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!
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.
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.