Thursday, May 18, 2006
Towards the end of Acts 18 we are introduced to Apollos. A man from Alexandria (Egypt) who Luke describes as…
“A learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.”
The arrival of Apollos in Ephesus was perfect in timing. Paul had just left and was on his way back to Antioch, so the Church in Ephesus needed help. Apollos was the helper (though we don’t know how long he stayed). According to Scripture, Apollos didn’t know anything beyond what John the Baptist had taught concerning Jesus (v.25). So, this meant Apollos was teaching about a Redeemer who would follow John. Apollos, no doubt, believed in Jesus Christ, he just didn’t know (in the word’s of Paul Harvey) the rest of the story. So, Priscilla and Aquila (knowing all about Jesus Christ) taught him Truth (v.26). After this, Apollos makes his way west to Corinth, so he can strengthen and encourage the believers there (v.27).
Luke introduces us to another character (Apollos) that had a dramatic influence, for the good, on those around him. However, Luke doesn’t give him a lot of press time (which is ok). Apollos is mentioned again in Scripture, but we don’t get to learn a whole lot more about him (he’s mentioned as helping out in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:6). Here are a few things I admire about Apollos from our brief encounter with him in Acts 18:24-28:
1. His knowledge of the Scriptures (v.24).
Even though his knowledge was lacking, Apollos was a smart man. I’m sure he knew the Old Testament (the Bible of the early Christians) up and down. He was very familiar with it and believed in the coming Messiah it prophesied about. Luke also tells us that Apollos, while he was in Corinth, was able to prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (v.28). Apparently Apollos was a quick learner, or maybe I should say, the Spirit quickened his intellect. Christians need good spokespersons and the early Church in Ephesus and Corinth had one!
2. His excitement in preaching and teachings Jesus Christ (v.25, 28).
Though it’s not explicitly mentioned, one can deduct that Apollos was excited to preach and teach about Jesus Christ. Luke uses the Greek verb zeo in verse 25 (fervor) to describe the manner in which Apollos spoke. The Greek gives us the impression that Apollos was very zealous and passionate for the Lord. This guy was excited when he talked of God. Can the same be said of us?
3. His willingness to be taught (v.26)
Surprising as this might sound, Apollos still needed teaching and instructions. First off, he only knew of John’s baptism and the coming Messiah. He needed to be taught that the Messiah had come and was crucified, dead, and buried for our sins and was resurrected on the third day. After spending some quality time with the disciples, Jesus returned to the Father, but promised to send the Gift of the Holy Spirit to live in and through them (and us). This Gift would enable Christians everywhere to live a powerful Christ-like life. Apollos didn’t know this yet.
Another amazing thing in this passage is that Apollos submits himself to the teaching of a woman (Priscilla). Again, dabbling in the Greek we discover that Apollos spoke akribos (exactly, accurately, diligently) about Jesus Christ. He easily could have denied or rejected being taught anything more, especially by a woman, but he didn’t. A good example of how we as Christians should submit ourselves to one another out of love for God. Picture what would have happened if Apollos arrogantly walked away and did his own thing? I doubt he would have had such a positive impact on those around him if he did.
- What do you think of Apollos being taught by a woman?
- What else do you learn from Apollos?