First, let’s begin with a little background. Chapter 18 opens with the Apostle Paul leaving Athens and arriving in Corinth. There he meets a man named Aquila who is new in town; he and his wife, Priscilla opened a shop that makes tents. They hire Paul who works with them for some time. We don’t know for certain whether or not they were Christians before meeting Paul, but they certainly became believers while Paul was with them.
Clearly, Aquila and Priscilla devote themselves to Paul and the gospel. In fact, when Paul left Corinth, they traveled with him as far as Ephesus. (Romans 16:4 says, they risked their lives for him). This demonstrated their love and devotion to him and to Christ. Paul doesn’t stay in Ephesus for very long but soon leaves for Caesarea, leaving Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus.
Here’s where it gets interesting. After Paul moved on, a traveling evangelist by the name of Apollos comes to town. He is a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt. Verse 19 says this about him: “He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he only knew the baptism of John.”
Did a red flag just go up? It must be when Priscilla and Aquila heard him. Scripture then states: “He began to speak boldly in the Synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained the way of God more adequately” (vs. 26).
While Apollos was preaching about Jesus ‘accurately,’ it seems his understanding wasn’t complete because he only knew the baptism of John. It was almost like a jigsaw puzzle with some pieces missing. Ideally, one would think the best thing would have been for Apollos to spend time being mentored by Paul. But Paul has gone on to continue his missionary work elsewhere.
God had a different provision for Apollos’ continuing education. By this time Priscilla and Aquila had spent close to two years with Paul. They had learned from him and been mentored by him. They had absorbed what Paul taught and had learned it so well, that, in Paul’s absence, they were fully equipped to pour into this new evangelist named Apollos. We don’t know if Aquila and Priscilla held any official position in the church or not. As far as we know, they were just regular members, albeit, prominent members.
They were just like most of us. So, I want to encourage you (and I’m preaching to myself in a big way) to approach Bible study and to listen to solid messages with the slogan that makes up the title: “Learn it like ya’ gotta’ teach it.”
I don’t mean to learn it like you’re studying for a test. That gives the idea of storing it in the short term memory just long enough to regurgitate it on exam day. What I am suggesting, is to learn the message so well, both the information and application, then internalize it to the point that you can, in turn, impart it to someone else. 2 Timothy 2:15 says: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
So here are some practical suggestions:
- Do some journaling with your personal Bible study. Write down some insights and thoughts that come as you are reading. You will be amazed at how much you will remember just because you made a few notes.
- Take notes during the sermons. Write down the main points and the scripture references and review them later.
- Seek guidance from solid teachers/mentors.
Here at Trinity Community Church, we have wonderful pastors/elders who know the way of God adequately. They know how to avoid bad doctrine, and they are VERY approachable. Spend some time with them. If you have questions, they are more than willing to take the time with you and help walk you through them.
Now you may be thinking you aren’t that eloquent or aren’t that gifted as a teacher. That isn’t the point. The most important thing is learning the way of God so that we can grow in our maturity as a follower of Christ. Doctrine matters! “So, learn it like ya’ gotta’ teach it.” You never know. One day it may not be a new believer you’re sharing your faith with; it may be a gifted evangelist. And you may be the one God uses to teach them the way of God more adequately.