Candida: The Roman woman who instructed her husband in the faithThis week I read the apocryphal Acts of Peter which was written sometime around 150-200).[1] Here are a couple of lines that caught my attention:

When Paul was in Rome confirming many in the faith, it also happened that a certain woman named Candida, wife of Quartus the prison warder, heard Paul and listened to his words and became a believer. And when she had instructed her husband he became a believer.[2]

The Acts of Peter is most likely a work of fiction, or heavily laced with fiction. Eusebius considered it spurious.[3] Nevertheless, the sentences I’ve quoted tell of a situation that has occurred countless times in the last two millennia: that of a woman telling her husband or other relative about Jesus, and leading him to saving faith in the Lord.

And it is still happening.

Not too long ago one of our male pastors simply stated one Sunday that his girlfriend (now wife of 30+ years) had led him to Christ. Perhaps we all know of similar stories.

How does this scenario, of a woman leading a man to Christ, square with complementarians and patriarchalists who frown on a woman teaching and leading a man, especially on matters of vital theological significance? (Cf. 1 Tim. 2:12)

I imagine that while some Christians are frowning over such ministry from women, the angels are rejoicing (cf. Luke 15:7, 10). Here’s to more rejoicing over the ministry of women and it results.


Endnotes

[1] I read the version translated into English from the Latin Codex Vercellensis. The Codex Vercellensis, or Codex A, is the earliest manuscript of the Gospels in Latin. It also contains most of the apocryphal Acts of the apostles (sometimes called the Vercelli Acts.) Scholars such Peter Head date the Codex to the early or middle of the fourth century. A tradition states that Eusebius, the bishop of Vercelli (in northern Italy), oversaw the writing of the manuscript. And he died in August, 371.

J.K. Elliot writes about the extant manuscripts of the Acts of Peter, and gives the Codex Vercellensis a later date.

“The original Greek of the Acts of Peter has survived only in the [account of Peter’s] Martyrdom, and in a small Oxyrhynchus fragment (P. Oxy 849) outside of the Martyrdom [account]. There is, however, a long Latin text found in the Vercelli manuscript which contains some of the Acts of Peter. This Latin manuscript (Codex Vercellensis 158) dates from the sixth-seventh century, but its text is likely to be a fourth-fifth century translation of the original Greek Acts. . . Vercelli [sections] 1-3 could have been added to the original Acts by the writer of the Greek underlying the Vercelli manuscript . . .”
J.K. Elliot, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), 391.

[2] Section 1, “Acts of Peter”, translated by J.K. Elliot, in The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), 399.

[3] In Book 3 of his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius (bishop of Caesarea and church historian) mentions the apocryphal writings that are concerned with the apostle Peter: “The so-called Acts of Peter, however, and the Gospel which bears his name, and the Preaching and the Apocalypse, as they are called, we know have not been universally accepted, because no ecclesiastical writer, ancient or modern, has made use of testimonies drawn from them.” (E.H.3.3.2)

The Acts of Peter can be read in English here.

Image

Early medieval bookcase containing codices. Illustration is from the Codex Amiatinus (ca. 700) (Source: Wikimedia)


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