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Women

Was Abigail Right to Go Behind Nabal’s Back?

By Arts, Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women One Comment

One morning after I taught a women’s Bible study on the life of Abigail—wife of Nabal, a woman hustled over to me, elbows swinging. Seeing her body language, I braced myself.

Her argument about my teaching went something like this: “You’re wrong! Abigail was most definitely not righteous. By taking matters into her own hands, she shows what happens when a wife steps out from under her husband’s ‘umbrella of authority.’ If Abigail had submitted to Nabal rather than intervening, David would have felt guilty for killing Nabal, and that guilt would have kept him from killing later.”

I’d heard this interpretation already—from Bill Gothard, among others.

So how do we figure out how to interpret this story? Was Abigail good or evil? The text itself provides the needed clues.

We find the “Abigail and David” story in 1 Samuel 25:2–43. The narrator begins with his assessment: “[Abigail] was …

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Women’s History Month: Meet Some Female Martyrs from the Early Church

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Women No Comments

When I spoke to a class of seminary students recently about women in public ministry in the early church, someone asked me to share some names and narratives about our foremothers. It seemed fitting to provide a sampling here during Women’s History Month. (Some day I hope we will simply learn “history”; but until women are included in the telling of history, we’ll continue to need a special annual focus.) You can find all the women listed below in the mosaics of Ravenna’s “new” (6th c) Basilica of Sant’Apollinare. I’ve included a summary of the stories that usually accompany them, as well. You will notice a theme of women exercising agency over their own bodies to the glory of God.

Agatha. Virgin martyr. Agatha died in 251. Born in Sicily into a noble family, she steadfastly vowed to remain a virgin. She was taken to a house of prostitution, tortured by …

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The influence of Artemis on the issues of 1 Tim 2:8–15

By Gender & Faith, Women 2 Comments

Wendy Wilson, the Mission Advisor for Development of Women and the Women’s Development Track Exec Director over at Missio Nexus asked me to write the following for the Missio Nexus audience, and it provides a sneak preview of what you can expect when my book comes out.*

Many have undertaken to explain how understanding the identity of Artemis, the goddess of midwifery in first-century Ephesus, can shed light on the apostle Paul’s instructions about being saved through childbearing (or childbirth, or the childbearing) (2:15), but fewer have explained how understanding first-century Artemis and her cult helps provide a context for the entire pericope or section of 1 Timothy 2 when the apostle talks to his protégé Timothy about women (or wives) in the church. Paul is addressing a problem, but his doing so is often universalized. The problem was specific with broad ramifications, as is always true of Scripture. But …

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