“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage, if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously, if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8) If you are called to teach, then teach with all your heart.
Teaching the Word of God is a blessing, a joy, and a challenge. The time to prepare the teaching, following the promptings of the Spirit by sitting at Christ’s feet in His Word, praying, and seeking the Wonderful Counselor’s guidance takes dedication. Many are called, but few have chosen to take the time for training.
1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 reads, “On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”
Approve means to have a favorable opinion of or to give confirmation that something or someone is satisfactory. When Paul writes he/she should not be a new convert, there needs to be a season of learning, testing, studying, listening, and praying. The Spirit moved Paul into the Desert of Arabia according to Galatians 1:17-18. Think of the work God had to do in Paul before he could spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul was called, but here was a man who was “zealous for the House of God”, but in a murderous and treacherous way. He was looking to devour Christians, on the road to Damascus to arrest and charge them with a crime (Acts 9:1-2) and watched as Stephen was stoned to death giving his approval (Acts 8:1). This Saul needed to be changed to our Paul.
What happened during those nights in Arabia? What happened during the night as the Apostle had to remember how he encouraged death and provoked fear into the hearts of Christians? Did Paul weep in sorrow remembering the death of Stephen, God’s chosen and the harsh treatment of Christians he persuaded? How did the Lord change this ravenous man of hatred, to write the gentlest, most loving, encouraging, and heartfelt Scriptures in the Bible? Preparation.
Moses spent forty years on the mountain; Jacob spent fourteen years working for Rachel, Joseph spent thirteen years in prison, John the Baptist was in the desert, and Jesus of Nazareth spent thirty years with His Father walking hand in hand. Moses delivered God’s people from bondage; Jacob begat the twelve tribes of Israel, while Joseph delivered God’s people from a famine. John the Baptist prepared the way for our Lord and Christ, the Word in Flesh, brought a sinful world salvation through His precious blood on the cross. Preparation.
What does all this have to do with Priscilla? Priscilla is first mentioned in the book of Acts chronicled by the good doctor Luke. In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquila divinely meet the Apostle Paul as mutual tentmakers, working hard in Corinth. The Apostle stayed with this couple while he reasoned in the synagogues, persuaded the Jews and Greeks, meeting with Silas and Timothy, and preached Jesus Christ. Priscilla was with Paul, witnessed the abuse issued him, and the Apostle’s bold professing of Christ.
She witnessed baptisms, met many new believers, listened to the vision received by Paul to “not be afraid, to keep on speaking and do not be silent.” The Apostle stayed a year and half, teaching the Word of God after the vision while thrown into court (Acts 18:11). He stayed on in Corinth for some time then left for Syria accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18). They arrived in Ephesus where the couple stayed and met a man named Apollos. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited Apollos into their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately (Acts 18:24-26).
Gleaning from the Apostle, this couple maybe at times Priscilla for her name comes first, taught salvation through Jesus Christ. They spread the Gospel as some of the first missionaries, risking their own lives for their faith and belief (Romans 16:3-4). Paul asks the Romans to greet them warmly for “not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them (Romans 16:4). This couple’s greetings were sent to Corinth through the Apostle as were “the church that meets at their house.” (1 Corinthians 16:19) and to Timothy who was to give Paul’s greeting to them (2 Timothy 4:19).
Priscilla taught the Word, opened her home with hospitable arms, and planted churches where she and Aquila were placed by the hand of God. She was chosen by God to learn from Paul, taking his instruction from God and listening to the vision received by Christ, to not be afraid, nor remain silent. She risked her life for the love of Jesus Christ pouring into the ones God gave her to love. Remember, Priscilla was baptized through Paul, worked with him through the making of tents and listened to the Apostle at the synagogues with nightly vigils, I am sure, reaching the wee hours of the morning. Preparation. Paul trusted Priscilla; God trusted Priscilla with His Word for her very name is mentioned in the Bible as instructing more adequately the salvation through Jesus Christ.
Woman, if you are called to teach, then there is a time of preparation. “Do not despise the days of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10) If the Lord has asked you to spend time growing with a godly Christian woman, the learn all you can. If the Lord has asked you to spend time with Him alone, then shut off the world and sit. If the Lord has asked you to serve under a minister, pastor and deacon, then serve and watch. Listen to instruction, pray, and read the Word of God, growing in your strength and boldness to spread the Gospel.
God works preparation through small steps, building on a solid foundation, working in the inner most parts of your heart, getting to the deepest roots of fears, pride or worldly attitudes. Like Paul, it could be in the Arabia desert you may find yourself. Those nightly wrestling matches with God convicting your heart, pushing you towards your goal and teaching you His ways are painful, but necessary. How can we be approved, prepared, but not be tested? I encourage you fight the good fight and finish your race strong. For as Mordecai told Esther the Lord will find another to save His people if she didn’t step up, the Lord will find someone willing to submit, step through the fiery furnace, and be molded into the image of Christ. You be that strong, bold, and courageous woman of God!