Junia

My wife and I just gave birth to our third child, Junia. The name Junia comes from Romans 16:7–she was an “outstanding” apostle, as noted by the apostle Paul.

There is nothing else about Junia in the New Testament except for the rest of what Paul says about her in that verse, the full text of which is, “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.”

What we know about Junia from Paul is:

  • She was a fellow Jew;
  • She is mentioned alongside Andronicus, presumed to be her husband and ministry partner;
  • She was in prison with Paul at some point;
  • She and Andronicus were “outstanding among the apostles”;
  • She and Andronicus were “in Christ” before Paul was.

There is a little bit of literature about Junia. She is the source of a short but dense scholarly study by Eldon Jay Epp (the cover is pictured above). Epp explores the difference that comes up in some English translations–i.e., why Junia occasionally (but incorrectly, according to him) appears as a male “Junias.” There is also an investigative journalist’s take on Junia, exploring some of the church’s history as to how and why the apostle Junia has sometimes been understood in the text (incorrectly, she also says) as a male Junias.

Finally, Scot McKnight has just come out with a short Kindle-only monograph called Junia is Not Alone, which explores Junia’s contribution to the church, as well as other “overlooked” women in Scripture and church history. (The publisher’s description unfortunately calls the essay “fierce.” I’ve not yet read it, but all that I’ve read and heard from Scot is anything but fierce. (UPDATE: I review it here.) He is a gentle and caring Biblical scholar, not polemical. Unless they mean “that’s fierce” in a Project Runway sense.) He posts about his e-book here.

UPDATE: Read all my Junia posts here.

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