“And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” (Acts 18:26, AV)
Life has some embarrassing moments. I was at a pastor’s conference once and a church-planter arose to tell his story of the first service he had at the new church. It was on Easter Sunday. He stated that the room was full of people. He went up on the platform and sat down in one of the chairs on the platform and, when he looked down, he noticed that the zipper on his pants was down. Yes, his fly was open. He then got up left the platform and corrected the issue. I wonder, did anyone see this before the young pastor got up on the platform? If so, why did they not tell him.
I only bring this up because in those types of situations, for some reason when we observe something like this, we often are hesitant to say anything. Perhaps our fear is that we might embarrass the person. There are many situations like this. For instance, a woman has tucked her dress into her pantyhose; a person has food hanging on their cheek; someone has toilet paper stuck to the bottom of their shoe. In these situations, a good friend would say something and spare the person further embarrassment.
A good friend will point things out to others when they see things that need correction. Here in this passage, we see a good and very important example of this. Here we see two qualities of good friends. One will humbly listen and the other will humbly speak the truth. We see these qualities in Apollos and, Priscilla and Aquila.
Apollos was a gifted man, an eloquent and powerful speaker, a defender of the truth, and competent in the Scriptures (v24-25). He is the kind of man you would want to see preaching the Word of God. However, as Apollos preached from the Scriptures, that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, two onlookers, Priscilla and Aquila, realize that something is lacking in his experience (v25-26). We find that he only knew of John’s baptism (v25). While his preaching was very accurate, it was incomplete.
While we do not know the specifics of what Apollos lacked, he most likely did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the Spirit’s work, as taught by the Lord and initiated at Pentecost. However, a husband-and-wife team, Priscilla and Aquila demonstrated love towards Apollos by helping him understand what was lacking. So many today have a fear of confrontation and therefore will not speak these kinds of words to help another. A good friend is one who will love another enough to confront and present truth to help him or her in life and ministry.
Moreover, we see in Apollos another quality of a good friend. He has the grace to receive the instruction with all humility. Apollos does not summarily reject their instruction. Consider Apollos for a second. He was well educated in the Scriptures and a powerful preacher. Yet he humbly received the instruction of Priscilla, a woman, and her husband Aquila. As a result, he moved on to be an even more effective preacher and defender of the gospel (v27-28).
We can learn a lot from Apollos and, Priscilla and Aquila. This, among other things, is a great lesson in humility. To be humble enough to confront someone with the truth is a wonderful virtue. However, perhaps even greater is the virtue of being humble enough to receive instruction from another.