by John Thomas Lowe
Apollos-A Shortened Version Of Apollonius. Part 2
• He was a Hellenized Jewish Christian who hailed from Alexandria, the second-largest city in the Roman Empire.
• He is introduced in Acts 18:24-25, which states that he came to Ephesus. It probably was around 52-54 C.E.
• Apollos was a learned man and an eloquent speaker. He may have been proficient in teaching "wisdom" in the allegorical style of Philo, who was a Jewish philosopher living in Alexandria and a great intellectual teacher.
• Apollos came from an environment conducive to studying and learning the Scriptures. Alexandria had a library with over half a million scrolls.
• Apollos might have been a commercial traveler who had a trade, yet he likely came to Ephesus to do mission work.
• It says that he taught about Jesus accurately but that he only knew the baptism of John and nothing about the salvation of Christ.
• He spoke boldly in the synagogue, just as the disciples had done.
• He met Priscilla and Aquila, who heard him preaching and teaching there. Nevertheless, when his information fell short, they thoroughly instructed him.
• They corrected his incomplete knowledge of Christian doctrine.
• To his credit, Apollos was very teachable and willing to learn.
• He did not, however, need to be re-baptized.
• Having this correct information only increased his fervor.
• It says he was "of great help to those who by grace had believed." (See Acts 18:27 ff)
• His Alexandrian education stood him in good stead.
• He had a unique talent for debate, and "he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."
• He became very popular in Ephesus, but he wanted to move forward and go to Corinth. He left just before Paul arrived in Ephesus.
• The brothers in Ephesus wrote letters of introduction for the Corinthian Church.
• We read in I Corinthians that he was "a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the scriptures, having been instructed in the way of the Lord."
• He learned his lessons well.
• Nonetheless, after he left Corinth, Chloe's people told Paul that there were quarrels in the Corinthian Church.
• People were lining up behind their favorite leaders.
• Some chose to follow Apollos, others Cephas, Paul, or Christ.
• Scholars would love to know what is meant by or represented by the "Christ" group. Was this perhaps a fourth group comprised of those who refused to join the fray? Did they reject all the leaders? No one knows, but it indeed indicates that smaller groups existed.
• There is reason to consider these groups in terms of their social implications.
• Since Apollos hailed from Alexandria, he is thought to have been well-versed in the arts of eloquence and argument. As a learned man, he would be the sort of leader a cultured, wealthy individual might want to follow.
• Cephas has traditionally been aligned with the Jewish Christians and could totally depart from their Jewish heritage.
• While making himself "all things to everyone," Paul was likely favored by the gentiles.
• In any event, now there are divisions, and people are quarreling, shouting at each other, claiming to belong to separate leaders. Paul wants them to be "knit together" -- not to be clones of each other, but to share the same fundamental convictions and be together in the community's goals.
• He does not suggest that one is "right" and the others are "wrong" but asks that they each bring what they have to further the good of the community.
• In 1 Corinthians 3-4, Paul is adamant that Apollos are on the same page. Both are "servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries." They are both engaged in building up the Church.
• The fourth-century Jerome stated that Apollos was so unhappy with the divisions at Corinth that he retired to Crete, where he lived until the schisms were healed.
• Only then did he return to the city to become its bishop.
• Other traditions have him living in Duras or Iconium or Caesarea.
• In the Epistle to Titus, he is carrying a letter to Crete.
• Some scholars have speculated that Apollos might have been the author of Hebrews. (Others think it was Barnabas.)
• Either way, there are no known texts written by Apollos.
• He is considered a saint in several Christian churches.
• We are first introduced to Apollos in (Acts 18:24-26). He is described as a Jew who was an eloquent speaker and knew the Scriptures well. Being someone who was taught the way of the Lord, he taught others with an enthusiastic spirit. His teachings were accurate about Jesus, although he only knew about John's baptism.
• When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they explained to him the way of God more adequately. After this, his Christian brothers and sisters in Ephesus encouraged Apollos to travel to the believers in Achaia. He proved to help them by refuting the Jews with powerful arguments publicly, explaining to them that Jesus was Christ. (Acts 18:27-28)
• Apollos Is Our Leader
• Apollos would eventually become a significant figure among Christians in Corinth. Some members of the Corinthian Church had begun to argue among each other about whom they followed as their spiritual leader. Some said they followed Paul, while others followed Apollos, Peter, or Christ (1 Corinthians 1:12). When the Apostle Paul was made aware of this, he rebuked the Corinthians, telling them there should be no divisions in the Church.
• Paul continued by telling them that he and Apollos were only servants of God who did the work that the Lord gave them. He said I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6). They were instructed not to boast about human leaders anymore (1 Corinthians 3:21).
• His Final Appearance
• In his final appearance in the Bible, Apollos is mentioned in a letter from Paul to Titus. Paul instructs Titus to do everything he can to help Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need (Titus 3:13). The great teacher had continued to be a loyal friend and help to Paul.
• The Author Of Hebrews?
• The author of Hebrews is unknown, but most scholars believe it to be Paul. For those who argue against Paul's authorship, Apollos is one of the other early Christians proposed to be the Hebrew author.
• What Happened To Apollos?
• The Bible does not say what happened to Apollos. Although not a biblical fact, there is a tradition that says he eventually returned to Corinth and became one of the elders of the Church there.
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