Junia is known as "the only female apostle mentioned in the New Testament." According to Ian Elmer, Junia and Andronicus are the only "apostles" affiliated with Rome who were welcomed by Paul in his epistle to the Romans. He argues that this shows that women can be apostles.
The Bible does not explicitly say that women cannot be apostles or prophets but it does say that they cannot be priests (see 1 Timothy 2:9). It also says that men will never be destroyed for sin, but will be saved through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:15). This implies that men can be saved, but doesn't specifically mention women being saved. However, since priests can't lead people nor can they receive worship themselves, this would not include women who have been saved by Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament, Moses was given authority over all Israel and had many wives. Since priests could not have sexual relations with women outside of their marriage vows, this would not include any other wives or partners that Moses may have had. Although Moses was a prophet and one of God's leaders, he was not given the title of "apostle".
In the New Testament, there are three women named in the Book of Acts: Lydia, Philippi, and Troas. None of these women are called "apostles", though some claim that they were.
Junia's gender and apostolic status have been the subject of debate, despite the fact that she has been regarded as female throughout much of Christian history and by the majority of researchers. Junia's (New Testament person)
|Andronicus, Athanasius of Christianoupolis and Saint Junia|
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches|
As a consequence of preconceptions against the notion of a female apostle being recorded in the Pauline letters, medieval scribes began substituting the name "Junia" in biblical manuscripts with the masculine variant, "Junias." The feminine form of the name was first seen in a 6th-century manuscript of the Greek New Testament and has been preserved in some Latin copies of the Bible. This suggests that some early Christians were aware of the ambiguity of the text and wanted to be sure that it was interpreted as naming a woman. Although this practice of altering the text to make room for adding names to evangelists' lists continued into the 20th century, today we know from external evidence that at least some of the women named in the New Testament were actually alive when Jesus died.
The substitution of the name "Junia" for that of an actual person begins with 2 Timothy/Ti 2:16 and continues through 1 and 2 Corinthians. In all these cases, the original word order in Hebrew or Greek is reversed when writing in a foreign language. Thus, "Junia" is written in place of "Paulos," and "Priscilla" replaces "Sappho."
In addition to these six women named in the New Testament, there are other women mentioned in the Bible who may not have been apostles but who played important roles in the early church.
Mariamne, Irene, Nino, and Thecla were the four female apostles. Relying on shorter recensions of texts regarding women in the early Jesus movements has affected our current understanding of the gendered position of women in those organizations. Some scholars believe that there were even more female apostles than this group, while others argue that they are overestimating the role of women in early Christianity.
The earliest evidence we have for women being involved in the work of the church is from around 50-100 years after Jesus' death. At that point in time, many churches had already eliminated any role for women in leadership, so these women must have been influential leaders within their circles.
They are mentioned by name in three passages in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 11:3-5 states that women should be silent in the church; 1 Timothy 2:12-15 says that women should be obedient to their husbands; and Titus 2:3-5 tells women to teach what will help them to live holy lives in order to bring honor to God's name.
These texts show that although Paul wanted women to be quiet and submissive, he did not want them to be silenced completely. Rather, he wanted them to be able to play some role in the church's life.