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One day last year, while driving, I heard a short sermon on Aquila and Priscilla. Previously, they had been relatively unknown to me. As I listened to their story, I was captivated by this couple who served in ministry together and risked their life to share the gospel.
If you are familiar with Aquila and Priscilla, our intro will be a recap for you. If you are not, sit back and get to know then. I’m sure you’ll be as touched and motivated as I was.
Meeting Aquila and Priscilla
We go back to the year 52 A.D, when the Roman emperor, Claudius, issued a decree to remove all Jews from Rome.
From accounts, they were persecuting their believing neighbor and causing trouble. Claudius really didn’t care why there was trouble or who was even guilty. What he did know was that they were Jews, so he banished them all – innocent and guilty.
During that time, a Jew named Aquila, packed up his life, said goodbye and, with his wife by his side, headed for Corinth.
While we know that Aquila was a Jew, we aren’t told if Priscilla was Jewish or Roman. What we do know is that they were always together – they are never mentioned in scripture without the other. It is always Aquila and Priscilla.
We also know that they worked together.
and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. – Acts 18:3
Every young Jewish boy was taught a trade. Aquila’s parents taught him the practical trade of tentmaking – everyone needed a tent in which to live. The tents they made of rough goat’s hair fabric which took great skill to cut and sew properly. Aquila taught his wife the tentmaking skills and they worked together in their business.
Not every husband and wife can work together side-by-side, but Aquila and Priscilla seemed to have a great relationship, by all accounts that we read.
When Priscilla and Aquila arrive in Corinth, they found a location in the marketplace to set up shop for their tentmaking business.
At the same time, our God, in His perfect timing, had another Jewish tentmaker arrive in town. The Apostle Paul recently returned from his travels in Athens to share the gospel.
When Paul arrived in the new city, he would walk through the marketplace and look for opportunities to talk about Jesus and look for work to support him during his ministry.
Of course, as Paul walked the marketplace, he would find the tentmaking shop of Aquila and Priscilla.
In Acts 18:1-3, we read about their meeting:
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. – Acts 18:1-3
The three of them became instant friends. Paul worked with them in their business and even lived with them while he stayed in Corinth.
If they had not known Christ before this, they certainly met him now, for no one could spend time in Paul’s presence and not be infected by his contagious and enthusiastic love for his Savior. These two who lived together, worked together, and suffered exile together, came to know and love Jesus Christ together, and it made their marriage complete. Now they were one in Christ, and His love made a good marriage even better. That may be just the thing your marriage needs. If either one of you has never placed your faith in the sacrifice which Christ made for your sins, your marriage cannot be complete. True oneness can only be found in Christ.
Each day, Aquila and Priscilla learned more about Jesus and grew in God’s Word together.
We can assume that they accompanied Paul to the synagogue each Sabbath as he shared about Jesus with the Jews and Greeks and implored them to give their hearts to Christ for salvation.
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. – Acts 18:4
Of course, not everyone accepted Paul’s testimony. Some resisted and cursed him.
Undaunted, he stopped preaching at the synagogue and began to teach at the house of Titus Justus next door to Aquila and Priscilla. And, of course, God blessed his ministry. But, God! Even the chief ruler of the synagogue came to know Christ and give his life to him.
So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. – Acts 18:11
Can you imagine? A year and a half of intensive Bible study under the greatest Bible teacher in the early church.
I’m sure that after the teaching, the three of them would sit around the fire or in their tent and talk about God’s Word for hours.
Aquila and Priscilla grew in God’s Word. They ran their business, making and repairing tents and maintaining their home, providing hospitality to Paul and more, yet still found much time to deeply study and discuss God’s Word and our Messiah. Sharing the Word together strengthened their love for each other and their spirit of togetherness.
This is exactly what many Christian marriages lack. Husbands and wives need to open the Word together.
Reading and discussing a Bible-centered devotional guide would be a wonderful start. Reading through a book of the Bible together, too, will allow God to speak into your life and that of your spouse.
So, we know, by now, that when Aquila and Priscilla met up with Paul, they grew exponentially in God’s Word.
When Paul decided it was time to leave Corinth for Syria, then Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila went with him.
Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch. – Acts 18:18-22
At this point, Paul left Aquila and Priscilla when he headed back to his home church in Antioch.
Again, God and His timing. Here are Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus and:
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. – Acts 18:24-26
The couple went to hear him speak. While they were impressed by his passion, love for God and his know knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as how well he spoke, they noticed that his message was missing key factors. For example, beyond the Old Testament, all Apollos knew was the message of John the Baptist and looking forward to the coming Messiah.
When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately – Acts 18:26
They patiently and, with love, shared Jesus’ ministry on earth including His sacrificial death and resurrection.
They taught him about the necessity for personal salvation from sin by and the birth of the Body of Christ, and other New Testament doctrines.
Aquila and Priscilla were serious students of the Word, and they loved to share Jesus’ good news with others.
Their teaching to Apollos became instrumental in leading thousands of others to Christ. He became a passionate servant of God who biblical scholars later placed on a level with Peter and Paul.
What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:12
Not all of us are called to be preachers, but all of us can be serious students of the Holy Bible. God’s Word. We are all called to share the gospel, but that doesn’t have to be from a pulpit. It can be in a school pick up line, a café, or at work.
Aquila and Priscilla not only worked together and studied the Word together, they served the Lord together and their marriage blossomed.
I mentioned above that we can share the gospel anywhere, but Paul reminds us of this, as well.
When Paul left Antioch on his third missionary journey, he traveled through Asia Minor and returned to Ephesus, where he remained teaching the Word of God for about three years. While there, he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians and said:
The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. – 1 Corinthians 16:19
Did you catch that? When they first arrived in Corinth, their home wasn’t big enough to hold all that wanted to hear the gospel, so they met at the house of Titus Justus. In Paul’s letter, he referenced that Priscilla and Aquila’s home was now where the church meets. God blessed them through their faithfulness and servanthood to Him. They were using their resources for God’s glory and he was faithful to them.
They would continue to use their home for church meetings and sharing the gospel as we read in Paul’s letter to the Romans 16:3-5:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them… – Romans 16:3-5
Scripture does not elaborate on how Priscilla and Aquila “risked their lives”, but we do know that these two dear friends of Paul’s risked much in the service of the Lord.
The home of Aquila and Priscilla was always open to people who wanted to learn more about Christ, and for Christians who wanted to grow in the Word.
Yes, today, we have many physical churches, but the home is the heart of true evangelism. Invite friends for coffee. Model a Christian loving home for your children and their friends. Share the gospel over dinner. Start a home Bible study. Open your home to a youth group. The possibilities for using our homes to serve the Lord are unlimited. This might be a good thing for husbands and wives to discuss and pray about together.
Before we wrap up with questions to ponder and some facts about Priscilla and Aquila, their story is not quite finished.
They are mentioned one more time in the New Testament, in the last chapter of the last book the Apostle Paul wrote.
Sixteen years had gone by since Paul first met them at Corinth, and now, here he was in a Roman prison for the second time. His death at the hands of the emperor Nero was rather imminent, and he was writing the last paragraph of his long and fruitful life.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. – 2 Timothy 4:19
Despite his bleak circumstances, Paul is thinking of his dear friends who were then back in Ephesus where Timothy was ministering. Paul wanted to be remembered to them in the last hours of his life.
Ten facts about Priscilla and Aquila
- Their names ALWAYS appear together in all six biblical references. Only once, however, does Priscilla’s name appear before her husband’s.
2. They faced tough times as a couple. They were forced to leave Rome and travel to Corinth.
3. They worked side-by-side in the trade of tentmaking.
4. They became dear and life-long friends, as well as ministry partners to Paul.
5. They traveled with Paul during certain missionary trips.
6. They taught Apollos the full gospel which led the way for thousands of lives to be saved by grace.
7. They studied God’s Word together, along with Paul.
8. They risked their lives for Paul and Paul was extremely thankful.
9. They opened their home to be the church on many occasions (Ephesus, Rome, et al.)
10. We don’t know if they had children. Children are not mentioned, but, even if they did have children, the scriptural focus is that their lives were centered on Christ, not offspring. Just an interesting note about the biblical order of importance in families.
Talk with your spouse about Aquila and Priscilla’s marriage and how they served the Lord together. Pray and ask the Lord to give you the kind of commitment to one another that is seen in the marriage of Aquila and Priscilla. Ask God for His Spirit to empower you to spend your remaining days as a faithful husband and wife team, committed to the advance of God’s kingdom no matter the cost.
Here are some ideas to get you going and to pray over:
- supporting those who proclaim the gospel and plant churches.
- devoting your time and energies to a local church.
- growing in your knowledge of the Bible.
- discussing God’s word with others, and even correcting them.
- going anywhere the Lord says to go, whenever He says to go.
- using your resources for the advance of God’s kingdom.
- being willing to die for fellow believers.
What we can learn from Aquila and Priscilla:
- God uses difficult seasons and circumstances to advance His plan.
- God’s plan includes every one of his children recognizing their kingdom commission and call.
- We are called to:
- Show hospitality
- Help build the church
- Disciple leaders
Click the image below for a downloadable/printable guide for you and your spouse to ponder and discuss about Aquila and Priscilla:
You may also enjoy these recommended resources on Aquila and Priscilla:
Bible Studies and Non-Fiction
Had you heard of Aquila and Priscilla before? I get excited to serve the Lord with my husband whenever I am reminded of this story. How about you?
Because of Him,