Summary: This article offers a basic introduction to what Paul’s letters say about women exercising public leadership in ancient Christian communities. While some passages from these letters have been used throughout the church’s history to restrict women’s roles and to diminish women’s value, it appears to be the case that Paul knew of, supported, and partnered with women who were church leaders. Some of the more notorious passages were probably written not by Paul but by an admirer who wrote after the apostle’s death. The issue is a complex one, and it reminds us of the challenges inherent in navigating among the various perspectives in the Bible and the need to take account of the cultures in which the biblical documents were written (and to which these documents were addressed).
Read the full article, and listen to an accompanying podcast, in the “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Bible but Were Afraid to Ask” section of EnterTheBible.