Today’s chapter is immensely interesting for three reasons.
One, Luke is writing good literature. We are coming down to the end of the book. We have a goal we know the main character has — to get to Rome — but further, seemingly insurmountable complications come. Luke knows how to push us along in the book!
Two, Luke is writing convincing history. Scholars who study the book of Acts marvel at how historically accurate and detailed this chapter is. This chapter is one of the best accounts of ancient nautical practices in all ancient literature. This is not the kind of chapter an author makes up. This was written by a smart researcher and eyewitness, as we know from the “we” in the first verse.
Three, Luke is ultimately writing theology. It is not entirely correct to call Acts an historical account. It is too theological to be pure history in genre (that is no denial of the factual nature of Acts). Acts is selective history written for a specific theological point. I was struck by how even this account of a shipwreck became a way for Paul to preach the gospel and also a great test of faith:
“So take heart my friends. I believe God, that it will be as he said to me.” (27:25)
“If these men don’t stay in the ship,” he said, “there is no chance of safety.” (27:31)