Celebrating the Women of Scripture: Priscilla

We are continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month by looking at influential women in scripture.

In our last post, we took a look at Junia, a prominent woman in the early church. In that same chapter (Romans 16), Paul mentions another female church leader, Priscilla. We are first introduced to Priscilla and her husband Aquila in Acts 18. They had to flee Rome when Claudius ordered Jews to leave. It’s not clear if the two were followers of Jesus before they met Paul. But later in Acts, we see that they traveled to Syria with Paul. Paul stayed with them in their home and helped them learn more about following Jesus.

Priscilla was key to helping Apollos, a scholar, learn more about Christ. In Acts 18 we read:

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He 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. 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. 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. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.

“St Paul at Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla” by Jan Sadeler, © The Trustees of the British Museum

Apollos went on to be a faithful missionary, proving that Jesus was the Messiah. His faith was greatly formed by the patient teaching of Priscilla and her husband, who helped him to fully understand God. Later, the couple established a church in their home.

Scripture describes Priscilla as an equal to her husband. She works in the family business, she disciples new believers, and she establishes a church in their home.

While Scripture is silent on how Priscilla died (the last mention of her is in 2 Timothy 4:19), Church tradition teaches that she and Aquila were martyred for their faith.

What women have supported you in your leadership? Who are the faithful friends that have supported your Christian journey the way Priscilla and Aquila supported Paul? Who taught you about Jesus the way that Priscilla taught Apollos?

Kendall Potter
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