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Jewels come in unexpected settings. Take Corinth in ancient Greece: more rock than mineral. Rocks piled into rude temples to designer gods. Rocks hewn out with curved grooves where heads were laid so necks could be severed. Rocks scattered down, a Roman highway to bring in refugees from across the world. Rocks propped up for businesses—and in one of these three diamonds glowed. These were not the jewels of vain display, but industrial diamonds, hard tools for work­­—three gems brought in from two other settings, shining with the pastel hue of otherworldly mystic Judaism and bright with the golden brocade of this-worldly Imperial Rome. Read more
A woman must quietly receive instruction with all submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was first deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Tim 2:11–14 NASB)  Among theological conservatives, the 1 Timothy 2 passage is pivotal in determining the role of women in the church. For today’s “traditionalists,” this passage mandates the subordination of women to men in the church because the headship/submission principle is grounded in the created order, an order that Christianity redeems, but does not alter. Today’s traditionalists/male hierarchists also claim to be upholding the historic interpretation of this passage. New research on early Protestant beliefs concerning natural law and the spiritual and civil kingdoms, however, brings their claim into serious question.  Read more
Even if the New Testament identified by name many men and no women as local church officers—in particular, elders, overseers, or pastors—this would not logically exclude women from local church leadership. After all, the New Testament does not name any Gentile men with those titles either. Does this exclude them from those leadership positions? Read more
“Skip a meal, if you must, but buy this book!” That was the professorial exhortation eager students would take to heart when I was in seminary. In those days before personal computers and the various BibleWorks-type programs, the most precious of such must-buy books were the reference books. Read more
The tears of those who love us gently water the cheeks of the earth. Another beautiful bloom turns into a wrinkled seed, they lament. Ah, a premature death, A premature life, Why must it be so? Read more
Within evangelical circles, much discussion is centered on the role of God as Father. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God is depicted frequently with this paternal metaphor.1 Yet, one should not overlook that God is also depicted with maternal metaphors. Within the Old Testament (OT), these metaphors of God as mother or God as one giving birth are often juxtaposed with traditionally male metaphors such as God as father and God as husband.2 Within the New Testament (NT), childbearing and mothering metaphors serve an important role in redescribing the spiritual rebirth (Gal 4:29; John 3:3–8), describing the experience of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the disciples (Matt 24:8; Mark 13:8; John 16:21); describing Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:3, 23; 1 John 2:20; James 1:18), and Paul describing his relationship to the Thessalonian church (1 Thess 2:7). Read more
A closer discernment of biblical influence on spousal relationships can help humanity model pervasively the image of God. In his divine image, God created “man” both male and female (Gen 1:27). A new fleshing out of the bare bones of marital oneness can foster health within Christian marriages by exploring biblical matrimonial ideals. Based on the example of the Trinity, the egalitarian stance of reciprocal mutual submission displayed through marital oneness more fully reflects the imago Dei. Read more
JUNIA – Apostle Junia, the female companion of Andronicus, has the unique distinction (for one of her sex) of being referred to by St. Paul as an apostle (Romans 16:7). Although she was one of Paul’s relatives, coming to faith ahead of her more famous kinsman, we know but little about her ministry. We do know that, whatever the nature of her activities, they were enough to land her in a Roman prison. Some church historians (from the fourteenth century onwards) have had the gall to think that she must really have been a man. John Chrysostom, however, spoke in glowing terms about her, knowing her to have been a woman. Considering some of the things that he had to say about women, that seems a fairly convincing proof of her gender. Read more
In the first installment of this series, we noted and illustrated the importance of the presence or absence of the article (the) in Greek grammar. Presence of the article usually indicates identity and absence of the article generally stresses quality or character. We showed how this grammatical difference (not usually present in English) affects our interpretation of verses 1 through 7 in I Timothy 2. Read more
In his book, Evangelicals at an Impasse: Biblical Authority in Practice (John Knox Press, 1979), Robert K. Johnston, dean of North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, puts his finger on an embarrassing situation.  While Evangelicals are all committed to a high view of Scripture, to the absolute authority of Scripture, they disagree on almost everything else. Read more

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