Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

I’m terrible with numbers. I can’t keep them in my head, and I too easily lose track when counting. So for my sake, I’ve compiled this list of people who Paul mentions in Romans 16:1-16 so I don’t have to keep going back to the passage to check how many people there are.

I’ve numbered and named the people, along with the verse or phrase from Romans 16:1-16 where they are mentioned. And I’ve included a line or two about them. Perhaps this list will be useful to others too.

1. Phoebe Romans 16:1-2

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon [or, minister] of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well. NRSV

Phoebe was a minister in Cenchrea, a port town of Corinth. She had travelled to Rome where one of her tasks was to deliver Paul’s letter. Paul introduces her to the Romans in terms of her ministry.[1] More about Phoebe here.

After Phoebe, twenty-eight Roman Christians are listed. A woman, Prisca (also known as Priscilla), heads this list.

2. Prisca Romans 16:3-5a
3. Aquila Romans 16:3-5a

Say hello to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. I’m not the only one who thanks God for them, but all the churches of the Gentiles do the same. Also say hello to the church that meets in their house. CEB

Prisca and Aquila were a married couple. They were friends of Paul, and the three had lived, worked, travelled and ministered together. Prisca’s name is listed before her husband’s in four of the six times their names are mentioned in the New Testament. This seems to indicate that Prisca was more prominent in ministry than Aquila. The couple hosted and led a house church in Rome which is also greeted. More about Prisca and Aquila here.

4. Epaenetus Romans 16:5b

Say hello to Epaenetus, my dear friend, who was the first convert [literally “first-fruits] in Asia for Christ. CEB

This is the only Bible verse that mentions Epaenetus. He was a dear friend (literally, “beloved”) of Paul, but we know nothing about him apart from Paul’s claim that he was the first person in Asia Minor who became a Christian.

5. Mary Romans 16:6

Greet Mary, who laboured hard for you. (my transl.)

Mary is the fourth Roman Christian on the list. Her position near the top of the list indicates she had a prominent role in the church at Rome. Paul uses “labour/labourer” words for ministry and ministers in a few of his letters. More about Mary of Rome and Paul’s use of “labour” terminology here.

6. Andronicus Romans 16:7
7. Junia Romans 16:7

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. NIV

Andronicus and Junia were a missionary couple who had been persecuted for their faith. They had been Christians longer than Paul, perhaps they had even been disciples when Jesus was alive. The couple is described in terms of their relationship with Paul (and other apostles) and their ministry. More about Junia here.

8. Ampliatus Romans 16:8

Say hello to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. CEB

Ampliatus was a common male name, especially of slaves in the imperial household, but we know nothing about this man except that he was a dear friend (“beloved”) of Paul.

9. Urbanus Romans 16:9

Say hello to Urbanus, our coworker in Christ . . . CEB

Just like Prisca and Aquila, Urbanus, a man, is described using Paul’s favourite word for a fellow minister: coworker.

10. Stachys Romans 16:9

. . . and my dear friend Stachys. CEB

Stachys is the third person in this list who Paul describes as his dear friend (“beloved”).

11. Apelles Romans 16:10

Say hello to Apelles, who is tried and true in Christ. CEB

Apelles is a man whose faith in Christ had been tested in some way and proven.

12. Aristobulus’s household Romans 16:10

Say hello to the members of the household of Aristobulus. CEB

“The members of the household of Aristobulus” is more literally, “those from (Greek: ek) Aristobulus.” This phrase probably refers to the family and/ or the slaves of a man named Aristobulus, but not the man himself. It may also refer to a congregation (or, house church) hosted by him, but it is odd that Aristobulus himself is not explicitly greeted.

13. Herodion Romans 16:11

Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. NIV

Paul makes a point of highlighting the ethnicity of some of his fellow Jews, his suggeneis (Rom. 16:7, 11, 16:21 NIV; cf. Rom. 9:3 NIV). This is significant as there were tensions between the Jews and Gentiles in the Roman Church at the time Paul wrote his letter.

14. Narcissus‘s household Romans 16:11

Say hello to the members of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. CEB

“The members of the household of Narcissus” is more literally “those from (ek) Narcissus.” Narcissus is a male name and, like Aristobulus, he may have been the host of a house church. However, it may only have been family members and/ or slaves of Narcissus who were Christians and who belonged to the church at Rome.

15. Tryphaena Romans 16:12
16. Tryphosa Romans 16:12

Greet those labourers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. (my transl)

These women, most likely sisters or even twins, ministered “in the Lord.” Despite the senses of daintiness and of luxurious living that the etymology of their names conveys, these women were hard workers.

17. Persis Romans 16:12

Greet our dear friend Persis, who has laboured hard in the Lord. (my transl)

Like Epaenetus, Ampliatus and Stachys (three men mentioned above), Paul refers to Persis, a woman, as a dear friend (“beloved”). The apostle regarded these four people with warm affection. But in the greeting to Persis, Paul uses a definite article instead of the pronoun equivalent to “my” (cf. Rom. 16:5, 8, 9). Persis was not just loved by Paul, she was also loved by the church. Furthermore, Paul refers to the ministry of Persis, something he doesn’t do for the three men.

Seven women have been mentioned so far, including Phoebe, and Paul has said something about the ministries of each of these women.

18. Rufus Romans 16:13
19. Rufus’s mother Romans 16:13

Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also. NRSV

Rufus may be a son of Simon of Cyrene, the man who was forced to carry Jesus’s cross. See Mark 15:21. Paul describes Rufus as “chosen” or “elect.” (This is the same word used to describe the lady addressed in 2 John and her sister.)

Rufus’ mother is the eighth woman listed in Romans 16:1-16. Paul says nothing about her ministry except that she acted (ministered?) in a maternal way towards him. The fact that she is not named may be a mark of respect and perhaps indicates she is an older person.[2] Was she Simon of Cyrene’s widow? (More about unnamed women in the Bible here.)

20. Asyncritus Romans 16:14
21. Phlegon Romans 16:14
22. Hermes Romans 16:14
23. Patrobas Romans 16:14
24. Hermas Romans 16:14

Say hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. CEB

Five names are given in verse 14. The first four are male names. It’s not totally clear if Herma(s) is a male name. These people probably all belong to the same house church in Rome.

25. Philologus Romans 16:15
26. Julia Romans 16:15
27. Nereus Romans 16:15
28. Nereus’s sister Romans 16:15
29. Olympas Romans 16:15

Say hello to Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. CEB

The Greek grammar shows that Philologus and Julia are a couple. They, along with Nereus and his sister, as well as Olympas,[3] were probably all prominent members of a house church. Or perhaps they are the hosts and leaders of three different house churches in Rome.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings. Romans 16:16 NIV

Twenty-nine people are mentioned in Romans 16:1-16, with twenty-eight based in Rome. But this passage is not a dry list of names. Rather, it gives insight into the church in Rome and it reveals Paul’s esteem and regard for some of the believers there. He comments on the faith of a few of these people, on his relationships with a few of these people, and on some of their ministries.

Paul wanted to foster unity among the believers in Rome and between the different house churches. So he asks that these people and the various households be greeted. Furthermore, Paul ends his list with a call for mutual and reciprocal salutations among the Roman Christians. He wanted to ease tensions among the Romans, including ethnic tensions (cf. Gal. 3:28).

Of the twenty-nine people, ten are women. What is especially interesting, however, is that seven of the ten women are described in terms of their ministry (Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis).[4] By comparison, only three men are described in terms of their ministry (Aquila, Andronicus, Urbanus), and two of these men are ministering alongside a female partner (Aquila with Prisca, Andronicus with Junia). These are numbers worth remembering.

It is apparent that women were active in significant ministries in the church at Rome. It is also apparent that Paul has no problem with these women. Rather, he affirms them and their ministries. Did Paul make a point of affirming these women in an effort to ease tensions caused by some Roman Christians who had a problem with ministering women?


Footnotes

[1] Paul had not yet visited the church at Rome, but he was already acquainted with some of their ministers. He had met some of them when his and their journeys intersected (e.g., Priscilla and Aquila, Andronicus and Junia). Others he may have known by reputation. Some scholars believe, however, that the last chapter of Romans was not originally part of Paul’s letter to the Romans, but part of a letter the apostle wrote to the Christians in Ephesus. Paul was well acquainted with the Christians in the Ephesian church. Nevertheless, I believe Romans 16 is part of a letter that Paul wrote to the Romans.

Several books and papers discuss whether Romans 16 was meant for Rome or for Ephesus. Here is a small sample of them:
Günther Bornkamn, Paul (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995) 80; Joan Cecelia Campbell, Phoebe: Patron and Emissary (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2009), 13-14; Robert Jewett, “Paul, Phoebe, and the Spanish Mission” in The Social World of Formative Christianity and Judaism: In Tribute to Howard Clark Kee (Philadelphia: FortressPress, 1988), 153-154; Susan Mathew, Women in the Greetings of Rom 16:1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Women’s Ministry in the Letter to the Romans  (Durham University: Durham E-Theses, 2010), 4-19.

[2] In some parts of the ancient world, and even in some cultures today, it was, and is, disrespectful to give the names of respectable women, especially mothers. Jan Bremmer notes the Athenian custom of rarely naming living respectable women. This is evidenced, for example, by Plutarch’s inability to find the names of the mothers of their most important statesmen.
See Jan Bremmer, “Plutarch and the Naming of Greek Women,” The American Journal of Philology, 102.4 (Winter, 1981): 425-426. (Academia.edu)
However, the customs of the first-century world of the New Testament were not identical with the customs of classical Athens where respectable women were especially hidden from public attention and recognition.

[3] The name Olympas may be a contraction of the masculine name Olympiodorus. Could Olympas also be a feminine name? Two ninth-century manuscripts of Paul’s letters, Augiensis (F) and Boernerianus (G), have a  slightly different name, the name Olympida, which is the accusative form of the name Olympis. There were both men and women named Olympis in the ancient world.

[4] Paul’s comment that Rufus’s mother was “a mother to me” may be in reference to her ministry to Paul and not just an indication of a close, warm relationship. In a few of his letters, Paul speaks of his own ministry in maternal terms. (See here.)

Image

Joanne Whalley and John Lynch play Priscilla and Aquila in the 2018 movie Paul: Apostle of Christ. I enjoyed this movie.

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Further Reading

Peter Lampe, “The Roman Christians of Romans 16,” in The Romans Debate: Revised and Expanded Edition, ed. Karl P. Donfried (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1991) (A PDF of this chapter is freely available here.)
Who’s Who in Paul’s Greetings in Romans 16 by Bronwen Speedie.

Related Articles

A list of all the women mentioned in Paul’s letter is here.
Partnering Together: Paul and Women
Paul’s Theology of Ministry
Nympha: A House Church Leader in the Lycus Valley (Col. 4:15)
Who was the Chosen Lady in 2 John?
Galatians 3:28: Our Identity in Christ and in the Church
Harnack’s Positive Descriptions of NT Women Ministers

artigos em portugues sobre igualdade entre homens e mulheres no lar e na igreja

18 thoughts on “A List of the 29 People in Romans 16:1-16

  1. Thank you for the wonderful analysis! I have recently found your website, and I have been enjoying your articles immensely! I have been researching into Christian egalitarianism and complementarism, and I found two papers that present arguments that I am not sure how to respond to. They both have to do with 1 Timothy, and I would greatly value your thoughts on them. They are both by Thomas R. Edgar, a professor of New Testament at Capital Bible Seminary. One is, “Contextualized Interpretation of I Timothy 2:12: An Analysis,” and the other is, “I Timothy 2:12: An Analysis of Restrictive Interpretation.” I have been reading some of your articles on 1 Timothy, and I would appreciate your thoughts on Edgar’s papers. Again, thank you for your articles and work!

    1. Hi Taylor,

      It would be helpful if you could give me links to free versions of Edgar’s papers. But I must admit that I am wary considering this statement in the abstract of one of the papers: “The verse is not complicated, the argument of the passage seems clear, and the normal lexical meanings of the terms seem to fit well.”

      The verse and the argument (whatever he thinks the argument is) is not clear, and the meaning of the Greek word authentein is debated by some. One thing is reasonably clear, however, authentein does not refer to ordinary authority.
      https://margmowczko.com/1-timothy-212-not-as-clear/

      1. https://womeninthechurch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Edgar%20analysis%20of%20restrictive%20interpretation.pdf

        This is the best link I could find. I apologize for it being upside down; I am not sure how to change it. Thank you for the link to why I Timothy 2:12 is not clear, and I appreciate your helping me in this.

        1. Thanks, Taylor.

          I should be able to turn it in my PDF reader. I’ve had a busy day and need to take a breather. I’ll try and read it tomorrow.

          1. Thank you, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I do have one question in particular that I have been wondering. I have been reading some of your articles on authentein, and I can see that there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that it was not a normal exercise of authority. However, on pages 12-13 Edgar points out that this activity was only restricted from women in relation to men, and he therefore concludes it must be a positive exercise of authority. I have also heard the objection that authentein could not mean domineer since two activities are prohibited, and authentein is only not permitted in relation to men and not other women as well. I have also seen that the idea of it meaning seizing authority being criticized on the grounds that the prohibition is not about usurping the authority of a teacher, but any man. In addition, I have seen the claim that women had enough literary skills to read the Scriptures, and should have already been trained to have an understanding of the Scriptues. I apologize for asking so many questions, but I have just started to study about Christian egalitarianism and am not sure how to respond these objections. Again, I thank you so much for your help!

          2. Hi Taylor,

            I would say there is zero evidence of authentein referring to a normal, or healthy, exercise of authority around the first-third centuries. Even in the fourth century, Chrysostom, in his sermon on Colossians 3, said that husbands shouldn’t behave that way towards their wives. Authentein was not a good thing.

            I’ve heard a few complementarian scholars use the word “positive” in discussions when describing “to teach” and authentein, but I really don’t know what they mean. If these activities are positive, why does Paul prohibit them? The earliest translations of 1 Tim 2:12 (in Syriac and Latin) don’t sound positive to me.

            I think “domineer” is a reasonable translation of authentein. Though “control” or “bully” or “act the tyrant” may be better. And it makes no difference if there are one or two activities being prohibited. The two prohibition interpretation, “I am not allowing a woman (1) to teach, nor am I allowing her (2) to domineer a man …” makes sense to me. As does the one prohibition interpretation: “I am not allowing a woman to teach a man in a domineering manner …”

            Paul doesn’t tell the Ephesian men and women that they need to raise holy hands without anger when they pray. He only tells the men (1 Tim 2:8). That’s because only the men in Ephesus were having a problem with anger and arguments. Likewise, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 refers specifically to a woman who was behaving badly. She was not behaving badly towards women, but to a man, probably her husband, so there’s no reason to mention women. All of Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 is very specific. It is not general teaching that refers to everyone in the Ephesian church.

            Only the wealthiest people and scholars had personal access to the written scriptures, that is, the Old Testament. The Hebrew and Greek scriptures were all handwritten and extremely expensive. Even many synagogues would not have had the complete Old Testament, but only some of the scrolls.

            The New Testament books and letters were written between 50-100 AD. But they were not compiled until later, and they were not regarded as scripture until later. In the first century, NT letters and documents, plus some other Christian documents, circulated as independent documents and were passed between churches.

            Furthermore, even though the levels of illiteracy may have been exaggerated in the past, most people were not competent readers; many couldn’t read at all. So I don’t understand this point about reading. The vast majority of Christian were not taught the Old Testament scriptures by personally reading them but by having them recited to them in group meetings. And since most of the Christians were Jewish, they would have heard the scriptures read in synagogues that owned some scrolls. And they didn’t learn about apostolic teaching by reading, but by having letters read aloud in meetings.

            I’ve had a few busy days, but I’ll try and get to Edgar’s paper in a day or two.

  2. Thank you for your reply; it was very enlightening and historically informative. Thank you for your consideration of my questions. I was also curious about another argument that I heard recently involving I Corinthians 11:2-16 and 14:34-35. The premise was that I Corinthians 11:2-16 refers to a non public setting and is not about conduct in the public church meetings. Part of this was based on the fact that I Corinthians 11:17 shows a clear transition to the believers meeting together, which is not clearly mentioned in I Corinthians 11:2-16. In addition, it was mentioned that I Corinthians 11:2-16 may have been about a small, informal gathering of believers to pray or meet, and I Corinthians 14:33- 35 is about speech in the public church gathering for teaching and preaching. This idea is also based on the fact that I Corinthians 14:35 makes a distinction between the home and the public setting of the church. Was there this distinction between public and private meetings in the early church? I apologize again for asking so many questions, and I thank you for your insight.

    1. Hi Taylor,

      1 Cor. 11:17 is indeed the beginning of a new section. Paul begins this section and the previous one (1 Cor. 11:2) by using the verb for “praise.”

      Most first-century church meetings were small and often met in homes. This may have been the case in Corinth too. It seems that the Corinthian church also met in a larger gathering for a communal meal. It is incorrect to say that the smaller meetings were less formal. It seems it was the other way around in Corinth. (See 1 Cor. 11:20-21).

      The idea of “formal” versus “informal” meetings is a more modern concern, one that the NT does not address. And so is the idea of “public” versus “private.” Priscilla and Aquila had a church that met in their home in Rome (Rom. 16:3-5). This was a domestic setting. Was it private or public, or a bit of both? And why does it matter?

      There is no clear indication how public or private the church meetings were in Corinth (cf. 1 Cor. 14:22-25; 1 Cor. 11:10). But “reputation” (doxa) is a key concern in 1 Cor. 11:2-16. If no one can see a man or woman praying and prophesying then what does it matter how they wear their hair, or if their head is covered or uncovered? I cannot see that 1 Cor. 11:2-16 is about a man or woman praying or prophesying to themselves in the privacy of their own home.

      1 Cor. 14:34-35 does make a distinction between a church meeting and a wife asking her husband a question or two in the privacy of their own home. But a woman asking her own husband questions cannot be compared to prayer, prophecy or any other kind of ministry that takes place in church meetings whether in a house church or in a larger meeting.

      Note that the verb that means “gather together/assemble” occurs twice in 1 Corinthians 14. 1 Cor. 14:23 specifies “the whole church” (i.e. all the house churches, etc), and 1 Cor. 14:26 indicates communal participation at such gatherings. This gathering, or gatherings, are for the purpose of ministry, including prophecy.

      The same verb occurs five times in the second half of 1 Cor. 11, in 1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 20, 33, 34. Paul mentions that this meeting is for the purpose of eating (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:33-34).

      Note that in both halves of 1 Corinthians 11 the word “church” is used. It may be that Paul is critiquing a custom or concern in Corinth that was not a custom in other churches (1 Cor. 11:16). The word for “church” also occurs in 1 Cor. 11:18 and 22 for the whole church at Corinth.

      I can understand why some would question whether the first half of 1 Cor. 11 refers to ministry when the church is assembled, but perhaps Paul’s concern is conceptual rather than practical in these verses. When Paul gives direct practical advice about the whole church in 1 Cor. 11:17ff and 1 Cor. 14, he uses the “gathering together” verb. (These are the only places in the NT letters where this verb is used this verb.)

      1. Hi Taylor, I got around to reading some of the paper, about 25+ pages of it. There are numerous presuppositions, assertions, and inaccurate statements in it. If it was only a few not-quite-right statements or mistakes, I might be able to address them, but there are too many to respond to.

        I actually tried to make a few notes about his section on oude, but got bogged down by it because there is so much I disagree with. Here’s a much-abbreviated version of what I wanted to say:

        I personally don’t believe 1 Tim 2:12 contains a hendiadys. I also see no reason for Edgar’s assertion that the word for “to teach” and “to domineer” intensify each other. (The oude constructions where “intensifying” happens are quite unlike what we have in 1 Tim 2:12!)

        And Edgar makes no comment about word order in 1 Tim 2:12, at least not yet in the pages I read. It is significant that the Greek word for “to teach” is the very first word of the sentence, and “to domineer” is the seventh. “To teach” is in an emphatic position. And Edgar’s assumption that “the verb ‘teach’ concerns a position commonly connected with authority” has no basis in the New Testament (cf. Rom. 12:7 NIV; Col 3:16 CSB).

        While strongly denying that 1 Tim 2:12 contains a hendiadys, Edgar also says, “When more than one item is joined by oude the two reinforce a basic concept which relates to both of them.” Apart from the messiness of this statement, and its ambiguity, this sounds a bit like he’s describing a hendiadys. What does he see as the one basic concept in 1 Tim 2:12?

        Here are a couple of papers arguing for the hendiadys idea.
        https://www.pbpayne.com/wp-admin/Payne2008NTS-oude1Tim2_12.pdf
        https://www.pbpayne.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Payne-OUDE-CBE-ETS-final.pdf

        I’ve already shared my information on authentein. But let me quickly add that Edgar’s statement that “to murder” was a common meaning of authenteō is simply wrong. And while claiming that authenteō can have a positive meaning, he does not give a single example where this is the case. In fact, he gives no examples of the verb in ancient papyri until later, and these very few examples are just allusions rather than examples. Plus he relies on older lexicons of the NT that did not have the advantage of new discoveries of ancient Greek afforded by the discoveries of thousands of ancient papyri in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

        This statement is dodgy on a few levels: “The passage concerns the relationship between men and women, not some practice wrong in itself.” Why would he presume that? 1 Timothy 2:8-10 is about bad behaviour and wrong practices. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is a continuation of this. These kinds of prejudiced, baseless statements from Edgar make it difficult to take his work seriously, let alone critique it.

        His comment about Chrysostom’s use of authent– words almost made me tear out my hair. God and Jesus Christ rightfully have full power and absolute authority (authentia); husbands do not have this kind of power or authority. Chrysostom used the words correctly. Edgar doesn’t get it! (But I don’t agree with Chrysostom’s interpretation of Eve’s actions. Genesis 3 tells us that Eve wrongly handed Adam a piece of forbidden fruit. She did not teach Adam and she did not exercise authority or power over him.)

        Contrary to Kroeger and Liefield, I do not think that “to originate” is the sense of authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12.

        Moving on to page 24: I have never heard 1 Timothy 2:15 CSB described as “a domestic issue,” as Dr David Scholer put it. But that is how I see it too: “she will be saved through childbearing if they [husband and wife?] continue in xyz.” This sounds very domestic to me. My take of verse 15 is here: https://margmowczko.com/chastity-salvation-1-timothy-215/

        Importantly, Edgar repeatedly uses the words “women” and “men” when discussing 1 Timothy 2:12ff. Paul didn’t. Paul switched from the Greek for “men” and “women” in verses 8-10 to the singular “man” and “woman” in verses 11-15. And note the singular and plural verbs in 1 Timothy 2:15 CSB.

        All in all, the pages I read contain messy arguments, prejudiced assumptions, and only a small amount of technical or verifiable information that might actually help us understand what Paul meant in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. I won’t be reading any more of Edgar’s paper.

        1. Thank you so much for helping with that! Looking back over his paper, I can see how he made many assumptions. I appreciate the information and background, and you have helped me better understand these verses. There is only one more thing that I am curious about. You mentioned how Eve did not teach Adam but merely handed him the fruit. While that is true, I have always wondered why Genesis 3:17 mentions Adam listening to the voice of his wife since it is not mentioned that she said anything. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on that.
          Again, I appreciate your help and your knowledge. God bless you!

          1. That’s an interesting and valid point about Genesis 3:17, Taylor.

            So here’s the thing:
            Mary Magdalene told Jesus’s disciples the good news that Jesus has risen from the dead, but some insist she was not preaching.
            Priscilla, with her husband Aquila, explained Christian doctrine to Apollos, and they corrected him, but some insist she was not teaching.
            Phoebe is described as a diakonos of the church at Cenchrea, but some insist she was not a minister but a servant.
            Nympha is mentioned as having a church that meets in her house, but some insist she was not a church leader.
            I could add other Bible women to this list.

            So yes, Eve handed Adam a piece of fruit and said something to him (Gen 3:6; 12f; 17). Was it “teaching,” a word that some are reluctant to associate with Priscilla and her ministry? (Also, Adam was literally “with” Eve; he might have been beside her throughout the conversation between the snake and Eve.)

            We don’t know what Eve’s words were. It’s interesting to speculate what they might have been, but calling it “teaching” is a huge stretch. There are no grounds for such a presumption. The real issue in Genesis 3:17 is that Adam heeded Eve’s voice and not God’s voice. Also, God didn’t “teach” either; he commanded. To import the word “teach” into the creation accounts is unwarranted and artificial. Unless I’ve missed it, these chapters say nothing about teaching.

  3. Marg,

    Thank you for your thorough analysis of Romans 16. That was part of my devotional scripture reading this morning and since I have been long-intrigued by it and have wanted to distinguish the names by gender, I decided to take time to Google it as a question I have needed to ask for a long time. I was delighted to see your information and article pop up and immediately delved into it. I teach a class for licensing women for ministry for my church’s jurisdiction and always use this chapter to stress how women and men worked together in ministry, and that women did indeed have a place in the ministry of the church from the early days.

    May I have permission to use your material in my own teaching (of course giving proper citation of source — I am a retired college professor and understand the importance of not plagiarizing someone else’s work, besides maintaining my integrity as a woman of faith)?

    Blessings for your continued messages of enlightenment and understanding for the people of God.

    Mary

    1. Hello Mary,

      I’d love for you to use my material. I’m glad it’s useful to you.

      And blessings on your ministry!

  4. Thank you very much, Marg, for a very thorough presentation (especially your handwritten note) of Romans 16 in its setting, and your thoughts on the contents. I only wish I’d had this 50 odd years ago when as a teenager I was being fed the “women silent in the church” line, which I always had trouble accepting! You have warmed the heart of this 71-year-old! God bless you.

    1. Hi Bill, Your comment has warmed my heart. 🙂

      The handwritten note was actually written by T.C. Moore, a pastor at Roots Covenant Church in St Paul, Minnesota. He gave me permission to use it.

  5. My thanks to Pastor Moore, too, then! The structured note is certainly very clear on our topic!!
    I found it because I was looking for some background for a comment I was making on Facebook in response to words and actions of a well-known American bible teacher, whom many of us feel spoke in a rather unchristian way to a sister in the Lord. Both his theology and his attitude were questionable.
    Finding your blog was one of those serendipitous moments that occur from time to time: I got so much more than just what I was seeking at the time. For that I am very grateful.
    May God continue to bless you in your blog-ministry, and let your heart be warmed often!

    1. ~ I agree, the note is very helpful.

      ~ The theology of the well-known American Bible teacher is questionable. His attitude is lamentable and cause for concern.

      ~ Thanks, Bill. God bless you too!

  6. Very interesting Marg. Learnt a lot from your study in romans 16. God bless you sis . Didn’t know so many women were involved in ministry and some of their spouse just give a helping hand .

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