New Testament Theology And A Biblical View Of Gender -- By: Christopher W. Cowan

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 014:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: New Testament Theology And A Biblical View Of Gender
Author: Christopher W. Cowan


New Testament Theology And A Biblical View Of Gender

A Review of Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ, Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.

Christopher W. Cowan

Associate Editor

The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Louisville, Kentucky

Over the last thirty-four years, evangelical scholarship has produced a small handful of books offering to expound a “Theology of the New Testament.” Writing a New Testament Theology is no small task. On the contrary, it is colossal. It requires a broad expertise of all twenty-seven NT books and the ability to highlight their diversity and unity. A NT Theology allows each NT author to have his own distinct voice, while also recognizing the one divine Author standing behind each human author who gives the whole NT (the whole Bible!) a unifying storyline. It is no wonder, then, that few evangelical scholars have been qualified—or willing—to step up to the challenge of authoring a NT Theology.

Since an author of a NT Theology attempts to treat the complex variety of issues that the NT addresses, one might ask, “How have the NT texts on manhood and womanhood in the home and in the church fared in these treatments?”

Two of the earliest works by two excellent scholars, George Eldon Ladd (A Theology of the New Testament, Eerdmans, 1974; rev. ed. 1993) and Leon Morris (New Testament Theology, Zondervan, 1986), are very good in many ways. But their discussion of the roles of men and women is minimal at best—with some NT gender-related texts not even receiving mention.

Two other scholars address the relevant biblical texts more directly. Donald Guthrie (New Testament Theology, InterVarsity, 1981) and I. Howard Marshall (New Testament Theology, InterVarsity, 2004) are prolific authors and have produced many fine commentaries on NT books. However, their understanding of passages dealing with manhood and womanhood is consistent with the egalitarian view. For example, both Guthrie and Marshall believe Paul’s prohibition in 1 Tim 2:12 applied only to a local, first-century situation in Ephesus and is not meant for universal application.

A fifth evangelical NT Theology is the exceptional work by Frank Thielman (Theology of the New Testament, Zondervan, 2005). Though his discussions on the relevant texts are brief, Thielman affirms that the NT teaches “a divinely appointed ordering of the sexes at creation.” This order of creation “implies distinct roles in the church for each gender” (419). However, Thielman argues that the verb authenteō in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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