Friends of the Faith
“The Churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church that is in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. (I Corinthians 16:19, ESV)
I don’t I know of another couple in the bible, other than possibly Joseph and Mary who warm my heart as much as this wonderful and gracious couple does. Even with limited knowledge and information I love this pair and I look on them as if they are a dynamic duo.
God is so gracious in His providence as He supplies the right thing or the right person (s) at the right time. God graciously and providentially brought this beautiful couple into the life of the Apostle Paul and to our attention.
Paul’s second missionary journey found him in the city of Corinth. He had left Athens after a few days in the city and traveled to Corinth. At the same time the Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, or simply Claudius had expelled all of the Jews from Rome in AD 49. The Roman Historian Suetonius recorded:
“Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. He allowed the envoys of the Germans to sit in the orchestra, led by their naïve self-confidence; for when they had been taken to the seats occupied by the common people and saw the Parthian and Armenian envoys sitting with the senate, they moved of their own accord to the same part of the theater, protesting that their merits and rank were no whit inferior”
Upon meeting them Paul found them to be truly friendly companions. They also were tent-makers which was Paul’s secular trade. Since they got along so well and worked at the same job they lived together. Remember, Paul was alone and experienced despair when he was in Athens. Now in Corinth he finds warm and loving friends and fellow tradesmen, it seems the bond was almost immediate with this couple.
In no time it seems they became helpers and very active in the ministry of the Apostle Paul in Corinth. These three threw themselves into the building of the church at Corinth whole-heartedly.
We don’t know how long Paul stayed in Corinth on this second missionary journey. Acts 18:18 simply says that Paul left the brothers and set sail for Syria with him Priscilla and Aquila. He left them in Ephesus and he traveled and went to Antioch.
We don’t know what prompted Aquila and Priscilla to accompany Paul to Ephesus. They might have had some type of business there or had possible formed a plan for ministry there. We do know they agreed to stay in Ephesus and wait for Paul to return from Jerusalem.
While waiting for Paul in Ephesus an individual named Apollos came into contact with this wonderful couple. The scriptures state that he was an eloquent man, knowledgeable in the Old Testament, fervent in spirit, and even taught accurately about Jesus Christ. However, Aquila and Priscilla heard him and noticed a certain deficiency in his preaching. They approached him and took the opportunity to further instruct him more accurately. Fortunately for the church Apollos responded well and learned from this wonderful couple.
Twice this wonderful couple is mentioned as opening their home in order to allow a church to meet or gather there for weekly services. Their home was a place where the disciples of Jesus Christ could meet freely and safely. They could meet there for worship, instruction, and for help or assistance. This husband and wife, side by side, co-operating together serving the Lord by serving the body.
Again for reasons which we do not know, Aquila and Priscilla left Ephesus and returned to Rome. Aquila was originally from the province of Pontus, Pontus or Pontos (a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey.) Maybe they had established solid roots or business there, we do not know.
When Paul writes to Rome he asks the Roman church to give his greetings to Aquila and Priscilla and to the church that is meeting in their home. This great couple has once again opened their home as a shelter for those who named the name of Jesus Christ. This wonderful, friendly, dynamic, and loving couple serves as an example of Christianity and hospitality for the rest of us.
If you read Romans 16 you will see that this couple didn’t just help or was available when convenient, but they actually risked their lives by helping the Apostle Paul. We have no information as to what transpired but they were truly involved in the work for the sake of Jesus Christ.
As I write this paragraph my eyes fill with tears. This friendship of Paul with Aquila and Priscilla continued for the rest of Paul’s life. He loved this couple very much and probably prayed for them and thought of them often. I wish I knew what this couple and Paul experienced that so strengthened their love and cemented their friendship. You ask me why, my eyes filled with tears?
This friendship continued as I said until the end of Paul’s life. When Paul is certain and soon to die he sends a brief and hurried letter to his most beloved and trusted companion, and assistant in the faith, Timothy. He has limited time, he wants to write hurriedly and get this letter off to Timothy in hopes that Timothy will make to Rome in time. As he closes this personal plea and testimony, he tells Timothy to “Greet Prisca and Aquila…” His life is almost over and he still remembers those whom he has loved and served with and who have meant something to him. He sends them a loving salutation – the only other salutation in this letter is to his old friend Onesiphorus.
I pray almost daily that the Lord will bring an Aquila and Priscilla into my life here in Longview. I pray God would be as gracious to me as he was to Paul by providentially giving me such a dynamic duo and couple as these two were.