Acts 18:1–4, 18–21, 24–28
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PRAYER (contemporary language)
This commemoration appears in Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018.
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Last updated: 17 May 2019
PRISCILLA & AQUILA
CO-WORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
Priscilla and Aquila were apparently in Rome when Paul wrote to that congregation, and in Ephesus with Timothy when Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians from Ephesus, he joined their greetings with his own. Clearly they were dear to Paul, and were earnest and effective in spreading the Good News of Christ and His saving work. Altogether, Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned six times in the New Testament (Acts 18:2,18,26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19), and the reader will note that in the odd-numbered mentions, Aquila's name comes first, while in the even-numbered mentions, Priscilla's comes first, as if to emphasize that they are being mentioned on equal terms.
In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul writes: "I do not permit a woman to instruct or command a man." Jerome, writing over 3 centuries later, mentions a woman he knew, the Lady Paula, who was well equipped to discuss theology and the Scriptures, but who, in discussions with men, instead of simply saying what she thought, would innocently remark, "You know, that reminds me of something I once heard a man say -- his opinion was that...." Thus, she avoided the appearance of being a woman teaching a man, and yet got her point across. Now the Greek GYNE can mean either "woman" or "wife", and the Greek ANER (ANDRO-) can mean either "man" or "husband". Thus Paul may have meant, "I do not permit a wife to teach or command her husband." In interpreting his meaning, it is perhaps worth noting that we are told that Priscilla and Aquila, acting jointly, instructed Apollos in the Gospel, and there is no hint in the text that Aquila did all the talking while Priscilla hovered in the background and kept them supplied with sandwiches and coffee.
(Note: "Priscilla" is the diminutive form of "Prisca", as "Johnny" is the diminutive form of "John". Literally, it means "little Prisca." Diminutives are more common in many foreign languages (Latin, Spanish, Russian, Greek) than in English. They can denote affection, or distinguish from an older person, especially a relative, with the same name.)