AND Romans 16:3-5 – PRISCILLA AQUILA, PAUL’S FELLOW WORKERS
Do you remember Aquila and Priscilla? They are mentioned in four different chapters of the New Testament, always in connection with the apostle Paul. They were a Christian couple, first introduced in the Bible as tentmakers that worked with Paul (Acts 18:1,2). But, the text of Romans 16 is not about their occupation. Rather, Paul sends them greetings and expresses thanks for them, saying:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house . . . [Romans 16:3-5]
While we might be curious to know a number of things about the personal lives of this pair, let us concentrate on the information that the Bible supplies. In the biblical text, sometimes Aquila (the husband) is mentioned before Priscilla, but in other cases her name precedes his. Opinions may vary as to why one name appears before the other, but here is a fact worth noticing: each time the two of them are mentioned in the Bible, they are always mentioned together. Some might think, “Ah, how sweet.” There is more to their togetherness, though, than a touching sentiment. Aquila and Priscilla lived together in Rome (Acts 18:2). They lived together in Corinth (Acts 18:2). They lived together in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:8,19), and they later lived together again in Rome (Romans 16:3,5). They not only lived in the same city, they lived in the same house. God instructs husbands to dwell with their wives with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). Do not overlook the first part of that statement: a husband is to “dwell” with his wife, and vice versa. There may be times when circumstances make it necessary for a wife and husband to be separated from one another, but such an arrangement (1) should only be temporary and (2) should not be the couple’s preferred policy (they should long for the time when they will live together under the same roof instead of apart). Many modern-day marriages are suffering because the spouses spend so much time apart from one another. It does not take an Einstein or Solomon to recognize the potential dangers of such. Husbands and wives, including married “church workers,” need to learn to dwell together like Aquila and Priscilla did.
Aquila and Priscilla were Paul’s “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3). They did not simply know Paul, and they did not simply spend time around him (though such would have been a great blessing to their lives). Paul did the Lord’s work, and they joined him in doing it. That is the only way for two parties to be “fellow workers” – when both actually labor and do such laboring in the same cause. What a great blessing it is to have brothers and sisters who have “a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6) for the Lord and are so dependable to do whatever they can to help in His Cause.
On a personal level, Priscilla and Aquila “risked their own necks” for Paul’s life (Romans 16:4). Their relationship with Paul went far beyond a casual greeting at worship services. The Master said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:12). Priscilla and Aquila had that kind of love for their beloved friend in the Lord. Do you and I possess that type of love? It may be that Aquila and Priscilla had been moved by Paul’s own example, as he and Barnabas were described as “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26). Sacrificial love is contagious.
Paul said that “all the churches of the Gentiles” gave thanks for Aquila and Priscilla, as he himself also did (Romans 16:4). This lets us know that this couple was appreciated by other Christians. The fact that the Gentile churches were grateful for them is especially significant, because Priscilla and Aquila were Jews (Acts 18:2). The early church sometimes struggled maintaining healthy relations between its Jewish and Gentile members, but Priscilla and Aquila evidently were able to get along just fine with their Gentile brethren. How well we are able to work or cooperate with other saints should have nothing to do with their race or background. Amen?
Priscilla and Aquila had a church “in their house” when they lived in Rome (Romans 16:5). That was true when they lived in Ephesus, too (1 Corinthians 16:8,19). Their living quarters were not a church, but rather the facility in which the church assembled. They were blessed to have a material house big enough for such gatherings, and they were willing to use what they had for the good of the church. Let us all learn from them to use unselfishly for the Kingdom those blessings that God has given us.
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God. http://klangchurchofchrist.org/