Junia(s), an “Apostle?”

*Recently I was sent several Instagram posts of excerpts from Eldon Epp’s book touting Junia(s) of Romans 16.7 as supposedly The First Woman Apostle.  In Epp’s work, he claims that those who reject Junia(s) as an “apostle” are guilty of “gender bias” which has purportedly been “exposed” and “overcome” in recent years.  Obviously this charge is dead on arrival inasmuch as those who object to the anti-biblical notion that Junia(s) was a female “apostle” are merely allowing the inspired biblical data to inform our dogma (i.e., exegesis) contra importing our personal preferences into the inspired text (i.e., eisegesis) – a text that never states the same.  

*Indeed, the “gender bias” would be from anyone somehow opting to place females in a position clearly prohibited in God’s word.  Simply put, said individuals place a green light where God has clearly placed a red light  and then somehow (amazingly) claim that such a position is “biblical” (?).

*To illustrate, Epp states that “Paul did not insist on women keeping silent in the churches.”  And, certainly there is a specific context and exegesis to Paul’s statement in I Corinthians 14.34 – one that we have analyzed at length (assuming this is the passage the author is referencing).  However, I would stop short of woodenly stating that “Paul did not insist on women keeping silent in the church” inasmuch as this is the diametrical opposite of what Paul clearly states below:

New International Version
Women should remain silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

New Living Translation
Women should be silent during the church meetings.  It is not proper for them to speak.  They should be submissive, just as the law says.

English Standard Version
the women should keep silent in the churches.  For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

Berean Study Bible
women should be silent in the churches.  They are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law says.

Berean Literal Bible
let the women be silent in the churches.  For it is not allowed to them to speak, but to be in submission, as the Law also says.

New American Standard Bible
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

King James Bible
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says.

International Standard Version
The women must keep silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak out, but must place themselves in submission, as the oral law also says.

NET Bible
The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak.  Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Let your women be silent in the assemblies, for they are not allowed to speak, but to be in subjection, just as The Written Law also says.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
The women must keep silent.  They don’t have the right to speak.  They must take their place as Moses’ Teachings say.

New American Standard 1977
Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Let your women keep silence in the congregations {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones}, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be in subjection, as also saith the law.

King James 2000 Bible
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be submissive, as also says the law.

American King James Version
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law.

American Standard Version
Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith.

Darby Bible Translation
Let [your] women be silent in the assemblies, for it is not permitted to them to speak; but to be in subjection, as the law also says.

English Revised Version
Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Weymouth New Testament
Let married women be silent in the Churches, for they are not permitted to speak.  They must be content with a subordinate place, as the Law also says;

World English Bible
Let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says.

Young’s Literal Translation
Your women in the assemblies let them be silent, for it hath not been permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith;

*It is my understanding that other books are currently being written on the topic of “women preachers,” which I look forward to both reviewing and critiquing on this blog.  For now, below we will delve into the actual exegesis of Romans 16.7, highlighting the role of Junia(s) in these key texts.

(Romans 16.7; NET): Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners.  They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

*Obviously, there is nothing in this text specifically identifying Junia(s) as either (i) a female; (ii) an apostle.  Such a conclusion is necessarily read into this text – not extracted from the text being allowed to stand on its own merit.  

NA28 Greek text:  Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ.

*Primarily, there are two issues at heart in this text:  (i) The gender of the noun “Junia(s);”  (ii) Should the Greek adjective translated “well known” (ἐπίσημοι) be understood with the comparative force (i.e., locative) or the elative (i.e., instrumental) tag?  First, the gender of this individual.  Below is hopefully a balanced and fair review of the lexical, exegetical and historical data from the most respected Greek resources available.

*United Bible Societies (UBS) A Translators Handbook of the New Testament:  Adronicus and Junias are not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament; they could easily have been husband and wife, or brother and sister.

*Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain:  93.178 Ἰουνιᾶς ᾶ m: a Jewish Christian greeted in ROM. 16.7 – Junias.  

*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT:  Ἰουνιᾶς, ᾶ, ὁ (also Ἰουνίας) Junias, masculine proper noun (probably RO 16.7; see Ἰουλία).

*BDAG:  Ἰουνιᾶς, ᾶ, ὁ Junias (not found elsewh., could be a short form of the common Junianus; s. B- D- F §125, 2; Rob. 172) according to the rdg. of the N. text a Judean Christian, who was imprisoned w. Paul or shared a similar experience Ro 16:7; s. on Ἀνδρόνικος.  But the accented form Ἰουνιᾶν has no support as such in the ms. tradition; for critique of B- D- R §125, 2, 6 in connection w. the N. rdg. s. UPlisch, NTS 42, ’96, 477f, n. 2.  For the strong probability that a woman named Junia is meant s. prec. entry.

*Dr. Bruce Metzger (known as the “Dean of Textual Criticism”), Textual Commentary on the Greek NT (his Magnum Opus):  Ἰουνίαν; On the basis of the weight of manuscript evidence the Committee was unanimous in rejecting Ἰουλίαν (see also the next variant in ver. 15) in favor of Ἰουνιαν, but was divided as to how the latter should be accented.  Some members, considering it unlikely that a woman would be among those styled “apostles,” understood the name to be masculine Ἰουνιᾶν (“Junias”), thought to be a shortened form of Junianus (see Bauer-Aland, Wörterbuch, pp. 770 f.).  

Others, however, were impressed by the facts that (1) the female Latin name Junia occurs more than 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name Junias is unattested anywhere, and (2) when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”).  (For recent discussions, see R. R. Schulz in Expository Times, iic (1986–87), pp. 108–110; J. A. Fitzmyer, Romans (Anchor Bible Commentary, 1993), pp. 737 f.; and R. S. Cervin in New Testament Studies, xl (1994), pp. 464–470.)  The “A” decision of the Committee must be understood as applicable only as to the spelling of the name Ἰουνιαν, not the accentuation.

*NET Full-Translator-Notes:  The feminine name Junia, though common in Latin, is quite rare in Greek (apparently only three instances of it occur in Greek literature outside Rom 16:7, according to the data in the TLG [D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 922]).  The masculine Junias (as a contraction for Junianas), however, is rarer still:  Only one instance of the masculine name is known in extant Greek literature (Epiphanius mentions Junias in his Index discipulorum 125).  

Further, since there are apparently other husband- wife teams mentioned in this salutation (Prisca and Aquila [v. 3], Philologus and Julia [v. 15]), it might be natural to think of Junia as a feminine name.  (This ought not be pressed too far, however, for in v. 12 all three individuals are women [though the first two are linked together], and in vv. 9-11 all the individuals are men.)  In Greek only a difference of accent distinguishes between Junias (male) and Junia (female).

*The exegetes of the ground-breaking 541 pg. work, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (pp. 79-81), did a complete search of all the Greek writings from Homer (B.C. ninth century?) into the fifth century A.D. available now on computer through the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, which contains 2,889 authors and 8,203 works.  They asked the computer for all forms of Iounia—so that they could pick up all possible cases.  The result of their in-depth search yielded a mere three references other than Romans 16.7.  

*These include Plutarch (ca. A.D. 50 – ca.120), Epiphanius (A.D. 315-403), and John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407).  While Plutarch and Chrysostom indicate that Junia(s) indicates a woman’s name, Epiphanius has the persuasive argument based upon his chosen grammar and first-hand knowledge.  Epiphanius was the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus and wrote an Index of Disciples, in which he states:  “Iounias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria” (Index Disciplulorum, 125.19-20).  His chosen Greek phrase translated “of whom” is a masculine relative pronoun (hou) and well demonstrates that he thought Iounias was a man.

*Though debatable, the nod seems to go to Epiphanius inasmuch as Plutarch & Chrysostom appear to make their deductions based squarely on Rom. 16.7 (they give no other information), whereas Epiphanius seems to have more first-hand information about Junias (i.e., he became bishop of Apameia), and specifically uses the masculine contra the feminine pronoun in describing Junias.

*Some egalitarians have called into question the quote from Epiphanius since he equally refers to Prisca as a “man” in the preceding sentence.  However, Prisca is nowhere else called a man, whereas Junia(s) is repeatedly called a man in the ancient world.  Hence, to reject Epiphanius’s quote of Junia(s) as a man simply because he has referred to Prisca as a man is a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Indeed, using such logic one could discard the entire witness of Epiphanius.  Each assertion must be weighed individually as opposed to merely “counting noses.”    

*Perhaps even more compelling than Epiphanius, however, is a Latin quotation from Origen (died 252 A.D.), in our earliest extant commentary on Romans.  He states that Paul refers to “Andronicus and Junias and Herodian, all of whom he calls relatives and fellow captives” (Origen’s Commentary on Romans, preserved in a Latin translation by Rufinus, c. 345-c. 410 A.D., in J.P. Migne’s, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 14, col. 1289).  

*The name Junias in Origen’s quote above is a Latin masculine singular nominative, indicating that one of the ancient world’s most respected scholars considered Junias a man.  Coupled with the seemingly first-hand information of Epiphanius, these grammatical and ancient historical references offer compelling evidence toward Junias being a man.

*Again, some egalitarians have objected to Origen’s quotation calling Junia(s) a man based upon the paper by Drs. Daniel Wallace and Mike Burer regarding this text which indicates that Origen “cite(d) the name once as a masculine and once as feminine.”  This paper apparently concluded that the masculine form was a “later corruption of his text.”  Ironically, however, Wallace and Burer equally “concluded” exegetically that Junia(s) was not an apostle in the same paper!  

*And, absolutely no viable motive nor evidence have been offered as to why a later scribe would supposedly “corrupt” Origen’s writings by inserting the masculine form.  The cold facts and raw data has this ancient writer calling Junia(s) a man, and to claim “corruption of the text” at this point is special pleading.  As stated above, using this approach one could claim textual “corruption” of any doctrine that one seeks to dismiss from ancient writings (and does indeed happen quite often).

*On the other hand, to be fair, Dr. Daniel Wallace points out, “the church fathers: an almost universal sense that this was a woman’s name surfaces—at least through the twelfth century.  Nevertheless, this must be couched tentatively because although at least seventeen fathers discuss the issue, the majority of these are Latin fathers” (Dr. Dan Wallace, Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7).  

*In the same article, Wallace points out: “If jIounian should have the circumflex over the ultima (jIounia’n) then it is a man’s name; if it should have the acute accent over the penult (jIounivan) then it is a woman’s name.  For help, we need to look in several places.  First, we should consider the accents on the Greek manuscripts.  This will be of limited value since accents were not added until the ninth century to the NT manuscripts.

“Thus, their ability to reflect earlier opinions is questionable at best.  Nevertheless, they are usually decent indicators as to the opinion in the ninth century.  And what they reveal is that jIounian was largely considered a man’s name (for the bulk of the MSS have the circumflex over the ultima).”  

*Many bloggers have attempted to discredit the quotes by Epiphanius and Origen (in particular, Suzanne McCarthy), all the while most-readily accepting the quotes of Chrysostom and others which refer to this individual as a woman—quite telling!

Berean Literal Bible:
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, and who were in Christ before me.

New American Standard Bible:
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

*Masculine names suffixed with the English translation “–as” in the NT are quite common:  Andrew (Andre-as, Mt. 10.2), Elijah (Eli-as, Mt. 11.14), Isaiah (Esai-as, Jn. 1.23), Zachari-as (Lk. 1.5).  Dr. A.T. Robertson well demonstrates that numerous names suffixed in “–as” are contracted forms for clearly masculine nouns (Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 171-173).  In fact, Robertson is clear on the matter of Junia(s)’ gender that, “This name can be either masculine or feminine in the Greek” (WP, Concise Edition, pg. 387).  Other clear examples in the NT (among many) include Silas (Acts 15.22) and Silvanus (I Thess. 1.1; I Ptr. 5.12).

*Dr. Bruce K. Waltke, in his voluminous exegetical-canonical work, An Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), p. 241 states:  “Al Wolters of Redeemer College (Hamilton, Ontario) in personal communication makes a convincing philological argument that Junia (Gr. Iounia) in Rom. 16:7 is a Jewish name;  Yehunniah (‘Yah is gracious’).  If so, the name is masculine, not feminine.”

*In sum, there is simply no textual, grammatical, or historical basis to assert that Junia(s) was definitively a female, as Epp adamantly claims in his work.  Since we only have these three extra-biblical references in a survey of hundreds of years and literally thousands of ancient literary manuscripts, one could hardly make such an adamant claim of the early Greek-speaking world—from neither a Classical or Koine’ perspective.  

*The grammatical evidence is simply too ambiguous based upon this peculiar accusative form and the weight of a mere accent mark.  The fact that Andronicus and Junia(s) are identified as a pair hardly demands a husband/wife team.  All one has to do is look five verses later for evidence of this: “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord” (v. 12).

**Meaning of the adjective “well known (to the apostles)” (ἐπίσημοι):

*Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain:  28.31 ἐπίσημος ον:  pertaining to being well known or outstanding, either because of positive or negative characteristics – outstanding, famous, notorious, infamous.  εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις they are outstanding among the apostles ROM 16.7.

*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT:  ἐπίσημος, ον. (1) in a positive sense outstanding, well- known (RO 16.7);  (2) in a negative sense notorious, infamous, having a bad reputation (MT 27.16).

*BDAG:  ἐπίσημος, ον (σῆμα, ‘sign’; trag., Hdt. +).  1 of exceptional quality, splendid, prominent, outstanding (Hdt., trag. et al.; pap, LXX, EpArist, Philo; Joseph.) κριὸς ἐ. ἐκ ποιμνίου a splendid ram fr. the flock MPol 14:1.  Of pers. (Diod. S. 5, 83, 1; Jos., Bell. 6, 201; 3 Macc 6:1; Just., A II, 12, 5) ἐ. ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις outstanding among the apostles Ro 16:7. διδάσκαλος MPol 19:1.  

*LXX Lexical Dictionary:  ἐπίσημος,- ος,- ον +A 1- 0- 0- 2- 6- 9 Gn 30:42; Est 5:4; 8:12; 1 Mc 11:37; 14:48 marked Gn 30:42; notable, remarkable 3 Mc 6:1; conspicuous 1 Mc 11:37; significant Est 5:4; see ἄσημος ΤΩΝΤ.

*NET Full-Translators-Notes: 16:7:  Or “prominent, outstanding, famous.”  The term ἐπίσημος (episemos) is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known”).  The key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts.  

When a comparative notion is seen, that to which ἐπίσημος is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case (cf., e. g., 3 Macc 6:1 [Ελεαζαρος δέ τις ἀνὴρ ἐπίσημος τῶν ἀπὸ τής χώρας ἱερέων “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country”]; cf. also Pss. Sol. 17:30).  

When, however, an elative notion is found, ἐν (en) plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon (cf. Pss. Sol. 2:6).  Although ἐν plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν +) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.  In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.”  See M. H. Burer and D. B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle?  A Re- examination of Rom 16.7,” NTS 47 (2001): 76- 91, who argue for the elative (instrumental) notion.

**{Note:  We should point out that the Greek adjective used here is ἐπίσημοι, a nominative-masculine-plural inflection.  Interestingly, every noun applying to the NT 5-fold ministry appears in the masculine and never in the feminine gender.  Though the doctrinal value of genders can be spurious, when all five ministerial offices appear in the masculine (as does the Greek noun translated “elder[s]”) – this can hardly be mere coincidence.  In fact, the plural Greek noun translated “apostles” (ἀποστόλοις) in Rom. 16.7 appears in the masculine – not feminine!}

*Again, renowned linguist Dr. Daniel Wallace:

At issue is whether we should translate the phrase in Romans 16:7—ejpivshmo ejn toi’ ajpostovloi—as “outstanding among the apostles” or “well known to the apostles.”  Although almost all translations assume the first rendering, this is by no means a given.  Even in a meticulous commentary such as Fitzmyer’s, though both options are discussed, no evidence is supplied for either.  But the evidence is out there; mere opinion is inadequate.  

In order to resolve this issue two items need to be examined.  First is the lexical field of the adjective “ejpivshmo.”  Second is the syntactical implication of this adjective in collocation with ejn plus the dative.  First, for the lexical issue.  “Ejpivshmo” can mean, “well known, prominent, outstanding, famous, notable, notorious” (BAGD 298 s.v. ejpivshmo; LSJ 655-56; LN 28.31 – {Cited above}).  The lexical domain can roughly be broken down into two streams: “ejpivshmo” is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding [among]”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known [to]”).

Second, the key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts.  Hence, we turn to the “ejn toi’ ajpostovloi.”  As a working hypothesis, we would suggest the following:  Since a noun in the genitive is typically used with comparative adjectives, we might expect such with an implied comparison.  Thus, if in Rom 16:7 Paul meant to say that Andronicus and Junia were outstanding among the apostles, we might have expected him to use the genitive tw’n ajpostovlwn.  On the other hand, if an elative force is suggested—i.e., where no comparison is even hinted at—we might expect ejn + the dative (case).

As an aside, some commentators reject such an elative sense in this passage because of the collocation with the preposition ejn, but such a view is based on a misperception of the force of the whole construction.  On the one hand, there is a legitimate complaint about seeing ejn with the dative as indicating an agent, and to the extent that “well known by the apostles” implies an action on the apostles’ part (viz., that the apostles know) such an objection has merit.  On the other hand, the idea of something being known by someone else does not necessarily imply agency.  This is so for two reasons:  

First, the action implied may actually be the passive reception of some event or person (thus, texts such as 1 Tim 3:16, in which the line “w[fqh ajggevloi” can be translated either as, “was seen by angels” or “appeared to angels;” either way the “action” performed by angels is by its very nature relatively passive).  Such an idea can be easily accommodated in Rom 16:7:  “well known to/by the apostles” simply says that the apostles were recipients of information, not that they actively performed “knowing.”  Thus, although ejn plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ejn plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.  In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.”  Second, even if ejn with the dative plural is used in the sense of “among” (so Dr. Moo here, et. al.), this does not necessarily locate Andronicus and Junia within the band of apostles; rather, it is just as likely that knowledge of them existed among the apostles.

Turning to the actual data, we notice the following.  When a comparative notion is seen, that to which “ejpivshmo” is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case.  For example, in 3 Macc. 6:1 we read, “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country.”  Here Eleazar was one of the priests of the country, yet was comparatively outstanding in their midst.  The genitive is used for the implied comparison (tw’n iJerevwn).  In Ps. Sol. 17:30 the idea is very clear that the Messiah would, “glorify the Lord in a prominent [place] in relation to all the earth.”  The prominent place is a part of the earth, indicated by the genitive modifier.

Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:1 speaks of an, “outstanding ram from a great flock.”  Here “from” (ejk) plus the genitive is used instead of the simple genitive, perhaps to suggest the ablative notion over the partitive, since this ram was chosen for sacrifice (and thus would soon be separated from the flock).  

But again, the salient features are present: (a) an implied comparison (b) of an item within a larger group, (c) followed by (ejk plus) the genitive to specify the group to which it belongs.  When, however, an elative notion is found, ejn plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon.  In Ps. Sol. 2:6, where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that, “they were a spectacle among the gentiles.”

This construction comes as close to Rom 16:7 as any I have yet seen.  The parallels include (a) people as the referent of the adjective ejpivshmo,” (b) followed by ejn plus the dative plural, (c) the dative plural referring to people as well.  All the key elements are here.

Semantically, what is significant is that, (a) the first group is not a part of the second—that is, the Jewish captives were not gentiles; and (b) what was “among” the gentiles was the Jews’ notoriety. This is precisely how we are suggesting Rom 16:7 should be taken.  That the parallels discovered so far conform to our working hypothesis at least gives warrant to seeing Andronicus’ and Junia’s fame as that which was among the apostles.  Whether the alternative view has semantic plausibility remains to be seen.

In sum, until further evidence is produced that counters the working hypothesis, we must conclude that Andronicus and Junia were not apostles, but were known to the apostles. (Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7, A Study By: Dr. Daniel B. Wallace).

*New Living Translation:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.

*English Standard Version:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners.  They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

*Aramaic Bible in Plain English:  Invoke the peace of Andronicus and of Junia, my relatives who were captives with me and were known by The Apostles and they were in The Messiah before me.

*Amplified Bible:  Remember me to Andronicus and Junias, my tribal kinsmen and once my fellow prisoners.  They are men held in high esteem among the apostles, who also were in Christ before I was.

*Contemporary English Version:  Greet my relatives Andronicus and Junias, who were in jail with me.  They are highly respected by the apostles and were followers of Christ before I was.

*Holman Christian Standard Version:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners.  They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles, and they were also in Christ before me.

*Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament (Greek-English):  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners; they were well known to the apostles, and they also were in Christ before me.

*Dr. Albert Barnes notes:  The word translated “of note” ἐπίσημοι episēmoi, denotes properly those who are “marked,” designated, or distinguished in any way, used either in a good or bad sense; compare Matthew 27:16.  Here it is used in a good sense.  “Among the apostles” – This does not mean that they “were” apostles, as has been sometimes supposed.

(1) There is no account of their having been appointed as such.  

(2) The expression is not one which would have been used if they “had” been.  It would have been “who were distinguished apostles;” compare Romans 1:1; I Corinthians 1:1; II Corinthians 1:1; Philipp. 1:1.  

(3) It by no means implies that they were apostles.  All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them, as Paul immediately adds, before he was himself converted.  They had been converted “before” he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honored with the friendship of the other apostles.  (Dr. Albert Barnes notes on Romans 16.7)

*Some of the pro “women preachers” group have stated that Dr. Barnes “does not offer any grammatical reasons” for his assertions, which is entirely untrue.  Barnes specifically points out that the normative grammar used if these individuals would have been apostles would have been “who were distinguished apostles.”  Dr. Barnes then points to other passages as evidence of his grammatical assertion (i.e., Romans 1.1, 1 Corinthians 1.1-2, 2 Corinthians 1.1, Philippians 1.1).

*Again, to be fair, the scales seem tipped that the noun Ἰουνίαν is feminine, though this is far from certain and may indeed be masculine.  As Wallace points out, only an accent mark makes the difference which is quite frustrating inasmuch as Paul would not have used an accent mark originally.  However, it is a certainty on an exegetical level that Junia(s) was not the supposed “first (nor later) woman apostle” (as Epp erroneously titles his work).  To assert such simply reveals a prejudiced view – as well as a flawed hermeneutical methodology in the name of personal preference, yet masquerading as grammatical-historical fact (more about this later).

*Some have pointed to several supposed “rebuttals” of Drs. Wallace and Burer’s exegetical paper on this passage entitled “Was Junia Really an Apostle?  A Re-examination of Rom 16.7” (seen Here).  In particular (and not surprisingly), the works of Eldon Epp, Linda Belleville and Suzanne McCarthy have gained much traction from egalitarians.  

*However, renowned linguists Drs. Daniel Wallace, Mike Burer, Douglas Moo, Wayne Grudem and Thomas Schreiner (and many other exegetes) have offered numerous in-depth surrejoinders to these  critique(s).  These responses have well demonstrated that the force of Wallace and Burer’s original exegetical points – as well as those of complimentarians on the whole – remain in-tact.  More importantly, these surrejoinders document the grammatical assumptions and errors found in the critiques of Epp, Belleville and McCarthy.  

*In fact, Dr. Burer told me personally that he has written an in-depth response to Epp, et al. which has been approved for publication in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society’s December issue (see more about Dr. Burer’s surrejoinder Here).  Indeed, I have numerous emails from these professional linguists that speak to these same overall conclusions.  More can be read at the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood site (e.g., see HereHere, Here and Here).  

*Finally, let me state that I have much more data regarding this claim made by “women preacher” advocates, but I assume you get the point by now!  As anyone – allowing the exegetical data to stand on its own merits – can see, there is nothing stated lexically, exegetically, nor intimated in this text indicating that Junia(s) was definitely (i) a woman (ii) and certainly not an “apostle.”  In fact, the polar opposite is concluded by the world’s foremost Greek linguists.

*Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more on this topic!   

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