Women in the Bible

This devotional is written by Alina Speller. I aspire to be described as "the relentless optimist who never felt too old", although there are many days when even I forget this phrase.

Acts 18

In Corinth

18 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'

7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshipper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptised.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: 'Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.' 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. 13 'This man,' they charged, 'is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.'

14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, 'If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanour or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law - settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.' 16 So he drove them off. 17 Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.

Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos

18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, 'I will come back if it is God's will.' Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.

23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and travelled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour[a] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 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.

27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.


Reflection

About six months ago, my daily Bible reading was 1 Timothy 2:1-15. I even messaged it to my husband, Marcus, saying the 1st part is inspiring, but the second part I must ponder upon as it is a very hard read, as a woman. "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet." (1Timothy 2:11-12) I left it at that, and prayed for some understanding. Over the years I have found that whenever I feel this way, I should bring my questioning, my feeling of unjustness to God and ask for understanding. I felt being assigned to write about this passage was the answer. In the Bible explanations that I read about Priscilla, the Timothy verse often came up as well, showing that the way Paul writes about Priscilla is in a way where he values her leadership. The explanations point out that Priscilla and Aquila were a church leading team. That they are always mentioned together, and 5 of the 6 times that they are mentioned, Priscilla's name comes before Aquila, indicating that she was the senior partner in the ministry team. And on top of that, in this passage Priscilla and Aquila gently "invited [Apollos] to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately."(Acts 18:26) Apollos was a "learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John." (Acts 24-25) Yet Priscilla's and Aquila's role was to explain even to this well-versed man the way of God. Indeed this passage is not a passage that cancels out the other passage, but it does give insight that maybe the Timothy letter is written specifically to a certain Church and not necessarily to all people. Priscilla and Aquila were highly regarded by Paul, both of them. They are flexible for God, who move when they feel God tells them to move, who are hospitable and who have allowed their home to be a Church for other believers. They lived by serving the need. I urge us all to read the Bible with the expectation that God wants us to understand it, fully. That God wants to speak to us, and if you ever come to a passage that causes inner conflict, don't bury it, bring it to God and ask for understanding. And if you are led by the spirit to explain the way of God, then feel free to do so, but with His wisdom.

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