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Will the Real Biblical Woman Please Stand Up?

Gabrielle Pickle

Gabrielle Pickle | 01.24.13

11 comments

 

I slowly perused the bookshelves in the women’s section of the local Christian bookstore, looking for a specific book on biblical womanhood. After almost an hour of fruitless searching, I discovered that the topic of biblical womanhood is smack dab in between the section on marriage and the section on parenting. While over in the singles section—where I rightly belong—are books on dating, singleness, and the fight for purity. No biblical womanhood there! (Believe me, I checked twice.)

I get that it’s just the bookstore’s organization system, but I can’t help but feel it reflects a significant part of the Christian culture mindset: Biblical womanhood is for wives and mothers, while single women should just focus on staying pure and getting married.

Ah! It makes me want to stomp my foot and scream in defiance, “Single women can be biblical, too!” Except I’m pretty sure such behavior is not very biblical and would get me kicked out of the bookstore.

God-honoring Womanhood

When I stopped huffing and puffing and thought it through, I got it. The description of a “biblical woman” does sound so very . . . married:

“Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:3–5).

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. . . . she works with willing hands . . . she rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household . . . she opens her hand to the poor . . . her children rise up and call her blessed . . .” (Prov. 31:10–31).

But I’m not married. So where does that leave me?

These descriptions from Scripture are not the only examples of God-honoring womanhood in the Bible. What about Anna, the devout widow, who spent her time praying at the temple and recognized baby Jesus as the Jews’ prophesied Messiah (Luke 2)? Or Dorcas, who devoted her talent of sewing to help the poor (Acts 9)? Or Mary and Martha, the sisters who were Christ’s good friends? It seems that one or possibly even both of them were single (John 11). Or Lydia, the wealthy woman who opened her home for the Apostles to hold church (Acts 16)? Or Priscilla, a woman without children in her home who helped her husband disciple new believers and opened their home to Paul (Acts 18)?

Marriage is good. Motherhood is good. They are God-honoring, and definitely two of the primary roles in which women are called to be biblical. God created marriage for a great purpose. But He also created singleness for a great purpose. And single women are called to be “biblical” women just as much as married ones are. Biblical womanhood is our standard for any situation in life: single, married, divorced, or widowed. Whatever your marital status, biblical womanhood applies!

So here are a couple thoughts I have about my “search-for-a-biblical-womanhood-book-in-the-singles-section” experience:

1. Remember that biblical womanhood is taught throughout Scripture, and not just in passages that speak about marriage.

Paul’s admonition about singleness applies directly to biblical womanhood. In 1 Corinthians 7:32–35 he is advocating singleness because it allows that woman the freedom to be wholly, completely focused on the things of the Lord. She is free to make her relationship with God her only concern—and that is biblical womanhood! However, the married woman has her family’s needs to occupy the majority of her time. While the Lord is her first focus, her family is a close second—and that is biblical womanhood! A true, accurate, definition of biblical womanhood must encompass the whole of Scripture, not just Proverbs 31 and Titus 2.

2. Remember that biblical womanhood passages are for ALL women–married or single.

Yes, most Old Testament and New Testament passages that speak directly to biblical womanhood do so with the married woman in mind. But it’s important to recognize that the truth found in them also applies to single women! Proverbs 31 is a description for King Lemuel from his mother on the characteristics to look for in a wife. The girls he was considering obviously weren’t yet married. They were single. Therefore, King Lemuel’s mom was advising him to spot and identify qualities that would be evident in a single woman’s life–qualities that demonstrated she was a “biblical” woman–the type of woman who would also be a good wife and mother.

A husband and children are not requirements for biblical womanhood. Yes, they are good gifts—gifts God uses to glorify Himself, further His kingdom, and sanctify us. But God also uses singleness to advance His kingdom, glorify Himself, and sanctify us. God uses different circumstances, situations, and means to bring about this same over-arching goal. Marriage is not a prerequisite for being a biblical woman nor is it a prerequisite for having a life that pleases God.

It isn’t about marriage or singleness; it’s about Jesus.

It’s about Exalting Jesus

Biblical womanhood is about a woman seeking to honor Jesus by consistently applying Scripture to her daily life, whatever that life looks like. It is as simple as that. It applies across categories. Therefore, it could be interspersed in every bookstore section relating to women: young, old, single, married, divorced, widowed, whatever.
In whatever state or stage of life you find yourself, biblical womanhood is your calling. It’s not something that’s confined to women who look for books between the marriage and parenting sections. Let me say it again, as loudly as I can in a quiet bookstore: “Biblical womanhood is about exalting Jesus.”

Topics: Womanhood

Comments

  1. AMEN! We have 2 married and 3 single daughters all past mid 20's. We have never pressured them for marriage but encouraged them to live a godly life. We pray for their possible future husbands, but love each in the place God has them now. We praise God for each of them in their careers. Those who are single in the church and in our fallen world need to be supported, included, and connected with over meals, fellowship, and fun by couples and families.
    posted by Jewell
    on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 10:01 am
  2. What a beautiful post. I want to encouarge 'singles' that Bibilical womanhood is all about loving the Lord the most and letting him produce the characteristics in you that will point others to HIM. Every child of God is called to that purpose.
    As a wife and mother, I love the point that you make about Proverbs 31; all women can strive for these qualities!
    posted by Elizabeth
    on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 11:01 am
  3. thank you so much for posting this. It sometimes feels like use single woman are very alone, even in the church setting. I know in my own church there are very few single woman, so you do feel a little out numbered. But this is so encouraging, and it's amazing to see how single woman can be such a huge encouragment to other woman, including married woman!

    In Christ
    posted by Mandy
    on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 11:12 am
  4. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! A timely, much needed reminder for me and all the other single ladies. I actually just started reading a book on Amy Carmichael so that I could understand more how a woman who is single can live out biblical womanhood.
    Thank you again for this reminder!
    whisperstotheheart.blogspot.com
    posted by Gretchen
    on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm
  5. As a fellow huffer & puffer, thank you. : )

    You brought up a super helpful point - the woman described in Proverbs 31 probably was a single woman & was rockin' her biblical womanhood regardless of the presence/absence of a ring on her finger. How empowering!
    http://crtnyhks.com
    posted by Cortney Hicks
    on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm
  6. Yes, the last few paragraphs of that article hit the nail on the head! Biblical Womanhood isn't about singleness vs. marriage, its about JESUS! :) ...and loving Him with all of your heart!
    I'm married now, with my second child on the way, but I was single til I was 30. And i just want to say that becoming a Biblical Woman doesn't happen as you say wedding vows....you sow it into your life years in advance. Then, when you DO get married and have children, you begin to reap the good fruit of godliness that you've been sowing all along! But you gotta keep sowing, too! :)
    posted by Valerie
    on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 8:44 am
  7. AMEN! for so long, i felt like my value as a single woman in the church was low. God has been changing my heart about this issue over the past year to show me that i matter, and that i can make a difference regardless of my relationship status. like you said, it's all about JESUS!
    thank you so much for this encouragement!
    http://www.beautyinhumbleplaces.com/
    posted by amber
    on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm
  8. Thank you so much for posting this. I wanted to shout, "yes, and amen." as you communicated my feelings as I have been searching for books, articles and messages on biblical womanhood. I was married, I am divorced, I am a grandmother now, so what does biblical womanhood look life for me? Most of the books have a lot of reference on marriage, which is great. However, I agree that when it comes to topics of singleness, the subject matter gets limited.
    Thank you for being a voice of those singles who need the encouragement that the bottom line is about reflecting the glory of God, whether married or single.
    posted by Evette Hicks
    on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm
  9. Thanks you for this honest posting!
    posted by meta
    on Monday, January 28, 2013 at 10:28 am
  10. @Evette...Thank you for your post! Just thought you would appreciate John Piper's message from the True Woman '08 Conference, entitled "The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood": http://www.truewoman.com/?id=336.

    Indeed, to the glory of God!
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm
  11. You are right. However, I think that people just write from their perspectives. Right now it seems that mostly married women with children are writing about biblical womanhood, but that is not necessarily true. I've seen many single women talking writing about their perspectives, but I guess they are not as "vocal".

    Nevertheless, the important thing is to seek God first. That is all that matters.
    http://awisewomanbuilds.com/what-is-biblical-womanhood/172
    posted by Jen
    on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

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