Paul’s instructions about how women should (and shouldn’t) behave in some of his churches continue to drive real and often painful debates about women’s roles in the contemporary church. I’ve gathered here a representative collection of books on the topic and on the broader issue of gender roles. Since I don’t think that Paul’s statements should restrict women’s roles today, this list may be a bit slanted toward an “egalitarian” position, but I have deliberately included some of the most significant advocates of the “complementarian” position as well.

On Paul’s Statements

  • Bristow, John T. What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love. New York: HarperOne, 2011.
  • Kroeger, Richard Clark, and Catherine Clark Kroeger. I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking I Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998.
  • Epp, Eldon Jay. Junia: The First Woman Apostle. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005.
  • Keener, Craig S. Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1992.
  • McKnight, Scot. Junia Is Not Alone. Patheos Press, 2011.

On Biblical Teaching More Generally

Debate Volumes

  • Beck, James R. Two Views on Women in Ministry. Edited by James R. Beck and Craig L. Blomberg. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010.
  • Clouse, Bonnidell, and Robert G. Clouse, eds. Women in Ministry: Four Views. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1997.

“Egalitarian” Positions

  • Bilezikian, Gilbert. Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006.
  • Grenz, Stanley J., and Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry.Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1995.
  • Johnson, Alan F., ed. How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010.
  • Webb, William J. Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. 1st ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

“Complementarian” Positions

  • Kostenberger, Andreas J., and David Jones. God, Marriage, and Family. 2nd ed. Crossway, 2008.
  • Schreiner, Thomas R., John Piper, and Wayne Grudem, eds. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Crossway, 2006.

Women’s Roles in the Early Church

This volume moves beyond the New Testament, into the second century church and beyond. But it provides important (and often surprising) context regarding the legacy of the Pauline churches.

  • Torjesen, Karen Jo. When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity. San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco, 1993.


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