It’s hard to think about either Aquila or Priscilla without thinking of the other. Aquila & his wife, Priscilla, were a 1st-century Christian missionary married people. They lived, worked, and traveled with Paul, who described them as his “fellow-workers in Christ Jesus“. They are described in the New Testament as providing a presence that strengthened the early Jesus groups. Paul was generous in his recognition and acknowledgement of his indebtedness to them. Together, they are credited with instructing Apollos, a major evangelist of the 1st-century, and “[explaining] to him the way of God more accurately“.
This duo are mentioned 6 times in 4 different books of the NT. They are always named as a couple, and never individually. Of those 6 references, Priscilla’s name is mentioned first 3 times, which is conspicuously unusual for such a male-dominant society.
Acts 18:1-4… Priscilla & Aquila were tentmakers, as was Paul. They had been among the Jews expelled from Rome by the Roman Emperor Claudius in 49AD. They ended up in Corinth. Paul lived with them for about 18 months. Then, the couple started to go with Paul when he went on to Syria, but stopped at Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia, now part of modern Turkey.
Acts 18:18,19… Priscilla & Aquila were among the earliest known missionaries.
Acts 18:24-28… They explained Jesus’ baptism to Apollos, an important Jewish-Christian evangelist in Ephesus. Paul indicates Apollos is an apostle, an “eloquent speaker” who had a “thorough knowledge of the Scriptures“. He had been “instructed in the way of the Lord” which he taught with great “enthusiasm“. He began to preach boldly in the synagogue. But, he only knew of the baptism of John the Baptism – not the baptism taught by Jesus. When Priscilla & Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him “more accurately“.
1Corinthians 16:19… Paul passed on the greetings of Priscilla & Aquila to their friends in Corinth, indicating they were with him. Paul founded the church in Corinth; when he included him in his greetings, it implies they were probably involved in the founding of that church.
Romans 16:3,4… Paul sent his greetings to Priscilla & Aquila and mentioned they had both “risked their necks” to save his life.
Priscilla was a woman of Jewish heritage, and one of the earliest known Christian converts who lived in Rome. She is often thought to be the first example of a female teacher in early church history. Coupled with her husband, she was a celebrated missionary… a friend and co-worker of Paul.
Some scholars – though a minority – have suggested Priscilla was the author of the book of Hebrews.
Tradition says Priscilla (and Aquila) died as a martyr.
Aquila, husband of Priscilla, was originally from Pontus, and was a Jewish Christian. According to church tradition, Aquila did not live long in Rome… because Paul made him pastor/bishop in Asia Minor.
Tradition says Aquila (and Priscilla) died as a martyr.
This incredible husband and wife team could be called the first small-group leaders of the church. Their home was open to Paul, and Apollos, and many others. They were learners and teachers, sharing the gospel that had changed their lives with others.
They worked together in their tentmaking business, helping Paul earn his living for awhile, and befriended the talented evangelist Apollos, teaching him what they had learned about Jesus. Their lives were marked by hospitality, cooperation and excitement.
They were faithful to the Lord, to each other, to Christian friends, and to those who needed to learn more about Jesus.
Try to emulate Aquila & Priscilla in your marriage, in your friendships, and in your outreach… and you’ll be amazed at the impact Christ can have through YOU!
You can read the stories of Aquila & Priscilla in Acts 18:1-4,18,19,24-28; 1Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:3,4; 2Timothy 4:19.