Far too often early Christianity made grandiose doctrinal pronouncements that were shipwrecked upon proclamation because they were not founded upon the foundation set by the Apostle Paul as stated in first Corinthians. Much like the Pharisees who valued and praised their oral traditions and personal interpretations above, and in place of, God's Word. Too many early Christians, that today we call leaders, by-passed the right doctrine taught by the Apostle Paul preferring rather to rest upon their own opinions or the traditions of paganism.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (artios), thoroughly furnished (exartizo) unto all good works.
Artios means to equip. Exartizo, the perfect passive of artios, means to fully, or completely, or perfectly equip. Exartizo is used of a ship that is fully equipped to carry out its purpose. When a ship was in trouble on the high seas and unable to sail to a port for safety, the rescue ship they would send out was called an exartizo.
The Word of God has the purpose of fully equipping a man so that he can go out into the world to rescue all that have been caught in the storms the adversary sends to toss man to and fro with every wind of doctrine.
We have seen in Ephesians chapter four that the ministries listed are for the perfecting or katartismos of the saints. Katartismos is a combination of kata and artios. When kata is used in the accusative case, as it is in Ephesians, it refers to motion or action on a horizontal level. The ministries given in Ephesians function on a horizontal plane to fully equip the members of the Body of Christ. This is only accomplished with right doctrine. Then the individual members in the Body of Christ in turn can function as fully equipped believers to minister to others.
However, individual believers will only be fully equipped and capable of ministering to others when they have right doctrine. When a child of God is equipped with traditions and doctrinal mythology that has no basis or foundation in God's Word, that child of God not only fails to rescue someone who is floundering in the sea of conjecture and supposition promoted by the adversary, he himself also becomes lost at sea.
When Christianity considers the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul, as he traveled to Rome, tradition and opinion has been valued over the detail and accuracy of God's Word. Many would even argue that the island the Apostle Paul wintered on in 60-61 A.D. is completely irrelevant. To that I would respond by saying, that is the overall problem. Everything in God's Word does not pertain to an individual's salvation or identification in Christ. Everything in God's Word does not deal with the individual's walk or fellowship with his Heavenly Father. But nothing in God's Word is irrelevant! If God said it, we need to strive to know it, understand it, and apply it accurately. When we arrive at the place that any aspect of God's Word has become irrelevant, then we have arrived at the place that all of God's Word becomes irrelevant if it interferes with our dogma.
Tradition and the opinion of man has become more important than the detail and accuracy of God's Word. The account of Paul's shipwreck carries no doctrinal significance but serves as an example of how God's Word fits perfectly from one verse to the next, from one book to the next, from one administration to the next. From Genesis to Revelation the Word of God is perfect and must fit together with precision and exactness.
The tradition is simple, Paul was shipwrecked on the island of Malta after battling a storm for fourteen days on the Mediterranean Sea. Yet this tradition does not line up with the details God provides for us in the book of Acts and the second Epistle to Timothy.
And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.
It was late summer, or early fall, of 60 A.D. when Paul sets sail from Caesarea bound for Italy, already too late in the year for such a journey. Others who also believed God are traveling with Paul, among them Aristarchus and Luke. The centurion who was given the responsibility to deliver Paul for trial in Rome thought well of Paul and allowed his friends to be with him and care for him.
And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
There are many fasts in Jewish tradition and Old Testament Law but "THE Fast" referred to by Paul here would be the Day of Atonement, generally by our calendar, in late September or early October. As a whole, the Jewish people believed it was unwise, even dangerous, to sail between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Pentecost. Therefore Paul advised those responsible for making the decision not to sail until the spring but his advice was not followed.
Here is a Jewish tradition that has some soundness to it, for as Acts lays out for us the weather was not best for sailing as the Apostle Paul had advised. Tradition is never to be rejected simply because it is tradition. Yet it should always be understood that any tradition not based upon words God has spoken will be wrong from time to time. This Jewish tradition of not sailing between The Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Pentecost was based upon man's observation of the seasons. Therefore one year it will prove accurate and another year it will be wrong.
We have already seen that this particular Jewish tradition is not one that Paul adhered to at all times. For when Paul left Corinth in 58 A.D., endeavoring to reach Jerusalem by the Day of Pentecost, he sailed on the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Jerusalem on time.
Tradition is only to be rejected and avoided when it contradicts the Word of God.
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
Basically, there weren't enough five star hotels at the Fair Havens for the master of the ship and some others so they decided to sail to Phenice to winter. The centurion, not being a sailor, decided to go with the advice of the master of the ship. Honestly, for the centurion, it would be simple common sense to stand with the sailor over the prisoner.
Too often this is what has occurred with Christian doctrine. A "theologian" declares such and such and thus it must be so because he is after all, a "theologian" otherwise known as an expert. Then the average child of God, like the centurion in this situation, in following the expert is led astray.
In receiving the revelation that pertains to the Administration of Grace the Apostle Paul wrote three doctrinal Epistles. In Romans we can see salvation by faith, or the right way of believing. We can see our identification in Christ and God's gift of holy spirit created within the child of God. In Ephesians we can see the Truth of the One Body and God's habitation within the individual child of God and the One Body collectively. In Thessalonians we learn about the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to gather together all those who are in Christ, whether dead or alive. In Romans we are justified, in Ephesians we are holy and without blame before Him in love, in Thessalonians we are glorified together with Christ.
Around 80 to 90 A.D. Clement of Rome writes to the church at Corinth that they need to obey the sacrifices and services as performed by the priesthood and at the appointed times. This is not salvation by grace, this is not identification in Christ, this is a return to the Old Testament law and sacrifices, this is salvation by works!
Sometime between 80 A.D. and 110 A.D. Ignatius writes concerning the "Eucharist" as being the flesh of Christ and his only desire for drink is Christ's blood. From writings like these we arrived at the doctrine of transubstantiation or the literal body and blood of Christ in communion. Yet in Corinthians the Apostle Paul taught this subject as a memorial and a tradition and not the literal of Ignatius. When literal things are made figurative and figurative things are made literal, we have wrong doctrine.
The Didache, held in as high regard as any epistle written by the Apostle Paul, opens with these words, "Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles." The twelve apostles weren't sent to the Gentiles, they were sent to Israel, to the scattered abroad! The one apostle sent to the Gentiles isn't mentioned! After the opening the Didache goes downhill.
Modern Christianity is built upon a foundation of men and traditions that have nothing to do with the Administration of Grace, which remained hidden in God until it was revealed to the Apostle Paul. The Administration of Grace is not revealed in the Old Testament! The Administration of Grace is not revealed in the Gospels that pertain to the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to the lost sheep of the house of Israel! The Administration of Grace is not revealed in the general epistles that are addressed to the scattered abroad of Israel with doctrine pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven!
In modern Christianity we have lost salvation by grace through the right way of believing. We have lost God's gift of holy spirit and the manifestation of that gift. We have lost the anticipation of the immanent gathering together of the Church of the Body. From the moment Paul opened his mouth and spoke the doctrine of the Administration of Grace the Devil has moved to bury it, to cover it, to hide it so that those who believe in this administration fail to realize what God has given to us in the accomplished work of Christ.
But what does any of this have to do with the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul as he was transported to Rome? The answer is, everything. We have allowed unscriptural traditions, doctrines of devils, and opinions of men to direct the heart and lives of God's children in this administration. A child of God will never be fully and perfectly equipped to handle the storms of the adversary if he is taking his doctrine from the logic and distortion the adversary has introduced to the world.
2 Timothy 1:13-15
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
Paul urged Timothy to "hold fast" to the "sound words" which he had heard from Paul. Those in Asia Minor had already turn away from those words, the teachings of the Apostle Paul. The Epistle of Second Timothy was written around 65 A.D. The Epistle of Clement declaring the sacrifices of the Old Testament and the importance of a special priesthood were written around 80 to 90 A.D. Before the first century is ended the doctrine of the Gospel of Grace is being replaced with doctrines of devils and traditions of men.
2 Timothy 2:15-18
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
While Paul was still alive some were declaring that the gathering together, the right doctrine of Thessalonians, was over. Wrong doctrine will eat like a canker, like gangrene. This is wrong doctrine that began before the first century has closed! We are never instructed to study the words and thoughts of Clement, or Ignatius, or the Didache! The remedy or solution to wrong doctrine is to "study" the Word of God. When we are not ignorant spiritually we can see the lies and the snares the adversary has laid in our path.
2 Timothy 3:7-8
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Christianity has been so hard pressed to come unto an accurate knowledge of the Truth because they resist the words and teachings of the Apostle Paul. Theologians disregard the administrations, specifically the Administration of Grace, while running to the four Gospels and the General Epistles. Men who ignore the Administration of Grace have corrupt minds that are reprobate concerning the right way of believing. Does that sound too harsh? I didn't say it, God just said it in Second Timothy.
2 Timothy 4:2-4
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Preach the Word! Preach the Word! Not the church fathers but our father in the Word, the Apostle Paul! Not the fables, or myths, Christianity has turned to in place of God's Word. Three days and three nights doesn't happen between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning, not even with modern math. Jesus wasn't born in December, that was the pagan celebration of Saturnalia. Baby chicks, bunny's, and eggs have nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ but are involved with the pagan celebration of spring connected to the goddess Astarte or Ishtar.
Why has mainstream Christianity denied the manifestation of speaking in tongues, with some even declaring it to be possession by the devil? When God's Word very clearly and plainly declares speaking in tongues is giving thanks to God, and edifying the person who is speaking in tongues, and perfect prayer, and conformation that a person is a child of God and a joint heir with Christ. How did marshmallow peeps become more important than the manifestation of holy spirit?
Why has modern Christianity followed the road down, as declared in Second Timothy, that leads to the destruction of the Church of the Body? Why do we look to the words of men who turned from the right doctrine given by God to the Apostle Paul? How did we allow the men who turned away from the Apostle Paul become known as the fathers of the church?
1 Timothy 1:19
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
When right doctrine is put away, pushed to the side, the right way of believing is made shipwreck. The children of God are floating around in a sea of confusion because leadership has failed to teach the right way of believing which comes from the sound doctrine taught by the Apostle Paul. The children of God have been left to hold on to this piece of Truth and that piece of Truth that has not been buried, distorted, or corrupted by so-called teachers of God's Word. This corruption in Church doctrine began before the end of the first century.
The children of God were never meant to cling to a piece of the Truth while treading water in a sea of confusion, lies, and pagan philosophy. God has made us super conquerors! God has made us as righteous as He is righteous! If a child of God is as righteous as God why are we still preaching sin! Why are we staring at the imperfections of the earthen vessel when the treasure is on the inside? We should be teaching how to walk in that inner man and stop trying to clean up the carnal man. Life is not about the earthen vessel, it's about the treasure inside.
When Stephen saw Jesus Christ in the book of Acts he was standing. He was standing because his work with and for Israel was not yet completed. But when it comes to the Administration of Grace Christ ascended on high to sit on the right hand of God because his work concerning believers in our administration is complete.
We have been called to stand alongside of God in our administration because our walk in this world is not finished, we still have work to do as Ambassadors for Christ. We can't do that work if we are clinging to a piece of a shipwreck, holding on for dear life!
Modern teachers and theologians, in their arrogance, like to declare, "if it's new, it ain't true." I am here to tell you that what they are teaching is the new that ain't true. They have added to, they have subtracted from, and they have out rightly changed the doctrine given by God to the Apostle Paul.
The master of the ship, Paul was sailing on, knew beyond any doubt that he was right, he could make it to Phenice, he could get to his five star hotel and spend his winter in greater comfort.
And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
The Euroclydon winds come out of the northeast during the fall or winter in the Mediterranean Sea. They are fierce winds that are sometimes compared to a typhoon.
And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
As they left the port of Fair Havens the ship was caught in the Euroclydon wind and it pushed them further out into the Mediterranean Sea then they had hoped or planned. They had expect to simply sail along the coast of Crete to make their desired winter port of Phenice, but the storm had other ideas.
First, they worked hard to get their small boat into the larger vessel. Unlike today when we carry our lifeboats, or smaller craft, on the larger boat, in the first century, they towed the smaller boat behind them. But by the time they tried to pull the small boat on board it would have been filled with water making it very difficult to deal with during a typhoon. Next, they undergirded the ship, this too would have been an amazingly difficult challenge. In order to undergird their ship they would fasten ropes or chains to one side of the ship then send those ropes or chains under the ship, bringing them up on the other side of the ship and fasten them to that side with the idea of keeping the ship from splitting apart. Obviously, being a sailor in those days was not for the faint of heart.
Again this follows the pattern of much of modern but erroneous Christian doctrine. Once a major doctrinal tenet has been agreed upon by a group of theologians, otherwise known as a denomination, they will prepare for winds of discontent in the congregation by undergirding their theology.
Once a doctrine has been decided upon the "Church", read leadership or theologians, move to make sure any who oppose their doctrine are in trouble. Consider Martin Luther when he disagreed with the Church concerning salvation. He faced excommunication or even death. Right doctrine shouldn't have to be enforced with threats and intimidation. You will never read about the Apostle Paul using threats to get people to believe or to keep them in line. It was the Jews who protected their wrong doctrine with threats and intimidation. It was the unbelievers, like Demetrius in Ephesus or the business men in Philippi, that moved with the intent to harm or even kill.
Right doctrine for our administration is the doctrine of grace, it is a doctrine of love. Grace does not seek to control, grace sets a person free. Free to walk with God, free to develop godliness within his own life. The one who seeks control over another is someone who is operating out of fear and there is no fear in love.
No matter how much undergirding is applied to wrong doctrine, it will not stand for it doesn’t have God to back it up. Wrong doctrine has always been undergirded with slander, threats, and even the possibility of death. It is handled this way because leaders are afraid they will lose their following, their disciples, if right doctrine is given the opportunity to be heard.
The master of the ship and his crew were afraid the wind would drive them across the Mediterranean into the quicksands of North Africa. The quicksands would be the gulf off of present day Benghazi. Since this was not where they wanted to go the master of the ship ordered the sails down so that the wind would not push them over to Africa.
The day after dropping the sails they lightened the ship by throwing things overboard. By the third day they threw away the tackle, the furniture and beds, things considered unnecessary. The lighter the ship the easier it was to move with the current rather than the wind.
If the wind drove them to far south toward the coast of Africa they would get caught in the current coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. In the Mediterranean Sea the current coming in at the west end, from the Atlantic, flows south of Malta and straight into the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea by current day Gaza.
By lightening their load the ship could catch the current coming off the west end of Clauda which flowed north by northwest toward Greece and the Adriatic Sea.
But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
Adria is the name of a city at the north end of the Adriatic Sea, it is the city from which the Sea takes its name.
When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.
On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land.
New International Version
And after the fourteen days of our roaming and tossing on the Adriatic sea, at midnight, the sailors conceived that they approached land.
Murdock's Peshitta Translation
After drifting with the current for fourteen days they thought they were near land, so they dropped an anchor to wait for daylight so they could see what they needed to do.
And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
The word "creek" in verse thirty-nine is the Greek word kolpos and means, the front of the body between two arms. In other words, the body of water between the southern tip of Italy and the mainland nation known as Dalmatia. This body of water is known as the Adriatic Sea. Verse thirty-nine also declared that it was a land they didn't know. They didn't know the land because they didn't normally sail into the Adriatic Sea but they did sail regularly to Malta, a land they would have recognized.
In verse forty-one we read, "where two seas met" referring to the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Malta is more towards the center of the Mediterranean Sea and not "where two seas met." This is where they ran their ship onto a sand bar, or something similar, and the force of the waves from the two seas tore the ship apart sending all hands and passengers into the water.
Acts 27:44 and Acts 28:1-2
And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land. And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
They landed safely on a island called Melita. Off the coast of Dalmatia there just happens to be an island named Melita. The people there were barbarous, meaning they were rude and rough in speech. The people on this island were not sophisticated. But the island of Malta had been settled for some time, dating back to the Phoenicians who first settled there around 1000 B.C.
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
Not long after arriving on the island the Apostle Paul is bitten by a viper, a deadly, venomous snake. The island of Melita in the Adriatic Sea to this day is over flowing with venomous snakes that can kill a man with a single bite. The island of Malta has no venomous snakes and by archeological evidence has never had any venomous snakes that could harm a man.
In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
After failing to die from the snake bite a door opened for Paul to minister to the father of the chief man of the island as well as others who were sick and needed healing. Paul spent approximately three months on this island waiting for spring to arrive. Read the book of Acts and you will see that Paul never simply walked through an area healing people with his "magic" touch. Paul first taught God's Word, taught people how to believe and what to believe, and then, people received healing as they believed God.
When Paul leaves the island of Melita he leaves behind a fellowship of believers, a fellowship that needs more teaching, more training in God's Word. When Paul departs for Rome he leaves behind a fellowship that is in need of a leader.
2 Timothy 4:9-12
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
The last epistle Paul writes before he is murdered in Rome is Second Timothy. Second Timothy concludes in verse twenty-two of chapter four. That's how close these words are to the last words we have from the Apostle Paul.
Paul has already sent Artemas to Crete to replace Titus. Now he is sending Tychicus to Ephesus to replace Timothy who he has asked to come to Rome. Further, he is sending Crescens to Galatia, and he is sending Titus to Dalmatia. With his final words Paul is arranging leadership positions in the different areas, as God works within him, to best care for the needs in the different areas of the world.
There would be no need to send a seasoned leader to Dalmatia if Paul had not left an unfinished work in that area. A work that was left unfinished because the Apostle Paul was under arrest when he was in Dalmatia.
Details God has placed in His Word are important because God has placed them there. We may not see or understand the fullness of their importance but by virtue of the fact that God placed them in His Word, they are important.
Substituting tradition for the detail of God's Word is foolish. Substituting man-made tradition and wrong doctrine for the sound doctrine of the Administration of Grace is not only deadly, it makes the right way of believing shipwreck.
1 Corinthians 3:10
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.