When Lisa and I talked through our sermon series on marriage we considered several possible biblical couples. The list included the likes of Adam and Eve, Jacob and Rachel, David and Bathsheba, and Job and his unnamed wife. Each marriage had its own unique challenge that was not dissimilar from the challenges we face in the 21st century. But we settled on Acquila and Priscilla because of the positive influence they had as a couple for the sake of the Kingdom of God. They are mentioned in four passages from which we made four observations.
First, they were together in the marketplace (Acts 18:1-3). Priscilla and Acquila arrived in Corinth sometime after Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in AD 49 for preaching about Christ. There they met Paul who was also a tentmaker. We don’t know if Priscilla and Acquila were publicly preaching in Rome, but they certainly didn’t hide their faith in Corinth. They wore their faith on their sleeves and quickly drew the attention of Paul. They worked with Paul and opened their home to him.
In the next mention we find them together in missions (Acts 18:18). The time came for Paul to move on from Corinth, and evidently he enlisted Acquila and Priscilla to accompany him as he continued his second missionary journey. They sailed to Syria, where Paul left them in Ephesus while he traversed farther inland. Acquila and Priscilla were willing to uproot their lives and occupations for the sake of spreading the gospel on foreign soil.
At the end of Acts 18 Priscilla and Acquila were together in mentoring young Apollos. Apollos was educated in Alexandria and was a gifted communicator. They were impressed with his knowledge of Jesus the Messiah and his ability to offer an articulate apologetic to the Jews. The only issue Apollos had was that he didn’t know anything about Pentecost or believer’s baptism. Instead of publicly deriding him they privately pulled him aside and mentored him. Priscilla and Acquila invested their lives in a good man and helped him become better.
One of the unique opportunities before the modern church is the chance to have older couples mentor young couples and newlyweds. If you’ve been married 20 years or more you have a lot to offer young couples who are just starting out. Have a young couple in your home or take them to dinner. Help them understand that marriage is worthwhile and that difficulties can be overcome with faith and sweat equity.
The final mention of Acquila and Priscilla is found in the last chapter of Romans. In verses 3-5, Paul commended them for their lives together in ministry. A careful reader will note that they have returned to Rome after their eviction by Claudius. Paul noted that they had risked their lives for him. He also mentioned their reputation throughout all of the Gentile churches. He greeted them and the church that met in their homes.
So what is the value of all of this togetherness?
Serving together reminds us that marriage is more than striving to make our spouses happy or making money so we can retire or even having and raising children. Marriage is a living picture of Christ and his church.
Serving together keeps married couples focused on eternally significant things. It helps us keep life in perspective. You probably caught the fact that two of the four passages mention that Acquila and Priscilla expressed hospitality and used their house as a place of ministry. What could happen if we saw our houses as outposts for ministry and missions? How could you use your home as an opportunity to reach out?
Serving together causes spouses to challenge each other spiritually. When you serve together you are more likely to stay together spiritually than if one serves and the other does not. If you’re frustrated with your spouse’s tempo of spiritual growth, challenge him or her by inviting him or her to serve with you. You’ll be glad you did!