God has a beautiful plan for womanhood that will bring order and fulfillment if it is followed in obedience. God's plan is that one man and one woman, of equal standing before Him but of different roles, should be bonded together as one. In His wisdom and grace He specifically created each for his or her role.
At creation, God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and from him God took a rib and made a woman (Genesis 2:2 1). She was a direct gift from the hand of God, made from man and for man (1 Corinthians 11:9). "Male and female created he them", (Genesis 1:27) each different but made to complete and complement each other. Although the woman is considered the "weaker vessel" (1 Peter 3:7), this does not make her inferior. She was made with a purpose in life that only she could fill.
To woman has been given one of the greatest privileges in the world, that of molding and nurturing a living soul.
Her influence, especially in the realm of motherhood, affects her children's eternal destination. Even though Eve brought condemnation upon the world with her act of disobedience, God considered women worthy of a part in the plan of redemption (Genesis 3:15). "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman." (Galatians 4:4). He entrusted to her the bearing of and the caring for his own dear Son. The woman's role is not insignificant!
A distinction between the sexes is taught throughout the Bible. Paul teaches if a man has long hair, it is a shame unto him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her (1 Corinthians 11:14,15). "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy 22:5). Their roles are not to be interchangeable.
In the Garden of Eden, God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone," and He made a help meet for him-a companion, someone to satisfy his needs (Genesis 2:18).
Proverbs 31:10-31 tells in detail what kind of helpmeet the woman is to be. The supportive role of the wife to the husband is very evident in this description of the ideal woman. She "will do him good and not evil." Because of her honesty, modesty and chastity, "her husband doth safely trust in her." By her efficiency and diligence she would look well to her household. The basis for her virtue is found in verse 30: "a woman that feareth the Lord." This is a reverential fear that gives meaning and purpose to her life. Only as the Lord lives in her heart can she be the woman she was meant to be.
To become a child of God she needs to repent, confess her sins and accept Christ through faith. With Christ she will be able to live a self-denied life. The Holy Spirit will give strength, courage, and direction to fulfill her duties. He will grace her life with humility, modesty, and with that inner "ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:3,4). Proper, modest dress adds to the hidden charm of a woman. She should never draw attention to her body by being overdressed or underdressed.
To avoid confusion and establish order, someone needs to be the head and God has ordained that this should be the man (1 Corinthians 11:3). Marriage is to be a harmonious relationship similar to that of Christ and the Church. Christ is subject to God, man is subject to Christ, and woman is subject to man. Why would any woman rebel at her position in the framework of authority when even Christ, the Son, is subject to the Father? As the wife reverences her husband, she is obedient to the scripture (Ephesians 5:33), and her husband is then able to bear the responsibility that God has laid on his shoulders.
The liberation movement has challenged God's blueprint for womanhood. Women are clamoring for freedom and fulfillment by asking for total equality. This puts them into a power struggle- into a competitive role instead of a complementary partnership. Their quest for freedom only leads them into bondage. Nevertheless, the selfishness and ungodliness of many men is without excuse. In this context some of women's frustrations can be understood. Ironically, the very thing that many women are rejecting is God's way of establishing the woman in a life that fully satisfies.
If a women moves aggressively into the man's world and there seeks independence and equality, she loses her femininity, that reserved, modest sweetness that men respect and God approves.
Fulfillment comes as she cultivates those gifts for which she was created. A woman's submission to her husband liberates her from a multitude of frustrating problems, and her submission to God's order frees her from guilt. Submission is a blessing, not a curse!
The pattern of men taking the leadership and women following will bring a blessing to single women as well as married women, to daughters as well as wives.
As an outward sign of this submission and her submission to Christ, the Christian woman is commanded to have her head covered for praying and prophesying* (1 Corinthians 11:3-5). Man is subject to Christ and should therefore pray with his head uncovered. Woman is subject to man and should pray with her head covered. Wearing a head covering is a recognition of this divine order.
[* The writers of the article recognizes a sister should wear it "in her times of private devotions and prayer, the sister's head should be covered. A Christian sister would naturally want to wear the head covering whenever she is giving Christian service. In truth, all of a believer's daily life should be lived in service unto Christ. It seems appropriate, then, that the Christian women wear the prayer covering whenever she appears in public. She thus leaves a constant testimony of her submission to God and her husband.]
Love in marriage is to be pure and is given for pleasure as well as for propagation. Woman was uniquely created for the special task of bearing children, a creative fulfillment. God said, "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). To purposely choose not to have children is sidestepping God's principle and forfeiting one of the most rewarding experiences in a woman's life.
Woman's first duty is the making and keeping of her home. Many a modern woman chooses a career, hires a baby-sitter, and rushes her children through childhood so that she can be free to pursue her selfish interests. The Bible teaches that women are to be "keepers at home" (Titus 2:5). This means a women is to be there, loving her husband, teaching and enjoying her children, and applying the homemaking arts with joy in her heart. This mother is the heartbeat of the home. She helps lay the foundation of moral standards there. The warmth of her spirit quietly establishes security in the lives of little children-confidence, that in spite of their problems and fears, all will be right. Why would any woman trade this noble place for some dollars earned or for some coveted position? This Bible way is not just being old-fashioned; it is God's order. The women who wholeheartedly accept God's plan will be blessed.
In certain instances, a woman's role extends beyond her home. Examples are given in both the Old and New Testaments of godly women who had responsibilities in God's kingdom. Also today there is a place for the Christian woman to serve within the Church. As she exercises her inborn attributes of love, gentleness, and compassion, she is a living example of that which becomes godliness. Older women are exhorted to teach the young women, "that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:4,5). Single Christian women, who do not have the cares of a home and a family, are able to fill a special place (1 Corinthians 7:34).
There are definite guidelines for women's behavior in the Church. They are not to usurp authority over men. Paul instructs, "Let your women keep silence in the churches" (1 Corinthians 14:34,35; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). The order that God has planned for women excludes them from preaching. Faithful women find places for active participation in Christian service where they can humbly and consistently fellowship with other Christians.
May each woman fill her role with the grace of God in her heart, live in submissive obedience to His will, and humbly give of herself in the daily practices of life. As each person fills his respective place in God's plan, there is beautiful harmony that emerges in the heart, the home, and the church.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon