Women of the Bible - Priscilla

    A Woman Who Was a true Soul-Mate
    by Kathryn Capoccia

     Young Adults Sunday School Class
    
     All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW
     INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by
     permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

 Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2000.  This file may be freely copied, printed out,
and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact,
and that it is not sold.
 I. Introduction

     A. Prayer Requests

     B. Review of Last Week's Lesson/Verse

II. Character Profile: Priscilla, A Woman Who Was A True Soul-Mate.

     A. WHO WAS SHE? (read ACT 18:2-26; ROM 16:3; 1CO 16:19; 2TI 4:19).

        1. What Was Her Name? (ACT 18:2; 2TI 4:19) Priscilla or Prisca means
           "primitive", i.e. original, venerable.

        2. When Did She Live? In the mid 1st century A.D.: Claudius was
           Emperor of Rome in A.D. 41-54; L. Junius Gallio was proconsul of
           Achaia in A.D. 51-52.

        3. Where Did She Live? (ACTS 18:2, 19) Rome, Corinth, Ephesus.

        4. Who Were Her People? (ACT 18:2) Jews.

        5. Who Was Her Husband? (ACT 18:2).

           a) His name was Aquila, "eagle"

           b) His occupation was that of tent-making (ACT 18:3).

           c) He was a Jew of Pontus:

              1) Pontus was a province of northeastern Asia Minor, lying
                 along the Black Sea between Bithynia and Armenia.

              2) Pontus was a rugged and independent area, walled by
                 mountains and the sea, with a culture that had resisted
                 both Greek and Roman dominance. Most settlements were Greek
                 coastal towns.

                 *this information came from "The Zondervan Pictorial
                 Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol.4, pgs. 817, 818.

        6. What Was Her Occupation? (ACT 18:2,3) She was the wife of Aquila
           and she also helped him in tent-making.

           *In every account of Priscilla she is never mentioned singly- she
           is always referred to in conjunction with her husband, Aquila.
           Everything she did she did with him, and he with her, so we will
           consider them together.

     B. WHAT DID SHE DO?

        1. They practiced hospitality.

           a) they lived in Corinth.

              1) Corinth:

                 a] Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia.
                    Situated on a plateau on the isthmus of Greece it had
                    two harbors near it, Cenchreae on the Aegean side (E),
                    and Lechaeum on the opposite side of the isthmus (W), so
                    it commanded the trade route between Asia and Rome. It
                    was a wealthy, cosmopolitan trade center fifty miles
                    from Athens, Greece.

                 b] Corinth prided herself on her trade and arts; her brass
                    and pottery were famous and her architectural
                    "Corinthian" columns and pillars are still popular
                    today.

                 c] Corinth was wicked even for its day: to "corinthianize"
                    meant to wantonly indulge in luxury and immorality.
                    Venus was worshiped there with her 1,000 female
                    prostitutes. The Isthmian games were held there as a
                    public spectacle.

                    *this information came from "Interpretation of The Acts
                    of the Apostles" by R.C.H. Lenski, Augsburg Publishing
                    House (co. 1934), pgs. 742-744, and "The Zondervan
                    Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol 1, pgs.
                    960-964 .

              2) they had recently been expelled from Rome:

                 a] The Emperor of Rome, Claudius (A.D. 41-54), had issued a
                    decree that all Jews be expelled from Rome over
                    disturbances that some Jews were making with some
                    Christians about Jesus (A.D. 49). There were 20,000 Jews
                    living in Rome at that time.

                 b] Priscilla and Aquila had left Italy and had gone to
                    Corinth from Rome (ACT 18:2). Corinth had a large Jewish
                    population. It is unknown whether they were converted to
                    Christianity in Rome or in Corinth.

           b) they were tent-makers: "skenopoios", "making tents".

              1) tents:

                 a] tents were constructed of either leather or black,
                    prickly, woven goat-hair fabric.

                 b] tents can be conical, oval or oblong in shape.

                 c] tents consist of a roof, which is one piece of fabric,
                    and side curtains (made of goat-hair cloth or mats woven
                    from reeds or rushes), poles, hardwood pegs, a mallet,
                    and the cords with which to tie the cloth to the poles
                    and stakes (usually goats' hair or hemp).

                 d] tents are protection from heat and cold and are a
                    water-proof shelter once the fabric has been wetted and
                    shrunken.

              2) tent-making:

                 a] Jewish fathers were expected to, "circumcise him [his
                    son], to teach him the Law, to teach him a trade" (from
                    the Talmud). Tent-making would have been taught to
                    successive generations under normal circumstances.

                 b] youths were instructed in a trade by their fathers,
                    whether they were wealthy or poor: everyone was expected
                    to have a trade.

                 c] tent-making consisted of sewing together the correct
                    lengths of cloth and attaching loops and ropes to
                    reinforced fabric in the proper places.

                    *this information came from "The Zondervan Pictorial
                    Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol. 5, pgs. 676, 677.

              3) tent-makers were part of a guild who probably sat arranged
                 in a section of the synagogue, so like-skilled Jews could
                 easily find each other. From "Manners and Customs of Bible
                 Lands" by Fred H. Wight, Moody Press (1953), pg.221.

           c) they housed the Apostle Paul (ACT 18:3).

              1) Paul "met them" (ACT 18:2,3).

                 a] The Apostle Paul was on his 2nd missionary journey in
                    the fall of A.D. 51 when he came to Corinth.

                 b] Somewhere he met Aquila (ACT 18:2).

                 c] Through Aquila Paul became acquainted with Priscilla
                    (ACT 18:3).

              2) Paul "stayed with them" (ACT 18:3).

                 a] They offered their home to Paul while he was in Corinth.

                    i] the rules of hospitality demanded that they offer
                       their home to this stranger, Paul.

                   ii] they developed a relationship that allowed Paul to
                       stay as long as he desired.

                       *common work may have brought them together, or
                       perhaps a common faith, but whatever means the LORD
                       chose to join them together, love and service to God
                       kept them together.

                 b] Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 mo., probably with Aquila
                    and Priscilla the entire time as their guest (ACT
                    18:11).

                    i] Every Sabbath Paul "reasoned" in the synagogue (ACT
                       18:4): Paul's habit was to bring the message of
                       Christ to Jews at the synagogue wherever he was .

                   ii] Paul left the synagogue and began to preach to
                       Gentiles when the Jews "opposed Paul" (ACT 18:6-11).
              3) Paul "worked with them" (ACT 18:3).

                 a] they shared a common occupation.

                 b] they were business associates in a common business.

                    *Aquila and Priscilla not only opened their home to
                    Paul, they opened up their work to him as well, so that
                    Paul was able to support himself while he ministered at
                    Corinth before the arrival of Silas and Timothy (ACT
                    18:5).

                    *Paul left Corinth in the spring of A.D. 53 (Lenski,
                    "The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles",
                    pg.745).

        2. They discipled Apollos (ACT 18:24-25).

           a) They accompanied Paul from Corinth to Ephesus and settled
              there (ACT 18:18,19).

              1) Ephesus was a former Greek city located on the mouth of the
                 Cayster River on the western coast of Asia Minor; it was
                 the capital of provincial Asia, and the leading commercial
                 city of Asia Minor.

              2) Ephesus was famous for her goddess, Artemis ("a
                 nature-goddess, associated with carnal fertility rituals,
                 orgiastic rites, and religious prostitution": "The
                 Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol. 2,
                 pgs. 324,325); for a cult-object of a meteoric "image"
                 stone; and for a shrine to Artemis known "throughout the
                 province of Asia and the world" (ACT 19:27).

           b) Priscilla and Aquila met Apollos at the synagogue in Ephesus
              (ACT 18:26).

              1) they heard Apollos teach (ACT 18:26).

                 a] he was an Alexandrian (from Alexandria, Egypt, the 2nd
                    most important city in the Roman empire with a large
                    Jewish population: "NIV" study notes, pg. 1683).

                 b] he was learned in the Scriptures (ACT 18:24).

                 c] he was fervent (ACT 18:25).

                 d] he taught about Jesus accurately (ACT 18:25).

                 e] he knew of the baptism of John (ACT 18:25).

                    i] the baptism of John was to prepare a seeker for the
                       coming Messiah.

                   ii] the baptism was one of repentance and dedication,
                       without a full message of salvation (ACT 19:4)..

                 f] he was bold (ACT 18:26).

              2) they instructed him (ACT 18:26).

                 a] they invited him to their home (ACT 18:26).

                    i] they made an overture of friendship.

                   ii] they privately taught Apollos.

                 b] they explained "the way of God more adequately" (ACT
                    18:26).

                    *Obviously they had acquired a thorough knowledge of the
                    Scriptures and God's plan of salvation, perhaps
                    before they met Paul, but certainly after- good enough
                    to instruct a scholar like Apollos.

                    WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THEIR EFFORTS?

                    ACT 18:27,28  "When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia
                    [Corinth], the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the
                    disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a
                    great help to those who by grace had believed. For he
                    vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving
                    from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."

                    (Some Bible scholars believe it was Apollos who authored
                    the book of Hebrews, having been discipled by Priscilla
                    and Aquila and then directly by Paul: 1CO 16:12).

                    *It is interesting to note that the earliest references
                    to them (ACT 18:2; 1CO 16:19) have Aquila's name first,
                    the latter Priscilla's (ACT 18:18,26; ROM 16:3; 2TI
                    4:19). This must be intentional, taken to mean that by
                    ability or service or position she was the greater of
                    the two. Lenski notes that Priscilla's name was Roman,
                    possibly connected with the Acilan gens, which would
                    have made her a noble Roman lady (Lenski, "The
                    Interpretation of Romans", pg. 903).

        3. They served God at risk of their own lives (ROM 16:4)

           ROM 16:4  "They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the
           churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them."

           WE DO NOT KNOW WHEN THIS HAPPENED NOR WHAT OCCURRED BUT IT IS
           CLEAR THAT THEY WERE READY TO SACRIFICE THEMSELVES FOR PAUL'S
           SAKE.

           a) the literal translation of that phrase means "they laid down
              their own necks", i.e. they were in real mortal danger for
              Paul's sake.

           b) they shielded Paul from death and thus helped all Gentile
              churches by preserving him.

        4. They hosted a house church (1CO 16:19; ROM 16:5).

           a) a house church:

              1) lit. "pertaining to their house"- the group of believers
                 who regularly met at their home.

              2) the early church frequently met homes (1CO 16:9; COL 4:15;
                 PHI 2). If there were several house churches in an area or
                 city the total would constitute the Church in that city (1
                 CO 1:2).

           b) they had a house church in Ephesus (1CO 16:19).

              1CO 16:19  "The churches in the province of Asia send you
              greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord,
              and so does the church that meets at their house."

           c) they had a house church in Rome (ROM 16:5).

              ROM 16:5  "Greet also the church that meets at their house."

              1) they had returned to Rome.

                 a] the Jews returned to Rome after the  death of Emperor
                    Claudius in A.D. 54 (Lenski, "The Interpretation of the
                    Acts of the Apostles", pg.745).

                 b] in Paul's letter to the Romans, A.D. 55? or 57? he
                    mentions their residence there so they had returned
                    fairly soon after Claudius' death.

                    *It is interesting to note how freely Priscilla and
                    Aquila moved around in the Roman world: first they were
                    in Rome, then Corinth, then Ephesus, then Rome again.

              2) They were "fellow workers" with Paul.

                 ROM 16:3  "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in
                 Christ Jesus."

                 a] they were considered by Paul to be his equals.

                 b] they labored at gospel work- they were busy for the LORD
                    wherever they were.

                    *THE LAST SCRIPTURAL REFERENCE TO PRISCILLA AND AQUILA
                    IS FOUND IN 2TI 4:19 WHERE THEY WERE ONCE AGAIN IN
                    EPHESUS ABOUT A.D. 66, DURING PAUL'S SECOND ROMAN
                    IMPRISONMENT.

     C. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HER?

        1. God gives us appropriate mates with which to minister and work.

        2. Sometimes God moves His people, His "light" around to
           "spiritually dark" areas for the purpose of illuminating the
           darkness- preaching the truth and ministering to others in
           Jesus' name.

        3. "Bloom where you are planted" was the motto Priscilla and Aquila
           lived by; they were faithful in serving the LORD wherever they
           were.

 III. What Fruits Of The Spirit Can We See In Her?

  IV. Memory Verse: PRO 31:30  "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
     but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."


Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Kathy Capoccia's Sunday School Lessons for Young Adults" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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Email: tony@biblebb.com
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