We’re heading into the New Testament today for another woman who was a bold example of leadership; this time, in the local church.
Whenever we hear of Priscilla in the New Testament, she’s most often named before her husband, Aquila. It’s important to note that order reflects authority, so this is an important indicator of her work and leadership.
When a pair was mentioned in that culture, the more prominent would always be named first. It’s clear that this couple was one dynamic team, and that Priscilla was recognized as prominent in business (she and Aquilla were business owners, tentmakers by trade – Acts 18:3) and in ministry.
Bold in her faith, she and Aquila had been cast out of Rome for their beliefs. Paul wrote that not only were they “coworkers in Christ Jesus” but that hey had “risked their own necks for his life” (Rm 16:3-4), at a time when persecution was a very present reality.
While Paul left to minister across Asia Minor, Priscilla and Aquila would accompany him as coworkers. In Ephesus, they stayed to minister to the church there, while Paul continued on. It was here that they would teach theology to the church, including Apollos, who was preaching in the synagogues (Acts 18:18-28), and would become one of the most influential apostles of that time.
Priscilla and Aquila would plant a church in Corinth that met in their home as they taught (read: preached).
Now, to say that Priscilla hosted may place an image of pouring tea and taking coats, but that is far from the case here. In these early church days, the host functioned as a ministry leader.
It is even believed by some scholars that the letter to the Hebrews was written by Priscilla.
Through the example of Priscilla, we are given a strong image of women ministering, teaching, and leading boldly in the early church.
Priscilla is not the only woman associated with church leadership, either. She is accompanied by Mark’s mother (Acts 12:12), Lydia (Acts 16:14-15, 40), Nympha (Col. 4:15), Chloe (1 For. 1:11), and others…but we’ll talk about them later. 😉