A Theology of Womanhood

CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

Genesis 1:27 (CSB) So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.

True Biblical womanhood begins with understanding how the feminine expression of human nature displays the glory and image of God.

The first and greatest privilege of the human race is to display the image of God in the glory of his holiness.  The human race is created “male and female”, a relationship that captures the essence of God’s being in a manner that goes beyond mere words and is displayed in glory by the unique life of “men” and “women”.

True womanhood displays the relationship of Christ as the body and glory of God:

1 Corinthians 11:7 (CSB) A man should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. So too, woman is the glory of man.

Women are placed in this beautiful picture to display Christ’s relationship to the Father as he is the image and glory of God.

Hebrews 1:3 (CSB) The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

THE IMAGE OF GOD IN MARRIAGE

1 Corinthians 11:3 (CSB) But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

The feminine expression of the image and glory of God is displayed by women in the marriage relationship through submission to their husbands in the same manner as Christ submits to the headship of God.  Women display the glory of both Christ and the Church by the quality of their submission in the marriage relationship:

Ephesians 5:22–28 (CSB) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

1 Peter 3:1–6 (CSB) In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live 2 when they observe your pure, reverent lives. 3 Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, 4 but rather what is inside the heart—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also adorned themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and do not fear any intimidation.

The glory of Christ’s godly submission to our heavenly Father should be put on radiant display by the valor of the wife’s submission to her husband.  In other words, the joy of Christ’s submission to God that we see in his earthly ministry should exist in the wife’s submission to her husband; if Christ’s submission to God was not weak and cowardly, then a woman’s submission to her husband should not be weak and cowardly, and if Christ’s submission to God was from one unified will, then a woman’s submission to her husband should come from one unified will.  All that Christ’s submission to God was, so a woman’s submission to her husband should be.

THE IMAGE OF GOD IN THE CHURCH

1 Timothy 2:12–14 (CSB) I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.

The feminine expression of the glory of God in the Church is not the exercise of doctrinal instruction and authority, but of quietness and submission.  In the same manner that Christ demonstrated these qualities before God, so women are meant to display them in the Church before Christ:

John 12:49 (CSB) For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a command to say everything I have said.

Philippians 2:5–11 (CSB) Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The glory of God is displayed in women when they adopt the same attitude as that of Christ – just as men also adopt the same attitude – who did not exploit his equality with God, but emptied himself of all privilege and became perfectly obedient to God.  In this way women also should not exploit their equality with men, but should empty themselves of their privilege and become perfectly obedient to their husbands (who should lovingly exalt their wives in the same manner that God has exalted Christ).

Women are meant to display the image of God in his holiness, which means that women are arrayed in the glory that is given to them by Christ as the radiance of Christ’s submission to God in all the beauty and glory seen therein.  Women do not display the glory of God when they take glory for themselves and come arrayed in their own garments.  The divine qualities of “quiet submission” are not shameful in Christ.

Therefore, this is the order given to all the churches of Christ:

1 Corinthians 14:33–38 (CSB) As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but are to submit themselves, as the law also says. 35 If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home, since it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Or did the word of God originate from you, or did it come to you only? 37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he should recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38 If anyone ignores this, he will be ignored.

Women display the reverence of quiet submission in the assembly of saints with all the zeal and boldness that Christ displayed his quiet submission to God on earth.  They put on display the fellowship of Christ with the Father when they learn from their husbands in the beauty of submission in the same way that husbands put on display God’s love for Christ when they exalt, serve, and cherish their wives.

This commandment comes from Christ and cannot be ignored in the Church because the image and glory of God cannot be ignored in the Church.  To throw off the glorious garments of “quiet submission” that Christ has prepared for his beloved daughters is disgraceful and wrong.

Therefore, these things are to be diligently taught by women in the Church:

Titus 2:3–5 (CSB) In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.

WOMANHOOD: NOBILITY AND HONOR

Proverbs 31:10 (CSB) Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels.

The qualities that God finds most precious are the qualities that the world despises the most, but they are still far more valuable than anything this world has to offer.  When Christ displayed his submission to God, he saved the whole world from their sins and performed the perfect work of God by which we rejoice in salvation; in the same way, we should celebrate women who display the submission of Christ as being noble and worthy of high praise because of the quiet strength by which they magnify Christ.

Consider the valor of a noble wife:

Proverbs 31:10–31 (CSB) Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. 12 She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from far away. 15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants. 16 She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings. 17 She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong. 18 She sees that her profits are good, and her lamp never goes out at night. 19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed. 22 She makes her own bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. 26 Her mouth speaks wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her: 29 “Many women have done noble deeds, but you surpass them all!” 30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. 31 Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

She is the safeguard of her husband’s heartfelt trust and by her labors her husband suffers no lack in the same way that God was fully pleased with Christ and rejoices in the bounty provided by the strength of his right arm (Christ).

She is wise and diligent in her work; she provides both food and clothing for her whole house and extends her charity to the poor.

She speaks wisdom and provides loving instruction; her quiet submission reflects that of Christ, from whom all wisdom is derived.

Her reward is great and her praise will be high; her husband exalts her with his praises because she is very noble.

Therefore, she will receive the reward of her labor and rejoice when her works praise her in the gates of Zion. 

 

 

 

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