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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
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Greek - Apollos

(ay pahl' lahss), meaning “destroyer,” names an Alexandrian Jew who came to Ephesus following Paul's first visit and was taught Christian doctrine by Priscilla and Aquila. An educated man, Apollos handled the Old Testament Scriptures with forcefulness. However, he was lacking in a full understanding of the way of God, so Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and instructed him (Acts 18:26). Apollos became even more successful in his ministry. He went from Ephesus to Greece with the encouragement of the Asian believers and a letter of introduction (Acts 18:27). He greatly strengthened the believers by using the Scriptures to demonstrate that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:28).

Apollos is last mentioned in the Book of Acts as being in Corinth (Acts 19:1). Paul referred to Apollos frequently, particularly in 1 Corinthians. Here the majority of the references (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6,1 Corinthians 3:22) have to do with the schisms in the Corinthian church centering on personalities. Paul noted that some believers championed Paul; some, Apollos; and some, Cephas. What is important is that believers belong to Christ, not to individual leaders. Such references show that Apollos must have been a dynamic figure to be compared with Paul or Peter. In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul placed Apollos on the same level as himself. They both sought to defeat the arrogance and superiority which comes from being self-centered rather than Christ-centered.

Paul referred to Apollos in 1 Corinthians 16:12 as “our brother,” showing how much Paul considered him as one of the team. This is also demonstrated in Titus 3:13 where Paul asked Titus to help Apollos on his way. A learned and gifted preacher, Apollos was willing to receive more instruction and be part of the team.

Because of Apollos' knowledge of the Old Testament, Luther suggested that Apollos might well be the writer of the Book of Hebrews. See Aquila and Priscilla; Ephesus; Corinth; 1 Corinthians; 2 Corinthians.

William Vermillian

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'APOLLOS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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