They had landed on the island of Malta. They lit a fire for everyone. A viper attacked Paul, so that the natives thought that Paul was a murderer. However, Paul was not harmed, so then they thought that he must be a god. The friendly chief of the island, Publius, had a sick father that Paul cured. Thus, many people came to be cured. When they left the island, they received honors and provisions.
“After we had reached safety,
We then learned
That the island
Was called Malta.”
Καὶ διασωθέντες τότε ἐπέγνωμεν ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται.
The author of Acts indicated that after they had reached safety (Καὶ διασωθέντες), they then learned (ἐπέγνωμεν) that the island was called Malta (ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται). The author of Acts spent a long time describing this trip as he maintained that he was on this voyage as in this section he spoke about “we”. The same goes here. They shipwrecked on the island of Malta, halfway across the Mediterranean, after starting out near the island of Crete. This account of a fourteen-day gale storm, followed by a shipwreck on a remote island, reads like a fairytale. Malta was and is a southern European Mediterranean island country with a population today of half a million people, about 50-60 miles south of Sicily, Italy, and a 175-200 miles off North Africa. Today Malta is the world’s tenth smallest country in area, about twice the size of the American District of Columbia, and fifth most densely populated sovereign country, with Valletta as the smallest national capital in the European Union. Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BCE, as a great strategic naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands. Thus, it has some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. Malta has had Christians since the time of early Christianity. Today there is a Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck in Valletta. Obviously, Saint Paul the Apostle is considered the spiritual father of the Maltese. His statue is paraded throughout the streets of Valletta on the feast day of St Paul’s Shipwreck, February 10. Thus, Paul had a great impact on this island country. Do you have a favorite saint?