At the beginning of this year, a passion was sparked inside of my heart – a passion for Biblical womanhood. There’s a whole lot of voices out there on what it means to be a woman, but to know the truth there’s really only one source to turn to: the One who made her.
When we choose to look at womanhood through the lens of Scripture, through the eyes of The Lord, we will discover how incredibly valued and cherished we are by our loving Father, and how wonderfully important His calling for us is. There is no one more pro-woman than our God!
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
The first page of the Bible. Genesis 1. God creates the heavens, and the earth, and everything on it. Each day He forms something, and each day He calls it good. We get to the sixth day, and here God says “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” .. “so God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:26,27) Catch that repetitive idea, we are made in the image of God.
Skip forward a few paragraphs to chapter 2 – “Life in God’s Garden”. God planted a beautiful, lush, perfect garden. He put the man there to take care of the garden. Here we run into our first “not good” – Adam was alone. So God put every animal and every bird into the garden, but “for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:20) So God created the first woman, and with this His design was perfectly complete.
In the next chapter of the story, sin enters the world. Because of this sin, God casts Adam and Eve out of their perfect life in the garden. Because of their sin, we are all living in a fallen state. Because of their sin, men and women will always struggle to live at peace with one another. Because of sin, we have misogyny and misandry, oppression and inequality. Because of our sin, the world is not how God intended it to be, but that has not changed how He views us.
In God’s eyes, men and women are equal. We are both created by God. We are both made in His image. We are equally called to obedience and responsibility. We are equally guilty and sinful, and therefore equally in need of a Savior, and equally called to God’s grace. We have different God-ordained roles to fulfill, but at our core, we are completely equal in value and worth.
One thing that really breaks my heart is hearing others talk about the Bible being “degrading” towards women. This is so far from the truth – women are incredibly valued throughout the Bible. They are not merely an accessory to it’s overarching story, they are completely necessary and quite often contributed significant roles! As we journey from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we see the story unfold of the Promised Messiah. In the first chapter of Matthew is the genealogy of Jesus – where four women are mentioned by name. (This is significant because the author of Matthew was a Jewish man – in Jewish culture, women were far inferior to men, and genealogies commonly only listed the male head of the families.) Throughout the Old Testament, these women were critical to maintaining the family line that would bear the Savior. (Even to the point of rescuing it from imminent threats!)
Jesus’ genealogy is rescued from barrenness through the righteousness of Tamar. (Gen. 38) Rahab showed kindness to the spies, (Josh. 2) and her life was spared for her great faith. Ruth exampled fierce commitment to her mother-in-law when she chose to follow her to a foreign land after her husband had passed way, and through Naomi’s wise plan she marries Boaz, the son of Rahab, (making her the great grandmother of King David.) Abigail’s wisdom prevented David from starting a bloody battle. (1 Sam. 25)
Moses’ mother and sister hid him in a basket on the river as a baby, sparing his life. (Ex. 2:1-10) Hannah, who was barren, conceived a son by the grace of God and offered him back to the Lord to grow up in the temple. (1 Sam. 1) Esther’s bravery helped her to approach the king, and God used her in His plan to save her people.
Mary was unmarried and still practically a child herself when the angel appeared to her and told her she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and be the mother of Jesus. (Matt. 1, Luke 1 + 2) Anna, the prophetess, spread the word that the Redeemer had been born. (Luke 2:36-38) There was a group of women who followed Jesus and provided for Him during His earthly ministry. (Luke 8:2-3) Lydia was the first woman baptized in her town, and spread the good news to the rest of her household. (Acts 16:11-15) Paul mentions many women in his letters – Priscilla, who ministered alongside her husband (Acts 18), Phoebe (Ro. 16:1-2), Euodia and Syntyche. (Phil 4:2-3)
We see the value of women in the way that Jesus interacted with them. He recognized their importance. He respected them. He spoke to them, even when it went against the customs of that time. For example, the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 – in that time, men would not speak to a woman, much less one who was a foreigner. Yet Jesus told her everything about herself, and offered her living water. Jesus was good friends with two sisters, Mary and Martha. (Luke 10:38-42, John 11-12) It was also women who were the first at the tomb when Jesus rose on the third day.
While every one of these women had unique stories and unique contributions to the Bible as a whole, they had one thing in common. They all lived in obedience to their Creators design for them as women. They clung to God as their guide and they followed Him where He led them. They didn’t try to be something that they weren’t created to be. They didn’t try to walk in footsteps that were not theirs to fill. They knew their roles, and they did them well.
Women are infinitely valuable in the eyes of the Father. We are deeply loved and cherished by Him. And it is clear in the Bible that God uses women in incredible ways according to His plan.
Despite what the culture might try to tell us, God has not set traps for us by making us women, or limited our potential. A woman who happily follows His design for her femininity will discover the truest form of freedom, not bondage. He has designed roles for us to fill that a man can’t, whether it is in our friendships, marriages, homes, churches, etc. Living according to His intentions will bring us life-giving joy. We are created by Him, we are loved by Him, and we are valued by Him beyond measure.