Acts of the Apostles 18: 24-28 (NIV)
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
“Meanwhile”, at the beginning of this passage, indicates a diversion from the principal theme of this part of the book of Acts describing the journeys of the Apostle Paul. Having visited Ephesus (verse 19), Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there and sailed to Caesarea. After a probable visit to the church at Jerusalem, Paul journeyed overland to Antioch with the intention later of returning to Ephesus (Acts 19: 1).
What champions Priscilla and Aquila proved to be! They were courageous missionaries. They were leaders. They were encouragers. They were eager expositors of the message of the Gospel. Having been ordered by Claudius to leave Rome, these Jews were about to settle in Corinth when Paul arrived. He convinced them to sail with him for Syria but then, when they reached Ephesus, he required them to remain there and form a house church.
It could have been too easy for them to silence Apollos when they first heard him speaking boldly in the synagogue. He did not have the full story of Jesus’ post-resurrection instructions to his Apostles (Acts 1: 4-5), knowing only the baptism of John. But rather than over-rule him publicly, Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos into their home. Without making a public issue of the matter, they explained to him the way of God more adequately.
It is a testimony to their approach and to their hospitality as well as to their coaching that Apollos responded positively. His ability, channelled by the careful teaching of Priscilla and Aquila, must have been evident to the brothers in Ephesus who were keen to encourage him in his initiative to take the message of the Gospel to Achaia. The opening verses of Paul’s subsequent letter to the church in Corinth attest to the effectiveness there of Apollos’ ministry.
How do we compare in our Christian walk with that of Priscilla and Aquila, or with that of Apollos, for that matter? Are we encouragers? Are we able to see potential in other people and are we confident enough to develop that potential rather than be intimidated by it? Are we tactful as to how we correct error, building others up rather than trying to pull them down? Are we willing to be taught, as Apollos was, to enhance our knowledge and understanding and to become more effective in those areas where our gifting is strong?
Are we trustworthy servants, ready to apply our talents where they are needed without having to be coerced to do so by someone in authority?
Well done Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos, good and faithful servants!