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Reference: Aquila And Priscilla


Always spoken of together. Husband and wife one in Christ. She is named Prisca Ro 16:3 in the three oldest manuscripts; Priscilla is its diminutive (2Ti 4:19), the name of endearment. As she is often named first (only in Ac 18:2; 1Co 16:19 Aquila has the first place; Ac 18:26 in Sin., Vat., Alex. manuscripts has Priscilla first), she seems to have been the more energetic Christian. Paul found them at Corinth on his first visit there (Ac 18:2). They had been driven from Rome by Claudius' decree (mentioned also by Suetonius, Claud., c. 25, who, confounding Judaism with Christianity, writes: "he banished from Rome the Jews who were constantly making disturbances instigated by one Chrestus," i.e. Christ).

Aquila was a Jew, born in Pontus (as was the Aquila who translated the Old Testament into Greek); the name is Latin, assumed as Jews often took a Roman name, when thrown into much intercourse with Romans. Their common work, making the Cilician hair or tent cloth, threw Paul and him together, and probably led to his and Priscilla's conversion. A year and a half after Priscilla and Aquila accompanied Paul from Corinth to Ephesus on his way to Syria. There they remained and taught Apollos the way of the Lord more perfectly (Ac 18:18-28). (See APOLLOS.) In 1Co 16:19 we find them still at Ephesus, and having "a church (assembling) in their house." So also at Rome (Ro 16:3-5): "My helpers in Christ Jesus; who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet the church that is in their house."

Afterward we find them near Timothy, in or about Ephesus (2Ti 4:19). The use of opportunities is one great lesson from their history. Paul probably availed himself of his intercourse in their common trade to bring the gospel home to the Jew Aquila, he to his wife. She and he together, as true yokefellows in the Lord, to all within their reach; to Apollos, who became the mighty champion of Christianity, convincing the Jews from the Scriptures at Corinth; setting up "a church in their house" wherever they were: in Ephesus; then at Rome, risking their lives for Paul, and earning thanks of "all the churches of the Gentiles."

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The names of a married couple first mentioned by St. Paul in 1Co 16:19, and by St. Luke in Ac 18:2. Only in these passages do the names occur in this order; in later references the order is always 'Priscilla and Aquila' (Ac 18:18,26; Ro 16:3; 2Ti 4:19). A natural inference from this fact is that Priscilla was a more active worker in the Christian Church than her husband. In favour of this view is the statement of Chrysostom (i. 306 Deuteronomist, 177 A, iii. 176 B, C) that it was Priscilla's careful expositions of 'the way of God' (Ac 18:26) that proved so helpful to Apollos. On this testimony Harnack bases his ingenious but doubtful theory that Priscilla was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. From the prominence given in Roman inscriptions and legends to the name Prisca (St. Paul) or its dimioutive Priscilla (St. Luke), Hort concludes that she belonged to a distinguished Roman family (Rom. and Eph. p. 12 ff.). Aquila was a Jew of Eastern origin

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