Women in Ministry? Read the Journals

By Mike Aubrey

Controversies and debates concerning the question of women in ministry continue unabated. Entering the fracas, you will quickly discover that both sides have a tendency to declare absolute victory in the scholarly discussion. As the argument goes, some book/blog/sermon is “the final word.” on the matter. Yet journals, as opposed to those other media, are where the critical questions of method, argument, and reason are laid out within the scholarly standard of peer-review. If you want to understand the debate as it’s being argued in the academic stratosphere, read the journals.

Importantly, after several years of absence, Galaxie’s Theological Journal Library, vols. 1–20 is once again available for sale. Journals hold a special place in the study and in scholarship. Whether approaching an issue through theology, grammar, history, or exegesis, academic journals form the lifeblood of scholarly debate and discourse. Theologies and textbooks, even grammars and lexicons, rarely give you the fuller, deeper picture into the larger debate on a topic.

It’s helpful to recall that during the Renaissance, and then again during the Reformation, ad fontes was the call that led scholars and students back “to the sources,” to re-examine the primary texts that shaped their understanding of history and theology. In a very real sense, journals share a similar function as the primary sources for understanding how scholarship has engaged with and debated important issues and controversies in the study of the Bible and theology.

Returning to the example of women in ministry, a classic example of this type of scholarly debate began with Dr. Wayne Grudem’s article in Trinity Journal on the Greek noun κεφαλή (“head”), published in 1985:

  • Wayne Grudem, Does Κεφαλή (‘Head’) Mean ‘Source” Or ‘Authority Over’ In Greek Literature? A Survey Of 2,336 Examples,” Trinity Journal 6 (1985) 38–59.

Linguist and bible translator Richard Cervin was not impressed with Grudem’s lexicographical methodology and wrote an article evaluating Grudem’s work, also published in Trinity:

  • Richard S. Cervin, “Does κεφαλή Mean ‘Source’ or ‘Authority’ in Greek Literature? A Rebuttal,” Trinity Journal 10 (1989) 85–112.

Grudem then responded to Cervin’s rebuttal in the subsequent volume of the journal:

  • Wayne Grudem, “The Meaning Of Κεφαλή (‘Head’): A Response To Recent Studies,” Trinity Journal 11 (1990) 3–72.

Of course, little was resolved, at least for most people who have a strong opinion one way or the other. Both Grudem and Cervin continue to hold their original positions. And yet, both of these respected scholars had their arguments sharpened by this engagement. As a result, this discussion documented in Trinity Journal provides an important foundation for the scholarly conversation concerning κεφαλή (“head”) in biblical literature. You cannot discuss the topic of women in ministry, at an academic level, without knowing and referencing this classic debate (and see now Grudem, Wayne. “The Meaning Of Κεφαλή (‘Head’): An Evaluation Of New Evidence, Real And Alleged.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 44 (2001): 25–65).

Such is the power of journals: they are the “primary sources” of the scholarly debate and conversation. And today with the return of the Galaxie Theological Journal Library to Logos Bible Software, these scholarly conversations and debates on biblical studies and theology are once again available for Logos Bible Software after four years of being absent.

The low price of roughly $1 per individual volume continues the Galaxie Journal tradition of offering the very best in evangelical scholarship at an affordable entry point. If in the past you have benefitted from the Galaxie Journals, you can now get caught up on everything you missed, and also have the pleasure of enjoying dynamic pricing based on the volumes you already own in your Logos library.

And, if you enjoy the Galaxie Journals, be sure to check out their other publications as well, including:

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Written by
Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is Editor-in-Chief of the Logos Academic Blog and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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7 comments
  • You forgot to add this one from Grudem 🙂

    Grudem, Wayne. “The Meaning Of Κεφαλή (‘Head’): An Evaluation Of New Evidence, Real And Alleged.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 44 (2001): 25–65.

  • Scripturally speaking women’s role was very minimal although important to the Apostolic Church. The Apostle Paul make it plain in I Timothy 2:11-12 that Women have NO lead in Preaching or Serving the Lord’s Supper. This would mean that they would be Domineering over the Men. This is Unscriptural, See I Corinthians 14:34-35

  • Further, in regard to balance, one must struggle with starting points. For example, on the matter of “eternal security” of believers, does one read Hebrews 6:4–6 “through” Romans 8:28–39, or should the Romans text be read “through” the one from Hebrews? It has often been assumed without question that 1 Timothy 2:11–12 is the “control” (i.e., authoritative) text through which all other New Testament data on women in ministry must be challenged. It is more plausible, in my judgment, to approach 1 Timothy 2:8–15 through the accumulated witness of all the other Pauline passages on women in the church.

    • How about an anchor point of the law of God, which was to be bound between the eyes, apparently to interpret everything perceived? Then you ask if sin is lawlessness, why is there no law in Torah against a woman teaching a man?

Written by Tavis Bohlinger
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