God's Care of Paul / Shipwreck

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 29 - God's Plan for Paul

TEXT: Acts 27:1-44


The students will be able to describe Paul's perilous journey and shipwreck when he was being taken to Rome. They will be able to explain that God comforted him with the promise that no lives would be lost, and will recognize that God still protects His own.


Introduction: For your class opener this Sunday, use a simple circle face with large scared eyes looking out of it. Ask your students to describe briefly a time in their life when something really scared them. When each one has had a turn, say that we have all been afraid. But a good thing to remember is that if we love God, He has promised to take care of us.

  1. Paul and other prisoners were put on a ship headed for Rome.
  2. They transferred to a ship whose destination was Italy. After many delays, Paul advised them to wait for better weather.
  3. The captain did not heed Paul's warning and they sailed into a severe tempest.
  4. When all hope failed, an angel appeared to Paul and said he would go before Caesar and no one would die.

Climax: The ship ran aground and broke up, but all passengers and crew made shore as the angel had promised.

Conclusion: God had a plan for Paul and it took place in spite of Satan's oppositions.

Response: The students should be able to describe how God protected Paul and saved his life in spite of the shipwreck.


Since Paul was a Roman citizen, he was given the right to appeal to Caesar. Had he not been a citizen of Rome, his case would have been settled by local authorities who were appointed by the Roman senate or the emperor. Having requested his case to be tried before Caesar, it was up to the Roman officials to see that he arrived there. Paul was a prisoner in Caesarea and it was about 1400 miles from there to Rome.

Paul was put in the custody of a centurion and they took a ship of Adramyttium which was a seaport town of Mysia in Asia Minor. Since this ship was not going to Italy, the centurion transferred them to a cargo ship of Alexandria that was going to Italy.

Apparently Paul was more familiar with the weather than the captain of the ship or may have had a revelation from the Lord. His advice not to sail went unheeded and they were hit by a fierce wind storm called Euroclydon. This tempest from the northeast caused high waves and was frequent enough to have been given a name. The storm caused them to be shipwrecked on the island of Melita which is now Malta. It has some excellent harbors and has always been important in both commerce and war.

After three months they were able to get passage on another grain ship from Alexandria and went on to terminate their sea voyage at Puteoli, a great landing place of travelers to Italy from the eastern Mediterranean. Ships usually discharged their cargo at that location as there was no commodious harbor nearer Rome.


  • Line up the chairs in your classroom two by two in a line, to represent a ship. Have the children be the passengers. Make some gray paper clouds to hold over the ship. Reenact how the angel came to Paul to tell him not to be afraid, that God was watching over him and He promised that everyone who was on the ship would be safe. A snack could be served at the point where the people ate some food. Tell the children that God still watches over us today.
  • Give each child the angel, boat, and Paul patterns (see Patterns). Let them help you tell the story.
  • Cut ten 3" squares of paper (more if needed) and draw a circle in the middle of each one. On five of the circles draw a happy face and on the other five draw a sad face. Fold all of them in half and put them into a paper bag. When you come to the stormy part of the story, have each child draw a slip of paper from the bag. Everyone that gets a sad face is to complain about the storm, show fear, etc. The ones who pick happy faces should express the feelings that everything will be all right, Jesus promised to take care, etc. Impress upon the children that God is the same today as He was in Paul's time.


  1. Why was Paul going to Rome?
  2. Have you ever been afraid in a storm? What did you do?
  3. Why do you think Paul was not afraid?
  4. Why do you think the men finally did what Paul told them to do?
  5. How did Paul know that none of the men would drown?
  6. Paul told the men to "be of good cheer," in other words, "Cheer up." Do you think that was easy to do or hard?
  7. Why?
  8. When things are going bad for us, how can we be cheerful?
  9. How do we know God is with us?


  • Give each child a copy of the dot-to-dot sailboat (see Patterns). Let them finish drawing the sail and then color their picture.
  • Have your students complete their own scribble storm picture (see Patterns). When you tell the part in the story about the storm let the children choose a coloring crayon and make their own storm.
  • Show the children the flip chart of Paul's perilous journey (see Patterns). It is simply drawn and will help them to visualize what happened. They are numbered for easy telling. 1. Paul was a prisoner being sent to Rome. 2. While they were on the sea a terrible storm arose. 3. Everyone was afraid. 4. God sent an angel to Paul to tell him not to be afraid because everyone would be safe. 5. They were still afraid and threw almost everything into the water. 6. Soon they all jumped into the water and started swimming to shore. 7. Everyone made it safely to land. 8. Do you think Paul said "Thank You," to Jesus?


Enlarge the flip chart from Preschool Suggestions and use as a review of the story. You might wish to elaborate a bit more on the story and perhaps use sound effects.

Talk about different things that might happen in a person's life that would cause him to worry. At the same time show a visual depiction of whatever your subject is. (A good source of pictures for this would be Moods and Emotions, teaching pictures—David C. Cook Publishing Co. They are a Preschool-Elementary Education set by Sylvia Tester.) After each subject and at the end of your review impress upon the children that they may not receive a message from an angel but they still have God's promise, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," and also, as the memory verse states, "He careth for you."

Write the ten questions below on small cards and put them into a paper bag. Prepare the journey board (see Patterns) with posterboard and construction paper. Make the invisible pockets behind the waves so the cards can be inserted when the question is answered correctly. Pick one card from the bag, ask the question, and when it is answered put it into the correct pocket. The first letter of the one-word answer will match one of the letters on the pockets. (Let the children use their Bibles for the challenge question. The answer is found in Acts 27:1.)

A — Whom did God send to tell Paul that everyone would be safe? (angel)
F — What was the first thing the angel told Paul? (fear not)
G — Who sent the angel to speak to Paul? (God)
J — What was the name of the centurion in charge of the prisoners? (Julius) CHALLENGE QUESTION
L — Where was everyone when they were through swimming and all safe? (land)
P — Who was the most important prisoner on the ship? (Paul)
R — Where was Paul being sent? (Rome)
S — What was the weather like during the journey? (stormy)
S — How did all the men get to land? (swam)
W — What was it that blew so mightily that the ship fell to pieces? (wind)