Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Romans 16:3-5 – Prisca and Aquila in Ephesus

Yesterday we thought about how Paul first met Prisca and Aquila in Corinth. When Paul decided to leave Corinth after being there for eighteen months, he went to Ephesus in the company of Priscilla and Aquila. Paul only stayed there a short time before moving on to Jerusalem. During that brief visit, he made some impression with the gospel on those who attended the Jewish synagogue. And when he left, Priscilla and Aquila stayed behind. I suspect that one thing they wanted to do was help those who had expressed an interest in the message of Paul (Acts 18:18-28).
One day, a while later, into the synagogue comes a man called Apollos. As the custom was, he was asked to speak and it was soon obvious that he was a competent speaker who knew some details about Jesus. Priscilla and Aquila realised however that Apollos needed some further instruction. There was no Bible College to send him to, and they had no idea when Paul would return. So they decided to instruct him themselves. Of course, they did not arrange this in a way that would embarrass Apollos. Instead they did it privately and soon Apollos was preaching the truth fervently.
What can we learn from Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus? First, we have a duty to tell someone about Jesus when we find that he or she is deficient in their knowledge of Jesus. It would have been easy for Priscilla and Aquila merely to pray about it and hope that someone else would appear to do it. But they did not. They remind us that we have a responsibility to say what we know of Jesus when we encounter someone whose knowledge of Jesus is inadequate.
Second, we can see that Priscilla and Aquila did not draw attention to themselves as they engaged in this task. We cannot deduce from their example that we should normally do things quietly, and we can see from their general behaviour that they were open about their faith. Sometimes, however, we have to do things for an individual without letting other people know.
In his brief description in Romans 16 of this couple, Paul mentions that all the churches of the Gentiles gave thanks for them. We can see how Apollos would do so, and how the churches in Ephesus and Corinth would so as well. Perhaps as Apollos taught in the churches in those cities, some would say to him, ‘Did you ever hear Saul of Tarsus? You sound like him.’ And he would reply, ‘I have not met him yet, but I did receive help from two people who knew him well.’ And those churches would thank God for Priscilla and Aquila.

There is another reference to the time Priscilla and Aquila spent in Ephesus and that is found in 1 Corinthians 16:19. By this time, Paul has returned to Ephesus, and during his time there he wrote 1 Corinthians and as he closes the letter he mentions where the church in Ephesus now meets – in the home of Priscilla and Aquila. We can almost imagine that they are in the room as Paul dictates the letter because he says, ‘Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.’ We know from 1 Corinthians that there were many problems in the church in Corinth, a church in which Priscilla and Aquila had done so much. Yet they don’t send notes of disappointment or complaining to their friends there; instead they send ‘hearty’ greetings, or greetings that are very strong. It is obvious that they were full of love for God’s people.

No comments:

Post a Comment