Thursday, 17 May 2018
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 2 Timothy 4:19
Paul now makes a special request that Timothy “Greet Prisca and Aquila.” These two are noted in Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians. This is the only time that she is called Prisca rather than Priscilla, it being a shortened form of the name. This type of shortened nickname is seen elsewhere in the Bible, such as when Silvanus is called Silas, etc. At times, Priscilla is named first, and at times Aquila is named first. This is a clear indication that Paul’s words of Galatians 3:28 were considered relevant even at the earliest times of the church age. There he notes that in Christ Jesus “there is neither male nor female.” However, it must be understood that this is speaking of salvation in Christ, not that males cease being males, or that females cease being females. Further, it is noted that within the family unit, there is still the order that the husband has authority over the wife (see 1 Corinthians 11:1-16).
It is important to understand all such matters by applying proper context to such verses. Paul’s addressing Prisca (Priscilla) first is not a usurpation of the order of things. Placing Priscilla first in the narrative in Acts, or in the greetings in Paul’s letters, is simply a way of acknowledging that all Christians are on an equal level concerning salvation, and thus members in Christ.
From a simply historical note, Paul first met these two in Acts 18. They had been expelled from Rome, along with all of the Jews, by Claudius. Paul and Aquila shared the same trade, tent making. Upon their expulsion from Rome, Aquila and Priscilla took up residence in Corinth. It is there that they met Paul. They are later found with Paul in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:19), and eventually went back to Rome where Paul greeted them (Romans 16:3). This verse in 2 Timothy is their last mention in the Bible.
Along with a request for greeting these two, Paul then says, “and the household of Onesiphorus.” The household of Onesiphorus was mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:16 for the first time. Paul now asks that they be greeted again here, and it is the last time Onesiphorus is mentioned in the Bible as well.
Life application: As always, context is king when interpreting Scripture. Some have attempted to say that women are given an equal footing in all things based on the naming of Priscilla first on several occasions when she and her husband are mentioned. That is a giant stretch to make in order to justify what is clearly forbidden elsewhere. It is true that in Christ, all are on an equal level concerning salvation. It comes to all equally. However, this does not mean that all are capable or authorized to perform the same tasks, including within the ministry. Let us not rip verses out of context in order to formulate our doctrine. Instead, may we carefully handle Scripture in order to be pleasing to the Lord, and sound in our walk with Christ.
Lord God, it is so very good to walk in Your presence and to share in Your Spirit because of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were so far from You, but through the giving of Your Son, You have brought us near once again. Praises to You for the great love which You have lavished upon us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.