We have looked at five important doctrines that a woman seeking biblical womanhood should stand firm upon in her life. It is because of these doctrines that we affirm a number of beliefs that are central to the Christian faith and those desiring to practice biblical womanhood. For the next several weeks we will examine these beliefs and how they relate to us and the culture in which we live.
Culture, including the feminist movement, has deceived women into believing that men and women should be at odds with one another, that they are competitors instead of being co-equals with differing gifts and divine roles. Men are increasingly depicted as incompetent, dumb oafs. Men-bashing (or husband-bashing) has become a sport among women. Motherhood and marriage are maligned. Careers and independence are the ultimate goals. After all, women can do anything without a man.
This thinking has slowly crept into our churches, into the thinking of Christian women. Too often I see women running themselves in the ground in an attempt to be the woman culture deems perfect. For the woman who seeks biblical womanhood, she must reject these cultural and feminist ideas. Instead, she must affirm that:
We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.
When we understand that our womanhood was not secondary in God’s plan, that we have an integral part in displaying His glory, we are then able to eschew cultural ideals that are contrary to Scripture.
1 Timothy 2:8-10, I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1 Timothy 2 is a powerful passage in regard to authority and how we are to respond to it. For the purposes of today’s topic, however, we will focus on verses 8-10. If you have already read the verses, you may have already seen the phrase that often sets women on edge: modest apparel. Culture tells us: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Not so in this passage.
First, we need to remember two principles that are taught in the Old Testament.
1 Samuel 16:7, But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Two principles are found in this verse. One is often quoted when someone disagrees with a dress standard. “What difference does it make what I wear? The Lord looks on the heart not at my clothes.” True statement. Hard to argue when we sound so spiritual. However,
Matthew 15:18, But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
The application of this verse is not only in the words we speak, but also our actions, our conduct, our appearance. What is in the heart will be seen outwardly in some way or another. Does your outside match your inside? It is extremely important that it does because of the second principle found in 1 Samuel 16:7: Man looks on the outward appearance.
When we focus on our appearance, whether in keeping up with trends, costly apparel, or in the opposite fashion by hyper-focusing on being modest, we fail to point to our heavenly Father in the manner He would have us to.
1 Timothy 2:9 begins with the phrase “in like manner also.” The previous verses deal with praying for our leaders, or authorities, so that we might live peaceably. Paul reminds Timothy that God would have all men to be saved. Our role as a biblical woman is important in this passage. It is through our humility and submission as women demonstrated not through our outward appearance but through our good works (deeds) that we display God’s glory. Our appearance should not be a distraction from the good works that we are to do. Instead, we need to focus on the “good works” that we know to do.
Titus 2:3-5, The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
We have our instructions clearly laid out in Titus 2. Older women are to behave in a way that demonstrates holiness. The phrase “not false accusers” is translated from the Greek word “diablos,” the devil. It can also mean to be a slanderer, backbiter, or sowing discord. The phrase “not given to much wine” would indicate that they need to demonstrate self-control. They are to be teachers of good things. We see that those things to be passed on to the next generation, which as older women should be examples of, are to be sober (disciplined), to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet (self-controlled), and chaste (pure). Typically, the phrase “keepers at home” is taught that the older women should pass on housekeeping skills, which is not a bad application. However, if you look at the word “keeper” in the light of a soccer goalie, the goal “keeper,” a different idea comes to mind. The older women are to teach the younger to guard or defend their homes. How needed this is today!
All of these ideals are in direct opposition to today’s culture. But they are important because of the last phrase of verse 5: that the word of God be not blasphemed. It is our biblical role as women to follow these roles and instructions. In doing so, we are a testimony to the glory and majesty of God and His plan, as well as a visible example as to how the church should respond to the leading of Christ.
The final aspect to examine in this Titus passage is the phrase “obedient to their own husbands.” Yes, this is talking about submissiveness. However, it is more than simply doing what he says. The Greek word is hupotassó which means “I place under.” This is not a forced submission. It is a willing, intentional act of submission. We see additional insight into this aspect in 1 Peter 3.
1 Peter 3:1-6, Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
The word “subjection” in verse 1 of this passage is the same Greek word we saw in the Titus 2 passage. Verses 1-4 indicate that when we as wives demonstrate our intentional submissiveness to our husbands our testimonies may be the evidence to win our unsaved husbands to the Lord. Notice, we have come full circle. Verse 3 says it is not about our outward appearance, but (verse 4) that is the heart of a meek (gentle) and quiet (peaceful) spirit that is of great price (very precious) in God’s eyes.
In the affirmation at the beginning of this entry, we mention “experiencing His blessing.” Some may see this as worldly possessions or a life without problems. That is looking at the surface. We see God’s definition in verses 5-6 in the above passage. We are taken back to the Old Testament to Sara as our example. Sara demonstrated the qualities we are to today. She adorned herself with obedience to her husband and in doing so was ultimately in submission to God and His plan. The Lord blessed her obedience as the mother of the nation of Israel. Sara was part of God’s plan.
We, too, are part of God’s plan.
The framework of this series was taken from the True Woman Manifesto provided through Revive Our Hearts Ministry.