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Alabama deacon, diver searches for apostle Paul’s shipwreck

Since he was a child, John Harkins has been fascinated by the story of the apostle Paul and the shipwreck told in Acts 27.

John Harkins overlooks Mellieha Bay on the Island of Malta. (Photo via www.al.com)

Harkins, a diver and a deacon of the Mayfair Church of Christ in Huntsville, Ala., has traveled to the island of Malta twice on a quest for evidence of the shipwreck — miraculously survived by all aboard.
In May he plans to return to the island, looking for the remains of the Alexandrian grain ship on which Paul was being transported as a prisoner to Rome.
The Huntsville Times reports:

Harkins, mild-mannered Bible-reading Church of Christ deacon, proud grandpa, Auburn-educated marine biologist who now sells software for a living, is determined to be the first person since the biblical Luke to see with his own eyes evidence of the ship that carried the Apostle Paul nearly to Rome.
Quite possibly, he cheerfully concedes.
“I’m quite in the minority in thinking there might be some remnant,” Harkins said this week, unrolling charts of the island on his desk at work. “But I know we’re going to find something, though it may not be from Paul’s wreck.”

Doubt is something he’s hoping to help other people overcome if he finds something that confirms Luke’s account.
“It could be one more thing where somebody said something didn’t exist and we can say, ‘Yeah. It did,'” Harkins said. “Maybe it will help someone who has lost their faith and wants to come back.”

Read the full story.
Harkins blogs a commentary on Acts 27.

  • Feedback
    I’ve also been fascinated with this. A few years ago I read the book “The Lost Shipwreck of Paul” by Robert Cornuke and was even more fascinated after reading this book, with all the evidence they discovered.
    Garrett Meiers
    April, 2 2011

    This is great! Remember Paul requested Timothy to “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come — and the books, especially the parchments”(2 Tim. 4:13). I’ve always wondered if some scripture may be sealed in the wreckage. May God bless him.
    Scott Shifferd
    April, 8 2011

    Paul’s voyage and shipwreck as recorded in Acts is fascinating because it is probably the best record we have of shipping in the ancient world. Finding the ship will be made more difficult because the crew tossed the cargo and tackle overboard. Additionally, the ship went down within sight of land (Luke tells us that the surf beat the stearn to pieces). I look forward to hearing that Bro. Harkins has found the remains of the ship. In the event that he does find it, I hope to read the details of his efforts in both <em>Christian Chronicle</em> and <em>Archeology</em> magazine.
    Mike McCubbin
    April, 8 2011

    This is on Gordon Franz’s blog:
    “Mark Gatt authored a book entitled PAVLVS, The Shipwreck 60 AD (Allied Publications 2009) that described the possible implications of an anchor stock that he discovered off the coast of Malta a few years ago. In his analysis of Cornuke�s �The Lost Shipwreck of Paul� Gatt gives a local Maltese diver�s perspective of the issue. He says that Corunke’s book is �so fraught with mistakes and manipulated facts� that he was compelled to write a refutation. The article entitled, �The Rape of Our Pauline Traditions,� was published in the �Malta Independent� on October 16, 2011 and is now on their website:
    Gordon Franz has engaged in extensive research in archaeology and has participated in a number of excavations in and around Jerusalem, including Ketef Hinnom and Ramat Rachel; as well as the excavations at Tel Lachish, Tel Jezreel and Tel Hazor.
    Paul Goddard
    October, 25 2011

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