This was originally a private blog designed to provide a venue for confidential discussion among friends about why, from a biblical perspective, there should be no restrictions on what women can do in the church. The title expresses the main argument I made over the course of the blog postings, that the community of Jesus’ followers on earth is an expression of God’s kingdom—the new creation, the age to come breaking into the present age—and as such, it’s a community in which men and women are called to use without restriction the gifts God has given them to inaugurate and advance the coming kingdom.
The idea for the blog arose when several of us were together at a wedding in the summer of 2012. We agreed to have the discussion among ourselves and also invite participation from others we knew personally. With the agreement of the original participants, and with their comments now deleted, I’m making the posts more widely available by linking them to my blog Understanding the Books of the Bible, where I’ve made available an abbreviated version of the extended argument presented here.
A little bit about me: I’m a writer and independent scholar living in East Lansing, Michigan. I served local churches as a pastor for nearly twenty years and I was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the Scriptures that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. My Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. I was also one of the translators for The Voice Bible. I’ve written a book called After Chapters and Verses: Engaging the Bible in the Coming Generations to explain how we can use the Bible, without chapters and verses, for reading, studying, preaching, and teaching.
I stay active in ministry as a volunteer campus staff worker with Graduate InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Michigan State University. I’ve also written for The High Calling of Our Daily Work. As for my educational background, I have a B.A. in literature from Harvard, a master’s degree in theological studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in historical theology and Bible from Boston College. I have published articles on the literary structures of biblical books in journals such as New Testament Studies, Novum Testamentum, and The Journal for the Study of the Old Testament.
I hope this blog is helpful to you. Please comment on the individual posts if you wish and I will reply as soon as possible. If you have other questions about the Bible, please use the “ask a question” page on my Understanding the Books of the Bible blog to send them to me. Thanks!
Christopher R. Smith