Women as Apostles?

We have conclusively established that women can serve in the office of prophetess (if called by God). What about other types of ministries? It is enlightening to read Paul’s salutations in Romans 16 where he praises a number of women who served in ministry for the sake of God’s kingdom. One may even have been listed as an apostle. In the three consecutive quotations that follow, I’ve italicized all the female names:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well (Rom. 16:1-2; emphasis added).

What an endorsement! We don’t know exactly what ministry Phoebe fulfilled, but Paul called her ‘a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea” and ‘a helper of many,” including himself. Whatever she was doing for the Lord, it must have been quite significant to warrant Paul’s endorsement of her to the entire church in Rome.

Next we will read about Prisca (Priscilla), who, along with her husband, Aquila, had such a significant ministry that all the Gentile churches appreciated them:

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junias [or Junia, as the KJV translates it, which is feminine] my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me (Rom. 16:3-7; emphasis added).

Regarding Junias, it would seem logical to think that a person who is ‘outstanding among the apostles” could only be an apostle. If the correct translation is Junia, then she was a female apostle. Prisca and Mary were workers for the Lord.

Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them (Rom. 16:8-15; emphasis added).

Clearly, women can be ‘workers” in ministry.