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Biblical People

Biblical People: Apollos

Apollos is a Jew from the city of Alexandria, but he later moved to Ephesus. Well-educated, Apollos has a deep knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures. He knows about God’s ways, is a charismatic speaker, and teaches others. Though what he says is correct, he doesn’t know the whole story. He only knows about John’s baptism. 

When Priscilla and Aquila hear Apollos speak, they’re impressed. They invite him into their home to tell them Jesus’s story, for whom John prepared the way. 

Armed with this knowledge, Apollos wants to go to Acacia. The church in Ephesus encourages him to go. They write letters of introduction for him. When he arrives, he helps the believers there. He engages in public debate with Jewish opponents, using the Scriptures to prove that Jesus is the Messiah.

This is the last we hear directly about Apollos’s work. However, in some of Paul’s letters we get glimpses of how powerful and effective he is at spreading the good news of Jesus.

When Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he implies that Apollos’s teaching is equal to his own and Peter’s. The only problem is that people are aligning themselves with one of these three teachers—human, fallible leaders. Then Paul adds, “I plant the seed, Apollos waters it, but God makes it grow.”

When God calls us to a task, are we ready to acknowledge his role in the outcome?

[Discover more about Apollos in Acts 18:23–28, 1 Corinthians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 3:4–6, 1 Corinthians 3:21–23, 1 Corinthians 4:6–7, 1 Corinthians 16:12, and Titus 3:13.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.