Who Was Apollos In The Bible

Did you know that Apollos was a biblical figure who helps us understand more about the life of John Mark? Or that Apollos is mentioned in multiple historical secular texts? If not, you have come to the right place to learn a bit more about Apollos, the Bible and the secular references on him.

Apollos is referenced in the Bible, but why isn’t there more information about him? Who was he and what did he do? The few references to him in the New Testament indicate Apollos was an important figure in Christianity. Here’s a look at this person mentioned in the Bible.

A few days before on a quiet Sabbath, Paul debated the truths of the gospel with some Jews from the synagogue in Ephesus. This event is described in Acts 18:26-28. When asked about Apollos, who was a leader of the church in Corinth, Paul replied with a question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2)

We wanted to help you share your thoughts about the Bible. After all, it is a historical book of the Jewish people and their worship of God. It might be a difficult subject for some Christians to talk about, but here are a few facts about the Bible that can help you get started. By asking what role Apollos played and who wrote it, we will begin an exploration into this exciting writing filled with interesting characters and events.

Who Was Apollos In The Bible

Apollos was a contemporary of Paul in the first century church. He was a Hellenized Jewish Christian from Alexandria, Egypt, the second largest city in the Roman Empire. Some teachers say his name came from the Greek culture—from the Greek god, Apollo. Others say it is a shortened version of the name of a great scientist in Egypt, Apollonius.

Alexandria was the capital of the Roman province of Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great. The Jewish population of Egypt was about one million Jews, and many lived in Alexandria. It was an intellectual haven; Josephus says the city had a library of more than half a million scrolls. Alexandria was also a hub for philosophers, and Philo, a Jewish philosopher and eloquent preacher, lived there. Perhaps Philo influenced Apollos’ early thinking. 

Apollos became a competent student of the scriptures while in Alexandria. He was diligent and accurate (Acts 18:25). No slip-shod study for Apollos! In Acts 18:24-26, Luke describes him as “a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.” He had been “instructed in the way of the Lord.”  

While he cultivated great biblical knowledge, Apollos also expressed that knowledge well. He was eloquent and competent, but also enthusiastic and bold. The Bible says he was “fervent in spirit.” His soul was on fire! Gordon Franz wrote of Apollos:  “It is a rare combination to find a preacher who is both eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures. Usually a preacher is one or the other, or neither!”

In spite of all his giftedness, there was something Apollos lacked. God had to further prepare him for ministry before he became an effective New Testament evangelist, church leader, and apologist concerning the truth about Jesus Christ.

Who Was Apollos In The Bible

Apollos was an evangelist, apologist, church leader, and friend of the apostle Paul. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt, described as “eloquent,” “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in the spirit” and “instructed in the way of the Lord” (Acts 18:24). In A.D. 54, he traveled to Ephesus, where he taught boldly in the synagogue. However, at that time, Apollos’ understanding of the gospel was incomplete, since he was “acquainted only with the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25). This probably means that Apollos preached repentance and faith in the Messiah—he maybe even believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah—but he did not know the full magnitude of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Aquila and Priscilla, friends of Paul, spent some time with Apollos and filled in the gaps in his understanding of Jesus Christ (Acts 18:26). Apollos, now armed with the complete message, immediately began a preaching ministry and was used of God as an effective apologist for the gospel (Acts 18:28).

Apollos traveled through Achaia and eventually found his way to Corinth (Acts 19:1), where he “watered” where Paul had “sown” (1 Corinthians 3:6). This is important to remember when studying the first Epistle to Corinth. Apollos, with his natural gifts, had attracted a following among the church in Corinth, but simple admiration was growing into divisiveness. Against Apollos’ wishes, there was a faction in Corinth that claimed him as their spiritual mentor, to the exclusion of Paul and Peter. Paul deals with this partisanship in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13. Christ is not divided, and neither should we be. We cannot love personality over truth.

The last mention of Apollos in the Bible comes in Paul’s letter to Titus: “Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need” (Titus 3:13). Obviously, Apollos was on his way through Crete (where Titus was) at this time. And, just as obviously, Paul still considered Apollos to be a valuable co-laborer and friend.

Some believe that Apollos eventually returned to Ephesus to serve the church there. It’s very possible that he did, although there’s no biblical confirmation of this detail. Also, some identify Apollos as the unknown author of the book of Hebrews; again, there is no biblical support for such an identification. The author of Hebrews remains unknown.

In summary, Apollos was a man of letters with a zeal for the Lord and a talent for preaching. He labored in the Lord’s work, aiding the ministry of the apostles and faithfully building up the church. His life should encourage each of us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:18) and to use our God-given gifts to promote truth.

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