Acts 18:24-28 - The Inspired Ministry of Apollos
Welcome to our Bible Study today! We are studying Spiritual Applications from the Books of Acts. Today, based on Acts 18:24-28 as our text, we will speak about "The Inspired Ministry of Apollos." The main point of this story is the even the teachers in the church must keep on learning more about God and His Word. In connection with this main point, several points about the ministry of Apollos may be noted.
1. Apollos was Highly Qualified to be a Minister.
Apollos was a Jewish believer from Alexandria. The city of Alexandria had been founded by Alexander the Great. There was a lot of opportunity for education and training in this city. Apollos benefited from this.
Luke says that Apollos was an "eloquent man." The English word "eloquent" is one possible translation of the Greek word that Luke uses. That word is logios. It can mean either "eloquent" or "educated," "skilled in speech" or "skilled in knowledge." It can also mean that Apollos was a man of "reason or ideas." So Apollos obviously had a strong set of general qualifications for ministry.
Even more important, Luke tells us that Apollos was "mighty in the Scriptures" and "instructed in the way of the Lord." Besides being generally qualified, Apollos was specifically prepared for Gospel ministry. Apparently, the Gospel had already been preached in Alexandria.
God uses whom He chooses. Some ministers have greater preparation than others. Whatever background and preparation we have, God will use for His glory. After all, any qualifications we have area gifts of God to us and to the church.
2. Apollos was Fervent in Spirit.
There was another important aspect to the ministry of Apollos. He was fervent in spirit as he presented the Gospel. By "in spirit" does Luke refer to the spirit of Apollos or the Holy Spirit? Either view is entirely possible. My own view is that the human spirit of Apollos was inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Apollos spoke out "boldly" in the synagogues. This description also supports the idea that Apollos was inspired of the Spirit. Not only was Apollos trained and informed, he was empowered by the Spirit also.
The empowerment of the Spirit is absolutely essential for effective Gospel ministry. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1:5) "for our gospel did not come to you in world only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." When we speak, the Holy Spirit powerfully persuades people to turn to Christ.
3. Apollos Needed More Instruction.
Luke clearly states that Apollos "was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus." All the things that Apollos taught, he taught accurately. He did not reach beyond his knowledge to say things that were inaccurate. However, there was a shortcoming in the preaching of Apollos. He was "acquainted only with the baptism of John." The clear implication is that he did not know about the baptism in the name of Jesus.
When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos, "they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." Luke does not tell us what they taught Apollos, but one point seems obvious. Because Apollos knew only the baptism of John, it is natural to assume that they taught him about baptism in the name of Jesus.
It is important for all of us who serve the Lord, that there is always more to learn. We must keep on studying the Word and learning more all of our lives. According to Paul, there is a difference (I Corinthians 3:2) between "milk" and "solid food." The milk is the elementary form of the gospel. The "solid food" is not a different gospel, but rather the more developed form of it. Let us keep on "going deeper" inn God!
4. Apollos Powerfully Preached the Gospel.
After Priscilla and Aquila explained the gospel further to Apollos, he went to the province of Achaia in Greece. Corinth was the capital of Achaia. The leaders at Ephesus encouraged Apollos and wrote a letter of introduction to the disciples in Greece. When he arrived, they welcomed him.
There, Apollos continued his ministry. He greatly helped those who had believed through grace. He "powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ." This was not something entirely new in the preaching of Apollos. He knew the baptism and, no doubt, the teaching of John. According to Paul (Acts 19:4), John the Baptist was "telling the people to believe in Him [Christ] who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
The major point of the story about Apollos is that God will use our background, skill, eloquence, and even fervency in spirit (or Spirit). However, we must keep on learning the truths of the Gospel. As evangelists, we must have knowledge and understanding of the gospel. Apollos knew much, was fervent in Spirit, and preached powerfully, but to some degree his knowledge was limited. That deficiency was corrected, and Apollos became an even more outstanding minister of the Gospel in the early church. Today, we would speak about "continuing education" or "continuing learning." This must be a vital part of what we do.