Having completed his report to the church at Antioch, Paul began what is known as his third missionary journey. He traveled through Galatia and Phrygia revisiting some of the churches and strengthening the disciples in that area before arriving at Ephesus.
Approximately twenty-five years after the church had been established at Jerusalem, there were men who continued to preach the teachings of John the Baptist regarding Jesus. One of these men was a Jew named Apollos who was born at Alexandria near the Nile River on the northern coast of Africa.
Alexandria was the seat of Greek and Hebrew learning and Apollos was highly educated in the Scriptures. Even with knowledge superior to many of that day, he was preaching error regarding the baptism of John.
After Apollos arrived in Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla heard him preaching in the synagogue and they recognized the error that he was preaching. “They took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Observe that when great men, as Apollos are corrected, they accept that correction and continue with their new knowledge.
Sometime later, Apollos left Ephesus and went to Corinth in Achaia to strengthen the church there. The Ephesians sent a letter to encourage the disciples there to accept him. He did a great work in Corinth and was very helpful to Paul.
When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he found a group of disciples who had been baptized according to John’s baptism. It is not known, but it is possible that they had been baptized by Apollos. After Paul had taught them about the baptism of Christ, they were then “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
If the kind of baptism were not important, it would not have been necessary for these men to be baptized again. We see in this account that their first baptism was not valid, even though they were sincere in this error.
As had been his practice in other cities, Paul began to teach in the synagogue. He was able to continue for three months, but as before, the opposition of the Jews made it necessary for him to change to another place.
This new location was in the school of Tyrannus. Paul worked out of that school for a period of two years. During that time, the gospel was preached to the Jews and Gentiles of Ephesus and throughout all Asia. While there, he also replied to a letter from Corinth to correct problems and answer questions from that church.