HEROD AGRIPPA 2, Tetrarch of Judea, Great-Grandson of Herod the Great

Herod Agrippa 2 was – of course – the son of Herod Agrippa 1, ruler of all of Israel.  Several years after Agrippa 1’s death, Agrippa 2 was made ruler of northern Israel.

After Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey, he was arrested in Jerusalem and sent to a prison in Caesarea after some Jewish leaders incited a riot against him (Acts 21-23).  While he was there, the Roman governor asked Agrippa 2 to listen to Paul’s case and help him decide what to do with Paul.

Agrippa 2 and his sister, Bernice, arrived with great pomp and circumstance, including an entourage of high-ranking officials and leaders of Jerusalem.  But, Paul saw right through Agrippa 2’s great display, and spoke directly to him about Jesus.  Paul asked Agrippa 2 of he believed what the prophets said, at which point Agrippa 2 tried to dodge the question by asking Paul if he really believed he could convince him to become a Christian in such a short time.  In fact, it appears Agrippa 2 even found it humorous that Paul would actually try to convince him to become a Christian!

LifeAPP:

Like so many people before and after, Agrippa 2 stopped within hearing distance of the Kingdom of God.  He heard the gospel, but decided it wasn’t worth responding to.

What has been your response to the gospel?  Have you received Jesus?  Or have you resisted and rejected Jesus?

*  There are no guarantees tomorrow will bring another opportunity to respond to the gospel.

—–

Paul boldly answered that he wished everyone in the room would become Christians, like himself (Acts 25,26).

LifeAPP:

Sharing the gospel with certain people can seem intimidating, but ultimately we can rest assured that God is in control, and we should fear Him… not other people.

Follow Paul’s example and boldly share the gospel with others.

—–

Apparently, this was too much heat for Agrippa 2.  He and Bernice left the room, affirming Paul’s innocence to the governor.  The Bible never speaks about Agrippa 2 again… and we don’t know what he did with the opportunity to choose Christ Paul gave him.

LifeAPP:

Like Herod Agrippa 2, people can hide behind all kinds of things – power, prestige, possessions, wealth, education, etc.  But, in the end, we are all stripped bare by the gospel and must ultimately answer the question: “Do you trust your life to Jesus?”

You can read Herod Agrippa 2’s story in Acts 25:13—26:32.

EPAPHRODITUS, Co-Worker of Paul

Q – Have you ever had to give a character reference for someone?

Q – If someone were to talk about you behind your back (and sometimes people do), do you think it is more often good or bad?

Q – What do you think your reputation is in your church?  Among your friends?  In your workplace?  In your community?

Q – Among your circle of friends, who do you think most highly of?  Why?

Beginning in Phil. 2:3,4, Paul speaks to selfless Christian living.  Then he gives 4 examples of people who actually lived this way: Jesus, Paul himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus.

Paul had planted the church in Philippi on his 2nd Missionary Journey, but had now moved on.  And was now writing this letter back to the church in Philippi while he was under house arrest.

The church in Philippi had heard of Paul’s imprisonment, and that news might have had special significance for them.  They remembered Paul’s brief stay in their own city jail… when midnight singing concluded with an earthquake that cracked the prison doors open.  So, the church in Philippi decided to send one of their own – Epaphroditus – to help Paul.

Epaphroditus arrived in Rome bringing gifts to Paul from the Philippian Church.  Part of this was probably funding to allow Paul to continue to stay under more comfortable house arrest rather than in a cold, damp, dark prison cell.

But, soon after Epaphroditus got to Rome, he got very sick – possibly from the 800mile trip there – and almost died!  Word got back to the church in Philippi about his sickness, and Epaphroditus was “distressed” that they would be worried about him.  He felt he needed to hurry back to assure them he was okay.  But, Epaphroditus felt his mission had failed; he hadn’t been able to be the encouragement to Paul he and his church wanted him to be.  But, Paul saw things differently.  Paul was very grateful for Paul’s visit and encouraged the church at Philippi to not think less of Epaphroditus… but more!

See Phil. 2:25-20; 4:14-19.

What we know of Epaphroditus, we know from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

His name comes from the Greek god, Aphrodite, and means ‘Favorite of Aphrodite’.  So, he came from a pagan background, born to pagan parents, but was now a Christian, probably converted by Paul.

Paul considered Epaphroditus a “brother” – closer than a friend, a “fellow worker” – an equal to himself in ministry, and a “fellow soldier” – one who knew what it was like to battle through tough times.

Epaphroditus got sick, God healed him, and Paul was sending him back home for the sake of those back in Philippi.  I’m sure Paul would have rather kept Epaphroditus with him, but he sent him back for their sake.

Why such a lengthy explanation as to why they should hold no ill will against Epaphroditus?  After all, they obviously liked him… and trusted him.  So, why might they have ill will against him?  They collected the sizable offering for Paul, possibly had a going-away party for him, and sent him on his way with one task to fulfill… to be an encouragement to Paul.  He would return home, not being able to do that one thing.  So, Paul wrote a glowing testimony as to just how much Epaphroditus did and meant to Paul.

LifeAPP:

If your pastor had to write a testimony about you, what could he include?  What kind of things could he write about you?

What kind of work are you doing for God?  Do you think your work is significant or insignificant?

*  There is NO insignificant work for God!

LifeAPP:

Our plans don’t always match God’s plans.  Epaphroditus wasn’t able to do all he thought he should do or was supposed to do.  But, his effort cheered Paul, who described what Epaphroditus had done as a “sweet-smelling aroma“.

*  Faithful disciples allow God to determine how and when and even where they will serve.

LifeAPP:

In what ways have you proven yourself to be a reliable servant of God?

In what ways could you be a “sweet-smelling aroma” to someone else for Christ?

You can read the story of Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:3,4,25-30; 4:14-19.

FESTUS, Governor of Judea

I’m sure Festus just wanted to do his job.  He had been appointed by the Romans to replace Felix as governor/procurator of Judea (in 59/60AD) and, in the transfer of leadership, He inherited a unique prisoner… named Paul.

Festus found himself in a legal firestorm.  But, Festus considered himself a fair man, and would look at all the facts before he made a decision.

Paul did not fit the description most people apply to prisoners.  He was well-educated and respectful, and he desired to live rightly before God and with others.  So, why was he in prison?

The Jewish leaders had been hounding Festus to transfer Paul to Jerusalem to stand trial there (because they secretly planned to assassinate him along the way).  Instinctively, Festus stalled them until he could hear from Paul himself.  Upon arriving in Caesarea, Festus immediately ordered Paul’s trial to resume.  But, as soon as Festus allowed Paul to speak, Paul claimed his right as a Roman citizen to stand before the Caesar in judgment.  So, Festus was required to send Paul on to Rome.

As Paul waited to leave for Rome, Festus discussed Paul’s case with some visiting dignitaries (Agrippa 2 & his wife, Bernice) and called for Paul to speak to them to help him make sense of the case.

As Paul spoke, Festus became so puzzled by what Paul was saying about Jesus that he called Paul insane!  But, Paul continued… and even tried to convince the dignitaries themselves to become Christians.

After Paul finished speaking, the dignitaries informed Festus that Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar, but Festus was now bound by Paul’s appeal (and Paul really did want a face-to-face with the Caesar).  So, Festus sent Paul on to Rome.

LifeAPP:

To Festus, Paul seemed like a reasonable man in every way – until it came to this man, Jesus.  Festus found Christianity puzzling and far-fetched.

Jesus sometimes gets the same treatment by some today.  Christianity – and Christ – offers a startling contrast to the struggle for power, success, and wealth that consumes the world.  And, like Paul, we should be ready at any time to give an account of the hope within us.

*  Will anyone hear you speak the name of Jesus today?

You can read the story of Festus in Acts 24:27—26:32.

FELIX, Governor of Judea

Marcus Antonius Felix was the Roman Procurator (holding the same position the more-famous Pontius Pilate once did) from 52-58AD.  He was given that position through the recommendation of his brother, Pallas.

According to history, Felix’s cruelty and crude behavior, couple with his susceptibility to bribes, led to an increase of crime in Judea.  Under his rule, Judea was marked by internal feuds and disturbances… which he put down with cruelty.

Lysias, the Roman commander accompanying Paul, wrote a letter to Gov. Felix in Caesarea, explaining why Paul was being sent to him.

I.  Felix Reviews the Charges against Paul  (Acts 24:1-23)

After Paul the apostle was arrested in Jerusalem and rescued from a plot against his life, the local Roman tribune, Claudius Lysias, transferred him to Caesarea, where he stood trial before Felix.  Felix had been governor of Judea for 6 years before Paul stood before him.  And he would have certainly known about Christians.

-  The Defamation of the Prosecution  (Acts 24:1-9)

The Jewish high priest went to Caesarea from Jerusalem, accompanied by a Jewish lawyer named Tertullus, who leveled 3 charges against Paul:

*  He is a political rebel (v.1-5a)

* He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect (v.5b)

* He is a Temple defiler (v.6-9)

-  The Defense by the Prisoner  (v.24:10-21)

Paul denied charges #1 & #3.  He affirmed charge #2.

-  The Deference of the Politician  (Acts 24:22,23)

Not willing to offend the high priest, Felix promised to render a verdict at a later date.

II.  Felix Refuses the Christ of Paul  (Acts 24:24,25)

On at least one further occasion, Felix and his wife, Drusilla, heard Paul speak… and, several times, they called on Paul to talk with him.

III.  Felix Requests Some Cash from Paul  (Acts 24:26,27)

When Felix was succeeded as procurator, having already detained Paul for 2 years, he left him imprisoned as a favor to the Jews.

On returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and the Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants, but – through the intercession of his brother, Pallas, who had much influence with the Emperor Nero – he escaped punishment.  Porcius Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judea.

LifeAPP:

When Paul was called back before Felix, he didn’t defend himself… instead, he shared the gospel!

Don’t assume you have failed in your witness if a person’s conversion isn’t immediately evident.  Continue to spread God’s good news regardless of the response.

God’s truth will leave a mark on a person’s life, even if it is rejected.

LifeAPP:

Sadly, if Felix lived among us today, he would fit in with many church members!  His general attitude seems to have been that he was interested in and acquainted with Christianity (“the Way”) but, when push came to shove, he would dismiss it if it wasn’t convenient.  And the gospel is often not convenient.

Felix was curious about Jesus… and Christianity… and the benefits he could get from either.  But, he wasn’t interested in investing himself in either.

In what ways might you be like Felix?  Are there parts of Christianity you choose to ignore… or “tweak”?

You can read the story of Felix in Acts 24:1-27.

LYSIAS, Who Prosecuted Paul during a Riot

Claudius Lysias is a man mentioned in the NT book of Acts.  Lysias was a Roman Tribune and the commander of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem, commanding between 600-1,000 men.  He is called “the tribune” 16 times in Acts 21-24.

I.  Paul in Jerusalem  (Acts 21:16-40)

When Paul got to Jerusalem, he explained to James and the Jerusalem Church what God had been doing among the Gentiles.  In response, he was told some were accusing him of being against the Law of Moses.  Paul was advised to shave his head and take a vow in the temple to ease hard feelings of some Jews… which he did.

But, an angry mob still attacked Paul in the temple, accusing him of blasphemy.  They took him outside the city gates to kill him.

But, the military tribune, Claudius Lysias, intervened and protected Paul from the mob.  Lysias did not know much about Paul… and was surprised when Paul used Greek to ask if he could address the Jewish mob.  Lysias, possibly intrigued, gave permission.

II.  Paul before an Angry Mob  (Acts 22:1-21)

He spoke about his life pre-conversion, his life at conversion, and his life since his conversion.

III.  Paul before the Roman Military  (Acts 22:22-29)

The Jews were in no mood to accept what Paul was saying… so Lysias decided to take Paul into the barracks nearby to “examine” him.

He ordered Paul to be flogged… hoping this would force Paul to reveal why the Jews hated him so much.  Instead, Paul revealed he was a Roman citizen!  And Roman citizenship carried privileges.  Lysias wanted no part of getting himself in trouble, so he ordered that the Jewish Sanhedrin assemble to sort this out.

IV.  Paul before the Jewish Sanhedrin  (Acts 22:30)

Things became so violent, Paul was removed by the soldiers for his own protection.  But, that night, the Lord appeared to Paul and spoke to him.

It’s a good thing received this encouragement from God, because things were really getting heated.  More than 40 men vowed not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul!  A nephew of Paul overheard the plot and reported it to Paul… and to Lysias.

Lysias decided to transport Paul to Caesarea… under the security of 2 centurions, 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 men armed with spears!  Talk about security!!  All of that to protect/guard 1 man!!!

Claudius write a letter to Governor Felix in Caesarea, explaining why Paul was being sent there… though this letter was not entirely truthful (it put Lysias in a more favorable light than he deserved).

When they got to Caesarea, Paul was imprisoned in Herod’s palace.

LifeAPP:

Lysias did not know it, but he played an important part in God’s plan for Paul’s life.  The night after Paul appeared before the Sanhedrin, God revealed to Paul he would testify in Rome, capital of the world’s most powerful Empire.  By referring Paul’s case to Gov. Felix, Lysias unwittingly took the first step in fulfilling God’s plan.

Never underestimate the possibility that YOU might have an unimportant part in God’s plan.

Never underestimate the fact God can use ANYONE – even someone who does not believe in Him – to further His plan.

You can read the story of Lysias in Acts 21:31-33,37; 22:24,26-29; 23:10,15,17,19,22; 24:22.

PHOEBE, Prominent Woman of the Early Church

Phoebe (whose name means “radiant”) was probably a pagan convert to the Christian faith… maybe even a former worshiper of Artemis, her namesake.

Paul provided little detail concerning the women mentioned in the last chapter of Romans – only that Phoebe was from Cenchrea, a seaport near Corinth (located in present-day Greece).  It is likely that Paul wrote his letter to the Roman church while staying either at Corinth or in nearby Cenchrea.

When Paul described Phoebe as a servant, he used the Greek word diakonos.  Elsewhere in the New Testament, the same word is used for the office of deacon.  It is impossible to know at this point which Paul referred to… but, either way, Phoebe was an important member of the church and played an important role in supporting Paul’s ministry.  Maybe she provided encouragement… or financial assistance… or hospitality – or all of the above.  Very likely, Paul and Phoebe worshiped and worked side by side in the church at Cenchrea.

Over time, Paul developed great trust in Phoebe.  The reference to her near the close of Paul’s letter to the Romans was meant to serve as a letter of introduction.  Evidently, it was Phoebe who delivered Paul’s letter to the Romans to the church at Rome – a 600mile journey over land and sea.  Without Phoebe, this great servant of the church, we would not have in our possession what is maybe Paul’s greatest theological contribution: his letter to the Romans.  Think about that… for several weeks, the single, handwritten copy of this letter was in the personal care of Phoebe.

Paul’s words concerning Phoebe reveal his confidence in her character.

LifeAPP:

What traits do people mention when they introduce you?  To what degree would you be considered a dependable person?  Have you practiced the kind of trustworthiness that makes others want to introduce you to their friends?  Who’s counting on you today?

You can read Phoebe’s brief introduction in Romans 16:1,2.

NERO, Deranged Roman Emperor

Nero is not mentioned by name in the New Testament, but his impact on the early church was so notorious that some early Christians viewed him as the AntiChrist!

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus became Roman Emperor, aided by his scheming mother, Agrippina (who had charmed her way into the affections of Claudius, the previous emperor), and reigned from 54-68AD, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty.  Nero was adopted by his great-uncle, Claudius, to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54AD following Claudius’ death.

Nero focused much of his attention on trade and enhancing the cultural life of the Empire.  He ordered theaters built, and promoted athletic games. During his reign, General Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire.  His general, Suetonius Paulinus, crushed a revolt in Britain.

Nero was regarded by most under his reign as insane.  He loved to compose his own songs, and perform them publicly… much to the chagrin of the Roman officials.  He was desperate for attention; he made an extended visit to Greece, where his flamboyant personality was more enthusiastically received.  Shortly before his eventual suicide, he would sadly say the world was about to lose a great artist.

In 64AD, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome, which many Romans believed Nero himself had started in order to clear land for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea.

Nero is the emperor Paul stood before, toward the end of his ministry, to plead his case… just a few years before the great fire (Acts 25).  As a Roman citizen, Paul had the right to personally defend himself before Caesar.  Paul’s exact fate is unknown.  He was beheaded… though it is unclear whether it was at this point, under Nero’s orders… or some short time later, after further ministry.

As emperor, Nero proved to be a menace to the church.  When large sections of Rome burned to the ground in 64AD, most of the population suspected he set the fire (according to the historian, Tacitus).  But, Nero blamed the fire on the Christian believers living in Rome.  As an unpopular minority falsely accused of everything from orgies to cannibalism, Christians proved an easy scapegoat.  On Nero’s orders, a number of believers were brutally executed.  Some were sewn into animal skins and torn apart by dogs, bears, tiger or lions in the Roman Games.  Some were crucified.   Some he dipped in oil, and set them on fire in his garden at night as a source of light.

But, he seems to have been an emperor who was popular with the common Roman people, especially in the East.

In 68AD, the rebellion of Vindex in Gaul and, later, the acclamation of Galba in Hispania drove Nero from the throne.  Facing a false report of being denounced as a public enemy who was to be executed, he committed suicide on June 9, 68AD (the first Roman emperor to do so).

His death ended the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors.  Nero’s rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance.  He is known for many executions, including that of his mother (evidently poisoning her food much the same way as she did that of Claudius), and the probable murder by poison of his stepbrother, Britannicus.

LifeAPP:

The days under Nero were dark days for the Christians of the early church.  Yet, Nero’s persecution made the church stronger than it would have been if left to their own progress in faith.

Yet another example of God taking something terrible… and making it triumphant!

Our God is a truly great God!

TITUS, A Co-Worker of Paul

Some of the best and most capable people have a low profile.  They’re not celebrities… not famous… not loud… and never draw attention to themselves.  They mark their mark on this world in quiet ways.  And those who them – and rely on them – could hardly live without them.  Such was the case with Titus.  For someone who has a New Testament letter named after him, we know little of Titus’ background.  All we know for sure is that he was a Greek Gentile believer.

On more than one occasion, Titus proved to be a very important partner in Paul’s ministry.

In Paul’s thinking, Titus proved to be the answer to a burning question that motivated his letter to the Galatians: Was it necessary for Gentile converts to Christianity to be circumcised in order to be received by the Body of Christ?  According to Paul, Titus was living, breathing proof that the answer was… no.

Titus is not mentioned by name in the book of Acts, though some have suggested (with good reason) that Titus was at the center of the circumcision debate described in the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.  In any case, Paul would make many references to Titus, showing how important he was to Paul in their ministry.

During his First Missionary Journey, Paul became the first church leader to intentionally and systematically reach out to Gentiles, wherever he went.  At the close of that first missionary tour, he returned to Jerusalem, presumably to join the debate over the need for Gentile circumcision (Gal. 2:1; Acts 15:1).  Some in the church at Jerusalem strongly believed circumcision was a necessary prerequisite for salvation.  It wasn’t long before that doctrine was being picked up by believers in Galatia.  But, Paul reminded these Galatian believers that the Jerusalem Church had endorsed his ministry to the Gentiles… and that they had NOT made Titus – a Gentile believer who had gone with Paul to Jerusalem – undergo circumcision.  In Paul’s mind, Titus’ example settled the matter.

In the years that followed, Titus continued to be a catalyst for reconciliation.  Titus’ was Paul’s representative to the church in Corinth during an especially difficult time in the relationship between Paul and that church.  Much to Paul’s relief, Titus returned to him with a positive report of comfort, “godly sorrow”, and reconciliation (2Cor. 7:5-13)

Titus continued to work alongside Paul, traveling with him to Crete, where they seem to have parted for a time.  Titus served as pastor to the Cretian Christians… an island where immorality reigned.

Titus continued to serve God faithfully, reconciling people to God and to each other.  He was a reliable servant of God.  The early church took root and grew – in large part – because of Titus’ influence.

LifeAPP:

Can people count on you?  Can your pastor count on you?

The people around you need you… and many are depending on you!

You can read the story of Titus in 2Corinthians 2:13; 7:6-16; 8:6,16-24; 12:18; Galatians 2:1-5; 2Timothy 4:1-; Titus 1-3.

DEMETRIUS, Silversmith of Ephesus

Demetrius was an Artemis-worshiping silversmith who had incited a riot against the Apostle Paul.

The Defenders of Artemis… Acts 19:23-41

I.  The Lecture of Demetrius  (v.23-27)

Demetrius LOVED silver!  From the silver shrines he made to the silver coins he received for them… silver seemed to be first and foremost on his mind.

-  Demetrius the Tradesman  (v.23,24)

He employed many craftsmen to make silver pieces of the Greek goddess, Artemis/Diana.

People traveled from all over the Roman world to visit the temple of Artemis – considered at that time to be 1 of the 7 wonders of the world.  Demetrius had a vested interest in making sure it remained a popular tourist attraction.

-  Demetrius the Troublemaker  (v.25-27)

Enter Paul & his co-workers.  After 2yrs in Ephesus (longer than he’d been able to stay in one city ever).  Paul’s evangelistic work was so successful it apparently began to threaten the popularity of the temple of Artemis itself!  Demetrius traced the slump in sales to Paul and his preaching.  Paul said they were just silver pieces; Demetrius disagreed.

Demetrius called his associates/union together, and lectured them about how Paul’s preaching was hurting his business.

II.  The Lunacy of the Crowd  (v.28-34)

-  The Cry of the Mob  (v.28-31)

They met in the city amphitheater and – for 2hrs – cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen incited a riot against Paul and his co-workers.

Q – What underlying motive did the silversmiths have for this protect?  Profit.  Idolatry.  Profit that became idolatry.

Q – In times of economic recession, how might Christians be tempted to compromise their faith?

-  The Confusion of the Mob  (v.32-34)

Many people simply rushed to be with the crowd… without even knowing why.  “Mob mentality”.

III.  The Logic of the Mayor  (v.35,36)

-  The Divinity of the Statue  (v.35,36)

All the world knew Ephesus was the official guardian of the image of the goddess Artemis, which he said fell down to them from Heaven.

-  The Honesty of the Opponents  (v.37)

The apostles had neither said nor done any punishable thing.

-  The Legality of the Matter  (v.38,39)

Demetrius should pursue any and all grievances through the court system.

-  The (possible) Penalty of the Uprising  (v.40,41)

Unless the mob dispersed, the Roman officials might have intervened.

Paul decided to leave for Macedonia.

The Bible – nor history – records anything further of Demetrius.

LifeAPP:

Principles are principles because we stand by them regardless of the circumstances.  The character of one’s faith is tested in tough times, not easy times.

If we find the focus of our faith threatened – a building or the things in it… the “trappings/stuff” of religion – we may be trusting in something other than God.  We may have substituted ourselves, someone else, or something else for God.  Invest your faith in Christ alone.

*  The gods we make for ourselves are easily unmade.

You can read the story of Demetrius in Acts 19:23-41.

APOLLOS, Preacher & Co-Worker of Paul

Apollos was a 1st-century Alexandrian Jewish Christian mentioned several times in the NT.  A contemporary of Paul, he played an important part in the churches of Ephesus and Corinth.

Apollos in the NT

Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria.

I.  Apollos in Ephesus  (Acts 18:24-26)

*  Who He Is  (v.24)

Apollos is first mentioned as a Christian preacher who had come to Ephesus (probably in 52/53AD).

*  What He Knows  (v.25,26)

Priscilla & Aquila, a Jewish Christian couple who had come to Ephesus with Paul, instructed Apollos.  The differences between the 2 and Apollos probably included baptism and the Holy Spirit; see v.25; 19:2-6.

Any of us – ALL of us – can use help understanding the gospel better.  When Paul’s co-workers, Priscilla & Aquila, first met Apollos at Ephesus, it was obvious he was a very gifted teacher of the Scriptures.  But, even he was lacking in certain aspects of his understanding about the gospel, and he needed their help to get him back on track.

Apollos had many things going for his teaching:

1)  He was well-educated.

2)  He came from Alexandria, one of the best learning centers in the ancient world.

3)  He understood the OT – and Jesus – very well.

4)  He spoke about Jesus with great fervor.

With all his credentials, Apollos might have been tempted to think he had it all together… that he didn’t need anyone explaining anything to him.  But, because Apollos was always willing to learn, he became an even better preacher about Jesus!

LifeAPP:

Never think you – or anyone else – have already learned all there is to know about Jesus.

Don’t let pride keep you from learning more about God from others.

Imagine how a discussion like this might be received today…  Imagine having the knowledge and tact to sit down and discuss theology…  Imagine it being received in such a way that it helpful for all…

Our debates in church today tend to be about policy… or preferences… or technology… or money… etc.  To debate the truth of Jesus or doctrine would be difficult in many churches today, because:

-  Too many people don’t know enough to have a deep discussion about Jesus or doctrine.

-  Too many people would not be able to back up their thinking with Scripture.

-  To many people – and those in our communities – would be offended by a serious discussion of Jesus and what He said.

*  Knowledge of – and fervor for – the Bible is good!

II.  Apollos in Greece  (Acts 18:27,28)

Before Paul’s arrival, Apollos had moved from Ephesus to Achaia, at Corinth, the provincial capital of Achaia (Acts 19:1a).  Apollos arrived in Achaia with letters of recommendation from Ephesian Christians.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (55AD) mentions Apollos as an important figure at Corinth; 1Cor. 3:6.  Paul’s letter refers to a schism between 4 groups/cliques in the Corinthian Church, of which 2 had attached themselves to Paul & Apollos respectively, using their names (the 3rd & 4th were Peter & Jesus); 1Cor. 1:10-13.  There is no indication that Apollos wanted this attention or esteem.  Paul urged him to go on to Corinth, but Apollos refused… saying he would come later, when he had an opportunity; 1Cor. 16:12.

Apollos is mentioned one more time in the NT, in Paul’s letter to Titus; Titus 3:13.

Extra-Biblical Information

Jerome states Apollos was so dissatisfied with the division at Corinth, he retired to Crete with Zenas the lawyer.  After that schism was healed over by Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Apollos returned to the city, and became its bishop/pastor.

Martin Luther and some modern scholars have proposed Apollos as the author of the letter to the Hebrews in the NT, rather than Paul or Barnabas.

Apollos is regarded as a saint by several Christian churches.

You can read the story of Apollos in Acts 14:24-28; 1Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-6,22; 4:1,6; 16:12; Titus 3:13.