Summary: Priscilla and Aquila had the most magical of marriages. It was a rare quality that all Christians couples should strive for. What was it?
OPEN: A traveler was driving along one day and had an accident. He drove his car into a ditch in a desolate area. Luckily, a local farmer came by to help with his horse named Buddy.
Well, the farmer hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn’t move. Once more the farmer hollered, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn’t respond. The farmer repeated this action again, with the same results.
Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse finally dragged the car out of the ditch.
The motorist was really appreciative but he was also curious. He said to the farmer “I really appreciate what you did for me, but why did you call your horse by the wrong name 3 times.”
The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind - and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try."
APPLY: Like “Buddy” people usually don’t like to think they are pulling the load all by themselves. That’s why Jesus sent his disciples out in teams of two. It’s easier to do ministry when you’re part of a team.
Here in Acts 18, we’re introduced to the ultimate ministry team – Priscilla and Aquila. They’re a married couple who are mentioned in scripture at least 4 times. In fact, they are the only married couple I can recall who are mentioned by name (someone reminded me after the sermon that Annanias and Saphira were mentioned, but I’m thinking more in terms of someone who was admirable and Godly).
The Apostles had wives, and Jesus’ half brothers had wives, and they took them with them when they preached (I Cor. 9:5), BUT the names of their wives is never given in Scripture. Priscilla’s is.
I. Some scholars have made a great deal out of this (pause…) but I think that too often, they’ve given Priscilla’s role in this passage the wrong kind of emphasis.
Ordinarily, what scholars point out about this passage in Acts 18 is that Priscilla’s name is mentioned 1st in this text. Ever since the “feminist movement” caught fire there have been religious scholars who have pointed to Priscilla’s prominence in this text and concluded that she was either the “head of her household” OR that she was dominant teacher in their relationship.
I even recently read a sermon by a man who concluded that Priscilla was probably smarter than her husband. (Indeed, I’ve met women who did think they were smarter than their husbands... and I’ve met women who WERE smarter than their husbands).
The picture that is often painted by these scholars is that Priscilla took the lead in ministry, and may even been the power force in the marriage... with Aquila quietly tagging along for the ride and watching from the sidelines as his more knowledgeable wife taught Apollos about baptism.
I have a couple of problems with that:
1st – This argument is based mostly on innuendo and implications from this text that can’t really be proven. In other words, there isn’t anything IN the text that would necessarily lead one to believe that this was true.
2nd – Paul, a man who many of these scholars regard as chauvinist and a woman hater...
* Paul, a man who wrote many passages in Scripture that cause feminists to cringe...
* This same Paul, referred to this couple as both
AQUILA & Priscilla (in I Corinthians 16:19)AND
PRISCILLA & Aquila (in Romans 16:3).
In other words, Paul put both Priscilla and Aquila 1st in different letters to different churches. That would seem to indicate that the order of a couple’s names as they were introduced wasn’t all that signifcant to THAT culture in THAT day.
II. BUT, Priscilla’s name IS mentioned in Acts 18... and that is significant!
IN FACT, you don’t ever find Aquila mentioned without Priscilla NOR Priscilla mentioned without Aquila.
You know what that means?
That means that Priscilla and Aquila were a team.
They were partners in ministry.
They worked together to build up the Kingdom of God.
They pulled in a partnership to build God’s church, because it was bigger than either one of them.
ILLUS: One man once wrote: Partnership is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organized objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results… Simply put, (partnership) is less “me” and more “we.”
Priscilla was no door mat. No doubt she was an intelligent and vibrant woman. But I doubt she would have thought of herself as the “head” of her family. Nor would she have considered herself as being more “intelligent” than Aquila. Nor would it have crossed her mind to think of herself as a better teacher than her husband.