Bible Study: Equal Partnership in Ministry

Our goal in this Bible Study is to provide a robust biblical theology of God’s invitation to women to become equal partners with men in leadership in InterVarsity. We trust this introduction, and the Bible studies that follow, will serve women and men in our movement. We believe the Scriptures, though written to an ancient people in very different cultural and historical moments, are adequate to guide us in the 21st Century.

Let’s begin with a few guiding principles for our work:

  • We are committed to a “generous orthodoxy.” We assume a posture of humility towards our sisters and brothers in Christ, recognizing that we all love God and God’s Word and still come to different conclusions. Love and respect are essential as we interact around challenging passages o We assume a posture of humility towards Scripture itself – our goal is not to master Scripture but to allow the God whose story Scripture tells to master us as the Word shapes our hearts, minds and wills.
  • We are committed to letting all of Scripture speak to this issue. We’ll start at the beginning, seeking to better understand God’s purposes for women from Creation through the formation of the New Testament church. o The Gospel always comes first – there are cultural settings in our world today that require wisdom and sensitivity so that the gospel will not be hindered.
  • We must leave room for mystery and the role of the Holy Spirit – we will never plumb the depths of God’s Word and the richness of its message as we, in our limited humanity, engage with the living Word of God.

Before we look at the actual biblical texts, we want to take a step back and consider what Scripture is and how we interpret it. To do this we will use InterVarsity’s statement about the nature of Scripture to which all staff commit each year: We believe in the unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. We’ll look carefully at the parts of this statement, what they mean and how they guide our understanding of what Scripture is and how we interpret it. Then we will look at particular Biblical passages that help us understand God’s call to women to serve with men as equal partners in leadership.

Click on the link/icon to download the full PDF of this Bible Study written by Nan Clarke and Melodie Marske: Equal Partnership in MinistryFinal11.17.pdf


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