Who is Apollos

Who is Apollos? This good man is mentioned only ten times in the Bible, twice in Acts (18:24; 19:1), eight times in 1st Corinthians (1:12; 3:4, 5, 6 & 22; 4:6; 16:12), and once in Titus 3:13. Little is known about Apollos directly, but Paul writes as if he was influential in the church and an important friend of his. It has even been suggested that Apollos was the mysterious author of Hebrews. It’s probably as good a choice as any, but it’s far from certain.

The greatest compliment paid to Apollos is that he was “competent in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24). His knowledge positioned him to expect the coming Redeemer and to be prepared for his reign as King.

Apollos knew of Christ and had been so instructed. Yet, his knowledge was incomplete, although his fervor burned brightly. He only knew of the baptism of John (vs. 25), which by now was decades out of date, having been superseded by the baptism of Christ. Paul encountered a group of men nearby who likewise were unaware of Christian baptism (Acts 19:1 – 7). It could be that these had been taught by Apollos or that Apollos had been associated with the same community. But, it was necessary that the 12 men of Acts 19 were newly taught and baptized appropriately.

As for Apollos, he was also corrected by Priscilla and Aquila. The text does not say he was “re-baptized,” but given Paul’s requirement in Acts 19, it is all but certain that he was.

The inclusion of Apollos in Holy Writ offers an example to be emulated. There may surely be more, but I see three key attributes that should mark the life of every Christian.

Apollos desired to know truth.

Our subject is described as “competent in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24). Translations use words like well-versed, able, or even mighty. To describe his command of the Bible as he possessed it. I find it difficult to think of many complements greater than this. To reach such a point in life, he must have spent considerable time in the study of the law and the prophets.

Today, we enjoy tools not even imagined by the people of the first century. The Scriptures are available easily and in our native tongue. Our ever-present cell phone easily holds the entirety of the Bible in multiple translations. Home computers allow near-instant searching of the Bible for entire phrases, not just a single word. Would it not be grand to be described as someone mighty in the Scriptures?

Apollos was passionate for Christ.

This good man was obviously educated as he came from Alexandria, a center of Mediterranean civilization, learning, and scholarship in North Africa. He is also described in Acts as being “eloquent.”  This word may refer to his speaking abilities or to his deep knowledge. Given that his knowledge is described as competence, it likely refers to an ability to preach and teach.

The key is that Apollos used his talents to teach God’s word. Every Christian is endowed with different talents. These gifts are given by God for His own glory. No Talent is too small or insignificant for God’s work. May we take what we have and devote it to God’s glory.

Apollos was prepared to change.

Few people like change – I don’t. But change is a greater part of life than stasis. Our world is dynamic, as are we. We are not the same people we were just a few years ago. Apollos was knowledgeable of the Scriptures, but he was not teaching the whole truth. There is nothing to suggest a deliberate attempt to twist the Scriptures. Rather, there were some things he did not know. When Priscilla and Aquila recognized his shortcomings, “they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). These two were not scholars. They were hard-working tentmakers. Apollos was not arrogant or haughty., he accepted their correction. This great, humble man was willing to change. Later, he became a pillar of the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:5, 6).

May we always be willing to make changes as we grow and learn more and more of God’s word. Without growth and change, there is only a slow withering and death.

I am thankful that God included Apollos in the Scriptures, aren’t you?

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Site Footer

Sliding Sidebar