Reflection: Junia and Phoebe
For further reading see Romans 16:1-16
29 people are mentioned by Paul in Romans 16, ten are women. In a list today of prominent Christians, this would be a high proportion. But that Paul does it at that time is really striking. One of these women we have already met in this series, Priscilla. I have chosen two to focus on in this last devotion. Phoebe (16:1-2) and Junia (v7). These two have caused debate because of how they have been described. Phoebe is a diakonos. Meaning servant, Paul uses this term for those with a ministry office. Junia has been thought by some to be a man (Junias) but the overwhelming historical evidence is she is a woman. She is ‘outstanding among the apostles’ – I think it likely she is an apostle, but it has also been taken to mean ‘well-known to the apostles’. It is clear though, both women were significant gospel workers, highly valued by Paul.
Question: We can get so caught up in arguments about gender, we fail to fully value how important women are in God’s work. What can you do in your context to change this?
Prayer: God, I thank you for the countless godly, gifted women you call into service, such as (name some you know). May these women be powerful and fruitful in your service. Amen.