Apollos (Απολλως; contracted from Apollonius) was an early
Jewish Christian, who is mentioned several times in the New Testament. His special gifts in presenting Christian doctrine made him an important person in the congregation at Corinth, Greeceafter Paul's first visit there (1 Corinthians 3:6). He was with Paul at a later date in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:12). In 1 Cor. 1:10-12 we read of four parties in the Corinthian church, of which two attached themselves to Paul and Apollos respectively, using their names, though the "division" can hardly have been due to conflicting doctrines, and there is no indication that Apollos favored or approved an overestimation of his person.
Paul considered Apollos to be a valuable helper in carrying on his work in the important Corinthian congregation (1 Cor. 3:6, 4:6, 16:12). In harmony with Paul's notices are the statements of the
Acts of the Apostles(18:24-28) that Apollos was a highly educated Alexandrian Jew, who came to Ephesus(probably in 54), was instructed more accurately in the gospel there by Aquila and Priscilla and afterwards settled in Achaia, where he showed himself useful to the Church by speaking and teaching with power and success.
It is difficult to get a correct idea of his religious standpoint; but it probably was that of the so-called disciples of
John the Baptist(Acts 19:1-7). Taken all in all, it may be said that Apollos was a zealous missionary, who, while confessing Jesus, did not have the full New Testament revelation, and stood in danger of becoming antagonistic to the apostolic message to all the world; he became, however, an adherent of the Pauline doctrine, and the author of the Acts of the Apostles thought this fact of sufficient importance to be included in his history. In the Epistle to Titus(3:13) Apollos is mentioned, with Zenas, as bearer of the letter to Crete.
Apollos may have captivated his hearers by teaching "wisdom," as P. W. Schmiedel suggests, in the allegorical style of
Philo, and he was evidently a man of unusual magnetic force. There seems to be some contradiction between Acts 18:25 "a b" and Acts 18:25 "c", 26 "b c"; and it has been suggested that these latter passages are subsequent accretions, the argument being that since Apollos was a Christian and "taught exactly," he could hardly have been acquainted only with John's baptism or have required to be taught Christianity more thoroughly by Aquila and Priscilla. An interpretation of this passage that avoids this conclusion is nevertheless possible. In the next chapter of Acts we learn that Paul arrives in Ephesus, where Apollos had been doing missionary work previously, only to find believers there that had never heard of the holy spirit(Acts 19:2) which had been poured out on the believers in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost(Acts 2:4). This was the baptism of holy spirit that Jesus said would follow the water bapitism of John (Acts 1:5). Apollos was thus "taught exactly" in the way of the Lord as pertaining to Jesus' earthly ministry, but lacked the full knowledge of what had happened on the day of Pentecost when Christ had sent the paracletes or the comforter that he had promised would guide the believers to the full truth (John 16:12,13). This was the truth that Priscilla and Aquila had learned from Paul and that they now shared thoroughly with Apollos.
Martin Luther regarded Apollos as the author of the
Epistle to the Hebrews, and many scholars since have shared his view. Jeromesays that Apollos was so dissatisfied with the division at Corinth, that he retired into Crete with Zenas, a doctor of the law; and that the schism having been healed by Paul's letter to the Corinthians, Apollos returned to the city, and became its bishop. Less probable traditions assign to him the bishopric of Duras, or of Iconium in Phrygia, or of Caesarea.
He is regarded as a saint by several Christian churches, including the
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, which hold a commemoration for him, Aquila, and Priscilla on February 13.
* Articles in
The Jewish Encyclopaedia" ( [http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1650&letter=A&search=Apollos Jewish Encyclopedia: Apollos] )
James Hastings, "Dictionary of the Bible"
Karl Heinrich von Weizsäcker, "Das apostolische Zeitalter" (1886)
A. C. McGiffert, "History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age".
* "Initial text from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion"
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