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."
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