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Aquila and Priscilla

R Dawes, Lesmahagow

Aquila and Priscilla are well-known to, and well-loved by, most believers. Aquila means "an eagle" - was he a high flyer spiritually (Is 40.31)? Priscilla means "old fashioned", suggesting one whose values and virtues are constant. In just nine verses the Scriptures provide an insightful characterisation of this incredible couple.

Content in the Will of God (Acts 18.2,18,26)

Verse 2. Aquila is mentioned first three times and Priscilla first three times (AV) indicating their oneness - no marital problems in this relationship! Coming from Pontus, they could have been in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2.9), and heard the gospel. Dispersed to Rome they faced persecution and fled to Corinth. In spite of domestic disruptions, they settled down, content in the will of God! Co-incidentally Paul arrived in Corinth and found Aquila, a fellow believer. They had much in common - their faith and their trade. Paul was soon shown warm hospitality, and he abode with them; what a blessing to have a preacher in the home! All this was evidence of the working out of God's will.

Verse 18. The assembly in Corinth was planted, so Paul decided to go to Ephesus. The willingness of Aquila and Priscilla to join the apostle indicated their desire to serve the Lord and support His servant. Paul had confidence in them and would value their friendship and fellowship.

Verse 26. Apollos, a Jew from Alexandria, "an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus…knowing only the baptism of John (vv.24-25)". He had therefore repented and believed Jesus to be the Messiah. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him ¬∑speak boldly in the synagogue they recognised his limited knowledge of the gospel. ,"They took him unto them" (v.26), that is, they wisely invited him to the privacy of their home, showing that kindness was their habit, and "they expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" (v.26). No criticism, no aggression, but with tact and truth, and Apollos humbly accepted the teaching. What troubles would be avoided if we were as humble and wise! Aquila and Priscilla may not have been greatly gifted, but they were gracious; grace without gift is better than gift without grace.

Conduct in the Work of God (Romans 16.3-5)

Paul greets the saints in Rome and first to be mentioned are Priscilla and Aquila; they are back in Rome! Travelling was difficult and dangerous in those days and we can only imagine their adventures and experiences. They were obviously very responsive to the Spirit of God - are we? Paul describes them as "helpers", such helpfulness is vital in the work of God. What a commendation from the beloved Apostle!

Paul now refers to a great sacrifice they made on his behalf, they "laid down their own neck" (singular), that is, risked their lives. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15.13; cp 1 Jn 3.16). This caused immense thankfulness from Paul and the churches which "redound[ed] to the glory of God" (2 Cor 4.15).

They were as hospitable as ever, and the church met in their house (v.5; see 1 Cor.16.19). Our homes and possessions are the Lord's, not merely for our ease and comfort but useable for the benefit of others. The home of a believer should be a place of praise, prayer and piety. Our couple were generous and spontaneous in showing selflessness in sacrificial service.

Continuance in the Word of God (2 Timothy 4.19)

"Salute Prisca (diminutive) and Aquila" - Paul remembered them with fond affection for their faithfulness to him and to the Word of God. This was a comfort to him in his last hours. They had not failed him, but had been forever blessed by his ministry.

Note the many personal pronouns - "they", "them", "their"; they were truly "one flesh". They are not mentioned separately, but always together. An incredible couple indeed, and a marriage that worked for God and influenced many lives! There is a desperate need for such devoted couples today.



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