Partnering in Mission

Key Verse: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”
—Romans 16:3,4, New International Version

Selected Scriptures:
Acts 18:1-4, 24-26;
Romans 16:3,4;
I Corinthians 16:19;
II Timothy 4:19

WHEN THE APOSTLE PAUL left Silas in Berea and Timothy in Thessalonica because of persecution by the Jews, he went to Athens where they were all to meet after Silas had established the church in Berea, and Timothy had done the same in Thessalonica. Their work in these places took longer than expected and since Athens was not an industrial city, Paul left to go to Corinth where he could work and get funds for self-support. He met Aquila and Priscilla who had been evicted from Rome and who were also tentmakers by trade. (Acts 18:3) They invited Paul to stay and work with them. Whether Paul met Aquila and Priscilla in the synagogue and learned that they were tentmakers, or whether he sought out people with his trade, is not made clear. Paul’s custom was to go the synagogue first and to reason with the Jews about Jesus. All three went to the synagogue every Sabbath and Paul reasoned with the Jews and Greeks.

At first Paul was reticent in his preaching, remembering well the persecutions of the Jews in Thessalonica and other synagogues. But when Silas and Timothy arrived with the news that the brethren in Thessalonica and Berea were doing well, and taking persecution for Christ’s sake unflinchingly, it inspired Paul to speak boldly in the synagogue concerning Jesus being the Messiah. He began to receive severe opposition and decided to leave and go to the Gentiles. The new congregation of believers met in Justus’ home adjoining the synagogue. Crispus, a ruler of the synagogue, and his family, and other Jews and Gentiles of Corinth believed, were baptized, and joined this congregation. The Lord Jesus appeared in a vision to Paul and said, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”—Acts 18:9,10

Aquila and Priscilla were among Paul’s helpers as he labored in Corinth for one and half years. When he left Corinth to go to Jerusalem, they accompanied him to Ephesus, and established a permanent residence there. The home of Aquila and Priscilla became the meeting place for the congregation in Ephesus. It was Aquila and Priscilla who explained to Apollos the teachings of Paul. When Paul returned from his visit to Jerusalem and Antioch he came to Ephesus and lived with Aquila and Priscilla again. The incident referred to in our key verse where they risked their lives for Paul, occurred when Demetrius, a silversmith, led a riot against Paul to salvage the trade, making silver shrines in worship of the goddess Diana of the Ephesians. The mob went to the home of Aquila and Priscilla seeking Paul, and must have threatened them when they found Paul wasn’t there. The people mentioned in Romans 16 are all from Ephesus in Asia. When Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, he had not been to Rome as yet. He was in Ephesus and greeted the brethren in Corinth as in I Corinthians 16:19. Paul was in Rome, a prisoner facing death, when he wrote to Timothy who was in Ephesus, asking him to greet these two faithful disciples.—II Tim. 4:19

Dawn Bible Students Association
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