Aquila and Priscilla
by Pastor Andy Kern, Dean of Academics
Estimated Time to Read: 5 Minutes
It has been humorously said that marriage is when a man and a woman become one; the trouble starts when they try to decide which one. We know from Scripture that God’s plan for marriage is to showcase His glory through the two becoming one, while at the same time immensely blessing the husband and wife. When a husband and wife are each yielded to the Lord in their lives, the two can truly live as one for God’s glory. Not only are they blessed, but also so are those who see this testimony, for it is a great encouragement to see a godly couple living in harmony and serving the Lord together. A wonderful illustration of two truly living and serving the Lord as one is the example of Aquila and Priscilla, a married couple that were close to the Apostle Paul. They are exemplary in several categories.
Aquila and Priscilla stand out as a picture of friendship. We first read of them befriending Paul in Acts 18:1-4. Due to the Emperor Claudius’ expulsion of the Jews from Rome, Aquila and Priscilla, who were Jews, had left that city and settled in Corinth. They were tentmakers, as was Paul, and they hosted Paul as he worked with them. We see God’s hand in bringing them into Paul’s life, as this relationship provided the apostle with godly friends, help in making a living, and lodging as he ministered in Corinth, a city known for its idolatry and vices. Aquila and Priscilla were surely a blessing to Paul, helping to fuel his ministry with friendship and faithfulness.
Aquila and Priscilla also serve as an example of a ministry-minded couple. The Lord had apparently called them into a mission’s ministry. They traveled with Paul to Ephesus, and Paul left them there as he headed on to Jerusalem (Acts 18:18-19). Aquila and Priscilla moved to this new city where they continued to serve and remain open to the opportunities God brought into their lives. They were instrumental in the life of another godly man named Apollos, who was an eloquent preacher but only knew about the baptism of John (Acts 18:24-25). Aquila and Priscilla, who had learned from Paul, were able to bring Apollos up to speed on the Gospel of Grace, enabling him to minister much more effectively (Acts 18:26). Apollos then traveled to Corinth and continued the work that Paul had started (Acts 18:27-19:1). People across the regions had now benefitted from one godly couple who simply took time to be present in another person’s life and speak the truth in love.
Aquila and Priscilla were living portraits of hospitality. While in Ephesus they hosted a church in their home. We know this from 1 Corinthians 16:19, where Paul wrote, “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” Paul was writing to the Corinthians from Ephesus, where he had returned to and where Aquila and Priscilla were still living and ministering. This godly couple was willing to open their home for God’s use which ministered to many.
Aquila and Priscilla also demonstrate courage. When Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, he included this greeting, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (Rom. 16:3-5). The couple had returned to Rome and now hosted a church there. Further, they had at some point risked their own lives for Paul. This reference is a window into the times of the early church when persecution could result in being driven from towns, being physically attacked, or even murdered. The grace of God and the love of Christ were real in the hearts of Aquila and Priscilla, which compelled them to risk their own well-being to protect their dear brother in the Lord.
Aquila and Priscilla exemplify faithfulness over time as well. When Paul penned his last epistle to Timothy, he mentioned the couple one last time, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus” (II Tim. 4:19). At this point, Paul was imprisoned in Rome preparing for execution. Aquila and Priscilla had traveled yet again, going where the Lord led them, returning to a work in Ephesus which needed encouragement and support, and there they stood alongside Timothy (cf. II Tim. 1:18). By the time Paul wrote this epistle, he had likely known Aquila and Priscilla for as long as 17 years, from around 50 AD when he had come to Corinth, to about 67 AD, which is a possible date for Paul’s martyrdom. In all those years Aquila and Priscilla were consistently faithful, willing to give of themselves for others because of the love of God at work in their hearts.
We learn many lessons from Aquila and Priscilla. When we open up our lives to others in friendship, God will use us to encourage others. When we are open to God’s leading in our lives, we will find God directing us to people in need. When we open up our homes in hospitality, we will see God blessing others through us. When we choose to trust the Lord courageously and remain faithful over time, God will use us to build up the faith of others. For those who are married, we see in Aquila and Priscilla the life-altering reality of two living as one for the Lord, and the testimony of a godly marriage which God uses for His glory. Lives surrendered to God are never wasted!
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