Defending the Faith: Exploring what Paul meant by 'apostle'

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2 2013 4:40 p.m. MDT

On this last point, a helpful discussion is “Was Junia Really an Apostle? A Re-examination of Rom 16.7” published in 2001 by Michael Burer and Daniel Wallace in the Cambridge University Press journal “New Testament Studies.” Carefully analyzing the Greek of the passage, this article concludes that it “is more naturally taken with an exclusive force rather than an inclusive one.”

In other words, Paul’s words should be understood as saying that Junia was “well known to the apostles rather than outstanding among them.”

Thus, Romans 16:7 seems to provide little if any solid support for the ordination of women.

If women are ever to be ordained to priesthood office—something that, I wish it clearly understood, I am not advocating here — the direction to do so will, Latter-day Saints believe, need to come from the Lord through revelation to the duly constituted leaders of his church. There seems, at best, no clear scriptural precedent for it.

Daniel Peterson teaches Arabic studies, founded BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, directs, chairs, blogs daily at, and speaks only for himself.

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