Since I started participating in this series on femininity with Kitten for the month of March, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that the other women participating in this challenge are pretty stinkin’ amazing, femininity is a very popular subject, and that femininity is also a very touchy subject for some. I wrote a post last week called No Bones About It: Femininity and Anorexia and I am so happy to see how well it has been received among other people who suffer from eating disorders.
Today I want to talk about something very different from my previous two posts and that is Biblical Femininity. I had actually chosen this topic before I was rudely told (by a few unnamed folks) that I didn’t know what femininity really is (to which I replied by whipping out a dictionary and being backed up by said dictionary – thanks webster!) So it seems this is a topic that needs to be discussed.
Views of Biblical Femininity can be highly distorted, and I know this because I grew up in a community where modesty was heavily pushed and taken to places that are unsupported by scripture.
In addition to that, the role of a woman in a relationship with a man was also distorted through an incorrect interpretation of a verse. Essentially, a woman was supposed to obey the oldest man in the room asking her to do something (this can get sketchy, let me assure you). Thankfully, I had an amazing Pastor, husband, and hebrew teacher who taught me the correct application of that verse and I have been free from that legalistic interpretation for quite some time.
All this is to say, I know a bit about the corruption of Biblical Femininity and sympathize with those who have been hurt by the cherry-picking of scripture (resulting in a loss of context and a cut and paste version of the bible). In the process of unlearning those unhealthy teaching, I’ve had the chance to appreciate the correct view of Biblical Femininity more than most.
Without further ado, let’s get in to what femininity is, or rather, what a feminine woman of God is like.
How She Speaks
“She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26 NIV
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
How She Treats Others
“Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12 NIV
“She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.” Proverbs 31:15 NIV
“She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20 NIV
What She Does
“She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:13-14 NIV
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” Proverbs 31:16-19 NIV
Her Spirit in Christ
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
How She Dresses
“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV
Where She Finds Her Strength and Worth
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 NIV
A lot of these verses are on the Proverbs 31 wife. She is far from what some people would describe a feminine woman as (especially if you think femininity is being weak and helpless). She is a hard worker, resourceful, a shrewd business woman (she reinvested her profits), and skilled in many tasks (cooking, sewing, gardening, selling, etc). She doesn’t squander her time and energy.
She takes good care of her family and her servants. Her husband, because he doesn’t have to pull a second shift or worry about her, is able to devote his time and energy to his own business and is respected by the community. She is charitable with those in need and even with that charity has enough to provide for her family in the days to come. She doesn’t worry about her wardrobe, but rather the attributes she clothes herself with.
Perhaps most importantly in my eyes, since there are so many different women in different positions shown in the bible (Ruth as a widow, Esther as a queen, etc), is this: She uses her resources to the best of her ability and thrives in the vocation God has placed her in, regardless of what vocation that might be.
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