We Lutherans all want to argue on the basis of God's revealed truth in the authoritative Scripture. Yet all of us come to this debate with our own personal history and agenda. My own history includes aversion to women in the public ministry as a result of experiences, first as a teenager, then as a student in Germany. More recently, I have developed a growing understanding of the just claims of Christian women who have been disempowered and marginalized in the church and a horror for what has been perpetrated in the name of male headship. A re-examination of the texts and another (this time happy) experience of having a woman as my pastor in the United States about a decade ago led me to abandon my previously held view that the ordination of women is not the Lord's will for his church today. I am now convinced to the contrary, although I do not like using the broad term feminist. My own personal pain is not only that close friends and relatives hold an opposing view, but that I fully understand that view as one who once held it (this is not said in any spirit of superiority).
This article originated as a paper that I presented at the Pacific Coast Region/Society of Biblical Literature meeting, New Testament Epistles and Apocalypse Section, at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California, in March 2002. I wish to focus here on the distinctive theology of Hebrews and how it relates to gender equality.
My field of research is Adolf von Harnack’s hypothesis that Priscilla is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.1 I argue for the theory. There are two main objections to the Priscilla theory that I want to state and refute in order to assure its plausibility.
In 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, Paul is concerned that both men and women should exercise their leadership gifts—with appropriate authority—while presenting themselves in a manner that celebrates the uniqueness of their respective genders.
Although we may idealize the early church, most of us would not have enjoyed a visit to a worship service at Corinth. The impression which one was most likely to receive was that of chaos and delirious insanity:
So if the whole congregation is assembled and all are using the "strange tongues" of ecstasy, and some uninstructed persons or unbelievers should enter, will they not think you are mad? (I Cor. 14:23, NEB).
The two-dot-plus-bar ‘distigme-obelos’ symbols in Vaticanus signal added text. Five characteristic features distinguish their obeloi from paragraphoi. Like scribe B's LXX obeloi, all eight distigme-obelos symbols mark the location of added text. A gap at the exact location of a widely recognised, multi-word addition follows every distigme-obelos except one with distinctive downward dipping strokes. The Vaticanus Gospels are so early that they have virtually no high stops, a feature older than even 75. Consequently, they contain none of these additions, but the Vaticanus epistles have high stops throughout and contain their one distigme-obelos-marked addition, 1 Cor 14.34–5. Contemporaneous LXX G has corresponding distigmai.
A summary of six groundbreaking discoveries from Dr. Philip B. Payne's New Testament Studies 63 (October, 2017) article about the oldest Bible in Greek, Codex Vaticanus, and their implications for the reliability of the transmission of the Greek New Testament and for the equal standing of man and woman
In every corner of the world, religious teachings on gender and power have an enormous impact on human lives, especially those of girls and women. For this reason, Christians have a responsibility to accurately critique biblical teachings on gender.
First Corinthians 14 contains the only passage in the Bible that at face value silences women or restricts their ministry in the churches. It is important for all who believe Scripture to understand the truth about this passage.