A Faithful Missionary Team

Aquila and Priscilla

(Romans 16:3-4)

1) Aquila and Priscilla were industrious. They were diligent and occupied in a good way. They were tentmakers (Acts 18:2-3) and they worked hard at their trade. We should note that Aquila was a Jew (Acts 18:2). Although Paul first met these two believers in Corinth, they were originally from Rome (Acts 18:2).

2) They were hospitable (Acts 18:3). They opened their home to the Apostle Paul who was also a tentmaker. They opened not only their home to Paul but also their hearts.

3) They were teachable. Aquila and Priscilla were probably converted under Paulís ministry. We have no record that they were saved prior to their encounter with Paul in Acts 18. They not only received Paul into their home but they received Paulís Christ into their hearts. With all eagerness and readiness of mind they received with joy the message that Paul preached. They were disciples of Paul. They absorbed the doctrine and the truth which the Apostle gave them.

4) They were Bible orientated (Acts 18:24-26). Not only were they teachable, but they were able to teach others also. Apollos was a great preacher who was mighty in the O.T. Scriptures, but he was ignorant of the essential facts of the gospel (and weak on dispensational truth). With a godly concern for this man, Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. It is possible that Priscilla may have taken the lead in this session with Apollos because in some Greek manuscripts her name is mentioned first in Acts 18:26. Some wives are better able to explain Bible doctrine than their husbands, and in the right setting it is permissible for the woman to take the lead (though certainly not in a local church teaching situation). She knew Godís Word and she was able to deal with these kinds of doctrinal matters. This husband and wife team was well grounded in Godís truth and able to minister that truth to others.

5) They were local church orientated (1 Cor. 16:19 and Rom. 16:5). Both of these passages speak of the church that was in their house (both in Rome and in Ephesus). Their home was a place for believers to assembleóa place for worship, singing, preaching, fellowship, prayer and the breaking of bread.

6) They were a husband and wife team. Priscillaís name is mentioned six times in the N.T. and in each place her husbandís name is found as well. She is always mentioned with him. This implies harmony in their relationship and unity of purpose. She worked with her husband, not against him. They functioned as a team in the service of the King.

7) They were rightly orientated to Godís gifted man (Rom. 16:3). In this verse they are described as Paulís "helpers" (literally "fellow workers"). As Priscilla and Aquila came to Paulís mind, he was able to say, "These dear believers are my helpers, my fellow workers." Can your pastor say the same thing about you? What kind of relationship do you have with Godís gifted man (compare Eph. 4:11)? Are you a help or a hindrance to your pastor? Are you working with him or against him? Does he see you as a plus or a minus? Paul certainly considered this husband and wife team to be a great PLUS to his ministry and service for Christ.

8) They were courageous (Rom. 16:4). Apparently Paul owed his life to this brave husband-wife team. We are not told any of the details, but they somehow risked and hazarded their lives for Paulís sake. They laid down their own necks in order to save Paulís life, and as a result Paul and all the churches of the Gentiles owed them a debt of thanks. Paul was Godís special apostle to the Gentiles, and if Priscilla and Aquila had not intervened, Paul might have died and his ministry to the Gentiles might have come to an abrupt end. Priscilla and Aquila manifested a genuine love for Paul in the spirit of 1 John 3:16. Whatever incident Paul was referring to, it is possible that Priscilla played the more significant role in light of the fact that her name is mentioned first in Romans 16:3. This brings us to our next point.

9) Priscilla was submissive but she was not suppressed. In the six New Testament references where this husband/wife team is mentioned, Priscillaís name comes first in three of these places (some would say this is true in four out of these six places because her name comes first in Acts 18:26 in some Greek manuscripts). Since it was customary to list the husbandís name first, why did Priscillaís name come first in these passages? We are not given the reason why and we can only surmise. Was it because she was the more energetic of the two? Did she have the stronger character? Did she have superior zeal? Did she have superior ability in certain areas? Did she play a more significant role in risking her own neck for Paulís sake? Without trying to speak where the Scriptures are silent, the following might be said:

She was not suppressed. She seemed to have special gifts or abilities or a unique devotion to Christ which enabled her in some areas to surpass her husband in such a way as to merit special recognition from Paul.

She was submissive. In the six places where she is mentioned in the New Testament (by Luke and Paul), it is never implied that she was out of line in any way. She is never rebuked but only commended. She is always mentioned in connection with her husband. She was a submissive wife.

10) They were faithful and consistent to the very end (2 Timothy 4:19). This is Paulís last letter, written about 14 years after he had first met Aquila and Prisca (Priscilla). They were faithful believers. Nothing negative is said about these two believers in any of the writings of Paul or Luke. As far as the record shows, between Paul and Aquila/Priscilla there was always harmony. Paul never had to say of them what he said of Demas (2 Tim. 4:10). What about you? In what spiritual condition will you be in 14 years from now? May we not leave our first love and may we not lose the joy of our salvation.

The Middletown Bible Church
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Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 346-0907

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