Imagine being on the top deck of an Amtrak vista car as it speeds through the mountains. For a long stretch of track the trip is mostly through a series of long tunnels with only a sudden peek of daylight now and then between tunnels. In the distant we catch a fleeting glimpse of a magnificent snowcapped peak , high and breathtaking, with each quick flick of daylight in passing from tunnel to tunnel. At last the track turns away and heads down the mountains, the mighty peak now out of sight behind us.
This is a perfect picture of the mighty Apollos recorded in the Book of Acts, Chapter 18, verses 24 through 28. I have written extensively about this towering champion of truth in a much longer unpublished article titled “The Alexandrian.” What follows are only a few thoughts stemming from that article. The Scriptures have very few words of this great man, but what they do say tell us of a mighty man of God indeed.
In fact, enough of him is seen through the lattice of Scriptures and history to tell us that in his time he stood on equal footing with such giants as Paul, Peter, John, James and others! What’s more, many ancient scholars such as Tertullian, Eusebius, as well as a growing body of such scholars today, conclude that it was Apollos, not Paul, who wrote the masterful Book of Hebrews. I agree, based on compelling evidence in the Book of Hebrews itself. A careful study of Apollos led me to conclude that the character and content of Hebrews matches the character and content of the person of Apollos perfectly. In fact, I strongly believe that the beginning of Hebrews is missing, lost due to the early flames of persecution and book burnings to stamp out Christianity. I would not be at all surprised if one day, through modern methods of archeology and analysis, an ancient manuscript of the book of Hebrews surfaces showing the beginning salutation that once existed, one that bore the name of the mighty Apollos himself.
Luke, in Acts 18:24-28, describes Apollos by using such strong terms as “boldly”…”eloquent”…”mighty in the Scriptures”…”fervent in the Spirit”…”diligently”…”helped them much”…”mightily convinced.” Such terms fit perfectly in describing the nature of the Book of Hebrews. They also describe a giant of the faith on the order of Paul, Peter, John and others. The knowledge of such giants was passed to us because those men themselves wrote, or someone wrote for them, or wrote about them.
But be careful here; we mustn’t be so naïve as to think only those who are recorded were the only giants of the faith who were contemporary with them. To put this fact into modern perspective, imagine a modern movie theater with its wide, panoramic screen. The viewer sees a broad spectrum of action, together with surround sound. Suppose it has a width of, say, fifty feet, but then the theater manager curtains off all but a three foot section for our viewing. Not much to see, considering there’s another 47 feet of action we never see.
But if we are going to make the illustration truer to real life, imagine a theater with not only surround sound, but surround screen! There we sit in the middle, action and sound happening all around us, not just in front of us. At the rate of real life there is no way we could keep up with it all. Well, that’s our individual selves buried in the action of billions of other individuals in a real world of live action all over the planet at the same instant.
Now let us bring the illustration home: Suppose we are called upon to relate just one aspect of all the bewildering number of events in play all around us at the same time. With that weight of truth, let us remember that the Gospel hydrogen bomb detonated there in Jerusalem. The mighty shock wave from it stormed out in every direction simultaneously, north, south, east, and west. Fantastic events were happening at the full circumference of it as it began its Divine purpose of filling the whole earth with its power.
But most of today’s readers of the account are guilty of thinking that only the tiny sliver of the Book of Acts was all that was happening on the Christian scene at the time. Of course we know better out of pure instinct, but we fail to act like it in our personal treatment of Scripture. But it behooves us to realize that Scripture by no means records all the giants of the faith at the time, just as it is today where silent, invisible male and female giants of faith roam the earth by the multitudes, known only to God Himself.
Through the lattice we see Apollos as just such a giant who, compared to Paul, Peter, John, James, and others stood no less in stature. Only when we absorb this truth of reality into our reasoning are we able to view such great men and women in their true perspective of imperfection, instead of flawless icons of virtual worship, who made no errors of judgment. It pays to heed this truth, lest we take our eyes off the real Hero of the Divine account, the Holy Spirit Himself. –DA