49 A.D. –The Roman Emperor Claudius has expelled all Jews from the city of Rome. –This is in response to the considerable disturbance to the persecution of the Christian “sect.” –All were expelled, innocent or guilty.
Aquila is a Jew, originally from Pontus. Aquila has a wife named Priscilla. They were expelled from Rome. They are tentmakers, apparently setting up shop in Corinth in a manner where Paul seeks them out as fellow tradesmen.
We do not know if Priscilla was herself a Jew. We do not know the primary reason they were expelled. –Just because (at least Aquila) was a Jew? –Were they already members of the Christian faith?
Aquila likely learned tent making from his family, Priscilla likely learned from Aquila. Tent making required a high degree of skill. It takes a mature relationship to weather the stress and pressure associated with working closely together.
This arrangement requires a healthy sense of friendship and companionship. This arrangement requires healthy communication and a willingness to take suggestions without defensiveness. This arrangement introduces an atmosphere of equality in the relationship.
They housed Paul while he was in Corinth. –If they were not believers before, they sure are now! They spent 18 months in the presence of Paul and in an atmosphere of intense Bible study. They saw amazing events unfold in the Church. They undoubtedly grew closer together.
How high a priority should mutual/shared Bible study be in a marriage? What kind of strategies work for you in this area?
Aquila and Priscilla grew in the faith. They were willing to accompany Paul to Ephesus. They had become so mature and knowledgeable about the Gospel that they were able to offer helpful correction to Apollos, who went on to be an extraordinary preacher. –1 Corinthians 1:12
They opened their home for the ministry. –1 Corinthians 16:19 God had blessed these refugees materially to the point where they were able to open their home to a sizeable gathering (the Ephesian Church). They eventually return to Rome to do the same. –Romans 16:3-5
In the Romans 16:3-5 passage, it is clear that Aquila and Priscilla in some way endangered themselves for the sake of saving Paul. We do not know the details of this event, but we can be thankful to them that Paul was not cut short in his ministry and writings.
Of the last words penned by Paul before his execution at the hands of Nero, Paul remembers his dear friends. 2 Timothy 4:19 They had returned to Ephesus, perhaps due to fresh persecution against Christians in Rome.
Many scholars point out that Priscilla’s name appears before Aquila’s for the majority of times they are mentioned in the Bible. We can only speculate, but perhaps Priscilla was the more gifted or outspoken of the two. In any event, we do not detect any threads of threatened or competitive feelings between the two.
The bottom line for Priscilla and Aquila was that they each put everything they had into the ministry of Jesus. Despite the ironic worldview of Christianity, true equality and liberation happens when we each allow God to use us to the fullest of the abilities He has endowed us with.
Priscilla and Aquila did not succumb to victim mentality at the beginning of their story. They did not start out with any particularly powerful gifts, but leveraged everything God had given them to effectively minister. –Housed a missionary. –Housed a Church. –Humbly corrected a brother. –Showed a willingness to lay down their lives.
In what ways can you and your spouse contribute to the ministry of the Gospel? Is your home also a church? Do you feel that you are fully leveraging the gifts God has given you, both as a couple and as individuals?