Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Priscilla and the Quest for Boldness

Photo Courtesy of: MD Duran

“This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.” ~Acts 18:25-27

Priscilla is such a wonderful example for women in the church. We are first introduced to her in Acts 18:2, when Luke tells us that she and her husband, Aquila, were from Italy. Paul stayed with them for a time, ministering to others alongside them and also working in their tent-making business. In verse 24 we read that a fellow minister of the Lord, Apollos, came to Ephesus and began to preach in the synagogue. Though much of what he was teaching was correct and he was a fervent, eloquent man, he nevertheless was proclaiming some falsehoods in his gospel presentations. In verse 26 Priscilla arrives on the scene again and we read this: 

"When Aquila and Priscilla heard him (Apollos), they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”

Did you catch that? Both Aquila and Priscilla took this preacher and teacher of God aside and taught him what the full truth of God's Word and the gospel actually was. This is a crystal clear case of a woman teaching God's truth to a man, and Paul (the same one who penned 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14!) never once rebuked her for it. In fact, he seems to have thought very highly of both her and her husband, choosing to work and minister closely alongside them and commending them and their work to others. Paul even refers to them in Romans 16:3 as being his "fellow workers in Christ Jesus". 

Now, I went through a long season of legalism, beginning in my mid teens and continuing on a bit into my early twenties, when it came to what I believed Biblical womanhood to be. It has been quite a journey in recent years of the Lord opening my eyes to the full-orbed richness of His design for women. As I have intently studied the Word of God in general and certain women in the Word specifically, to glean my current understanding of what it means to be a Christian woman, one of the women that has stood out to me the most has been Priscilla. Her example has been used by God to encourage, inspire, and equip me in my walk as a Biblical woman of influence myself. 

One of the things I am learning from Priscilla is that I need to be willing to proclaim the Word. I need to, as 2 Timothy 4:2 says, "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." Priscilla, when faced with error and unsound doctrine, was ready and able to address and refute it with the truths of God. If we want to be Biblical women of influence, we have to be willing to do that, as well. And what equips us to be able to do that? Being in the Word and knowing it.

Even more than that, however, I also have to understand my identity as a minister of the gospel. Priscilla’s example teaches me that I, as a Christian, am called to be a minister of the gospel. In Romans 16:3, Paul refers to Priscilla and Aquila in this way: "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus". I am called to be a co-laborer in the truth alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ, and as such can teach both men and women the truths of God's Word. In order to be a true Biblical woman of influence as was Priscilla, I need to be viewing every day of my life (and every aspect of my every day!) as being a part of the Great Commission work I have been called to. Whether I am sweeping the floor, cleaning the tub, schooling little ones, making meals, writing books, recording podcasts, speaking to women, extending hospitality, going to the grocery store, taking a walk in my neighborhood, texting a friend, or reading to my children, I need to be doing all of that with the understanding that not one single aspect of that work is mundane. Rather, it can all be done to the glory of God and for the advancement of His glorious Kingdom. 

We can know all these truths, and yet still not fully become Biblical women of influence as Priscilla, however, because there was something else she was known for: her boldness. Now, this can seem incredibly discouraging and like it’s just one more thing you have to strive for if you are of the mindset that you have to grow, change, and sanctify yourself. But the good news is, you don’t have to do any of that! All you have to do is walk by the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-18). 

As you intentionally remain in God’s Word, in prayer, and in godly Christian community, you will find it become second nature to be in step with the Holy Spirit, following His guidance and direction in your life. And that, my friend, will naturally lead to increased boldness in your proclamation of His truth. Don’t strive, friend. Just walk (by the Spirit!).

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