Reblogged from LampOnAStand. Anyone sensing a “theme” here? 😉 AGM
It’s a valid question, and one that has been answered by many from a variety of perspectives. Someone that does not consider the Bible as authority in their life, for example, might dismiss the concept quickly and label it archaic or oppressive without any deeper consideration. A person who has not studied the Bible with regard to context and in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would also likely answer this question with very negative conclusions.
Sometimes even those who do consider the Bible as authority in their life and study it with regard to context and in light of the Gospel have a critical definition of the phrase “biblical womanhood.” At the base of their criticism is often the observation that women striving for biblical womanhood can become absorbed in the texts of Proverbs 31 & Titus 2 and character studies on the well-known women in the Bible, and as a result fail to dig deeper into the Bible as a whole. In other words, critics might see promoters of biblical womanhood as neglecting the “biblical” part and spending too much time on the “womanhood” part.
Because I consider myself a promoter of biblical womanhood, and I recognize the broad spectrum of criticism towards this concept, I find it worthwhile to share where I stand. While I support biblical womanhood, I also agree with the concern that it can become too heavily based on the limited areas of the Bible that specifically apply to women. For this reason, I want to share with you the most important elements of my definition of ”biblical womanhood.”
The Heart of Biblical Womanhood
As I have grown to embrace this idea of biblical womanhood, it has not been out of love and obedience to the text of Titus 2 or Proverbs 31. It is not based on the lives of women in Scripture, and it is not heavily informed by the lessons learned from a Titus 2 mentor woman in my life.
The heart of my pursuit of biblical womanhood is found in the following verse:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God. All Scripture is profitable for teaching. All Scripture is profitable for rebuking and correcting. All Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. In light of these truths, my definition of a biblical womanhood is as follows:
A Christian life that is characterized by both the God-given identity of female and an affirmation of the following statements:
All of Scripture is inspired by God and therefore authoritative and applicable in the life of a Christian.
Because all of Scripture is profitable for teaching, a Christian woman must seek to LEARN from the Bible as a whole.
Because all of Scripture is profitable for rebuking and correcting, a Christian woman must yield to it with repentance and change when called.
Because all of Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness, a Christian woman must train in righteousness with all of Scripture as her guide.
When I tell you that I desire to promote biblical womanhood on this blog, my intention is to promote the message that Christian women are intended to live in obedience to the Word of God as a whole. That is to say that our lives must acknowledge the authority of all Scripture with regard to context and in light of the Gospel, including texts that specifically apply to women but certainly not elevating those texts to a level of higher importance than any other.
A biblical woman is not a wife and/or mother who is training in the righteousness of marriage, parenting, and homemaking, though striving for righteousness in such roles is a clear, holy calling. A biblical woman, in my understanding, is a Christian woman who not only reads Scripture and believes it, but diligently responds to it in obedience. A woman who believes God has authority over her life and is being transformed by His Spirit with the truth of God’s Word is indeed a promoter of biblical womanhood.
Why does it matter?
You might be reading this and thinking, “Well, that’s basically a description of a biblical Christian, male or female. Let’s just call it biblical personhood.” Why even bother with the phrase “biblical womanhood?”
While some have responded to that very question by landing on “biblical personhood” and abandoning “biblical womanhood” altogether, I believe that there are historical, cultural, and [above all] biblicalreasons to maintain the fight distinctly for biblical womanhood, as well as biblical manhood. I’ll briefly touch on these three reasons in reverse order.
First, biblically, if we are to consider all of scripture as a complete, inerrant work that is interpreted using the entire text collectively, I don’t believe we can interpret any one part without consideration to the whole. Part of that whole is the truth in Genesis that God created man and then created woman as a suitable helper for man. It is significant that the suitable helper He created was not another man, identical in form and gifting.
It is significant that the missing piece of his perfect creation was, in fact, something similar to but substantially different than man. In creating a helper that was “suitable,” it can be concluded that those differences are significant in meeting specific needs within creation. He created woman, an equal recipient of God’s love and of equal purpose to love and worship God, but different in her strengths, abilities, and attributes and their function within all of creation. He could have created the human race to function with only one sex, man or woman, capable of reproduction and sustainment of life, but he did not. As a promoter of biblical womanhood, I am saying that this fact matters, and it influences how I interpret and apply the rest of Scripture.
Texts that specifically address the roles of men and women and indicate differences in areas of service, responsibilities, and gifting provide essential insight into God’s design for his people. Because I was created to be a woman, knitted together in my mother’s womb by a God with a plan, and therefore fearfully and wonderfully made to be different from man, I believe that I am uniquely suited to glorify God and serve Him in ways that someone created male could never fulfill. As a woman, I am capable of displaying God’s character to the world in a way that is different from a man, and also complementary to a man’s ability to display God’s character. By pursuing biblical womanhood, I am saying that this fact matters in my overall vision and pursuit of a life that glorifies God.
In addition to the belief that interpreting Scripture as a whole demands consideration of biblical manhood and womanhood, history has taught us time and time again that the passages of Scripture that specifically address differences between male and female have been some of the most dangerously misused, poorly interpreted, attacked, and correctively questioned. This abuse of God breathed truth is so pervasive throughout history, both within the Church and outside of it, that I believe a failure to stand firmly beside it with conviction and adequate apologetics is also a failure to protect the integrity of the Bible as a whole and the sound doctrine of the Church inspired by it.
A rejection or distortion of small portions of the Bible is a rejection or distortion of the entire Bible. The portions that portray God’s unique design for men and women must be carefully interpreted and applied in order to best represent the complete work of Scripture in the face of persecution and false teaching.
Finally, I believe the impact of feminism on our culture and even within the Church has broadly distorted the meaning and authority of Scripture as a whole, and their point of entry has been the Bible’s depiction of women and flowed into almost every area of faith and practice. There is a spiritual war happening throughout this world, and I believe one of the most crucial battles is taking place as women (and men) everywhere are creating their own truth in place of God’s design for His creation, and convincing God’s people to do the same. The clear presence of this battle can not be ignored as it seeks to deteriorate the authority of all Scripture by making a mockery out of many parts of Scripture. By promoting biblical womanhood, I am declaring my position within this battle and guarding against the ever-present temptation to compromise the authority of Scripture.
While I consider this a brief and limited explanation of my stance, I hope that it helps clarify what I mean when I refer to biblical womanhood here on the blog. I know some of you are quite familiar with this concept, while others are still unsure of what I intend to communicate with the phrase “biblical womanhood” and have asked me to explain.
For additional information from people far more qualified to write on this topic than I, please visit the True Woman website and the list of affirmations found in the True Woman Manifesto, which most closely represent where I stand on this issue.