Aquila and Priscilla in the Life of Couples for Christ

Letters of Aquila and Priscilla started in 1995 as a monthly newsletter of the expatriate chapter of CFC Jakarta in Indonesia. It has become a monthly reflection on selected Bible passages that is sent electronically to over a thousand recipients all over the world. Collections of these reflections have been published in four books: Letters of Aquila and Priscilla (2001), The Aquila and Priscilla Homilies (2003), Reflections of Aquila and Priscilla (2005), and Aquila and Priscilla’s Moments with Mary (2009), with a fifth volume forthcoming, Aquila and Priscilla’s Reflections on the Third Gospel (2011).

Who are Aquila and Priscilla and how are they relevant to our life in Couples for Christ? Their names are mentioned in Acts 18:1-3, 18:18-21, 18:24-26, Rom 16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, and 2 Timothy 4:19. It is interesting to note that the two are always mentioned together and never separately. There are no instances where one of them is reported apart from the other. There must have been many married men and women in the early Christian community but their names are either not recorded in the Bible or only the name of one is mentioned. Aquila and Priscilla are the only couple whose names are consistently mentioned together in the New Testament. They are believed to have been martyred together in Rome and the Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Aquila and Priscilla on 8 July.

Aquila and Priscilla first met Paul in Corinth, where the couple fled after being ordered by Emperor Claudius around 50 A.D. to leave Rome together with other Jews. They were already Christians and upon meeting Paul, they immediately placed themselves at his service. Because they shard the same trade of tent making, a special relationship developed between them and Aquila and Priscilla became Paul’s “co-workers in Christ Jesus” (Rom 16:3). When Paul went on mission to Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla went with him. There Aquila and Priscilla met a brilliant young man, “an eloquent speaker … an authority on the scriptures” (Acts 18:24). Aquila and Priscilla became the mentors of Apollos on the true teachings of Jesus for “they took him aside and explained to him the Way (of God) more accurately” (Acts 18:26). In his letter to the Romans, Paul expressed his gratitude to Aquila and Priscilla, “To save my life, they risked theirs; I am very grateful to them, as are all the churches of the pagan nations” (Rom 16:4). The community of believers regularly gathered in their house (1 Corinthians 16:19, Rom 16:5).

Aquila and Priscilla are a powerful example of how a couple may serve God together as husband and wife. They are our model for service in Couples for Christ. They always served together. Together Aquila and Priscilla went with Paul on mission to Ephesus. Together they instructed Apollos. Together they risked their lives for Paul. Together they opened their home to the community of disciples.

As members of Couples for Christ, we should be like Aquila and Priscilla, together in worship, together in service, together in missions, together in teachings, together in opening our homes to the community and to the Lord. We should be not just Aquila, not just Priscilla, but always Aquila and Priscilla, together as a pastoral team, together as a couple for Christ.

Jun Uriarte, together with his wife Jean, is the author of the Aquila and Priscilla series of books. Jun is also a member of the CFC Board of Elders.

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