“Thrice I suffered Shipwreck” - 2 Corinthians 11:25


When the Lord sent Ananias to open the eyes of Saul of Tarsus, whom He had called on the way to Damascus to be His servant, He said to him, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).

In the Acts of the Apostles, and in 2 Corinthians 11, we read of some of the “great things” that Paul suffered for the Name of Jesus, His Lord and Master.

Among these “great things” are the shipwrecks of our title.

Paul had written the second epistle to the Corinthians some years before the shipwreck recorded in Acts 27, so that the apostle was involved in four sea disasters.

The voyage on the way to Rome, and the wrecking of the ship, are given in considerable detail by the Spirit of God, whereas the three former shipwrecks are not even noticed in the Book of the Acts.

We can take for granted that the Lord was as interested in His devoted servant in the trials mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11 as in those on the way to Rome, but in His infinite wisdom He only records what suits His purpose, and what He desires us to know. Genuine interest, and natural curiosity, would like to know more of the details of what the apostle suffered for Christ’s Name, but sufficient has been given to show that not a single moment of our lives is hidden from His all-seeing eye, and that He directs all the circumstances and conditions of our lives for His own glory and our richest blessing.

Paul, having passed through many trials, was rich in experience, and having already been thrice shipwrecked he offered his advice when danger threatened; but his wise counsel was rejected in favor of the experienced men of the world and of the majority.

When the time of disaster drew near, it was evident to all that his wisdom excelled the wisdom of the world; but he had something else to tell his companions in their time of need, he had a message from God, a message of salvation.

How meek and dignified the servant of the Lord was throughout, superior to the circumstances, restful in spirit, and with complete confidence in God and His word.

Every detail of the first three shipwrecks are written in heaven, if they have not been given on the page of inspiration: and every detail of what the saints of God pass through in faithfulness to the Lord Jesus is treasured up by Him who is unwearied in His watchfulness and care for those He loves, and whom He has called to serve Him in this world. When the bride of Christ is seen in heaven, “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” (Revelation 19:8), we shall know then, if we do not know now, that the Lord has observed, and treasured up for Himself, all that His own have been for His pleasure amidst the trials and difficulties of their earthly sojourn.

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