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God's Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey Paperback – August 31, 2014
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“The eclipse of the family in human society is one of the most disastrous developments of our age. Sadly, the eclipse of the biblical model of marriage and family has also happened within far too many evangelical churches. Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger come to the rescue with biblical and theological insight and practical wisdom.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Models the best of Christian discernment about matters of gender, theology, justice, roles, and gifts. It is faithful in its representation both of God’s character and our own propensity to sin, pastoral in its application of faithful biblical hermeneutics, insightful in its explanation of original word usages and their application, concise in its framing of hot-button issues and the hermeneutical fallacies that often fuel them, and charitable in its handling of the motives of those who disagree.”
—Rosaria Butterfield, former professor of English, Syracuse University; author, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
“A refreshingly clear, well-informed, balanced, thorough, biblically faithful overview of the teachings of the entire Bible about manhood and womanhood as designed by God and intended for the joy and well-being of both women and men. A significant achievement!”
—Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
“Scriptural, thorough, scholarly, irenic, and practical, this vital resource will help any serious student of the Bible understand God’s good, wise, and wonderful design.”
—Mary A. Kassian, Professor of Women's Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild
“The brilliant and respected Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger are wise experts, guiding us through the Bible for a substantive, gospel-rich, and pastorally applied theology of masculinity, femininity, and the goodness of our differences by God’s design.”
—Russell D. Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“Whenever we consider our God-given design, we must do so with humble hearts. What a gift to be able to appreciate how the triune, eternal God made us! This study on God’s design will be useful in every field of Christian work all over the world.”
—Gloria Furman, author, The Pastor's Wife; Missional Motherhood; and Alive in Him
“Some books are unhelpful, others are helpful, and a select few are spectacularly helpful. God’s Design for Man and Woman belongs with that select few. With thoroughness, nuance, and textual insight, it simultaneously unfolds biblical complementarianism as a coherent, life-giving worldview and answers common questions related to it.”
—Owen Strachan, associate professor of Christian theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; coeditor, Designed for Joy and The Pastor as Scholar, the Scholar as Pastor
“As the consequences of gender distortions permeate more relationships, families, and churches, the need is urgent for biblical clarity about God’s design and the work of the Spirit in restoring us to our original purpose. Here is a faithful guide to living as God created us, for our good and his glory.”
—Candice Watters, Cofounder, Boundless.org; author, Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen
“Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger have teamed up to write one of the most helpful, comprehensive, and practical books to date on what Scripture teaches about God’s design for men and women and its implications for marriage, families, relationships in the church, and in our society.”
—Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Editor, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
“God’s Design for Man and Woman is rigorously biblical, and the exegetical work is what we have come to expect of the Köstenbergers. Those who believe in the inspiration of the Bible will find this presentation compelling and hard to dismiss. Even those who do not accept biblical authority will, if honest, respect the arguments that are made. This book will serve the church of the Lord Jesus well.”
—Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Returning to a topic on which they both have already shown mastery, the Köstenbergers here round off their achievements with a full, lucid, and compelling demonstration that all Scripture treats male leadership as the creational pattern. Complementarians in particular will find here an invaluable resource, as indeed will any other open-minded Bible students.”
—J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College
“From Genesis to Revelation, Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger masterfully present God’s plan for manhood and womanhood in the home, church, and society. This thought-provoking, insightful, and theologically grounded resource could not be timelier. This is a must-read that I highly recommend!”
—Monica Rose Brennan, Associate Professor and Director of Women’s Ministries, Liberty University
“The authors break no new ground; they do not intend to. What they have done is put together biblical material in convenient and broadly comprehensive textbook format—material that brings together historical surveys, along with some exegesis, biblical theology, and pastoral application. One need not agree with every detail of the argument to see that this book meets a need to inform students and others who are new to the debate of some of its most inescapable parameters.”
—D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
“This unique and accessible book presents a positive, constructive, and winsome case for the whole gamut of biblical teaching about the divine design for men and women, as well as much practical application for how to live it out in both the home and the church. All who read this book will profit greatly by both their biblical theology and their godly example.”
—Gregg R. Allison, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“While academic in nature, the text clearly interprets Scripture and makes practical life application. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all Christians and encourage teachers in Christian colleges and universities to use it as a textbook.”
—Rhonda Harrington Kelley, Professor of Women’s Ministry, president’s wife, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
“Moving beyond debates that discuss men’s and women’s roles in isolation from one another, Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger take a biblical-theological approach that seeks to understand God’s design for men and women from the progressively unfolding narrative of Scripture. Responding to the profound influence of feminism, the authors call on men to exercise leadership in ways that exhibit genuine care and responsibility for those they are charged to nurture and protect.”
—Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
“The Köstenbergers have masterfully traced the Creator’s plan for man and woman by methodically stepping through Scripture. This approach makes it easy for the reader to understand the comprehensive design God intended from the beginning. It is certainly a book I will enjoy sharing with my students.”
—Denise O’Donoghue, Director of Women’s Life and Assistant Professor of Ministry to Women, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“This meaty (but not technical) volume will equip readers to grasp the beauty, utility, and missional importance of being created in God’s image, male and female. It deserves a wide readership in church and college or seminary classroom.”
—Robert W. Yarbrough, professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
“Using the primary picture of the household and pointing to a call for men to carry out their calling, this book is a careful and sober study of biblical texts. It calls on us to reflect on what Scripture teaches, making many important points along the way.”
—Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center, and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
“We live in a day when God’s order has been turned on its head, resulting in confusion and heartache—even in the church. Margaret and Andreas Köstenberger team up to present a comprehensive and thoroughly biblical exposition of manhood and womanhood.”
—Theresa Wigington Bowen, Pastor’s wife; mother; Founder, Candle in the Window Hospitality Network
“The Köstenbergers have thoroughly researched Scripture concerning God’s design for men and women, and their efforts have produced a book that will challenge much of what the church does today. Anyone wanting to devote serious study to the topic of men’s and women’s roles in the church needs to read this book.”
—William Jones, President, Columbia International University
“For years now, Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger have labored to help the church recover a biblical vision of manhood and womanhood in the midst of a culture that is moving increasingly away from God’s design. We are so pleased to see the fruits of their labors gathered together into this wonderful new volume. Thoroughly biblical, deeply theological, and also practical and accessible, the Köstenbergers have given the church a great gift in an hour of great need.”
—Michael J. Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte; author, Canon Revisited
“The issue of biblical manhood and womanhood is long overdue for a resource that takes the entire storyline of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, into account. This book will be tremendously helpful to pastors, teachers, married couples, parents, singles, and especially college students.”
—Matt Schoolfield, Lead Pastor, Fellowship Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina
“Christian women today are hungry to know what a biblical woman really looks like. If you really want an accurate picture, I encourage you to read—no, study—this book. Not only will you get the biblical portrait of woman, but you will also discover what the Bible says about man and how they relate to each other.”
—Chris Adams, Senior Lead Women’s Ministry Specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources
“Sexual ethics and complementary gender roles have far more to do with the effectiveness of the church than we tend to admit. Dr. and Mrs. Köstenberger have given a comprehensive biblical theology calling the church to biblical gender roles and a God-glorying sexual ethic that will once again display the glorious covenant love of Christ and his church to a world in need of redemption.”
—David Miller, Church Planter and Lead Pastor, Sentral Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
“In a day and age where men’s and women’s roles are under attack, this book gives a thorough and essential exposition of such a foundational topic. It’s comprehensive. It’s practical. It is sure to be a helpful resource for the church as well as personal discipleship!”
—Dana Cordell, Pastor’s wife, Treasuring Christ Church, Raleigh, North Carolina
“The whole of the Bible helps women understand their purpose as followers of Christ. The Köstenbergers have served both men and women by unpacking the distinction of gender roles and sexual identity in the entirety of the Scriptures. This is a personal, well-researched, comprehensive, and very useful book.”
—Kay Milioni, Pastor’s wife, Open Door Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina; mother
“The result of more than two decades of research by two competent scholars, this clear, compelling, and accessible book fills a gap in literature on this subject.”
—Pete and Vicki Schemm, Senior Pastor, Cave Spring Baptist Church, Roanoke, Virginia; Vicki is a mother and pastor’s wife
From the Author
We've written this book because we're convinced that it's vital to wrestle with our identity as men and women for the sake of healthy marriages, families, and churches but, most importantly, for the true expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our world. What we believe about our identity as men and women is central to who we are as individuals, couples, and families and how each of us pursues our life calling. Biblical manhood and womanhood is too important a subject not to think through carefully as a Christian.
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Top customer reviews
Let me say from the top, don't be intimidated by the title. The phrase biblical theology can be intimidating, and perhaps cause some people to bypass this work. I've been in those shoes before, and I've read those books that are like a slow walking through mud. But I was pleasantly surprised to find this book easy to read. You won't need a dictionary to accompany you on your trip. And it's that readability that makes it so useful to the everyday man and woman. You can speak the truth until you're blue in the face, but if you can't say it in a way that is easily understood than you're doing it wrong.
When I say this work is exhaustive, I mean ex-hau-stive. Have you ever wanted to know every single interaction Jesus had with a woman, regardless of how seemingly insignificant? There's a table for that. How about Jesus' interactions with men? Or the men and women in his parables? There's a table for that too. There's nothing skipped. And even though you may not ever need to reference such a table, the effort shows the care and precision the author's took to be thorough. This is a well-informed, balanced, and biblically faithful overview of the bible's teaching about manhood and womanhood.
It should go without saying that the book addresses the creation narrative and dives deeply into the roles given to Adam and Eve before the fall, and how the fall effected the outworking of those roles. What would a book on men and women be if it didn't start at the beginning? But the strength of this book lies in it's thoroughness. It traverses the Old Testament, showing how God gave male leaders to Israel, especially in worshipful roles as the High Priest. But it also doesn't skip over the notable women in the Old Testament. They address them in what I think are fair and right ways.
Moving to the New Testament they just as much care. Showing Jesus' interactions with men and women, life in the early church, Paul's letters to the churches, and discuss in-depth the most controversial verses in this conversation: Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22-25; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:33b-36; 1 Timothy 2:12-15, 3:2; and Titus 2:4-5. I found their treatment of 1 Timothy - "yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control." - to be fascinating.
In their treatment of the evangelical feminist perspective the Köstenberger's are very charitable with those whom they disagree. Nothing ruins your testimony quicker than being disingenuous and unfair about the counter arguments to your claim. They not only show the counter arguments, but deal with them wisely, biblically, fairly, and pastorally. They have a great handle on the issues.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a solid treatment of the issues surrounding gender roles and desires to learn more about God's good, wise, and wonderful design for men and women
That is a good motivator to make sure you get marriage right. No one wants to have that.
Now let's be clear about something at the start. While this book is directly applicable to those of us who are married, the Kostenbergers have plenty to say for singles and it's not just about how to get a mate. When they go through the Bible, they point out people who served God faithfully and who yet were never married. This includes men and women both.
They definitely go through the Bible as well! They start with Genesis and then give a look all the way through the Bible to see how the relationships between men and women are described. They note that the consistent position throughout the Bible is that in the family, the man is to lead and that this would apply to church and government as well. This does not mean women play no role whatsoever of course, but that the main position has been given to the men.
It's towards the end that they say how this all works out and this is one area I would have liked some more expanding on. For instance, let's go with the house rules of Ephesians 5 and the Kostenbergers argue for male leadership here. That means that a husband is to love his wife definitely as Christ loved the Church, and a wife is to submit to and respect her husband.
Okay. How does that work?
Because we know too often that there has been the abusive husband who has used the submission passage like a whip. I am absolutely convinced the Kostenbergers want nothing to do with that. There is never a place for a husband to abuse his wife. Yet knowing the misuse of the passage does not tell us the proper use. How would they recommend this be lived out? I would like to have seen more on this.
I was also surprised there was not much said about the sexual relationship between the two persons in marriage. How should they approach this? In light of Biblical submission, this is a topic that is important too. We wouldn't want to say a husband has a right to sex on demand of course, but then there is the passage in 1 Cor. 7 about not denying your bodies to one another. Perhaps the Kostenbergers have written on this more elsewhere. If so, I would like to get to see it.
I also found the appendices to be quite helpful. The history of feminism was fascinating and it's certainly led to where we are today. I had no problem seeing them go after Rachel Held Evans either for her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I also found to be severely lacking. The Kostenbergers explain the hermeneutical mistakes that Evans makes quite well.
To which, it's great to see a section on hermeneutics as well. They make it clear that this is not a science per se, but rather a methodology. After all, we may not reach 100% certainty on what a text means, but we can reach a case of high likelihood of what it means. It is not to be seen as an all-or-nothing game.
If you're someone who disagrees with their view on male headship, you will find your position is treated fairly as well. The Kostenbergers are gentle on those who disagree with them. The book is highly approachable and you do not need to be specifically trained in Biblical studies in order to get a lot out of it. In fact, getting this book could be a great beginning to Biblical studies.
Those interested in male/female relationships and what it means to be a man or woman should get this book and learn it well.