Today we will continue examining these examples. Those who advocate for women leadership generally point to a few women in the New Testament who were supposed leaders. We dealt with Phoebe as a deaconess in our last post. Today we turn our attention to Junia(s)
Junia(s) was a female Apostle (Romans 16:7). This is again misleading for several reasons.
- She was not an “apostle of Christ” for she didn’t even meet the basic qualifications (Acts 1:22-26).
- The term ἀπόστολος (apostle, one sent) can be specific (referring to the 12) or general (referring to anyone sent). Notice in Phil 2:25 that Epaphroditus is called a messenger (apostle) of the Philippian church.
- The name Junia/Junias (depends on which translation you read) is debated as to whether this person is a female or a male. Therefore, we should not make doctrine out of ambiguous passages. Let us remember to interpret the unclear passages through the lens of clear passages
- Even if this is a woman the passage doesn’t even call her an apostle it simply says she/he is well known “among the apostles”. If she were OF the Apostles then we would expect a genitive construction or one of the following prepositions ἐκ, κατα with the genitive, παρα with the genitive. Instead we find ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις. This is saying that the Apostles have taken note of her/him because of his/her great work.
Priscilla taught men (Acts 18:26).
- The Bible verse says that “they” took him aside and “they” explained to him the way of God more accurately. An unbiased person(s) would certainly concede that this passage is at best ambiguous as to who did most of the talking.
- It actually would argue against a woman’s ability to teach or have authority over a man in that her husband was there with her. If she was so equipped to refute Apollos and had such authority then why didn’t she go alone?
- We cannot argue from silence, therefore, I say it is best simply to state what the Bible states and to be silent where it is silent. In other words, this passage lends no light as to whether women can have teaching/authoritative roles.
- Paul's statement has to do with women leading/teaching IN THE CHURCH. She was, at best, evangelizing a man who had not obeyed the Gospel.
- At best it shows they, along with their husbands, can instruct a person privately who is in Biblical error
Euodia and Syntche contended at Paul's side in the cause of the Gospel (Phil 4:2-3)
- It is mere speculation and imaginative assertions to say what these women did. How do we know he wasn’t referring to their prayers, sending him love offerings, or helping in some fashion not in regards to teaching? Why are we trying to live in the gray areas?
What we have seen in today's post is that those who push for women leadership in the Church are very good at hermeneutical yoga. They can stretch and bend the Scriptures in ways that this author didn't know was possible. The principle we need to keep in mind is to interpret the unclear passages through the clear passages. Secondly, we cannot argue from silence. That is, we speak where the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent. Judge for yourself whether or not these examples are extremely stretched, especially in light of 1st Timtoyh 2:12.