The Household (Pt. 10)

In Acts 18:2 we first read of Aquila & Priscilla in Ephesus because of the Roman’s expulsion of Jews from Rome by the Emperor Claudius, who reigned between AD 41-54, this expulsion is also written of by Roman historians Suetonius (c. AD 69 – c. AD 122) and Cassius Dio, AD 150 – c. 235. Most people generally agree that these references refer to the same incident. The exact date is uncertain. The largest time window for the expulsion of Jews from Rome is from January AD 41 until January AD 53, the reason this is important is because that timeframe fits with the visit of Apollos in Ephesus from Alexandria, where the huge library was still in operation. The fact that formal teaching and growth in Christianity from Rome to Alexandria existed and that they met in Ephesus, means that our faith, within the first few decades was already having multi-cultural effects on the upper echelons of society. The fact that women such as Priscilla was able to teach a formally educated man like Apollos was a credit to her, even if it was in the context of being with her husband Aquila.  In Acts 18:23-27, this event encapsulates evangelism, (especially when it is compared to 1 Tim 2:12): a woman may explain the known facts of the gospel in any context outside the congregation, especially with her husband. But whether she is encouraged or led by the Lord to teach men within a public congregation on the basis of those facts is both outside the scope of Acts 18:26 and its context is incongruous with 1 Tim 2:12. In practice, I would see no problem with women instructing men in several areas of life about basic Bible facts and the like. But when it comes to teaching the Word to men in any way that involves interpretation and/or application within a congregation, this seems to be a violation of the Lords prohibition by Paul in 1 Tim 2:12. Why? Simply put: Because God set an order for his Son’s Church, it is not ours. It is the Church of Christ, and his order is a priority, God then Christ then Man then Woman, 1st Corinthians 11:1-16, this shows God’s concern for what the angels think, learn & see, as well as what we think the world finds disgraceful with emphasis on verse 6-10.

When Apollos came to Corinth in Acts 19:1-3, Paul returned to Ephesus to find that the disciples there only knew about the baptism of John. Which is where Aquila & Priscilla had met Apollos from the previous chapter and he only knew of the baptism of John. Why is this important? Notice the gift of the Holy Spirit during the baptism of Jesus, and the gift of tongues & prophecy after the apostle Paul lays hands on them. Compare this with what happens in Acts 8:9-25 with other Apostles and Simon the sorcerer. We see from both examples that the friends & family of Christ have both a doctrinal and practical need for the Spirit of Christ. Without the Spirit of Christ, these new Christians could not grow in the grace & knowledge of Christ, 2nd Peter 3:18, and neither could they grow the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-25. Furthermore, from our viewpoint, the entire New Testament could not be written without the Holy Spirit so that we can read of how it happened and why!

In 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 & 4:1-6, Paul is adamant that both he and Apollos are on the same page. They are both engaged in building up the church. Both are “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.” Regardless of who learnt about the Holy Spirit first, and regardless of who is more spiritually mature than the other. Regardless of which of them was an Apostle or not. They were both servants and stewards of God’s mysteries. What does that make you and me? Whenever a family member of the church grows beyond the first principles in the grace & knowledge of Christ, we become more than just babes in Christ, we become to a lesser or greater degree Servants and Stewards of the mysteries of God. Therefore keep in mind as we approach the responsibility of teaching, what the Lord’s brother James warns: the stricter judgment is coming, James 3:1-2.

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