The Dignity of Biblical Womanhood

It is the nature of godly women to nurture and nest in their homes, and this carries over into the church body with eternal significance. Our church appreciates all the care, provision, prayer, and teaching consistently worked by each of our godly ladies. Their willingness to allow God’s faithfulness to be demonstrated through them is a blessing. Their loyalty to the Lord, to their families and homes, and to the purpose of God in Christ Jesus here at Grace Church provides for us godly examples and establishes a spiritual legacy. Ladies, when progress seems fleeting and insignificant, remain faithful -- for God is faithful.

God Created Women Equally

It should be noted by all believers that God, His Word, and His true people have sought to extol and live the dignity of womanhood in exceptional ways before the surrounding pagan cultures. The dignity of womanhood is first found in God’s eternal decree which included the creation of mankind. In the Old Testament, God wrote through Moses that He made man in His image, both male and female (Gen. 1:27). Men and women were created equally (Gen. 5:1-2). God grants an equal spiritual position in the home to women. In Old Testament times, women were to be equal in inheritance to their husbands in addition to receiving honor from their children who lived in the Israelite community (Ex. 20:12).

For thousands of years after the fall of Adam into sin, cultures denigrated women to being less than men. During the Greek and Roman times, women were sexualized and used for immoral purposes just as they are today. Their God-intended dignity was publicly shamed and often in the name of pagan worship. While pagan cultures objectified women in the home and on the street, God has made them coequal both spiritually and in honor.

Jesus Honored Women Equally

Jesus came in the fullness of time, standing in stark contrast to these cultures. The Creator of all mankind modeled what it meant to exalt the dignity of womanhood in how He honored His mother, as well as the counter-cultural choosing of women to be His disciples in addition to men. Jesus continually gave equal spiritual and practical honor to women. Some of these women, like Susanna and Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:1-3), labored to support Jesus and his band of twelve as they ministered.

Jesus equally consoled the hearts of the women who grieved in His presence, as seen with Mary and Martha when their brother died (John 11). Jesus exalted the position of His mother even at His death. In assigning the care of His mother to John who was born-again, Jesus distinguished this care as more than physical but also spiritual (John 19:25-29).

Jesus first appeared to a woman after His resurrection (John 20:11-18). Women were with those gathered praying when the Spirit of God descended in Jerusalem and were also among those praying for the release of Peter from prison in the early chapters of Acts. Jesus included women with equal spiritual status.

Luke labeled Tabitha a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:36). In establishing the church of Thessalonica (Acts 17:4), God used many prominent women to set the spiritual direction of that church. Paul recorded his partnership in the gospel with two women (Phil. 4:2-3) and that the church in Philippi originated in the home of Lydia. Paul also noted the ministries of Phoebe and Prisca, both having served Christ in leading roles in the church of Rome.

Women are Co-Heirs in Christ

1 Peter 3:7 teaches that women are to be respected by being protected and honored as coheirs of the grace of life. The feminine nature of women is exalted in this text. A husband is to provide, protect, and to carry the heavy loads of life for his wife who is a spiritual queen in God’s order in their home. It is not that a woman cannot provide, protect, or carry a heavy load, but God has made clear that womanhood is to be exalted, revered, respected, and served in regal ways. God created the woman, placing her in a glorified, dignified, holy, and necessary position.

1 and 2 Timothy and Titus exalt the position of femininity and womanhood within the church as well. Women made in God’s image have been given the divine role to bear and rear more image-bearers and are a primary conduit of the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children. With the help of the Holy Spirit, women influence the futures of their children to be used of God for the purposes of Christ and the advancement of His gospel in our world.

In Ephesians 5:25-33, husbands are instructed to love and honor their wives, to be a living testament of self-sacrifice to the highest level for everyone in the home. This requires the husband to set aside all self-interests, modeling love before his children. A husband is to protect his wife’s time with God, that she may be washed with the water of the Word, for it is as valuable as his own time with the Lord. Whatever a man does to comfort and help his own existence, he should do first unto his wife. He is to love his wife as he does himself.

Biblical Conduct of Relationships Preserves Unity

God wants the men of the church to know how to relate to the women of the church with the dignity He has granted them since creation (1 Tim. 5:1-6:21). Paul writes so the church would know how to function and behave among one another for the gospel’s sake. Upon the foundation of what has been revealed to us about the exalted personage and dignity of women in the Scriptures, we should have no problem with treating older women as mothers and younger women as sisters with all purity. It is essential for believers to remember that God at creation and again at salvation elevated all women among us to spiritual sisters and mothers. Jesus says that those who do the will of His Father are His family (Matt. 12:46-50).

The context of 1 Timothy 5:1-2 is about the restoration of divided relationships. We are taught the correct spiritual and practical conduct of relationships among various age groups in the church body, including older women as mothers and younger women as sisters. The meaning of "older women" in 1 Timothy 5:2 is synonymous with elder or pastor. These women are to be treated with dignity and respect. The grammar of "appeal" in verse 1 is a term used of the Holy Spirit (paraclete in the Greek), meaning to counsel or to help, to call alongside for the purpose of resolving the problem. The family of God is worth the effort required to preserve unity among the members. The spread of the gospel through the church is dependent on our treating the older women as mothers with dignity and respect and the younger women as sisters with all purity.

Jesus told His disciples when He was sending them out that offenses are inevitable. This is true for us as well. It is inevitable in the home and in the church. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 teaches us how to handle these offenses with integrity so that we may enjoy the blessings of unity.

Application Points

  • Are you intentionally working to address and resolve issues within your relationships with other believers in our church body? God has shown us in His Word how we are to treat each other with respect and dignity in all purity.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 133:1; Matt. 28:3; John 17:23; Romans 12:16; 14:19; 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:3, 13; Phil. 1:27; 2:2; 3:16-17; Col. 3:14; 1 Peter 3:8 – Unity Among the Church Body