We are taking time this year to dive into the topic of Biblical Womanhood (in case you missed it…take a look at last week’s post from Wendy for a lovely introduction!).
As I look around at the world today, I have come to realize our view and definition of Biblical womanhood has become skewed and distorted. Many don’t know, or don’t like, what the Bible says about femininity. Yet womanhood is what God says it is, regardless of how we feel about it. To reject Biblical womanhood and make our own definition for it robs us of an integral, beautiful part of how God created us. How we define Biblical Womanhood matters. Who are we allowing to define womanhood for us? The One who created it? Or someone else?
When I think about what it means to be a woman in our culture, I am overwhelmed by differing definitions of womanhood from the media, newsfeeds, and other influential voices that surround us.
Is womanhood proving to the world we can do anything men can do?
Is it being “egalitarian”? Or “complementarian”?
Is it having five kids? Or 12 kids? Or no kids?
Is it meeting certain standards of beauty?
In Christian culture, egalitarians and complementarians battle head to head while workplace moms and stay-at-home moms eye each other suspiciously. Some say men and women should share all the same roles while others say they should have different roles (and logic tells us both can’t be correct).
Who is right in all of this?
Is someone right?
Why does it matter?
Praise God He has spoken to us clearly on this topic in His Word. From Genesis to Revelation, God speaks to us about how men and women can live to glorify Him as He created us to. What we believe on the topic of Biblical Womanhood matters. It matters if we are living as the Bible calls us to live, because the way we live out our womanhood actually says a lot about what we truly think of God.
In the past I have been quick to allow Christian authors, influencers, conference speakers, Bible apps, and pretty books covered in calligraphy to define Biblical womanhood for me rather than God’s Word. I never second guessed if what that best-selling Christian book on womanhood said was truly Biblical or if the way that well-spoken conference speaker lived her life reflected Biblical femininity. Maybe you can relate.
The trouble is, when we rely on books and apps and conferences to define femininity, we begin building our foundation for Biblical womanhood on pop culture instead of God’s Word. We start having trouble distinguishing who is reflecting the teaching of the Bible, and who may be (intentionally or unintentionally) leading us astray. And before we know it, “Biblical womanhood” has become almost unrecognizable from the womanhood of secular culture. When we post lovely quotes from popular books and talks but neglect to be in our Bibles consistently, we put our souls in danger of following false teaching and definitions.
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned.”2 Peter 2:1-2
When I discredited and disagreed
It wasn’t until I began relying on God’s Word as my foundation that I began asking God to teach me what it looks like to live as a godly woman. He humbled me and showed me ways I was allowing things besides His Word to define Biblical womanhood:
I was discrediting tough passages in the name of “cultural context.”
Women (and men) today are quick to brush aside controversial Bible verses simply by saying they were written to specific women of a specific church at a specific time…and therefore don’t apply to us today. While the Bible was written to real people in a real time and real place, this does not mean these verses are irrelevant now. God’s Word does not change in meaning over time, and there is such comfort in this (there would be serious implications if the meaning of salvation or forgiveness changed over time!). God’s Word is inerrant across cultures and time. Instead of discrediting these passages, I dug into them and trusted God to change my heart to align with His Word.
I found the Apostle Paul a bit annoying and chauvinistic.
When I heard statements like “But Paul said that, not Jesus!” I never thought twice. It seemed logical! But if we believe the Bible is the Word of God, this type of thinking puts us in a tricky spot. We cannot look at Paul’s teachings in the Bible and discredit them without denying the sovereignty of God and authority of His Word. The entire Bible (not just bits and pieces) is God’s Word. When we brush Paul aside, or label him as “chauvinistic”, we are eerily similar to the Pharisees of whom Jesus tells in Luke 11:49:
“For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute…”
Secular and Christian culture alike are quick to persecute Paul through viewing his words as disposable. Instead of scoffing at Paul, I humbled myself to ask God to help me trust the Bible even when doing so is challenging.
I disagreed with the differing roles God gave men and women.
Maybe you have read the Bible. You know what it says about roles for men and roles for women, yet you simply disagree or choose to interpret it differently.
But to disagree with the Bible is to disagree with God Himself.
“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker- an earthenware vessel among the vessels of the earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’ Woe to him who says to a father, ‘what are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?” Isaiah 45:9-10
Why it matters
Why does our definition of Biblical womanhood matter? The Bible is the authoritative Word straight from God Himself. To disagree with it is to disagree with our Creator. There are challenging passages in the Bible that fly in the face of how secular and Christian culture define womanhood. May we not discredit God’s Word by trying to convince ourselves these hard passages concerning womanhood were written for a different time and culture and therefore don’t apply to us today. Many are eager to convince us that if only we were linguistic experts, we could see that these passages actually mean something completely different than what they say. But God’s Word is unchanging and enduring throughout the ages. Praise God for this!
Have you read what God says on this topic in His Word? Not just verses taken out of their context (remember those pretty art prints!), but really read what He says? If you haven’t, I encourage you to take time this year to read through the Bible. What you’ll find is that God has a very high view of women. He has laid out clear expectations for us and given us the Holy Spirit to help us live lives as Godly women. To stand with God and His Word (not just in womanhood, but in everything!) will mean to go against culture in many ways. Will we fear the world? Or will we fear God.