Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 30, 1964

Admirable Apollos

Donald R. Givens

In the eighteenth chapter of Acts Luke tells us about a man who had several admirable characteristics. His name is Apollos, an Alexandrian by race. Luke states that he was an eloquent man and mighty in the scriptures. He was fervent in spirit and taught accurately the things he knew about Jesus, but he knew only the baptism of John.

Apollos was eager and enthusiastic to do what was right, so he spake boldly in the synagogue the things that he did know. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him they knew that he was in need of further information concerning Jesus, the Son of God. So they took him and taught him the way of God more accurately.

When Apollos was taken aside by Priscilla and Aquila and was told he was incorrect in some points of his teaching, did he get angry and have the attitude of a "know-it-all?" No, rather he was honest and willing to be corrected if found in error. He was zealous with an open mind and an open ear to the truth. When he realized that he had been fervent in teaching only the baptism of John when the baptism of Jesus was in force, he did not cease being fervent, but simply corrected himself in teaching. He continued to be "fervent in spirit" and bold in his teaching.

Apollos is a wonderful example for us today. We need to have the attitudes he had if we see that we are not teaching the whole truth, No Christian who loves the truth will get angry if he is shown to be walking in error. Rather he will love the one who corrected him as Apollos must have loved Priscilla and Aquila.

In the troubles in the church of the Lord today, there are seen far too many persons who have no sincere love for the truth. Rather than admit that they have been wrong, they get exceedingly angry with the ones who try to show them the error of their way. This is not the way Apollos reacted. This is not what Christians should do today if some individual who loves their soul points out from the Book of Truth that their foot is slipping down into pits of error.

If more people would have the attitude that Apollos did when he saw the truth more accurately, we would have less falling into the errors of human institutions and sponsoring-church arrangements which are absolutely without divine authority. We need more individuals who will cry for a "thus saith the Lord" in everything they practice in religion. We need less who blindly follow after big promoters of things completely foreign to the Bible. We need more humble servants who are willing to learn as was Apollos. We today, as lovers of truth, must always have an open mind to further instruction in the right way of the Lord. May we never become so egotistical as to think "truth" is what I believe and error is what other people believe.

In Acts 18:27, 28 we see the actions of Apollos after he had been instructed more perfectly in the way of the Lord, He left Ephesus and passed over into Achaia and "helped the brethren much." He did not have the attitude of anger or resentment against Priscilla and Aquila but rather was filled with love.

We read that Apollos also "powerfully confuted the Jews." He certainly stood up for what was right in the face of all opposition. Confute means to "overcome by argument." Yes, Apollos proved to them by arguing that Jesus was the Christ. Yet today we have some individuals and even religious papers that say, "Oh, we must not argue," or "Nothing controversial will be discussed or printed," and similar phrases of spineless character. But this is just not so; we must argue and "contend earnestly for the faith." (Jude 3.) Any person or paper that will not argue for, fight for and contend for the truth — does not love the truth. It takes great courage and conviction to stand up for the truth under fire, ridicule and scorn. The easy way out is to refrain from discussing anything "controversial." But even Jesus could not do this. The day we stop fighting for the truth will be the very day we find ourselves in the camp of the devil. (Matthew 12:30)

Apollos is our example in that he immediately recognized and accepted the truth when taught it. After learning the truth accurately, he did what every Christian today must also do: Powerfully confute all who would destroy it.

Today, as in troublesome times past, we have many who would destroy the simplicity of the Gospel with unscriptural innovations and corrupt the purity of the Lord's church with human opinions. When sincere brethren try to correct them in their unscriptural ideas, they become angry and accuse these brethren of being against evangelism, and preaching on the radio, being against helping orphans and against colleges. This is a gross mis-representation. Did Apollos accuse Priscilla and Aquila of "being anti-baptism" because they taught against the baptism of John? Certainly not. In the last century sincere brethren were accused of being against music because they taught the instrument was wrong. They were called "antis" and trouble-makers because they dared enforce the New Testament teaching concerning vocal music.

Let it be clearly understood today, that just because brethren are against church-sponsored benevolent institutions does not mean we hate orphans. Because we are opposed to colleges in the budget of the church does not mean we do not approve of colleges. Because we reject the Herald of Truth as an unscriptural setup does not mean we do not like to preach over the radio or television. Thinking brethren can understand this; just as they can understand being opposed to instrumental music and the missionary society does not mean we are opposed to music and evangelism, May we follow the example of Apollos by accepting the truth when we see it and faithfully staying with it all the days of our lives. Let us immediately give up any practice which will corrupt the precious body of our Lord. As Apollos did, let us "show by the scriptures" that truth is found only in Jesus Christ.

— 241 Grant Street, Coalinga, California