How Did the Anchor Save the Persecuted Ancient Church?

Excerpt from June Hunt’s minibook, Hope. Download a FREE copy of Hope today!
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What Is the Significance of Anchors?

From Jesus Walks  For centuries, anchors have been a symbol of hope. This emblem was especially significant to the early persecuted church. Many etchings of anchors were discovered in the catacombs of Rome, where Christians held their meetings in hiding. Threatened with death because of their faith, these committed Christians used the anchor as a disguised cross and as a marker to guide the way to their secret meetings. Located beneath the ancient city, 600 miles of these tomb-like burial chambers served as a place of refuge during perilous times of persecution. Thus, the anchor—found even on some tombstones today—has become the symbol of guaranteed hope for the eternal security of true Christians. In the book of Proverbs, God, who is the Source of Wisdom, says …

Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:33)

  • Anchors are objects typically connected to a boat or ship by a long chain or a heavy line with a short chain for the purpose of holding a vessel in place. Some anchors are fastened securely to the water’s flooring to hold down a large object (such as an oil rig). Other anchors are like large sheets or parachutes thrown into deep water in order to slow down or stabilize a vessel.
  • Anchor,” the English word, is a translation of a Greek word derived from ankos, which means “curve.” Anchors were usually curved so that they could hook onto a solid base.
  • Anchors are a symbol of the sea and represent hope and steadfastness.
  • Anchors are often Christian symbols representing Christ, who provides security for believers, holding them secure no matter the severity of the storm.

In Paul’s terrifying time at sea, his ship encountered hurricane-strength winds, and the crew used not just one, but four anchors in an attempt to save both their ship and their lives.

Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.” (Acts 27:29)

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*Image from “Jesus Walks”: Anchor, IV sec. d.c., Catacomb of Priscilla, via Salaria Nova, Roma

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