Andronicus and Junias

By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Women in the Early Church

  • Andronicus means “Man of victory,” and Junias (being feminine) was probably his wife.
  • Paul calls them his “kinfolk,” which probably means fellow-workers, though some argue for a literal reading of them being related to him.
  • He also refers to them as “fellow prisoners,” meaning they might have shared some prison time together. There is no record of this, but Paul was imprisoned on several occasions.
  • They were “outstanding among the apostles,” but were not part of the original Twelve. (This is where scholars have a hard time thinking Junias was a woman. It would mean that a woman was a bona fide apostle. Though Chrysostom reportedly wrote: “Oh! how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!”1)
  • Paul declares that they were Christians even before he was. That would mean they were among the earliest of believers. Perhaps they were in that first group at Pentecost. (Though this is also speculative.)


1 Morris, Leon. "The Epistle to the Romans." The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans, 1988. p.534.

Best, Ernest. "The Letter of Paul to the Romans." The Cambridge Bible Commentary. Cambridge: At the University Press, 1969.

Black, Matthew. "Romans." The New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans, 1981.

Duling, Dennis and Norman Perrin. The New Testament. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1994.

Edwards, James. "Romans." New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1992.

Gaebelein, Frank. "Romans." Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1985.

Mills, Watson and Richard Wilson. Mercer Commentary on the Bible. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1995.

Smith, Robert. "Matthew." Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1989.

Bible Characters