Re: Junia EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS (and Andronicus too)

From: Troy de Jongh (
Date: Fri Jun 27 1997 - 09:21:04 EDT

Theresa J List, Dcs writes:
> On Thu, 26 Jun 1997 23:41:16 -0400 Jonathan Robie
> <> writes:
> >In Acts 21:9, Paul visits Philip the evangelist, who had four virgin
> >daughters who were prophetesses. (This kind of sentence always strikes
> >me as
> >a little strange: "Well, its good to see you, Paul! I'd like you to
> >meet my
> >four virgin daughters, who are prophetesses...") This sounds a lot
> >like an
> >position of some kind. Yet Paul seems to indicate that women shouldn't
> >even
> >speak in church in 1 Tim 2:12 ff and 1 Cor 14:34 ff. Could there
> >really be a
> >prophetess who couldn't speak in church? What exactly would such a
> >prophetess do?
> >
> >Jonathan
> >
> >P.S. the last time I confronted these questions was the time that a
> >woman
> >asked me if I would sit under a woman. I replied that it depended a
> >great
> >deal on how much the woman weighed...
> I suppose that would also depend upon your marital state! :)
> Anyhow, there were most certainly women prophetesses, like Anna, for
> example who SPOKE (LALEIN! Look it up!) in the temple! So, women are
> not to speak (LALEIN, 1 Co 14:34) in the assembly, but, of course, Anna
> did this with God's sanction. Or, 1 Cor. 11:5, a mere few hundred words
> before the injunction against speaking in 1 co 14, where women are to
> prophesy with their heads covered. I refuse to believe that either God
> or Paul are schizofrenic, erego I know there is some way to understand
> these as not contradictory. That way would be to understnad the
> differences in office between prophet(ess), deacon(ess), overseer, etc.
> I can also confidently assert that I have no clue yet what the office of
> prophet(ess) entails, short of some fashion of "forthtelling God's Word."
> Theresa List

I agree that these passages don't have to be read as contradictory,
Theresa. In fact, I think it helps to remember who Paul was talking
to and in what context he was speaking (as well as his overall purpose
of writing the letter). Certainly there are many places in scripture
where women are labeled as prophetesses or a woman holds authority
(Deborah in Judges); but then Paul comes along and tells a particular
congregation that women should be silent. We know that Paul's major
goal and love was to share the gospel. Now for someone who is extremely
focused on sharing the gospel, there are many things that can still get
in the way of prospective believers making that final committment to Christ.
For example, a prospective believer may come to church and feel a lack
of welcoming or may hear the pastor make some sort of gratuitous political
statement during the sermon. This would probably affect how the believer
listens to the gospel message that day in general.

My whole point is this: Paul wanted to minimize possibly negative external
stimuli so the prospective believer would have a minimum amount of
extra "noise" to deal with. He wanted them to hear the "bare" gospel.
He uses this same theory with new believers as well. For example,
in Romans 14:19-20 he says:

  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to
  mutual edification.

  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is
  clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone
  else to stumble.

Likewise, it's possible that Paul felt that if a Corinthian woman comes
into a worship service without a hat or if a woman speaks during a worship
service, someone might have felt "culturally" uncomfortable, and it may
have hindered that prospective believer from hearing the gospel
without bias. I am NOT suggesting, however, that all of Paul's
instructions to different congregations are based on the culture of that
day. I am merely saying that it's important to understand Paul's whole
goal in sending his letter, as well as the culture of his day.

[Now back towards a B-Greek-type discussion]

I have only skimmed through parts of the book, but there is a book
available that contains many essays on the Greek of 1 Tim. 2:9-15.
It's called: "Women In The Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15"
by Kostenberger, et al. editors (Baker Books, 1996, I believe). This book
is advertised by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, so it's
definitely from a complementarian point of view. [FWIW, I'm not biased
toward the complementarian nor egalitarian views. I've got my nose
in Scripture and am still struggling with this issue, and reading literature
from both sides of the issue].

It'd be interesting to see how the BIG Greeks on this list feel about some
of the arguments presented in that book regarding the Greek from 1 Tim. 2.
Certainly at this point in time I'm way too much of a Little Little Greek to
make a good judgement on the arguments they make regarding the Greek aside
from evaluating the logic they use. Have any of you Big(ger) Greeks taken
a peek at that book?

Troy de Jongh 

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