The teaching of Jesus that we will keep His commandments if we love Him is the most fundamental basis for Christians. However, will we still obey those very teachings if God’s Word teaches something which makes us uncomfortable?
When studying Genesis 2:21-22, we find that God created man and woman in a different way. He first made man from the dust of the ground, then from the side of man He made woman. Although God named Adam, notice that it was man who named her woman. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh and she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man” (Gen. 2:23; 3:20). God’s method of creation suggests the difference between men and women.
We have a blueprint for today, just as it was written in the beginning and put into action, about how to keep peace and harmony, both between man and woman and also the family, society and the church that Christ was to establish. As for the woman, God has molded her, given her an important role, and in Proverbs 31:10 tells her that “her price is far above rubies.” When she was created, she was the crowning act of His creation.
Somehow, people today seem to dislike the original model and are trying to cheapen it. Some have indicated that the teachings are “out of date for today’s woman” because of culture differences. Some even say women should have more of a leadership role since there are more women than men in some congregations. However, God did not intend that the authority in the church be by popular vote or that we could add or subtract to fit our liking.
1 Corinthians 11:3 gave the authority that equates spiritual matters to the man over the woman with the same authority as He gave Christ to have over man. He has already told us what He expects from men and women in worship. Do we disobey because we do not like His instructions? 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 and 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 teach that women should remain silent in the assembly (except for singing—Eph. 5:19) and does not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
What then is the role of the woman in the church? If we are honest in our searching we will find that the Bible speaks of women who have had very important roles in serving God throughout the ages. Older Christian women have a duty to instruct the younger women, using Scripture and their own insights gained from years of service. In fulfilling the role that God established for her she is to act as a godly woman. This role involves support, service and teaching younger women as Titus 2:3-5 instructs the older women to do.
She is to admonish them to exercise self-control, to be affectionate to their own husbands, to correct and admonish their children, to be restrained in their passion and desires, to be modest in how they dress and to have good character. What better person to teach about these things than a godly woman who has herself weathered these circumstances, both good and bad, that constitute godliness, marriage and children? The instructions were not limited to married women, however, because only four of the admonitions are directed to those who are married.
Sadly many families are swimming in a sea of chaos because men refuse to follow God’s instructions as to how to be godly leaders, husbands and fathers as shown in Scripture (Eph. 5:25-33; Col.3:19,21; Titus 2:2,6-8; Deut. 6:1-9). When men are spiritually strong and obey what God has said, they find an outpouring of blessings in store for them. But what happens when men do not stand up for the truth and choose to disobey God because they are not spiritually strong? Here is when we begin to see women overstepping and reversing their role in the church, home and society in ways which God never intended.
Clearly God has said that men are the leaders in the home, the church and even in the way people live. They are to be the head of the household and bind their families close in the teachings and love of Christ. He used the word “husband” (meaning “house bound”) for this very reason. As the father in the home, he should be F—faithful, A—in authority, T—a teacher, H—head of his household, E—an example, and R—redeemed.
Since men have been given those instructions by God to attend to the public worship assembly, sometimes a woman feels as if there is nothing left for her to do. However, God has given her different talents which are vital for church growth that will help both others as well as herself to grow and serve. Just as the men must grow to maturity, so must women. Stepping out of our comfort zone is sometimes very difficult, but it is definitely needed so that our obligation and role as a Christian woman can be fulfilled.
God has given women a different set of talents which are vital for church growth that help them serve so well. All women can serve in some of the following ways: visiting the sick and shut-ins, writing cards of encouragement, using their phone for both encouragement and edification, praying privately with other women, preparing communion, inviting others into your home, having Bible studies, teaching children and other women, visiting members, attending teacher workshops and gospel meetings, managing the church library and church bulletin, transporting the elderly and disabled, as well as many other opportunities (when made aware of) which would help the church to grow. Women cannot do everything, but the things that can be done should be done with joy and gladness in their heart.
We have many examples of godly women at the church in Rome such as Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Tryphena and Tryphosa and Persis (Rom. 16). Other examples are Dorcas (Acts 9), Lydia (Acts 16), the virtuous woman (Prov. 31) and the older women (Tit. 2:2-4). These examples were given for our learning. There is much for women to do and we must not allow the things of this world keep us from obeying God in doing our part.
In our society we are seeing some women forsaking what He said for them to do as a help meet to their husband. That role was set in action from the day they were created and before the fall (1 Cor. 11:7-9). From the beginning she was to support her husband. The oldest institution isn’t the church, but marriage. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man put asunder (separate)” (Matt. 19:6b). Titus 2:4 says that women need to be taught to love their husband and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 teaches us how to love.
Therefore one of the roles wives have in the church is to love their husbands and set an example to other wives to do the same. This seems very obvious since we married them, but looking at it from the world’s view of the wife it appears that those teachings of how to love him are no longer taught. Older women are commanded to teach the younger women these things as well as how to love their children. As the most early and influential person in every aspect of a child’s life, mothers have an awesome responsibility to train, correct and help to direct their paths to Heaven. What will be our excuse as the mothers of our children if we gain the whole world and, because of our lack of training, lose the souls of our children?
Reading again from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and applying it to the wife’s love for her husband, we find that we must be patient because it is difficult at times learning to live with someone who is different from ourselves. Be kind rather than acting nicer to friends then to our husband. Be happy instead of envious over his successes. Do we act in an arrogant way toward him or are we humble? Do we speak rudely to him instead of being courteous? Love is not selfish, but are our own needs put before his? Many do not know how to control their tongue instead of being easily provoked. Love thinks no evil; therefore we need to keep pure thoughts in our marriage. Love bears all things, believes, hopes and endures all things. Therefore the Christian wife protects and has hope for what is the best in her marriage. With these things in mind it is easier to endure all things during the good times and bad, when the kids leave home and just the two of you are left. That is when the first part of verse 8 comes into view. Then we can continue to renew that devotion to each other because we find that loves never fails.
Fifty-seven years ago I met and married Mike Mitchell, a godly man who had been raised in a strong Christian home. As a new wife and Christian, I had no knowledge as to what God expected or had in store for me. Because of my husband’s concern, I learned to participate in Bible studies and how to search the Scriptures. A few years later, when he decided to leave the engineering field and become a minister, we were blessed to sit at the feet of many strong gospel preachers and their wives.
Many of those older godly women became close friends and have now gone on to their blessed reward. By instructing me both by their example and the Word on how to be a better wife and mother to our children, I wanted to be a better example as well. It took much courage for me to begin teaching the children’s classes at first and then the teenage girls. My faith grew stronger as I began teaching ladies classes and conducting special ladies’ days throughout the country. In doing this I have discovered many women who desire to better their knowledge, become a stronger Christian, be an example to others and to find a purpose in their life. Women simply need and long to have encouragement from older women in today’s society. We must not let them down.
Sisters, be that godly woman who desires to serve God and His church as instructed in His Word. Do all that you can in serving others and in teaching what God has instructed. Love others more than yourself. Pray always for guidance. If you are married, make it the strong marriage as God would have it. Teach and train your children as the precious privilege it was intended to be. Love your enemies and be willing to forgive others who have done you wrong. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.
My prayer is that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ (Phil. 1:9-10).
Lucy lives in Rickman, TN, and teaches a ladies’ class at church.