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In the Book of Acts, we first read:

Acts 18:24-28: "Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25This 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; 26and 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. 27And 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, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ" (emphasis added).

Here, we are told several things pertaining to Apollos:

  1. Apollos is referred to as an "eloquent man" (vs. 24);
  2. He is described as "mighty in the Scriptures" (vs. 24);
  3. He was "fervent in spirit, teaching accurately concerning Jesus" (w/o knowing of Him, vs. 25);
  4. He "spoke boldly in the synagogue" (vs. 26);
  5. He "powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ" (vs. 28).

We do not appear to read about the superior attributes of the other apostles/disciples. 1) Is there something special about Apollos, something different and distinct about him, that we would be told all these things? And, 2) what does #5 in the list mean, that Apollos "powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ?"

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  • A[part from the fact that these attributes of Apollos were true, I cannot see a point to this question. Apollos was a man of talent and an excellent speaker. What is the question about this?
    – Dottard
    Aug 17 at 7:59
  • Because they feature into the story; i.e., he was an orator or public speaker, arguing Christianity's case for Jesus as the Messiah; also, he possessed knowledge of water baptism, but not more (which detail also proves relevant afterwards).
    – Lucian
    Aug 17 at 9:04
  • @Dottard My original question was more specific. I'm wondering if we're informed of Apollos' communicative prowess because the text may subtlety be hinting that, since he "was an eloquent man", and "powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ", he may have authored Hebrews. While there are other candidates, Scripture seems to single this man out as an especially unique character, one quite capable of such a task. This would appear entirely plausible as Apollos was part of Paul's inner circle. Others will, of course, disagree.
    – Xeno
    Aug 17 at 16:35
  • @Xeno - I am unaware of anything that links Apollos to the book of Hebrews. Early church tradition (slightly equivocal) says that Paul wrote Hebrews.
    – Dottard
    Aug 17 at 21:16
  • @Dottaard Many refuse to accept Paul: the contents, structure, and language, are uncharacteristic. The Letter is perhaps the most beautiful in the NT: highly eloquent. It is also regarded as more difficult than others, indicating a highly educated writer (no, Paul was not uneducated). To fully appreciate its message, most would require a superior acumen into subtle Jewish practices. This demanded one "mighty in the Scriptures" someone who could "powerfully refute Jewish opposition by demonstrating that Jesus was Messiah." The writer was also close to Paul/Timothy as was Apollos (13:23).
    – Xeno
    Aug 17 at 22:33
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Perhaps Apollos is commented upon, especially, in order to show that persons may be given spiritual gifts and abilities who come from outside of the contemporary 'mainstream' and that they are not to be discouraged.

There may be a similarity with Mark 9:38/Luke 9:49. 'He followeth not with us' is not a reason to discount of someone's spiritual experience and spiritual gift.

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I agree with Nigel's answer. Furthermore, Apollos' attributes were singled out to contrast his understandings before and after he met Priscilla and Aquila.

Acts 18:

24 "Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25This 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,

This is an incredible description of a man. Not even Paul is described as such. So what was missing?

being acquainted only with the baptism of John; 26and 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.

Now Apollos had learned the missing pieces. What were the results?

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, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ"

Again, another incredible description of a man. Here is the before and after comparison:

Before: He was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus.
After:  He powerfully demonstrating that Jesus was the Christ.

What does that Apollos "powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ"?

This is to contrast his achievement before. His latter achievement was more focused and powerful based on the good news of grace.

The OP's comment that Apollos might have authored Hebrews is intriguing.

We do not appear to read about the superior attributes of the other apostles/disciples. Is there something special about Apollos, something different and distinct about him, that we would be told all these things?

Perhaps he was the author of Hebrews :) A man like Apollos must have left some sort of legacy to the world.

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Apollos was a Jew, born at Alexandria (Acts 6:9) in Egypt. Special mention is made of Apollos’ powerful ability to communicate and his knowledge of the Scriptures; therefore, his skills must have been very impressive.

Apollos knew only the baptism of John the Baptist (Acts 18:25, Acts 19:3). This would imply that he received his revelation of the Messiah from John the Baptist but somehow missed the ministry of Jesus Himself, or if exposed to the ministry of Jesus, he left before the establishment of the church on the Day of Pentecost. It is possible, since Apollos was from Alexandria, that he was in Jerusalem for one of the feasts when he heard the message and believed, then went back home, thus missing the complete Gospel.

Regardless, it is clear Apollos was preaching that Jesus was the Christ. The thing that was missing was he was not aware of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This can be seen by the disciples Paul encountered on his third missionary journey in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7). These twelve men were believers in Jesus, but they had never heard of the Holy Ghost. When Paul asked them unto what they were baptized, they answered, “unto John’s baptism” (Acts 19:3). This no doubt reflects that they were converts of Apollos during his ministry in Ephesus, before Aquila and Priscilla instructed him.

Therefore, it could be supposed that part of the instruction that Aquila and Priscilla gave Apollos was about the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4). It is also possible that Aquila and Priscilla shared Paul’s revelation of grace with Apollos (Acts 18:27).

It is to Apollos’ credit that such a powerful man was willing to humble himself and receive instruction (Proverbs 9:9).

When Apollos decided to head into Achaia (Acts 18:12), the disciples at Ephesus sent a letter to the brethren there, exhorting them to receive Apollos and his ministry (Acts 18:27). Apollos was used mightily to preach the Gospel (Acts 18:28), insomuch that many of the Corinthians formed a sect around his teachings (1 Corinthians 3:4).

Despite the fact that some of the Corinthians used Apollos’ teachings to cause a division in the church and discredit Paul, there is no indication that Paul and Apollos ever had a problem with each other or their teachings. To the contrary, Paul greatly urged Apollos to return to Corinth to instruct the brethren (1 Corinthians 16:12), and he instructed Titus to help Apollos with anything he needed for his journey (Titus 3:13).

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