References to Women Christians in Acts
In the course of preparing a couple of essays on Acts over the last several months, I noticed something interesting: Several times, the author specifically mentions “both men and women” in references to the early Christian circles that feature in his narratives. (There are, of course, other interesting references in Acts, e.g., 1:14.) Here are the instances that drew my attention:
- 5:14. Both men and women became believers in response to apostolic preaching and attendant “signs and wonders”.
- 8:12. Likewise, in response to Philip’s preaching, “men and women” were baptized.
- 8:3; 9:2; 22:4. In all these references to persecution of believers by Saul/Paul, the author mentions “men and women” as victims.
I can’t claim to have identified and canvassed all the scholarly literature on women in Acts, but in the publications I have consulted these texts don’t feature. In his commentary on Acts, C. K. Barrett notes the references, and rightly observes, e.g., “the concern for the role of women often noted in the gospel [Luke] continues in Acts” (A Crticial and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles,Volume 1, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994, p. 275).
He’s right, of course. But is there more to be said? Why in particular does the author underscore the “equal-opportunity” approach to persecution of believers? If anyone can point us to some good treatment of this matter, do so. Otherwise, maybe a topic for some student?