Apollos

One of the more familiar verses in the Bible is Hosea 4:6. It unequivocally spells out the price of ignorance. What I had missed until recently was the trans-generational consequence of ignorance. I may not care about a limitation that only affects me, but it’s very different if my children become victims of my choices. It’s evident in everyday life that how I think and what I do as a father affects my kids. My socio-economical, psychological or intellectual blindspots directly affect the quality of my decisions and actions, and sadly, I’ve seen many suffer throughout their lifetime because of a knowledge gap in one or more of these areas. Growing up, I often heard the maxim: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. The older I become, the more I appreciate the wisdom of despising ignorance [Ephesians 4:18].

Sadly, our natural tendency is to focus on educating ourselves in the aspects of life that make a difference to our material existence. Though such insight is advantageous and often affects our quality of life, it pales in significance to the value of spiritual knowledge – my area of focus; because it extends beyond this lifetime. Scripture teaches that our material world – what we see, was birthed from the immaterial – the unseen realm [Hebrews 11:3]. In other words, the physical is subservient to the spiritual. So, if all your knowledge is limited to the material alone, you’re vulnerable to the unseen. The Bible repeatedly teaches Christians that spiritual powers are at work in our world, and we cannot afford to be ignorant of their schemes [2 Corinthians 2:11]. In addition to liberating us from the power of sin and death, Jesus also gave us authority over demonic principalities [Luke 10:19]. Nevertheless, if we remain ignorant of God’s power in us or how to appropriate it, then we and our children become their victims.

Unfortunately, many of us either succumb to the lie that we know enough or that what we don’t know doesn’t matter. For instance, many Christians are lukewarm about spiritual things [Revelation 3:16]. So, we don’t fervently pursue wisdom [Proverbs 4:7]. Our ignorance may temporarily seem inconsequential, but eventually, aspects of our lives or our children’s will manifest the undesirable ramifications of our nescience. Some are fortunate to have a second chance, but many aren’t. However, while we can’t know everything or avoid all unpleasant circumstances resulting from our ignorance, we can be teachable. A great example of a teachable individual was Apollos [Acts 18:18-28]. He was a learned man, eloquent and respected in the community. Apollos could’ve settled for what he knew, but he was humble enough to appreciate that he possessed gaps in his knowledge. As such, he was open to mentorship, and what he gained made him a greater blessing to his community. Like ignorance, acquiring knowledge has implications for those around us.

Apollos was a man who desired knowledge. Can the same be said of you? Eliminating ignorance comes at a price which often includes time, effort and money. Additionally, we seldom obtain knowledge at our convenience. The teacher may possess unpleasant traits or the truth may hurt and demand an uncomfortable paradigm shift. So, we may also require humility, flexibility and determination. Sadly, many baulk at the sacrifice and remain rooted in their ignorance. Apollos was also willing to listen. We shouldn’t overlook such temperament in a man, learned in his own right, with achievements to back his understanding. It’s easy to submit to mentorship when you haven’t achieved much. But it takes discernment and wisdom to do so when you have fame and accolades. Scripture says knowledge puffs up [1 Corinthians 8:1]. So, our insight can become a stumbling block if we aren’t watchful. Does what you know make you humble or proud? Does it prevent you from coming up hither?

It would be remiss not to highlight that there are good and bad mentors. Apollos had great mentors in Aquila and Priscilla, and we’re responsible for the voices we permit in our lives. Jesus told us to look at the fruit in our quest to identify kingdom mentors [Matthew 7:16]. We can discern much from their behaviours [Galatians 5:16-24] and those they imitate [1 Corinthians 11:1]. It’s also worth examining if what they teach is evident in their lives. It’s improbable for anyone to show you how to obtain results they haven’t achieved themselves. If a mentor isn’t an object lesson for their subject matter, it possibly implies they haven’t yet attained sufficient mastery to replicate their successes in others. Lastly, examine what they say. Aquila and Priscilla expounded the Scriptures more excellently to Apollos [Acts 18:26]. God’s word is the only legitimate foundation for spiritual illumination. A good mentor fills your gaps in understanding Scripture in word and deed. So, be weary of mentors whose remarks and ideologies are incongruous with Jesus’s teachings, even if they claim to be His messengers [Matthew 7:15-23]. 

Ignorance is easy to detect. Whenever you’re unsure of the next profitable step to take in any given situation, there’s something you don’t know. You can either ignore your knowledge gap or seek out people who possess what you lack. Apollos demonstrated the value of choosing the latter; he became an object lesson for Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4:11-14. Meeting Priscilla and Aquila changed Apollos’s life. They elevated him spiritually and equipped him to be more effective in serving God. I suspect his family also benefitted from his growth. Apollos would later become a co-labourer with Paul [1 Corinthians 3:5-6]. Do you have mentors? Are they leading you to more spiritual illumination? If so, are you leveraging what you’ve gained from them to bless your community and advance God’s kingdom? May Apollos’s example inspire us never to settle for knowing only

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