“God, please help me to be more like Apollos!” A thoughtful statement and request that all should be willing to make in their prayers to our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit wants us to know about a man who did so much good for the sake of Jesus and His kingdom. The following is a description of Apollos in Acts 18:24-25, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.” A quick note on his positive attributes:
1. An eloquent man. This is the leading attribute and speaks to the powerful presence that Apollos must have had in the ‘pulpit.’ He was a dynamic speaker who was able, no doubt, to sway multitudes with his words. Being from Alexandria, in all likelihood he was highly educated and well versed in language and had a special way with his words. However, he was more than just an eloquent speaker.
2. Mighty in the Scriptures. Apollos knew his Bible; he was well versed in the Old Testament Scriptures. He was able to use the Scriptures to impart knowledge to those who were privileged to hear him speak.
3. Instructed in the way of the Lord. He was familiar with the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Christ and he saw Jesus as the fulfillment of those prophesies. He was able to line the life of Jesus up with Scripture and see all evidence showed and proved Jesus to be the Christ. Truly, a gifted preacher with the power of God’s word to prove who Jesus is; and to help establish faith in the lives of those who heard him. Notice in verse 25 that it says in addition to this, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord.
4. Fervent in spirit. He was a good man. The idea of being fervent is that of being zealous – even to the point of boiling over. He had to tell people about Jesus and did so with great passion. Certainly, he was sincere in his beliefs and in his teaching and his life was one that would have exemplified his beliefs. He assuredly must have practiced what he preached.
5. Soft-hearted. As preachers, this is a bar set high for us. Apollos is one that all preachers would do well to strive to emulate. However, these attributes would be a great example for all Christians to follow. It should then cause us to pause when the Holy Spirit adds the last statement about knowing only the baptism of John. For all the great and positive attributes – Apollos was in error on the subject of baptism. However, his desire was to know the truth and when he was taught more accurately, he embraced the truth and continued with the same fervor (Acts 18:27-28). Many are eloquent speakers, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, fervent in spirit and wrong on the subject of baptism. Some are wrong on the subjects of baptism. The Bible makes clear that baptism is for those of age, able to be instructed about Jesus (Acts 8:5, 12, 35), those held accountable for their sin (Matthew 19:13-14), and willing to repent of their sin (Acts 2:38).
Others are wrong on the mode of baptism. The word ‘baptism’ means to dip, plunge, or immerse. Never is an example found in the New Testament of sprinkling or pouring. Baptism requires water (Acts 8:36) and going down into the water (Acts 8:38). Baptism is a burial (Romans 6:4). Only immersion meets these requirements and to teach otherwise is to teach the wrong mode.
Baptism is given only one purpose in the New Testament. Not one time do we read of a Christian being baptized. We only read of those who are lost being baptized in order to be saved. Baptism is for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). Paul tells us that baptism puts one into Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27).
Though men might be eloquent, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, and fervent and diligent teachers like Apollos, to teach otherwise on baptism is wrong. Apollos corrected his teaching when it was pointed out in a loving way. May we all strive to be soft-hearted and be a great help to each other and vessel of honor for the Lord, striving to give Him glory in all we say and do.