Discovering Biblical Equality: Biblical, Theological, Cultural, and Practical Perspectives, Edited by Ronald W. Pierce and Cynthia Long Westfall alt

Discovering Biblical Equality

Biblical, Theological, Cultural, and Practical Perspectives

Third Edition

Edited by Ronald W. Pierce and Cynthia Long Westfall
Associate Editor Christa L. McKirland

Discovering Biblical Equality
  • Length: 712 pages
  • Published: November 02, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5480
  • ISBN: 9780830854806

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"There is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

The conversation about the relationship between women and men and their roles in the Christian life and the church has evolved, but the topic continues to inspire debate and disagreement.

The third edition of this groundbreaking work brings together scholars firmly committed to the authority of Scripture to explore historical, biblical, theological, cultural, and practical aspects of this discussion. This fresh, positive defense of gender equality is at once scholarly and practical, irenic yet spirited, up-to-date, and cognizant of opposing positions. In this edition, readers will find both revised essays and new essays on biblical equality in relation to several issues, including the image of God, the analogy of slavery, same-sex marriage, abortion, domestic abuse, race, and human flourishing.

Discover for yourself God's vision for gender equality.

"No book has been more influential for me in articulating themes from texts in the Bible than Discovering Biblical Equality. The original book anticipated much of what developed in complementarianism, and this new third edition responds to the most recent challenges. There are new chapters on fresh themes by new authors. Students and pastors alike will find experts expounding Scripture and demonstrating the Spirit's unleashing of gifts among women and men alike."

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary

"Addressing the questions often asked, as well as introducing those that should be asked, Discovering Biblical Equality covers the terrain with lucidity, verve, and graciousness. The authors give voice to that which stirs the hearts of so many: the singular commitment to the authority of Scripture and the imago Dei in all humans. They do so by laying out their deep exegetical and theological reasoning so that others can assess the logic for themselves. I am excited to recommend this volume to all who wonder about the biblical foundations for equality."

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"This is a wonderfully thoughtful study that combines a multitude of voices on a topic that continues to trouble churches worldwide. It demonstrates uncompromising respect for the holy Scriptures and a determination to reconcile the genders and celebrate the fullness of their humanity."

Myrto Theocharous, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Greek Bible College, Athens, Greece

"The earlier editions of Discovering Biblical Equality were foundational for my understanding of men and women in the Bible. This third edition retains the best of what came before and adds lots of fresh materials to strengthen the case for biblical equality and mutuality. This continues to be the best all-in-one resource for understanding a Christian theology of women in ministry, family, and society."

Nijay K. Gupta, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary

"Having found the earlier editions of Discovering Biblical Equality to be extremely helpful resources in supplementing conversations within the church and the academy concerning our shared human identity in Christ Jesus, we say 'welcome' and 'well done' to this revised edition. With new essays from fresh (particularly female) voices and a slightly renewed format, this volume continues to address historical and present concerns in wise, irenic, knowledgeable ways. Hence it continues to help us discover the gift of life together as God's coequal image-bearing children. A truly wonderful 'upgrade'!"

Cherith Fee Nordling, associate professor at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, Regent College, Vancouver, and author of Knowing God by Name

Read an Excerpt


Introduction (Ronald W. Pierce, Cynthia Long Westfall, and Christa L. McKirland)
1. History Matters: Evangelicals and Women (Mimi Haddad)

Part I: Looking to Scripture: The Biblical Texts
2. Gender in Creation and Fall: Genesis 1–3 (Mary L. Conway)
3. The Treatment of Women Under the Mosaic Law (Ronald W. Pierce and Mary L. Conway)
4. Women Leaders in the Bible (Linda L. Belleville)
5. Jesus' Treatment of Women in the Gospels (Aída Besançon Spencer)
6. Mutuality in Marriage and Singleness: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 (Ronald W. Pierce and Elizabeth A. Kay)
7. Praying and Prophesying in the Assemblies: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (Gordon D. Fee)
8. Learning in the Assemblies: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (Craig S. Keener)
9. Male and Female, One in Christ: Galatians 3:26-29 (Cynthia Long Westfall)
10. Loving and Submitting to One Another in Marriage: Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19 (Lynn H. Cohick)
11. Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (Linda L. Belleville)
12. A Silent Witness in Marriage: 1 Peter 3:1-7 (Peter H. Davids)

Part II: Thinking It Through: Theological and Logical Perspectives
13. The Priority of Spirit Gifting for Church Ministry (Gordon D. Fee)
14. The Nature of Authority in the New Testament (Walter L. Liefeld)
15. Image of God and Divine Presence: A Critique of Gender Essentialism (Christa L. McKirland)
16. Biblical Priesthood and Women in Ministry (Stanley J. Grenz)
17. Gender Equality and the Analogy of Slavery (Stanley E. Porter)
18. The Trinity Argument for Women's Subordination: The Story of Its Rise, Ascendancy, and Fall (Kevin Giles)
19. Biblical Images of God as Mother and Spiritual Formation (Ronald W. Pierce and Erin M. Heim)
20. "Equal in Being, Unequal in Role": Challenging the Logic of Women's Subordination (Rebecca Merrill Groothuis)

Part III: Addressing the Issues: Interpretive and Cultural Perspectives
21. Interpretive Methods and the Gender Debate (Cynthia Long Westfall)
22. Gender Differences and Biblical Interpretation: A View from the Social Sciences (M. Elizabeth Lewis Hall)
23. A Defense of Gender-Accurate Bible Translation (Jeffrey D. Miller)
24. Biblical Equality and Same-Sex Marriage (Ronald W. Pierce)
25. Gender Equality and the Sanctity of Life (Heidi R. Unruh and Ronald J. Sider)

Part IV: Living It Out: Practical Applications
26. Helping the Church Understand Biblical Gender Equality (Mimi Haddad)
27. Marriage as a Partnership of Equals (Judith K. Balswick and Jack O. Balswick)
28. Complementarianism and Domestic Abuse: A Social Science Perspective on Whether "Equal but Different" Is Really Equal at All (Kylie Maddox Pidgeon)
29. When We Were Not Women: Race and Discourses on Womanhood (Juliany González Nieves)
30. Human Flourishing: Global Perspectives (Mimi Haddad)
31. Toward Reconciliation: Healing the Schism (Alice P. Mathews)
Conclusion (Ronald W. Pierce, Cynthia Long Westfall, and Christa L. McKirland)

List of Contributors
Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Ronald W. Pierce

Ronald W. Pierce (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He was coeditor of the earlier editions of this volume, as well as the author of Partners in Marriage and Ministry and Daniel in the Teach the Text Commentary series.