Exegetical Brief: Romans 16:1,7 Phoebe, a Deacon? Junia, an Apostle?
Zell, Paul E.
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In this exegetical brief Professor Zell examines Romans 16 and the context of the words “deacon” and “apostle.” He concludes with these words, “Whether Phoebe actually held the office of “deacon” remains uncertain. Including Junia “among the apostles” is a shaky interpretation. On the other hand, placing Junia and her husband “among the emissaries” of the Lord Jesus is unnecessary. Still there is no doubt whatsoever that the apostle Paul had a deep and abiding appreciation for such sisters of his. They devoted themselves to work of the heavenly Father. They furthered his kingdom of grace. They gave themselves fully to the work of the Lord. Similarly the church today recognizes that women no less than men confess the faith boldly and serve their Savior wholeheartedly. They are worthy of honor, respect, and affection, whether they have been called into public ministry or not.”