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The epistle to Philemon begins, “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker” (NRSV). Paul and Timothy then also address “Apphia the sister” (Apphia tē adelphē). Throughout the multitude of commentaries on Philemon, one struggles to find a helpful description of this mysterious woman. The standard volumes concerning the evangelical gender debate rarely mention Apphia, and both hierarchical and egalitarian perspectives have done little to explore her identity. Specifically, the lack of detailed research regarding Apphia’s status may be due to the fact that, unlike other women in the NT, she is not given a now-controversial title (cf. “deacon” in Rom 16:1–2 or “apostle” in Rom 16:7). Also potentially at play is the tendency of readers to miss something they are not looking for: because Apphia is not contested ground in the evangelical gender debate, it makes sense that a work exploring her identity has been missing. In contrast, most of the detailed work on Paul’s relationship with Apphia is not by evangelical scholars. Read more
Luke 1:46–55 is both a beautiful hymn sung to glorify God and an interpretive puzzle. This text, widely known as the Magnificat, is one of several songs Luke uses at a crucial moment in the birth narratives in order for characters to explain the amazing ways in which God is moving. Luke includes it in his narrative to foreshadow the ministry of reversal Jesus will bring, first to Israel and eventually to all people. It is a praise hymn made up of a combination of OT allusions—more specifically, allusions to the Greek translation of the OT commonly referred as the Septuagint and abbreviated LXX. What follows is a study of the LXX allusions that combine to make up this praise hymn—allusions which have the cumulative effect of presenting Mary as a key character in the continuation of God’s OT promises and plan. Read more
Tim Krueger
Sometime around AD 112, Pliny, the governor of Bithynia (in present-day Turkey, a little east of Istanbul) wrote a letter to the Roman emperor, Trajan, asking for advice. His concern? What do with Christians. In his words, “I have never before participated in trials of Christians, so I do not know what offenses are to be punished or investigated, or to what extent.” Pliny’s letter reveals how Rome viewed Christians, but it also tells us a lot about the early church. Read more
Becky Castle Miller
Someone had to make Jesus dinner. Or at least that’s what Martha of Bethany thought, “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40). Maybe she didn’t know Jesus could go without food for forty days or that he could feed thousands with a little bread and fish. So she needed to make him dinner, and her sister Mary wasn’t helping. Read more
Bronwen Speedie
When I was a child, a popular Australian women’s magazine had a regular section on “Great Women of History,” telling the stories of women who changed their country or the world, from Catherine the Great of Russia to scientist Marie Curie and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. These mini biographies helped to awaken in me a lifelong interest in the true stories of the lives of women who stepped outside of the roles society defined for them. But the lives of many of the Bible’s women are not always so easy to uncover as those from more recent history. Read more
Margaret Mowczko
There is one New Testament woman whose ministry and identity have been diminished to such an extent that some do not even recognize that she was a real person. She is the woman who was a recipient of the letter we know as 2 John. In this article I take a look at the text of 2 John. I especially look at the words the letter-writer uses to identify the people he mentions Read more
Sarah Rodriguez
I was sitting in an anthropology class at my Christian college listening to the musings of the professor. She had been speaking about globalization, feminism, and Christianity when she suddenly posed the controversial question, should women be allowed to be missionaries? I was shocked by her question, because until that point, I had never doubted the legitimacy of female missionaries. Read more
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil 4:2–3 NRSV) Read more
Forbes and Harrower’s Raised from Obscurity: A Narratival and Theological Study of the Characterization of Women in Luke‐Acts is an insightful and purposeful work that allows their readers to understand the story of women in Luke and Acts as never before. They give life to the women as they seek to express insight based on the women’s experiences and actions, drawing out narratival and theological propositions. Read more
Hardin Freeman helps readers think critically through the cultural and contextual applications of each woman in the Bible, interacting with readers on an individual level through the text. Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter brings each Bible woman’s experience out of the shadows into the light and into our own contemporary life experiences. Hardin Freeman’s resource declares the life stories of female Bible characters relevant and worthy of the same honor as the stories of their male counterparts. Read more

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