We get to meet another new believer today. His name is Apollos and he is on fire for the Lord. We don’t get a lot of background information on him. We know he was Jewish, came from Alexandria, “was an eloquent man, competent in the scriptures” and “had been instructed in the way of the Lord” (verse 24).
This introduction leaves me with a couple of questions. First question is who was his instructor? I don’t believe any of the brothers had gone to Alexandria at this point. My bible helps tell me that Alexandria was a famous place of learning. Was Apollos instructed by the Holy Spirit or by someone else? Was his instruction a formal education or self-taught? As Jesus’ life and deeds were well known it is not hard to imagine someone from Alexandria hearing about Him. Did Apollos search the scriptures and discover the truth without anyone but the Spirit to guide him, did he go to where the missionaries were ministering, or did someone who had already heard come to Alexandrea?
Because Apollos doesn’t know of the baptism of Jesus I’m more inclined to think he searched the scriptures on his own. The Holy Spirit opened word to his thirsty soul. No other way could he have so accurately seen the truth of Jesus. He certainly didn’t get it from the Jewish schools of religion!
The second question I have is was he “technically” a believer. He had all the basic knowledge but did he have a relationship with Jesus? He apparently knew about Jesus and His forgiveness of sins but had he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins? Had he “prayed the sinner’s prayer” and invited Jesus to be Lord of his life?
As usual, I’m most likely not going to get my answers this side of Heaven so let’s move on.
As I was reading last night I was struck by Apollos’ fervor in sharing all that he knew. He was so excited by what he knew that he HAD to share it. He shared everything he knew but was also humble enough to realize that he didn’t know it all. He took in what Priscilla and Aquila taught him and poured his heart into proclaiming the truth of Jesus even more. He didn’t care where the opportunity to witness presented itself. He shared powerfully and publicly wherever he went.
I also noticed Priscilla and Aquila’s attitudes when they encountered Apollos. They didn’t talk down to him because he hadn’t heard the “whole story.” They didn’t try and quiet him either. Instead, they took him aside and explained the pieces he was missing. They cared for his spiritual growth while caring for his emotional growth. I would not be surprised to learn that they also baptized him or took him to one of the elders to be baptized. They loved him into completion.
I think I fall short on this account sometimes. Not that I berate others who believe different from me but I come off overzealous when trying to share some of the good news others may have missed. The thing that jumps to my mind most on this topic is being bound or freed by the law. This is a soap box I have stood on more than once. I have also run some people I loved dearly off by doing so. I think that knowing scripture and verse to back up my position is a better plan that simply relying on what I’ve learned over the years. Apollos certainly took that route.
Father God, thank You for Apollos’ story. Thank You that You used him even in his “incomplete condition.” You didn’t require him to be perfect before You let him into the field. You simply required him to be willing and faithful. Thank You also for placing people in his path who were able to bring him closer to You than he originally was. Thank You for doing those same things for me. I doubt I will ever be the one to preach in the streets. But keep me open to learning more about You and Your word every day. Thank You for those around me who give me “instruction” in Your word, especially Your Spirit. Keep me always searching and learning.