Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Luke - one detailed dude

I was reading Acts yesterday and today. Acts has always been one of my favorite books to read in the Bible over and over, and to be honest, I never realized until recently that Luke was the author. Pretty neat, since Luke is one of my favorites of the Gospels. How's that for building a fan base? haha.

Anyways, I've discovered that Luke is pretty generous with details. Take Chapter 27, for example. If anyone out there is writing a historical set on the sea, dig no further for sailing descriptions! Luke tells it all. =)

This is a passage from CH 27, on Paul's journey to Rome.

When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

Look at all that! I bolded the lines that were especially descriptive. As a detailed woman myself, I can appreciate the efforts Luke took to really paint the picture. He could have said something like "The storm was rough, the boat rocked around and the sailors did their thing to try to fight back" but he basically gave us a description of "a day in the life of a sailor".

One thing I'm curious about is why Luke added the phrase "with their own hands" when telling of throwing the ship's tackle overboard. In the lines before, when they threw the cargo overboard, did they use machinery instead? Slaves? What was the difference? Very interesting. I hope one day when we get to Heaven we'll get to find out all these little details that really don't matter, but intrigue the mind.

Whoops. I just realized that passage left off a little depressing, so here's how the story ends. Skipping down the chapter a bit...

When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.

Yay for happy endings! Thanks for the interesting morning read, Luke. We appreciate your details, God-inspired as they are. =)


Georgiana said...

I love the book of Acts. More churches should be modeled after the early church! I'll have to pay more attention to the details on the next read-through :)

Betsy Ann St. Amant said...

It's a great book isn't it??? And I agree. Church today isn't what it seems like it used to be in the days of the apostles. Kinda makes you wish for it!

Erica Vetsch said...

I love comparing the writing styles of the Bible. David, the musician, whose words are lyrical. Paul, the evangelist, who has so much to say his sentences ramble on for DAYS. Peter, with his no holds barred approach when he tells the early church to straighten up and fly right. Luke, the physician, with his eye for detail. John, compassionate and pedestrian in upbringing, whose love of Jesus and of God's people rises off the page in a sweet aroma.

These authors all had "Voice".

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Now you've got me wanting to read over it again. I'm working through Luke right now. Maybe I'll skip to Acts next.

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