24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.
26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
As the second half of Acts highlights the Gospel going out to all of the gentiles, you get can’t much more Greek than Apollos. He was from Alexandria, which was a city of classical thinking that prided itself on Greek history. His name was based on Apollo, the Greek god of the Sun that brought health and healing.
But he was Jewish and knew the scriptures, and taught all about — record scratch sound — Jesus from the teachings of John the Baptist.
Apollos might not even know that Jesus was dead! Whatever it was he was teaching, it was about Jesus the Messiah and he was using the Old Testament to prove it.
Remember when Paul went to the little podunk town of Berea? He was running from an angry Thessalonican mob and hid out there for a few weeks. It says the Bereans believed in Jesus because they searched the scriptures to see if it was true. They didn’t have a New Testament! They were searching the Old Testament, Genesis through Malachi (though it was in a different order) to see proof that Jesus was the Messiah, and they found it!
Now Apollos was speaking boldly just from what he learned from John the Baptist. As we’ll see in a few days, he didn’t know a thing about the Holy Spirit. But, many people came to believe in Jesus.
He completed his training under Priscilla and Aquila (interesting Luke names the woman first, and then the man!) and then he moved on from Ephesus.
Finally, we have to talk about where he was. Ephesus! Yes, as in THE EPHESUS. Are you telling me that the church of Ephesus was founded on teaching from a Greek that didn’t even know about the Holy Spirit? Yes, my friends. What would go on to be the Apostle Paul’s favorite church and the inspiration and hub for the best teaching of the New Testament church was founded on teaching based on the Old Testament and possibly lacked the whole idea of the resurrection.
So the next time you have a chance to share your faith in Jesus. Or if you get to talk to read the Old Testament and wonder what the point of it is, remember old Sunny Boy Apollos. He started the Church of Ephesus with boldness and only half a clue of the full Gospel message. The Holy Spirit helps us whether we know it or not. I think we’ll be alright.
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