The Pastor's Blog

Gospel Symbols - Header.png

PAUL: APOLLOS



As Paul concluded his second missionary journey, he made a quick pit stop in Ephesus, staying just long enough to visit the synagogue. After leaving Aquilla and Priscilla there, “he said farewell and added, ‘I’ll come back to you again, if God wills.’ Then he set sail from Ephesus” (Acts 18:21).


“On landing at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he set out, traveling through one place after another in the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples” (Acts 18:22–23). Dr. Luke left the interim period between Paul’s second and third missionary journey largely undocumented. He visited Jerusalem, then Antioch, and he was off again on his third international tour.


Paul had visited the region of Galatia on his first missionary journey, then revisited there to begin the second. Now on the third missionary journey, he visited those same churches yet again, “strengthening all the disciples.”


While Paul was still in Galatia, Apollos came to Ephesus where Paul had left Aquilla and Priscilla. Apollos was “a Jew, ... a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was competent in the use of the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24).


Alexandria was named after Alexander the Great, who founded the city after conquering Egypt in 332 BC. In the beautiful Greek city, Apollos must have frequented the world’s largest library with over a half-million volumes, an attraction for scholars from far and wide. Quite likely, Apollos was educated in one of Alexandria’s highly acclaimed universities, where he was “instructed in the way of the Lord” (Acts 18:25).


When Apollos arrived in Ephesus, “he was speaking and teaching accurately about Jesus” (Acts 18:25). His teaching was truthful, but remarkably incomplete. “He knew only John’s baptism” (Acts 18:25). Apollos knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of David, and the Lamb of God. He knew that Jesus had lived a sinless life, died a vicarious death, risen from the grave, and ascended to heaven. However, Apollos hadn’t learned about Pentecost and the coming of God’s Holy Spirit.


“After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately” (Acts 18:26). They taught Apollos the rest of the story; that Jesus had sent the Comforter, the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, to reside and reign in every Believer’s life. Equipped with the full Gospel, he “vigorously refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah” (Acts 18:28).


Surely, when Paul arrived in Ephesus, he rejoiced to hear that he had another impassioned co-worker proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus. Later, Paul referred to Apollos as a “brother” (1 Corinthians 16:12) and he encouraged Titus to “diligently” assist Apollos in his travels (Titus 3:13).


Some believe that Apollos penned the Epistle to the Hebrews. I’m not sure... but I plan to ask him someday.