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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