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Bible Gem 276 - Priscilla and Aquila (Rom 16:3-5)

April 1, 2019

Priscilla and Aquila


Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. 

In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. 

Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home. Rom 16:3-5  



In contrast to Phoebe, there are a number of references to Priscilla and Aquila in the New Testament:-  Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Rom 16:3; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19. There is debate about the change in the name in this verse. The more standard Priscilla has been changed to Prisca in this case in the Greek text. But in most translations the name has been standardised back again to Priscilla. There is also debate on the order of the names. Some see no significance to order of names and claim it is without design or meaning. Others see significance in the order claiming she had prominence over her husband. The reasons assigned by some are that she was first converted, or had more zeal than her husband, or was the leader of house church they led. There is a principle in Scripture of the law of the first mentioned, the idea being the first mentioned has prominence. The practice of mentioning Priscilla first infers that she is more to the fore in their work or relationship together. It is like that for some of us as couples these days,  why could that not be the case with Priscilla as compared with Aquila? 


Priscilla was the wife of Aquila. They are mentioned in Act_18:2, Act_18:26; 1Co_16:19. Paul first met them in Corinth. Aquila was a Jew, born in Pontus, who had resided at Rome, and who had left Rome, and come to Corinth, when Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome. It is probable that they were converted under the preaching of Paul. Paul lived with them, and they had the advantage of his private instruction; Act_18:3; compare Act_18:26. At the death of Claudius, or whenever the decree for the expulsion of the Jews was repealed, it is probable that they returned to Rome.


At Corinth, Paul became acquainted with them, practised with them the trade of tent-making. It seems Paul and Aquila worked at tent making together. I figure Aquila allowed Paul to work with him in his tentmaking business so that Paul could supplement his income to pay for his ministry. No doubt that is what brought them together. He now sends commendations to them. He calls them his helpers in Christ Jesus, by private instructions and converse furthering the success of Paul's public preaching, one instance of which we have in their instructing Apollos, Act_18:26. When Paul went to Ephesus to preach and build the church, Priscilla and Aquila went with him and then stayed on there to disciple and help the Ephesians get on their feet spiritually. It is here that they discipled Apollos. 


They have for my life laid down their own necks. They exposed themselves to secure Paul, hazarded their own lives for the preservation of his, considering how much better they might be spared than he. Paul was in a great deal of danger at Corinth, while he sojourned with them; but they sheltered him, though they thereby made themselves obnoxious to the enraged multitudes, Act_18:12, Act_18:17. It was a good while ago that they had done Paul this kindness; and yet he speaks as feelingly of it as if it had been but yesterday. To whom (says he) not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; who were all beholden to these good people for helping to save the life of him that was the apostle of the Gentiles. 


By the time Paul writes the book of Romans, Priscilla and Aquila are back in Rome again. Paul mentions this, to engage the Christians at Rome to be the more kind to Aquila and Priscilla. He sends likewise greeting to the church in their house, Rom_16:5. It seems then, a church in a house is no such absurd thing as some make it to be. Perhaps there was a congregation of Christians that used to meet at their house at stated times. When Priscilla and Aquila were at Ephesus, though but sojourners there, yet there also they had a church in their house, 1Co_16:19. It seems these two are keen to further the gospel and will begin a home group and grow it into a house church wherever they are. They are an inspiration to us all. No wonder Paul feels close to them and commends them to the Roman Christians. They have Paul’s heart for the gospel within them.


Some see a problem with Priscilla being the leader of the house church because of the difficulty of women teaching in the church. We could debate that one long and hard when we get to the right book to do it. For me it is not an issue, the formal restrictions of leadership and preaching in church are not necessarily applied to the home group or house church. If Priscilla is the one who was more outgoing and people centred it is logical for Aquila to hand the leadership of the home group over to his wife. I am sure you know couples like that today. No problem. Don’t get caught up in the controversy or debate over the Word of God; rather just let the examples inspire you. Leave the debate and arguments to others and just get on with the work of building the body and discipling individuals. 


My source for the information above  is from the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia in E-Sword.



Insecurity seeks validation in the faces & approval of others. Confidence knows that value comes from within.


Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. A W Tozer



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