Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

Junia in Romans 16:7 Sarah Beth Baca

Watercolour and ink portrait of Junia by Sarah Beth Baca.
Used with permission of the artist. All rights reserved.
Prints of this portrait can be purchased here.

Tradução em português aqui.

I was talking with a friend recently and Junia came up in our conversation. My friend stated with a great deal of confidence that Junia was definitely not an apostle. My friend also mentioned that his Bible translation of choice was the English Standard Version. I looked up the ESV online [here] to see whether this translation might have had something to do with his view that Junia was not an apostle. It did.

This article about Junia is written in response to my friend’s confident statement, and so I have chosen the ESV as a reference point. Here’s what it says about Junia:

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen[1] and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.  Romans 16:7 (ESV)

Who was Junia?

Andronicus and Junia are mentioned in the New Testament only in Paul’s letter to the Romans.[2] Paul speaks warmly about this couple, who were possibly a married couple or brother and sister, and he tells us a bit about them.

From Romans 16:7, we can see that both Andronicus and Junia were well known to the church (otherwise Paul would not have mentioned them in his letter); they were related to Paul or, more likely, were fellow Jews; they had been imprisoned with Paul; they had been Christians longer than Paul, they may even have been among the founders of the church at Rome; and they were considered as outstanding among the apostles. This last point has been debated in recent times. An older debate, however, is whether Junia was male or female.

Was Junia a woman?

I have read a few articles and commentaries that argue or simply assume that Junia was a man named Junias and not a woman.[3] The weakness of this argument is that the masculine name “Junias” never occurs in any ancient document apart from a reference attributed to Epiphanius, and he also refers to Prisca as a man.[4] The feminine name “Junia” is common enough in ancient inscriptions,[5] and, apart from Epiphanius, church fathers such as Chrysostom, Origen, and Jerome all took Junia to be a woman. This fact is widely acknowledged by most modern biblical scholars.

For instance, Michael Bird writes,

There is a tsunami of textual and patristic evidence for ‘Junia’ that proves overwhelming. Despite some naughty scribes, biased translators, lazy lexicographers and dogmatic commentators, the text speaks about a woman named ‘Junia.’ Jewett goes so far as to call the masculine ‘Junias’ a ‘figment of chauvinistic imagination.'[6]

The translators of the ESV concede Junia was most probably a woman. However, they retain the masculine name “Junias” in a footnote.

Was Junia an apostle?

I have also heard people minimise the meaning of the word “apostle” when applied to Junia. Certainly, apart from Jesus’ twelve (or eleven) apostles who are in a special class, an apostle is a minister who serves as a missionary, a church planter, or as an envoy.[7] In the New Testament, several people other than the Twelve are called apostles. These other apostles include Paul, Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Silas and Timothy (1 Thess. 2:6b; cf. 1 Thess. 1:1a), Apollos (1 Cor 1:12), Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7)—all people with significant ministries.[8]

An apostle (apostolos) is literally someone who is “sent” (verb: apostellō) on a mission. Church history is full of examples of male and female missionaries.[9] Both men and women have been sent by the church or been driven by a personal calling to pioneer ministries that have furthered the gospel, ministries that can validly be described as apostolic.[10]

The ESV gives an alternative meaning for “apostles” in a footnote for Romans 16:7. The suggestion is that “apostles” might be translated as “messengers” here. It could be that Andronicus and Junia were “well known among the messengers”; however, people in the New Testament who were called apostles were usually more than just messengers.

From the description we have of Andronicus and Junia, including the fact that they were imprisoned with the apostle Paul, it appears that both of them were involved in important ministry. Paul mentions that Andronicus and Junia were fellow prisoners as a way of honouring them, and the implication is that they were all imprisoned because of their missionary work.

Several Patristic writers regard Junia as a female apostle. In his 31st homily (sermon) on Paul’s letter to the Romans, fourth-century church father John Chrysostom preached favourably about Junia, and acknowledged her as a female apostle. Writing about Andronicus and Junia, he said:

And indeed to be apostles at all is a great thing. But to be even among these of note, just consider what a great tribute this is! But they were of note owing to their works, to their achievements. Oh! How great is the wisdom of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle! Homily 31 on Romans.

Was Junia outstanding?

In most English translations of Romans 16:7, Andronicus and Junia are referred to as “outstanding among the apostles” (Greek: episēmos en tois apostolois).[11] The ESV replaces the usual description of “outstanding” (Greek: episēmos) with milder words, “well known.”[12]

Furthermore, following the work of Michael Burer and Daniel Wallace,[13] the ESV has rendered the Greek preposition en (ἐν) as “to” rather than the more usual “among.” En is a common word and is used approximately 2830 times in the New Testament. This word is frequently translated as “in” or “among” in English.[14] Here are a couple of examples of scriptures where the word en occurs:

“Our Father who is in heaven . . .” Matthew 6:9
“. . .to those among the Diaspora” James 1:1

Writing about Romans 16:7, Peter Lampe, a foremost scholar of early Christianity, succinctly states, “The en has to be translated as ‘among’ (the apostles) like in 1 Corinthians 15:12 and James 5:13-14, 19.”[15]

I can only think of one reason to translate en as “to,” as in, “well known to the apostles” in the ESV. That reason is to obscure the fact that Junia, along with Andronicus, was actually outstanding or notable among the apostles, meaning, the couple were outstanding missionaries. (More about among versus to, here.)

New Testament translators and commentators seem to fall into three groups in how they approach translating the phrase episēmos en tois apostolois into English:  

  • (1) Those who think that Junia(s) was a man, such as the translators of the NASB, have typically translated this phrase as “outstanding among the apostles.”
  • (2) Some who acknowledge that Junia was actually a woman, such as the translators of the ESV, the NET Bible, and a few others, have chosen a “softer” option and translate this phrase as “well known to the apostles” (cf. CSB).
  • (3) Others, who also acknowledge that Junia was a woman, keep the more literal translation of “outstanding/prominent/notable among the apostles.” This last group of translations includes the CEB, KJV, NRSV, and NIV. (My underlines.)

It is important to note that the Greek New Testament never states that a woman cannot be an apostle, missionary, or church leader. Moreover, in the New Testament, several women are mentioned who obviously were church leaders. Sadly, some Bible commentators have persistently tried to minimise their roles.

Conclusion

It seems that in efforts to keep women out of leadership ministries, some Bible translators have chosen language to soften the impact of Junia as a precedent of a woman with a prominent ministry. In the past couple of centuries, they have tried to make her a man. Now that this idea no longer has credence, some translators are trying to downplay her description of “outstanding among the apostles.”

Was Junia a distinguished or prominent apostle, or was she well known to the apostles? The more obvious reading of Romans 16:7 is that both Andronicus and Junia were outstanding or notable among the apostles. However, even if they were just well known, and it was their reputation that was outstanding among the apostles, surely this in itself is a wonderful endorsement of their ministry.

Here is how the New Revised Standard Version translates Romans 16:7:

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. (NRSV)


Footnotes

Some people have suggested that Junia is the same person as Joanna who is mentioned in Luke 8:1-3 and Luke 24:9-10. Joanna certainly qualifies as being an apostle according to the traditional understanding of apostolic prerequisites (e.g., seeing the risen Jesus). However, I am unconvinced that Junia and Joanna are one and the same. More on this here.

[1] The Greek word translated in the ESV as “kinsmen” (from suggenēs) in Romans 16:7 can refer to male and female relatives. I wonder whether the ESV chose the word “kinsmen,” which sounds masculine to modern readers, to obscure the fact that Junia was a woman? Surely “relative” would be easier to understand. Though, “fellow Jews” is probably the sense intended by Paul (cf. Rom. 9:3 NIV; Rom. 16:11 NIV, Rom. 16:21).
BDAG defines suggenēs as: (1) “Belonging to the same extended family or clan, related, akin to” . . . [or] (2) Belonging to the same people group, compatriot, kin . . .”
BDAG = A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition, by Walter Bauer, revised and edited by F.W Danker (University of Chicago Press, 2000), 950.

[2] Paul obviously held Andronicus and Junia in high esteem. He wanted them, and twenty-six other Christians in Rome, to be greeted (Rom. 16:3-16). At least ten women are mentioned in Romans chapter 16, and Paul commends most of these women for their involvement in ministry. An annotated list of the people in Romans 16:1-16 is here.

[3] A few people who believe Junia(s) was a man, suggest that the name found in Romans 16:7 is a contraction of the male name: Junianus. An interesting and scholarly article by Albert Wolters, somewhat defending this position, is here. The true masculine form of the Latin name Junia, however, is Junius not Junias.

[4] The Index Discipulorum, a list of apostles attributed to Epiphanius and dated to the 4th century, though it may be late as the 9th century, has the masculine names Junias and Priscas. (See #64 ξγ’ Priscas and ξδ’ Junias here.)
There has been a question over how Origen understood the sex of Junia. Origen’s commentary on Romans, which was originally written in Greek but survives as a complete document in a 12th century Latin translation, has both “Junia” (1280c) and “Junias” (1289a). (A PDF of the Latin translation is here. English translations of Origen’s comments about Junia are here.)

Grudem claims that Origen has a reference to this name in the masculine form, Iunias (Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, 225) but now a critical edition of Rufinus’s translation of Origen’s commentary (where the masculine form occurs) exists and demonstrates that the earliest and best manuscripts have a feminine form of the name. The masculine form exists only in two texts, probably one is dependent upon the other, from the twelfth century. In other places where Origen refers to Romans 16:7, he uses a feminine form of the name. Other scholars who translate Origen’s commentary also have the name as feminine (Epp, Junia, 33–34).
Amy Peeler, “Junia/Joanna: Herald of the Good News”, in Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible, edited by Sandra Glahn (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2017), 273-285, 276 fn14.

[5] Bruce Metzger writes:

The female Latin name Junia occurs over 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name is unattested anywhere, and when Greek manuscripts [containing Romans 16:7] began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”).
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition (D-Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994), 475.

James D.G. Dunn writes:

Lampe 139–40, 147 indicates over 250 examples of “Junia,” none of Junias, as was taken for granted by the patristic commentators, and indeed up to the Middle Ages. The assumption that it must be male is a striking indictment of male presumption regarding the character and structure of earliest Christianity. . . We may firmly conclude, however, that one of the foundation apostles of Christianity was a woman and wife.
Romans 9-16 (Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 38B) (Dallas, TX: Word, 1988), 894.

Kenneth Bailey writes:

The first noticeable shift from Junia to Junias was apparently made by Faber Stapulensis, writing in Paris in 1512. His work subsequently influenced Luther’s commentary on Romans.
“Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural View,” in Theology Matters, 6.1 (Jan-Feb 2000), 2. (A PDF of this paper is here.)

John Thorley writes:

The universal view of the early fathers was that the name was Junia, and that she was a woman, and the English Authorised Version of 1611 followed this reading “Junia”, clearly a woman’s name; and in fact “Junias” became a man in English translations only in 1881 when the Revised Version was published. Luther, however, in his German translation of 1552 had already opted for [the masculine] “den Juniam”, and continental translations have since then mostly followed this masculine interpretation.
“Junia, a Woman Apostle”, in Novum Testamentum, Vol. 38 (January 1996), 18-29, 18. (Online at JSTOR.)

The female name “Junia” was used in the Tyndale and King James Bible. Later English translations used the masculine name “Junias” until recently. N.B. The highlighted scripture texts on this webpage use the NASB and it has the masculine  “Junias”.

Eldon Jay Epp writes on the “Text-Critical, Exegetical and Socio-Cultural Factors Affecting the Junia/Junia Variation in Romans 16:7”, in New Testament Textual Criticism and Exegesis: Festschrift J. Delobel, A. Denaux (ed.) (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002), 227-291. Parts of Dr Epp’s chapter are available on Google Books here.

[6] Michael Bird, Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016) (Google Books)

[7] The function of being an apostle is one of the church leadership gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11.

And these were [Jesus’] gifts: some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip God’s people for work in his service, to the building up of the body of Christ.  Ephesians 4:11

[8] Jesus is also called an apostle in Hebrews 3:1.

[9] What I find peculiar about the whole debate of whether Junia was really an apostle, is that the word “apostle” (derived from Greek) is just another word for “missionary” (derived from Latin), and there have been numerous examples of women being missionaries without causing controversy.

[10] Even though the church has mostly hindered women from prominent ministries, there have always been a few women who, because of their elevated social position (nobility), personal wealth, exceptional intelligence, tenacity, or extraordinary gifts, have functioned as leaders, teachers, and missionaries. Marcella of Rome, Catherine of Siena, Madame Guyon, Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, Countess Huntingdon, Phoebe Palmer, Lottie Moon, and Dorothy L. Sayers are just a few women ministers who spring to mind. Who knows how much the progress of the gospel has been impeded by disallowing women to minister as equals, side by side, with men, or even on their own?

[11] The following Bible translations use the phrase “outstanding among the apostles” or “of note among the apostles” in Romans 16:7: New International Version (1984, 2011), New American Standard Bible (1995), Common English Bible, American Standard Bible, King James Bible, International Standard Version (2008), Douay Rheims Bible, Bible in Basic English, Darby Bible Translation, English Revised Version, Webster’s Bible Translation, Weymouth New Testament, Word English Bible, etc.

[12] BDAG defines episēmos as “of exceptional quality, splendid, prominent, outstanding” and it quotes from Romans 16:7: “outstanding among the apostles.”
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition, by Walter Bauer, revised and edited by F.W Danker (University of Chicago Press, 2000), 378.
LSJ’s entry on episēmos is here.

[13] M.H. Burer and D.B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle? A Re-examination of Romans 16:7,” in New Testament Studies, CUP, 47.1 (January 2001), 76-91. Their paper is available here. I discuss this paper here.

[14] En is always followed by a word or phrase in the dative case. En is commonly translated as “in” or “among.” It can also be translated as “on,” “at,” “by,” “with,” “when,” and occasionally, “to.”

[15] Peter Lampe, “The Roman Christians of Romans 16,” in The Writings of St. Paul, Wayne A. Meeks and John T. Fitzgerald (eds) (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007), 665.

© 1st of April 2010, Margaret Mowczko

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38 thoughts on “Junia in Romans 16:7

  1. Fine article Margaret!

    I quite appreciated your comparison of the New American Standard and its use of “en” plus the dative, as compared to the ESV. Well said!

    I have heard the ESV touted as a fine literal translation, but given its handling of Romans 16:7 it is easy to see that ideological commitments were alive and well in the translation committee.

    For what its worth, Eldon Jay Epp’s “Junia The First Woman Apostle,” pages 72-79 has a nice summary of the academic responses to Wallace, for anyone who may be interested in digging deeper.

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks Noel. Yes, the ideological commitments were very much alive and well in the translation committee. I guess all translation teams have a certain ideology or agenda.

    Have you seen this article about the ESV’s male-only translation committee? I have other articles about bias in the ESV here.

  3. What happened with the ESV is that the translators HAD to find a way to negate Junia being a woman and an apostle, due to their masculinist bias. They could figure out that the Junias claim was very weak, so they put it in a footnote. Some masculinists use special pleading to reduce the meaning of apostolos, but that is also weak. So they went with what they saw as their strongest argument, that the phrase your discuss MAY NOT mean she was an apostle. The problem with this choice is that every ECF who wrote about Junia wrote that she was an apostle, so it is the most natural reading for a native Greek speaker, which the ECF were. Given that they were far from being egalitarians, this is a very important point.

    So the ESV translators ask us to buy their theory and I do not buy it. I think everyone should reject it.

    1. Women are not to teach they can minister but minister doesn’t mean teach scripture in the church. The church was established in the new testament. It is not God’s will for women to teach men in the church. You don’t see it happening anywhere in the sciptures. Somewhere in the Bible a man and his wife took someone aside to themselves and expounded the way of Christ. However it was not done in the capacity to teaching in the church. Junia has a good reputation among the Apostles is all that means she was not an Apostle. God’s word will always agree.

      1. Hi Kiki,

        When you say women can’t teach scripture “in the church”, do you mean in a church building, or in a Sunday service, or in the Christian community?

        The New Testament concept of church is of a community of people, not of a building or of a service. Many such churches met in a home owned by a woman for worship and other gatherings. And women, as well as men, were involved in all kinds of vocal ministries. It seems that any gifted person was able to participate in ministry in these house church meetings.

        According to Paul, giftedness, grace, faith, and moral qualifications are the prerequisites for ministry, not gender. More on this here.

        I have no doubt Priscilla and Aquila corrected the doctrine of Apollos, a visiting teacher, in their capacity as leaders of a Christian community (church) in Ephesus. I also have no doubt Andronicus and Junia were missionaries who were well-known, or outstanding.

        God doesn’t care if a Bible teacher is male or female. But he does care if the message is flawed, which is what the problem was in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. (More on this passage here.) God’s word gives us several examples of women teaching, guiding and leading men without any hint of impropriety or disaproval.

  4. Thanks Don. I had to think about what ECF might mean. I figure it means Early Christian Father.

    Many of the same people who say that egalitarians tamper with Scripture or deny the plain reading of Scripture are doing just that with Junia. They will not allow that Romans 16:7 shows that a Junia was an apostle.

    (BTW, I deny the allegations that egalitarians tamper with Scripture. I also deny the allegations that egalitarians don’t follow a plain sense reading of Scripture. Some verses in the Bible are plain, and we can take them literally. Other verses are in fact not plain, and so it is unwise to take them at face value.)

  5. There’s a new book out which deals comprehensively with these questions and demonstrates beyond doubt that Junia was a woman and that she was among the apostles as opposed to known to them. “Junia A Woman An Apostle” by David Williams

  6. Hi Marg! I am so thankful for the work you are doing. It’s wonderful.
    I am just a lay person, but your mention of Paul as an additional apostle to “the twelve” makes me have to question what I’ve believed about the twelve. When the eleven cast lots to see who would replace Judas, we don’t ever hear anything about Matthias again (do we?). Since God says of Paul’s conversion that he is the chosen one to bring the good news to the Gentiles/kings/Israelites, I have taken it to mean that actually Paul is God’s 12th apostle. What do you think? I should probably look into this type of thing before I ask it in a comment, huh? But regardless, it wouldn’t change any part of your argument because there are still many other apostles after “the twelve” as you point out.
    I am totally refreshed by the work of your ministry. You are an incredible vessel. Thank you so much.
    Lauren

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for your lovely comment. 🙂

      We don’t hear of Matthias again, but then we don’t hear again about most of the Twelve. We only hear about Peter, John and James in Acts, and Peter and John in the New Testament Letters.

      Someone left a similar comment about Paul possibly being the 12th apostle a couple of days ago. Here’s my response: https://margmowczko.com/church-history/apostles-in-the-new-testament-church/comment-page-1/#comment-49640

  7. To build an entire theory of women apostles based solely upon the mention of a man and woman in one line of a salutation at the end of Romans is ridiculous. When comparing scripture, there simply is not the evidence, unless you are a lawyer who knows how to make a weak argument sound convincing. According to bible translators, the word used at the beginning of 1 Timothy 3 for ‘anyone’ or ‘whoever’ is contentious because it is not masculine enough. Leadership roles are God-ordained to males and it is only the effect of modern society on the church that is making Christians doubt this.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      My article is not about “an entire theory of women apostles,” it is about one woman – Junia. I think you may be reading much more into the article than is actually being stated.

      You are quite right, however, when you say there is just one line about Andronicus and Junia, and yet Paul manages to say four significant things about the couple in this one line. He was not dismissive of their ministry “credentials,” but stated them plainly and succinctly.

      I don’t know why you mention 1 Timothy 3:1, and I don’t know of contentions about “whoever.” “Whoever” or better still “anyone” is an adequate translation of the Greek word tis. But this has little to do with Junia: an apostle or missionary and an overseer of a house church are not the same thing.

      The very early church was very different from the church today. In the churches that Paul founded, and others, women prayed and prophesied aloud, and they exercised other ministry gifts, including leadership gifts. Wealthy women hosted churches and cared for the welfare of the members. It is a modern understanding of “church” that hinders people from recognising what was happening in the first house churches where everyone could contribute (as long as it was edifying and not unruly), and gender and class distinctions were minimised. Chrysostom, who I quote in the article, was not influenced by modern society, and yet he acknowledged Junia as an apostle.

      There are many godly women leaders and ministers mentioned in the Bible, Junia is just one of them. Leadership and ministry are not tied to gender, especially in the New Creation community of God’s people, the church.

      If you feel I have written something in error in the article, please refer to it specifically.

  8. Much misunderstanding about apostleship is based upon this and other similarly stated error: “Certainly, apart from Jesus’ twelve (or eleven) apostles who are in a special class, an apostle is simply a minister who serves as a church planter, as an envoy, or as a missionary.[6]” No – that is an evangelist, primarily, also described in the referenced passage. Apostleship is conditional upon being an eyewitness of the Lord’s resurrection (per Matthias’ election); see also Paul’s defence (‘Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the Lord?’). They had the authority to speak communicate their direct revelation from the Lord which was accompanied by signs to validate the message (2 Cor 12:12) and by virtue of the condition mentioned it was a time-bound office – hence it is referred to as a foundational gift (‘built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets’) and towards the end of the scripture we hear of ‘those who say they are apostles, but are not.’ Much confusion about apostles could be avoided if we understand the office properly.

    1. The word “apostle” is used in different ways in the New Testament, but it’s synonymous with “missionary”.
      I’ve written about this here: https://margmowczko.com/apostles-in-the-new-testament-church/

      1. It absolutely isn’t used in different ways – and from this error much confusion arises. Kind regards, Jonathan

        1. So Epaphroditus, Barnabas, Apollos, Silas, Timothy, Andronicus and Junia are apostles in the same way as Peter and John, etc?

          Did you read my article?

          1. Yes, but unconvinced by it. Scriptural teaching as to the qualification of a NT apostle is clear and it is therefore time-bound. Any attempt to create new categories is simply reading into the Scripture what is not there. As for the individuals, I read Ephaphroditus as Paul’s messenger, not God’s (though it is not critical to the point in question). I’m not aware of Apollos and Timothy being referred to as apostles, perhaps you could enlighten me on that. As for Barnabas and Silas, yes, they were of the same foundational class. Andronicus and Junia are a moot point in this very article so can hardly be drawn in to support your argument.

          2. Paul, who calls himself an apostle (Greek: apostolos), also calls Epaphroditus an apostle (apostolos) in Philippians 2:25 in the Greek New Testament. In the case of Epaphroditus, apostolos is usually translated as “messenger” (as in an “envoy”) in English translations. This shows that there were different kinds of apostles (apostoloi) in New Testament churches. (The Greek New Testament should be our primary guide, not translations.)

            Indeed, some apostoloi were sent by people or by churches. These were a different kind of apostle than the Twelve or than those personally sent by Jesus.

            If you recognise that Epaphroditus is a messenger-apostle then we are in agreement that there were different kinds of apostles in the New Testament.

            A few English translations use the word “apostle” in Philippians 2:25. See here.

        2. Mary is also an Apostle.

          She was the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection and given a message from him to his brethren

    2. I am not subscribing to everything that has been published here by Marg Mowczko. But I have to call out this clear error in interpreting scripture…

      “Apostleship is conditional upon being an eyewitness of the Lord’s resurrection. – says who? Being an apostle, one of the ministry gifts (Eph 4:11), and being chosen as the 12th apostle by the other eleven are two different things. These disciples were chosen to be apostles to the 12 tribes of Israel, hence the replacement. They were chosen from the beginning and as such were witnesses of the resurrection and another had to be found to replace Judas. The meaning and description in Acts 1:21-26 is clear.

      And Paul’s defense in 1 Cor 9:1 of “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you yourselves not my workmanship in the Lord? ” – these are 4 separate statements – and yet you are conflating “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the Lord?” to both be representing the same attribute. You are clearly changing the meaning to suit your argument by stating that apostle is only a person who has seen the resurrection.

      This simply is not true.

      1. Thanks, Garth.

        There is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 9:1 contains four separate questions. I personally don’t believe Paul was implying that seeing the resurrected Jesus was a prerequisite for being an apostle in the first century, but many others do because of the verse that follows, 1 Cor. 9:2.

        I believe Paul is defending his authority (i.e. his authorisation to minister to the Corinthians) from various angles, one of them being that he has seen the risen Christ. He then goes on to argue for his rights as an apostle in 1 Cor. 9:3.

        Many people are hung up on the word “apostle.” If the Greek word apostoloi was translated as “missionaries,” I doubt there would be much controversy about Junia. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Junia and other first-century apostoloi were missionaries. It seems, however, there were different kinds of apostoloi/missionaries: https://margmowczko.com/apostles-in-the-new-testament-church/

  9. The thing that I am wondering about, if this person Junia(s) is a female, Paul says that Andronicus and Junia(s) were fellow prisoners. If Junia(s) was a female were the three of them in a co-ed prison?

    1. In a word, “yes”.

      It is possible the men and women were sometimes in separate cells, but if you read Perpetua’s prison diary, for example, men and women were together. There’s other evidence too that men and women were sometimes together in prisons. There was not much regard for the dignity or protection of prisoners in ancient times.

  10. Hi Marg,

    Burer has an updated paper from 2015. Have you had a chance to read it? If you have, I would like to know your opinion on it. He is trying to say there is new evidence to prove that en means *to the apostles. I wonder if there are any academic rebuttals to this?

    1. Hi Anca,

      I have read his 2015 paper: https://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/58/58-4/JETS_58-4_731-755_Burer.pdf But I haven’t seen any responses or rebuttals to it. Perhaps, like me, Bauckham, Belleville, Epp, and others who previously responded are over it.

      Even some complementarian scholars, who are proficient with Greek, are unconvinced by Burer’s nitpicking over episēmos + en + dative.

      Douglas Moo, writing before Burer’s investigations, states that “with a plural object, en often means ‘among’; and if Paul had wanted to say that Andronicus and Junia were esteemed ‘by’ the apostles, we would have expected him to use a simple dative [without the preposition en] or hupo with the genitive,” which is not what we have in Romans 16:7.
      Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 923 fn 39.

  11. Marg,

    Thank you for this information! I was reading Burer’s paper and was surprised over what these guys are willing to do to wipe out every woman in the NT who held a place of recognized leadership and ministry.

    “Even some complementarian scholars, who are proficient with Greek, are unconvinced by Burer’s nitpicking over episēmos + en + dative.”

    I’m really glad to hear this. Yes, he was indeed nitpicking.

  12. If the truth were told, the matter isn’t as simple as the simplistic but quite contested assertions above pretend, and honest scholarship (largely absent today, e.g. the laughable global freezing/warming/change fraud by which so many corrupt (e.g. the East Anglia fraud) pseudo-authorities profit off the gullible) would make that clear. See a more honest treatment at bible.org/article/junia-among-apostles-double-identification-problem-romans-167
    something dishonest feminists don’t want to hear lest it ruin their narrative/agenda.
    The old “argumentum ad baculum” (argument from authority) logical fallacy rules! “Settled science” is an oxymoron, merely bad, misotheist religious bigotry masquerading as science, denying MRI inventor, creationist Damadian, his deserved Nobel.
    If the truth were told, 1. we don’t know Junia’s sex, or 2. the relation to the apostles, or 3. what kind of “apostle.” It’s mere arrogance without evidence that pretends otherwise, though dishonest feminist nitpicking this among a few contested verses to overthrow the rest of Scripture re male headship and sustain its ideology is laughable at best, unable to see the forest for a few trees. Complementarians allow egalitarians a voice but not the reverse (e.g. Willow Creek), instinctively knowing they can’t sustain their views rationally.
    Since most “translations” since the 19th century are really more paraphrase by committee, absurdly seeking first to appeal to the receptor before being faithful to the original (I regularly have to go back to Tyndale/Rogers/Coverdale, Luther, Wycliffe and the Latin Vulgate for the latter correct view) it amazes me how folk can pretend to take the sad ESV (really largely a sanitizing the worst of the regrettable RSV base) seriously, though I have both of them and the regrettable NIV and many others to “keep your enemies closer.”

    1. I disagree, Russ.

      We can know with a high degree of certainty what Junia’s sex was, and this has nothing to do with whether someone is complementarian or egalitarian or neither. None of the men I’ve listed below were egalitarian but they all assume that Junia is a woman because Junia was a feminine name. This is a simple issue.

      Putting Romans 16:7 aside, there is no ancient record of a man named Junias. This is something Daniel Wallace acknowledges in the article you linked to: “no instances of Junias as a man’s name have surfaced to date in Greek literature” and the feminine “Junia was a common enough Latin name.” These are simple facts. This is not an “argument from authority” or a “logical fallacy.”

      Dr Wallace further cautions against accepting the views of Latin Father, but as you can see below (look for the “PG” = Patrologia Graeca) quite a few of these men were Greek speakers and writers. (I cite the sources of these men’s original words and have checked them for myself with three exceptions.)

      Dr Wallace states that Peter Lampe has done a fairly thorough job of looking at the evidence but that he hasn’t read Lampe’s work. I have read it, and I have cited Lampe in my article. But, like Dr Wallace, I have consulted the work of Joseph Fitzmyer also. The list below is largely drawn from Fitzmyer’s commentary on Romans.

      Here is the early evidence that (non-egalitarian) scholars took Junia/Julia in Romans 16:7 to be a woman.

      Origen (c. 185–254) Commentarius in epistolum ad Romanos, Book 10 (10.21 cf. 10:26) (PG 14.1280).
      Chrysostom (c. 344/345–407), In epistolum ad Romanos 31.2 (PG 60.699-670)
      Jerome (c. 345-419), Liber interpretationis hebraicorum nominun 72.15 (CCLat 72.150) and Expositio ep. ad Romanos 16:7 (PL 30.744)
      Ambrosiaster (c. 379), Commentarius in epistolum ad Romanos (CSEL 81.480) “Julia”
      Theodoret of Cyrrhus (c. 393–c. 458), Interpretatio epistolum ad Romanos (PG 82.219-29)
      Ps. –Primasius (died c. 567), Commentarius in epistolum ad Romanos (PL 68.505)
      John Damascene (c. 675–c. 749), In epistolum ad Romanos (PG 95.565)
      Rabanus Maurus of Fulda (776–856), In epistolum ad Romanos (PL 111.1607D-1608B) (PDF)
      Haymo of Halberstadt (fl. 840–853), In epistolum ad Romanos (PL 117.505)
      Hatto of Vercelli (885–961), In epistolum ad Romanos 16: “Virum et uxorem intellegere debemus” (PL 134.282) “Julia”
      Lanfranc of Bec (c. 1005-1089), Commentarius in epistolum ad Romanos (PL 150.153-4) (PDF)
      Bruno the Carthusian (c. 1030-1101)
      Theophylact of Bulgaria (fl. 1070-1081) Commentarius in epistolum ad Romanos (PG 124.552)
      Peter Abelard (1079-1142)
      Peter Lombard (c. 1069-1169)

      I discuss this further here: https://margmowczko.com/junias-junia-julia-romans-167/
      Also, the feminine name is used in your preferred translations such as Tyndale’s.
      __________

      Unlike the “dishonest feminists” you refer to but do not identify, I do not pretend to know what kind of apostoloi Andronicus and Junia were. In fact, I prefer the word “missionaries” to “apostles” as it is a less contentious, but just as accurate, translation of apostoloi. And Andronicus and Junia weren’t the only missionary couple mentioned in the New Testament.

      Though I don’t elaborate on the missionary role of Andronicus and Junia, I do discuss the relationship of the couple with Paul and the other apostoloi here: https://margmowczko.com/is-junia-well-known-to-the-apostles/
      __________

      I won’t be approving any further comments from you, Russ. There is no point in having a conversation with someone who implies I’m being dishonest and who thinks they have a superior knowledge to just about everyone else. Quite frankly, I don’t want your miserable outlook, with its small-minded negativity and pessimism, on my website.

      Judging from your ungracious, negative, and judgemental comments, I suggest that it’s not me who is displaying bias.

      Here are some honest “feminists” who hold similar views as mine: https://margmowczko.com/prominent-biblical-scholars-on-women-in-ministry/

  13. Thank you for all of your posts. They are truly illuminating. It’s been good to include some of the references in my presentations recently.

    1. Thanks, Bob!

  14. Ridicules the explanation, and has no basis or knowledge for such a reasoning. We know that Junias was a man and that it is not enough just to translate a word like the meaning of an apostle to say that Paul called them apostles. Throughout the New Testament the word apostle is placed correctly indicating who the apostles were. His modern theology of gender, feminism and LGBT is nothing more than fraudulent heresies.Show me in Roman history where women were trapped in the same cells as men.If Junias was a woman, show me in Roman history where women were trapped in the same cells as men. And show me why Paul contradicts himself by differentiating the role of women from that of men, since you can see that they can have the same authority as men in the church when they exercise the role of pastors, apostles, etc.Thus saying that the Bible is not Sola scriptura.

    1. Are you referring to Russ’s comment? If so, how can that be regarded as an explanation? He explains nothing. He’s just venting his disapproval of various things, some of which have nothing to do with me or with Junia. Nevertheless, I do respond to a few of his comments that are related to the topic of Junia and I comment on the article Russ links to.

      I’ve provided a list of evidence of church leaders from ancient times (several who were native Greek speakers) who unanimously understood that Junia/Julia was a woman. Do you want me to list the 250 inscriptions in Rome that bear the female name “Junia”? How much evidence do you need?

      The one and only document written before the 1200s where the masculine name “Junias” occurs is in a work attributed to Epiphanius, and he also used a masculine name for Priscilla (“Priscas”). The epigraphic and literary evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of Junia being a woman. This evidence is the basis for my assertion that Junia in Romans 16:7 was a woman.

      I have no disagreement whatsoever that, as you say, “Throughout the New Testament the word apostle is placed correctly indicating who the apostles were.” Paul, who was himself an apostle, knew what the word apostoloi meant and he applied it to Andronicus and Junia.

      Here is an example where two women (Perpetua and Felicitas) and three men (Revocatus, Saturninus and Secundulus) were placed in an already overcrowded dungeon. Though, the deacons bribed the guards and the women were given a short reprieve. These Christian men and women even use their last meal together in prison as an agape meal.

      Do you really think that it was usual for jailors to have consideration for the welfare, comfort or dignity of prisoners in Roman times? Perpetua and Felicitas would later be murdered in spectacular fashion in the arena as entertainment where there was no dignity whatsoever.

      Prisoners were rarely held for extended periods in ancient jails. Prisoners were either freed (usually after a fine was paid or after a beating as punishment) or they were enslaved, or they were killed. Prisons were miserable holding pens, but the length of stay was not long for ordinary men and women. (The situation was different for captured kings and other political prisoners. They could be imprisoned for a long time or exiled.)

      Paul does not contradict himself. He valued the ministry of godly women and uses the same ministry terms (including apostoloi) for his female and male colleagues. But he does silence unruly and unedifying speech from women in Corinth who should have kept their questions for home. And he tells Timothy that a woman in Ephesus should learn; Paul does not allow her to teach or to domineer a man, probably her husband.

      You seem to have a different interpretation of Romans 16:7, Neto, but that is no excuse for the assumptions you’ve expressed in your comment. I definitely believe that the Protestant Bible is sola scriptura.

      Neto, what is your actual evidence, apart from a few translations in the 1800s and 1900s, that Junia(s) in Romans 16:7 is a man? The King James Bible has the feminine name “Junia.”

    2. Marg,

      Thank you so much for your scholarly work and your contributions to theological studies. I am grateful for not only your knowledge and wisdom but also for your ability to model a way of responding to criticism that is truly laudable and worth emulating. You have an amazing ability to masterfully speak with an authoritative voice and yet still give remarkably restrained correction and gracious rebuke when necessary. I look forward you continuing to learn from you, and for the record am personally undaunted in my pursuit of Truth, despite a few uninformed naysayers. Thank you, also, for not letting any of them malinger on your website for too long, and thereby spoiling it for the rest of us. . Grace and Peace, TBD

      1. Thanks, Tracy.

  15. Hi Marg

    Thank you for that.
    When I have read this verse in Swedish I have always read it as approx: “held in high regard among the apostles”. I.e. the word “episēmos” being notable or highly regarded among them. And that has made it hard to argue whether the two are to be counted among the apostles or if the apostles are another group that holds them in high regard.
    I find this argument missing in your article. Is it a clear-cut argument that Junia was indeed counted among the apostles or could it possibly be that her name was held in high regard among the apostles?

    1. Hi Jonah, thanks for this.

      Episēmos can mean remarkable, distinguished, outstanding, significant, noteworthy or, in a negative sense, notorious. See the LSJ entry here.

      I write about whether Andronicus and Junia were outstanding among or to the apostles in another blog post, here: https://margmowczko.com/is-junia-well-known-to-the-apostles/here: https://margmowczko.com/is-junia-well-known-to-the-apostles/

      Paul marks the couple as being significant. Whether Paul’s meaning is “noteable to the apostles” or “notable among the apostles,” there is an implicit question: why was the couple noteworthy to/among that particular group of Christian ministers?

  16. Hi Marg,
    I love your discourse, your evidence, your appropriate scholarly approach. It is so needed and appreciated heavily! You have a beautiful way of stating both sides of an argument and using logical means of defending your stance. Well done!
    I do have a question for you…how would one go about presenting correct information to a husband who has an incorrect view of scripture? If it didn’t affect my world so obviously at times, I would let it go and believe and follow Christ in my way that I know is good and right. But his view affects our marriage in such ways that prevent me from being who God has created me to be. I have no desire to “trump” him or prove him wrong. I simply want to improve *his* life and expectations on himself and me through correct understanding of scripture. His beliefs are shallow and unstudied, yet he ascribes to them because that’s simply what he’s been told or taught somewhere or he made assumptions and went with it.
    He speaks to “leading” his family the way he’s supposed to, being head of his family, making the final decisions, etc. He speaks of women being pastors as offensive and wrong and that he would never go to a church with a woman pastor. I find this to be distressing and speaks volumes about how he feels about me! Aside from the obvious misunderstanding of scripture and women, it is a world view that has heavy effect on my life.
    But I find those words or proof no where in the Bible …nor are they implied. I have mentioned this to him several times and he immediately dismisses me or tells me I’m wrong.
    So it is a source of contention for us. He doesn’t want to see the proof because his whole world is based on this approach and view. So if I strip him of this belief, his foundation crumbles and where would he be? I am, of course, psychoanalyzing his supposed response, and that may be unfair. But I have stopped conversations out of concern that it would devastate his very being. And I don’t wish that on him.
    Where does one start? He wants no counseling. I suspect he worries that he will be told he’s wrong (and by golly, that can’t happen!).
    So I stand at an impasse.
    And pray and hope for his eyes and heart to open.
    Any suggestions or thoughts would be so appreciated.

    1. Hi T.S., you’ve expressed so well what many Christian wives are experiencing.

      It’s difficult because, I imagine, your husband’s faith and identity are inseparable from the idea of him being the leader.

      Where does one start? I don’t say this to be trite, and you’re already doing this, but prayer really is the key. No amount of factual information can change a heart that isn’t ready, or doesn’t want, to change. I will say a prayer for you.

      But if you do want to plant some ideas, I’d point out that neither Jesus, Paul, or Peter ever tell husbands that they are to lead their wives or make decisions for them. Ever! This simple truth is often overlooked.

      Paul and Peter do tell wives to be submissive to their own husbands, but they never tell husbands to be leaders or authorities. Rather, Paul tells husbands to love their wives. He uses the word “love” 6 times in his words to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-33. (This simple fact never ceases to amaze me.) And he uses “love” again in Colossians 3:19 when addressing husbands.

      Paul’s and Peter’s instructions to husbands are completely wonderful! It’s their instructions to wives that can cause grief if understood poorly.

      Let me add that submission, like humility and meekness, is a Christian attribute or behaviour; it’s not a distinctive wifely or feminine attribute of behaviour. See Ephesians 5:21 and 1 Peter 5:5 NKJV.

      There might be something useful here (my husband seems to be different from yours, however).

      Feel free to get back to me.

      1. Thank you so much for such an insightful response. I know you are right in that I just need to pray…and you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
        The links you gave do give me some hope and help and direction. At the very least, it gives me sound defenses of my thoughts.
        I will keep my heart as light as I can and listen to God’s whispering.
        Thank you, again.
        ❤️

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