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Biblical People

Biblical People: Priscilla and Aquila

Exiled from Rome, Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, are missionaries who work with local churches and help other missionaries. Tentmakers, like Paul, they first meet him in Corinth where they work together. Later they travel to Syria and then to Ephesus.

While Paul goes on, Priscilla and Aquila stay in Ephesus to help that church grow. 

In Ephesus they meet Apollos. An educated man, he tells others about God with much zeal, but he only knows about the baptism of John. Priscilla and Aquila explain the full story of Jesus to him. Then Apollos goes out on his own to tell others about Jesus.

In his letters, Paul calls Priscilla and Aquila his coworkers, confirms they risked their lives for him, and affirms the church’s appreciation for their work.

Later Priscilla and Aquila are back in Rome when Paul writes to that church, and they are with Timothy when Paul sends his second letter to the young preacher.

However, when Paul writes again to the church in Corinth, Priscilla and Aquila are with him. At some point they start a house church, but the Bible doesn’t tell us where.

The Bible always mentions Priscilla and Aquila together, never as individuals. They work as a team. That’s how they can best help the church of Jesus grow.

What’s interesting is that contrary to the cultural norm of listing the husband, Aquila, first and the wife second, Luke and Paul usually name Priscilla first and then Aquila.

While we could assume this means Priscilla takes a lead role in their work, another understanding is that they are equal partners, with both Luke and Paul often mentioning Priscilla first to show her equality in ministry. 

If we serve God with our spouse, do we work as equal partners, or does one lead and receive all the credit?

[Discover more about Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18:1–3, 18:18–19, 18:24–26, Romans 16:3–4, 1 Corinthians 16:19, and 2 Timothy 4:19.]

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.