Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “VI. Paul Plans to Visit Rome and Gets there by an Unforseen Route (19:21-28:31).” “G. Rome at Last! (27:11-31)” pp. 500-512.
Acts 28:11-31 brings Paul and his companions the rest of the way to Rome. Bruce, citing Pliny the elder, suggests the group would have left Malta after about February 8, when the typical wind from the west normally returned. The ship, probably a grain ship, would have wintered at malta (Bruce 1988, 500). Because of the construction of ships and the need for the right winds, journeys were often broken up day by day, as Luke describes. On the way, Paul and his company had several encounters with Christian groups. Part of the journey was made by road, greeting Christians along the way (Bruce 1988, 502). There was already a substantial Christian presence in Rome, evidenced by Paul’s letter to Rome, written some three years earlier (Bruce 1988, 503). Paul was allowed to stay under house arrest under guard, apparently chained to the guard (Bruce 1988, 504).
Paul made contact with the Jewish community quickly after his arrival. Because of his house arrest the Jewish leaders were invited to see him (Bruce 1988, 505). These leaders had not heard of his arrest. They were also largely unaware of the specifics of Christianity (Bruce 1988, 506). On a second hearing, some of the Jewish leaders were accepting of what Paul said, while some were not. The text indicates a full day of debate with Paul using the Old Testament to demonstrate that Jesus was the Christ (Bruce 1988, 507). Paul’s conclusion by the end of the day was that the Gospel was being sent to the Gentiles (Bruce 1988, 508).
Acts ends by stating that Paul spent two years under house arrest, visiting with people and bringing the Gospel to the people of Rome (Bruce 1988, 509). Bruce notes that there was a period of 18 months under law, allowing accusers to bring a case against those accused. The rest of the two years could be accounted for as time required to arrange a hearing and dismiss the case, if needed (Bruce 1988, 510). luke never tells us the outcome. He merely speaks of the work of the Gospel. Bruce notes that the guards, and therefore other authorities, would have been well aware of the message of Paul. Yet Paul’s preaching was unhindered (Bruce 1988, 511). This would seem to be the message of Acts. God will work through His people.