The research of Philip Payne is exceedingly important for all who are concerned about justice for women. Over the years, gifted women and those who support their cause have treasured the work of Dr. Payne—each of his articles, presentations at learned conferences, and accessible Bible studies. Year in and year out, he has been there for us, by his patient handling of Scripture authenticating the legitimacy of women in ministry.
With a painstakingly meticulous approach, he has examined the biblical passages that are so often used oppressively against women. His magnum opus, Men and Women, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters, is at last in print. It has rapidly become the classic manifesto for those committed both to the authority of the Scriptures and the validity of women’s ministry. With excruciating care, he examines each of the Apostle Paul’s passages that have been used to restrict the equality and ministry of women.
This treatment does not make for an easy read, nor is it intended to. Rather, it sets out to review the difficult passages in enormous detail and to answer with care the complexities propounded by those who would employ the texts to disbar feminine participation in church leadership.
This remarkable book delves into all sorts of minute details—seemingly unimportant, but crucial when they appear at crucial points in the text. For instance, his second chapter on 1 Timothy 2:12 (chapter 19: “1 Timothy 2:12 Part II. Does oude Separate Two Prohibitions or Conjoin Them?”) analyzes similar constructions (neither … nor) in thirty-one other usages in Paul’s undisputed letters and four in the disputed epistles. Each case is examined, along with similar constructions in contemporary non-biblical writers such as Polybius and Josephus.
In his scholarship and in his personal stance, Philip Payne has been a real champion, especially for women who come from a conservative church background.