Who were Priscilla and Aquila?


By BibleAsk Team

Priscilla and Aquila

Priscilla and Aquila were God’s workers in the early church. Aquila (a Latin name meaning eagle) was a Christian Jew born in Pontus and his wife Priscilla was a Roman born. The placing of Priscilla’s name first (Acts 18:18; Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19), indicates that she was a woman of culture.

Priscilla and Aquila traveled to Corinth from Italy when the Roman Emperor Claudius oppressed and expelled all the Jews from his empire (1 Peter 1:1). The Christians in Rome adopted the great spiritual principles laid down by Stephen, who influenced Paul. This tells us why Priscilla and Aquila gladly received the apostle Paul in Corinth.

Priscilla and Aquila worked as tent makers in Corinth and there the apostle Paul united with them, who himself had learned this trade. The couple became his supporters in the ministry and joined him in preaching the truth and spreading the gospel in the early church.

The Encounter with Apollos

After one-year, Paul took Priscilla and Aquila and left to Ephesus where they started a home church (1 Corinthians 16:9). The couple had seemingly joined the services of the synagogue and had been involved there. When they heard the preaching of Apollos as a rabbi  (Acts 13:14, 15), they were impressed by his devotion to God.

The rabbi Apollos knew only of the baptism of water by John but didn’t know of the baptism of the Holy spirit. Therefore, the couple shared with him the full truth. “When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:24-26).

Having listened and accepted the message of John, Apollos was more prepared to listen to Aquila and Priscilla, who believed in Christ, more than the Jews, who had not accepted the Lord. Apollos’ heart was open by the Holy Spirit to accept the Messiah. He simply did not have the knowledge of how Jesus Christ fulfilled precisely the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.

So, the couple “expounded” to Apollos what they had been instructed by Paul, and maybe also from other Christians at Rome (verse 2). They taught him the doctrines of redemption by grace, justification by faith, God’s promise of the Holy Spirit after conversion and baptism, and the need to participate in of the Lord’s Supper as Jesus instructed.

Following this instruction, as in the case of the twelve men discussed in Acts 19:1–7, it is clear that Apollos, who previously knew only John’s baptism, was rebaptized into “the name of the Lord Jesus” and became not only a member of the early Christian Church but an active preacher of the Word of God.

Nothing more of the work of Aquila and Priscilla is known. Paul’s last mention of this godly couple is found in his last letter to Timothy. Although this couple had been in Rome (Romans 16:3) for some time, they had already returned to Ephesus, where they had previously ministered (Acts 18:18–26). So, Paul asked Timothy to, “Greet Prisca and Aquila” (2 Timothy 4:19).

Faithful Servants of God

The ministry of Priscilla and Aquila is a vivid example for virtue, spiritual knowledge, and hospitality. Their sacrificial spirit and service for the Lord as they opened their home for ministry and discipleship is a pattern for Christian families to follow. Thus, the words of the Scripture can apply to their service, “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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