Women Apostles

"Giving honor unto the woman, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3.7). See Women Elders.

Introduction

Women can be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors, teachers), elders (bishops), and deacons. Today, people call apostles missionaries, which is Apostolos in Latin, but they are really apostles. There was a Julie in the Bible that was an Apostle. If a woman can be an Apostle, she can be an Elder of a locality and meeting place. Women Apostles and Elders is on the rise as women's rights have increased in the last century. Men could travel long distances more than women could during the Apostolic age to go and set up the churches. Today this is not an issue with planes, trains, automobiles and the internet. Women have less children today and can vote just this past century. The evil spirit will try to find a way to make a mockery of the Church by subjugating woman.

 

Are Apostles for Today?

"He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve" (1 Cor. 15.5); "after that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles" (v.7) which shows there were Apostles in addition to the Twelve. Thus, there are Apostles for today who work for a region of churches in the Ministry (Eph. 4.11) of setting up the churches and appointing Elders of a locality. Paul and his associates were Apostles: "Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ" (1 Thess. 2.6). These apostles (the "we") could possibly be referring to Silvanus and Timothy as well (1 Thess. 1.1). "When the apostles, Barnabas and Paul" (Acts 14.14). "Other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother" (Gal. 1.19) who was not of the Twelve yet was an Apostle. Anyone who denies the Apostles are for today, whether called missionaries or not, we ought to rebuke them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Have nothing to do with them anymore since they disable the Work for the Church. They call themselves Christians yet don't even accept the premier Workers for the Church who were directly commissioned by God to set up the churches throughout the generations. Andronicus and Junias (Rom. 16.7) are "among the apostles." Epaphroditus in Phil. 2.25 is called an "apostle" ( 'apostolos') but the ESV, ASV, NIV, KJV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB and others translate as "messenger." Young's, HNV, Douay-Rheims Bible, World English and others translated correctly. That's a total of twenty Apostles, and there are more. I myself am one. You would do well to accept that for think what judgment will come upon you if deny God's highest workers. Praise God!

 

Junia

Romans 16.7 speaks of two notable apostles, Andronicus and Junia, and good authorities agree that "Junia" is a woman's name. So here we have a sister as an apostle and a notable apostle at that. "Salute Andronicus and Junias [some manuscripts say "Julia"], my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also have been in Christ before me" (16.7). These Apostles were probably doing the Work of the Ministry (Eph. 4.11) even before Paul started. Male-centered systems will try to teach these Apostles are not apostles, rejecting God's commissioning and authority, because they prefer an egotistical system which is abusive towards women. Of course, they believe they are doing the right thing. God's word would never be so unclear as to confuse "of note among the apostles," to be taken to mean they are merely respected by the apostles. No! They are "among the apostles" because they are Apostles. Who is the author of confusion?

This same word for Junia is given in the NLT. The footnote reads, "some manuscripts read Julia." "Salute Philologus, and Julia" (v.15) "who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me" (v.7). We do not know if they were Apostles before Paul became one, but we know they were born-again before Paul was. Julia means "soft haired" and "youthful". The KJV Concordance refers to Junias ("Iounias" in Greek) as a "Christian woman" and a "Christian woman at Rome, mentioned by Paul as one of his kinsfolk and fellow prisoners." Thayer's Lexicon refers to Junia as "a women's name...and the name occurs again in Rom. 16.15"; "Salute Philologus, and Julia" (v.15).

N.T. Wright said, "Some have made Junias a man, but there is no evidence for a male named Junias, whereas Junia is a well known female name. Paul says they are well known among the Apostles, and some people have tried to say they are well known to the Apostles, but it has been shown quite recently that it cannot mean that. Junia is a woman and she is an Apostle. Women are in leadership positions."

Women that Prophecy

N.T. Wright also said, "In 1 Corinthians 14 which says women should keep silent in the churches, that cannot mean that women cannot participate in leading worship because in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul insists that when women are praying or prophesying in public they should look like women. Paul does not believe in a unisex ministry. That's what the stuff about the wearing of the veil is ultimately all about, that they should appear as who they are and not as counterfeit men.

"In John 20 where the first person to be commissioned to take the news of the resurrection of Jesus to others is Mary Magdalene. That is so counter-intuitive in the ancient world, ancient Jewish world and the ancient pagan world. Here is the first person to tell someone else that Jesus is alive. You can already see 150 years later Celcius and others saying, well there you are, this whole thing is discredited. Crazy women, getting silly ideas, paranoid and all the rest of it! This is God choosing the weak to shame the strong. In the resurrection there is a radical revaluation of the role of women. Apostolic ministry grows out the testimony Jesus is alive."

"But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven" (1 Cor. 11.5). 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Tim. 2 is simply saying that women should look like women as well as cover their heads with humility. The same is true for men. Paul is noticing commotion going on with women in the isles and distracting church affairs. One place the women are prophesying (1 Cor. 15). In another they are to be quite. Satan has been relentless in his efforts to deny women the right to be any and all types of workers for the Church.

 

 

Differences in the Fall of Adam and Eve

Women need to realize, though humbly, they are fallen in a different way than man. Eve ate of the fruit with a darkened mind (that is, doubting God), while man ate of the fruit with the affection of Eve and thus, knowingly sinned. Both sinned, but in comparing the fall of men and women, Paul says, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor" (1 Tim. 2.12-14). This is a call to be humble in light of what has occurred in the fall. This does not disallow women from teaching, but is an expression of how careful women need to be when they teach and do the Work of the Ministry.

 

Paul is not excusing Adam for his part in the Fall (Gen. 3.6,7,17-19). On the contrary, in his letter to the Romans Paul places the primary blame for humanity's sinful nature on Adam (Rom. 5.12-21). "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (1 Tim. 2.15). Obviously, women are hampered to some extent bearing children.

 

There are several ways to understand the phrase, being "saved through childbearing": (1) Man sinned and so men were condemned to painful labor. Women sinned and so women were condemned to pain in childbearing. Both men and women, however, can be saved through trusting Jesus Christ and obeying Him. (2) Women who fulfill their God-given roles are demonstrating true commitment and obedience to Christ. One of the most important roles for a wife and mother is to care for her family. (3) The childbearing mentioned here refers to the birth of Jesus Christ. Women (and men) are saved spiritually because of the most important birth, that of Christ himself. (4) From the lessons learned through the trials of childbearing, women can develop qualities that teach them about love, trust, submission, and service.

 

Workers

"The Lord giveth the word: The women that publish the tidings are a great host" (Psalm 68.11). "Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple" (Luke 2.36). "Our sister Phoebe, a deacon in the church in Cenchrea, will be coming to see you soon. Receive her in the Lord, as one who is worthy of high honor. Help her in every way you can, for she has helped many in their needs, including me. Greet Priscilla and Aquila. They have been co-workers in my ministry for Christ Jesus" (Rom. 16.1-3). To help another includes any capacity, including teaching. How strange it would be that Philip was a deacon, who then became an Evangelist, and yet women could not be in the 4 fold Ministry, even though they were deacons. Is it fair to say not even one woman on the planet is allowed to be an Apostle?

 

Equality in Head Covering

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2.28). This verse speaks both of women and men, and then speaks of men. The Bible uses this technique in speaking like when God revealed, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1.27) to show there is no difference. The reason the Bible speaks in the male pronoun is because it would be redundant to keep saying "man and woman" or "all men and women" everywhere all the time. The head covering of the sisters should speak to the brothers as well: yet frequently it does not. Christ declared: “I spake not from myself” (John 12.49). The Greek word ek used here means “out from.” The Son cannot speak anything out from himself. In other words, Christ himself has His head covered before God. In turn the Church today has her head covered before Christ. And this reality of head covering is expressed through the head covering of the sisters. Whenever we are in coordination of the body, we each must lay down our head. It is not fitting for us to plan and to decide. Christ the sole Head is the one fit for such work. Yet how people today want to be the head. Let us therefore learn to resist our own ideas and opinions.

 

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (1 Tim. 2.11-15).

 

Unlearned

To understand these verses, we must understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked. In first-century Jewish culture, women were not allowed to study. When Paul said that women should "learn quietly and submissively," he was offering them an amazing new opportunity. Paul did not want the Ephesian women to teach because they didn't have enough knowledge or experience. The Ephesian church had a particular problem with false teachers. Evidently the women were especially susceptible to the false teachings (2 Timothy 3.1-9) because they did not yet have enough Biblical knowledge to discern the truth.

 

"But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power therefore. From these also turn away. For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And even as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth. Men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further. For their folly shall be evident unto all men, as theirs also came to be" (2 Tim. 3.1-9).

 

In addition, some of the women were apparently flaunting their newfound Christian freedom by wearing inappropriate clothing: "also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire" (1 Tim. 2.9). Paul was telling Timothy not to put anyone (in this case, women) into a position of leadership who was not yet mature in the faith: "Never be in a hurry about appointing an elder. Do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure" (1 Tim. 5.22). The same principle applies to churches today: "An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall" (1 Tim. 3.6).

 

Teaching

Some interpret "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim. 2.12) to mean that women should never teach in the assembled church; however, commentators point out that Paul did not forbid women from ever teaching. Paul's commended co-worker, Priscilla, taught Apollos, the great preacher: "Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John: and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18.24-26).

 

Ephesian Women

Paul frequently mentioned other women who held positions of responsibility in the church. Phoebe worked in the church: "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea" (Rom 16.1). Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis were the Lord's workers: "Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us...Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord" (Rom. 16.6,12). So were Euodia and Syntyche: "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord" (Phil. 4.2). Paul was very likely prohibiting the Ephesian women, not all women, from teaching.

 

Were Ephesian women targets for false teachers? See 1 Tim. 2.9-15 and 2 Tim. 3.6-7. This is given to Timothy in Ephesus. I don't think it is a stretch that Paul had to address this matter to them because it was pertinent, so Paul brought it up.

 

In Paul's reference to women listening and learning quietly and submissively, he is speaking about an attitude of quietness and composure (not total silence). In addition, Paul himself acknowledges that women publicly prayed and prophesied (1 Cor.11.5): "But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved." Apparently, however, the women in the Ephesian church were abusing their newly acquired Christian freedom. Because these women were new converts, they did not have the necessary experience, knowledge, or Christian maturity to teach those who already had extensive Scriptural education.

 

In 1 Tim. 2, Paul talks about the male and female roles in the church. Some scholars see these verses about Adam and Eve as illustrating of what was happening to the Ephesian church. Just as Eve had been deceived in the Garden of Eden, so the women in the church were being deceived by false teachers. And just as Adam was the first human created by God, so the men in the church of Ephesus should the first to speak and teach because they had more training. This view, then, stresses that Paul's teaching here is not universal but applies to the churches with similar problems.

 

Marriage

In previous letters Paul discussed male and female roles in marriage (Eph. 5.21-33; Col. 3.18,19):

 

"Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. Wives, [be in subjection] unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, [being] himself the saviour of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so [let] the wives also [be] to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious [church], not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of his body. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and [let] the wife [see] that she fear her husband...Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them."

 

Corinthians

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Cor. 14.34,35).

 

Does this mean that women should speak in church service today? It is clear from 1 Cor. 11, that women prayed and prophesied in public worship: "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven" (v.5). Make note that it does not say what the woman should cover her head with. Humility is a very appropriate head covering! It is also clear in chapters 12-14 that women are given spiritual gifts and are encouraged to exercise them in the body of Christ.

 

In the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to confront men in public, but today obviously, things have changed. Apparently some of the women who had become Christians thought that there Christian freedom gave them the right to question men in public worship. This was causing division in the church. In addition, women of that day did not receive formal religious education as did the men. Women may have been raising questions in the worship services that could have been answered at home without disrupting the services. Paul was asking the women not to flaunt their Christian freedom during worship. The purpose of Paul's words in 1 Cor. 14.34,35 was to promote unity, not to teach about women's roles in the church.

 

Troy