Andronicus and Junia
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.Romans 16:7
According to the flesh, being perhaps not only of the same nation, Jews, but also of the same tribe, the tribe of Benjamin, and even of the same family, and might be nearly allied in blood. And though the apostle did not value himself upon his carnal descent, yet he had a very great value and affection for his relations after the flesh, even though they were only of the same nation.
In prison with me:
As Paul was in prison often, it is likely that these persons shared this honour with him on some occasion, which is not clear as to which occasion in prison is being referred to. There is no reference in the New Testament to these names and certainly no listing of them having ever been in prison with Paul. There is much speculation but we just don’t know.
Respected or of note among the apostles:
There are those who think [Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, Bengel, Olshausen, Tholuck, Alford, Jowett] this means “noted apostles”. There are others who believe the term means “persons esteemed by the apostles” [Beza, Grotius, De Wette, Meyer, Fritzsche, Stuart, Philippi, Hodge]. They don’t believe the word “apostle” is applied to any outside of the Twelve.
They are thought by some to have been among the seventy disciples, whom Christ himself sent forth to preach: Andronicus particularly is mentioned among them, and said to be Bishop of Pannonia or Spain. The word translated “of note” ἐπίσημοι episēmoi, denotes properly those who are “marked,” designated, or distinguished in any way.
Among the apostles – This does not mean that they “were” apostles because:
- There is no account of their having been appointed as such.
- The expression is not one which would have been used if they “had” been. It would have been “who were distinguished apostles;” compare Rom_1:1; 1Co_1:1; 2Co_1:1; Phi_1:1.
- It by no means implies that they were apostles All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them,
- The design of the office of “apostles” was to bear “witness” to the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and miracles of Christ; compare Matt. 10; Act_1:21, Act_1:26; Act_22:15. As there is no evidence that they had been “witnesses” of these things; or appointed to it, it is improbable that they were set apart to the apostolic office.
- The word “apostles” is used sometimes to designate “messengers” of churches; or those who were “sent” from one church to another on some important business, and if this expression meant that they “were” apostles, it could only be in some specific limited sense.
Followers of Christ before I did
That is, they were converted to Christianity before Paul was; probably at the day of Pentecost, or by the ministry of Christ himself, or by that of the seventy disciples. They had been converted “before” he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honoured with the friendship of the other apostles. The meaning is clear. The expression, “in Christ,” means to be united to him, to be Christians.
The names of Andronicus and Junia and the controversy that results in:
Junia is a feminine form of the name. It is quite apparent she was a woman.
- 1) Some take them for a man and his wife.
- 2) They were Paul’s cousins, akin to him; so was Herodion, Rom_16:11.
- 3) They were his fellow-prisoners. Partnership in suffering sometimes does much towards the union of souls and the knitting of affections. We do not find in the story of the Acts any imprisonment of Paul before the writing of this epistle, but that at Philippi, Act_16:23.
These were their Gentile names, the one Greek, the other Latin; but both were Jews. Grotius thinks that their Jewish names were, the one Masinissa, and the other Naarah; and that the latter was the wife of the former, but they rather seem both to be men; Junia should be read Junias, a contraction of Junilius:
Andronicus and Junia — or, as it might be, “Junias,” a contracted form of “Junianus”; in this case, it is a man’s name. But if, as is more probable, the word be “Junia,” as our Bibles record then the person meant was no doubt a woman. Many suggest she must have been either the wife or the sister of Andronicus. As can be seen above the commentators and the critics will go to any lengths to explain why either the name Junia is really a man or this must be either the wife or sister of Andronicus. Or to highlight the debate as to whether they were apostles or just esteemed by the Apostles. Why is this such a big deal? Why, because the thought of Junia being a true apostle and being a woman is abhorrent to some. A WOMAN APOSTLE. The issue of woman of leadership lies at the very heart of this reaction.
No other apostle is listed in Scripture with his wife. The word apostle is in the plural inferring both Andronicus and Junia were apostles and it is clear that Junia is a feminine form of the noun. My conclusion is Junia was a woman among the apostles. Note also the prominence of Priscilla as a church planter and a woman. I am sure that will spark you all to want to comment. It will spark controversy. Go deal with it people.
Is your heart big enough to include and love someone who disagree with you?Jeffrey Rachmat
When all of earth turns against you, all of heaven turns toward you.Max Lucado
If you’re the smartest in your group, you need a new group!Ian Vail