Celebrating the Women of Scripture: Phoebe

For our last blog celebrating the influential but lesser-known women of scripture, we are going to take a look at Phoebe. Like Junia, Paul also acknowledges Phoebe in Romans 16. He writes:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.

As an influential church leader, Phoebe was “the benefactor” of many people, the Apostle Paul included. Why does Paul commend Phoebe to the Romans? It is likely that Phoebe was the one who carried the letter to the Romans and explained its contents to them. Paul reminds the Romans that she is a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. When Paul points out her position of leadership to the Romans, he is asking them to accept her authority, and listen to what she has to say. As the letter carrier, Phoebe would’ve stood before the group, read the contents (many of the hearers would have likely been unable to read), and explain what the text meant to them.

Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans, filled with so much rich theology, was first carried, read, and explained by an influential female leader!

Men, what women leaders do you know that are worthy of your commendation? Are there other women in leadership who need you to commend them to others? Women, how are you leading within your sphere of influence?

Kendall Potter
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