This is part ten in a series on what the Bible says in regards to the ordination of women in the church. Again, instead of rewriting what I believe has already been well laid out, I am sharing Dr. Jim Feeney’s writings on the subject for your edification. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture.
Argument #10: “But just look at the New Testament. It is absolutely filled with godly, gifted women. How can we hold back these women from fulfilling their calling?”
A Biblical Response: No one that I know, including me, has any desire whatsoever to prevent women from fulfilling all that God has called them to accomplish. But the key is this — let’s encourage women of faith to fulfill all those things to which God has called them. And the main emphasis of this study of Scripture is that God has called only men to the ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and elders. That is, the ministries of leadership, authority, and preaching and teaching ministries to the assembled church of men and women.
•• 1 Timothy 2:11-12, as we have seen, expressly prohibits women from teaching men and having authority over men.
•• The God-called, clearly-identified fivefold ministers under the New Covenant are all men. Some dispute that fact and quote Romans 16:7, KJV, which says, “Salute Andronicus and Junia [NIV: Junias], my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” They assert that Junia/Junias was a woman apostle. However, that is an assumption lacking indisputable evidence, as follows:
• Scholars debate, without resolution, whether the name “Junia” or its other rendering “Junias” can clearly be shown to be a woman or a man. One cannot assume that a name ending with the letter “a” automatically refers to a woman. For example, Aquila and his wife Priscilla are mentioned in Acts 18:2. Although ending in an “a”, the name Aquila with absolute certainty refers to a man, the husband of Priscilla.
• Scholars debate, also without resolution, whether the text is properly understood to mean “who are of note among the apostles” or “who are well known to the apostles”. The former translation could suggest that the two named persons wereapostles. The latter translation would mean that they were well known to, but not counted among, the apostles. This and the previous issue of the gender of the name cannot with any degree of certainty be resolved.
• Fortunately, the resolution of the issue is found elsewhere, in the earlier-mentioned 1 Timothy 2:12. The very same apostle Paul who wrote of Junia(s) in Romans 16:7said to Timothy: Do not allow women to teach or have authority over men. Therefore, it is Paul’s teaching in the Bible that resolves the issue of whether Junia/as was a female apostle. Paul gives instructions that would make that impossible.
• And note further Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:5 — “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles?” The “other apostles” that Paul knew of were obviously all men, each of whom had “a believing wife”. That would make it impossible for Junia/Junias to be a female apostle.