Priscilla and Aquila: Servants of Christ and the Saints
Often, little is said about Priscilla and Aquila when discussing evangelism and missions. However, believers can glean much from their service to Christ and the church. The following describes how God used this couple in the life of the church and the apostle Paul and what believers can take away from them:
1. Aquila and Priscilla Practiced Christian Hospitality toward the Saints (Acts 18:3; Romans 16:5a; 1 Corinthians 16:19). During Paul's second missionary journey, God providentially united the apostle Paul with Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:1-2). Subsequently, Priscilla and Aquila opened their home to Paul, possibly throughout his one-year and one-half stay at Corinth (vv. 3, 11). He remained with them even as he experienced opposition (vv. 12-15). Also, Priscilla and Aquila opened their home to the believers at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:19) and Rome (Romans 16:5a). This was part of their ministry. Priscilla and Aquila were hospitable to the saints.
2. Priscilla and Aquila Exhibited Concern for God's Truth and the Saints (Acts 18:26-28). Acts 18:26-28 describes Priscilla and Aquila's encounter with Apollos. Although Apollos was a bold and passionate speaker, his theology was limited. Therefore, Priscilla and Aquila took him aside to explain "the way of God more accurately. Priscilla and Aquila’s decision to privately take Apollos aside indicates their unwillingness to shame Apollos publicly. This reflects their godly character. Also, their willingness to explain “the way of the God more accurately” reveals their concern that God's Word be taught accurately and their concern for persons who would hear Apollos’ teaching. By God's grace, Priscilla and Aquila’s ministry to Apollo assisted him in becoming a powerful aid to the church and an apologist before his opponents.
3. Priscilla and Aquila Co-labored and Sacrificially Loved the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:3-4). Priscilla and Aquila were fellow laborers in Christ with Paul (Romans 16:3). They had a mutual union with Christ, and the couple also assisted Paul in advancing the gospel and serving the churches. Moreover, Priscilla and Aquila loved Paul to the degree that they were willing to lay down their lives for him (1 John 3:16). They did not consider their lives dear to themselves (Acts 20:24); instead, they willingly put their lives on the line for Paul. Priscilla and Aquila most likely understood the importance of Paul’s part in the gospel ministry. Furthermore, Priscilla and Aquila’s love impacted the saints. Paul and "all the churches of the Gentiles" were thankful (Romans 16:4).
4. Priscilla and Aquila Remained Faithful Friends to Paul (2 Timothy 4:19). This devoted couple remained faithful to Paul through the end of his life. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul mentioned that individuals no longer were with him, had deserted, or wished him harm (vv. 10, 14-16). In contrast, however, in his last inspired epistle, Paul mentioned Prisca and Aquila first among those he wanted Timothy to greet (v. 19). Now assumed to be Ephesus, this couple remained faithful and dear friends of Paul. Their friendship persisted despite time, distance, and affliction.
Priscilla and Aquila are Christian models for the saints. They exhibited Christian hospitality, love for the saints, commitment to God's truth, and devotion to Christ. Christian singles and married couples can imitate their character, conduct, and commitment. Furthermore, preachers and teachers can speak of how God used this couple when teaching about ministry, Christian marriage, evangelism, and missions. Thank God for this couple's faithfulness to the cause of Christ and to the saints.
Source: D. Edmond Hiebert, “Personalities Around Paul”(Chicago: Moody Press, 1973), 26.
Scriptural notation is taken from the New American Standard Bible (1995).