Debates are regularly had over the interpretation of the Scriptures as there are many controversies over various topics in the Bible. One of these subjects is about women and their roles in this world. According to two passages found in the New Testament (1 Timothy 2:9-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35), it seems as though women are supposed to sit quietly, not talk out of place, and let the men be the leaders and rulers over them and the world; only able to come to salvation through childbirth… Well, I’m here to say that I couldn’t disagree with this philosophy more!
Yes, men are called to be the head of a household, as a foreshadow of Yeshua, but abusing these verses to tell women their “place” restricts them from fulfilling their God-given callings and forces them into a life of submission and control. I don’t believe this is how God designed women to live; there are far too many outspoken, strong women in the Bible for me to think otherwise.
I could write page upon page on this subject, but I know that not everyone wants to read a mini-booklet, so I’m just going to state my points and evidence; if anyone is interested in hearing more, I’d be happy to respond to any questions or opinions in the comments below. I am very passionate about this topic, as a woman and a friend who sees others not living out the callings on their lives. The hardest thing for me to watch is someone losing their spark and returning to a life that is not what God had in store for them, but then I have to remind myself that I am not called to change people’s beliefs. All I can do is be a light and share the words I feel God is placing on my heart, and pray that the seeds will grow.
From birth, children are given to their parents to be raised and loved. As the head of the home, a godly father is a spiritual covering over his family for protection and guidance. God has given him this position to look after his family’s needs and follow the Bible. Until a daughter is married, it is her father’s place to protect her heart from men, though this doesn’t always happen, and show her the kind of man her future husband should be.
This picture of spiritual covering, however, does not give the father a higher authority than God. His children will grow up to either have a relationship with God or not; the choice is theirs. However, before reaching that age of independence, a father has the authority to speak for his family and put his foot down if he feels like one of his children has made a wrong commitment or is planning on doing something he disagrees with. That said, this does not mean that he can overrule what God is instructing his family members to do.
According to Numbers 30, if an unmarried daughter makes a vow or promise, and her father finds out, he has the right to break this promise and relieve his daughter of their repercussions.
Numbers 30:3-5, “When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge, and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lord will release her because her father has forbidden her.”
This passage is not talking about a father having the right to tell his daughter that he won’t allow her to do as the Lord has commanded. Instead, it is dealing with the immaturity of a young girl, not ready for marriage, who has made a rash (keyword) vow that she could not keep. Also, notice the daughter is making the vow to, not from, God; this shows that she could be making a vow not of the Spirit.
The same goes for the next part of Numbers 30, which writes about a married woman. It is again speaking about rash promises made by a wife. Of course, a husband can step in and say that his wife will not follow through with the terms made, but not in a domineering way.
Another thing to consider here is whether or not your parents are believers and following the Bible. If they’re not, then we should, of course, be respectful, but we shouldn’t disobey God’s Word. “Coverings” are God-given; if a father isn’t God-fearing, then we need to be wary of his teachings and listen to God when He warns us.
Through my studies this week, I’ve found that most of the Scriptures that seem to restrict women are located in the New Testament. There are also Jewish “laws” about women and things like head coverings, but they are not detailed in the Bible. Remember, religion, culture, and time periods should be taken into account! I, personally, will not take a person’s word for something unless it’s explained explicitly in the Bible or unless God convicts me! A spiritual leader may say things, but that doesn’t mean their words should become a rule or law, especially if it conflicts with Scripture.
Just look at the women in the Old Testament. There are many strong females in the Bible, but the ones most detailed are found in the Old Testament. For example, Deborah (Judges 4) was a judge, prophet, and warrior even though she was a woman! Her husband had a lesser position than she did, yet God used her to deliver Sisera into Israel’s hands with the help of another woman named Jael. Jael was a strong woman who didn’t wait for her husband’s permission; she knew what needed to be done and executed it (literally). Look at Esther (Esther 4); God chose her to save His people! Even Abigail (1 Samuel 25), when she heard about her husband’s rude response to King David, went out and settled things with the King, which predominantly saved her and her household. Also, Ruth (Ruth 3) made the first move with Boaz, which opened his eyes to marriage; she didn’t sit at home with Naomi, hoping another man would miraculously come into her life, she took action.
From the looks of things, women are just as valued as men in the Bible! That said, I’m not saying that women can do everything men can. I’m stating that both men and women have been given gifts and have the strength to help one another, BOTH having God-given callings that they should follow. A woman shouldn’t be shunned for not staying at home to be a full-time wife and mother, just as a woman who chooses to be a stay-at-home mom shouldn’t be looked down upon.
Everyone has different callings, so we should never settle for what people say we should be. When needed, women, just like men, have the initiative to take action without waiting for permission. In this day and age, women have the amazing opportunity to do a lot in this world, rather than a couple of hundred years ago when jobs weren’t so easy to come by. We should take advantage of this privilege and go after our passions and giftings; there is no better time like today!
Marriage also doesn’t bring a woman’s calling to a halt. Just because a woman gets married does not mean she cannot go after the calling God has placed on her life. It would be great if her husband had a similar calling, but that doesn’t always happen. However, with both of their callings, God can do extraordinary things and combine them for His glory! In marriage, you’re living life together and are building each other up in Yeshua while living out the plans for your lives. You won’t always agree on things, but together you will be a force to be reckoned with!
Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. Many people use her to show what a godly wife should look like; however, did you know that this chapter was actually written for a man and not supposed to be used as an example to women? The Proverbs 31 woman never existed; she is a prophetic picture! We need to stop beating ourselves up when we don’t live up to this woman because we weren’t supposed to!
That said, I know people will continue to use this chapter in the wrong context, so I’m going to try to open your eyes to a part of this chapter that people tend to miss out. I’ve always heard others talk about the grand characteristics of this “woman”; from the way she brings joy to her husband, gets up at the crack of dawn, speaks wisdom, etc. Have you ever noticed that this “woman” was not only a wife and mother but also a working wife and mother? She didn’t stay home all day, keeping the house tidy and looking after her kids; she made clothes and went to the market to sell her craftsmanship, along with finding food for her family to eat! Even if she didn’t exist, it’s comforting to know that even the Bible doesn’t call for women to sit at home and raise the kids.
We, women, are called to do great things! Not all of our callings will be the same, some might not be called to be mothers or wives, but each one of us is just as important in God’s eyes. I keep thinking of that funny quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck.”
A wife will help guide her husband, and they work together; they need each other to succeed. A marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship. When the Bible talks about the head of the home, it talks about the husband being a protector and God-figure, not the head leader or commander.
So, in conclusion, spiritual coverings are essential, but they should not be abused. A woman has just as much calling on her life as a man, and when God calls her to do His Will, she should go! Marriage doesn’t bring this calling to a halt, and we should never come to the place where we are in our husband’s shadows. A marriage is a union and doesn’t stop your life from happening. At the same time, life doesn’t start once you’re married; it began when you were conceived!
My encouragement for this week is that you don’t allow anyone to suppress your identity in the Messiah and go on the path He is calling you to walk on! You were created for such a time as this and shouldn’t take it for granted! The world is our oyster, and we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to our backyards! God has so much He wants to do in this world, and He needs us to fulfill these things, so take that leap of faith and go after the calling God has placed on your life!