THIS WEEK DAILY DEVOTIONS
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD A FEW STORIES INVOLVING THE MEN OF CHURCH HISTORY. NAMES LIKE PETER, PAUL, AUGUSTINE, THOMAS AQUINAS, AND MARTIN LUTHER ARE FAMILIAR, AND WITH GOOD REASON. GOD USED MEN LIKE THEM IN AWESOME WAYS TO SHAPE THE CHURCH INTO WHAT IT IS TODAY.
ASK SOMEONE TO NAME A FEW INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN CHURCH HISTORY, THOUGH, AND THOSE ANSWERS MIGHT NOT COME SO QUICKLY. YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO NAMEDROP JOAN OF ARC, BUT EVEN THAT MIGHT BE A STRETCH. THE WOMEN OF CHURCH HISTORY ARE NOT AS WELL-PUBLICIZED AS THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. YET, THEIR STORIES ARE NO LESS INSPIRATIONAL, AND THEIR LIVES CAN TEACH ALL OF US SO MUCH. BY EXAMINING HOW GOD WORKED THROUGH THEIR VARIOUS GIFTS, WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO KNOW THAT GOD CAN WORK THROUGH EACH ONE OF US, SHE OR HE, IN AMAZING WAYS TOO!
18 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 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, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 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. 26 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.
27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
SHE: UNTOLD STORIES OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
If we are talking about influential women of the church, there’s no better woman to start with than Priscilla.
Priscilla is mentioned by name only a few times in the Bible. A handful of verses are all that give us a glimpse into her character. But those leave an impression.
Priscilla and her husband Aquila were two of the first Christian missionaries in the field, working together as tentmakers. They befriended the Apostle Paul and gave him a place to stay. They even, as noted in the book of Romans, put themselves in harms way for Paul.
But the most striking story involving Priscilla and her husband happened when the couple was in the ancient city of Ephesus (located in modern-day Turkey). There, they encountered Apollos, an educated man with a great passion for God who was preaching in the synagogue. Apollos was described as “being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John” So, Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollos to their home and explained the whole Gospel to him. And Apollos went on to become one of the most important evangelists of the early church.
The book of Acts records that Apollos came to Achaia with a letter of recommendation from the Ephesian Christians that “greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.” (Acts 18:27-28). Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians says that Apollos played an important role at Corinth. Paul described Apollos’ role at Corinth: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth”. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
As one Historian puts it,
“Apollos’ life and ministry is a testimony of a faithful minister to the Lord who possessed zeal and an upright spirit which should serve as an example to all Christians that they may grow in grace and be filled with the Holy Spirit imparting to others the knowledge of truth with all boldness and courage."
Thanks to Pricilla and Aquilla who opened their home and “explained to him the way of God more adequately.”
What can we, as believers in Jesus ourselves, take away from this first-century example? How can Priscilla’s story encourage us in our faith today?
God gave Priscilla the ability to teach the Word. She dedicated her life to missionary work. And when she saw the opportunity to disciple a younger believer, she did not hesitate. In the same way, if God has given you an understanding of the Bible and the desire and passion to learn it and teach it, look for opportunities to do it. You could lead a small group, answer questions friends or family might have, or pursue some missionary work of your own, perhaps right in your own neighborhood.
This week in our Daily Devotions, I want to invite all of us to think about the gifts God has given us. We will discover, I believe, over the next few days, that God can use the life that is dedicated to Him, in amazing ways for His good purpose. I want in on that, Don't you?