Priscilla and Aquila
Timothy Culture Training
* Please use these resources to help prepare for your own missions trips and teams. They are free to everyone.
We believe after looking at the life of Priscilla and Aquila you will want to show similar qualities in your own life. This couple provides a great picture of how we can connect with missionaries and serve them. Imagine being business partners with the Apostle Paul and also working side by side with him to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the far reaches of the world. We don’t have a ton of stories in the Bible about this husband and wife, but what we do have provides some simple ways to encourage and serve missions through relationships. We see Priscilla and Aquila modeling aspects of partnership and hospitality.
Let’s look at their story together and see what the Lord might want us to learn from their example.
Section 1 – Principles
First a few questions to help clarify what you understand these Priscilla and Aquila principles to mean. We will also ask you to return to these questions after going through this discussion/study and see if you look at each quality in a different way as a result of what you discover about this early Church couple.
- What is partnership?
- What usually makes partnership a true challenge?
- What does it mean to show hospitality?
- How is hospitality displayed in practical ways?
Section 2 – Passages
Take some time to read through each of these passages about Priscilla and Aquila and consider the
corresponding questions as you read. Write down or share your answers after reading each passage
through a few times.
Read Acts 18:1-8
Ask: What is important here about Apostle Paul’s relationship with Priscilla and Aquila?
Ask: What seems unique about this description of these two in relation to Paul compared to other
people we read about Paul meeting on his journeys.
Read Acts 18:18-23
Ask: What evidence do you see here that Priscilla and Aquila have a special place in Paul’s heart and
Ask: Why do you think Paul saw these two as good potential mission trip partners?
Read Acts 18:24-28
Ask: What role do you see Priscilla and Aquila filling in this part of their story?
Ask: What past experiences together do you think established this kind of trusting relationship between
Paul and this married couple?
Section 3 – Personal
This section is designed to give you an opportunity to see what the Lord is showing you personally in the
lives of Priscilla and Aquila.
- As you have been reading the story of this couple are there any people in your life who have come to mind that have modeled this kind of partnership to you?
- Any stories that you can share when you have seen open hospitality lived out by a friend or family member in a similar way to Priscilla and Aquila?
raising effort that would help them fund their ministry and expand their impact.
Return to our initial questions under Section 1- Principles and see if you would answer those any differently. Use the space below to highlight your change in perspective on those questions.
Section 4 – People
This video will give you a quick glimpse into the life of someone living out these principles in our world today. We might not be able to sit down and have coffee with this couple, but we can look for ways their attitudes and priorities are lived out around us today in the lives and ministries of others. Please watch this short interview and then answer a few questions about what you have seen.
WATCH Short Video on Small World Connections SWC YouTube Channel (11 minutes)
YouTube video titled: Small World Connections Timothy Culture Training – John’s Story (video 3)
- In what ways does the story from the video interview remind you of the relationship Apostle Paul had with Priscilla and Aquila?
- In what particular ways do you see both partnership and hospitality lived out in John’s story about the CrossWord Café Youth Center and Small World Connections?
- As you think about both the story from the Bible and the story from the video, why do you think it is so rare to hear stories like this?
Section 5 – Practical Points
In this last section we will share a few points of intersection that we see between the story of Priscilla and Aquila and the goal we have to help connect a Timothy culture in the Church. In addition to these points we will give some practical ways to apply these in the context of our ministry with Small World Connections and other mission efforts.
Priscilla and Aquila worked side by side with Paul
In the Book of Acts we are introduced to Priscilla and Aquila. This married couple is described in Acts 18:1-8 and we see that their background gives them an immediate connection with the Apostle Paul. As Paul meets them for the first time in v.2 we are told that they along with other Jews had been run out of Rome by the Emperor Claudius. Now that they were living in Corinth after being deported, they are running their own business making tents. It is important to notice their willingness to share their business and livelihood with Paul who was also a tent maker. The use of their skill at this business is part of how God provided for Paul and allowed him to be able to continue in ministry in that city. Not only did Paul work with them, but in v. 3 we also see that they opened their home and provided him with a place to live.
- Does the willingness of Priscilla and Aquila to partner with and provide for Paul surprise you?
- Do you think this kind of hospitality and partnership would stand out in the Church today and if so why?
Priscilla and Aquila joined Paul’s mission team
After a fruitful and challenging time of ministry in Corinth, we see in Acts 18:18-23 that Paul begins to prepare for the next leg of his missionary journey. We are told in v.18 that as he sets sail for Syria Paul takes his friends and business partners Priscilla and Aquila along as part of his team. This seems like a great opportunity for them to continue to work side by side with Paul, but interestingly they are not actually with him for long. Once they hit the port at Ephesus, they are left there while Paul goes on to several other locations. We are not told exactly why he did not stay there long, but it does stand out that he went on alone and left his team there awaiting his return. Although Paul does promise in v.21 to come back that way if God allows, it seems very clear that he plans on the ministry in Ephesus being handled by the other members of his mission team.
- When you think about this situation for Priscilla and Aquila, how do you imagine you would feel being left in Ephesus as Paul goes on to other locations?
- Why do you think Paul decided to leave his friends in Ephesus?
Priscilla and Aquila received a special assignment
Up to this point in the story of Priscilla and Aquila we have not mentioned the Holy Spirit being involved directly in their ministry. However, as we look at this next section of scripture that focuses on the time they spent in Ephesus while Apostle Paul was away, it is striking that God’s Spirit is directly involved in guiding their steps and speaking through them. We read about their impact on the early Church in Acts 18:24-28 where the story takes a surprising turn. It would be easy to think of Priscilla and Aquila as simply supporters of Paul or his friends who help him keep going so that he can do the teaching and the preaching. This part of the story however shows another side of how ministry was happening through their involvement on this mission team. As they remained behind in Ephesus with the rest of the missionary travel team they heard a man named Apollos preaching about Jesus. He was a Jew who had been taught about Jesus, but it doesn’t take Priscilla and Aquila long to realize that in his preaching he was only focusing on the repentance of sin as had been taught by John the Baptist. In v. 26 we read that the couple took Apollos aside and gently explained more of what Jesus had done and how He was the true Messiah. We know from other places in scripture that Apollos goes on to have a major impact around the Roman world by leading many to faith in Christ. We are not sure exactly what he was getting wrong in his teaching, but we are sure that the Holy Spirit prompted Priscilla and Aquila to help him get his message right. We find out in v. 27 that as Apollos goes on to preach the true Gospel he had great impact on those who believed by the grace of God. We see Priscilla and Aquila do what Paul would surely have done if He had been there at the time. It is precisely because his friends had shown him such sincere hospitality and become partners with him in both business and ministry that he could leave them there with confidence that they would represent Christ in the same way he would. This seems very similar to the time when Jesus told his disciples in John 16 that it was a good thing that He was going away because then the Holy Spirit would come and accomplish all that He wanted to do through each of them as they were guided into all truth. Another way to say that would be that when Jesus was away they would each be able to represent Him as the Holy Spirit guided them and used them to share God’s message of salvation.
- Does this story encourage you to be more involved in hospitality and partnership with missionaries and if so why?
- In what ways do you think Priscilla and Aquila showing deep hospitality and committed partnership prepared them to have this important impact on the early Church?
Priscilla and Aquila – Hospitality and Partnership Relationship Application Opportunities:
a. Priscilla and Aquila were trusted members of Paul’s ministry team at least in part because they had fully partnered for his well-being and were extremely hospitable in sharing generously from their own blessings. One way to start practicing these same attributes would be to open your home or share other physical resources that you have with visiting missionaries. You could ask your pastor if any missionaries might be visiting soon and offer to host them at your home while they are in the area.
b. Following that or if that idea does not work out you could organize a church rummage sale and commit the proceeds to a specific ministry or missionary family.
c. If you are able to visit with a missionary (either face to face or online) you could ask them what they are dreaming about for their ministry and commit to praying for that specific dream to become a reality.
d. Instead of keeping their tent making business just as a way provide for their own needs, Priscilla and Aquila were ready to share their source of income with Paul. Once you have established a relationship and vision for how you want to help a missionary, you could partner with them by pursuing a business or fund