lions in Rome.
- Justice here may be personified. That being the case, Justice was the daughter of Jupiter and the punishment for murder was death.
5) However, Paul shook off the creature into the fire without suffering any harm. – This fulfills the promise of Jesus in Mark 16:18, although this writer believes that the book of Mark was written after this incident. Naturally, the statement of Jesus, as recorded by Mark, had been made much earlier.
6) But the natives expected him to swell up [from snake bite] or fall dead suddenly, but after expecting this for a long time and not seeing any harm come to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. – Based on their experience, Paul was as good as dead.
- There was no antidote.
- Paul did not seem mortal to them, being viper-proof as he was.
7) Now in that general vicinity there was property belonging to the chief of the island, a man named Publius, who welcomed us courteously and entertained us for three days. – Malta was ruled from Sicily then and was a part of the Roman Empire.
- Paul and Luke - perhaps others - enjoyed the hospitality of the chief of Malta. The prisoner is royally entertained!
8) And it happened that Publius' father lay sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul went [to his house] and, after praying and placing hands on him, healed him. – This is known as "Malta Fever" - a microbe in goat's milk.
- The hospitality of Publius is rewarded.
9) When he had done this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases, [also] came and were healed. – These may be the last miracles recorded in Scripture. The age of man-initiated miracles is drawing to a close.
- Such a crowded clinic would interest Doctor Luke.
10) These people also showered many honors on us and when we sailed [away], they brought the provisions we needed and put them aboard [the ship]. – The Maltese brought gifts and money.
- At sailing time locals provided food and clothing that had been lost in the shipwreck.
- Next, we learn where the ship came from.
11) After three months we set sail on a ship that had spent the winter on the island [of Melita]. This ship had originated from Alexandria and was designated as "Twin Brothers" [Note: The ship may have been named this because of its prow containing the figures of the mythical twin gods of sailors, Castor and Pollux]. – This ship had wintered just three or four days short of its goal of Puteoli port on the Italian boot.
- The ship had probably been moored at the town of Valletta.
- There is idolatry everywhere. These were the guardian deities of sailors.
12) And docking at Syracuse [i.e., a town on the eastern shore of Sicily], we stayed there three days. – Syracuse is the capital city of Sicily, 80 miles north.
- Were they waiting for favorable winds?
13) From there we sailed around [and then north] until we arrived at Rhegium [i.e., a town on the "toe" of Italy]. The next day a south wind began blowing, and on the second day we arrived at Puteoli [i.e., a town about half-way to Rome], – Rhegium is now Reggio. It is now the port city of Naples.
- The modern name of Puteoli is Pozzuoli.
14) where we found [some Christian] brothers. They urged us to stay with them for seven days. So, [that is how] we finally got to Rome. – The Faith had spread!
- This fulfills the promise of the Lord in Acts 23:11 that he will see Rome.
- Paul is certainly in good standing with Julius, the centurion.
- Luke appears anxious to pen this successful conclusion - ROME has been reached - even before he gives the details of how it happened.
15) [So], hearing that we were coming, the brothers [from Rome] traveled from there as far [south] as "The Market of Appius" and "The Three Inns" to meet us. When Paul saw them he thanked God and was [very] encouraged. – Word has spread that Paul is coming. Romans 16:2 suggest names of those who may have come to meet Paul and Luke.
- The church at Rome was probably established by those returning from Pentecost in Acts 2:10.
- Probably Paul had wondered how he would be received by his friends at Rome.
16) When we entered Rome [itself] Paul was permitted to live alone except for a soldier who guarded him. – An unusual courtesy was granted to Paul in that he was allowed to live under "house arrest" rather than in prison.
- This way, he had a built-in audience of one soldier each shift to listen to every Gospel presentation that he made.
17) And it happened after three days that Paul called together those who were the leading Jews, and when they assembled he said to them, "Brothers, although I had done nothing against the [Jewish] people or the customs of our forefathers, yet I was made a prisoner at Jerusalem, being placed in the custody of the Romans [while there]. – Even at an age of 60+, Paul did not waste time.
- "To the Jew first." There were seven synagogues in Rome at that time.
- Paul asserts that he has done nothing against the people of Israel or its customs.
- Even then, he has been arrested and come under Roman control.
18) After questioning me, they wanted to release me because they could not find any grounds for sentencing me to death. – No Roman magistrate had found Paul guilty.
19) But when the Jews objected to this, I was compelled to appeal [my case] to Caesar, even though I had no [legitimate] charge [to bring] against my country. – Paul was forced to appeal to Caesar by the actions of the Jewish leaders. Such an appeal was normally odious to the Jewish leaders.
20) It was for this reason that I requested to see you and talk with you, for I am wearing this chain because of the hope held by the Israelites." – Paul must clear up his reason for being there before he can present the Gospel to them.
- A soldier is chained and listening.
- He alludes to Christ with the statement about the hope of Israel.
21) Then they said to him, "We did not receive any letters from Judea about you, nor did any of the brothers come here to report anything bad about you. – There was no official information against Paul. He may have traveled faster than the mail, anyway.
- The local Jewish community had heard of him.
22) But we would like to hear what you think, for according to our knowledge, this sect [you belong to] is being spoken against everywhere." – They had a very open spirit.
- The Way was less than popular in the Jewish community.
23) And when they had arranged a day, large numbers of people came to Paul's house. He explained [everything to them], testifying from morning until evening concerning the kingdom of God and concerning [the Messiahship of] Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from [the writings of] the prophets. – Paul's defense had been accepted by the Jewish leaders.
- Notice that his quarters were commodious. Some have suggested that he rented quarters from Aquila and Priscilla.
- They had an all day session about the church and Christ from the Old Testament.
- The kingdom of God was explained as the church rather than physical Israel. Matthew 16:18.
24) And some people believed what Paul said and some refused to believe. – Some listeners agreed. Even the finest presenters will be rejected. Some listeners refused to believe.
25) And when they could not agree among themselves they left, after hearing Paul make this one [important] statement: "The Holy Spirit has spoken truthfully to your forefathers through Isaiah the prophet, – Luke has only presented the conclusion of Paul's all-day exposition of the Old Testament.
- Paul's concluding remarks were directly from Scripture.
- He affirms the inspiration of Isaiah.
26) saying, [Isa. 6:9-10], 'Go to these people and say, you will hear all right, but you will not understand [what you hear]. You will see all right, but you will not perceive [what you see]. –The Greek Old Testament (LXX) is presented here.
- These people rather than my people
- What was true in Isaiah's time has been repeated again in the ministry of Christ and his apostles.
27) For these people's minds are dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes. For, if this were not the case, they would perceive what they see with their eyes, and understand what they hear with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and would turn [back to God] again and I [God] would heal them [from their sins].' – Willfully dull of understanding.
- Communication and witness did not help them.
- Willfully blind.
- Willfully deaf.
- God does not force anyone to change.
- Paul ends with a medical metaphor.
28) Then let it be known to you that salvation from God is [now] being announced to the Gentiles. They will listen [to it]." {{Some ancient manuscripts insert verse – They needed to understand that because they were rejecting salvation, that he was turning to the Gentiles in Rome as he had other places.
- The Gentiles will listen.
29) And when he had said these words, the Jews left, disputing about the matter among themselves.}}
30) Then Paul lived for two whole years in his own rented house and welcomed everyone who visited him. – The statute of limitation on the charges against Paul ran out in two years. His accusers did not come.
31) He preached to them about the kingdom of God and taught things about the Lord Jesus Christ, with no one preventing him. – The Gospel message was entirely legal and open.
- The gospel spread through the soldiers that were chained to him to include Caesar's Guard. Philippians 1:13-14.
- Paul had time to write Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon and Colossians. Luke may have finished Acts now, too.

The story ends abruptly and without a formal conclusion. Some have suggested that we are to add our chapter to the story in each generation as we spread the life-changing message of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.