Saint Apollos (Ἀπολλώς) is a 1st century Alexandrian Jewish Christian mentioned several times in the New Testament. A contemporary of the Apostle Paul, he played an important role in the churches of Ephesus and Corinth.
Apollos in the New Testament
Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria. This led to speculations that Apollos preached in the allegorical style of Philo. Theologian Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, for example, recently commented: "It is difficult to imagine that an Alexandrian Jew ... could have escaped the influence of Philo, the great intellectual leader ... particularly since the latter seems to have been especially concerned with education and preaching."
Apollos is first mentioned as a Christian preacher who had come to Ephesus (probably in the year 52/3), where he is described as "being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John."
|“||And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.||”|
Before Paul's arrival, Apollos had moved from Ephesus to Achaia
Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (55 AD) mentions Apollos as an important figure at Corinth. Paul described Apollos' role at Corinth: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth."
Apollos is mentioned one more time in the New Testament. In the Epistle to Titus, the recipient is exhorted to "speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way".
Jerome states that Apollos was so dissatisfied with the division at Corinth, that he retired to Crete with Zenas the lawyer; and that the schism having been healed by Paul's letters to the Corinthians, Apollos returned to the city, and became its bishop. Less probable traditions assign to him the bishopric of Duras, or of Iconium in Phrygia, or of Caesarea.
Martin Luther and some modern scholars have proposed Apollos as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, rather than Paul or Barnabas. Both Apollos or Barnabas were Jewish Christians with sufficient intellectual authority. Other than this, there are no known surviving texts attributed to Apollos.
- J Murphy-O'Connor. Paul: A critical life. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996, p. 275
- So the Alexandrian recension; the text in 38 and Codex Bezae indicate that Apollos went to Corinth. Joseph Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (New York: Doubleday, 1998), p. 639.
- Jerome, Commentary on the Epistle to Titus 3:13
- The NIV study bible, new international version; English (UK) edition; London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1987; p.1817.
- Articles in
- Jerome Commentary on the Epistle to Titus
- James Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible
- Karl Heinrich von Weizsäcker, Das apostolische Zeitalter (1886)
- A. C. McGiffert, History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age.
- Initial text from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.