Jesus Creed

RT France’s last chp in Women in the Ministry of the Church deals with women who are examples of ministry in the Bible. It begins with the Old Testament: Miriam (Ex 15:20), Deborah (Judg 4:4-5), Huldah (2 Ki 22:12-20), Noadiah (Neh 6:14), along with others (Ezek 13:17ff; Joel 2:28-32), and the wise women (2 Sam 14:1-20; 20:16-22).
Then to Jesus. Anna (Lk 2:36-38), women as present (Luke 8:1-3; cf. Mark 3:31-35) and Luke 10:38-42. More could be listed. Then to women in the apostolic church. Priscilla mentioned before Aquila.
Paul: Phil 4:2-3 with Romans 16:1-16 is not without significance. Mary (v. 6), Tryphaena and Tryphosa (v. 12), Persis (v. 12) who “labored” (a word Paul uses to describe his own ministry). Prisca, a “co-worker” — elsewhere used for men; Junia — about whom where is lots of discussion today — is said to be prominent in the opinion of the “apostles” or one of the apostles. If this is a woman, and the evidence is in favor of that, we may have a major ministry being described for a female. France thinks it calls here a prominent missionary-apostle. Phoebe is a “deacon” and is “prominent” (16:1-2).
Gal 3:28 in France’s view has to do with equality in Christ. The trajectory finds its endpoint in this text.
Conclusion, and what do you think? “The early church as it appears in Acts remained a male-dominated movement, but within which the seeds of greater equality of the sexes and a more prominent role for women which we saw planted in Jesus’ ministry were beginning to grow” (81).
France asks this question in closing: which text/texts are basic? Those that specify limitation or those that indicate potential non-limitation? France thinks the indications of women in ministry throughout the Bible is a trajectory we can follow — biblically — today. Others call this the redemptive trend.

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