Regular Christians (Part 5): Aquila and Priscilla

Regular Christians

Aquila and Priscilla were ones who provided encouragement to Paul by supporting him in his work of preaching. He sent greetings to them at the end of his letter to the saints in Rome.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:3-4).

This husband and wife team helped Paul as he carried out the commission he received from Christ. We first read about them when Paul arrived in Corinth. Upon his arrival “he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome” (Acts 18:2). Not only did they provide a place for him to stay, they also allowed the apostle to work with them as they were all “by trade…tent-makers” (Acts 18:3). This allowed Paul to support himself while he preached every week in the synagogue (Acts 18:4). Then, in the passage above, Paul indicated that they “risked their own necks” for him. Yet this was not just for Paul’s benefit – many benefitted from their support of the apostle, even “all the churches of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:4).

This is like the support provided by Aaron and Hur to Moses during a battle against Amalek. As Moses watched the battle from the top of a hill, the Israelites prevailed as long as he held up his hands (Exodus 17:8-11). When his “hands were heavy” and he could not support them himself, “Aaron and Hur supported his hands…until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (Exodus 17:12-13). Their support made the victory possible. This was the type of aid Aquila and Priscilla provided to Paul in order to encourage him in his work of preaching.

We are all engaged in a spiritual battle in the cause of Christ. Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). However, this fight for some is more visible than for others.

  • Preachers – Those who preach have the responsibility to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). Throughout the letters to Timothy and Titus, Paul emphasized the very public work of preaching (1 Timothy 1:3; 4:6, 11-16; 5:1-2, 19-22; 2 Timothy 2:2; 4:1-5; Titus 1:5; 2:1, 15).
  • Elders – Regarding elders, the Hebrew writer explained that they “keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17). Unfortunately, many rebellious, worldly-minded, and unfaithful church members do cause grief for godly elders. Besides overseeing the flock, the elders also have the responsibility to “refute those who contradict” because such false teachers “must be silenced” (Titus 1:9, 11).
  • Spouses/parents of unbelievers or unfaithful Christians – We may not immediately think of these individuals, but it is a daily struggle for those Christians who have spouses or children who either have never obeyed the Lord or have fallen away from Him. There is a consistent temptation in these situations to be discouraged or impatient. Yet those in these situations should remain patient and not lose hope (cf. Luke 15:11-24; 1 Peter 3:1-2).

Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Not only is a city like this visible, it becomes a target by the enemy. Those who take a more public role in the fight for the cause of Christ generally will be targeted more directly by the enemies of Christ. We cannot take someone’s place in these battles. Yet we can provide help “from the sidelines” to strengthen them. For preachers, we can “support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 8). For elders, we can “submit to them” and be a source of “joy and not…grief” (Hebrews 13:17). For those who are struggling with the discouragement of an unfaithful spouse or child, we can “encourage the fainthearted” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Aquila and Priscilla provided direct and timely help for Paul in his work of preaching. We often think of supporting preachers as a work of the church – which it certainly is (1 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 11:8). However, it is much less of a burden to do the work of preaching the gospel (or be involved in the other situations like the ones we discussed) when brethren take a direct, personal interest in providing the support and encouragement that is sorely needed.

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