“Fellow-Workers”– Both Male and Female
The early church very rarely used titles. Instead, the New Testament writers use words to describe gifting and function. Rather than referring to him as, “The Apostle Paul,” we see the word “apostle” used to describe what Paul did in his gifting and function-
“Paul, an apostle.”
However, one word or phrase that Paul does use repeatedly is “fellow-worker.”
This phrase literally means “equals who are extremely close in union.” Paul used this type of wording to describe apostolic equals who were the very closest to him and leaders who were most highly trusted by him.
“For we are God’s fellow-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9)
“As God’s fellow-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” ( 2 Cor. 6:1)
“These are the only Jews among my fellow-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.” (Col. 4:11)
“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow-workers.” (Philemon 23-24)
Paul uses this phrase, “fellow-worker,” to describe apostolic workers, both male and female.
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.” (Rom. 16:3-5)
“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellows, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Phil.4:2-3)
Of course, there are genetic differences between male and female. But Paul makes no distinction when it comes gifting and function in the Body of Christ. When it comes to functioning in the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit there truly are “neither male nor female in Christ Jesus.”
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