Priscilla Aquila
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19. Priscilla Aquila

Wealthy Business People

Paul and ApollosThough Saint Luke the Evangelist's description is not completely clear, it would seem probable that Apollos has no knowledge of the risen Lord until Aquila and Priscilla who are two wealthy businesspeople inform him. He is merely impressed with the preaching of John the Baptist who foretells the coming of one mightier than himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Michael Green the British author and evangelist, (1930-present) tells us that Priscilla and Aquila are wealthy and generous people who own homes in several cities. They are prepared to take lodgers like Saint Paul and Saint Apollos and they are willing to open their home up further to the Christian community with all the inconvenience that sometimes involves. Households of faith most probably meet in Priscilla and Aquila's homes in Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome. They keep open house and go to the trouble of writing commendatory letters for their visitors upon departure, putting them in touch with other Christian friends elsewhere. They do not forget absent friends either but are diligent in sending greetings to them. There must be something infectious about their Christian faith and their relationship to one another which impresses visitors to their homes. Apollos learns "the Way" or what it means to be a follower of Christ from his stay in Priscilla and Aquila's home. "The Way" is probably originally an early derogatory description of the Christian community and its disciples. "The Way" was initially considered as a sect. Their name probably comes from a saying of Jesus in John 14.6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father, but by me." Acts 24.14 also describes the Christian church as "The Way" when Saint Paul says, "I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect." "The Way" incidentally is also a description of the later pilgrimage route called "the Way of St James" from France into Spain. Although Apollos is already an able expositor of Scripture, we read that he learns to show from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

An Encouragement

Academy of AthensThe Priscilla and Aquila households welcome Saint Paul and encourage him in the Christian Faith. When Paul meets Priscilla and Aquila, he appears somewhat depressed after his comparative lack of success in Athens. Dr. Michael Green (1930-present) explains, "Companionship in their household revived him. He began to argue in the synagogue weekly and convince both Jews and Greeks about the truth of Jesus." Moreover, we read that he becomes gripped by the Word while he was staying at Priscilla and Aquila's home. Is this a result of the daily family study of the Scriptures in which they engaged? Though much is guesswork as we try to look at the lives of these early Christians, it is clear enough that they had a warmth of faith in Jesus Christ and love for him that leads them to sacrifice privacy, security, finances, and even personal safety (on one occasion they risked their lives for Paul) to spread the Gospel. Priscilla and Aquila's homes must have been exceedingly effective in the evangelistic outreach of the Church. This is a wonderful model for Christians to follow today.

Early Christian House

Justin MartyrAnother Early Church house becomes a center in which people like Justin Martyr are converted to the Faith. Not only is the conversion of an Early Christian House the natural or even the necessary way of establishing a new religion in unfamiliar surroundings, but early Christian houses remain the soundest basis for the meetings of Christians. In several cases, the preachers are entertained and requested to carry on their activities from that platform. Among the persons to whom greetings are sent in one letter, for instance, three sets represent early Christian houses, and two others are drawn from inferior members of households whose heads are by implication, not Christians. This latter phenomenon suggests a looseness in the groups concerned, though it is still significant that even when detached from their group for religious reasons they remain a coherent body.

Faith House

Aquila and PriscillaA Christian faith house such as Priscilla and Aquila's where they pray daily becomes the center of operations for Christian ministry in an area. Saint Paul uses Christian faith houses to offer hospitality and teach the Scriptures. He shows his loyalty to the hope of Israel, and his deep conviction that in Jesus salvation is to be found. Dr. Michael Green (1930-present) adds in "Evangelism in the Early Church," "when Paul claimed in his farewell address to the Ephesian elders that he had taught them, in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it was no idle boast. One Christian faith house belongs to a first-century couple, Aquila and Priscilla. Whether or not they are Christians before they meet Paul at Corinth is disputed, but thereafter there can be no doubt about the matter. It is, obviously enough, one of several worshiping Christian faith houses." As Jews, Priscilla and Aquila would have prayed daily in their home together, as Christians, they would have done no less. They are probably regular attendees at the synagogue, and it is here that they discover Apollos, and seeing that they can be of help to this most promising and talented person, they invite him round to their home and instruct him further in the faith."

Gospel House

Paul's Hired HouseMany a Christian gospel house in Rome is used as a center of faith where believers gather and from which they go out to evangelize the city. Christian homes are used in various ways in the service of the Gospel. The Acts of the Apostles shows us many Christian gospel houses being used for prayer meetings, for an evening of Christian fellowship, for Holy Communion services, for a whole night of prayer, worship, and instruction. They are also developed for impromptu evangelistic gatherings and for planned meetings to hear the Christian Gospel, for following up enquirers, and for organized instruction.

Center of Evangelism

Group at PrayerIn Rome, we find Saint Paul making the most interesting use of his hired house. Dr. Michael Green (1930-present) explains in "Evangelism in the Early Church", "He [Paul] was no longer able to go out to preach the gospel, so he invited leading Jews to come to his residence for a full day of talking and discussion. His approach is superb. He takes the initiative and explains the reason for his presence in Rome before they could produce any garbled accounts that may have reached them from Judea. He was brief, factual, conciliatory and to the point." The Christian Gospel house like that of Priscilla and Aquila is an effective means of doing evangelism. "What uses did early Christians make of their houses? Which of these methods could be useful today?"

"Priscilla Aquila"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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