In this article, we will explore the life and ministry of Priscilla and Aquila in the Bible. So, grab your Bible, and let’s learn about the power couple!
We read much about the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Acts. Paul, who was first a Pharisee persecuting Christians, became a very influential figure in the early church and wrote more than half of the New Testament.
Through his ministry, he met many people, but one couple plays a significant role: Priscilla and Aquila. But who were they? And why should we look at their lives?
Aquila was a Jewish man from Pontus who was married to Priscilla. They relocated to Corinth from Rome after all Jews were banished from Rome by the emperor Claudius.
They were tentmakers by profession and Christians who played a prominent role in the early church.
The names of Priscilla and Aquila appear six times in the New Testament, and it becomes clear that they were cherished friends of Paul. He often mentioned them in his epistles, acknowledging them as co-workers and fellow believers.
Interestingly, neither Aquila nor Priscilla’s names are mentioned separately in the Bible, but always as a couple.
Who Are Priscilla And Aquila In The Bible?
Aquila was a Christian man in the early church. He was of Jewish heritage and was originally from Pontus. Aquila was married to Priscilla, who was also a Christian. Unfortunately, we know nothing about her ethnicity or where she was from.
We can pick up from scripture that Priscilla and Aquila were committed to their faith and devoted to one another.
Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers. The Bible does not mention how they met and married, but we know they stayed in Italy and had to leave when the emperor Claudius banished all Jews from Rome.
This led them to Corinth, where they met the apostle Paul. In Acts 18:2-3, we read how Paul, on one of his missionary journeys, worked and stayed with them.
The Bible also does not mention how and when Priscilla and Aquila became Christians. Some scholars believe Paul led them to Christ when they first met in Corinth. We know that Paul stayed with them for over a year, during which time they undoubtedly learned much from the apostle.
They were such a big part of Paul’s ministry that they accompanied him to Ephesus.
When Paul later moved on, Priscilla and Aquila stayed behind in Ephesus with the church that Paul had planted in that city. Sometime later, after the death of Claudius and his successor, Nero lifted the ban on Jews, and Aquila and Priscilla moved back to Rome, where they were also active in the church.
Finally, probably after Nero intensified the persecution of Christians, they moved back to Ephesus.
What Does Aquila and Priscilla Mean In Greek?
If you have been around Think About Such Things for a while, you know I love looking up names in their regional language. Priscilla means ancient.
ΠρίσκιλλαPrískilla, pris’-cil-lah; diminutive of G4251; Priscilla (i.e. little Prisca), a Christian woman:—Priscilla.
And Aquila means eagle.
ἈκύλαςAkýlas, ak-oo’-las; probably for Latin aquila (an eagle); Akulas, an Israelite:—Aquila.
The Ministry Of Priscilla And Aquila
Priscilla and Aquila might not have been such big role players in the early church as the apostles were. However, from the six times this couple is mentioned in the Bible, we can gather enough information about them to get some idea of their ministry.
- Co-workers with Paul – After hosting Paul in their home for over a year, Aquila and Priscilla joined him on one of his missionary journeys.
In Ephesus, they most likely assisted Paul in planting the church, after which they stayed behind. (Acts 18:18; Romans 16:3).
- Teachers – When hearing the young Apollos preach in the Synagogue in Ephesus, Priscilla, and Aquila “…took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:26).
After this, Apollos became a significant preacher, one who led many to Christ.
- Hospitality – Priscilla and Aquila opened their home to Paul, and he stayed with them and also opened it to the church.
The churches in Ephesus and Rome met in their home for some time while Priscilla and Aquila stayed in those cities. (1 Corinthians 16:9; Romans 16:3).
- Love – In Romans 16:4, we read that Priscilla and Aquila “…risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well.”
The love they showed was so great that they risked their own lives to save Paul. Paul, of course, planted many churches among the Gentiles.
Priscilla and Aquila were devoted Christians. They were strong in their faith and devoted to the church.
In fact, as Paul often sends them greetings in his letters, one can assume that they played leadership roles in the early church.
Lessons We Can Learn From Priscilla And Aquila
Although we only know parts of Priscilla and Aquila’s story, there are also several lessons that Christians today can learn from their lives.
Priscilla And Aquila – An Example Of A Godly Couple
Priscilla and Aquila set an example for married Christian couples for millennia to come. Wherever they are mentioned in the Bible, the names of Priscilla and Aquila are always together.
They were married, lived, worked, taught, and served God together. Together, they moved from Italy to Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, and finally back to Ephesus.
Priscilla and Aquila also served as an example of Christ’s relationship with the church. They were prepared to risk their lives to save Paul. Therefore, one does not doubt that they would have laid down their lives for one another, as Jesus gave His life for the church.
Biblical Hospitality Of Priscilla And Aquila
In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus told the people how showing kindness and hospitality “…to one of the least of these…” actually meant showing kindness and hospitality to God himself. Priscilla and Aquila not only listened to this message, but their lives reflected it too.
When they first met Paul in Corinth, they welcomed this stranger not only into their tentmaking business but also into their home. Paul stayed with them for 18 months!!
Most people today wouldn’t consider letting a stranger into their home for one night, let alone for 18 months. If we get real, some people don’t even like having family stay long.
Still, Priscilla and Aquila knew that the hospitality they showed Paul was also shown to God.
Priscilla and Aquila later opened their house, to the whole church. In 1 Corinthians 16:19, we read: “…Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.”
This letter Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, where Priscilla and Aquila weren’t just part of the church but hosted it in their house.
The Faith Of Aquila And Priscilla
Aquila and Priscilla went through some tough times in their lives. When and how they ended up in Italy, to begin with, we don’t know, but in Acts 18:2, we read how Aquila and Priscilla had recently arrived in Corinth from Italy after Claudius had banished all Jews from Rome.
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. – Acts 18:2
It is never easy to pack up and leave your home, but even more so when you are forced to do so.
However, God brought them and Paul together in Corinth, which would change their lives forever. This did not, however, make their lives easier because 18 months later, they left Corinth with Paul and eventually settled in Ephesus.
They might have done so on Paul’s request or feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but Aquila and Priscilla had faith that God had a plan for them.
In Ephesus, God used Aquila and Priscilla in the local church and to teach to a young evangelist called Apollos. Apollos later became one of the most prominent evangelists in the early church. Paul himself equated the ministry of Apollos with the ministry of Peter and his own (1 Corinthians 1:12).
Priscilla and Aquila were an influential couple in the early church. They were friends and co-workers with Paul and instructed Apollos in the ways of God.
As a couple, they set an example for Christian couples, not only for the first-century church but also for believers today, almost two thousand years later.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…