31 Days of Women from Scripture
Lessons from Priscilla
Today we are looking at another woman who was involved with the early church.
You can read about Priscilla in Acts 18:1-3, 18-19, 24-28; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; and 2 Timothy 4:19
Priscilla, or Prisca, is a Jew from Pontus. She is married to Aquila and they are both tent-makers.
Paul meets them in Corinth. Aquila and Priscilla are in Corinth because the Jews had been run out of Rome by Emperor Claudius. Because they all work in the same trade, Paul lived and worked with Aquila and Priscilla as tent-makers. When Paul leaves for Syria, Aquila and Priscilla go with him. In Ephesus Paul leaves them there and goes on to Caesarea.
While they are in Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla meet another Jew, Apollos. Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures” and had been instructed “in the way of the Lord” but he only knew the baptism of John (Acts 18:25; Lk. 7:29; Mk. 1:4). Apollos was speaking boldly in the synagogue. “But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26; Acts 19:1-7).
Paul later references Aquila and Priscilla in his letters to the church in Rome (Rom. 16:3), the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 16:19), and to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:19). These references show that Aquila and Priscilla were both very active in the work of the Lord with Paul. Aquila and Priscilla send their greetings to the church in Corinth along with the greetings from “the church that is in their house”. In Romans 16:4 Paul says this couple risked their lives for him. He also mentions to give greetings to them along with the church that meets in their home.
This couple was BUSY for the Lord. In both Ephesus and Rome they opened their home to be used as a place of worship for the church in that area. They were well-versed in the truth because they were prepared to teach Apollos.
Priscilla was blessed with a good marriage. There is no reference to her that her husband is not also included. They are equally referred to as “Priscilla and Aquila” and “Aquila and Priscilla”. The picture we are given is of a couple gladly working together in everything that they do.
Priscilla was knowledgeable of the scriptures. When Apollos needed to be taught “the way of God more accurately”, Priscilla participated along with her husband. Apollos accepted the teaching from them and went on to teach the baptism of Christ.
Priscilla was a hard worker. Tent making would be rough work, I imagine. The goats’ hair they used would not be gentle to the hands. But scripture says “they were tent-makers”, not just Aquila.
She traveled with her husband wherever they needed to go. All of the commendations about them indicate a contentment like Paul’s (Phil. 4:11). She was prepared to open her home to others. Our family has moved quite often. We have had times where we were living in hotels for a stretch. It is hard work to keep a “home” under those conditions. To keep a home that you want to open up to others is even harder, even living in simpler times. Priscilla did what was needed to be able to have their home, wherever it was, available to their brethren.
Having the home open for those in the church also indicated active service in teaching and strengthening the church. Everywhere they went they helped the church to grow. Like Paul told Timothy to be, Priscilla and Aquila were ready “in season and out of season” to spread the gospel (2 Tim. 4:2).
We are not told the circumstances, but BOTH Priscilla and her husband, risked their lives to help Paul (Rom. 16:3-4) and the churches in Gentile areas knew of it.
Nowhere do we see Priscilla putting herself above men. She was able to be the woman described in 1 Timothy 2:9-12 and still participate in teaching Apollos the better way. Because of Paul’s regular commendations of the couple, I am confident that their marriage fit the mold of Ephesians 5:22-33.
Unlike many of the women we have studied, we are not shown any bad days for Priscilla. It does not mean she did not have them. I believe it shows that her attitude was such that those bad days were not what defined her. What defined her was always looking to serve the Lord – because that is what is told about her repeatedly. Not just once – five different times in scripture. No other “fellow workers” are named as often, other than Timothy and Titus, by Paul. God holds her up for us to see the way a woman who lives by an obedient faith functions. Her example gives all of us reason to be confident. If our desire is to serve the Lord and others – we will be able to do so. No need to insert ourselves into the roles men are given to fill, our own roles will keep us quite busy.
Strive to be the woman, wife and Christian that Priscilla was. If you are not yet married, seek a man who will walk along with you in the life of a Christian. A man who will study with you and see you as “one in Christ Jesus” with him (Gal. 3:28). Prepare your heart to seek the Lord (Ezra 7:10), to be content (1 Tim 6:7-8; Phil. 4:11), and to be a worker (2 Tim. 2:15).