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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Apol´los, a Jew of Alexandria, is described as a learned, or, as some understand it, an eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures and the Jewish religion (Acts 18:24). About A.D. 56 he came to Ephesus, where, in the synagogues, 'he spake boldly the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John' (Acts 18:25); by which we are probably to understand that he new and taught the doctrine of a Messiah, whose coming John had announced, but knew not that Jesus was the Christ. His fervor, however, attracted the notice of Aquila and Priscilla, whom Paul had left at Ephesus; and they instructed him in this higher doctrine, which he thenceforth taught openly, with great zeal and power (Acts 18:26). Having heard from his new friends, who were much attached to Paul, of that apostle's proceedings in Achaia, and especially at Corinth, he resolved to go thither, and was encouraged in this design by the brethren at Ephesus, who furnished him with letters of introduction. On his arrival there he was very useful in watering the seed which Paul had sown, and was instrumental in gaining many new converts from Judaism. There was perhaps no apostle or apostolic man who so much resembled Paul in attainments and character as Apollos. His immediate disciples became so much attached to him, as well nigh to have produced a schism in the Church, some saying, 'I am of Paul;' others, 'I am of Apollos;' others, 'I am of Cephas' (1 Corinthians 3:4-7; 1 Corinthians 3:22). There must, probably, have been some difference in their mode of teaching to occasion this; and from the first Epistle to the Corinthians it would appear that Apollos was not prepared to go so far as Paul in abandoning the figments of Judaism, and insisted less on the (to the Jews) obnoxious position that the Gospel was open to the Gentiles. There was nothing, however, to prevent these two eminent men from being perfectly united in the bonds of Christian affection and brotherhood. When Apollos heard that Paul was again at Ephesus, he went thither to see him; and as he was there when the first Epistle to the Corinthians was written (A.D. 59), there can be no doubt that the apostle received from him his information concerning the divisions in that church, which he so forcibly reproves. It strongly illustrates the character of Apollos and Paul, that the former, doubtless in disgust at those divisions with which his name had been associated, declined to return to Corinth; while the latter, with generous confidence, urged him to do so (1 Corinthians 16:12). Paul again mentions Apollos kindly in Titus 3:13, and recommends him and Zenas the lawyer to the attention of Titus, knowing that they designed to visit Crete, where Titus then was.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Apollos'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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