By far my greatest moment of vulnerability since establishing this blog nine years ago. Due to a cycle of having improper covenants with my eyes and seeking an Ancient Asia-like, well-supervised wet nursing situation, over the past three weeks, I’ve noticed three people who appeared to be stalking me. One was particularly worrisome, and made me think the end was imminent. These incidents are not directly related to this blog, but our enemies and our chief enemy would be delighted to see Christ-centered ANR gone.
I have solemnly vowed to God that I’ll fight my lust from now on and would NEVER seek a premarital wet nursing relationship ever again, no matter how many supervisory witnesses are present. It’s not worth the mortal risk.
Thanks for your prayers, so I can live to serve you for decades to come.
When I’m operating under the influence of the flesh, nothing works for me. Believe me, I’ve been through it. Absolutely nothing brings me peace. It’s times like these when I have car accidents, family and friends lose patience with me, or experience other adverse events. I’m now quite convinced that’s a test of genuine conversion: if any professing Christian walks in carnal disobedience for prolonged periods, yet only seems to prosper in all they do, they’re almost certainly not saved.
When I let my mind obsess with ANR, I don’t move any closer to getting it, and my earthly stability is undermined.
But the opposite happens when I dwell on God and his goodness. He sends people to bless me. And I have an overwhelming peace that potential ANR mates notice. This is reminiscent of the CS Lewis quote “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
I sometimes find myself cynically asking “how does being godly draw me any closer to enjoying nursing? Faith without works is dead!” In reality, when I let my mind dwell on God, and don’t waver in faith, he always invades my physical state and circumstances. This is the one miracle I know I ought to seek more often. Yes, faith without works is dead, but my point, as with James’s, is that one’s faith and works must operate in tandem.
If you believe God is able to move your mountain of ANR-less loneliness, and take steps towards receiving it, he’ll probably move you closer to getting it — on his schedule. Yes, patience is requisite in the process, but you’ll have more peace and joy along the way– unlike the miserable state I and many other Christians love to put ourselves in when we allow our hearts to obsess with the “grass that’s greener on the other side.” Like the money-on-a-string trick, some things are unattainable, too fleeting and will never bring us the contentment they seem to promise, and we’ll never find rest until we rest in the triune God.
Postpartum or postnatal depression is major depression some women experience after childbirth1, 2. It can eliminate a woman’s natural desire to bond with her infant3, along with the urge to nurse. In fact, when it sets in, it’s often detrimental to breastfeeding.4
Rather than face such familial agony, I propose a better way to resolve this undesirable scenario. Unsurprisingly, it involves inducing lactation prior to delivery. If dad helps bring in the milk in order to have breastfeeding occur prior to delivery, the prognosis looks good for all three.
Moreover, breastfeeding itself is a known natural antidepressant which helps mother and baby bond5.
So oddly enough, the very thing effected by postpartum depression is precisely what can alleviate it.
Like RC Sproul five and a half years ago, Pastor Tim Keller has gone to be with the Lord today. And just like Dr. Sproul, I felt saddened, almost like one would for a family member. Afterall, we are family in Christ.
Coincidentally enough, “I’ll Be Missing You” just randomly played on my Spotify right now. No such thing as coincidence in God’s grand design.
I will miss your culturally-relevant gospel proclamation, your helpful exegesis, your uncommon concern even among pastors for social and justice issues, and above all, your love for the Lord and his flock. See you in paradise, brother.
22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
Women who would enjoy being wet nurses to their sick husbands tend to share even more highly biblical and admirable traits.
These include generosity, selflessness, compassion, tenderness, humility, affection, empathy, sympathy, consideration, thoughtfulness and so on.
I think they’re among the very best of women because they embody Christ’s commands in Luke 14: “When you host a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they may invite you in return, and you will be repaid. 13 But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Since they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Moment of vulnerability here. As I said in this post, I have a health condition that’s treatable with breast milk. Over the past few years, I’ve often wrestled with and wavered between seeking solutions involving breast milk, without sinning, as in Ancient China, and seeking other expressed solutions involving milk here in the US.
However, when I let my mind and heart wander too much into dangerously sinful territory, NOTHING goes well for me in the natural. Car accidents and even worse. I’ve not fornicated or entered into a pre-marital ANR, but my heart and desires have certainly exited their biblical boundaries many times in recent years.
The sobering fact is when I set my own parameters, terms and limits, I become my own god.
The faithful Christian asks “what can I do to positively pull in God’s direction?” but the carnal Christian asks “how close to the line can I get without violating my own moral standards?”
The believer who leads with God always ponders how to please and move towards him, doing only what he loves and approves. But the believer who leads with the flesh asks “what can I do to avoid legalism, please myself and enjoy life to the maximum?” We do this with human relationships as well. “How far can I push him before he pushes back?” “What would she let me get away with?” But the heart that seeks to love others only aims to serve and bless, putting their best interests first.
Lead with your new heart. A heart that’s been transformed by the radical love of Christ. Seek his mind and heart in all you do. Aim for Christ in everything you undertake. Like Pastor Rick Holland says, make Jesus the point of your life, not a part of it. Start not with “what if I’m missing out by avoiding this?” or “perhaps a little extra-cautious wet nursing might cure x health condition.” Both approaches are self-centered. Begin and end instead with what glorifies God and pleases his holy name.
If we’re very honest with ourselves, we’d admit that obsessing over breast milk and nursing, even with appropriate cautionary measures, may be extremely unwise at best, and we’re better off erring on the side of caution.
When I fix my mind and heart on Christ, however, I feel a peace and joy that can only be from above. This sublime feeling lasts only as long as I’m gazing on his beauty, akin to Moses’ face and its disappearing glory. But interestingly, my sense of health also shines forth, in ways that make me believe my health problems are nonexistent. I feel at the absolute top of my game, and I need to crave those moments more.
Faith in Christ is the remedy to most of our ailments, not placing ourselves in potentially compromising situations.
The whole counsel of God considered, we deduce only two functions of the female breasts. They serve a sexual purpose, as in Proverbs 5:19, and a life-giving one, as celebrated in verses like Isaiah 66:11. Indeed, whenever Scripture refers to these organs literally or figuratively, the usage is exactly evenly split between the nurturing and sexual purposes.
As I argued in Proverbs 5:19 ANR biblical apologetics, one need not separate both functions. Women who are most heavily desirous of ANRs actually tend to favor the nurturing intent over the sexual, interestingly.
In the most beautiful, stable and durable ANRs, the loving, self-giving, life-enriching aspects of the nursing relationship often trump the eroticism.
Trust me readers, especially men, the best, most loving ANR partners you can find are those who desire the loving, warm, emotional, nutrient-and-life-giving facets of CN than simply getting off. Sexual release is important, but the emotional and physical nourishment is slightly superior.
This paper explores the weird and fascinating practice of adult breastfeeding in Ancient Rome. In it I examine possible connections between historical-mythological depictions of women breastfeeding their own parents, the columna lactaria and pharmacological uses of human breast milk in the medical and scientific writers. Ultimately I argue that the social perception of adult breastfeeding at Rome viewed it as something amazing, but not completely bizarre; attitudes towards adult breastfeeding were in some cases similar to attitudes surrounding women nursing their own children. Further, there must have been some sort of market for breast milk as a medicinal and nutritional commodity for adults.
The motif of the woman who breastfeeds her incarcerated parent, mother or father depending on the particular iteration of the tale, can be found in Pliny (Nat. His. 7.121), Valerius Maximus (5.4.7), and Hyginus (Fab. 254). A terracotta statue from Pompeii displays the story visually (Bonfante: 182). Different, but in a similar vein, an Etruscan bronze mirror from the 4th century BCE shows Juno breastfeeding an adult Hercules (Bonfante: 181). What these depictions have in common, in addition to their subject matter, is their presentation of the event as the utmost exempla of familial piety (e.g. Pliny: pietascui comparari cuncta non possint, Nat. His. 7.121). Valerius Maximus expresses amazement at and praise for the woman who breastfed her parent (5.4.7). This attitude is similar to that regarding a woman who breastfed her own children (Parkin: 54). Wet-nursing seems to have been de rigueur among the elite, with a pushback from certain writers who tried to encourage women to nurse their own infants (Tacitus, Aulus Gellius, etc.)
Another strain of adult breastfeeding narratives is found in the Greco-Roman scientific and medical writers. When we turn to Pliny’s twenty-eighth book on “drugs obtained from animals,” human breast milk appears as an ingredient in pharmacological preparations. This use of the substance is hardly something new. Laskaris has shown how human breast milk as a medicinal ingredient moves from Egypt to Greece to the Roman Empire. In the Egyptian and Hippocratic sources, breast milk is used as a therapeutic substance in washes, poultices, ointments, and pessaries. In marked contrast, pharmacologies from the Latin medical writers and from Galen call for the imbibing of human breast milk, primarily as a cure for phthisis (wasting disease or consumption) (Galen De marcore 7.700-2 K; De methodo medendi 474-475K).
So, how do these two narratives come together? The key may lie in the columna lactaria, which is thought to have been a gathering place or market of wet-nurses for hire (Corbrier). If we accept that human breast milk was a medical and nutritional commodity with a scope beyond the feeding of infants, then there must have been some sort of market for it (however small the demand). It is possible that the columna lactaria was a central location not only for obtaining wet-nurses for hire, but also for obtaining breast milk (or lactating women) for use in medical preparations. If adult-breast feeding had a similar social valence to elite women nursing their own infants (amazement, praise, but nothing like disgust), then perhaps wet nurses filled the void for the former as well as the latter.
If you struggle with intrusive mental images of ANRs, then “think often that Christ suffered agony for your purity. Fight image with image. Christ crying in agony.”
Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
1 Peter 1:18; 2:24:
You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, [but with the precious blood of Christ]. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Corinthians 5:15:
He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
“Thank you for your blog. As a Christian, I thought I was crazy to desire an ANR. I wish that I had explored, studied and understood it better before I married. My husband has no interest and I am heartbroken and emotionally detached as a result.
Please continue to spread this information, people need to hear it-relate to it-be supported by it.
May God Bless.”
— JJ, Christ-centered ANR reader
“The Christian life isn’t hard, it’s impossible.”
— Christian proverb based on Mark 10:27
It can often feel impossible to know whether we have the freedom to pursue our very intimate and even sexually graphic desires. But thanks be to God for providing us guidance through his word, and for giving us wise Christians who can apply it to many situations.
I’m eternally grateful to the brothers and sisters at themarriagebed.com for suggesting three principles Christians can rely on when trying to discern what’s biblically allowed in the bedroom. They advice that we’re free to do anything that:
isn’t categorically prohibited in Scripture
poses no health risks
If we abide by these three precepts, we should be okay– by God and each other, for by doing so, we obey the two greatest commandments.
24 But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples. 25 You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not make yourselves detestable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground crawls, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
The following paragraph is a paraphrase of an excerpt of a message I sent a believer centered upon a topic on which we have a fundamental disagreement. It resonates with me on the topic of ANR as well.
You have an unbiblical idea of happiness; you advised me to forgive and move on because you also know what it’s like to face severe adversity, but have moved on long ago. But to be sad is natural. Even God himself laments and weeps (Genesis 6:6, John 11:35). In truth, there is a clear connection between sorrow and love/repentance in the Bible (see Romans 9:2-3). When necessary, humble, servant-hearted lamenting and sorrow actually makes us happier. It improves our piety and love for others. Very harmful behavior includes trying to act tough while suppressing issues or wearing a fake smile.
“The Christian life is sorrowful. Joyful, but also sorrowful.”
— John Piper
Something as humble, and at first glance, childish, like adult breastfeeding, actually makes us happier in marriage. Nursing makes a couple much happier.
“Never having been married nor nursed a baby, the desire to deeply bond with my husband and give him this gift no one else can(married for life), has lept off the charts. In my research on Mother-Child breastfeeding, there are significant hormones released in this amazing process. Oxytocin is the “bonding” hormone. It is released in the breastmilk during breastfeeding so that Mother and child attach & bond. Oxytocin & dopamine are released during a couple’s love making, facilitating their bonding as well.”
“I love breastfeeding my husband. When I first asked him if he was interested, he was so excited. We stopped for a while because life got in the way. During that time, my depression worsened and I was considering talking to my doctor about changing prescriptions. Instead, we started breastfeeding again. My depression has greatly improved. So has my libido. We’re having a wonderful time and we’re as close as ever. I wonder why it’s not talked about in mental health circles. Oxytocin does wonders for the mood.”
— DeeDee, June 30, 2020
“At first I viewed it as ‘those are for my children now’ (which is why we hadn’t done it in previous pregnancies/postpartum), but once I agreed to give it a try I found I really enjoy it. I have never seen it as my husband being infant like or less of a leader in our house, but more as another way to surrender myself to him and share my body with him in a newer and different way. Since for many women nipple stimulation can be sexually arousing, especially with those oxytocin releases, I think that is the big appeal for the female perspective…plus, yes, men like breasts so playing with them is fun for him.”
“When your baby [or husband] latches onto your breast, [their] sucking triggers release of the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates milk production. … But other stimuli can trigger the production of oxytocin too, including emotional ones like looking at a picture of Baby, thinking of her, [or hubby] or hearing a recording of her … Not only does Baby’s [or Husband’s] sucking causes the release of oxytocin so that your milk can flow freely, but oxytocin also creates uterine contractions.”
“NATURE’S SPLIFF. Breastfeeding makes you high, in a pleasant, calm, serene way. Nursing stimulates the release of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin in the mother’s body. These hormones relax the nursing mum and make her feel more nurturing toward her baby [and husband]. The effect is similar to cannabis yet legal and you can do it in public. Furthermore, as the hormones are passed through the breast milk, nursing acts like a natural baby[/husband] tranquilizer. Which leads us to… SLEEP. Whoever created the ‘lying down whilst breastfeeding’ position needs [an] award or something because it has preserved the sanity of many.”
“Stimulating the nipples, as in breast-feeding, releases the hormone oxytocin.”
“Oxytocin is the human feel-good hormone. It is released during and after sex and orgasm, and often dubbed the “love hormone”. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin in massive amounts for both partners.”
“Oxytocin plays a major part in human sexual response both in neuroendocrine function and postcoital behavior.”
“[Your man wi]ll need to use his mouth to encourage milk production and movement (and this will also stimulate oxytocin production in your body) … Nipple stimulation during breastfeeding encourages oxytocin, the so-called cuddle hormone.
Oxytocin makes you feel closer to a child, but it can also increase closeness and trust with any person. Oxytocin increases after a woman is aroused, and orgasm can also increase this hormone, which is why you might confuse your feelings for a man after having sex.”
“When you consider that for women who are nursing, their body releases the hormone oxytocin, also known as the pleasure hormone or the love hormone, feelings of profound warmth and intimacy toward an adult breastfeeding partner makes sense … Yes, oxytocin is associated with arousal and orgasm, but it’s also responsible for creating or reinforcing feelings of bonding and pleasure of a platonic sort.”
Women who really get it, are convinced of the beauty of nursing their men and greatly desire it, seem to view the nursing act as sacred and transcendent, like a piece of heaven. They’re right. All physical and sexual intimacy is spiritual and heavenly. Which is exactly why God is adamant that we only engage in it within the bounds of a covenant union. And is also precisely why the demonic hosts fight to keep ANR a taboo concept.
All sexual intimacy points to the triune God, the One for whom we were created to enjoy perfect intimacy eternally. Christian, let the Spirit of Jesus Christ fill you to the point of overflow.
I fondly remember times of such filling, and long for repeat doses. I’m a fiend for Jesus who needs his fix. They unfailingly place me in a space of awe, supernatural bliss and unrivaled peace, which I’m sure is an amplification of what nursers experience during breastfeeding sessions.
Jesus never fails to give me his Holy Spirit whenever I ask for him in spirit and truth. We all should be craving oxytocin rushes from the Father’s heart to ours, flowing like electricity through the Son, and for intimate communion empowered by the Spirit.
Women who nurse their husbands don’t believe in empty words. They put the pedal to the metal. Unlike many who claim to believe in and love their God and husbands, theirs is a hands-on faith and love respectively.
Actions speak louder than words. These beautiful women live out that maxim with every ounce of what they’ve got.
Years ago, when I was a very moralistic Christian, never would I have dreamt of operating such a blog as this, let alone post a song praising the “time to have sex” on a blog centered on an intimate act. I’ve since grown out of that puritanical mindset, and have realized how so many of us believers try to be holier than God by having “higher” standards than even he does, as demonstrated in his word. I now make a distinction between erotica and pornography, because I believe God does the same. In the song posted above, there’s nothing more erotic than the most erotic parts of Scripture. The Bible is the final authority, and our ultimate plumbline, so if God tastefully ventures into erotica, so can we.
A Christian date of mine said the idea of drinking breast milk “sounds erotic.” Erotica is beautiful and special in God’s eyes — when appropriately enjoyed.
Personally, I’ve come to realize how unbiblically ascetic I became in other areas, such as spending money on colognes and other sweet-smelling aromas. But the related concepts of pleasant smells, beauty, romance, erotica, sensuality and sexuality are again perfectly acceptable and beautiful from the divine perspective, on his terms.
New International Version “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”
New Living Translation “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.”
— 2 Corinthians 2:15
“It is a burnt offering to the Lord. It is a pleasing aroma, a food offering[b] to the Lord … the burnt offering, as a pleasing aroma before the Lord. It is a food offering to the Lord. … The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.”
— Exodus 29:18, 25, 41
“Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane,”
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
I and the Father Are One
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
John 10:29 Some manuscripts What my Father has given to me
10 “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.
12 “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.
Conquest of Canaan Promised
25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and he[a] will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 26 None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
1 THOU Shepherd of Israel, and mine, The joy and desire of my heart, For closer communion I pine, I long to reside where thou art: The pasture I languish to find There all, who their Shepherd obey. Are fed, on thy bosom reclined, And screened from the heat of the day.
2 Ah! show me that happiest place, The place of thy people’s abode, Where saints in an ecstasy gaze, And hang on a crucified God; Thy love for a sinner declare, Thy passion and death on the tree; My spirit to Calvary bear, To suffer and triumph with thee.
3 ‘Tis there, with the lambs of thy flock, There only, I covet to rest, To lie at the foot of the rock, Or rise to be hid in thy breast; ‘Tis there I would always abide, And never a moment depart, Concealed in the cleft of thy side, Eternally held in thy heart.
Lyrics by Charles Wesley. Inspired by the Song of Solomon.
28 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native people[a] showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice[b] has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly,[c] and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.
Paul Arrives at Rome
11 After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods[d] as a figurehead. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found brothers[e] and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. 16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.
Paul in Rome
17 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” 21 And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 27 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”[f]
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense,[g] and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
Acts 28:2 Greek barbaroi (that is, non–Greek speakers); also verse 4
27 And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3 The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4 And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5 And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.
9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast[a] was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
The Storm at Sea
13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda,[b] we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear,[c] and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”
27 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. 28 So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms.[d] A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.[e]29 And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.
33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength,[f] for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all 276[g] persons in the ship.) 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.
39 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. 40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. 41 But striking a reef,[h] they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44 and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.
26 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
9 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
Paul Tells of His Conversion
12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”[b]29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Acts 26:14 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic)
Acts 26:28 Or In a short time you would persuade me to act like a Christian!