Summary: When a person is almost right. He needs finishing school to help with the details. Pricilla and Aquilla help Apollos.
Last week Paul took off from Corinth leaving Silas and Timothy behind and traveled with Pricilla and Aquila. They arrived in Ephesus and Paul only stays a short time before he completes his journey which goes through Caesarea and Jerusalem.
That loop ends the first missionary journey and he sets out again going to Galatia and Phrygia.
This chapter 18 really moves fast. It condenses 2 years in to a couple of pages. We learn that Paul is human and seems to have fear of being abused for his preaching. God assure him that he is protected. Then Paul ends up in court again, but he does not have to defend himself, the proconsul ( Gallio ) kicks the accusing Jews out of his court. In doing so he ends up giving the Christians a new form of protection by keeping them associated with the Jews. If the Jews had their way they would have proven that Christians were not Jews or Roman and therefore would be oppressed by the Roman government.
Today our direction leaves Paul and focuses on people we have heard about but we really don’t have a big understanding of who these people were.
Charles Swindoll asks the following;
“Who taught Martin Luther his theology and inspired his translation of the New Testament?
Who visited Dwight L. Moody at a shoe store and spoke to him about Christ? Who was the elderly woman who prayed faithfully for Billy Graham for over twenty years?
Who financed William Carey’s ministry to India?
Who helped Charles Wesley get underway as a composer of hymns?
Who personally taught G. Campbell Morgan, “the peerless expositor,” his techniques in the pulpit?
You probably don’t know do you?”
Swindoll goes on to write, “Had it not been for these unknown people – those nobodies – a large chunk of church history would be missing.
Isn’t it true that when big projects get done in most situations a bunch of unnamed people did a lot of work to make it happen. In Swindoll’s remarks there are many well known people that we might never have hear of except that someone offered them guidance, support and/or encouragement.
So, our Paul story suddenly trails of and we focus for must a few lines on another preacher.
I picture Apollos as being the young college grad that goes around showing off his knowledge and skill and teaching all the uneducated masses about the messiah.
He is probably much older than I personally imagine. We hear about in several times in scripture. Paul will write to Corinth about people claiming to follow Paul or Apollos. Somehow they separate the teaching and find differences. It would be pretty easy the think that Paul would resent some competition. But, we never find that Paul is troubled by Apollos directly, he is often trouble by the persons that are willing to break up a church by taking sides.
What can we really know about this Apollos character?
The scripture gives us some hints:
24Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
Apollos was from Alexandria located on the north coast of Egypt and was the second largest city in the Roman Empire. Alexandria was noted as a cultural and educational center, its library was the largest in the world at that time. Scholars tell us that before it was destroyed by fire, this library contained 700,000 scrolls and other documents.
That is a lot of books, especially when you considered how expensive they were and that they were hand produced.
One of the books said to have been commissioned for the library was the Hebrew Bible called the Septuagint. Between 3 BC and 1 BC translators translated Hebrew into Koine Greek (Common) Greek. This made the scripture available to more people because it was a more common language.
For the Jews that lived outside of Israel it became the only bible they could read as most did not read or even speak Hebrew.
So Apollos is and educated Jew. He had the equivalent of at least a college degree but more likely he was probably held a graduate/masters degree.
His background and educational credentials are very impressive.
But more importantly he is also an eloquent man. Eloquence is not something that is easy to learn. It might be better thought of as a gift. Paul is described as educated and passionate but, never eloquent. So, Apollos has an extra gift.
This man could talk and keep you interested for hours.
He could take these old scriptures and breathe new life into them because he explained them well and knew the right words.
It might have been like when he hear some one with a clear British accent and we just like to listen to them talk.