Was Junia a Woman Apostle? or — HOW DID SHE BECOME A MAN?
Dr. Kluane Spake
DOES IT MATTER?
We think that the gender debate is over. But, it isn’t. Daily, I get extremely cruel and unkind emails and messages about my being in authority… This subject about Junia matters because it is yet another proof that women did fully function in 5-fold governmental offices in the early church. In order to move into forceful Church Reform, both men and women need to know this truth about equality — and be totally convinced.
Firstly, I believe the Bible is sacred, inerrant, holy, unquestionable and infallible. What is important in our understand is to know what was meant when written and HOW the people understood those words at the time it was written. History tells us a lot.
Paul said, “Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen (probably meaning they were Jews, perhaps Benjamites), and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also have been in Christ before me” (Rom. 16:9).
>>>Interesting that Paul calls himself “the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church” but calls Junia and Andronicus “OUTSTANDING among the apostles.”
Andronicus and Junia are believed by the vast majority of biblical scholars to be yet another husband and wife team (like Priscilla and Aquila), or possibly a brother and sister team.
JUNIA WAS A WOMAN
Despite the modern mistranslation of her name as masculine “Junias” or “Junius,” no Church Father, historian, or commentator prior to the 13th century questioned that this apostle was a woman.
The earliest tradition taught that Junia was a female apostle. In other words, they were “outstanding apostles,” which was the view held by renowned scholars and early church fathers as Origen, Theodoret, John Calvin, and
Chrysostom (Church Father), Peter Abelard, Bengel, Olshausen, Rufinus, Tholuck, Alford, and Jowett agreed that these two were apostles to name just a few).
The identity of Junia as a woman apostle was not questioned until the Middle Ages when translators tried to change the gender of the name to the masculine “Junias.”
The name Junia was a very common woman’s name, but the name Junias was unknown in antiquity (and girls weren’t named boy names and vise-versa, like today).
The Greek word Junia in Rom. 16:7 is “Ίουνίας” 18 or, “Ίουνίαν” 19. Both show the “acute accent on the penult”, which always indicates the name is feminine. The masculine version of this name would be “Ίουνιâν” which has “a circumflex accent on the ultima”
Chrysostom wrote about Junia saying, “Indeed, to be an apostle at all is a great thing; but to be even amongst those of note; just consider what a great encomium that is…Oh, how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should even be counted worthy for the appellation (classification or delegation) of apostles.”
Epistolam ad Romanos Commentariorum 10, 23; 29. Said Junia was a female apostle.
Jerome (340-419, who translated the Vulgate) was always biased against women. Yet, he wrote that Junia was a female. (Liver Interpretationis Hebraicorum Nominum 72, 15.) Also Hatto of Vercelli (924-961), Theophylack (1050-1108), and Peter Abelard (1079-1142.
Modern Day Greek Scholar Bernadette Brooten worte a few books about Junia being a female apostles.
Dr. Nyland, a Greek scholar who translated the Bible as an academic using historical documents to compare the words, insists that Junia was an apostle.
Dr. Catherine Kroger was a consummate Greek Scholar who translated from the newly found papyri in Ephesus said the Greek clearly points to the fact that Junia was a female apostle.
ALL the ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts commending the “oustanding apostles” in Romans 16:7 read either “Junia” or “Julia”, both feminine forms and female names.
Both Junia and Julia were very common ancient Greek woman’s names, whereas the masculine alternatives suggested by modern commentators have no manuscript evidence to support them. “Junius” and “Junianus” suggested by some, are Roman men’s names. But, not Greek names.”
At this point in his ministry Paul had experienced at least 7 imprisonments (2 Cor. 6:5; 11:23) (according to Clement of Rome, a contemporary of the first century apostles of Christ). It seems certain that Andronicus and Junia were in prison with Paul.
They were possibly converted by Peter or were at Pentecost. Paul remarks that they were believers before he was. “Followers of the Anointed One before I was.”This statement also indicates that the couple’s apostleship did not hinge on Paul’s recognition of their status.
“To interpret the statement as meaning that these were outstanding in the estimation of the apostles scarcely does justice to the construction in the Greek” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 10, p. 164).
Paul said that Andronicus and Junia were notable among the apostles (Acts 2:47) and that they came before him… (Rom.16:7) to lay the foundation of the churches at Rome.
WHEN DID JUNIA BECOME A MAN?
NO CHURCH FATHER, HISTORIAN, MAJOR SCHOLAR, OR COMMENTATOR PRIOR TO THE 13TH CENTURY QUESTIONED THAT JUNIA WAS A WOMAN APOSTLE.
>>THE EARLIEST SUGGESTION THAT JUNIA WAS A MAN WAS IN THE 13TH CENTURY in 1298, when Aegidius of Rome called them both “honorable men.” THE NEW INTERPRETATIONS TOOK PLACE during the reign ofPope Boniface VIII (Benedict Gaetani, reigned from 1294-1303).
The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that Boniface was accused of infidelity, heresy, simony, gross and unnatural immorality, adultery, magic, loss of the Holy Land, death of Celestine V, and more.
That Junia was a woman being noted among the apostles caused problems for later translators because of the increasing bias against women in ministry. But there was absolutely no literary, epigraphical, or papyrological evidence for thinking Junia was a man. Many other changes were made to the Scriptures to limit women at this time.
A papal decision that dealt directly with limiting women’s freedoms was the papal bull known as Periculoso, which was the first word of the Latin text. This decree of 1298 announced that all nuns were to be perpetually cloistered! She could not leave her monastery anymore. Before this, they had been free to come and go. Pope Boniface worked hard to limit the power and influence of the women of the church. Nuns never regained the freedom they had before the edict of 1298. Other limitations for women in ministry came soon after this.
MINISTRY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT was BASED ON GIFTS AND CALLINGS — NOT GENDER
THE DEBATE: WERE THEY APOSTLES THEMSELVES OR KNOWN BY APOSTLES?
For some reason, this biased and discriminatory debate continues as to Junia being a female and if Junia were female, then this Scripture only means that Junia and Andronicaus were known by and simply highly “regarded by the apostles.”
The Greek en. Strong’s defines this word as… a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place,among, time or state), En does not imply known to the apostles, but literally among (in the midst of) the apostles. Other verses using the Greek en bears this out.
>> If the extremely well-educated Paul had wanted to say that Junia and Andronicus were prisoners who were well known to the apostles, he would have used one of two totally different Greek words—para or pros—rather than using en which implies selection from within a particular group.
But, he used the word EN, meaning AMONG – En is translated “among” 97 other times in the NT. Here are only a few other references to the use of EN to show the meaning as “a part” or “one with.”
Matthew 11:11; Romans 11:17; Romans 12:3; 1Corinthians 1:10; 1Corinthians 1:11; 1Corinthians 2:2; 1Corinthians 2:6, 1Corinthians 3:3; 1Corinthians 3:18.
The title of apostle as applied to Junia has significant early Christian Witness. All the Early Fathers, and both Arabic and Syriac Christians affirm she was a female apostle regarded as outstanding. In other words, she and Andronicus were numbered “among” the apostles, and in that group had distinguished themselves in some way.
Bible translations are unanimous on the meaning of the expression, episemoi en tois apostolois. They say, “outstanding apostles” (NAB), “outstanding among” (NASB, NIV), “prominent among” (NRSV), “eminent among” (REB), “of note among” (KJV, ASV, NJKV) and the NCV states “they are very important apostles.”
Scholar James Walthers states “virtually all” English Bibles interpret the phrase as meaning they were notable among (as one of ) the apostles.
Paul declares both Andronicus and Junia to be “outstanding among the apostles” (NASB, HCSB, NIV) ….. “of note among the apostles” (ASV, RSV, KJV, NWT) ….. “Eminent among the apostles” (NEB) ….. “outstanding apostles” (NJB, NAB, St. Joseph edition) ….. “outstanding leaders” (The Message) ….. “the most important of the people Christ sent out to do His work” (E-T-RV) ….. “outstanding men among the messengers” (Phillips) ….. “respected by the apostles” (LB, CEV) ….. “held in high esteem among the apostles” (Williams).
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, “Paul describes them as being prominent among the apostles, and as having been Christians before him.”
The United Bible Societies Handbook Series acknowledges that they are a male/female team, “Adronicus and Junias … could easily have been husband and wife, or brother and sister.” They acknowledge that some misunderstood the sentence, but the acceptable interpretation would imply that these…were ‘as apostles they are well known.'”
J.B. Lightfoot agrees that the only” natural way” to translate episemoi en tois apostolois is “regarded as apostles.”
Cranfield states it is “virtually certain” that the phrase means “outstanding among the apostles.”
Walkers, commenting on Cranfield’s remarks said, “this is the way the phrase was understood by all of the patristic writers and by most all modern commentators. They were both apostles who were well known.
Bauer provides the normal meaning of episemoi en tois apostolois as “outstanding among the apostles.”
F. F. Bruce adds that not only were they “well known to the apostles” but they were “notable members of the apostolic circle.”
Liddel-Scott defines the Greek word episemoi as “having a mark on” it, one who “bears the mark” of an apostle.
James A. Witmer, explains that episemoi, literally means “having a mark [sema] on them,” therefore they are “illustrious, notable, or outstanding” among the apostles.
Sanday and Headlam add this interpretation: ejpivshmo~ has a literal meaning of ‘stamped’ or ‘marked’ and this would most naturally refer to ‘those who were selected from the Apostolic body as “distinguished”
Craig Keener says, “Since they were imprisoned with him, Paul knows them well enough to recommend them without appealing to the other apostles, whose judgment he never cites on such matters, and the Greek is most naturally read as claiming that they were apostles.”
Dr. Kluane Spake
Leading REFORM – Equipping Today’s Reformers
Kroeger, Catherine Rome lecture for information on Junia.
Spake, Kluane, “From Enmity to Equality” available http:Kluane.com/books
Dr. Kluane is a Commissioned Ambassadorial Apostle by Apostle John P. Kelly. She is an international apostolic minister, author, mentor, teacher, and friend to the Body of Christ. She has a mandate to release:
1 – The “Revealing of Christ in a People. 2 – Present Truth. 3 – Life-changing Third Day reformational concepts. 4 – The fullness of the finished work of redemption to the nations
Dr. Kluane Spake
P.O. Box 941933
Atlanta, GA 31141
218-248-7247 [ phone]