The question about Priscilla teaching Apollos seems to get raised when dealing with women’s roles in the church. As more and more Christians are influenced by social and cultural trends, the idea that women are subjugated or limited in their ministry is not a popular idea.

An instance in Scripture that records a woman teaching a man would certainly prove useful. It might help in justifying a position for the church that would more closely harmonize with modern proclivities regarding gender equality. And so, this single verse can garner much attention toward that end. So, did Priscilla teach Apollos?

how Scripture answers "Did Priscilla teach Apollos?"

Priscilla did teach Apollos…along with her husband Aquila1 – together, “they” taught Apollos. The fact that this married couple – together – taught Apollos, in no way necessitates the conclusion that Priscilla exercised authority over either of these two men2. In fact, examining these passages1,2 together – without Scripture weighting – forces this conclusion.

It’s entirely possible that Priscilla was stronger in the Scripture than her husband (maybe that’s why she’s listed first in all but the KJV versions – who knows?). Or, maybe Priscilla only played a support role in the teaching? Of course, we don’t know exactly. What we do know is that “they”1 explained the gospel to Apollos more accurately! Whether Priscilla played a lessor or greater role in that teaching, we understand she would not have done so in a way that usurped the authority of those men that were present.

the answer above is built on and footnoted with the following scripture-blocks

1

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

He [Apollos] spoke boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the gospel to him more accurately.

Paul met Aquila (a Jew) and his wife Priscilla in Corinth (vss 1-2).  They shared the same profession and worked together making tents (vs 3).  After 1.5 years (vs 11), the three of them left Corinth for Ephesus (vs 18) and Paul left them there and traveled on.  It’s in Ephesus that Aquila and Priscilla encounter Apollos (after Paul has left).
How does it apply here?

After living and traveling with Paul for many years, Priscilla and Aquila taught Apollos to have a better understanding regarding the gospel.

2

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Let a woman learn quietly while being submissive.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, rather she is to remain quiet.

Paul, appointed as preacher and apostle in “faith and truth” (vs 7), is instructing the young preacher Timothy in various matters of faith and church leadership. Specifically in this chapter, he is addressing specific roles in the local church assembly regarding duties and conduct.

How does it apply here?

Paul’s giving instruction to women not to teach or “remain quiet” within the context of their God-ordained relationship to men (both generally and specifically regarding their role in the church assembly). Women are not to exercise authority over men.

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  1. Tathan at - Reply

    Priscilla’s name is not listed first, Aquila’s is in the KJV looking at Acts 18:26.

    • Thanks for your comment, Tathan, and for pointing that out. It appears that the KJV is the only one to do that, but we have appended the answer to make note of that nonetheless. Thanks again for your input.