24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak 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. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.” (Acts 18:24–28)
In studying the life, ministry and theology of the Apostle Paul, we have encountered several significant biblical characters. These include Barnabas, John/Mark, Silas, Timothy, Luke, Aquila and his wife Priscilla and James. In today’s text, we encounter another biblical character. His name is Apollos.
Who was Apollos? To begin with, he was a Jew. Second, he was a native of Alexandria, Africa. Luke described him as an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. Apollos’ eloquence was evidence not only by his intelligence but also by his ability to articulate God’s Word.
Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord. The text, and Luke, does not say by whom. Apollos was fervent, or enthusiastic, in spirit about the doctrine of God. He also accurately taught the people in Ephesus about the person and work of Jesus Christ. However, Luke recorded that Apollos was only familiar with the baptism of repentance by John but not the baptism of faith in Jesus. He was ignorant of the baptism by the Holy Spirit which occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
It was when he was speaking boldly in the synagogue, that Aquila and Priscilla heard him. Afterwards, they took him aside and explained to him the ways of God more accurately. The text gives every indication that Apollos received well Aquila’s and Priscilla’s counsel.
Shortly thereafter, Apollos desired to travel to the region of Achaia. The fellow believers in Ephesus encouraged him to do so. They even wrote letters of reference on Apollos’ behalf. The Christians in Achaia were encouraged to welcome Apollos with fervent love and affection.
Apollos’ ministry in Achaia became most beneficial. Luke recorded that “he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “Apollos’ willingness to receive instruction from fellow believers is an example for us. None of us will ever grasp the truths of God perfectly in this life. But in God’s providence, all of us have better or worse understandings of the faith. Thus, there are some we can teach and some who can teach us. Be willing to teach and to be taught.”
Soli deo Gloria!