Priscilla And Aquila: A Perfect Example For Ministry (I)
NO matter how we look at it, it is an added advantage for a man or a minister involved in the work of ministry to be assisted by his wife. It will make the work a lot easier because two of them will flow, if they understand themselves very well. That is why it is good that at this point, we take a cue from a perfect couple in the Bible in the persons of Priscilla and Aquila
Their names appeared together six times: Acts 18:2, 18, 26, Rom. 16:3, I Cor. 16:19, 2 Tim. 4:19. Aquila meaning ‘Eagle’ is a Jew born in Pontus. He came with his wife Priscilla or Prisca, who was not a Jewess, but from an aristocratic family to live in Rome. They were expelled by Emperor Claudius along with other Jews about AD 41 and they went to live in Corinth. Both were tent makers, yet, they supported the Lord’s work. A source claimed the preaching of Peter on the Pentecost Day influenced them, as they were among pilgrims that gathered on that day. They engaged in evangelistic work, and when Paul arrived Corinth, they teamed up with him in evangelism. After 18 months of ministry in Corinth, Paul took them to Ephesus and there, they established a Church that met in their house, I Cor. 16:19. We can say what a perfect couple! They were not in competition, but in a collaborative and supportive work.
They were given to hospitality, as this was demonstrated to sinners and saints alike. Paul immensely benefited from their benevolence and this is in tandem with scriptural demands (Gen. 18:1-8). How often, as husband and wife in the ministry, do we allow ourselves to exercise this gift of hospitality?
While attending a synagogue in Ephesus, they heard Apollos, a Jewish preacher from Alexandria (Egypt), very eloquent and mighty in scriptures, but who knew only the baptism of John. But rather than criticise him, they took him aside (may be to their home and explained to him points on God’s word and His salvation, Acts 18:26.) This may give an insight that together, this man and his wife must have drank deeply from God’s word, as they were now able to use it to guide Apollos. Saint Paul reminded us: ‘Study to show thyself approved …,’ 2 Tim. 2:15. How many people, through our teaching, have we been able to bring to the Lord? Are we so busy that we do not have the time to sit and teach people? If really we are busy, what is eating up our time?
In Ephesus, during Paul’s third missionary journey, he stayed nearly three years, (Acts 20:31). While there, he worked with them, Acts 20:34. I guess they usually discussed things pertaining to the furtherance of the gospel. No wonder, not minding the persecution that took place later, Aquila and Priscilla returned to Rome, but Paul commended them and saw them as: ‘Fellow workers,’ Rom. 16:3-4.
It is good we point out what clearly could be understood from this perfect couple: Firstly, they understood the providential working of God in their lives. They were expelled from Rome, dislodged – lost their homes, trade, but they did not lose themselves. They moved to Corinth, met and ministered closely with Apostle Paul. Can you see God’s hand here? Nothing happens in our lives by chance – God is always there for us.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,