In our study of Acts chapter twenty seven, we look at what is Paul's fourth missionary journey which is his trip to Rome to share the gospel. Although most scholars do not label this trip as one of "Paul's missionary journeys", we shall see that, although it was not an ordinary missions trip, it still had the same purpose.
"When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment." NIV translation
We remember that Luke was the writer of the book of Acts and so is included in the "we" here. So, Paul is placed in the custody of a centurion who was in the Imperial Regiment. This Roman regiment was an elite corps of soldiers that were created to be the emperor's personal guards. They received double pay and special privileges and every soldier in the regiment had the same rank as a centurion in the regular legions.
"We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us." NIV translation
They boarded a ship that was ready to sail from a port city called Adramyttium which was located just a little north of Pergamum in Asia Minor. The "we" also included Ariatarchus who had been a fellow worker with Paul. It is interesting to note that he, as well as Luke, were not prisoners and so were not required to go but they went to be with their brother in Christ.
"The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs." NIV translation
The first stop on this trip was the city of Sidon which is in what we call Lebanon today. We see, here, that the soldier granted Paul a very unusual liberty in letting him go to see his friends. This is just another example of how God takes care of his people especially when they are about doing His business.