Apollos: The Articulate Alexanderian

Apollos comes before us as an educated, noble, eloquent man (Acts 18:24). Because he was from Alexandria, it is assumed he received his education in that center of learning. He is a proactive, efficient worker, enthusiastic, and taught the Word of God accurately. Yet with all his advantages, he was limited in his knowledge of Jesus Christ. He could teach others only what he had learned from John the Baptist (v. 25).

Apollos serves the Lord Jesus in a number of places. We first hear of Apollos in Ephesus (c52-53 AD), boldly preaching in the synagogue there (v. 26). The word “boldly” means “mighty; powerful, logical, and forcefully.” It is probable Apollos learned the art of debate during his Alexandrian educational process.

It is apparent Apollos had a teachable spirit, for he is willing to learn more about Jesus Christ from others. He continues his spiritual education under Aquila and Priscilla (v. 26). However, a great mind and a good education will not make one a great man. Apollos becomes increasingly effective as a teacher by furthering his personal knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Apollos leaves Ephesus for the Roman province of Achaia in Greece (v. 27). He refutes the Jews and proves Jesus is the Messiah (v. 28). From there he travels to Corinth, the capital of Achaia, watering the “seeds” of the Gospel (I Cor.3:6).

Due in part to their spiritual immaturity (I Cor. 3:1-4), a few of the Corinthian Believers had begun to identify strongly with Paul, others with Peter, and some to Apollos. But there is no indication any of these ministers initiated or accepted such fixations. Paul rebukes these followers for their carnality (v. 3). The Greek word “carnal” is sarkikos, and means “that which pertains to the flesh, unspiritual, and worldly.” In contemporary Christianity, this applies to those who are enamored by a famous preacher or teacher and allow themselves to become preoccupied with a human personality rather than on the Person of Christ Jesus. 

The last mention of Apollos regards a ministry trip he undertakes to Crete (Titus 3:13). Paul asks Titus to “speed Zenas and Apollos on their way” and provide what they may need for their ministry.

Apollos is called a brother and fellow-laborer with Paul and he remains active with him. Apollos is not seen as a church planter, but as an instructor. His fervency of spirit worked in tandem with His teaching giftedness.

Maxim of the Moment

I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. - George Burns