The Cult of Women, Part II of II

Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

//Did yesterday’s post leave you thinking that women were as common as men among the leaders of the early Jesus movement? It’s hard to say. Yet it’s clear that women did serve in much the same roles as men.

I find the references to Jesus sending out evangelists “two by two” very interesting, because it is likely that many of these were male/female pairs. In today’s verse, Paul is speaking about the standards of the apostles, and mentions how their wives would accompany them on their travels. Cephas, by the way, is the apostle Peter.

But were the women ministering, too? Yes, they were. Paul names five of these male-female teaching teams: Prisca and Aquila, Andronicus and Junia, Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Peter with his wife. See Romans 16:3-15 for this discussion, where Paul indicates that all were “apostles.”

Bishop Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215) explains that they traveled as male-female pairs so that the women could speak to women, while the men spoke to other men.

One scholar counted 32 times that the book of Acts uses the terms “brothers and sisters,” where the phrase is used interchangeably with the word “disciples.”

The Cult of Women? Probably not, regardless of early Christianity’s reputation. Merely a cult of equality.

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