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Romans 16:7 presents two interpretive issues. Was the person named Iounian a man or a woman and was Iounian counted as “highly regarded among the apostles” or only “highly regarded by the apostles”?

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Was the Junia mentioned in Romans 16:7 a man or a woman? The Greek word Iounian has been translated either as “Junias” (male) or as “Junia” (female). And what is the meaning of “outstanding among the apostles”? 

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It still irks me that my devotional is in a study Bible whose translation minimizes women. And not just the women in the Bible. It diminishes the importance of my work, because even as readers learn from Hannah, they don’t get a full picture of the ways God has used women over time. And it reinforces cultural beliefs that men should lead while women follow—beliefs that the Bible itself challenges!

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If we want to see women free, we have to challenge the message that passivity is godly. We have to encourage women to boldly exercise their God-given authority. We must image Bible women who took direct action to further God’s vision for the world.

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One famous woman who requires explanation from those who do not believe women should occupy the highest levels of leadership is Junia, “outstanding among the apostles.” 

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Complementarians often shift their footings when it comes to Junia (Rom. 16:7). They want to find some argument on which they can stand to diminish the significance of the woman.

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