« Apollonius of Tyana Apollos Apologetics »

Apollos

APOLLOS, a-pel´es (probably a contraction from Apollonius): A man eminent in New Testament history. His special gifts in presenting Christian doctrine made him an important person in the congregation at Corinth, and his name came to be attached to a faction there (I Cor. i. 12), but there is no indication that he favored or approved an overestimation of his person. Nor can it be said that Paul objected to his work of presenting the way of salvation; on the contrary he thinks Apollos a valuable helper in carrying on his work in the important Corinthian congregation (I Cor iii. 6, iv. 6, xvi. 12). In harmony with Paul’s notices are the statements of the Acts of the Apostles (xviii. 24-28) that Apollos was a highly educated Alexandrian Jew, who came to Ephesus (probably in 54 A.D.), was instructed in the gospel there by Aquila and Priscilla, and afterward settled in Achaia, where, by the grace of God he showed himself useful to the Church. The rest of this notice to the effect that he came to Ephesus as a disciple of the Lord and preached Jesus in the synagogues, when he knew only of John’s baptism, is odd.

It is difficult to get a correct idea of his religious standpoint; but it probably was that of the so-called disciples of John, of whom mention is made in Acts xix. 1-7. Taken all in all, it may be said that Apollos was a zealous missionary, who, while confessing Jesus, did not have the full New Testament revelation, and stood in danger of becoming antagonistic to the apostolic message to all the world; he became, however, an adherent of the Pauline doctrine, and the author of the Acts of the Apostles thought this fact of sufficient importance to be included in his history. In the Epistle to Titus (iii. 13) Apollos is mentioned, with Zenas, as bearer of the letter to Crete. The Epistle to the Hebrews has often been ascribed to Apollos, beginning with Luther, and he has been suggested as the author of the fourth Gospel ([Tobler], Die Evangelienfrage, Zurich, 1858).

K. Schmidt.

Bibliography: E. Renan, St. Paul, pp. 240, 372 sqq., Paris, 1869; Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, ii., chap xiv., London, 1888; C. von Weissäcker, The Apostolic Age, 2 vols., London, 1894-95; A. C. McGiffert, Hist. of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, New York, 1897; W. Baldensperger, Der Prolog des vierten Evangeliums, pp. 93-99, Freiburg, 1898.

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