APOLLOS

Over the last two or three hundred years of the pre-Christian era, a strong community of Jewish biblical scholars had grown up in Alexandria in Egypt. Apollos came from this background. He had a detailed knowledge of Old Testament Scriptures concerning the Messiah and became a believer in Jesus. When Apollos visited the newly established Christian community in Ephesus, it became clear that he lacked an understanding of some important Christian teachings. But he learnt from the fuller instruction that Priscilla and Aquila gave him, and was of considerable help in teaching the Ephesian church.

When he decided to move across to Corinth, the Ephesian Christians wrote to the Christians in Corinth to recommend him to them as a worthy teacher (Acts 18:24-28). Foolishly, the immature Corinthian Christians made favourites of different teachers who had helped them, and soon there was tension between various groups in the church. Among these groups was a proApollos faction and a pro-Paul faction (1 Cor 1:11-12).

Paul condemned this formation of factions. He pointed out that he and Apollos were not in competition, but worked in cooperation. They were fellow servants of God (1 Cor 3:4-9). No doubt Apollos likewise was opposed to the Corinthians’ creation of factions. This was probably the reason why, after leaving Corinth, he thought it best not to return for a while, in spite of Paul’s enthusiastic urging (1 Cor 16:12). Apollos must have continued as a travelling Christian preacher for many years. Towards the end of Paul’s life, when Apollos visited Titus in Crete, Paul urged Titus to welcome him and to give him all possible help in his service for God. Apollos may even have been the person who carried Paul’s letter to Titus (Titus 3:13; cf. 1:5).

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