When it comes to figuring out who killed Junia (as in, “removed her from the record and changed her name to male”) we could pick any of a number of powerful men who added weight to the concept and value of male-only leadership.
When I first began wondering how to harmonize my church’s restrictions on women with some of the passages I found in scripture, I came across a mention of “Junia, a female, who was also an apostle” and it startled me.
I read Scot McKnight’s ebook “Junia is Not Alone” last year and was astonished to learn that most scholars believe that Junia was both a woman and an apostle, although many English translations of the Bible present her as a man. It was infuriating to learn how deliberately her gender had been misrepresented.
“The church has not been kind to women.” That is perhaps the most profound understatement I have ever made about any subject in my life. Jesus liked women. More than that, He loved them. He treated them with dignity and respect. The same could not be said, I thought, for the religious leaders of his day.
Recently, I heard it said in a sermon that the early church was led by “unschooled, ordinary men”. This idea that Jesus chose poor, uneducated fishermen as his disciples is entrenched in evangelistic teaching, and was something I heard often growing up in the church. But is it really true?