Romans 16:3
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Priscilla.—The correct reading here is Prisca, of which form Priscilla is the diminutive. It is rather remarkable that the wife should be mentioned first. Perhaps it may be inferred that she was the more active and conspicuous of the two.

Aquila was a Jew of Pontus, whom St. Paul had found with his wife at Corinth (Acts 18:1). They had there been converted by him, and afterwards appear in his company at Ephesus (Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26; 1Corinthians 16:19). At the time when this Epistle was written they were at Rome, but later they seem to have returned to Ephesus (2Timothy 4:19).

The Jew Aquila, who rather more than a century later made a translation of the Old Testament, critically compared with the LXX. in the Hexapla of Origen, also came from Pontus.

Romans

PRISCILLA AND AQUILA

Romans 16:3 - Romans 16:5
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It has struck me that this wedded couple present, even in the scanty notices that we have of them, some interesting points which may be worth while gathering together.

Now, to begin with, we are told that Aquila was a Jew. We are not told whether Priscilla was a Jewess or no. So far as her name is concerned, she may have been, and very probably was, a Roman, and, if so, we have in their case a ‘mixed marriage’ such as was not uncommon then, and of which Timothy’s parents give another example. She is sometimes called Prisca, which was her proper name, and sometimes Priscilla, an affectionate diminutive. The two had been living in Rome, and had been banished under the decree of the Emperor, just as Jews have been banished from England and from every country in Europe again and again. They came from Rome to Corinth, and were, perhaps, intending to go back to Aquila’s native place, Pontus, when Paul met them in the latter city, and changed their whole lives. His association with them began in a purely commercial partnership. But as they abode together and worked at their trade, there would be many earnest talks about the Christ, and these ended in both husband and wife becoming disciples. The bond thus knit was too close to be easily severed, and so, when Paul sailed across the Ægean for Ephesus, his two new friends kept with him, which they would be the more ready to do, as they had no settled home. They remained with him during his somewhat lengthened stay in the great Asiatic city; for we find in the first Epistle to the Corinthians which was written from Ephesus about that time, that the Apostle sends greetings from ‘Priscilla and Aquila and the Church which is in their house.’ But when Paul left Ephesus they seem to have stayed behind, and afterwards to have gone their own way.

About a year after the first Epistle to the Corinthians was sent from Ephesus, the Epistle to the Romans was written, and we find there the salutation to Priscilla and Aquila which is my text. So this wandering couple were back again in Rome by that time, and settled down there for a while. They are then lost sight of for some time, but probably they returned to Ephesus. Once more we catch a glimpse of them in Paul’s last letter, written some seven or eight years after that to the Romans. The Apostle knows that death is near, and, at that supreme moment, his heart goes out to these two faithful companions, and he sends them a parting token of his undying love. There are only two messages to friends in the second Epistle to Timothy, and one of these is to Prisca and Aquila. At the mouth of the valley of the shadow of death he remembered the old days in Corinth, and the, to us, unknown instance of devotion which these two had shown, when, for his life, they laid down their own necks.

Such is all that we know of Priscilla and Aquila. Can we gather any lessons from these scattered notices thus thrown together?

I. Here is an object lesson as to the hallowing effect of Christianity on domestic life and love.

Did you ever notice that in the majority of the places where these two are named, if we adopt the better readings, Priscilla’s name comes first? She seems to have been ‘the better man of the two’; and Aquila drops comparatively into the background. Now, such a couple, and a couple in which the wife took the foremost place, was an absolute impossibility in heathenism. They are a specimen of what Christianity did in the primitive age, all over the Empire, and is doing to-day, everywhere-lifting woman to her proper place. These two, yoked together in ‘all exercise of noble end,’ and helping one another in Christian work, and bracketed together by the Apostle, who puts the wife first, as his fellow-helpers in Christ Jesus, stands before us as a living picture of what our sweet and sacred family life and earthly loves may be glorified into, if the light from heaven shines down upon them, and is thankfully received into them.

Such a house as the house of Prisca and Aquila is the product of Christianity, and such ought to be the house of every professing Christian. For we should all make our homes as ‘tabernacles of the righteous,’ in which the voice of joy and rejoicing is ever heard. Not only wedded love, but family love, and all earthly love, are then most precious, when into them there flows the ennobling, the calming, the transfiguring thought of Christ and His love to us.

Again, notice that, even in these scanty references to our two friends, there twice occurs that remarkable expression ‘the church that is in their house.’ Now, I suppose that that gives us a little glimpse into the rudimentary condition of public worship in the primitive church. It was centuries after the time of Priscilla and Aquila before circumstances permitted Christians to have buildings devoted exclusively to public worship. Up to a very much later period than that which is covered by the New Testament, they gathered together wherever was most convenient. And, I suppose, that both in Rome and Ephesus, this husband and wife had some room-perhaps the workshop where they made their tents, spacious enough for some of the Christians of the city to meet together in. One would like people who talk so much about ‘the Church,’ and refuse the name to individual societies of Christians, and even to an aggregate of these, unless it has ‘bishops,’ to explain how the little gathering of twenty or thirty people in the workshop attached to Aquila’s house, is called by the Apostle without hesitation ‘the church which is in their house.’ It was a part of the Holy Catholic Church, but it was also ‘a Church,’ complete in itself, though small in numbers. We have here not only a glimpse into the manner of public worship in early times, but we may learn something of far more consequence for us, and find here a suggestion of what our homes ought to be. ‘The Church that is in thy house’-fathers and mothers that are responsible for your homes and their religious atmosphere, ask yourselves if any one would say that about your houses, and if they could not, why not?

II. We may get here another object lesson as to the hallowing of common life, trade, and travel.

It does not appear that, after their stay in Ephesus, Aquila and his wife were closely attached to Paul’s person, and certainly they did not take any part as members of what we may call his evangelistic staff. They seem to have gone their own way, and as far as the scanty notices carry us, they did not meet Paul again, after the time when they parted in Ephesus. Their gipsy life was probably occasioned by Aquila’s going about-as was the custom in old days when there were no trades-unions or organised centres of a special industry-to look for work where he could find it. When he had made tents in Ephesus for a while, he would go on somewhere else, and take temporary lodgings there. Thus he wandered about as a working man. Yet Paul calls him his ‘fellow worker in Christ Jesus’; and he had, as we saw, a Church in his house. A roving life of that sort is not generally supposed to be conducive to depth of spiritual life. But their wandering course did not hurt these two. They took their religion with them. It did not depend on locality, as does that of a great many people who are very religious in the town where they live, and, when they go away for a holiday, seem to leave their religion, along with their silver plate, at home. But no matter whether they were in Corinth or Ephesus or Rome, Aquila and Priscilla took their Lord and Master with them, and while working at their camel’s-hair tents, they were serving God.

Dear brethren, what we want is not half so much preachers such as my brethren and I, as Christian tradesmen and merchants and travellers, like Aquila and Priscilla.

III. Again, we may see here a suggestion of the unexpected issues of our lives.

Think of that complicated chain of circumstances, one end of which was round Aquila and the other round the young Pharisee in Jerusalem. It steadily drew them together until they met in that lodging at Corinth. Claudius, in the fullness of his absolute power, said, ‘Turn all these wretched Jews out of my city. I will not have it polluted with them any more. Get rid of them!’ So these two were uprooted, and drifted to Corinth. We do not know why they chose to go thither; perhaps they themselves did not know why; but God knew. And while they were coming thither from the west, Paul was coming thither from the east and north. He was ‘prevented by the Spirit from speaking in Asia,’ and driven across the sea against his intention to Neapolis, and hounded out of Philippi and Thessalonica and Beræa; and turned superciliously away from Athens; and so at last found himself in Corinth, face to face with the tentmaker from Rome and his wife. Then one of the two men said, ‘Let us join partnership together, and set up here as tent-makers for a time.’ What came out of this unintended and apparently chance meeting?

The first thing was the conversion of Aquila and his wife; and the effects of that are being realised by them in heaven at this moment, and will go on to all eternity.

So, in the infinite complexity of events, do not let us worry ourselves by forecasting, but let us trust, and be sure that the Hand which is pushing us is pushing us in the right direction, and that He will bring us, by a right, though a roundabout way, to the City of Habitation. It seems to me that we poor, blind creatures in this world are somewhat like a man in a prison, groping with his hand in the dark along the wall, and all unawares touching a spring which moves a stone, disclosing an aperture that lets in a breath of purer air, and opens the way to freedom. So we go on as if stumbling in the dark, and presently, without our knowing what we do, by some trivial act we originate a train of events which influences our whole future.

Again, when Aquila and Priscilla reached Ephesus they formed another chance acquaintance in the person of a brilliant young Alexandrian, whose name was Apollos. They found that he had good intentions and a good heart, but a head very scantily furnished with the knowledge of the Gospel. So they took him in hand, just as Paul had taken them. If I may use such a phrase, they did not know how large a fish they had caught. They had no idea what a mighty power for Christ was lying dormant in that young man from Alexandria who knew so much less than they did. They instructed Apollos, and Apollos became second only to Paul in the power of preaching the Gospel. So the circle widens and widens. God’s grace fructifies from one man to another, spreading onward and outward. And all Apollos’ converts, and their converts, and theirs again, right away down the ages, we may trace back to Priscilla and Aquila.

So do not let us be anxious about the further end of our deeds-viz. their results; but be careful about the nearer end of them-viz. their motives; and God will look after the other end. Seeing that ‘thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that,’ or how much any of them will prosper, let us grasp all opportunities to do His will and glorify His name.

IV. Further, here we have an instance of the heroic self-devotion which love to Christ kindles.

‘For my sake they laid down their own necks.’ We do not know to what Paul is referring: perhaps to that tumult in Ephesus, where he certainly was in danger. But the language seems rather more emphatic than such danger would warrant. Probably it was at some perilous juncture of which we know nothing {for we know very little, after all, of the details of the Apostle’s life}, in which Aquila and Priscilla had said, ‘Take us and let him go. He can do a great deal more for God than we can do. We will put our heads on the block, if he may still live.’ That magnanimous self-surrender was a wonderful token of the passionate admiration and love which the Apostle inspired, but its deepest motive was love to Christ and not to Paul only.

Faith in Christ and love to Him ought to turn cowards into heroes, to destroy thoughts of self, and to make the utmost self-sacrifice natural, blessed, and easy. We are not called upon to exercise heroism like Priscilla’s and Aquila’s, but there is as much heroism needed for persistently Christian life, in our prosaic daily circumstances, as has carried many a martyr to the block, and many a tremulous woman to the pyre. We can all be heroes; and if the love of Christ is in us, as it should be, we shall all be ready to ‘yield ourselves living sacrifices, which is our reasonable service.’

Long years after, the Apostle, on the further edge of life, looked back over it all; and, whilst much had become dim, and some trusted friends had dropped away, like Demas, he saw these two, and waved them his last greeting before he turned to the executioner-’Salute Prisca and Aquila.’ Paul’s Master is not less mindful of His friends’ love, or less eloquent in the praise of their faithfulness, or less sure to reward them with the crown of glory. ‘Whoso confesseth Me before men, him will I also confess before the angels in heaven.’Romans 16:3-5. Greet — Or, salute, as ασπασασθε is generally rendered; Priscilla and Aquila — That is, declare to them my Christian love, and desires of their welfare. The apostle first became acquainted with this excellent couple at Corinth, to which city they had come from Rome in consequence of a decree of the Emperor Claudius commanding all Jews to depart thence. When Paul left Corinth the first time, they accompanied him to Ephesus, Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18-19 : and when he departed from that city to go to Jerusalem, they did not go with him, but remained at Ephesus till he returned, as appears from their sending their salutations to the Corinthians in the apostle’s first epistle to them, chap. Romans 16:19, written from Ephesus while he abode there, after his return from Jerusalem, mentioned Acts 19:1. But on the death of Claudius they appear, from this verse, to have gone back to Rome to follow their occupation, being there when this salutation was sent to them. My fellow-helpers — Namely, in propagating the gospel, being always ready to exert themselves to the utmost to aid its progress, as far as they had opportunity. They had been very active in spreading the gospel both at Corinth and Ephesus; and doubtless they were so now at Rome also. Who have for my life laid down their own necks — Hazarded their own lives to save mine; perhaps in the violent opposition which the Jews made to him, as mentioned Acts 18:6-7; or in the uproar at Corinth, recorded Acts 18:12; or in that at Ephesus, Acts 19:23. The expression, which is proverbial, and denotes their undergoing the greatest perils, is used in allusion to the custom of placing on blocks the necks of criminals, whose heads are to be cut off. Unto whom not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles — Even that at Rome; give thanks — Because the preservation of his life redounded to the benefit of them all. Likewise greet — Salute; the church that is in their house — The Christian congregation, that was wont to assemble there for divine worship. Aquila, it seems, performed the same part at Rome which Gains did at Corinth, Romans 16:23; he opened his house to receive the gospel, and those that were desirous to attend the ministry of it, and to join in the worship of the true God. As yet, however, it seems the Christians at Rome had neither bishops nor deacons. So far were they from any shadow of papal power. Nay, there does not appear to have been then in the whole city any more than one of these domestic churches, otherwise there can be no doubt but Paul would have saluted them also. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus — Although the apostle had never been at Rome, yet he had many acquaintances there. It is justly observed by Theophylact, that it was a very great praise to any one to have been the beloved of Paul, because his love was not the effect of a blind partiality, but of a well-founded judgment concerning the person’s true character. Who is the first-fruits of Achaia — The Alexandrine and Clermont MSS., with the Arabic, Ethiopic, and Vulgate versions, and many Greek and Latin commentators, have της Ασιας, of Asia, in this place; which some suppose to be the true reading, because, 1 Corinthians 16:15, the apostle calls the house of Stephanas, the first-fruits of Achaia. But if Epenetus was one of that house, or was converted at the same time with Stephanas, he also was a part of the first-fruits of Achaia, for there is no manner of necessity to understand by that expression the very first Christian convert.16:1-16 Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. It becomes Christians to help one another in their affairs, especially strangers; we know not what help we may need ourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many; he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the care of all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remember many persons, and send salutations to each, with particular characters of them, and express concern for them. Lest any should feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, he sends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints, though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation to them all, in the name of the churches of Christ.Greet Priscilla and Aquila - Salute; implying the apostle's kind remembrance of them, and his wishes for their welfare.

Priscilla - Priscilla was the wife of Aquila. They are mentioned in Acts 18:2, Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19. Paul at first found them at Corinth. Aquila was a Jew, born in Pontus, who had resided at Rome, and who had left Rome, and come to Corinth, when Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome; see the notes at Acts 18:2. It is probable that they were converted under the preaching of Paul. Paul lived with them, and they had the advantage of his private instruction; Acts 18:3; compare Acts 18:26. At the death of Claudius, or whenever the decree for the expulsion of the Jews was repealed, it is probable that they returned to Rome.

My helpers - My fellow-workers. They had aided him in his work. A particular instance is mentioned in Acts 18:26. They are mentioned as having been with Paul when he wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians; 1 Corinthians 16:19.

In Christ Jesus - In the Christian cause.

3-5. Salute Priscilla—The true reading here is "Prisca" (as in 2Ti 4:19), a contracted form of Priscilla, as "Silas" of "Silvanus."

and Aquila my helpers—The wife is here named before the husband (as in Ac 18:18, and Ro 16:26, according to the true reading; also in 2Ti 4:19), probably as being the more prominent and helpful to the Church.

In the next place, he saluteth several persons by name; the first are

Priscilla and Aquila. Sometimes she is called Prisca, 2 Timothy 4:19; and by a diminutive, Priscilla. This was usual amongst the Romans. So Livia was called Livilla; Tullia, Tulliola; Petrona, Petronella, &c. The wife is named before her husband; so she is, Acts 18:18 2 Timothy 4:19. Some think she was first called; others, that she was most renowned for her zeal and charity. We need not to be curious in our inquiry after the reason; we find in other places Aquila is set before Priscilla, Acts 18:2,26 1 Corinthians 16:19. Hence it may appear how weakly the papists argue for Peter’s primacy, because he was placed first on the catalogue of the apostles; for by the same argument, the wife should be preferred before her husband. This Aquila was a Jew of Pontus, and by occupation a tent-maker: with him the apostle Paul abode and wrought at Corinth, Acts 18:2,3. Though Claudius the emperor had commanded the Jews to depart from Rome, yet now, it seems, they were returned thither again; possibly, because Claudius was dead, or because that severe edict was relaxed.

My helpers in Christ Jesus; in propagating the gospel in their place and calling, and as they had opportunity. Though they preached not publicly, yet they furthered the gospel many ways privately: see Acts 18:26. Greet Priscilla and Aquila,.... The former of these, who was a woman, and the wife of the latter, is in some copies called Prisca; and so the Vulgate Latin here reads it, as she is also called in 2 Timothy 4:19. Her being named before her husband, is without design, for sometimes he is put before her, as in Acts 18:2. And it is a rule with the Jews (l), that there is neither first nor last in the Scriptures; that is, strict order is not always observed; it is sometimes inverted, find nothing depends upon it: hence the reasons assigned by some, that she was first converted, or had more zeal than her husband, are uncertain and impertinent. She is called Priscilla in the Ethiopic version, as he is in the Arabic, Achilles: he was a Jew of Pontus, and was with his wife drove out of Rome by Claudius Caesar, when with her he went to Corinth, where he met with the Apostle Paul; and they being of the same craft, abode and wrought together at their trade of tent making; and when the apostle removed from thence, they went with him, and were with him at Ephesus; where, meeting with Apollos, who, though an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, yet being in some things deficient these two took him unto them, in a private way, and taught him the way of God's salvation more perfectly, Acts 18:24, where they left the apostle is not certain; but either Claudius being dead, or the edict which ordered the Jews to depart from Rome being revoked, or not regarded, they returned thither again; and were here when the apostle wrote this epistle, and whom he salutes, calling them

my helpers in Christ Jesus; in spreading the Gospel, and promoting the kingdom, honour, and interest of Christ; for though they did not publicly preach, at least not Priscilla, yet they were very useful in their private conferences and instructions, both to ministers of the Gospel, as in the case of Apollos, and to young Christians: as the apostle, wherever he went, was instrument of the conversion of many souls; these were helpful privately in encouraging the young converts, comforting them with their own experiences and thereby helped them forward, instructed, strengthened, and established them; and so were greatly assistant to the apostle in the work of the Lord Jesus.

(l) T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 6. 3.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 16:3-4. Πρίσκα (2 Timothy 4:19) is not different from Πρίσκιλλα; comp. on Acts 18:2.

Her husband[38] Aquila was a native of Pontus (Acts 18:1), and Reiche incorrectly conjectures that he was called Pontius Aquila, which name Luke erroneously referred to his native country;[39] for, looking to the close connection in which Aquila stood with Paul, and Paul again with Luke, a correct acquaintance with the matter must be presumed in the latter. This married couple, expelled from Rome as Jews under Claudius, had been converted at Corinth by Paul (see on Acts 18:1), had then migrated to Ephesus (Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19), are now again in Rome, but, according to 2 Timothy 4:19, were at a later period once more in Ephesus.

ἘΝ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ ἸΗΣΟῦ] Distinctive character of ΣΥΝΕΡΓΟΎς; for labour for the gospel lives and moves in Christ as its very element. Comp. Romans 16:9; Romans 16:12.

Romans 16:4. The marks of parenthesis are to be omitted, because the construction is not interrupted.

ΟἽΤΙΝΕς Κ.Τ.Λ.] Note the peculiar grounds assigned (quippe qui) for this and several following greetings.

ὑπέρ] not instead of, but for, in order to the saving of my life.

τὸν ἑαυτ. τράχηλ. ὑπέθηκαν] have submitted their own neck, namely, under the executioner’s axe. In the absence of historical information we can just as little decide with certainty on the question whether the expression is to be taken literally, that is, of a moment when they were to be actually executed but in some way or other were still saved, or (so the expositors) figuratively, of the incurring of an extreme danger to life—as on the question where the incident referred to took place? whether at Ephesus, Acts 19? or 2 Corinthians 1:8? or at Corinth, Acts 18:6 ff.? or elsewhere? or, generally, in the midst of labour and tribulation shared with Paul? Wetstein, Heumann, and Semler think of bail (ὑπέθηκαν would then be: they gave pledge; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 468). Possibly; but the nearest conception which offers itself as the words stand is that of τραχηλοκοπεῖν (Plut. Mor. p. 398 D), whether it be thought of as a reality or as a figure. The latter, however, is, as being said of both, the most probable. The readers knew what was meant.

τῶν ἐθνῶν] On account of this sacrifice for me, the apostle of the Gentiles. The notice contemplates the inclusion of the Roman church, which in fact was also a Gentile church.

[38] That Paul names the wife first, is not to be regarded as accidental. Probably the preponderant Christian activity and estimation were on her side. Hence here, where both are saluted (comp. 2 Timothy 4:19), the precedence of the wife,—a distinction for which in 1 Corinthians 16:19, where both salute, no occasion was given. On the precedence given to the wife in Acts 18:18, see in loc.

[39] Aquila also, the translator of the Bible, was, as is well known, from Pontus (Sinope).

Romans 16:3-16. The apostle’s salutations.Romans 16:3 f. Greeting to Prisca and Aquila. ἀσπάσασθε: only here does Paul commission the whole Church to greet individual members of it (Weiss). For the persons here named see Acts 18:2. Paul met them first in Corinth, and according to Meyer converted them there. Here as in Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26 and 2 Timothy 4:19 the wife is put first, probably as the more distinguished in Christian character and service; in 1 Corinthians 16:19, where they send greetings, the husband naturally gets his precedence. τοὺς συνεργούς μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: on first acquaintance they had been fellow-workers, not in Christ Jesus, but in tent-making: they were ὁμότεχνοι, Acts 18:3. οἵτινες: quippe qui. τὸν ἑαυτῶν τράχηλον: the singular (as Gifford points out) shows that the expression is figurative. To save Paul’s life Prisca and Aquila incurred some great danger themselves; what, we cannot tell. They were in his company both in Corinth and Ephesus, at times when he was in extreme peril (Acts 18:12; Acts 19:30 f.), and the recipients of the letter would understand the allusion. The technical sense of ὑποθεῖναι, to give as a pledge, cannot be pressed here, as though Prisca and Aquila had given their personal security (though it involved the hazard of their lives) for Paul’s good behaviour. οἷς οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος εὐχαριστῶ κ.τ.λ. The language implies that the incident referred to had occurred long enough ago for all the Gentile Churches to be aware of it, but yet so recently that both they and the Apostle himself retained a lively feeling of gratitude to his brave friends. καὶ τὴν κατʼ οἷκον αὐτων ἐκκλησίαν: these words do not mean “their Christian household,” nor do they imply that the whole Christian community (in Rome or in Ephesus) met in the house of Prisca and Aquila. They signify the body of believers meeting for worship there, a body which would only be part of the local Christian community. Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 1:2, Acts 12:12. “There is no clear example of a separate building set apart for Christian worship within the limits of the Roman Empire before the third century, though apartments in private houses might be specially devoted to this purpose” (Lightfoot on Colossians 4:15). ἀσπάσασθε Ἐπαίνετον τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου: after Priscilla and Aquila, not a single person is known of all those to whom Paul sends greetings in Romans 16:3-16. ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀσίας: Epænetus was the first convert in Asia (the Roman province of that name). Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:15. There is no difficulty in supposing that the first Christian of Asia was at this time—temporarily or permanently—in Rome: but the discovery of an Ephesian Epænetus on a Roman inscription (quoted by Sanday and Headlam) is very interesting.3. Priscilla and Aquila] Better, Prisca and Aquila; so 2 Timothy 4:19.—See Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26, for the whole known history of these two eminent Christians, (except the references to them here, and in 1 Corinthians 16:19, and 2 Timothy 4). Aquila (whose name in its Greek form is Akulas) was born in Pontus—as was another well-known Aquila, a translator of the O. T. into Greek. He and his wife, Prisca or Priscilla, first met St Paul at Corinth; then, 18 months later, went with him to Ephesus, where they both took part in the instruction of Apollos: here we find them again at Rome; and in St Paul’s last days they are probably again at Ephesus. (2 Timothy 4.) Their after-history is quite unknown. Whether or no they were converts of St Paul is uncertain. (See Introduction, i. § 17, 23; ii. § 2.)—“Priscilla is an example of what a married woman may do, for the general service of the Church, in conjunction with home-duties, just as Phœbe is the type of the unmarried servant of the Church, or deaconess.” (Dr Howson, in Smith’s Dict. Bibl.)—The variation in the form of Prisca’s name has many parallels in Roman nomenclature.Romans 16:3. Ἀσπάσασθε, salute) We should observe the politeness of the apostle in writing the salutations; the friendly feeling of believers in joining theirs with his, Romans 16:21-22; again, the humility of the former in attending to them, and the love of the latter in the frequent use of them.—Πρίσκαν, Prisca) strong testimony sufficiently confirms this reading; Baumgarten prefers Πρίσκιλλαν, Priscilla.[165] A holy woman in Italy seems to have borne the Latin name Priscilla, which is a diminutive, Acts 18:2, but in the Church the name, Prisca, is more dignified. The name of the wife is put here before that of the husband, because she was the more distinguished of the two in the Church; Acts 18:18 : or even because in this passage there had gone before the mention of a woman, Phœbe.—Ἀκύλαν, Aquila) The proper names of believers, Roman, Hebrew and Greek, set down promiscuously, show the riches of Grace in the New Testament exceeding all expectation [Ephesians 3:20].—συνεργοὺς, fellow-workers) in teaching, or else, protecting: See the following verse.

[165] ABCD(Λ)G Vulg. fg support Πρίσκαν, against Πρίσκιλλαν, of the Rec. Text.—ED.Verses 3-5. - Greet Priscilla (al. Prisca, which is but another form of the same name) and Aquila my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own neck: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles. And greet the Church that is in their house. For other notices of them, el. Acts 18:2, 18, 26; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19; whence we learn that Aquila was a Jew of Pontus, who, with his wife Priscilla, had been settled at Rome, whence, when the Jews were expelled by Claudius, they had gone to Corinth, where St. Paul found them on his first visit to that city; that St. Paul abode with them there, working with Aquila at tent-making, which was the croft of both; that they left Corinth with St. Paul for Syria, and were for a time left by him at Ephesus, where they instructed Apollos on his arrival there; that, when St. Paul wrote from Ephesus his First Epistle to the Corinthians, they sent greetings by it, having then a congregation of Christians which assembled at their house; that, having returned to Rome when the Epistle to the Romans was written, their house there also was made available for the same purpose; and that, when St. Paul was for the last time a prisoner at Rome before his martyrdom, they were once more living at Ephesus. They were probably in good circumstances, having had both at Rome and Ephesus houses large enough to be used as churches; and they were evidently leading and active members of the Christian community. It would seem that Priscilla, the wife, was especially so, and she may have been, like Phoebe, officially employed; for though, when they are first mentioned (Acts 18:2) as having lately come to Corinth, and when they themselves send greetings to Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:19), Aquila's name naturally comes first, yet St. Paul in all other mention of them reverses the order. The occasion of their having apparently risked their own lives in defence of St. Paul is unknown. It may have been at Corinth at the time of the Jewish insurrection against him (Acts 18:12), or at Ephesus at the time of the tumult raised by Demetrius the silversmith (Acts 19:23, etc.), when St. Paul had been in imminent danger. The phrase, "laid down their neck" (not, as in the Authorized Version, "necks"), seems only to denote, figuratively, . "exposed their lives to danger." It appears, from the large number of greetings which follow, that there were now many Christians at Rome known to, or any rate known of by, the apostle. It does not follow that he was acquainted with all of them personally. He may have heard of them in the frequent inquiries he had doubtless made about the Roman Church (cf. Romans 1:8). Many of them, however, he evidently knew, and with some had been associated. It was likely that many known to him in various quarters might have had occasion to resort to Rome. There are in all twenty-six individuals to whom greetings are sent, together with two households of slaves, and probably three congregations, as will appear below. Salute (or, as before, greet. The verb is the same as before, and so throughout the chapter) my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Asia (certainly so, rather than Achaia, probably introduced into the text from 1 Corinthians 16:15) unto Christ. Asia means the proconsular province so called, being the western part of Asia Minor, of which the capital was Ephesus. Epaenetus may have been St. Paul's own first convert there during his second missionary journey (cf. Acts 16:6). The fact of the apostle having been then "forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia" does not preclude there having been converts thence. Prisca and Aquila

Priscilla is the diminutive of Prisca. See Acts 18:2, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19. It is argued by some that Aquila and Priscilla must have been at Ephesus at this time, since they were there when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 16:19, and again when he wrote 2 Timothy 4:19. "It is strange to find them settled at Rome with a church in their house between these two dates" (Farrar). But, as Bishop Lightfoot remarks ("Commentary on Philippians," p. 176), "As Rome was their headquarters, and they had been driven thence by an imperial edict (Acts 18:2), it is natural enough that they should have returned thither as soon as it was convenient and safe to do so. The year which elapses between the two notices, allows ample time for them to transfer themselves from Ephesus to Rome, and for the apostle to hear of their return to their old abode." Notice that the name of Priscilla precedes that of her husband. So Acts 18:2. Probably she was the more prominent of the two in christian activity.

Fellow-workers

In christian labor, as they had been in tent-making.

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