Editorial - ‘Apollos . . . mighty in the scriptures’, Acts 18. 24.
John Bennett, Pinxton, Nottingham [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
In the consideration of Apollos in our last editorial, we wrote that the position and status of pre-eminence belongs to God alone!
However, rather than put someone like Apollos on a pedestal, it is also possible to malign him. Though this passage tells us that he was ‘mighty in the scriptures’ and ‘instructed in the way of the Lord’, v. 25, it also informs us that he knew ‘only the baptism of John’, v. 25. What an omission! One of the fundamental ordinances commanded by the Lord and practiced by the apostles had not been obeyed! How could a man teach ‘diligently the things of the Lord’ without such an important step of obedience being taken? Would it not be wrong to sit under the ministry of such a man in that condition? No amount of eloquence or fervency can compensate for disobedience!
The explanation to this seeming dilemma is found in verse 26 of the chapter. Was Apollos being disobedient or was this an aspect of truth of which he was ignorant or not fully cognisant? He may have thought that his baptism under the ministry of John Baptist was all that he needed. Why be baptized again? Although he was ‘mighty in the scriptures’, the truth of baptism is not clearly taught in the Old Testament as it is in the New. Should he be expected to know? To suggest that Apollos was disobedient is to ascribe to him a motivation which it is beyond us to determine without careful examination. Thus, Aquila and Priscilla take him into their home and expound ‘unto him the way of God more perfectly’, v. 26. This is the key. If Apollos now fails to act he will be guilty of disobedience to the known will of God. Although the text doesn’t tell us, the fact that he carried the commendation of the brethren, v. 27, suggests Apollos was baptized and continued to be a help to the Lord’s people.
The real challenge to all of our hearts is to remain balanced in our handling of the word of God and in our relationships with fellow believers. It is all too easy to set up one as a favourite and criticize another without justification for either action. What Aquila and Priscilla did teaches us how to handle the people we may want to criticize because of what we perceive to be their disregard of scripture. Equally, in Apollos’ gracious acceptance of the exhortation of others we see the true calibre of the man and the way in which God was using him for His glory!
In this magazine we continue to present an interesting mix of articles with the prayerful desire that there might be ample food for all the people of God! May each of us search ‘the scriptures daily’ to see whether these things are so!
1 See Matt. 28. 19; Mark 16. 16; Acts 2. 38, 41.
2 One of the figures that Paul refers to is given us in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 2.
3 Acts 17. 11.