Patristic and NT scholar, the daughter of Dr. A. Stanley Worrall and the grand-daughter of two ministers. She was briefly a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge before moving to Birmingham University in 1971, where she became Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology and head of the Department of Theology in 1986. From 1988 to 1992 she was Head of the School of Philosophy and Theology, from 1995 to 1997 Dean of the Faculty of Arts and from 1997 to 2002 Pro-Vice-Chancellor. She retired in 2005.
Her academic works include Sacrifice and the Death of Christ (1975), Can These Dry Bones Live? (1982), From Nicea to Chalcedon (1983), The Art of Performance (1990), The Making of the Creeds (1991) and Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (1997). She was also one of the editors of The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature (2004) and of The Cambridge History of Early Christianity: Origins to Constantine (2006). In 1989 she gave the Peake Memorial Lecture on 'The Art of Performance, or Is there a future for biblical criticism?'.At a more popular level, Face to Face (1984; in an enlarged, more theological level, 1990) was a reflection on having a son born with profound learning difficulties. For nine years she contributed a monthly column to the Methodist Recorder.
She has served on the connexionalFaith and Order Committee and the Council of The Queen's College, Birmingham. She led the Bible Studies at the 5th World Conference on Faith and Order at Santiago in 1993. In 2017 a newly acquired building at the Queen;s Foundation was named Frances Young House in her honour.