ANDRONICUS (Ἀνδρόνικος, a Greek name)
Saluted by St. Paul in Ro 16:7, his name being coupled with that of Junias or Junia.* (1) The pair are described as ‘my kinsmen’ (τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου), by which may be meant fellow-Jews (Ro 9:5), possibly members of the same tribe, almost certainly not relatives. This last interpretation has given rise to one of the difficulties felt in deciding the destination of these salutations. Another ‘kinsman’ saluted is Herodion (v. 11), and salutations are sent from three ‘kinsmen’ in v. 21. The only relative of St. Paul known to us is a nephew (Ac 23:16).
(2) Andronicus and Junia(s) are also described as ‘my fellow-prisoners’ (συναιχμαλώτους μου, lit. ‘prisoners of war’). The meaning may be that they had actually shared imprisonment with St. Paul (the only imprisonment up to this time known to us was the short confinement at Philippi [Ac 16:23, but see 2 Co 11:23]). Possibly they may not have suffered imprisonment with the Apostle at the same time and place; but, as enduring persecution for Christ’s sake, they were in that sense ‘fellow-prisoners.’ The only other mention of ‘fellow-prisoner’ is in a description of Aristarchus (Col 4:10) and Epaphras (Philem 23). The meaning in these cases is evidently literal, both sharing the Apostle’s captivity at Rome, whether compulsorily or voluntarily.
(3) The pair are further described as ‘of note among the apostles’ (ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις). Two interpretations of this phrase are possible: (a) well-known and honoured by the apostles, (b) notable or distinguished as apostles. The latter, although a remarkable expression (and all the more so if the second name is that of a woman), is probably to be preferred. This makes Andronicus and Junia(s) apostles in the wider sense of delegated missionaries (see Lightfoot, Gal. 5, 1876, p. 92ff. and note on p. 96),
(4) Lastly, Andronicus and Junia(s) are said to have been ‘in Christ before me’ (οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν χριστῷ), i.e. they had become Christians before the conversion of Saul. Seniority of faith was of importance in the Apostolic Church. It brought honour, and it may have also brought responsibility and obligation to serve on behalf of the community (cf. Clement, Ep. 42; and see 1 Co 16:15f.; also art. Epænetus). Note the prominence given to Mnason (q.v.) as an ‘early’ or ‘original’ disciple in Ac 21:16.
The name Andronicus occurs in inscriptions belonging to the Imperial household (see Sanday-Headlam, Romans5, 1902, p. 422).
* It is impossible, as this name occurs in the accus, case, to determine whether it is masculine or feminine. See art. Junias.
lit. literally, literature.
q.v. quod vide, which see.