AQUILA AND PRISCILLA A MODEL COUPLE (Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ)

We meet Aquila and Priscilla first time in the Acts as gracious host of St. Paul at Corinth. The Acts says There he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, for Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome (Acts 18, 2).

We can note here that as in all references to the couple in the Acts and in the three letters of St Paul, their names are always mentioned together. Here Aquilas name is mentioned first of the two. Elsewhere Priscillas name comes first before Aquila.

Herbert Lockyear in All the Men of the Bible says, A fact that cannot escape our notice is that Priscilla is usually named first in references to Aquila and herself. Perhaps this most noble Roman lady became a Christians before her husband. May be she was a more active worker than her husband!

All the informations and references which we have in the Acts and Pauls letters show that they are a model couple, an ideal husband and wife.

As the Acts has noted Priscilla and Aquila were tent-makers by profession, which was also the profession of St. Paul. Perhaps, apart from their friendliness and welcoming nature, St. Paul must have been attracted to them and accepted their hospitality because he and they shared the same profession.

Priscilla and Aquila must have been a well-known couple at Corinth. So when Paul left Athens and came to Corinth, he went to see them. He then stayed with the couple accepting their love and hospitality.

The Acts says, Paul went to see them, and stayed and worked with them, because he earned his living by making tents, just as they did (Acts 18, 3). This staying and working together must have helped the couple to know and appreciate St. Paul well and build up a deep and lasting friendship with him. This is seen from the facts that Paul refers to the couple in his letter to Romans, First Letter to Corinthians and in the Second Letter to Timothy.

But, before we come to these letters we see Priscilla and Aquila playing host to another famous biblical character, Apollos. The story is narrated in the Acts. At that time a Jew named Apollos from Alexandria came to Ephesus. He spoke very boldly about Jesus in the synagogue.

He began to speak boldly in synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home with them and explained to him more correctly the Way of God (Acts 18, 26).

Here we see the outgoing nature of the couple and their zeal to proclaim the correct life and message of Jesus. Priscilla and Aquila have also a domestic Church in their home welcoming peoples like Paul and Apollos, and other believers giving them instruction and their Christian spirituality.

St. Paul in his letter to Romans refers to Aquila and Priscilla as my fellow-workers. He writes I send greetings to Priscilla and Aquila my fellow-workers in the service of Christ Jesus; they risked their lives for me. I am grateful to them not only I, but all the Gentile Churches as well (Rom 16, 3-4).

From this one reference we can guess about wide spread missionary and evangelical ministry of Priscilla and Aquila to the point of risking their lives. Paul expresses his gratitude to them not only on his own behalf but also on behalf of all the Gentile Churches!

In his first letter to the Corinthians St. Paul sends not only the greetings of Aquila and Priscilla but also the greetings of the Church or the congregation, which meets in their house. The Churches in the province of Asia send you their greetings; Aquila and Priscilla and the Church that meets in their house send warm Christian greetings (1 Cor. 16, 19).

The last reference we have about Aquila and Priscilla in the New Testament is in Pauls second letter to Timothy. Paul simply greets them at the end of the letter. I send greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and to the family of Onesiphorus (2 Tim 4, 19).

This and other references show that St. Paul was very close to Aquila and Priscilla; and the couple played a major role in the history of the early Church especially in its evangelical ministry.

Certainly Aquila and Priscilla have set an example of a model of Christian couple in the early Christian community with their love and services. (Contact: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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