Paul remained in Corinth more than 18 months, teaching the Word of God and making tents to support him-self. Paul made quite a few friends and enemies in the city, and he and Aquila and Priscilla became very close.
However, Paul was on a divine timetable, and there were other cities that needed his ministry. So Paul left Corinth and traveled southeast to Syria along with Priscilla and Aquila. Before leaving for Syria, Paul shaved his head because he had taken the Nazarite vow at Cenchrea, a harbor city approximately seven miles east of Corinth.
The word “Nazarite” means one who is separated unto the Lord. By the terms of the vow, a person would voluntarily separate himself for a specific period of time. Once the days of the separation were fulfilled, the Nazarite would offer a sacrifice unto the LORD and shave his head as a sign of his purification and sacrifice (see Numbers 6:13-21). Paul may have felt the need to take the vow since he was going further into Gentile territory to win many people to Christ.
When Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla arrived in Ephesus, they parted company. Paul went immediately into the synagogue to preach to the Jews before continuing his missionary journey. Aquila and Priscilla remained in the city to do ministry.
The Bible doesn’t give specific information, but it is possible that Aquila and Priscilla had a hand in the development of the church in Ephesus, nurturing and overseeing the people. Sometime later, Apollos, a Jew, born in Alexandria, came to Ephesus. Apollos must have been a man excited about the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, because Luke describes him as “an eloquent man, [and] mighty in the Scriptures” (v.24).
Apollos possessed great biblical skills, having the ability to teach the WORD diligently, even though he only knew about the baptism of John. However, Apollos’ ministry caught the attention of Aquila and Priscilla. They were impressed with his teaching and his boldness as he spoke in the synagogue, but they realized that Apollos lacked a fuller understanding of Jesus.
Aquila and Priscilla took to Apollos and became his mentor in the things of the Spirit. We all need spiritual “mentors” who can help us expound the Word of God in a more complete way. We should not be afraid to ask others who may be more spiritually mature to help us get a better understanding of the Scriptures.
Paul Salutes Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19)
At the close of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul greets 26 people by name. At the top of this list is the ministry team of Priscilla and Aquila. He refers to the couple as “my helpers in Christ Jesus.” The word “helper” is probably translated as “companion in labor” or “fellow-worker.” The couple did more than assist Paul with his ministry. They were actively involved in their own ministry. In describing them as “my helpers,” Paul is probably looking back to their love and aid to him when he arrived in Corinth. When Paul left Corinth for Ephesus, this godly couple packed up their belongings and their tent-making business and moved with him. Then they helped him to establish a new church, and eventually they stayed behind to care for the Ephesians church when Paul returned to Antioch. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, he again mentions a church in their home and sends the couple’s greetings to the church there.
The apostle says that the couple “laid down their own necks,” or risked their lives in his behalf. Scripture does not record the incident where this place, but at some point the couple was willing to sacrifice their own lives for the Gospel. At the time of the writings the couple was back in Rome conducting church services in their home. It was common for early churches to meet in the homes of believers. The fact that Aquila and Priscilla opened the door of their home to the Roman congregation is another indication of a willingness to give their all to the Lord.
In Paul’s last letter to Timothy before his death, the apostle writes, “Salute Priscilla and Aquila” (2 Timothy 4:19). Timothy was the leader at the church in Ephesus, and Aquila and Priscilla had stayed on to help him. The couple was dedicated to God’s Ministry, not God’s ministers. They worked just as hard under the leadership of Timothy as they had under the leadership of Paul.
It is the faithfulness of people like Aquila and Priscilla that makes ministry a joy for others. The effectiveness of their ministry says a lot about their personal relationship with each other and with God. Their hospitality became the doorway of salvation for many.
Christian homes and solid Christian marriages remain two of the best tools for spreading the Gospel. Husband-and-wife teams can be tremendous blessings for the body of Christ.
In today’s lesson, Aquila and Priscilla took young Apollos under their wing and mentored him in the Gospel. Examine your life to see whom you are influencing in the body of Christ. If you can’t think of anyone, ask God to help you make a specific contribution in someone’s life this week. Perhaps making a phone call or writing a letter to lift someone’s spirit is a good place to start
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