Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 16

Paulís working relationship with Apollos

1 Corinthians 16:12

Apollos worked with Paul even as Timothy did (16:10-11). However, there was an important difference in their working relationship. Timothy worked under Paulís authority; in other words, Paul was responsible for Timothy. So, for example, Paul could decide where to send Timothy.

On the other hand, Apollos made his own decisions about where God was sending him. He was not responsible to Paul or to any other person; he was only responsible to God. Paul did not set up this arrangement. He tried not to work in places where other men were loyally working for God (2 Corinthians 10:16). However, when Paul entered these regions, he knew nothing about Apollos. Apollos had already been working for God in the regions where Paul now was, for over 20 years.

Apollos originally came from Alexandria in North Africa. It seems that he went from there to Israel. He heard John, called the Baptist, and he recognised the importance of Johnís message. Apollos then travelled to several other countries, where he taught people accurately from the Bible.

At that time, Apollos still did not understand clearly about Jesus. As soon as he did, he began to work with the other Christians (Acts 18:24-28). He first established a small church in Ephesus, which Paul later led. Then Apollos became the leader of the church in Corinth, which Paul had established. We do not know how often Paul and Apollos actually met. However, Paulís words in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 shows how much they respected each other.

Often today, church leaders in different churches become angry or jealous of each otherís work. Sometimes they even try to oppose each other. That should not happen. We can learn much from Paulís working relationship with Apollos.

Next part: Be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.