Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 16

Aquila and Prisca: Jews who helped the Gentile churches

Romans 16:4

All the churches of the Gentiles should be grateful to Prisca and Aquila, says Paul. Paul was writing about 25 or 30 years after Christís death. At that time, the churches with the largest number of Gentile Christians were probably those at Rome, Corinth and Ephesus.

The Gentiles are people who are not Jews; the Jews are Israelís people. Acts 18:2 tells us that Aquila and his wife Prisca were Jews. They assisted Paul when he established the important churches for Gentile Christians in Corinth and Ephesus. However, they chose not to join the churches with many members who were Gentiles in Ephesus and Rome (1 Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:5). Instead, they established small churches in their own home, which were probably for Jewish Christians.

Paul had opposed Christians, including Peter, when they separated themselves from the Gentile Christians at Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14). So, we may ask how Paul could approve so strongly of Aquila and Prisca. The answer seems to be that Aquila and Prisca allowed God to guide them in these matters. They were doing what God wanted. So, they looked after the Jewish Christians and, at the same time, they provided a home and work for Paul (Acts 18:1-3). In that way, Aquila and Prisca protected Paul in Corinth, and perhaps in Ephesus too. It was a dangerous thing to do, because Paul had many enemies.

The effect was that Paul could stay in both Corinth and Ephesus for many months. In other places, Paul could only remain for a few days until his enemies forced him to leave. However, in those two cities, Paul had the time to establish strong churches for the Gentiles.

We do not know whether Aquila and Prisca ever spoke about Christ to the Gentiles. However, they did care about the Gentile churches that Paul had established. After Paul left Corinth, they even arranged for Apollos to lead the church there (Acts 18:27-28).

Next part: How churches begin in new regions (Romans 16:5)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.