|Aquila and Priscilla |
Always spoken of together. Husband and wife one in Christ. She is named Prisca Romans 16:3 in the three oldest manuscripts; Priscilla is its diminutive (2 Timothy 4:19), the name of endearment. As she is often named first (only in Acts 18:2; 1 Corinthians 16:19 Aquila has the first place; Acts 18:26 in Sin., Vat., Alex. manuscripts has Priscilla first), she seems to have been the more energetic Christian. Paul found them at Corinth on his first visit there (Acts 18:2). They had been driven from Rome by Claudius' decree (mentioned also by Suetonius, Claud., c. 25, who, confounding Judaism with Christianity, writes: "he banished from Rome the Jews who were constantly making disturbances instigated by one Chrestus," i.e. Christ).
Aquila was a Jew, born in Pontus (as was the Aquila who translated the Old Testament into Greek); the name is Latin, assumed as Jews often took a Roman name, when thrown into much intercourse with Romans. Their common work, making the Cilician hair or tent cloth, threw Paul and him together, and probably led to his and Priscilla's conversion. A year and a half after Priscilla and Aquila accompanied Paul from Corinth to Ephesus on his way to Syria. There they remained and taught Apollos the way of the Lord more perfectly (Acts 18:18-28). (See APOLLOS.) In 1 Corinthians 16:19 we find them still at Ephesus, and having "a church (assembling) in their house." So also at Rome (Romans 16:3-5): "My helpers in Christ Jesus; who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet the church that is in their house."
Afterward we find them near Timothy, in or about Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19). The use of opportunities is one great lesson from their history. Paul probably availed himself of his intercourse in their common trade to bring the gospel home to the Jew Aquila, he to his wife. She and he together, as true yokefellows in the Lord, to all within their reach; to Apollos, who became the mighty champion of Christianity, convincing the Jews from the Scriptures at Corinth; setting up "a church in their house" wherever they were: in Ephesus; then at Rome, risking their lives for Paul, and earning thanks of "all the churches of the Gentiles."