What do you do when you hear someone teaching God’s word, teaching it well, and being accurate, as far as they knew God’s word – but they left something out. There was something missing. How do we tell the person that there is more? This is the situation when we meet Apollos in the book of Acts.
“Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:24-25 NET).
Apollos was originally from Alexandria, in Egypt. We can see he was a Jew from his speaking in the synagogue, as well as knowing of John and his baptism. Alexandria had a large Jewish population. Possibly he had been a disciple of John himself. We see that he knew the Jewish scriptures and he knew about Jesus. But something was missing. He seems to have missed out on the need to be baptized into Jesus to have sins forgiven and to receive the Holy Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38).
It was a wife and her husband, Priscilla and Aquila, who heard Apollos in the Jewish synagogue. Aquila was originally from Pontus, a Roman province on the Black Sea (Acts 18:2). They had been in Italy, possibly Rome itself, when Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome (Acts 18:3). This Jewish couple met Paul in Corinth where they began to work together because they were both tentmakers (Acts 18:3). We don’t know if they were already Christians or if they accepted Jesus as the Messiah and became Christians through Paul’s influence. As Paul was returning to Antioch, Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him as far as Ephesus.
When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos, they wanted to help him better understand about Jesus. They could have started a debate in the synagogue where Apollos was teaching, but that would not have helped those who would have heard. Instead they took Apollos aside to teach him more about Jesus. They “explained the way of God to him more accurately” (Acts 18:26). From this time forward, Apollos was identified with the Christians.
What do we do when we hear someone teaching about Jesus, teaching accurately, yet not having the full picture? We should take the example of Priscilla and Aquila. We need to take the person aside and explain to them more accurately from God’s word.
It is important to note that Priscilla was involved in teaching Apollos, as well as her husband. If the order of names is anything to go by, it would seem that she was possibly doing most of the teaching. But notice, as well, that she did not do this publicly, but privately. Apollos went on to be a great teacher of Jesus.
“When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed by grace, for he refuted the Jews vigorously in public debate, demonstrating from the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus” (Acts 18:27-28).
This was due, at least in part, to a Christian couple who cared enough to teach him more accurately God’s word. May we learn from their example. We don’t know who we may influence for good.
Readings for next week:
7 May – Acts 14
8 May – Acts 15
9 May – Acts 16
10 May – Acts 17
11 May – Acts 18