Apollos – Fervent in Spirit


Some people have an amazing natural talent for public speaking. Some even have a great message to go along with it. When Apollos arrived in Ephesus shortly after Paul’s departure, he made an immediate impact. He spoke boldly in public, interpreting and applying Old Testament scriptures effectively. He debated opponents of Christianity forcefully and effectively. It didn’t take long for him to be noticed by Priscilla & Aquila.

The couple quickly realized that Apollos did not have the whole story. His preaching was based on the Old Testament and John the Baptist’s message. He was probably people to repent and prepare for the coming Messiah. Priscilla & Aquila took him home with them and brought him up to date on all that had happened. As they told him of the life of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Apollos must have seen Scripture after Scripture became clear. He was filled with new energy and boldness now that he had the complete gospel.

Apollos next decided to travel to Achaia. His friends in Ephesus were able to send along a glowing letter of introduction. He quickly became the verbal champion of the Christin’s at Corinth, debating the opponents of the gospel in public. As often happens, Apollo’s abilities eventually created a problem. Some of the Corinthians began to follow Apollos rather than his message. Paul had to confront the Corinthians about their divisiveness. They had been forming little groups named after their favorite preacher. Apollos left Corinth and hesitated to return. Paul wrote warmly of Apollos as a fellow minister who had “watered” the seeds of the gospel that Paul had planted in Corinth. Paul last mentions Apollos briefly to Titus. Apollos was still a traveling representative of the gospel who deserved Titus’s help.

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Although his natural abilities could have made him proud, Apollos proved himself willing to learn. God used Priscilla & Aquila, fresh from months of learning from Paul, to give Apollos the complete gospel. Because Apollos did not hesitate to be a student; he became an even better teacher. How much does your willingness to learn affect God’s efforts to help you become all he wants you to be?

Strengths and Accomplishments

  • A gifted and persuasive preacher and apologist in the early church
  • Willing to be taught
  • One of the possible candidates for the unknown author of Hebrews

Lessons From His Life

  • Effective communication of the gospel includes an accurate message delivered with God’s power
  • A clear verbal defense of the gospel can be a real encouragement to believers, while convincing non-believers of its truth.

Vital Statistics for Apollos

  • Where: From Alexandria in Egypt
  • Occupations: Traveling preacher, apologist
  • Contemporaries: Priscilla, Aquila, Paul

Key Verse for Apollos

“He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:25, 26).

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Apollos’s story is told in Acts 18:24-28; 19:1. He is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-6; 4:1, 16:12; Titus 3:13.

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