Acts 27:40 “taken up anchors” or “casting off the anchors”

A certain Bible critic, who himself has NO complete and inerrant Bible in any language he can show us that he really believes is the inerrant words of God, criticizes the King James Bible for how it has translated Acts 27:40.

He says: “Acts 27:40 –The KJV botches this verse by saying that “they had taken up the anchors.” This is not at all what occurred. Instead, they cut away the anchors which held them. Their intent was to run up on shore in as light a manner as possible. There was no benefit to be derived from pulling in the immense anchors for this purpose. Further, the KJV uses in the next clause the word “themselves,” as if it is speaking of those on the ship committing themselves to whatever the sea would do to them. This is incorrect. The action of committing is referring to the anchors, not to those on the ship. They committed the anchors to the deep, where they would not further encumber the ship.”

Let’s compare the different bible translations and see if this KJB critic is right or not.

A rather simple and logical explanation of why the sailors wanted to keep their anchors on the ship is because in the midst of the roaring sea with the waves crashing against the shore and rolling out again, they wanted to be sure that if it were possible, once they hit the shore they could again cast out the anchors and prevent the ship from being driven back out to sea.

As it was “they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves”, so the anchors were not needed at this time.

Acts 27:40

King James Bible -“And when they had TAKEN UP THE ANCHORS, they committed THEMSELVES unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.”

ESV (ASV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NET, Holman, Jehovah Witness NWT, Catholic St. Joseph NAB and New Jerusalem bible) – “So they CAST OFF THE ANCHORS AND LEFT THEM IN THE SEA,  at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.”

First, it should be pointed out that just as there is no specific word for “THEMSELVES” in the Greek texts, neither is there a word for “THEM” in these other versions.

Agreeing with the meaning that the sailors “took up the anchors” instead of “casting off the anchors” are the following Bible translations – the Wycliffe Bible 1395 and the 2001 update – “And when they HAD TAKEN UP the anchors, they betook them to the sea”, Tyndale 1524, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ bible 1568, Geneva Bible 1587 – “So when they HAD TAKEN UP the anchors, they committed the ship unto the sea”, the Beza New Testament 1599, Mace N.T. 1729 – “having HEAVED IN their anchors, they drove with the sea”, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, John Wesley’s N.T. 1755, the Worsley Translation 1770, Thomas Haweis N. T. 1795 – “And WEIGHING THE ANCHORS, they committed her to the sea”, Webster’s bible 1833, the Sawyer N.T. 1858, Young’s literal 1898 -“the anchors having taken up”, the Tomson N.T. 2002 – “So when they HAD TAKEN UP THE ANCHORS, they committed the ship unto the sea”, The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 – “After TAKING UP THE STERN ANCHORS, they were at the mercy of the sea again”, the Jubilee Bible 2010, the Hebrews Transliteration Scriptures 2010, and the New Matthew’s Bible 2016 – “ And when they HAD TAKEN UP the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea”

The Catholic Connection

The previous Douay-Rheims Bible read like the KJB with – “And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea”, but the more recent Catholic versions like the St. Joseph NAB 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 read like the ESV, NASB, NKJV, NET and Jehovah Witness NWT.

“They CUT LOOSE THE ANCHORS and abandoned them to the sea” – St. Joseph New American bible 1970.

Foreign Language Bibles

Foreign language Bibles that read like the KJB are the Italian Diodati 1649 – “Ed avendo ritratte le ancore”, Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, The Spanish Cipriano de Valera 1602 – “Y ALZANDO LAS ANCLAS, se dejaron a la mar”, the Spanish Reina Valera Gomez Bible, the French Martin Bible 1744 – “C’est pourquoi ayant retiré les ancres, ils abandonnèrent le navire à la mer”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada and the Portuguese Almeida Atualizada- “E, levantando as ncoras, deixaram-no ir ao mar”