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Junia, A First Century Female Apostle

Apostle Gloristene Morrow-McNeal
Apostle Gloristene Morrow-McNeal
Apostle Gloristene Morrow-McNeal

The Apostle Paul made reference to Junia, the first female apostle in the bible in Romans 16:7. Female religious figures of our present day, including Apostle Gloristene Morrow-McNeal of Compassionate Ministries Fellowship in Florissant, North County St. Louis, Missouri, Apostle Bishop Corletta Vaughn of Go Tell It Ministries, Detroit, Michigan; Apostle Beverly "BAM" of Englewood, California; shape current history and mirror the historical biblical female apostles.

The Apostle is the highest level of leadership in the local church body. The Apostle is one "who is sent forth." A qualification of the apostle is "one who is seen God." The first order of apostles saw Jesus as they walked and talked with Jesus during his earthly ministry. Those apostles who are o the second order are those who, like the Apostle Paul, saw God through a vision. The second order of apostles were not and disciples of Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry, but were converted to Christianity and became Christians.

In addition, the Apostle demonstrates the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit which are listed in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 12. The Apostle brings order to the body of Christ.

Romans 16:7 reads "Salute Andronicus and Junia, kinsmen and fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me."

According to Romans 16:7, Paul complements and commends Junia. He notes that Junia and Andronicus worked alongside him; that they were imprisoned with him and that they were converted to Christ before him.

The Apostle Paul encourages and supports women in ministry, like Junia, throughout his ministry. He expressed commendation for the ministry efforts women like Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2) and Priscilla, who along with her husband Aquilla, are mentioned six times in the New Testament.

There are two scholarly theological debates regarding the position and person of Junia. The first debatable issue regards the rendering of a masculine name given to the apostle by a dearth of Greek manuscripts. The vast majority of these manuscripts attribute the female gender to the apostle. Secondly, the phrase within the Romans 16 passage can be interpreted differently. "Of note among the apostles" can be understood as "outstanding among" as referenced in the NIV text or "esteemed by" as written in the NIV footnote.

Junia, the only named female apostle in the New Testament, was praised and honored for her work. She received a special honor from the Apostle Paul, as she underwent the experience of imprisonment. Junia was a notable figure, as the Apostle Paul greeted her along with Andronicus as "kinspersons and fellow prisoners" and as those who worked for the Christian community prior to the conversion of the Apostle Paul.