If you are unsure who Priscilla is, don’t worry because you are probably not alone. She’s not your standard Sunday school Bible character. Actually, there is very little in the Bible about her at all. A few simple verses are all that she has, scattered around in Acts and a few of Paul’s letters. Nevertheless, she is a good example for all Christian women.
We first find Priscilla in Acts 18. Her story picks up with her and Aquilla, her husband, leaving Rome. Once in Corinth they meet Paul, a Christian and fellow tentmaker just like them. After working together for a while, they all head to Ephesus.
While in Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquilla encounter a man named Apollos teaching in the synagogue. According to Luke, Apollos was a man who was knowledgeable of the Scriptures and who spoke with passion concerning Christ. Luke says that he taught correctly, but his knowledge of Jesus’ baptism was limited (Acts 18: 24-25). At first glance, it looks as though Apollos was a pretty intelligent man, yet his understanding was not complete. So what did Priscilla and her husband do after hearing him teach? They invited him into their home and they “explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Luke 18: 26).
Priscilla is mentioned three more times in Paul’s letters. In his letter to the church in Rome, he calls Priscilla and Aquilla his “co-workers in Christ Jesus” and then says that all the Gentile churches are grateful for their service (Romans 16:3). Later, Paul greets the church that meets in Priscilla and Aquilla’s house (1 Cor. 16:9). Paul then goes on to greet them once more in 1 Timothy 4:19.
And that’s it. That is all we know of Priscilla. So why then is she so significant, especially for us women of God? Priscilla is important because she was one of the first Christian women in the church, and her actions can teach us about our role as women in the church today. Here are five examples of what we can learn from Priscilla:
- She was a humble teacher
After hearing Apollos teach, she brought him into her house and taught him alongside her husband. There is no talk of her judging Apollos or correcting him in front of a crowd. Instead, she taught him in quiet with love and grace. She was humble in her teaching and we should be the same.
- She traveled around sharing the message of Christ
Priscilla and her husband were constantly on the move assisting the church in various cities. She was a missionary and a great example for us called to do the same.
- She was a “co-worker” in Christ
Although Priscilla was a tentmaker by trade, her most important work was the work she did in the name of Christ. Her life was devoted to the Gospel and so should ours, no matter what our career.
- She served the churches
Priscilla was not only a part of the church, but she served the church. She was devoted to God’s people and was greatly appreciated by all those who knew her. As women in the church today, we can play a vital role in our churches by serving our Christian family as well.
- She hosted a church in her own home
Priscilla welcomed her church family into her home. And knowing the patterns of the early church, there is a good chance her home was opened daily for fellowship, worship, study, and prayer. Priscilla understood that although she had a personal home, it first and foremost belonged to God. Even though we meet in church buildings today, we all can be like Priscilla by keeping our homes open to our Christian families and for serving those in need.
Although I would love to know more about Priscilla, the few snapshots of her life that we do have teach us so much. Priscilla was a woman passionate about the Gospel. Her life was committed to growing the kingdom and supporting God’s people. Her home was used to gather God’s people for worship and to teach those who needed further instruction. She was a servant to the church and a co-worker in Christ.
Priscilla’s life as a Christian woman was beautiful and she set a good example for us Christian women today. What have you learned most from Priscilla and how can you become more like her?