(A·polʹlos) [Destroyer; abbreviation of Apollonius].
A Jew of Alexandria, Egypt, possessed of notable eloquence in speaking and a sound knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. He seems to have been witnessed to by disciples of John the Baptizer or else by Christian witnesses prior to Pentecost, since he was “acquainted with only the baptism of John.” (Ac 18:24, 25) Yet he was fired with conviction, and on arriving in Ephesus about 52 C.E., he began witnessing in the local synagogue. This brought him in contact with Aquila and Priscilla, who filled in some of the gaps in his understanding of Christian teaching. From Ephesus he went over to Achaia, supplied with a letter of introduction, and there he seems to have centered his activity in Corinth, where Paul had preceded him. His intensity and his powerful Scriptural confutations of the arguments of the unbelieving Jews proved of great aid to the brothers there. He thus ‘watered what Paul had planted.’—Ac 18:26-28; 19:1; 1Co 3:6.
Unfortunately, by the time Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians (c. 55 C.E.), factions had developed in the Corinth congregation, with some viewing the eloquent Apollos as their leader, while others favored Paul or Peter or held only to Christ. (1Co 1:10-12) Paul’s letter corrected their wrong thinking, showing the vital need for unity and the relative unimportance of individuals as only ministers serving under God and Christ. (1Co 3:4-9, 21-23; 4:6, 7) It appears that Apollos must then have been in or near Ephesus, where Paul evidently wrote First Corinthians, for Paul tells of his urging Apollos to visit the Corinth congregation. (1Co 16:12) Apollos’ reluctance to go may have been due to the improper attitudes existing in Corinth or simply due to his having a field of activity that he felt required his continued attention a while longer. At any rate, Paul’s brief statement shows that these two active missionaries had not allowed matters to produce a breach in their own unity. The final mention of Apollos is at Titus 3:13, where Paul asks Titus, then in Crete, to supply Apollos’ needs for a certain trip.