Book List on Women’s Roles in Churches of Christ

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There is a plethora of resources on this topic. I am going to give a list of resources that cover all sides of this issue. The only agenda I am interested in is what God’s will is on this topic and how scripture informs us on this.

First, let’s define some terms:

Egalitarian – a position where there are no differences between what men and women can do in service to the kingdom, corporate worship, home life, etc. Equal rights and opportunities for men and women.

Complementarian – God designed men and women with differences that impact their roles and functions in the kingdom, assembly, and home. This is usually associated to some degree with male headship. The roles of men and women are different and compliment each other

It is important we study works we agree with and works we disagree with on this topic to allow our conclusions to be challenged and well founded.


If you are new to the discussion I would suggest you start with “Two Views on Women in Ministry” – they give two chapters to the Complementarian perspective and two chapters to the Egalitarian perspective. Four authors, two topics, and the other three authors give feedback on each other. This is a very helpful book that will give you the lay of the land.

Ancient historical/cultural perspective on women
Women in the World of the Earliest Christians By Lynn Cohick (a sociological/historical view)
A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity by Carolyn Osiek and Margaret Macdonald
Women and the Genesis of Christianity by Ben Witherington
Women in the Ministry of Jesus By Ben Witherington
Women in the Earliest Churches by Ben Witherington
Gospel Women by Richard Bauckham
Daughters of the Church: Women and ministry from New Testament times to the present by Ruth A Tucker and Walter Liefeld
Roman Wives, Roman Widows by Bruce Winter (historical/technical)
Women in Early Christianity by Miller

Next, I am going to categorize some works by their leaning. I may not get this exactly right but it will be close. The complementarian works will be complementarian. The egalitarian works may contain a few that aren’t 100% equal (which would technically be complimentarian but would push beyond much of what Churches of Christ’s historical positions would be).

Complementarian resources
God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-theological survey by Kostenberger
Women in the Church: An Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 by Kostenberger, Schreiner, and Baldwin
Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective by Saucy and Tenelshof (a bit less technical)
Women in the Church by Stanley Grenz and Kjesbo

Egalitarian resources
Paul, Women and Wives By Keener (very thorough exegesis of the relevant passages with egalitarian conclusions)
I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in light of ancient evidence by Kroeger and Kroeger
Ben Witherington’s books above are egalitarian

Hermeneutics/Interpretation considerations
Slaves, Women & Homosexuals by Webb
Women in the Church’s Ministry: A Test case for Biblical Hermeneutics by R.T. France (very brief exegesis of the main passage in a discussion of the ordination of women)

Resources by those affiliated with Churches of Christ
God’s Woman by Nichol (fascinating book from the 1930s)
Women in the Church by Everett Ferguson
Women in the Church: Reclaiming the Ideal by Carroll Osburn
Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity (2 vols) by Carroll Osburn
Trusting Women: The way of women in Churches of Christ – Billie Silvey, editor

Please share your “go to” resources in the comments.

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