Priscilla and Aquila: Models in Marriage and Ministry

Brooke Cooney

This Temporary Home
Updated Sep 22, 2021
Priscilla and Aquila: Models in Marriage and Ministry
A closer look at one of the dynamic duos in the New Testament.

Have you ever made a decision in your life which only in retrospect you could say was a turning point? A decision that was setting into motion opportunities for encounters with believers and events that would shape the person you have become?

I believe that we could all answer yes.

Step back almost two-thousand years ago and we encounter a couple whose back-story is  unknown, yet whose choices changed the nations and generations for Christ: Priscilla and Aquila. Famed partners in ministry with Paul and teachers of the well-known preacher, Apollos.

Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned six times in the New Testament. Four of these times Priscilla (Prisca) is listed first:

Some scholars have speculated that either Priscilla was of a higher social status (Aquila possibly a former Jewish slave) or that in some way her ministry was greater than that of Aquila's. Either way, this continued coupling of their names indicated their unity in marriage.  Five of the six times they are mentioned in the New Testament, their names are separated by the word and alone. This is a peanut butter and jelly pair!

This couple demonstrated that beside every good man there is room for an equally good woman.

Let's take a closer look at the life and ministry of this influential couple and the woman beside the man in a two-part blog series.

First they are remembered for entertaining Paul.

Like the Apostle Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were tent makers by trade. Most likely, Paul, who had traveled from Athens, met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth while he looked for work. It is possible that Paul heard of their ministry in Corinth prior to meeting them on his journey. (Acts 18:2-3) Paul stayed with them six months (Act 18:11). From Corinth the three set sail for Syria and stopped in Ephesus where Paul left them to minister to the people of Ephesus. Paul was known for traveling with Luke so it is probable that it was more than the three of them that journeyed together. Either way, Paul would travel 1500 miles before he would see them again (Acts 19:18-22)

Secondly, they equipped Apollos. 

Soon after Priscilla and Aquila settled in Ephesus, they visited the temple. They were blessed to hear a young man, eloquent in speech and competent in the Scriptures who preached the baptism of John. Enter Apollos. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandra (NE portion of Egypt), named after Alexander the Great who ruled during the Greek Empire between 356-323 BC.

Apollos was a convert of John's most likely from the teaching of a disciple of John the Baptist. He continued to look for the Messiah as he preached in the synagogue. Priscilla and Aquila heard him and took him privately and explained the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:24-28)

Note that they equipped Apollos in a spirit of love (1 Cor. 13), accurately and with the support of the Scriptures, and they set him up for future ministry that was later equated to the level of Paul and Peter. (See 1 Corinthians 1:12)

Priscilla and Aquila both possessed an in-depth understanding of doctrine learned from Paul (and their own studies), and this husband and wife team was able to pass on their knowledge to another Christian and build him up in the faith.  Apollos' message was not inaccurate or insincere; it was simply incomplete. That's where this iron sharping pair stepped in.

I want to equip myself in such a way that when an Apollos walks into our lives, Ron and I are ready to further his or her understanding of the Scriptures. 

Photo credit: Unsplash/Priscilla du Preez