Priscilla in the Bible stands out as one of powerful women of faith. She was a woman of strength and purpose. Priscilla and her husband are identified among the power couples in Scripture. They were movers and shakers in the early church and firm believers in Jesus.
Who is Priscilla in the Bible?
Priscilla is commonly identified with her husband, Aquila. She was one of the most prolific female missionaries of the Scriptures. Along with her husband, Priscilla worked alongside the Apostle Paul with whom they became very close friends.
Priscilla in the Bible verses
Priscilla’s story is told in the New Testament. She is mentioned in multiple places. Here are the Bible passages that talk about Priscilla.
- Acts 18:1-3, 18-19, 26
- Romans 16:3-4
- 1 Corinthians 16:19
- 2 Timothy 4:19
Priscilla in the Bible story summary
Because of the spread of Christianity, Rome became a turbulent place to live. Why? The Jews were not happy about this new religion that was gaining ground.
Jesus had been crucified, was raised from the dead, went back to heaven and left a mandate for His disciples to turn the world upside down with His message of love and hope.
And they were doing just that. This is why the Jews were wildly unhappy. So unhappy were they that they had regular uprisings in Rome.
If you can imagine the racial protests and riots of 2020, you will have a window into what was going on in Rome. Every time it happened, the peace of Rome was disrupted and alot of damage was caused.
The Roman governor, Claudius, had had enough of it. He expelled the Jews. Claudius told them to leave.
This is how Priscilla and Aquila came to leave Italy (Acts 18:2). It was while they were traveling through Corinth that they met Paul. Because they all did the same type of work for money, they became fast friends. The friendship grew into a partnership in ministry that lasted a lifetime.
Priscilla and Acquila traveled alot on missionary work. It is suspected that they went back to Rome at some point when things had settle down.
Let’s dig a little deeper into Priscilla specifically.
Characteristics of Priscilla in the Bible
The qualities of Priscilla in the Bible are not so easy to identify because although she is mentioned in multiple verses, not many details are revealed about her.
Nevertheless, there’s definitely enough for us to learn some awesome things about her.
Priscilla was a Jew turned Christian
Priscilla and her husband Aquila were Jews who had been living in Rome. The emperor at the time chased out the Jews because he claimed there were too many Jewish uprisings.
Apparently, there was a lot of commotion in the Jewish community because people were teaching about Jesus. I suppose the emperor didn’t want them to disrupt and destroy the place any longer so he expelled them.
The Bible doesn’t tell us explicitly at what point Priscilla and Aquila came to believe in Jesus. But we do know from Scripture that when they left Rome they went to Corinth.
That’s where they met Paul. If they didn’t believe before, they would certainly have received teachings from Paul.
Priscilla was bi-vocational
Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers. That’s what they did for money before they had to leave Rome.
When they met Paul, they adopted his lifestyle. Paul was a Jew. According to Jewish law, those who teach and preach should not get paid.
All rabbis were supposed to have a job and make their own money. So Paul made tents for a living and did missionary work as well. He basically had two jobs going.
Priscilla and Aquila did the very same thing that Paul did.
Priscilla was hospitable, open and giving
When Christianity was new, there was no such thing as a church building. So Priscilla and Aquila made their home available for church services.
Although they did quite a bit of traveling, wherever they called home was a place into which they would welcome believers for worship.
Their door was open to anyone who wanted to enjoy good Christian fellowship and encouraging, uplifting worship.
Priscilla had strong faith and courage
In writing a letter, Paul says:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Romans 16:3-4
Making the decision to become Christian missionaries was a big deal. In the early days when Christianity was new and unpopular, many people lost their lives. Violence was the norm against Christians.
The Jews hated Christians and the Romans killed them for sport. By hanging out with Paul and being friends with him, they were exposing themselves.
But they didn’t care. They served God anyway. This was the epitome of courageous faith. She could have gotten killed but Priscilla kept going.
Priscilla was a dedicated and loyal friend
When Priscilla and Aquila met Paul in Corinth, they spent 18 months together. They made and sold tents together. They did ministry together. Those 18 months led to a lifetime of friendship.
After that year and a half, Paul decided to go to Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila packed up their lives and went with him.
Although Paul left them in Ephesus and went on his way at some point, he always sent greetings to them in his letters to the congregations that met in various homes.
Priscilla was mature, loving, godly and tactful
During their time in Ephesus, one day, Priscilla and Aquila went to the synagogue. A passionate, young, brilliant scholar named Apollos delivered the sermon.
Priscilla and Aquila noticed one problem: Apollos didn’t know that Jesus had already been born, died on the cross, was resurrected, and had gone back to heaven.
They knew this because in his sermon Apollos talked about the coming Messiah that the Old Testament prophecies talked about. He preached about John the Baptist and the need for repentance in preparation for the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
But because he didn’t know about Jesus his sermon fell short. Apollos wasn’t wrong. His sermon was just incomplete.
But his training was to be blamed for that. So Priscilla and Aquila decided to fix it.
Priscilla took the lead on this. They invited him to their home. And there, in private, they taught him the full story about Jesus.
Apollos learned that the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus had already been fulfilled and that now we have salvation full and free in Jesus.
How sweet and mature and godly of them to not embarrass Apollos in public.
Lessons from Priscilla in the Bible
Priscilla’s characteristics inspire admiration. There is so much she can teach us. What can we learn from Priscilla in the Bible?
Every disappointment is God’s appointment
When Priscilla and Aquila were driven out of Rome because of being Jewish, they met Paul. Their lives were never the same again.
They probably had a booming tent making business in Rome but when they were chased out, God made it work for their good. They went to Corinth right at the time when Paul was there.
This began a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Priscilla, Aquila and Paul spent 18 months in Corinth together. Priscilla and Aquila found something that was priceless.
They became close friends with Paul, helping him to bear the burden of ministry. And they themselves became missionaries.
No doubt they must have been disappointed by having to close their business and give up their home in Rome.
God uses the disappointments of our lives for His glory. Romans 8:28 became a reality in the lives of Priscilla and Aquila.
Make your marriage succeed by seeking deep intimacy with your spouse
Priscilla and Aquila are known as one of the power couples of the Bible. They were true life partners. Their partnership was in money-making, marriage and ministry.
But you know what? You can tell that their partnership was built on intimacy that was deep as it was wide.
Priscilla and Aquila seemed to be friends. I mean they enjoyed each other’s company so much that they never went anywhere without each other.
And they were quite the traveling pair, always on the road to some missionary trip. Yet, there is never a place in Scripture where one is mentioned and the other isn’t.
I know you could think of a couple who cannot stand to be around each other. Maybe this is your marriage.
Priscilla and Aquila didn’t just love each other. They liked each other a lot. And so they could easily spend hours upon hours upon hours together and not get bored or sick of each other.
Yes, you can be married to someone you don’t actually like. But that’s a discussion for another time.
The point I want to make is this: if you want to have a happy marriage and a successful life, seek intimacy with your spouse.
There are up to 12 types of intimacy in marriage. See how you’re doing with each of them.
This is one of the best ways to be on one accord with each. The greater your intimacy, the happier your marriage.
The greater the intimacy, the more success you will experience in your life. The greater the intimacy, the more fulfilled you will be.
Make your home a place of worship
One of the outstanding practices of Priscilla and Aquila was the fact that they had a church home. Wherever they lived, Christians met in their home for worship.
Their house had an open door. Believers who shared faith with them could enter and enjoy Christian fellowship and worship. Their home was an oasis.
Nowadays, we have become very protective of spaces. We want to ensure that we don’t invite just about any old body into our home.
It’s a good thing to be mindful of the kind of spiritual energy we allow to influence the atmosphere of our home.
We should also create an atmosphere that the enemy will not be able to tolerate. When you host worship and praise in your home, the devil will not be able to set up strongholds in your their.
Whether you worship alone or with some of your friends, make sure the enemy knows your space is a place of godly worship, peace, and praise.
Of course, it’s always better when you have some true believers worship with you.
Find the work that God has called you to do in the world
Priscilla was considered a laywoman. She taught the gospel to people and had a church in her home. She had a budding, thriving ministry.
Paul could not do it alone. Brilliant and well-traveled as he was, there were limitations. He could not be omni-present.
Priscilla and Aquila stepped up to the plate.
What is your ministry? How can you be a layperson to help your pastor or deacon or other church leaders.
You might not be able to preach sermons or run a church service but that’s not the only form of ministry.
Maybe there are young men and women in the community who need a big brother or big sister or mother or mentor to help them get through life. Maybe your neighbor needs to learn to read and write and you know where to get them help.
Your ministry may even be under the disguise of a business. God has no problem if your ministry is your business and your business is your ministry.
The number of ways to build a ministry is countless. Anything can become a ministry.
How has God been moving you?
Get into community with like-minded people
It’s not always easy to find but God can provide godly friends who are similar to you in heart and purpose.
Paul found in Priscilla and Aquila compatibility in purpose and a true, life-long friendship.
They all had been Jews early in life but became Christians as adults. They all were tent makers. And they all had a passion and purpose for sharing the gospel.
These three people fed each other’s energy as they fulfilled the purpose for which God had called them. They had each other’s back. Even risking their lives for each other.
Because their hearts were beating the same, they worked together effortlessly. And what they were able to accomplish as a unit was magnificent.
You need at least one friend like this. But life is better when there is a tribe of people like this.
You know what you are really looking for. Start praying for God to orchestrate the pieces of your life so you can find your community of like-minded and like-hearted people.
Find someone to mentor and nurture
When Priscilla saw and heard Apollos, she realized that he was passionate and brilliant and a gifted speaker.
The problem was, he was going in a direction that could have become problematic in the future.
Priscilla didn’t criticize him. Instead, she saw an opportunity to pour into him. Apollos was already energetic and passionate. He just needed some more information and a slightly different direction. Apollos went on to become a prolific preacher.
Who is Apollos in your life? Who is that young woman? Who is that young man? Who is that person who could use your knowledge and advice and nurturing to set them on the path that God has ordained for them to take?
Their destiny is waiting for you to approach them to offer your God-given wisdom to help them. Their lives can take a completely different direction because of your willingness to pour into them like God is asking you to.
You have a responsibility to help people like Apollos. Don’t go away rich with wisdom while your Apollos is hungering for it.
Leave a legacy that others can follow
One of the most powerful legacies you can leave is a well-lived life that others can emulate.
Priscilla and Aquila left a legacy of unwavering and fruitful trust in God; a wholesome and productive marriage; and a powerful and impactful ministry.
Today we can read, dissect and examine what we know of their story and mine lessons we can use to guide our own Christian experiences in practical ways.
As you live your life, ask yourself this question: if the Bible were to be rewritten with your story in it, what would you like to be known for?
I love this Steve Green song about leaving a legacy of faith. Because that’s what I want to be known for.
How about you?
FAQs about Priscilla in the Bible
Here are some answers to some popular questions about Priscilla. Enjoy these fun facts about her.
Meaning of Priscilla in the Bible
The name Priscilla means ancient.
Here is an interesting fact you probably didn’t know. Priscilla was also called Prisca. Actually, Prisca was her real name. Priscilla was her affectionate name.
Not all translations will use this name. I will not go into why this might be so.
Read the following verses from the ESV, NKJV, NASB: Romans 16:3, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 2 Timothy 4:19.
Who was Priscilla’s husband?
Priscilla’s husband was named Aquila. His name means eagle.
Why is Priscilla mentioned before Aquila?
There are a few ideas about why Priscilla is often mentioned before Aquila in most verses in the Bible.
One thought is that Priscilla was more outspoken than Aquila so that’s why she mostly mentioned first.
Another thought is that Priscilla was born unto an elite Roman family but fell in love with Aquila, an ordinary Jewish tentmaker and gave up her wealth to live with the love of her life. So she is named first because of her rank.
Truth is, we will never know for sure. All of this is just guessing. There is no proof any of these ideas are really true.
Was Priscilla a pastor?
Priscilla was what some would consider a laywoman today.
How did Priscilla and Aquila die?
The Bible doesn’t tell us how or when Priscilla and Aquila died.
Some Bible scholars believe they were martyred in Rome due to Christians being blamed for a fire which occurred when they returned and resettled there.
Of course, this is not provable.
Conclusion about Priscilla in the Bible
From Priscilla’s life, I am taking lessons for faith, marriage, ministry, and business. I really appreciated how she consistently poured into others.
I admired the sound and productive friendship she and her husband shared with Paul. What are you taking from Priscilla for your own life?