Resources on Women in Ministry

Interested in learning more about the evidence supporting women in ministry after Fr. Kevin’s sermon? Check out this list of resources:


Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist. 2013.

  • Rather than defend egalitarianism or feminism, in this book Bessey emphasizes the love and respect Jesus had for women during his earthly ministry and still has for women today.

Bilezikien, Gilbert. Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about Woman’s Place in Church and Family. Baker, 2006. 

  • A thorough biblical survey and theological analysis of all the “tough passages” regarding women’s roles in scripture. Comes to a full equality view of women in ministry, advocating an interpretive method that sees God's revelation of himself and his will as progressive. 

Cohick, Lynn. Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life. Baker, 2009. 

  • This book is a deep historical look at the lives of women in the early church, dispelling misconceptions and oversimplifications. Women during this period were active at all levels within their religious communities. But their influence was not always identified by titles and their gender was not always a barrier. 

Johnson, Alan F. (ed)  How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals. Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2010.

  • Stories from all corners of evangelicalism about how people have changed their minds from being closed to women in leadership to being open or enthusiastically supportive of women in leadership in the church. Edited by a former Wheaton professor.

Keener, Craig. Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul. Baker, 1992.

  • Keener is a world class NT scholar and he gives a deep, contextual reading of the “problem passages” in Paul from an egalitarian perspective.  

Mathews, Alice. Gender Roles and the People of God: Rethinking What We Were Taught about Men and Women in the Church. 2017.

  • A new book by an older woman who has been studying this issue for 40 years or more. She gives a compelling interpretation of the 1 Timothy passage on women not teaching in the church. (Read Sarah Lindsay’s review of the book for Christians for Biblical Equality here.)

McKnight, Scot. The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. Zondervan, 2008. 

  • A book about Bible interpretation, generally, but much of what he says has important relevance to the subject of women in ministry. The second half of the book contains a very valuable exploration of the difficult passages from Paul that seem to limit women.

Peppiatt, Lucy. Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts. IVP Academic, 2019.

  • Scholarly but accessible book with a foreword by Scot McKnight that offers a vision for women from scripture that is encouraging and empowering. 

Stackhouse, John G. Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gende. Baker, 2005. 

  • A short earlier book from Stackhouse offering a pragmatic, mission-centered approach in support of women in ministry, which he bases on the approach of the Apostle Paul (as he understands it). 

Stackhouse, John G. Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism. 2015.

  • Starts from the premise that solely from a study of Scripture the question of egalitarianism and women in leadership in the church will never be answered satisfactorily because the Scripture isn’t absolutely clear.  Dr. Stackhouse then approaches the topic pragmatically and thoughtfully.

Torjesen, Karen. When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church. Harper San Francisco, 1995. 

  • Details the historical evidence that women were priests, bishops, and prophets in the early Christian church. Also explains the social, political, and cultural factors that eventually led to their suppression.  

Webb, William J. and Darrell L. Bock. Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. 2001.

  • An excellent presentation of the concept of “redemptive movement” as it relates to these three difficult topics. Very compelling.

Online Resources

Bailey, Kenneth E. “Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural View.”

  • Bailey draws on his decades as a professor of New Testament living in the Middle East to explain the cultural backgrounds.

Torrance, Thomas. “The Ministry of Women.“

  • Explores the topic from a biblical as well as a historical perspective.  A bit dense but worth the read.

Witt, William G. Essays about Women’s Ordination 

  • Witt, the Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Trinity School for Ministry, offers 20 essays answering questions about women’s leadership in the church. Helpful in that it addresses both Protestant and Catholic concerns. Begin here

Christians for Biblical Equality

  • CBE is an organization that promotes egalitarian theology and supports women in ministry. They have a website full of resources, a blog, a print magazine, and an academic journal, all with a range of information on every aspect of women in ministry.

The Junia Project

  • Another website with a wealth of useful articles and resources on women in ministry; this site takes its name from a woman named Junia and called an apostle by Paul.