Acts 27 Bible Object Lesson ~ Shipwrecked!

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Are we standing on the promises of God? Use this Acts 27 Bible Object Lesson about Paul being shipwrecked to discuss how God will do what He says He will do.

Scripture Focus: Acts 27


  • 10-12 cans of soda; half regular and half diet, such as Coke and Diet Coke
  • Large glass bowl
  • Water

Geography: Caesarea; Sidon; Myra; Crete; Lasea

Background: In a vision, or by physically standing beside Paul, Jesus told Paul he would go to Rome. After three trials, Paul has appealed to Caesar, so he must go to Rome.

Object Lesson for Acts 27:

{Fill the glass bowl 2/3 with water. Have the soda cans in no particular order beside the bowl. Ask:}

  • What do you think will happen if we put the cans in the bowl of water? [Allow for answers]

8 canned drinks stacked by pairs beside a large glass bowl filled with water

{Carefully place a regular soda in the bowl. It should sink and stand up-right in the bowl. Then place a diet drink in the bowl. It should turn slightly sideways and float a little. Do this again with the others. See if the children can figure out which cans are sinking, which are floating, and why. The regular soda cans should sink while the diet cans of soda should float. Regular soda is made of sugar and is heavier than the ingredients used to sweeten diet sodas. Therefore, those cans will sink in a bowl of water.}

four drink cans in the bowl of water with 2 floating and 2 not floating

Bible Lesson for Acts 27:


  • What is large, floats in water, but can sink during a bad storm? [a ship]

{This is an exciting event with a lot of details. When the scripture mentions wind or the waves, have the children sway back and forth in their seats, or pretend to row with oars. When it describes setting sail or throwing items overboard, have the children pretend to do what the scripture describes. Read Acts 27: 1-8. Ask:}

  • What was the name of the centurion and what do we know about him? [Paul was taken to a centurion named Julius of the Augustan, or Imperial, Regiment. He was kind to Paul and when they put into port, he allowed Paul to see friends and receive care from them.]
  • What was the destination of Paul? [Italy]
  • Who was with Paul on the ship? [We don’t know the specific number of those who traveled with Paul, but we know Luke, who wrote the books of Luke and Acts, accompanied him, as well as, Aristarchus.]

{Read Acts 27:9-44. Have the children act out the adventure.}

  • What did Paul advise? [The sailing was too dangerous and that he thought the voyage wold end in disaster.]
  • To whom did the centurion listen? [The centurion listened to the ship’s owner instead, that Crete was not a good place to spend the winter and that they should press on.]

They set sail and a tempest takes over the ship. They stopped trying to steer and allowed the ship to go as it willed. On the 3rd day of the storm, the sailors lightened the load by getting rid of anything not important with weight. Many days pass without seeing the sun or stars. At this point the sailors, and everyone else on the ship, began to lose hope. (But remember! Paul HAS to get to Rome! Jesus said so!)

  • What does Paul tell the people? [They should have listened to him. But take heart! No one will die because an angel of the Lord told him. BUT! They would run aground and be ship wrecked on an island.]
  • How many days went by? [14 days]

The sailors sensed that they were close to land and attempted to sneak off the ship. Paul told the centurion that if he wanted to be saved, then ALL of the men had to stay on the boat. The men were very hungry because they had been saving the food in case they “needed it later” and Paul encouraged them to go ahead and eat their fill since no one was going to die. Paul blessed the bread and passed it around to everyone.

  • How many people were on the ship? [276 people]

Everyone ate and then they tossed everything loose and heavy into the ocean.

In the morning they saw land and a bay area! The ship’s leadership planned to run the ship into the ground to get out of the storm and get people to land. As they were in the process of getting the ship close enough to the beach, it became stuck too far out and the violence of the waves began to break the ship apart. The soldiers on the ship were going to kill all of the prisoners. The centurion wanted to save Paul, so he did not allow the killing to happen. Instead he told everyone, “If you can swim, jump ship and go to shore. If you can’t swim, float on boards.” Everyone, all 276, made it to land. They were on a beach on the island of Malta.

Title image Acts 27


Life Application of Acts 27:

Jesus had told Paul that he would go to Rome. Jesus is trustworthy. Therefore, Paul knew, despite the storm and shipwreck, that he would get to Rome. 

God has told you things that will happen as well. There are a lot of them. Some promises He’s already fulfilled. For example: Israel forming a nation; Jerusalem being destroyed (um, a few times); and the Messiah’s coming from Bethlehem. Some promises have not happened yet, such as Jesus returning to earth. But there are other promises in scripture that we can claim everyday if we are willing to.

{You might want to have the children look up these scriptures and highlight them in their Bibles. Ask:} 

  • Did you know that God has a plan for you? (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Did you know that God gives rest to the weary and power to the weak? (Matthew 11:28, Psalm 40:29, Romans 8:26)
  • Did you know God will supply all of your needs? (Philippians 4:19)
  • Did you know that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love. (Romans 8:38)
  • Did you now that Jesus sent a Helper to guide you? (John 14:26 and John 16:13)
  • If you believe in Jesus and follow Him, did you know you are a child of God? (Romans 8:16)
  • Did you know that God gives you a spirit of power, love and self-control? (2 Timothy 1:7)

There are SO many promises that God gives us. Many of them He gives in His mercy and grace. Others have conditions, such as Proverbs 1:33, “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

  • What is the condition in this verse? [Listen to God]
  • If we do, what will happen? [You will live in peace and untroubled by fear of harm.]
  • Does this verse mean bad things won’t happen to us? [No, but if we listen to God and are guided by the Holy Spirit, we can still have peace that passes understanding and no fear even when bad times come our way.]

What can we learn from Paul and the shipwreck? God is trustworthy and deserves our praise. Which promise of God do you need right now? God says He will do what He says He will do. Search those promises out and claim them by praying them!!

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