From the beginning, God designed marriage to be two individuals joining together as one. Man and wife should be stronger and better as a team than as two individuals alone. In today’s episode of All God’s Women we continue our Love Lessons series with the marriage of Priscilla and Aquila who so beautifully illustrate the concept of two becoming one.
Priscilla’s Love Story
Priscilla is mentioned six times in the Bible. Each time, she and Aquila are mentioned together as one. Everything they did, they did together, with no distinguishing between the two.
The Bible doesn’t provide much background on Priscilla. Her name means “worthy” or “old fashioned”. She is assumed to have come from a prominent Roman family. She and Aquila were Jews living in Italy, but when Claudius ordered all Jews out of Rome, the couple moved to Corinth. It was there that they met Paul.
Like Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers. When Paul came to Corinth, they invited him to stay with them and work together. While in Corinth, Paul taught in the synagogue every Sabbath. We can imagine the three of them delving into scripture and enjoying deep theological discussions while tentmaking.
When Paul moved on to Syria, Priscilla and Aquila went with him. They set up a house church in Ephesus. At some point Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for Paul, and he expressed his gratitude to them.
They later ended up back in Rome and started another house church there.
Priscilla and Aquila faced a goodly amount of trials during their marriage. They were kicked out of their Italy, and had to start a new life in a new land.
When they followed Paul to Ephesus, they packed up their life and started anew again. At some point, they moved back to Rome. It’s couldn’t have been easy moving so many times, but Priscilla took it in stride, following God wherever He led and serving Him however she could.
During Priscilla’s time, most women were homemakers. They didn’t hold outside jobs, and they didn’t serve in outside ministry. But Priscilla not only took care of their home, but she worked alongside her husband in the tentmaking business, and opened her home to houseguests and weekly parishioners. To say Priscilla was hardworking would be a serious understatement.
Priscilla and Aquila were passionate about their faith and invested in sharing the good news of Christ’s coming, crucifixion, and resurrection. Then a prominent speaker came into town preaching doctrine that was was incomplete and therefore misleading. What were they to do? This man was a brilliant elocutionist, respected and powerful. Should they let him continue speaking in error or confront him?
They chose to pull him aside and gently share with him the full story of Christ. Although Priscilla was a woman, she participated in the conversation. And yet, she knew how to speak in such a way as to inform without offending.
And then, the biggest struggle. Though the Bible doesn’t give us any details, Paul tells us that Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for him. What did they do? Did they hide him? Did they snuggle him away from danger? How were they endangered? What were the risks?
One struggle that might be overlooked is the fact that Priscilla and Aquila were childless. Every couple dreamed of having offspring. Oftentimes, women, especially, lose sight of their faith when they get consumed with wanting a child. They feel second-class without one.
But Priscilla and Aquila focused on what they had rather than what they lacked. Without children, they took advantage of the ability to move around, to serve, to work, and to minister freely, without constraint.
Through Priscilla and Aquila’s struggles, we’re able to see Priscilla’s strengths.
She was flexible. Though she may have put down roots, she was willing to uproot herself and plant herself wherever God led her.
She was a helpmeet. She was there for Aquila, following him wherever he led, and serving him however she could. Whatever he needed, she did what she could to make it happen.
She worked hard. Priscilla didn’t limit herself to what was expected of her. She went far above and beyond. Whatever needed doing, she jumped in and did it without complaint.
She took risks. Priscilla viewed life as an adventure to be lived for the Lord. She didn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she embraced whatever situation God placed her in and served with her whole heart.
Priscilla’s Secrets for Romance
Priscilla and Aquila represent the Christian ideal of marriage. It’s not about flowers and cards and candlelight dinners. It’s about love, respect, and service.
We see in Priscilla and Aquila a couple who put others before themselves. They lived selflessly, focused on how they could serve rather than how they could be served.
We see in Priscilla and Aquila a team who knew how to play well together. They knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and worked within them. They weren’t competing with each other. They complimented each other.
As a strong Christian woman, I find the story of Priscilla and Aquila to be so encouraging. We often think that a biblical marriage is all about submission and serving, and they certainly play a role. But what we see in Priscilla is a woman who was in complete submission to God which made it easy for her to submit to her husband. She understood the importance of serving God, which meant she was willing to serve her husband as well as those who congregated at her house.
Your Love Story
If your idea of love and romance is warm fuzzies, you may not be impressed by Priscilla and Aquila’s love story. But here’s the deal. Warm fuzzies are temporary.
Life isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s downright ugly.
True love is having someone by your side on the dark days. It’s knowing that even though you have to leave the only home you’ve ever known, it doesn’t matter as long as you have your loved one. It’s knowing wherever you go, you can depend on each other. It’s working tirelessly, long into the night, appreciating the blessing of getting to work side by side with your spouse. It’s understanding that you each have your strengths and weaknesses, and rather than focusing on your strengths and your partner’s weaknesses, you concentrate on their strengths and your weaknesses.
True love is keeping your eyes upward, putting God first, and your husband and family above yourself.
True love involves selflessness and sacrifice. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the work.
Lord God, thank You for the gift of marriage. Thank You for companionship, for providing us partners to do life with. Help us to be the helpmeets we were designed to be. Reveal to us those things we are doing that are harmful to our relationship. Open our eyes to fully appreciate the wonderful qualities of our spouse. Fill us with overflowing love for our loved one. Forgive us those times we lose sight of our roles and get caught up in selfish demands. Help us to overcome the challenges that we’re facing in our marriages. Help us to be like Priscilla and Aquila, serving You side by side in whatever it is that You ask of us. We love You so very much. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Tune in next week when we look at Elizabeth and Zacharias, an example of mature love.
Acts 18, Romans 16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 2 Timothy 4:19
Bible Study Review
- What job did Priscilla and Aquila do together?
- What does Priscilla’s name mean?
- Where did Priscilla and Aquila have church?
Thoughts to Ponder
- What was their marriage like?
- What struggles did they face?
- How did they overcome difficulties?
- How well do you and your husband work together?
- Do you and your husband minister together?
- How well do you adapt to setbacks or struggles?
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