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Was Junia an apostle?

Submitted: 1/31/2007
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Question: Who was Junia in Romans 16:7? Was she an apostle? Does the Holy Ghost qualify you to be an apostle?

Answer: Romans 16:7 says, 'Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me' (NKJV). The question is, are these two people notable as apostles, or were they noted by the apostles. In other words, were they exceptional apostles, or were they the kind of people that the apostles noted as being exceptional in some way? If the first interpretation is true, then we would have to conclude that Junie was a female apostle. But, the NIV translates this verse this way: 'Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.' Notice that in this version, the name is not Junia but Junias. The reason for this is that there is a lack of certainty as to whether this name is masculine or feminine.

Our opinion is this: 1) There are no female apostles mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament. 2) The twelve original apostles were all men. 3) The Greek word translated 'apostle' is only found in the masculine gender. 4) It is doubtful that Paul would have been in prison with a women. 5) Serving as an apostle is a leadership role and God does not permit women to teach or have authority over a man. For these reasons we believe that Junia/Junias was either a male apostle or a women who was noted by the apostles. We do not believe there are any female apostles.

Certainly the Lord equips and qualifies men to serve as apostles. He also sends them out to do the work of an apostle. But we do not believe He sends anyone out apart from the agreement of the local church leadership. An excellent example of the sending process can be found in Acts 13:1-3.