Biblical womanhood is often a hotly debated topic. Both women and men have passionately expressed their varying opinions on what it means to be a “biblical” woman, and I have also found myself frequently weighing in on the topic.
In 2016, I began a women’s ministry with the hope of helping women to understand and embody the concept of biblical womanhood. To be completely honest, I didn’t 100% understand how to teach others what it meant to be a biblical woman. However, I did know that if I was to understand anything about biblical womanhood and express those things clearly to other women, then I must read, understand, and rightly apply the teachings found in God’s Word (i.e. Scripture), and that is where I began my search for clarity.
Before exploring the topic in greater depth, let’s take a moment to establish a working definition of biblical womanhood. Bible teacher and author Kristie Anyabwile provides a great foundational understanding of biblical womanhood by describing the concept as, “living out the Bible, the Scriptures, the Word of God in the uniqueness of who God has made us as women.” Bearing this in mind, I think it’s fair to say that, at the core, biblical womanhood is simply a call to live as God has commanded, and the same call applies to men as well. The only differentiation between the two is how we specifically live out this calling in our God-ordained roles as men and women.
LIES ABOUT BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve certainly had my fill of lies surrounding biblical womanhood, and while it’s easy to express my complete repulsion with said lies, I can’t help but attribute this problem to the fact that far too many women (and men) are only perpetuating the bad teaching that they’ve received regarding the subject. I believe the misrepresentation of biblical womanhood is rooted in the miseducation about biblical womanhood. Hence, I find this opportunity to discuss the subject particularly timely.
LIE # 1 - “IF YOU WANT TO LEARN ABOUT BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD YOU SHOULD READ PROVERBS 31 AND TITUS 2.”
As women, our objective in studying the Bible should not be to only learn how to care for our husbands and children, manage the home, and teach younger women. While these are very important elements, these are not the only elements of Christian womanhood. Instead, we should study the Bible to learn the truths of God. It is not a question of becoming a better version of yourself—but becoming more Christlike. Thus, Scripture applicable to Christian women is not in any way limited to Proverbs 31, Titus 2, or Ephesians 5.
A.W. Tozer writes, “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” Simply put, we must diligently commit to the study of Scripture in its entirety. We need to soak in the truths of God that are presented all throughout the Bible.
LIE # 2 - “BEING A BIBLICAL WOMAN SUGGESTS LOVING MAKE-UP, FLOWERS, AND ALL THINGS GIRLY.”
I’m your classic “girly girl.” I love a “beat” face, a cute nail polish, and all the smell-good lotions and body fragrances. The rose is my favorite flower, and I’ve never gone a summer without having my toes painted in the prettiest shades of pink. But here’s the thing—all of the aforementioned are personal preferences that I have. None of these things make me more of a biblical woman. Makeup, nail polish, and jewelry may be aesthetically appealing, but real beauty is cultivated when our hearts are drenched in the fullness of God’s glorious word.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” What is Paul saying here? That it is wrong to care about our appearance? Absolutely not! Paul is simply expressing that women should be more concerned about pursuing godliness than they are about their appearance. Being a biblical woman does not mean that you have to like pink, flowers, or makeup. Ultimately, being a biblical woman is rooted in one’s desire to live authentically for God.
LIE # 3 - “YOUR VALUE TO THE KINGDOM IS LIMITED TO *INSERT RANDOM THING.*”
Some of the godliest women I know live in starkly different worlds. Some are stay-at-home moms, some work full-time outside of the home. Some eloquently exercise their gifts of exhortation and teaching while others prefer to quietly serve behind the scenes. Some are married and some are single. Do you want to know what I find incredibly beautiful about this wide-ranging dynamic? The value these women bring to the kingdom is not limited to a specific role. There is a space in ministry for each of them, whether it is through serving their families, serving the church, or serving those outside the church. Their respective ministries are not more or less valuable because of their marital status, ability to have children, etc.
In essence, biblical womanhood can be plainly summed up as biblical godliness. We should ask ourselves, “What does God’s Word say about godliness? How can I cultivate godliness in my life?”
When asked this question, my friend Anna Hight responded with the following thoughts: “Pursuing prayer with faithful persistence. Diligence in attending worship and participating in the life of the church. Seeking out service in family, church, community and friendships, to love our brothers and sisters well and cheerfully. The discipline of thoughts, words, and activity so as to live with integrity before God, and in such a way that your life adorns the gospel and draws attention to Christ, and not to yourself.” And to that, I’ll simply say, “Amen, sister. Amen.”