Piecing together the story of a special couple
I have been diving into the early stories of the Church in the 50 years after Christ. I remembered that former superior General Robert Maloney once highlighted … “In the letter to the Romans Paul states that all the Gentile communities are indebted to this married couple (Rom 16:4). It is hard to find higher praise than that.”
Priscilla and Aquila – some highlights
- This married couple were converts from Judaism expelled from Rome during the persecution of Claudius.
- While living in exile in Corinth they met Paul and took him into their home.
- Following him to Ephesus they founded the church there. Paul thanked them for risking their lives for his sake.
- He often sends special greetings to them in his writings.
Sixteen years after meeting them he faced imminent death. Writing the last paragraph of his long and fruitful life he goes out of his way to say “Greet Prisca and Aquila” (2 Tim. 4:19 ) Paul wanted to be remembered to them in the last hours of his life.
Filling in some blanks
He stayed with them since by trade they also were tent-makers” (Acts 18:1-3). Their affinity for each other was instantaneous, and a deep and lasting friendship was born that day.
“He settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:11). Think of it, eighteen months of intensive Bible study under the greatest Bible teacher in the early church. How Aquila and Priscilla must have grown!
Did the three of them sit up into the early hours of the morning talking about the Lord and His Word?
They worked long and hard running their shop, making and repairing tents, maintaining a home and caring for their distinguished guest. They always found time for serious Bible study. Sharing the Word together strengthened their love for each other and their spirit of togetherness.
During that period of time, he wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians and said, “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Cor. 16:19). Their home was a meeting place for the Ephesian church.
And that would not be the last time their home served that purpose. When Paul left Ephesus for Greece, they evidently believed God was directing them back to Rome. Claudius was dead now, so the move seemed safe, and Rome surely needed a gospel witness. So off they went!
Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans from Greece on that third missionary journey. He said, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Also, greet the church that is in their house” (Rom. 16:3-5).
Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned one more time in the New Testament. It had been sixteen years since Paul first met them at Corinth, and now he was in a Roman prison for the second time. His death at the hands of the emperor Nero was imminent, and he was writing the last paragraph of his long and fruitful life. “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus” (2 Tim. 4:19).
But Paul wanted to be remembered to them in the last hours of his life.
- How aware are you of Priscilla and Aquila?
- What is your reaction to their story?
- How many other married couples have stories that should be told.
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk