Acts 28 Commentary

Acts chapter 28 commentary Bible study

Acts Chapter 28 Commentary Bible Study


Acts 28:7-12 Publius
Acts 28:13-15 Puteoli
Acts 28:16 Paul in Rome
Acts 28:17-23 Jewish Leaders
Acts 28:24-31 Salvation of God
Acts 28 Bible Study Questions (Handout)
ACTS 28:1  1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.

Where is "Malta" (Acts 28:1)?
"The island" (Acts 28:1) of Malta is located 60 miles (97 kilometers) south and was a part of the Roman province of Sicily, the large southern-most island of what is Italy today.

ACTS 28:2  2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.

Why was it "cold" (Acts 28:2)?
It was "winter" (Acts 27:12, see Cnidus), and the storm hadn't yet lifted: "the rain that was falling" (Acts 28:2).

ACTS 28:3-6  3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

After being bitten by the viper, why did Paul shake "off the creature into the fire" (Acts 28:5)?
Had he let the viper live, someone else risked getting bitten.

Why didn't Paul immediately turn to Doctor Luke for medical attention?
The Lord Himself had told him, "Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome" (Acts 23:11), which means he wasn't going to die in Malta. Paul trusted the Lord to deal with the viper venom.

Why would the Maltese call Paul "a god" (Acts 28:6) and why would God let a viper bite Paul?
The original Greek word translated "justice" (Acts 28:4) is δικη (Dike) (pronounced "dee-kay"), who in pagan mythology was the goddess of justice. The Maltese were especially into goddess worship and thought their goddess of justice isn't allowing Paul "to live" (Acts 28:4). When they realized that their goddess couldn't kill Paul, they "changed their minds and said that he was a god" (Acts 28:6). The Lord apparently had a ministry lined up for the Maltese and was setting the platform for Paul, who undoubtedly told them about the true God during his stay in Malta.

Besides "the natives" (Acts 28:2), who else should have been paying homage to Paul on the shore?
Everyone who had been on the ship. Since Paul had prayed for and led all 276 passengers safely through the storm and the shipwreck so that "they all escaped safely" (Acts 27:44), he easily could have been at the 'best seat' by the fire receiving their gratitude and adulation.

What was Paul doing?
He was out gathering wood for the fire to warm everyone else: "Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire" (Acts 28:3), displaying the servant leadership that Jesus taught and exemplified: "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded... So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." (John 13:3-5,12-15)

Do the leaders of your church embody Jesus' servant leadership as Paul embodied?