A Case for Female Priests?

“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the apostles and they were in Christ before me.” – Romans 16:7

Were there female apostles? Were all apostoloi also prebyteroi and/or episcopoi? Were there once female episcopoi/presbyteroi in the Church?

Comments 6

  1. Tom Smith wrote:

    You can probably guess the answers I’d tend to give to the questions above.

    Regarding the supposed apostle Junia: as I recall, many argue that Junia isn’t actually female. I seem to recall reading about someone contending that the original-language name was gender-neutral.

    Posted 29 Apr 2006 at 10:52 am
  2. John wrote:

    When you look at the writings of the first hundred years after Jesus’ life you see that many of them put women into prominent roles.
    When the early Church put together the New Testament, they opted against the books that showed women in a positive light.
    The fact that you’ll find no women in apostolic roles is an editting decision, not necessarily a statement of what happened.

    Posted 29 Apr 2006 at 11:22 am
  3. Mark La Roi wrote:

    The most widely recognized difficulty isn’t with gender, but the translation to “among”. Some believe it’s “among”, some say it should be “to”.

    Most believe that Junias is a woman, but that the phrase used doesn’t necessarily mean that she was an apostle.

    An example of the translation difficulty would be like me saying “Ben Roethlisberger is well known among the Pittsburgh Penguins.” 100 years from now someone could read that and think I meant that he was a Penguin, when in reality the better description would be well known TO the Penguins. My first statement though, is grammatically acceptable.

    Even scholars who believe that she was a female Apostle agree that this verse cannot be used as a proof text for the ordination of women due to the ambiguity of “as”, “to” or “among”. (Sometimes “by”)

    Here is a very intereseting work up on the subject I came across some time ago while debating this topic with a former talk show host. I don’t agree with all their views as a whole, but after checking this study against historical evidences and the Greek texts I have available, I think this study was done with some degree of accuracy.
    http://www.godswordtowomen.org/studies/articles/juniapreato.htm

    If I may share my view, I hold that the office of Apostle was reserved for those who walked with Jesus and became the leaders of the church. I believe that it ended with the death of the last Apostle to know Christ. (I include Paul because he was also a leader and shaper of the church at the beginning.) Could I be wrong? Sure! This is where I fall though, based on the designations of leaders available in Scripture.

    That leads me to think that Junia(s) was not an Apostle.

    Certainly a topic for debate in good spirits over tea!

    Posted 29 Apr 2006 at 11:46 am
  4. Milton Stanley wrote:

    You’ll see that women were put into prominent roles in the first hundred years of the church, but not presbyteroi or episcopoi. Women may well have been deaconesses, but not elders or overseers.

    Posted 29 Apr 2006 at 3:05 pm
  5. Tom Smith wrote:

    “When you look at the writings of the first hundred years after Jesus’ life you see that many of them put women into prominent roles.”

    That’s irrelevant. The issue at hand is not whether or not women could hold important positions, but whether they were priests and bishops.

    “When the early Church put together the New Testament, they opted against the books that showed women in a positive light. The fact that you’ll find no women in apostolic roles is an editing decision, not necessarily a statement of what happened.”

    Have any evidence to back this up?

    Posted 30 Apr 2006 at 10:14 am
  6. sibert wrote:

    The vast weight of my opinion and scholarship tends to the interpretation that they were outstanding among (in the opinion of) the Apostles(NASB). Verse 17, a little further on, has something to say in the matter too;)

    Posted 30 Apr 2006 at 10:46 pm

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