Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? (1 Corinthians 3:5)

Who was Paul? Who was Apollos? Where did they receive their education? It’s important to know who these men were and where they came from.


Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 18:24-25)

Apollos was a Jewish man who believed that Jesus was the Son of God. He had heard the teachings of John the Baptist and was teaching this in the synagogues. He had not been “formally” trained by Jesus or the other disciples in the gospel.

With only this basic understanding of the gospel, Apollos is able to teach others about Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. There is no need to make it complicated or use fancy words to impress people. He is being used by God to lead people to Christ Jesus that they may receive salvation.


Saul was seeking to kill the Christians. He was on his way to Dasmascus for this purpose when a light shined down on him from heaven. He fell to the ground. The Lord spoke to him and commanded him to go into the city and where he would be told what to do. He recognized that it was the Lord speaking to him. He was blind and was lead to the city where he waited for 3 days without eating or drinking. The Lord sent a disciple named Ananias to him. Ananias went to him, laid hands on him. He immediately regained his sight, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and was baptized. He then received food, gained his strength, spent some days with the disciples and immediately began to preach the gospel in the synagogues. He went from a persecutor to a disciple in a matter of days. (Acts 9:1-20)

Saul said “Who are you Lord?” This indicates that Saul recognized the Lord and acknowledged Him. Paul, like Apollos, did not have a formal four year degree in presenting the gospel. They both had recognized that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and with direction of the Holy Spirit they were teaching this in the synagogues.

The word “minister” that Paul uses in verse 5 comes from the Greek word “diakonos”. This is where we get our word “deacon”. The definition of the word “diakonos” is one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant. Examples of diakonos include: a) the servant of a king, b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use, and c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink.

Paul and Apollos are servants of God. This is indicated by both their teachings and their actions. Neither of them have, or could, do anything to allow the Corinthians to be forgiven of their sins. Paul and Apollos cannot give them eternal life.

Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth to live in a fleshly body. He suffered as we suffer. He was tempted as we are tempted. He ate and drank as we eat and drink. Unlike us, He did not give in to the temptation of sin…He lived a life without sin. Then He died on the cross to serve as the sacrifice for our sins. He paid the price so that we could be forgiven, receive salvation from our sins and live with God in heaven for eternity.

Paul, Apollos, myself, nor anyone else can do for you what Christ Jesus did for you. All we can do is tell you about His sacrifice. We can share the gospel message with you so that you can accept what He did and receive the salvation that He paid the price to offer to you. That is the biblical role of the minister / deacon (diakonos), to carry out the will of God in their lives by serving those around them. Paul and Apollos were committed to serving God by serving others. Their service to those around them was a work that God was doing through His servants.

How do you serve those around you? Do you make it a priority to better the lives of everyone you meet by meeting their needs through positive contributions?

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

May you experience the joy and the blessings that come from committing your life to serving God through serving others.

God Bless,