Priscilla and Aquila are perhaps not names that you recognize. They show up in a few different places in the New Testament. What we know about them is rather interesting. They were exiles from Rome, Jewish refugees ordered to leave their homes. They were tentmakers, the same trade that Paul had learned and used in order to support himself on missionary journeys. Priscilla and Aquila traveled with Paul briefly.
Perhaps the most interesting story about Priscilla and Aquila comes toward the end of Acts 18. They had traveled with Paul to Ephesus (on the southeastern coast of modern-day Turkey). Paul had traveled on to Caesarea and other places while Priscilla and Aquila stayed in Ephesus. While there, another missionary came through Ephesus named Apollos. Apollos was a gifted speaker who spoke in the synagogue at Ephesus about Jesus. It’s unclear where Apollos had learned what he had learned, but there was one detail he lacked accuracy on. He only knew the baptism of John. Apollos did not know about Jesus’ commission to His disciples to go to all the nations and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
So, Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside, and they explained to him the way of God more accurately.
In some of Paul’s letters he sends greetings to or from Prisca (Priscilla’s other name) and Aquila. On two such occasions Paul sends greetings from or to the church in their home.
Through these brief examples we see how Priscilla and Aquila model for us what it looks like to answer God’s call in various ways. They are forced to leave their homes because of their heritage and religious identity, but they keep the faith. They are not afraid to teach the eloquent Apollos when he is mistaken about baptism.
But the thing I love most about Priscilla and Aquila is their hospitality. They host Paul in Corinth. They host congregational gatherings at their homes in Ephesus and in Rome. Priscilla and Aquila know the value of offering space for people to gather together.
The Covid-19 pandemic shed new light on the importance of fellowship and gathering together with other Christians. I’m a pastor in California. Here, we had several different seasons of online only worship. After each online-only season, when my congregation came back together, there was so much joy and relief. There was a feeling of being home again.
As Christians, we are called to show hospitality to others. The Apostle Peter writes, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:8-10).
Priscilla and Aquila live out Peter’s words so well, showing love and hospitality and using their gifts to serve others. May we be encouraged by their example to do the same.