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 might be subjugated or limited in their ministry is not a popular idea.
The instance where Aquila and Priscilla teach Apollos occurs in just one verse in Acts1. Many use this single verse to justify women taking authoritative roles in the church such as preacher or even elder (known as egalitarianism). But does this circumstance where Aquila and Priscilla teach Apollos really hold up?
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?). 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.
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.
Paul, appointed as preacher and apostle in “faith and truth” (vs 7), is instructing the young preacher Timothy in various matters of his personal faith, and in this chapter turns specifically to instructions for members of the church. He starts with more universal instruction (vss 1-6) before turning to specific roles within local assemblies. First for men (vs 8), women (vss 9-15), elders (3:1-7), and deacons (3:8-13).
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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