The Backstroke

January 12, 2009 at 9:51 am | Posted in Acts, BiblicalSwimming | 8 Comments
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According to USA Swimming, the different types of recognized repetitive swim motions are called “strokes.” One of these, the backstroke, “consists of an alternating motion of the arms with a flut­ter kick while on the back.” Anyone who has seen this type of swimming in action knows that the swimmer is in the unusual position of being flat on his back, looking up, yet moving swiftly.

Scripture is silent on the subject of exactly what type of swimming stroke the Apostle Paul used, or whether he used a 1st Century “floatation device,” to make it safely ashore when he experienced a shipwreck.

And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

Acts 27:41-44

What is certain from Scripture, however, is that the Apostle Paul was someone who, despite being knocked flat on his back many times, always looked up to God, and kept moving forward. The soldiers were afraid of escaping prisoners, but Paul was a man of faith, not a man of scheming. Some saw the storm and shipwreck as reasons for despair, but Paul saw an opportunity to glorify God, and to serve others. Can we say the same when we’re in the midst of a “storm,” or when we find ourselves in “deep water?”

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  1. […] Acts 27:41-44 for the account of a shipwreck, and the Apostle Paul’s great response, and you will almost be tempted to think Parcells was reading his Bible when he said, […]

  2. […] Paul was officially declared not guilty, but still had to be sent to Rome by virtue of his appeal to Caesar. Chapter 27 shows that Satan very badly wanted to keep Paul out of Rome. Paul had already survived plots to kill him, riots, arrests, two illegal trials, and now a shipwreck! […]

  3. […] The Backstroke: True disciples of Christ will encounter opposition that will at times push them backward into troubled waters. The Bible’s solution to this situation is to look up to the Lord, and keep moving ahead. (Acts 27:41-44) […]

  4. […] The Backstroke: True disciples of Christ will encounter opposition that will at times push them backward into troubled waters. The Bible’s solution to this situation is to look up to the Lord, and keep moving ahead. (Acts 27:41-44) […]

  5. […] calls us when we least expect it. In Acts 27 the Apostle Paul found himself in the middle of a shipwreck and still managed to use it as a ministry opportunity. In the course of Christian ministry you may […]

  6. […] 1. Powerful Changes 2. The Power of the Resurrection and of the Holy Ghost 3. In One Place in One Accord 4. For the Ladies… 5. Acts and the Apostles: Activated, Authorized, Audible, and Accountable 6. From Power to Proclamation to Prayer * 7. The Blessing and the Cost of an Honest Report 8. Exposing the Enemy and Going Forth with the Truth 9. Changing Names and Calling Names 10. Testing Your Testimony 11. Preaching, Pressing, and Pushing On 12. The Life of a Missionary: Having a Fit, Making a Tough Choice, and Singing in Jail 13. The Most Important Question in Life 14. Don’t Get Caught Up the Creek Without Your Oars 15. Varied Results 16. Time Is Running Out 17. Insincerity, Inaccuracy, or Incompletion? 18. Promoted with Straight A’s 19. Conscious of the Conscience 20. The More You See, the Better You Look 21. The Backstroke […]

  7. […] The Back Stroke (Acts 27:41-44) The Breaststroke (Isaiah 25:11) The Butterfly (Matthew 23:27-28) The Crawl (Psalm 104:19-20) Freestyle (Galatians 5:1) The Dog Paddle (Philippians 3:2) […]

  8. […] The Backstroke: True disciples of Christ will encounter opposition that will at times push them backward into troubled waters. The Bible’s solution to this situation is to look up to the Lord, and keep moving ahead. (Acts 27:41-44) […]


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