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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Priscilla—Acts 18.

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PRISCILLA.


We have already seen, in our notice of Lydia, how large a part women sometimes had in the origin of Churches formed by the Apostle Paul. Driven away from Thessalonica and Berea through persecution stirred up by the Jews, and from Athens by the rationalistic spirit which reigned in that cultured city, Paul departed to the mercantile city of Corinth. It was ever his habit to go "to the Jew first." He found at Corinth "a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome." There is a purpose in the mention of Priscilla by the side of her husband. No name in the word of God is introduced uselessly. There was a something about this Jewess which the Holy Spirit must take cognizance of.

Paul was no idler, and when he entered into a heathen city, his first idea was to prove that he earned his living by honest labour and made no gain of the Gospel. Understanding the business pursued by Aquila and Priscilla, that of tent‐making or carpet‐making, "he abode with them and wrought." How much of the blessed truth of God was told out by Paul to this godly couple as they worked side by side at their looms, we cannot tell. The week‐day work was never neglected, but every Sabbath found them in the synagogue, where the concentrated message which God had given Paul in his still communing with Him over the loom, during the week, powerfully "persuaded the Jews and the Greeks."

After a time, reinforcements arrived in the coming of Silas and Timotheus. The pressure on Paul increased, and he "testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ." We may well believe that his host and hostess were intensely in prayer for him as he thus gave his testimony, and that in the quiet life in which they saw Christ shining out as he sat at his loom, and as he took his meals with them, in his conversation, and in all his spirit, he must have gone far to show them the reality of a life "hid with Christ in God." (Col 3:3.)

Of course, persecution broke out, and the little company of believers adjourned from the synagogue to the house of Justus; the chief ruler of the synagogue, Crispus, being with them. But the persecuting Jews, after Paul had sojourned there a year and a half, would tolerate his presence no longer, and, at last, he "took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila." Why should Priscilla be named first? There is surely a purpose in this! In every other mention of this couple, the husband's name comes first. It may be that Priscilla was the first to understand the mind of God, and to be ready that they should abandon their business and worldly prospects that they might throw themselves into the work of the Lord at His distinct call.

Paul took them with him to Ephesus, and there left them, not Aquila only, in charge of the few believers who were gathered during the few days of his stay there, and God made use of them to lead a Jew, named Apollos, "an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures," to know "the way of God more perfectly." There is little doubt that in the secular business, and in the work of the Lord, Priscilla was a true helpmeet to her husband. It is distinctly shown that, not only Aquila, but Priscilla, took Apollos and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

How true it is that "two are better than one." (Ecc 4:9.) When a husband and wife mutually abandon a selfish life, and live really, not unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again (2Cr 5:15), it is almost impossible to estimate the power and efficiency of such lives for the kingdom of God. Aquila would not be jealous if Priscilla made more headway with the gifted Apollos than he did. Both understood the discipline of the Spirit. If He chose to employ the husband's words, He would at the same time make the wife a worker together in prayer. Both of them were yielded instruments, not using the Holy Ghost, but used by Him to do the will of God. How many couples there are, professedly converted, whose names could not have been thus placed side by side in the Word of God, because of their want of unity in the Spirit!

It is a precious grace when a godly woman is the true complement of her husband, just filling in every lack of his, and not making herself prominent. It is a blessed thing when a wife can do what comes to her hand in the work of the Lord. How many an eloquent Apollos, how many infant churches, like that at Ephesus, have been dependent in part upon a hidden, unknown woman? The Lord raise up many such, and perfect them for His work.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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