Leaders in the Church at Ephesus
Apollos was an impressive speaker. He was eloquent, knowledgeable, fervent, and bold. Priscilla and her husband Aquila were in a synagogue in Ephesus listening to him speak about Jesus, but they noticed something lacking in his message. Apollos did not know about Christian baptism.
Of all the Christians in the city, it was Priscilla and Aquila who approached Apollos with the aim of explaining the “way of God” (i.e. theology) to him more accurately (Acts 18:26). That they approached him may well be an indication of the couple’s function as leaders, or elders, in the Christian community at Ephesus.
Priscilla and Aquila had previously spent a year and a half working and ministering alongside the apostle Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3, 11, 18). Then all three had set sail together for Ephesus. Paul then left Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus where they were equipped to minister, having spent so much time watching, listening, and learning firsthand from Paul (Acts 18:19 cf. Rom. 16:3-5). The couple were well able to teach Apollos who was himself a teacher (Acts 18:25) and an up-and-coming apostle (cf. 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4-6, 21-22; 4:6, 9).
Priscilla and Aquila’s Invitation to Apollos
Several English translations of Acts 18:26 state that Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside (e.g., ESV, NASB, NET). Other translations, however, state that the couple invited Apollos into their home (e.g., NIV, CSB). The Greek verb used here, proslambanō, is commonly used with either meaning “to take aside” or “receive into one’s home.”
Considering the culture of hospitality in ancient societies, and the importance of fellowship for the first Christians, the translation that Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollos into their home is probably the correct one. Accordingly, an early Syriac translation of Acts 18:26 has the couple inviting Apollos “to their own house.” I strongly doubt the three held a conversation that took place in the corner of the synagogue or on the side of the road.
Priscilla and Aquila hosted a house church in their home. It is probable that, during his stay with Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos was present at their church meetings. Perhaps Christian baptism was one of the topics of discussion and instruction at this meeting.
After experiencing the hospitality and ministry of Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos wanted to keep moving and keep ministering. So the “brothers and sisters,” possibly the members of Priscilla and Aquila’s house church who were now acquainted with Apollos, wrote to the disciples in Archaia asking them to welcome him (Acts 18:27 NIV).
“Grateful to Them”
According to Luke’s description in Acts 18:24-25, Apollos had already been instructed in the way of the Lord when he arrived in Ephesus, and he was teaching accurately about Jesus. But with the hospitality, teaching, and correction offered by Priscilla and Aquila, he now knew the way of the Lord even more accurately.
Apollos and Aquila, as well as Luke who records this story, do not appear to be in any way concerned that Priscilla, a woman, took the lead in ministering to Apollos, a man. That she played a more prominent part is indicated by Priscilla’s name coming before her husband’s in Acts 18:26 (cf. 18:18) in the more reliable Greek manuscripts.
A few years later, Paul would warmly greet his friends who were now leading a house church in Rome. Again, Priscilla is mentioned first before her husband. In fact, she is mentioned first in Paul’s list of 28 Roman Christians. First!
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. Greet also the church that meets at their house (Romans 16:3-5 NIV).
Paul did not have a problem with godly women, like Priscilla, being ministers and leaders. Rather, he and many others were grateful for their service.
 The fact that Priscilla and Aquila spent so much time at Corinth and then set sail for Ephesus from the Corinthian port town of Cenchrea (cf. Acts 18:18), means the couple probably knew Phoebe, a minister of the church at Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1-2). Priscilla and Aquila met Phoebe in Rome, if not before. (More on this here.)
 See proslambanō (definitions 3 and 4) in Walter Bauer’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition, revised and edited by F.W Danker, (University of Chicago Press, 2000), 883.
 “Acts 18:26,” John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible (Source.)
 See Did Priscilla Teach Apollos? for more on the two Greek verbs behind Apollos’ “teaching” and Priscilla and Aquila’s “teaching.”
 In Acts 18:26 in Codex Bezae, also known as Codex Dea or Uncial 05, Aquila’s name is first and Priscilla’s second. Stephanus adopted this reading in his Greek edition which influenced the King James Bible. I’ve written about Codex Bezae and the corruptions in Acts that downplay prominent women in the church, here.
Priscilla is always mentioned with her husband, but other women ministers, including Phoebe, Euodia and Syntyche, Tryphena and Tryphosa, Persis, and Nympha, are mentioned independently of men in the New Testament.
Postscript: August 29, 2021
On the Establishment of the church at Ephesus
“A Christian community was established in Ephesus in the 50s by Priscilla and Aquila, who had been left there by Paul on their journey from Corinth where they had met and ministered together (Acts 18:19). Paul then returned and spent two years there, enjoying a spectacular and fruitful ministry which saw the community grow but also provoked serious opposition.”
Ian Paul, Revelation (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, IVP Academic, 2018) p. 78.
Postscript: October 10, 2022
Some suggest that because it is not certain Priscilla taught in a church meeting in Acts 18, her correction of Apollos’s teaching doesn’t serve as a precedent for women teaching in church services today. And they usually connect this idea with “teaching authority” and Sunday morning sermons. But what does it matter where or when Priscilla, with Aquila, corrected Apollos who was himself a teacher and an up-an-coming apostle?
By way of example, the authority of Paul’s teaching didn’t change if he was in a synagogue, or a public square, or a prison cell, or a lecture hall, or in a house church.
It didn’t change if he was preaching to women in Philippi, to a Roman jailor, or standing before the Jerusalem Council or Roman governors.
It didn’t change if he taught on the Sabbath, on the first day of the week (Sunday), or in the middle of the week.
Paul was still the same person, delivering essentially the same message, guided by the same Holy Spirit, called and authorised by God.
Some of Paul’s letters from prison, which were written over several days and weeks, have had the most lasting influence and authority of all his words: his written words have more influence and authority than his spoken words.
I have no doubt that Priscilla often taught in the house church that she and Aquila hosted and cared for in Ephesus and in Rome. 1 Timothy 2:12 taken out of context does not invalidate her teaching ministry and it should not restrict the teaching ministry of women today.
Did Priscilla Teach Apollos?
Various articles on Priscilla are here.
Partnering Together: Paul’s Female Coworkers
Were there women elders in New Testament churches?
The First Century Church and the Ministry of Women
Church Cultures that Include and Exclude Women Leaders
The Prominence of Women in the Cults of Ephesus
Phoebe: Deacon of the Church at Cenchrea
Paul and Women, in a Nutshell
A List of the 29 People in Romans 16:1-16