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.
“We know who wears the pants in that family.” Wink, nod.
“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Oh, me.
We laugh at these sayings but they carry a great deal of truth about the women to whom they reference. These are women who obviously are the dominant ones in the family, the ones in control. Sadly, this has entered the church as well. I once heard of a deacon inform his pastor that he was going to have to step down and leave the church. He prefaced it all with, “If I’m going to stay married…” Additionally, we have women who lean on the shoulders of their men whispering their discontent regarding happenings at the church and all but demanding their husbands to do something about it, to confront leadership, to stir up trouble. This is where the verse, A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike (Proverbs 27:15), becomes very real. If a man is going to stop the drip, drip of his discontent wife in order to gain some peace in his life, he might do things that he really does not want to do, things he knows he should not do.
A woman seeking to live a life of biblical womanhood will remember that
We are called as women to affirm and encourage men as they seek to express godly masculinity, and to honor and support God-ordained male leadership in the home and in the church.
This is not a popular thought today in our culture neither is it popular in our churches and homes. Do you understand what it is to affirm this idea? It means that we show a strong belief in or dedication to the statement and that we do so confidently. We also need to encourage men in expressing their God-given roles. Do we inspire with courage, spirit, or hope? Do we spur them on to succeed in these areas? Do we give them the help they need in order to accomplish the responsibilities of leadership that have been place on them whether at home or at church?
Mark 9:35, And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
Mark 10:42-45, But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Godly men will serve. Those who do not follow biblical manhood will, because of sin, do things which are far from servanthood leadership. However, it is through the meek and quiet spirit of a woman, a woman in biblical submission to her authorities who can encourage a man, even one not following the Lord, to be the kind of man he ought to be. (NOTE: I am not referencing those in an abusive relationship. If you find yourself in this type of situation, please, seek help immediately for your safety and the safety of your children.)
A good leader is a good follower first. Ultimately, the One we should be following is our heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. A good leader leads by example.
Genesis 2:18, And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
In Day 9’s study we thoroughly went through the term “help meet.” God never intended for man to be alone. Man was giving the directive to serve, to work, and to protect. He needed someone for whom he could do those things. Woman entered the picture. She was not a weak version of the man. She was and is uniquely gifted to complement, to complete the man. Scripture (1 Peter 3:4) tells women to have a meek and quiet spirit. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is strength under control. We saw in Day 9 that part of the description of a “help meet” is the Hebrew word ezer which means help or helper. This was not a weak helper but a strong helper. Imagine how much better our relationships might be if we approach them with our strength under control.
1 Peter 5:1-4, The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Peter gives direction to the elders (pastors) on how to lead as pastors, God-ordained leaders of the church. A man leading the church (pastor) is charged to feed the flock, to teach them, to exhort them. He is to have a willing oversight (care) for them not because he feels obligated or forced to do so. A pastor is also to be an example (pattern, model) to the church. As women, we are to encourage our pastoral leadership to ascribe to these attributes. The best way is through prayer and obedience to God’s Word. Hebrews 13 :7, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Hebrews 13:17, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
1 Corinthians 14:34, Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
1 Timothy 2:11-3:7, Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 3 1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
These verses often create quite a stir among women. This is why it is so important to conduct an in depth Bible and word study sometimes. When we simply skim over a verse, we might attribute worldly philosophies that were never intended or instructed by Scripture. To illustrate this we are going to focus on “women keep silence.”
In 1 Corinthians 14:34 ,we see the first usage of the English word silence. Many would say that it means that women are not to speak in church, however, that would be a surface conclusion. The word used first (silence) is the Greek word sigaó which means “I keep silent.” This indicates a willing, purposeful action, an act of submission. Then we see the word “speak” further in the verse. The Greek word here is laleó and means “I talk” or “I speak.” This indicates willfully speaking. It is prideful, an unsubmissive act.
Now let’s look at the word silence in 1 Timothy 2:7. The Greek word here is hésuchia which means quietness, stillness, calmness. It does not indicate not to speak but rather the attitude women are to have: a calm inner quality.
As we can see, in no way do these words mean not to speak. For that we must have the Greek word sigé which means silence or a hush. This word is only found in Acts 21:40 (as Paul is being accused by the Jews and was given leave to speak to them and the crowd silenced) and Revelation 8:1 (when the seventh seal was opened there was silence for half an hour). This word indicates an absence of speaking.
So, what does this all mean? Well, now we must look at a few other words to help fill in the context. 1 Corinthians 14:34 states that it is not permitted for a woman to speak. The Greek word here is epitrepo’. It is translated here to mean permitted but it is also translated elsewhere to mean entrusted or allowed. Let’s rewrite the verse with the new understanding and definitions.
1 Corinthians 14:34, Let your women keep silence (I keep silent, submissive) in the churches: for it is not permitted (entrusted or allowed) unto them to speak (I speak, unsubmissive); but they are commanded to be under obedience (hupotassó – I place under, I submit) as also saith the law.
When we look at the verse in this way it completely changes what many of us may have thought.
Now to see 1 Timothy 2 and 3. We will do a similar method as above with several of the verses.
1 Timothy 2:11-12, Let the woman learn in silence (hésuchia – quietness, stillness, calmness) with all subjection (hupotagé – submission, obedience). 12 But I suffer (epitrepó – entrust, allow) not a woman (guné – woman, wife, lady) to teach (didaskó – I teach, direct, admonish) , nor to usurp authority (authenteó – I domineer, govern, have mastery over) over the man (anér – a male human being, a man, husband), but to be in silence (hésuchia – quietness, stillness, calmness).
As we continue with the above passage we see the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. Adam was not deceived (apataó – lead into error); Eve, however, was deceived and was in the transgression (parabasis – overstepping, deviation). Ladies, doesn’t that describe us at times? We overstep our bounds. We are prone to be led astray from God’s Word through the slightest of deviations found in the world around us.
The passage continues to describe the qualities of a pastor, another leader and authority in our lives. Why are the mentioned? Because we are to be subject and in submission to them. From the beginning, God has established authorities. First was in the home: husband, then wife, then children as they were added. In Old Testament times, the leadership was through God’s men in the priesthood. Today, we can equate that to pastoral leadership.
These authority structures are not by accident. They demonstrate the bigger picture that God would have us to recognize: God, the Father sending His Son, Jesus Christ (the headship of the church) to lead and guide His bride, the church.
Ladies, living lives in submission and reverence to these authorities is a vital part of living a life in biblical womanhood.
The framework of this series was taken from the True Woman Manifesto provided through Revive Our Hearts Ministry.