May 13, 2018

The Motives, Mandates, and Means of Biblical Womanhood (Mother’s Day)

Every year, Forbes Magazine puts out a list of the World’s Most Powerful Women. It describes these women as “a new generation of icons, game-changers and gate crashers who are boldly scaling new heights and transforming the world.”[1] Some women on the list include Hillary Clinton, German chancellor Angela Merkel, UK PM Theresa May, philanthropist Melinda Gates, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and GM CEO Mary Barra. The article mentions how much influence and power these women have, what they’ve accomplished, and how much money they control or earn.

Forbes magazine focuses on business and money, so perhaps we should not expect the writers to say much about the women’s home life or family situation. These women are great, powerful women because of their success in business or politics, not because of their family success. Money, influence, and popularity are what make a woman powerful these days. That’s how the world defines greatness. The women who really matter are making a difference in the world by attaining political power and leadership in business, education, the arts, and sciences. The success, stability, and happiness of the woman’s home, apparently, doesn’t matter much to the editors at Forbes Magazine.

The Bible gives us a different definition or a different model for greatness among women. Titus 2 lists some qualities that define true greatness for women. And by greatness, I mean faithfulness to the biblical model. Success in God’s eyes is always faithfulness to God’s Word. Paul commends women for qualities like reverence, love for their husbands and children, purity, kindness, homemaking, and respect. He doesn’t say anything about success in the business world, salary, career advancement, or political power.

Who has the authority to define the woman’s role? Forbes Magazine or the Bible? The world or the word? Ourselves or our Creator? This is really an issue of authority.

How do we define success? Is running a large, important company success? Is high salary and high status? Should women seek achievement in the same areas as men do? Or is success for women more connected to home and family rather than other arenas?

God created men and women and gave them different roles and responsibilities. The most prominent biblical roles for women are wife and mother. Women do much more than serve as wives and mothers, but no other roles are as important as wife and mother. God gives women those roles and defines what success in those roles looks like. Faithfulness to the biblical pattern is success.

What the Bible says about women’s roles is radically out of step with our society. What Paul says here is terribly old fashioned and regressive from a modern point of view. The feminist movement has fought these ideas for decades, and it has been largely successful in redefining the woman’s role in our society. The idea that women should be married, care for children, manage the home, and submit to their husbands is heresy to them. For many today, the very idea that women have a role is bigotry and sexism. That shows us how far our world has turned away from biblical values.

No matter what our secular culture is telling us, we recognize these values as biblical and right.

From Titus 2:1–5, I’d like to consider on this Mother’s Day the biblical motives, mandates, and means of biblical womanhood.

[1] Caroline Howard, “The World’s Most Powerful Women in 2017.”

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