He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. – Acts 18:26 NIV
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Apollos was a Christian Jew from Alexandria and a contemporary of the Apostle Paul, who played a very significant role in the development of the church in Corinth and Ephesus. The Bible described him as a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures who had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately. What a great credential, one that the Bible testified to except that all these credentials had a great limitation. The same Bible says, “he knew only the baptism of John”.
It was with all these qualities, positive and negative, that he preached the Word in the synagogue with a Christian couple named Priscilla and Aquila in attendance. They must have been impressed with his delivery but also noticed some misrepresentations in his ministration and so took it upon themselves to inform him more adequately on the way of God. In the scripture that is the foundation text of today’s devotional, the bible says the couple noticed the boldness with which he preached the Word and after the additional teaching that he got from this couple, he was better equipped to play a greater role amongst the brethren. Armed with an introductory letter, possibly containing a testimonial of the new person that he had become because of the additional knowledge, he travelled to Achaia where he was found to be of great help to the believers there – Acts 18:27-28.
Before meeting with this couple and since he was not aware of any other baptism outside the one that he had been thought, he never felt anything was lacking in the knowledge he possessed and with the confidence he had in his instructors and in himself, he debated issues with other preachers and Apostles and there is no doubt that they saw one another as partners in the work of the ministry until the issue related to baptism came up. The disagreement on this issue was sufficient to create a division between them and the entire church in Corinth which the Apostle Paul had to address when he wrote his first letter to them. In that letter, he had appealed to them not to allow divisions amongst them, after all both Apollos and himself were mere messengers of the same master, who is the Almighty God and there was no way the two messengers can have any message different from what their master had sent them – 1Cor. 3:1-22. Such divisions were however expected, considering the fiery nature of both men and the conviction with which they implemented their Calling. Two great apostles of the Word who ordinarily should be complimenting one another had suddenly become like enemies. This is not because of the activities of negative spiritual forces but the knowledge deficit that existed in one of them.
Similar situation is in existence amongst Christians today and as expected, has created divides in Christendom. Christianity today is fading fast, not because of attacks from other religious groups or the divisive activities of the devil but because Christian leaders are struggling for supremacy for who has the true knowledge and interpretation of the scriptures. Christians have become enemies of one another because of the interpretation that their leaders have professed to have received from the Lord. Like Apollos, they are very fluent in communications, and preach the Word effectively such that they are able to convince many that their interpretation of the Word is the authentic and superior one, when compared to any other. The result is a divided church that is so decimated and is ineffective to fight Satan and his allies.
It took the intervention of a couple who probably did not belong to the clergy group to call in Apollos and explain the Way better to him, for him to realise that he had a knowledge deficit. By this time, several people who had followed his version of the Word had been misled. Thank God for His intervention in the life of Apollos through this couple but there is no assurance that all the people that he had misled also had this opportunity.
Many church leaders today actually need their own Priscilla and Aquila to save not only them, but several of their followers from the destruction that inadequate information is leading them to. The difference between success and failure most times is not about what one knows but what one does not know. Christians including their leaders need to always leave a space for the possibility that the knowledge they have can still be improved upon. That leaves open to them at all times the opportunity to perfect what they already know.
Everyone, leaders or followers are expected to be growing as no one is perfect in knowledge. This implies that all will constantly be refreshed with new knowledge on a regular basis if they are to experience growth, a knowledge that can change completely their perception of an issue and the source of that change can be one that is most unlikely or unexpected. No matter how much you think you know, always remain open to sincerely rating the knowledge you have with every standard that you come across as there may be a reason to want to adjust your position based on the new knowledge. That way you can prevent not only yourself, but people that may see you as a mentor from becoming victims of incomplete knowledge. May God continue to enrich us all with knowledge in Jesus name. Amen.