Reflections on the Book of Acts #18: Priscilla and Aquila

Here’s the link to Acts 18.

In this chapter we meet Priscilla and Aquila, a husband and wife who had left Rome when all the Jews were expelled and found themselves in the city of Corinth. That’s where they meet the apostle Paul. Like him, they’re tentmakers by trade. This was how they got to know one another. And when after ministering and preaching in Corinth for 18 months Paul left for Syria, this ministry couple traveled with him.

It might be an incidental point not worth mentioning, but two out of the three times Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned, Priscilla is named before her husband. Some suggest this means she was the more prominent of the two of them.

One of these occasions is when Priscilla and Aquila encounter Apollos, a follower of Jesus who was also a great teacher of Scripture. We’re told he only knew of the baptism of John. Perhaps this means he hadn’t yet received the Holy Spirit? How he was deficient in his understanding is not spelled out. But this ministry couple lovingly took him aside in order to deepen his grasp of the good news and how the Old Testament points to Jesus. Through their ministry, and because he was humble enough to be teachable, Apollos’ preaching only became stronger and more persuasive.

There’s only one other mention of Priscilla and Aquila in the New Testament, and that’s in 1 Corinthians 16:18. As he concludes his letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul writes: The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla send you greetings warmly in the Lord, along with the church that meets in their home. 

So this husband and wife’s home was a meeting place for fellow believers, a place where Christians would gather for fellowship, for worship, and for hearing from God’s word. Of course, at this point that’s where all churches gathered: in people’s homes. All churches were house churches. And this ministry couple opened their home for this purpose too, demonstrating their commitment both to Christ and to the church.

Priscilla and Aquila had quite a ministry. They discipled others who would also become teachers. They hosted a church. And they were a familiar part of the larger network of churches associated with the apostle Paul. We’re not told if they had any sort of official pastoral position, but they were certainly leaders of some kind. In today’s terms, they might be called “influencers.” They’re the kind of people we need more of in our churches today.

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