Do you know someone like Apollos? Though not a major character in the New Testament, Apollos was an impressive fellow. From his story we can learn how to respond to others who have the potential to be fruitful followers of Christ. Acts 18:24 says, “Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.” Because he grew up in Alexandria, an intellectual center in North Africa, Apollos had the opportunity to receive an outstanding education. Someone had introduced him to the Old Testament and to the Messiah. “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” (v. 25). Apollos faithfully taught the truth he knew, but his message was incomplete. Evidently he didn’t know the full story about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. He was acquainted with the preaching of John the Baptist, but like some other disciples in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7), he may not have realized that believers receive the Holy Spirit when they are baptized in Jesus’ name. You and I rub shoulders on a regular basis with people like Apollos. They are hungry to know the Lord; they hold the Scriptures in high regard; they already may be involved in teaching others; but they have missed some key biblical teachings. How can we help them? First, we should empathize with them. We all have something in common with Apollos, because we all have room to learn and grow. Can anyone claim such thorough knowledge of God that we need no more instruction? Next, we should meet with them privately. “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” (Acts 18:26). They noticed some deficiencies in his understanding of the gospel, but they didn’t scold him in front of the congregation. They didn’t question his sincerity or rebuke him as a false teacher. Instead, they practiced hospitality and invited him to their home. In this private setting, Priscilla and Aquila could speak freely without interruption and Apollos could ask questions without embarrassment. They probably started with the message of John the Baptist and went on to explain the rest of Jesus’ story. Further, when we see our friends growing in their knowledge and skill, we should boost and encourage them. “When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him” (v. 27). The Lord deepened Apollos’ message, then broadened his influence. Apollos was relatively unknown and he needed someone to vouch for him, so his friends wrote a letter of recommendation urging the church to receive him warmly. Are there any up-and-coming young leaders who need you to open a door for them and give them a chance to serve? Finally, watch God use them. “On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ” (vv. 27, 28). A gifted thinker and an eloquent spokesman for Christ, Apollos went on to become a leader in the early church, respected as a coworker of the apostle Paul. But this wouldn’t have happened if others had not mentored him and introduced him to the larger fellowship of the church. Later Paul wrote, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Gospel seeds planted and nurtured in Apollos’ heart bore much fruit. May God help us to encourage and mentor those teachable souls who cross our paths—flawed and unpolished, but filled with potential to change the world.
Comments: no replies