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Acts 18:24-19:7

4 attitudes of an A+ ministry

  1. Appreciate your contribution (Acts 18:24)
    • Apollos contributed something Paul didn’t have – oratory skills
      • cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
    • Priscilla and Aquila, tentmakers by trade, taught Apollos, a learned Jewish scholar
  2. Approach ministry with humility (Acts 18:25-26)
    • Apollos allowed himself to be taught by Priscilla and Aquila
  3. Advance your ministry (Acts 18:27-28)
    • Apollos’s ministry was enriched by the further understanding about Jesus and the Holy Spirit
    • He continued to advance his ministry to new areas, now with a letter of recommendation from others
  4. Allow yourself mistakes (Acts 19:1-7)
    • Apollos didn’t know everything when he set out teaching
    • Paul followed him up and cleaned up after him


Exegetical Notes:

Acts 18:25

  • “fervent in spirit” could also be translated “fervent in the Spirit” referring to the Holy Spirit. No major English translation capitalizes “spirit”. Considering that at this point he “knows only the baptism of John” and by implication not the baptism of the Holy Spirit by Jesus, it is likely that the reference here is not to him being fervent in the Holy Spirit.

Is Apollos saved prior to Priscilla and Aquila “explaining to him the way of God more accurately”?

Option 1: Yes

  • He preaches accurately concerning Jesus. (Acts 18:25)
  • No mention of his baptism after his talk with Priscilla and Aquila, which Luke usually includes for new Christians.
  • He was “instructed in the way of the Lord.” (Acts 18:24)

Option 2: No

  • Luke refers to him as “a Jew”, not as a believer. (Acts 18:24)
  • He was preaching only the baptism of John, which was baptism of repentance of sin. John preached about the coming of the Messiah but admitted to his baptism being inferior to that of the Messiah’s. (Luke 3:15)
  • Him being “competent in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24) and “teaching accurately the things of Jesus” (Acts 18:25) could mean that he understood the Messiah was coming as John taught and the OT prophets taught.

Acts 18:27 – “through grace”┬áhas 2 grammatically possible options in this sentence.

  1. It could refer to Apollos’s ability to help – “when he arrived he greatly helped through grace those who had believed.
  2. It could refer to how the believers believed, namely through grace. All major translations take this translation. In the original Greek it is closer to “believed” which leads most scholars to prefer this second option.

Are the Ephesians Paul comes across at the beginning of chapter 19 Christians, authentic believers or is Luke merely commenting on appearances?

Option 1: Christians

  • Luke identifies them as “disciples” (Acts 19:1) and Paul says, “when you believed” (Acts 19:2).

Option 2: Not Christians

  • They were unaware that the Holy Spirit was given by Jesus which leads one to question their knowledge of Jesus and his work. (Acts 19:2)
  • They were only baptized into John’s baptism, which Paul notes that John’s baptism was only meant to point forward to Jesus. (Acts 19:4)
  • They were baptized again. (Acts 19:5) If they were believers before this is the only case in the Bible of re-baptism.
  • They were only now given the gift of the Holy Spirit which is meant to be a sign for believers. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14)