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Weren't these women leaders?

Submitted: 4/23/2005
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Question: Do you believe that apostles were leaders (pastors and elders) in the early church? What do you think of Romans 16:7 that says, 'Salute Adronicas and Junia my kinsmen and fellow prisoners who are note among the Apostles and were in Christ before me.' Junia is definately a female name according to the Thayer Lexicon. Also can you tell me what Phoebe's role was in the early church?

Answer: In answer to your first question: no, we do not believe that apostles were pastors or elders. They served a different function.

Concerning Romans 16:7, there is disagreement among reputable scholars as to whether the name Junia is male or female. In addition, the verse does not clearly state that these two kinsmen of Paul were apostles. It simply says that they were 'of note among the apostles.' This may mean no more than that the apostles were impressed with them or that they were well-known by the apostles.

Phoebe is described in Romans 16:1 as a 'servant of the church in Cenchrea.' Her service included being a 'helper of many and of myself also' (v.2). This is all we know of this fine Christian women.