“[Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26).
THERE IS PERHAPS NO GREATER TEST OF OUR HONESTY AND HUMILITY THAN WHEN WE FACE THE KIND OF SITUATION THAT APOLLOS DID. Fervent and faithful, at least to the best of his previous understanding, he needed to be shown “the way of God more accurately.” And to his credit, when Priscilla and Aquila showed him where his understanding had been lacking, he changed.
Today, we face a challenging set of circumstances. In some countries, like the United States, millions of people are devout members of religious groups that call themselves “Christian” in some sense. But in very many, if not most, cases, the doctrines and practices that are being followed are not true to the teaching of Jesus Christ and His apostles in the New Testament.
For those committed to a return to the “Way” reflected in the New Testament (Acts 9:2; 24:14), the challenge is to get people to take a second look at their convictions. There is no harder person to convert to Christ than the one who thinks he is already following Christ. The shell of popular “Christianity” is very hard to penetrate. And there are few who will do what Apollos did: humbly admit that his previous understanding was inadequate. People do not like to be shown that they’ve been on the wrong path.
Yet there is nobody, including this writer, who does not need an “Apollos experience” now and then. Our salvation depends on our willingness to be instructed by others. But such teachability requires a humility that is hard. As Winston Churchill said, “I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught.”
So what are we to do when we sit across the table discussing the Scriptures with someone whose understanding is significantly different from ours? What did Apollos do when he was lovingly confronted by Priscilla and Aquila? In the end, it doesn’t matter who is right; it only matters what is right. And the Scriptures must be our guide. Each of us must have the courage to adjust ourselves to the truth when we learn “the way of God more accurately.”
“We owe almost all our knowledge not to those who have agreed but to those who have differed” (Charles Caleb Colton).