Its there that we meet Phoebe. However, this was not the precedent set by the earliest Christian churches. Prisca and Aquila are mentioned, but they are on the receiving end in Rome and are greeted in the letter, together with the church meeting in their house (Rom 16:35). Cenchreae was Corinths port on the eastern coast of the Isthmus of Corinth, giving access via the Saronic Gulf and the Aegean Sea to Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Regarding this first question, Bernadette Brooten led the charge in 1977 and Eldon Epp delivered the coup de grce in 2002; together, they have obliterated the oft-stated assertion that Iounian is a shortened form of the masculine Latin name Iunianus.41 The second question in the Junia debate concerns not the name itself, but a phrase describing the name.

Indeed, some have mounted a defense of the former. Robs personal mission statement is to challenge the people of God to embrace a theology and practice of gender equality. Whether Phoebe actually had the role of "deacon" has been highly debated as you might imagine as it would set a precedent for women in leadership that many wings of the church would dispute. The noun has varied meanings related to sending in more ancient Greek, but, in the New Testament, it predominantly refers to Christians sent out with the message of the gospel and charged to proclaim that message with the authority of the person or persons who sent them. We also know she was from Cenchreae, situated approximately five miles southeast of its larger neighbor, Corinth. This inspection reveals that the debate over whether Phoebe held the office of deacon is too dependent on our modern situation. At first glance, it seems we must be content to know little about Phoebe beyond her name.

At least sixteen ancient authors, from Origen (c. 185254) to Peter Lombard (c. 10951169), understand Romans 16:7 to refer to a woman.48 Consider the well-known commendation by Chrysostom (c. 347407): Greet Andronicus and Junia . This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. Sign up for our newsletter to receive our most up-to-date news, articles, and information. Patrons were benefactors of the arts and of various organizations. The Proverbs 31 woman has long intimidated women and made them question-Who has time to do all that?

Moreover, a well-prepared reader served also as interpreter of the letter, with authority to speak for the author in order to communicate with clarity both the letters content and the authors tone.33 Oral performance was often the task of the letter deliverer, who may have been chosen precisely for this reason. The accumulation of clients could bring significant honor; thus, it is important to note that Paul not only calls Phoebe a patron, but a patron of many.2, Pauls word in Romans 16:2 is prostatis, which has been variously translated as succourer (KJV), leader, legal counsel, benefactor (NAB, NRSV, NIV 2011), good friend (NEB), patron (ESV), overseer,3 and, most frequently, as the generic word helper (ASV, NASB, RSV, NKJV, NLT, cf. Such personal aspects [inflection, tone, gestures, emotional behavior] the reader supplied, and Paul was certainly conscious of the shift in personnel required for the oral delivery of his message. While the precise duration of this trek is impossible to know, six to eight weeks is not an unreasonable speculation.31 Given the great length (approximately eight hundred miles) of such a foot journey, however, a sea voyage seems more likely. As a patron, she enjoyed respectable social standing because of the benevolence and other forms of help she offered to many, including to Paul himself. . The apostle Paul left Athens and moved on to Corinth. Moving beyond the women of Scripture, the second-century Acts of Paul relays the exploits of Thecla, a devoted disciple of Paul who became a teacher of many. When Paul positions apostles at the head of the enumerated list of gifts God has placed in the church (1 Cor 12:28, cf. We find Phoebes story recounted in just two Bible verses: Romans 16:1-2 (NIV): I commendto you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. Indeed, how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle.49, Other New Testament women are also called apostles in the early church, though they are not so named in Scripture. In particular, ask God to inspire you through Phoebes example of leadership and generosity.

Whether or not Phoebe held the office of deacon, it is clear that God was using her to spread the good news. Patrons also recruited individual clients. What does Paul mean by the term apostle? In Romans 16:23, he sends greetings from Gaius (host of a house church), Erastus (the city treasurer), and Quartus (described simply as the brother). What, then, can we say about Phoebe? You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. This family is one of hospitality and generosity, as shown by Paul's command to the Romans to welcome Phoebe "in the Lord in a way worthy of his people". What is confusing is that the word itself can be translated two ways: either as a Christian designated to serve with the overseers of the church, or more generally to a servant. While in Corinth Paul had written a long letter to the Christians in the city of Rome, and he needed someone to carry the letter to them.

She was undeniably a patron to many, showing a Godly character of generosity and that she would have had some money behind her. Finally, we can envision Phoebe being sent off with prayer. The terms describe high-profile women such as Domitia Lucilla, mother of Marcus Aurelius, and her client Cratia; Livia, wife of Augustus Caesar; Agrippina and Domitia, Neros mother and aunt.12 These terms also describe lesser-known women. . Such a claim is imprecise. NJB and NIV 1984). Contributors: Alice Matthews Perhaps she was bold like Paul; perhaps her tact balanced Pauls boldness. Finally, while many details surrounding the suggestion that Phoebe was an apostle are unclear, this much is clear: The original hearers did not rule out the apostleship of Phoebe on the basis of her sex, for Junia herself, who was indeed outstanding among the apostles, lived and worshiped among the Christians of Rome. They were outstanding on the basis of their works and virtuous actions. It referred to one who preaches, teaches, and presides at the Lords Table. Obviously Phoebe, the business woman was more than merely a benefactor. Pauls later use of us in 1 Corinthians 4:9God has exhibited us apostlesprobably encompasses those coworkers mentioned in the letter, namely Timothy (1 Cor 16:10), Apollos (1 Cor 4:6, 16:12), and his coauthor Sosthenes (1 Cor 1:1).

Spring, Gender Ontology and Women in Ministry in the Early Church, Biblical Interpretation and the Epistle to the Ephesians, Sign Up to Get CBEs Academic Journal Online. Thus, the text-critical issue of Romans 16 arises. Paul himself does so in Romans 16:1, calling her a diakonos of the congregation in Cenchreae.. To enjoy our website, you'll need to enable JavaScript in your web browser. . How might you lose your life (Mark 8:34-38) in order to more fully bless the people of God? . On a westward course, beginning in the Gulf of Corinth, with no intervening stops, a ship could travel from Corinth to Rome in less than two weeks. visit awana These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional". A common rejoinder, of course, is that Phoebe was simply a servant, not a deacon.15 Or, as it is frequently phrased, she filled the role of servant, but did not hold the office of deacon. . The seven are chosen in response to a specific, identifiable, temporary need; Phoebe is not. H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, and H. S. Jones, Vassilios Tzaferis, Inscribed To God Jesus Christ: Early Christian Prayer Hall Found in Megiddo Prison,. Perhaps it testified to her character. Because the Roman mail system was typically reserved for government correspondence, Paul and other letter writers were regularly in need of letter carriers. Five documents, preserved in a composite inscription, honor Junia Theodora for her leadership in patronage (prostasia).9 Mentioned more than once is her hospitality, and we should suspect that Phoebe also showed hospitality to Christians passing through her port city. One of the imbedded social and economic realities of the Greco-Roman world was the symbiotic system of patronage. That title is preacher. Based on a work atwww.theologyofwork.org. Read the full issue here. Perhaps knowing her leadership credentials would make the Romans listen more closely as she unrolled the scroll to begin her reading of the letter. A closer look, however, offers insights into her several roles. Fourth, the heart of Phoebes task was to present the letter to the house churches of Rome. Phoebe the deacon is a leader, and Paul wants the Romans to know it. . Foot travelers covered about twenty miles per day. characters bible baptist publications church According to the lexicographer Thayer, the first meaning of that word was a woman set over others. The Greek word was in the feminine form of the masculine word prostates, usually translated leader. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Timothy, therefore, is likely included in the we of Romans 1:5. through whom we received grace and apostleship (Rom 1:5, italics added).53 Who received this apostleship? Phoebe presented Pauls message to the gathered Christians of Rome with rhetorical skill, and she can therefore be called preacher. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics". Each time she made such a presentation, her opening comments included reference to Jesus Christ our Lord . So we meet her in Pauls letter where he describes her to the Christians in Rome: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well. These cookies track visitors across websites and collect information to provide customized ads. He is among Pauls most constant companions, and he alone is called coworker among those sending greetings. This article appears in New Testament, the Spring2011 issue ofPriscilla Papers. Functional cookies help to perform certain functionalities like sharing the content of the website on social media platforms, collect feedbacks, and other third-party features. . This suggestion begins with another woman, Junia. stoned disciple believing