Spirit Fall Down – Teaching

Primary: A primary Scripture states a principal. It is first or highest in rank, quality, or importance. A theological truth is established which can not be refuted. Here are examples of primary Scriptures. 1 John 4:16 "God is love". 1 Corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient, love is kind." Primary verses state the facts clearly and unequivocal.

Secondary: Secondary verses refer to truths established by primary Scriptures. When used in relation to a primary Scripture they provide more information or give a broader explanation. An example of a secondary Scripture is Romans 8:39, "…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." This verse tells us more about His character. Used together, primary and secondary verses establish very solid Biblical truths.

Contextual: A contextual verse is one which relates to a circumstance, a story or an event. It is not intended to be used as the Biblical basis for a theological statement. An example of such a text is found in Matthew 3:16-17 "As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’" This verse can not be used to build a detailed theology about love. It may be used to show the relationship between the Father and Son which is one of love.

Christian end up disagreeing because we handle contextual verses differently – making them into primary ones and therefore rules.

Example: Teaching!

Acts 2-Spirit poured out on all people. 1 Corinthians 12 Teaching and leadership is a gift of the Spirit therefore it is a ministry exercised by men and women.

BUT Paul writes to Timothy that women cannot teach or lead men (1 Tim 2.12). This is a contextual verse. Cannot be taken out of context. Only have to show once that Paul did allow women to teach and that leadership to show that it is a contextual verse. Here it is in Acts 18 – plenty of others but this one will do.

Priscilla and Aquila. They’re a married couple who are always mentioned together – three times in Acts 18, then in Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Timothy 4. The Apostles had wives, and they took them with them when they preached (I Cor. 9:5), but their wives names are never mentioned in Scripture. Aquila’s wife, Priscilla, is.

Significantly their names only ever appear together which suggests they were a team. They were partners in ministry. Indeed Paul commends Aquila and Priscilla as his “fellow workers” who risked their lives for him. Even more significantly, in four of the five places where their names appear together, Priscilla is mentioned first.

1. Priscilla the Disciple

In the year 52 A.D. the Roman emperor Claudius issued an edict expelling all Jews from the city of Rome. This included a Jew named Aquila. By his side was his faithful wife, Priscilla.  When Paul arrives from Athens, he makes contact with fellow tent makers. Priscilla and Aquila were hospitable and invited Paul into their home and let him stay with them. Paul had confidence in them and invested his life in them. A lasting friendship was born between them. If Priscilla and Aquila did not know the Lord before, Paul’s stay would have left them in no doubt. No one could be anywhere near Paul for very long and not be affected by his passion for Jesus. Paul stayed with them for 18 months, no doubt instructing them in the gospel.

2. Priscilla the Teacher

Apollos sounds quite an impressive speaker. Aquila and Priscilla were deeply impressed with him, but they detected a serious flaw in his preaching. Tactfully they made no attempt to correct him in front of everyone at the synagogue. Nor did they try and put him straight over coffee after the service. They had a better way. They invited him home for lunch.

Gently and lovingly, they explained how the gospel of the Lord Jesus was the fulfilment of the Hebrew scriptures he knew so well; That John’s baptism was a preparation for receiving Christ; and that Christian baptism was a natural consequence of receiving Christ.

What Priscilla and Aquila did would not have been possible had they not been discipled by Paul for 18 months. What they learnt from Paul they passed on to Apollos.

They multiplied themselves, just as Paul has done. The purpose of discipleship is not the accumulation of knowledge but multiplication. Disciples are meant to become disciplers. We were born to reproduce.

We seek to win people to Christ, build them in the faith and send them to do what? Win people to Christ and build them in the faith in order to…

It is only because Priscilla was a disciple that she could become a discipler of others. What Priscilla and Aquila did for Apollos is the norm. Every Christian teacher is accountable to the plain teaching of Scripture.

If you are not sure about something you hear in a sermon, check it out from the Word of God, and if you are still not sure, ask the preacher. The Berean Christians mentioned in Acts give us our model.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true..” (Acts 17:11)

3. Priscilla the Church Leader

The institutionalisation of the church post 313AD leads to less Spirit, more structure. That was not true of Celtic church in northern UK until much later. The more structure, the more male, the more the church likes 1 Tim 2.12!.

“The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla[a] greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house..” (1 Corinthians 16:19)

Given the nature of their trade, Priscilla and Aquila could be flexible where and when they earned their income from making tents. So they left their home in Corinth and followed Paul to Ephesus. He continued travelling while they settled down and opened their home, not only to Apollos but to other believers. In both Corinth and then in Ephesus, their home became a church, a house church. It seems at some point they decided to move back to Rome. Claudius was dead. Once again, their home became a meeting place for Christ followers.

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house..” (Romans 16:3-5)

Given the way Paul affirms them by name, and mentions their role “fellow workers” and specifically their bravery “they risked their lives for me” we may assume they became leaders within those churches. Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned one more time in the New Testament, in the last chapter of the last book the Apostle Paul wrote.

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus” (2 Timothy 4:19).

Paul is thinking of his dear friends who were then back in Ephesus where Timothy was ministering. It was just a brief and simple greeting. But Paul wanted to be remembered to them in the last hours of his life.

We have seen Priscilla and Aquila the disciples, the teachers and the leaders. Tradition has it they eventually died in Ephesus as martyrs like Paul.