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Biblical Womanhood: What I Know

Does homeschooling make you a better Christian woman? Can you honor God and be a working mom? Are you less of a woman if you're single, or childless? Does our freedom in Christ open the door to any ministry position? Does God's triune order imply that there's a natural hierarchy to families and churches? What in the world is "biblical womanhood" and "biblical manhood"?

Does homeschooling make you a better Christian woman? Can you honor God and be a working mom? Are you less of a woman if you're single, or childless? Does our freedom in Christ open the door to any ministry position? Does God's triune order imply that there's a natural hierarchy to families and churches? What in the world is "biblical womanhood" and "biblical manhood"?

These topics get more discussion in our household, perhaps, than most. God's calling Hubby into men's ministry, and lately I've spent all my time in textbooks for a doctorate in women's ministry. So you can imagine that we talk about what it truly means to be a woman or man in the biblical model. A lot.

And we're not alone. For centuries, Christ-following, Spirit-led believers had debated, argued, fought. They've extrapolated from the text. They've dismissed passages they don't like and inflated ones the do. They've overlayed scriptural mandates with culture and preference and personality traits and claimed, "thus saith the Lord."

I know women who believe that if you chose not to stay at home with your kids, feeding them values and homemade organic meals, you weren't honoring God as much as you could be. I know others who feel like they've missed the "biblical womanhood" boat because they're single or childless. Some women are doormats in the name of Jesus. Others run over their families, friends, organizations to get "God's work" done. We've done some damage over the years in the name of seeking true biblical womanhood.

As I get more into scripture through my studies, I'm going to refine what I think, and learn things I don't know. Maybe I'll even change my mind on some big issues. But here's what I know:

1. We (women and men) were created in the Image of God, to mirror Him. We were created on purpose, different but suitably matched, to work and worship and fill the earth in relationship with one another.  

2. We (women and men) are equal in value, equal in inheritance, equal at the foot of the cross. I'll save the hierarchy discussion for later posts, but I think all of virtually all of us can agree on this.

3. We (women and men) are different in our natures, our substance. While traits are often good indicators of this difference, they are not the difference itself. Thus, a woman who has undergone a double mastectomy does not lose her inherent feminine nature, and a male infant who suffers a botched circumcision doesn't lose his inherent masculine one.  Any given behavior or personality trait, though reliable enough to be stereotypical on a macro-level, breaks down on a micro-level pretty regularly.

4. Legalism is bad and obedience is good. We (women and men) need to strip away formulas and human rules. If God leads me to  live without running water, serve my family only orange foods, and wear wool year round, I need to obey (after A LOT of confirmation), but I can't assume that a plumbingless orange itchfest is God's will for you.

5. We (women and men) must let the Bible speak. When the Bible and culture conflict, the Bible wins. With honest exegesis, we try see and remove the assumptions and cultural ideas we swim around in all day. We try to find out what the scripture really meant when it was written, and then try to bring the universal truth forward. We don't start with what our culture says is right, then conform scripture to say what we want it to say. On the flip side, we need to be careful not to overstate what the Bible says to combat what we think is wrong with culture.

6. We (women and men) still need to live by other biblical principles. Our passion for the debate and our conviction of certain interpretations don't give us a free pass on the basics. The greatest is still love. We still need to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. We're still supposed to speak the truth in love. The fruit of the Spirit is still normative, and we still need to shine with grace and peace and love. We still need to honor God and never grieve the Spirit, and spread the good news of Jesus Christ to a watching world.

So whether you're single or married, commute to work or stay at home, have kids or don't, God created you on purpose and in his image. You can be whoever you were created to be, even if it's a orange wool toilet paper-using girl.

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Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton’s passion is the transformation that happens when women get access to God’s Word and God’s Word gets access to women. She was twenty-five when her life was turned upside down by an encounter with Jesus Christ. With an insatiable thirst for scripture and theology, she soon headed to Dallas Theological Seminary to learn more about Jesus, and left with a Th.M. with an emphasis in Media Arts. She, along with two friends from DTS, travel the nation filming the independent documentary Looking for God in America. She loves speaking and teaching and is the author of Insight for Living Ministry’s Meeting God in Familiar Places and hundreds of ads, which pay the bills. Her big strong hubby Paul is a former combat medic, which is handy since Laura’s almost died twice already. She loves photography, travel and her two pugs.

2 Comments

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    Sue Bohlin

    Wait a minute. . .

    . . . are you daring to suggest there are possibilities for women besides making babies and making coffee? Scandalous! [irony OFF]

    Great post, Laura! Happy doctorate-ing!

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