Acts 18:18-28 Apollos

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. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.

23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

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.

Apollos

This is what the Holman Bible Dictionary has to say about Apollos:

(ay pahl’ lahss), meaning “destroyer,” names an Alexandrian Jew who came to Ephesus following Paul’s first visit and was taught Christian doctrine by Priscilla and Aquila. An educated man, Apollos handled the Old Testament Scriptures with forcefulness. However, he was lacking in a full understanding of the way of God, so Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and instructed him (Acts 18:26 ). Apollos became even more successful in his ministry. He went from Ephesus to Greece with the encouragement of the Asian believers and a letter of introduction (Acts 18:27 ). He greatly strengthened the believers by using the Scriptures to demonstrate that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:28 ).

Apollos is last mentioned in the Book of Acts as being in Corinth (Acts 19:1). Paul referred to Apollos frequently, particularly in 1 Corinthians. Here the majority of the references (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6,1 Corinthians 3:22 ) have to do with the schisms in the Corinthian church centering on personalities. Paul noted that some believers championed Paul; some, Apollos; and some, Cephas. What is important is that believers belong to Christ, not to individual leaders. Such references show that Apollos must have been a dynamic figure to be compared with Paul or Peter. In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul placed Apollos on the same level as himself. They both sought to defeat the arrogance and superiority which comes from being self-centered rather than Christ-centered.

Paul referred to Apollos in 1 Corinthians 16:12 as “our brother,” showing how much Paul considered him as one of the team. This is also demonstrated in Titus 3:13 where Paul asked Titus to help Apollos on his way. A learned and gifted preacher, Apollos was willing to receive more instruction and be part of the team.

Because of Apollos’ knowledge of the Old Testament, Luther suggested that Apollos might well be the writer of the Book of Hebrews. See Aquila and Priscilla; Ephesus; Corinth; 1Corinthians; 2Corinthians .

Prayer

Father, may we be teachable like Apollos so that you can use us for great things that we do not yet anticipate.

Questions

  1. With whom did Paul sail?
  2. Who did Paul’s companions meet?
  3. How was God strategizing the future of the church?
  4. How has God used friendships that you have had to develop his church?
  5. How could you be teachable like Apollos?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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