Summary: We want to look at the only man we know of in the New Testament who rivaled Paul for the title of the greatest intellect of the New Testament. Apollos is his name, and everything about this man is a challenge to the intellect.
Arthur Constance and a friend were watching squirrels and chipmunks gathering nuts in Queens
Park in Toronto and then looking for a place to bury them. He made comment to his friends that the
Indians use to watch squirrels and chipmunks to gage the severity of the winter. If they were very
busy it meant a hard winter coming. It is remarkable he said that God gave these little creatures
such a built in wisdom. But his friend, with a note of skepticism responded, "I suppose you know
that they forget where they hide half of them? It is a pity God did not give them better memories."
He was a bit shaken, for it did seem like a defeat to be so forgetful, and it seemed like a flaw in
A few months later Constance read and extract from Forestry Digest, which was titled
"Chipmunks plant 17 thousand trees per acre." Researchers had found that squirrels and chipmunks
are responsible for planting all these trees because they do forget where they hide their nuts. That
which seemed to be a defect in God's plan all of a sudden became a part of a plan of superior
wisdom. By forgetting half of their hidings they guaranteed there would be food for future
generations of squirrels and chipmunks, plus a forest where many other creatures in their
The lesson he learned, and that which all of us have to learn, is that no matter how much you
know about anything, you do not know enough until you see how it glorifies God. It may have a
negative slant until you discover a positive purpose it has in God's plan. The chief end of man is to
glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and this is the chief purpose of all that God has created. This
means that the Christian is to pursue every subject until it in some way leads him to praise God who
is the truth. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The intellectual goal
of all Christian studies is to relate every subject to Christ, and see in them that which exalts His
wisdom as creator and redeemer.
We want to look at the only man we know of in the New Testament who rivaled Paul for the title
of the greatest intellect of the New Testament. Apollos is his name, and everything about this man is
a challenge to the intellect. Just look at the vocabulary connected with him in these few verses of
Acts 18 where he is first brought on the stage of Christian history.
In verse 24 he is called a learned man. He is the only man in the Bible called by this word. He is
said to have a thorough knowledge of Scripture.
In verse 25 it says he had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he taught himself about Jesus
In verse 26 we read that he had the way of God explained to him more adequately.
In verse 28 we see him refuting the Jews in public debate and proving from the Scriptures that Jesus
was the Christ.
Here was a brilliant and bold orator who was able to debate with great effectiveness. It is no
wonder that he is considered one of the three most educated and trained men of the New Testament.
The other two are Paul and Dr. Luke, who was responsible for telling us about these other two. Had
Dr. Luke not revealed the existence of Apollos, we would never had known the role he played in the
early church. Paul refers to him as his friend and rival in Corinth, but we would not have known
how he ever merited such a status had Dr. Luke told us. Luke puts Paul on the back burner for
awhile an devotes more space to Apollos than he does to any of his close companions except
Timothy and Titus.
Dr. Luke tells us enough about Apollos so that we have in him a fascinating study of one of the
giant intellects of the early church. To study this man is not only of value for the graduates we are
recognizing today, but for all of us, for the knowledge of how God works in history through people
leads us all to glorify God and enjoy Him all the more. We want to look at this learned man from 3
points of view. First-
I. HIS PREPARATION IN LEARNING.
The amazing thing about the education background of Apollos is that the more you study it the
more you see the hand of God in history. Verse 25 says Apollos was a native of Alexandria. That
has little significance to us until we realize that Alexandria was not just the capital of Egypt, but it