Teaching The Teacher - Priscilla - The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional

Teaching the Teacher - Priscilla

Acts 18; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19

One of the curious details about Priscilla and Aquila is that she’s usually named first. In a patriarchal culture, it was unusual for a woman to get top billing. Several theories have arisen to explain it. Was she better known among the Christians? Was he a later, reluctant convert? Or does this reflect that her social standing—from a patrician family of Rome—exceeded his?

At the very least, it would indicate that Priscilla was just as involved in ministry as her husband was, and perhaps more so. And that reveals an interesting dynamic in Ephesus when this couple confronted the preacher Apollos.

He was a star, “an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well.” Apollos came from Alexandria, a center of Jewish scholarship. “He taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy” (Acts 18:24-25). We know he later went to Corinth, where a number of people preferred his preaching to Paul’s. He had a gift, and he used it effectively.

But there was a problem. Apollos “knew only about John’s baptism” (Acts 18:25). Apparently he preached fervently about repentance, social justice, and Jesus the prophesied Messiah. Perhaps he even preached about the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But the idea of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers—this was new to him. When it came to the thought of resurrection power filling the lives of Christians, well, he wasn’t there yet.

Imagine the sheer gall it would take for Priscilla and Aquila to sidle up to this renowned preacher and say, “Nice sermon, but you’re missing something.” Yet that is what they did. Apparently their approach was winsome enough to be accepted. Many men in that era (and ours) would find it difficult to be corrected by a woman, but perhaps Priscilla and Aquila together found a gentle way to address the issue. Apollos listened to them, and he became an even more dynamic preacher.

Should you correct every theological error you encounter? Maybe not. But can you find winsome ways to engage others in conversation about what’s true? When people are presenting a partial gospel, can you gently fill in what’s missing?

Paul challenges us to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Clearly Priscilla and Aquila got that message.

When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.

Acts 18:26

From the Book:

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The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional
By Randy Petersen and Robin Shreeves

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