Today we take a look at Priscilla, one of three women we need to pause to consider when it comes to our series about women in ministry. What we discover is a woman who had significant influence and ministry in the earliest Christian movement.
How often have you heard about Priscilla? Does her “role” provide a “role model” for women in your church? Can women do in your church what she did in the early churches in Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus?
First, here is the NT evidence: Acts 18:2-3, 18-19, 24-26; Rom 16:3-5; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19
Second, I offer a brief sketch of her Life: From Rome (Italy; Acts 18:2), kicked out of Rome by Claudius (49 AD) over the “Chrestus” affair, and relocated to Corinth where they met Paul and worked with him (18:3). They traveled with Paul to Ephesus and there they met and instructed Apollos (18:24-26); mentioned in Paul’s letter back to Corinth (1 Cor 16:19). They returned to Rome (54 AD order rescinded) where they established a household/church (Rom 16:3-5). Later back in Ephesus (cf. 2 Tim 4:19)?
Third, we need to consider this: Priscilla is sometimes “first“. Notice these refs: Acts 18:18, 19, 26; Rom 16:3; 2 Tim 4:19; but cf. 1 Cor 16:19. Most would argue that she had a more defined leadership role indicated in this name order.
Fourth, Paul says she is his Co-worker : Who are the other co-workers? Urbanus and Timothy: Rom 16:19, 21; Apollos: 1 Cor 3:9; Titus: 2 Cor 8:23; Epaphroditus: Phil 2:25; Euodia, Syntyche, Clement: Phil 4:2-3; Timothy: 1 Thess 3:2; Philemon: Phm 1; Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke: Phm 24
Fifth, Priscilla (with Aquilla) is Courageous: “they risked their lives for me: (Rom 16:4) probably by being a patron for Paul and the gospel.
Sixth, consider that she is clearly Theologically trained and gifted for teaching: Acts 18:26: “more accurately” that is, with greater Christian clarity. This led Apollos being a mighty preacher himself (18:27-28). Observe: Priscilla is mentioned first in this instruction.
What were they? I suggest seventh that they were a missional couple? Or, an ecclesial couple? She’s like Mary and not like Martha she¹s in the front room for the conversation and
Now a little provocative theory some propose: Did Priscilla write Hebrews? (I doubt it.)
1. Roman origins: Heb 13:7, 17, 24
2. Priscilla is Roman, tradition has it that she was from a noble family, she was intelligent, and she was a messianic teacher.
3. Baptism of Acts 18 and Heb 6:1-3.
4. Feminine themes: parent-child relationships, education, women as models (11:11, 31, 35).
5. Dropping of name from letter indicates “no need to stir things up” by saying a woman wrote it?
6. Connected both to Paul and Timothy.