IVP Readers' Choice Award
Does God call women to serve as equal partners in marriage and as leaders in the church?
The answer to this straightforward question is deeply contested. Into the fray, Lucy Peppiatt offers her work on interpretation of the Bible and Christian practice. With careful exegetical work, Peppiatt considers relevant passages in Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Peter, 1 Timothy, and 1 Corinthians. There she finds a story of God releasing women alongside men into all forms of ministry, leadership, work, and service on the basis of character and gifting, rather than biological sex.
Those who see the overturning of male-dominated hierarchy in the Scriptures, she argues, are truly rediscovering an ancient message—a message distorted by those who assumed that a patriarchal world, which they sometimes saw reflected in the Bible, was the one God had ordained.
"I am so grateful to Lucy for this wonderful packaging of all her best ideas about women in the Bible and church."
"The whole time I read this work, I kept thinking of those who would benefit from these thoughtful, accessible, and clearheaded responses to the primary objections against women fully serving in their gospel calling. Consequently, I am grateful for this resource that is both scripturally robust and theologically powerful. For those just beginning to think of these questions to those who have thought on these things for decades, Lucy's book will encourage and enlighten anyone who wants to engage these concerns."
"Lucy Peppiatt has written an encouraging book that invites women to see themselves in the biblical story, not as props but as protagonists, and along the way she explains many of those confusing texts about wives, head coverings, and prohibitions on teaching. In the end, Peppiatt offers a biblically grounded case for Christian mutuality that unites the sexes in service of a common Lord."
"Those who advocate for full equality between men and women in the home and the church are often accused of 'playing loose with Scripture.' Peppiatt debunks this myth by demonstrating how thoughtful, thorough engagement with the biblical text supports full mutuality. And this is nothing but good news for women! The introduction alone is worth the price of the book."
"As a woman in ministry and a local church pastor, I have studied what the Bible and scholarship has to say about women in ministry. But after reading Lucy's book, I realized I have only understood the tip of the iceberg. Insightful and inspiring, Lucy offers a fresh and full vision for a woman's role within the body of Christ—a vision that is close to the heart of God and revealed in the pages of the Bible."
"Scholarly yet accessible and offering intriguing insights into biblical texts, Lucy Peppiatt's new book engages with Hebrew and Greek, patristic and contemporary theological thought, and epigraphy and ancient documents, giving clear, coherent answers to questions we didn't even know how to ask. Eminently readable and easily lendable, I couldn't put it down."
"Debates about women, marriage, the Bible, and theology are explosive with heat, while often generating too little light. Peppiatt brings to the discussion wide-ranging knowledge, a keen exegetical eye, winsome and witty explanation, and new insights."
"We are encouraged in this volume to attend afresh to Scripture and to the vision Scripture offers of women and men called and gifted to share equally in the life of the church. Lucy Peppiatt shows that the leadership and witness of women is not merely allowed by Scripture but turns out to be an indispensable part of the biblical story of salvation. The wisdom shared with us in this book provides abundant evidence of the rich benefits that flow from listening to women as they guide us in the reading of God’s Word."
"In her highly accessible and well-researched book, Lucy Peppiatt offers a clear hermeneutical vision for a 'mutualist' reading of the Bible. She closely analyzes controversial and debated biblical texts about women and men in leadership and marriage, while keeping in view the whole witness of Scripture and the revelation of God in Christ. One of the book's central tenets is that mutualist views of women are not new: women from the beginning have been part of God's story for humanity. Early church fathers, such as Augustine, also resisted hierarchical interpretations of the Bible that conceived of women as inherently inferior or spiritually subordinate to men. What is new about the book is how Peppiatt presents readers with the hermeneutical, exegetical, and theological considerations needed to challenge damaging theologies of female submission and promote women's God-given capacities for leadership, teaching, and ministry in the church. I strongly recommend this book for any student, seminarian, layperson, teacher, or pastor who desires to engage difficult biblical texts about women not in order to win debates but to envision more mutually empowering and God-glorifying ways both women and men can live into their identities as new creations in Christ."
Foreword by Scot McKnight
1. An Androcentric Story? Men Everywhere!
2. Joining the Story: The Place of Women in God’s Great Plan
3. A Woman’s Natural Place: What the Creation Narratives Tell Us
4. Talking Heads: The Meaning of Headship
5. Balancing Marriage: The Hierarchicalist View
6. Redressing the Balance: The Mutualist View of Marriage
7. Mistranslations, Misinterpretations, and Misunderstandings: The Dominant Narrative of Male Bias
8. A Final Barrier: 1 Timothy 2:8-15