Paul on the Island of Malta
1When we were safe on land, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2The people who lived there were very good to us. It was raining and very cold, so they built a fire and welcomed all of us. 3Paul gathered a pile of sticks for the fire. He was putting the sticks on the fire, and a poisonous snake came out because of the heat and bit him on the hand. 4When the people living on the island saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said, “This man must be a murderer! He did not die in the sea, but Justice#28:4 Justice The people thought there was a goddess named Justice who would punish bad people. does not want him to live.”
5But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and was not hurt. 6The people thought he would swell up or fall down dead. They waited and watched him for a long time, but nothing bad happened to him. So they changed their opinion. They said, “He is a god!”
7There were some fields around that same area. They were owned by a man named Publius, the most important Roman official on the island. He welcomed us into his home and was very good to us. We stayed in his house for three days. 8Publius’ father was very sick. He had a fever and dysentery, but Paul went to him and prayed for him. He laid his hands on the man and healed him. 9After this happened, all the other sick people on the island came to Paul, and he healed them too.
10-11The people on the island gave us many honors. And after we had been there three months and were ready to leave, they provided us everything we needed for our trip.
Paul Goes to Rome
We got on a ship from Alexandria that had stayed on the island of Malta during the winter. On the front of the ship was the sign for the twin gods.#28:10-11 twin gods Statues of Castor and Pollux, Greek gods. 12We stopped at the city of Syracuse. We stayed there three days and then left. 13We came to the city of Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the southwest, so we were able to leave. A day later we came to the city of Puteoli. 14We found some believers there, who asked us to stay with them a week. Finally, we came to Rome. 15The brothers and sisters in Rome heard about us and came out to meet us at the Market of Appius#28:15 Market of Appius A town about 43 miles (69 km) from Rome. and at the Three Inns.#28:15 Three Inns A town about 30 miles (48 km) from Rome. When Paul saw these believers, he thanked God and felt encouraged.
Paul in Rome
16When we came to Rome, Paul was allowed to live alone. But a soldier stayed with him to guard him.
17Three days later Paul sent for some of the most important Jews. When they came together, he said, “My brothers, I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our fathers. But I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18They asked me many questions, but they could not find any reason why I should be put to death. So they wanted to let me go free. 19But the Jews there did not want that. So I had to ask to come to Rome to have my trial before Caesar. That doesn’t mean I am accusing my people of doing anything wrong. 20That is why I wanted to see you and talk with you. I am bound with this chain because I believe in the hope of Israel.”
21The Jews answered Paul, “We have received no letters from Judea about you. None of our Jewish brothers who have traveled from there brought news about you or told us anything bad about you. 22We want to hear your ideas. We know that people everywhere are speaking against this new group.”
23Paul and the Jews chose a day for a meeting. On that day many more of these Jews met with Paul at his house. He spoke to them all day long, explaining God’s kingdom to them. He used the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to persuade them to believe in Jesus. 24Some of the Jews believed what he said, but others did not believe. 25They had an argument among themselves and were ready to leave. But Paul said one more thing to them: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet. He said,
26‘Go to this people and tell them:
You will listen and you will hear,
but you will not understand.
You will look and you will see,
but you will not understand what you see.
27Yes, the minds of these people are now closed.
They have ears, but they don’t listen.
They have eyes, but they refuse to see.
If their minds were not closed,
they might see with their eyes;
they might hear with their ears;
they might understand with their minds.
Then they might turn back to me and be healed.’ Isaiah 6:9-10
28“I want you Jews to know that God has sent his salvation to the non-Jewish people. They will listen!” 29#28:29 Some late copies of Acts add verse 29: “After Paul said this, the Jews left, still having a big argument with each other.”
30Paul stayed two full years in his own rented house. He welcomed all the people who came and visited him. 31He told them about God’s kingdom and taught them about the Lord Jesus Christ. He was very bold, and no one tried to stop him from speaking.