‘[Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquilla heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately’ (Acts 18:26).
From the earliest days of the church, women have been honoured and valued. In a time when women were generally seen as lesser than men, the church saw this was not the case. Even before Jesus’ death and resurrection he had female followers; women were the first to discover the empty tomb, to see the risen Jesus, and be given the task to tell the disciples.
Here, Priscilla and her husband Aquilla jointly taught Apollos, assisting him to proclaim the truth of Jesus ‘more accurately.’ Incredibly, Priscilla is named first. It was unusual for a wife to be listed before her husband. This probably means Priscilla was the main speaker, teaching Apollos more about the Christian faith.
Women are never merely ornamental in the Scriptures. Though they do not feature in the Scriptures as often as men, they had an important role to play. Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Esther – these women were significant in Israel’s history. Even lesser known figures like Abigail played their part. In the New Testament we see women feature often in Paul’s greetings and farewells, shown to be valued, loved and honoured.
It must be said, however, that someone’s value to God and his people – whether they are women or men – is not dependent on their ‘usefulness.’ Those women we never hear about, the wife and mother of people whose families never feature in the story, are just as valuable as women like Sarah. It has never been what we do for God that makes us valuable. Regardless of what we do or not, we are valuable to him because he loves us. And that is enough.