The Power of Small Group Bible Study: Acts 18:24-28
“24) Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25) This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; 26) and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27) And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28) for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” Acts‬ ‭18‬:‭24‬-‭28‬ ‭
Apollos became one of the most eloquent scholars and expositors in the early church. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-7 puts him on par with Paul and Peter with the impact he had on the early church.
When he first came Ephesus and began his public discourse, he was acquainted only with the ministry of John the Baptist. Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and filled him in on the full story of the gospel of grace. As a result, he blossomed very quickly.
There are many in ministry who are doing great things with limited knowledge. God has a way of revealing the full story to them. According to 1 John 2:27, the Holy Spirit is our primary teacher. This guarantees that those who are genuinely seeking Jesus and the gospel will find Him.
This helps solve the mystery of the next several verses in Acts 19:1-7. Apollos had been to Ephesus and raised up some disciples, but they knew nothing of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ or what happened at Pentecost. More about that in the next section.
There is another wonderful insight in this text. Priscilla and Aquila did not publicly argue or debate with Apollos. Rather “they took him aside and explained to him the way more accurately.” (Vs 26) They created a loving, safe and peaceful environment for Scripture study and learning.
Early in my Christian life, mostly in Bible college, I was sucked into some heated debates about different doctrinal views. They were nearly all fruitless and counter productive.
Then I learned the secret of saying; “Let’s get together and pray for the Holy Spirits guidance and study Scripture together.” Then I worked hard to create a loving and safe environment to learn and grow.
What has been the outcome? I’ve seen many come to Jesus and I’ve grown in my understanding of numerous biblical truths myself. Many liberal churches and denominations do not stress personal Bible study, but their people are hungry for truth. The same is true for those trapped in cult groups.
In John 8:31-32, it says; “31) So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” This is the power behind simple Bible study with sincere people.
I dare say, the one on one, small group or home Bible study is the number one most successful evangelism tool ever designed. It started in the early church. It was employed very effectively by Priscilla and Aquila in this text.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a scholar or eloquent speaker to lead or participate in fruitful small group Bible studies. Jesus promised if you abide in His word He will guide you into the truth and set you free. But be sincere and willing to grow and change yourself! Who knows, God might use you to help reach and launch the next Apollos!
Another benefit of small group Bible study is that you forge deep and lasting friendships. These people often become your personal prayer and support network. It’s impossible to put a price tag on godly friends.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global