Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Egalitarian Resources on Ephesians 5:21-33

I confess, I was both bothered by and loved Ephesians 5. Specifically, I was bothered by the seeming patriarchal undertones of Paul's language in v22-24, but loved how the husband was told to act in a way that seemed to defy his own interests. In other words, even when I thought this text enforced a patriarchal model for marriage (and this is different from the issue of women's ordination -- and I'm a firm supporter of both mutual submission and the ordination of women), in the applicative side of the equation, the man's 'headship' looked like he got the short end of the deal. I mean, the husband is told to give his life for his wife, where all she has to do is submit to ... letting him die for her.

Granted, my former interpretation was silly and once I examined the passage a bit more closely I changed my mind, but the point was still immensely interesting. The man is told to act in a way that a wife was expected to act. Paul, in my own opinion, is telling the husband to submit, though he does not use the specific word.

Anyway. Just a bit of back story on my thoughts. On to the real reason why you clicked the link.

Philip Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ tackles the text in his usual masterful manner. While the chapter on Ephesians 5 is shorter and less in-depth than his treatment of other texts (though you can't really complain given that he spent more than 100 pages on 1 Cor. 11!), it is still meaty and offers several key exegetical observations such as the appositional phrasing of v23 and his treatment of that obnoxious word kephale. For a meta-study of kephale, see Alan F. Johnson's helpful (and up to date until 2009) article found in the Ashland Theological Journal.

I. Howard Marshall's contribution to Discovering Biblical Equality is surpassed by Payne, but Marshall offers several interesting theological and hermeneutical observations regarding trajectories and the issue of slavery.

Gordon Fee's Priscilla Paper's article is still a gold mine of historical insight, and I commend it to you. Its free, so that should help. The same should be said of Lisa Baumert's wonderful article as well, where she investigates the nature of biblical interpretation. Quite good!

As for commentaries, there are some. Walter Liefeld's IVPNT commentary is helpful. If one is able to get themselves past Andrew T. Lincoln's denial of Pauline authorship, his WBC commentary is helpful on a textual level (its a personal favorite commentary of mine). His commentary is the standard in the more broadly evangelical sphere.

F.F. Bruce also offers a generally egalitarian interpretation in his NICNT commentary on Colossians, Philemon and Ephesians. He affirms Pauline authorship, though Bruce can never be said to be dogmatic about something for which there is some tension. An affable, able and solid commentary. You also can't go wrong with Ben Witherington III (BW3) and his socio-rhetorical commentary series. For a more expositional commentary, see Klyne Snodgrass.

For a lighter and personable post, see "Becoming an Egalitarian" from The Junia Project.

Thanks for reading,


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