Aquila and Priscilla were a First Century power couple who played key roles in the establishment of the Christian Church just after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The Revs. Mike Atkins and James J. Bolton say Aquila and Priscilla gave the Apostle Paul vital help in both making a living as a tentmaker and leather worker and in spreading the Gospel.

“They were evidently doing pretty well financially because they could afford big houses where they had church,” said the Rev. Atkins, pastor of Kingston Avenue Baptist Church. “They opened up their home to Paul and Apollos and other missionaries who were traveling through.”

After the Roman Emperor Claudius made all the Jews leave Rome, where Aquila, Priscilla and Paul had made sandals and shield covers for the army, Atkins said, the couple moved to Corinth and then Ephesus in Greece before eventually returning to Rome and being martyred under Nero.

Mentioned six times in the New Testament, they’re best remembered for the passage in Acts 18:24-26, which says, “Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus.

“He was a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.

“He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”

Atkins and the Rev. Bolton agree that Priscilla was the more prominent leader. “Four times in Scripture, Priscilla is mentioned first,” Atkins said.

Referring to another influential businesswoman and evangelist mentioned in Acts 16:14-15, he said, “She was like Lydia.

“She was in charge. They were passionate about the Lord’s work. She and her husband had a strong marriage and they were already Christians when the Lord put them together with Paul. You can imagine some of the conversations that those three had while they were making tents and doing all the leatherwork.

“They were very important in the development of the early church.”

Bolton, pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church, said the couple shows how such a marriage can strengthen a church.

“The Book of Romans describes them as having a powerful influence,” he said. “Apollos was one of the most major evangelists of that day and they explained the way of God in a more clear and concise way to him.”

Bolton, who is also chairman of the department of pre-health sciences at Odessa College, said Aquila and Priscilla “stayed together and were strong and very well-respected.

“Priscilla was one of the most prominent teachers of the Scriptures at that time,” he said. “The significance is that women are equal and they should be as respected as men when it comes to the Bible and science.

“There is no superiority or inferiority in the kingdom of God because God is no respecter of persons. He can use whoever he chooses.”