Women of the bible: Priscilla


Priscilla

Priscilla and her husband Aquila are mentioned six times in the bible. Each time their names are together, sometimes Priscilla's name is first, others is Aquila. 

Paul first meets the couple in Corinth. They had recently returned from Italy because all Jews had to depart Rome. Paul stayed with them because they had the same occupation of tent making, and when he travelled on, the couple went with him. 

Acts 18:1-3
After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.  So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 

Acts 18:18
[Paul Returns to Antioch ] So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

Later Paul, Aquila and Priscilla met with Apollos, a learned Christian Jew. They heard him zealous preaching but discovered that he did not know of Jesus’s death or resurrection.  Both Aquila and Priscilla were eager in their faith ato together they were passionate to share it with others. 

Acts 18:26
So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

In Romans we find Paul sending greeting to the couple and declaring how they had “risked their own necks” for his life. Paul must have been really impressed with these two, interestingly he was just as keen to thank Priscilla as he was Aquila which meant he saw these two as equal. 

Romans 16:3-5
[Greeting Roman Saints ] Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.

2 Timothy 4:19
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.


What can we learn from Priscilla:

* Life must have been tough in the early days of the church, they faced danger of persecution and at the very least ridicule. To be part of the early church one would certainly need to have courage. Being a Christian today can also result in ridicule and attacks from many sides and it can be difficult at times. We need the same courage as Priscilla. 

* Priscilla wasn’t hiding away at home, she was with their friend Paul and her husband Aquila evangelising and ministering to others. She threw herself wholeheartedly into the Lord’s work as we need to do. She stood by her husband and he must have been so grateful to have a wife that shared his passion for the Lord’s work. We too need to be like Priscilla and support our husbands and stand by them. We don't know what her role was, it isn't provided, regardless no matter how small our part is, it can makes a big differences.

* Both Aquila and Priscilla possessed an in-depth understanding of doctrine learned from Paul, and this husband and wife team was able to pass it on to another Christian (Apollos) and build him up in the faith. We too need to have this in-depth understanding of the bible, so we too can pass it on to others. 

* Both Aquila and Priscilla opened their home to Paul and used their home as a meeting place for churches wherever they went. We too need to hospitable to those in need or just a place to gather and share the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

* It is interesting that Paul makes it clear that both Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers, not just Aquila. Here is a respectable Jewish woman of the 1st century working in a trade, however, this wasn’t as uncommon as it sounds, many women worked along side their husbands. It is through our modern eyes that we think of women of the past cloistered in their homes caring for children. However it is important to not get bogged down on the fact that she worked, I know some argue that it might have been part-time and her focus was still on her home — we don’t know this at all and it isn’t relevant in the story of Priscilla. What we do know is that both Priscilla and her husband were tent makers and active in the early church. 

Paul’s last reference to them is in his last letter. Paul was imprisoned in Rome and writing to Timothy one last time. Timothy was pastoring the church at Ephesus, and Aquila and Priscilla are there with him, still faithfully ministering 

1 Corinthians 16:19

[Greetings and a Solemn Farewell ] The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

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