Bible Articles on the Topic of Female equality

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

The Virtuous Woman

Proverbs 31 describes the character of the ideal wife or mother. So wonderful are the characteristics of this woman, that [Christian] sisters despair of ever being able to attain unto her standard, whilst brethren live in hope that they may find a wife that comes somewhere near the character described.

A Woman and God’s Will

“And God said it is not good for man to be alone, let Us make for him a helper against him.” (Genesis 2:18, literal translation of the Hebrew)

Deborah & Barak: Example for Women or Embarrassment for Men?

Does Deborah provide us with an example about the place and function of women in marriage, in church and in society? There are those who think so. Donna Strom, professor at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Dehra Dun, Northern India, laments that women have, in the main, been involved only in increasing the human population, and done so little (“except for a rare Margaret Thatcher or Indira Gandhi”) to join men in ruling the earth.² So she writes of Deborah: “What Deborah’s example obviously teaches is that women should not be excluded from any levels of decision-making, religious or political.”³ Because Professor Strom sees men hindering women in taking positions of leadership, she writes: “Many have asked, ‘Where are the Deborahs?’ But a more relevant question today is: where are the Baraks, Lapidoths, and 10,000 men who will allow God to use His Deborahs?”⁴

An Open Letter to Egalitarians

Background: In the March, 1998, issue of CBMW NEWS (the precursor to Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood), I published a short article called “An Open Letter to Egalitarians: Six Questions That Have Never Been Answered.” Then in 2001, Linda Belleville replied to these six questions in her chapter in Two Views on Women in Ministry.¹

Are Women Called To Serve As Elders/Overseers?

[Philip Payne, in his egalitarian treatise Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan)] considers women who served in ministry roles during Paul’s day and highlights central theological axioms in the Pauline view of women. He argues that women were deacons (1 Timothy 3:11) and that Phoebe was a deacon and even a leader of Paul (Romans 16:1-2). Priscilla is always named before her husband, and she taught Apollos and hence Priscilla’s example demonstrates that women may teach men (Acts 18:26). Junia (Romans 16:7) is clearly a woman and is identified as an apostle, and since she served as an apostle, no ministry is off-limits for women. Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis are commended for gospel ministry in Romans 16. Euodia and Syntyche were co-workers in the gospel (Philippians 4:2-3). Paul also teaches that both men and women are equally made in God’s image, that they are equally in Christ, and they are to submit to one another mutually (Ephesians 5:21). Since women have received all the gifts of the Spirit, and even have a gift greater than teaching (prophecy), they are free to exercise all the gifts, including leadership gifts. Payne argues that the requirement that elders be one-woman men (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6) does not preclude women from serving as elders since the same logic would exclude single men or married men without children from serving as elders. Payne thinks it is significant that there are no masculine pronouns in 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:6-9.

Philip Payne and Kephalē: “Source,” or “Authority Over”?

[Philip Payne, in his egalitarian treatise Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan)] devotes nine chapters to 1 Corinthians 11:2–16, and hence his exposition is crucial for the argument of his book [which posits that women should be permitted to hold positions of leadership over men within the settings of public worship and Bible teaching]. Payne argues that the word kephalē means “source” in v. 2, giving fifteen reasons to support such a translation. For instance, the LXX only uses the word “head” as leader six out of 171 times. So, he concludes that Paul’s readers would not have considered the meaning “authority over” since this was not a standard meaning in Greek literature. By way of contrast, he argues that “source” was a common meaning for the term “head,” arguing his case from a number of examples. Payne thinks that elsewhere in Paul’s letters the word typically means “source.” In 1 Corinthians 11:3 “authority over” does not fit since unbelievers do not acknowledge Christ’s authority, whereas “source” works since Paul thinks of the creation of Adam.... Payne also maintains that this text does not refer to husbands and wives but men and women since there is no clear evidence that husbands and wives are in view.

Philip Payne: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35—A Later Interpolation?

[Philip Payne, in his egalitarian treatise Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan)] surveys various interpretations and argues that 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 is a later interpolation and therefore not part of inspired scripture. Payne insists the verses must be interpolated, for the disruption in the context is too severe for the verses to be original. Furthermore, only the interpolation theory explains why the verses were added after 14:40 in the Western text. Payne says, “It is not just that the interpolation is plausible; it is the only adequate explanation of the position of 14:34–35 in the entire Western text-type tradition” (228). No scribe, asserts Payne, would have moved vv. 34–35 after v. 40 if the verses were originally after v. 33. He also claims that we do not see such a large block of text moved to another location elsewhere.

Philip Payne: 1 Timothy Is Not A Manual of Church Order

[Philip] Payne’s work on 1 Timothy 2 [see his Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan)] is not dramatically different from what is argued by many other egalitarian commentators, but it is the second longest part of his book. He devotes eight chapters to expositing 1 Timothy 2:8–15. Payne maintains that the letter is authentic and that the key to understanding the text is to recognize that false teachers were threatening the congregation, and hence 1 Timothy should not be understood as a manual of church order. Women are prohibited from speaking because they were uneducated and purveyors of the false teaching (1 Timothy 2:14). The terms used to discuss the false teachers, according to Payne, encompass men and women. The reference to myths characteristic of old women also indicates that they were spreading heresy (1 Timothy 4:7). Payne contends that 1 Timothy 5:13 demonstrates that women were propagating the heresy. They were speaking out things that are not fitting, and the word phlyaroi in the verse designates an aberrant philosophy or teaching. The women were not merely busybodies; they were spreading the unhealthy teaching which was the object of Paul’s concern.

Philip Payne: Wifely Submission Is Culturally Limited

[Philip Payne, in his egalitarian treatise Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan)] argues that the call for wives to submit to their husbands is culturally limited, for [as Payne claims] Paul doesn’t draw on creation in Ephesians 5:22–33 or Colossians 3:18–19. The Pauline resistance to hierarchy [according to Payne] is evident in his call for Philemon to free Onesimus and for slaves to avail themselves of freedom if possible (1 Corinthians 7:21). The Pauline paradigm for marriage is mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21) and mutual love. The reciprocal pronoun “one another” in Ephesians 5:21 cannot mean that only some submit to others. The pronoun is comprehensive, so that all believers (male and female/slave and free) are called upon to submit to one another. [Payne argues that the] word “head” in Ephesians 5:23 means “source” since it is in apposition to the word “Savior.” Husbands, as the source of their wives, nourish and support their wives.

Women Teaching Men — How Far Is Too Far?

Where is the line when it comes to women teaching men? May women preach on Sunday mornings? Teach a Sunday school class? Lead a small group? Instruct a seminary course? Speak at a conference? At a couples retreat? Or on the radio?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (or RBMW) is a collection of articles on gender roles, written from an evangelical perspective, and edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Crossway Books published the book in 1991 for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). (CBMW, an international interdenominational evangelical Christian organisation, has a board and staff committed to a view of gender roles they dub complementarian. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood won Christianity Today's Book of the Year award in 1992.