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Good Jewish Egyptian Boy
by Barri Cae Mallin
Shalom. My name is Barri Cae. I was raised in a Jewish home and was saved in 1980
in my cousin's Jewish delicatessen. To God be all the glory. Shalom.
Mention the name Apollos, and some think of the Apollo theatre in Harlem, some think of Apollo Creed from the movie "Rocky," some think of the Apollo moon mission, and others may think of a heathen Greek god. But Apollos, with an 's,' was a good Jewish boy, born in Egypt (Alexandria). His parents were Jewish (Acts 18:24). Some scholars even believe that he authored the book of Hebrews.
Apollos was born, raised and educated in Alexandria, Egypt. Where Saul of Tarsus (Rabbi Sha'ul), or Paul, was educated in the school of Gamaliel, instructed in the Jewish school of thought of Hillel, and was raised to be a strict Pharisee, Apollos' upbringing was totally different.
Alexandria, Egypt was founded by Alexander the Great 322 years before Yeshua. Alexandria was a cultural center, and housed one of the finest libraries in the world. Great thinkers such as Euclid (geometry) hailed from there, as did Philo (philosophy). The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, was translated there in Alexandria. It was within this culture that Apollos was instructed.
Acts 18:24 tells us that he was an orator, skilled in Greek, and he was a believer. He was instructed in the way of the Lord but was acquainted only with the baptism of John. Perhaps he had just a head knowledge of Yeshua Jesus, we are not told the specifics. He had a partial picture of Jesus.
He was boldly speaking out in the synagogue, and God just happened to have Priscilla and Aquila present to hear him. They saw his fire, yet they knew he needed a bit more instruction about Yeshua Jesus. They pulled him aside - these humble tentmakers pulled brilliant orator Apollos aside - and both (man and woman) instructed Apollos about the fullness of Yeshua Jesus. We see humility in all these folks. We see an eagerness to teach, and an eagerness to learn. Apollos' secular education was gained at secular institutions; his spiritual education was gained by humility and grace.
Whatever Priscilla and Aquila taught Apollos sure did take effect, because Apollos became a fiery Yeshua Jesus man: he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Yeshua Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 18:28).
When Apollos landed on the scene at Corinth, the congregation there loved him, and soon division occurred between factions that loved Paul, and factions that loved Apollos. Yet Paul would have no division, and he refuted, I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5).
It is interesting that within these two good Jewish boys' works for the Lord, we never read of their separate congregations, their separate conferences, their separate authors' rights, their separate denominations. They were of one heart, echad (Hebrew for oneness, unity).
They may have even been each other's greatest fans. And even if Apollos did in fact write Hebrews (and we won't know for sure until we get to heaven, and then it won't matter), I can just imagine Apollos being so delighted that his brother Paul got so much of the credit for its authorship.
These men's love for Yeshua and for each other illustrate a great message to us. It's all about He, and not we. Paul's words to the congregation in Corinth: But concerning Apollos, our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you, with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity. Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love (I Corinthians 16:12-14).