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STUDIES IN ACTS      Studies in Acts

22. APOLLOS - a teachable teacher

"A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus" (Acts 18:24).

Apollos was an educated and eloquent Jew, introduced as a disciple of John the Baptist, who "taught about Jesus accurately" (Acts 18:25).

Consider the person
Apollos came from Alexandria, a great centre of culture and learning in the New Testament world. He was taught in the church there. In Ephesus he was a powerful exponent of the Scriptures and preached about Jesus. But his ministry was limited in that he only knew about John's baptism. Although he was "instructed in the way of the Lord", he needed further teaching. This was given in the home of Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:26). When Apollos moved on he was given a letter of commendation to encourage and support his ministry in Achaia (Acts 18:27). In Corinth his ministry proved to be powerful and helpful (Acts 18:27-28).

Study the Scriptures
Apollos was a popular speaker in Corinth, where he had many admirers. There were schisms in the church linked with various names (and probably associated with different house groups). Believers were siding with Paul, Apollos, Peter (Cephas) and Jesus. Paul had to exhort the church to unity, saying that Apollos and himself were but servants of God and, in God's work, he "planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow" (1 Cor.3:6). The continuing ministry of Apollos is indicated by Titus 3:13.

Ask questions

1. As an example of an early Christian preacher, Apollos was "a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures". Is this a basic requirement of a minister of Jesus Christ?

2. Apollos 'proved' that Jesus was the Messiah by using Old Testament proof texts. Check your knowledge of such texts found in the Acts.

3. Apollos was a teachable teacher. He recognised that he did not know everything, and was prepared to learn from others. How important is this attitude?

4. Letters of commendation introduced itinerant ministers (evangelists, prophets and teachers) to churches (Acts 18:27; 1 Cor.3:1). Is it still important for churches to check unknown visitors before they are allowed to testify or minister?

Apply some thoughts

1. Churches and fellowships around the world are crying out for Bible teachers.

2. Pray for Bible Colleges and church training programmes.

3. Pray for a renewed sense of the call of God to his kingdom work (see Mt.9:35-38).

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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