Twelve more favourite Bible characters – Priscilla

Priscilla

So we come to the last of my favourites, notwithstanding there is still room for many more. While Priscilla is part of a formidable husband and wife team: Aquila and Priscilla, for every time her name is mentioned: Acts 18:2, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26, Romans 16:3, 1 Corinthians 16:19 and 2 Timothy 4:19, so is Aquila’s, but I have selected Priscilla even though I could have Aquila. We live in a day when there are attempts to redress millennia of gender imbalance, even re-writing history, but the fact remains that the Bible, like most ancient books, says a lot more about men than it does women. Without wanting to patronise, Priscilla’s role, in what might be seen as a minor character portrayal, was a significant one, not just because of the part they played in the lives of two significant men: Paul and Apollos, but because they showed what is so often is sadly not seen – how husbands and wives can play a powerful complementary role in the cause of the Kingdom and much else besides. We come across them first when they had been expelled from Rome and set up in their business as tent makers in Corinth, at a time when the Apostle Paul was about to come to town. They were kindred spirits in sharing the same trade and the same faith, and Paul lodged with the couple for over a year before they all moved onto Ephesus. That is where they met an earnest, eloquent preacher, Apollos, who was deficient in certain important aspects of doctrine. The way the couple took Apollos under their wing and explained the faith more fully to him is a great example of how “it” should be done. As for the rest of their story, we are left to reading between the lines, but their impact on the early church was considerable, evidenced when Paul warmly commends the couple as his co-workers in three of his letters. As for hospitality, this is further seen with them hosting a house church. As for business, which they were likely proficient in, this was a vehicle they used to share the gospel. As for how couples should function together, there is no better example in all of the Bible than that of Aquila and Priscilla. While men “head of the house” often have a lot to answer if the household is dysfunctional, there is a lot to commend the supportive role of women like Priscilla, ref. Proverbs 31.

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