On the Island of Malta
Acts 28:1-10 (November-January AD 59-60)
(1) Once safely on land, we discovered that the island was called Malta (about 60 miles/97 km south of the island of Sicily). (2) Malta’s people showered us with extraordinary kindness. It was raining and very cold, so they built a fire and welcomed us to stand by its warmth. (3) After Paul had gathered a pile of brushwood for the fire, he was putting the wood on the fire and a poisonous snake escaping the heat bit Paul’s hand. (4) When the native islanders saw the snake hanging from Paul’s hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer, because although he escaped the stormy sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” (5) But Paul shook the snake off into the fire, and his hand suffered no harm. (6) The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead. But after watching Paul for a long time and seeing that nothing happened to him, they changed their minds and declared that he must be a god.
(7) There was a large estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us into his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. (8) His father was sick in bed, suffering from a fever and dysentery. Paul went into his room to see him and, after praying, he placed his hands on him and healed him. (9) When this healing became known throughout the island, all the sick came to Paul and were healed.
(10) They honored us in many ways, and when we were ready to sail to Rome, they gave us all the supplies we needed.
From Malta to Rome
(11) After living three winter months on the island of Malta, we boarded an Alexandrian ship to sail to Rome. The ship had wintered at Malta and had the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.
(12) We sailed about 90 miles (145 km) and landed at the port city of Syracuse (on the southeastern coast of the island of Sicily) and stayed there three days. (13) From Syracuse we sailed about 70 miles (113 km) to the port city of Rhegium (on the southwestern coast of Italy). The next day a south wind came up, and we sailed about 180 miles (290 km) and landed the following day at the port city of Puteoli (about 130 miles from Rome). (14) At Puteoli, we found some fellow believers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we finally came to Rome.
(15) The fellow believers there heard that we were coming, and they walked as far as the Forum of Appius (a small market town about 40 miles/64 km south of Rome) and the Three Taverns (about 30 miles/48 km south of Rome) to meet us. At the sight of these believers Paul thanked God and was very encouraged.
(16) When we arrived in Rome, Paul was allowed to live in an apartment by himself, although he was chained to a Roman soldier (on his wrist) who guarded him.
Acts 28:17-22 (January AD 60)
(17) Three days after arriving, Paul called together the Jewish leaders in Rome. When they gathered, Paul said to them, “My Jewish brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against our ancestors’ customs, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. (18) They examined me and wanted to let me go free, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. (19) But the Jerusalem Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Emperor Nero. I certainly didn’t plan to bring any charge against my own people. (20) This is why I have asked to meet with you and talk with you. I want you to know that it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
(21) The Jewish leaders said, “We haven’t received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the Jews who have come to Rome have reported or said anything bad about you. (22) But we want to hear your teaching, because we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect known as the Way of Jesus.”
Paul Speaks to the Jews in Rome
(23) The Jews arranged to meet Paul on a certain day. They came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. And Paul spoke to them from morning to evening—explaining about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets (the entire Old Testament).
(24) Some Jews were persuaded by what Paul said, but others refused to believe. (25) The Jews disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to our ancestors when he said in Isaiah 6:9-10, (26) ‘Go to this people and say: You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. (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.’
(28) “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the nations, and they will listen!”
Paul’s Two-Year Ministry in Rome
Acts 28:30-31 (January AD 60 to AD 62)
(30) Paul lived in a rented apartment for two years and welcomed everyone who came to see him. (31) He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all courage and without hindrance!
(Paul wrote the letters of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon during his two-year imprisonment in Rome. Luke also probably wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts during this two year period of time).
(Although not recorded in the book of Acts, Paul was released from his imprisonment in Rome in AD 62. He departed on his fourth missionary journey, although we cannot be sure of his exact itinerary. He probably traveled to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28). During this time, he also left Timothy in Ephesus and Titus on the island of Crete. Later he wrote the three letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul was arrested again and was martyred with Peter in Rome between AD 65-67. The Jews in Judea revolted against Rome in AD 66, and the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70.