His Wisdom for Her World

The Biblical Woman Statement

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We’re excited to share with you The Biblical Woman Statement! (Click here for more info on what it’s all about.)

These 12 aspects of biblical womanhood are the counter-cultural convictions that guide us as we strive to live out His wisdom in our world:

  1. Value – We believe that every woman has been created in the image of God and is infinitely valued by and significant to Him (Gen 1:27; Ps 139:13-16; Isa 43:6-7; Matt 19:4-9; Eph 5:31-33).
  2. Distinction – We believe that God has given women and men distinctive roles within the family and the church; that these roles were intentionally created and given prior to human sin; that according to God’s design, these roles are interdependent but not interchangeable (Gen 2:18-25;  1 Cor 11:3, 8-9, 11-12; 1 Tim 2:12-14).
  3. Gender – We believe that gender is God-given, not socially constructed or self-determined; that gender distinctions are rooted in creation and manifested in biological differences, transcending social customs and cultural stereotypes; that being created as a woman is an essential aspect of our identity (Gen 2:18-25; Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6).
  4. Marriage – We believe that marriage was created by God as a covenant between one man and one woman for the purpose of communicating the relationship between God Himself and His people; that biblical marriage is the only rightful relationship for sexual expression; that women are called to honor God in marriage by submitting to their own husbands voluntarily and purposefully (Gen 2:24-25; 1 Cor 7:1-5; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Pet 3:1-7; Heb 13:4).
  5. Singleness – We believe that unmarried women are fully valued in Christ; that by their chaste and set-apart lives they may especially devote themselves to service in the Kingdom of God during either their season or lifetime of singleness (1 Cor 7:4-35).
  6. Home – We believe that every woman is called to make her home a place of service and that such service is ultimately to Christ (Prov 31:27; 1 Tim 5:14;  Titus 2:3-5).
  7. Children – We believe that investing in the next generation is every woman’s task; that women are uniquely gifted to nurture, teach, and train children; that children, as blessings from the Lord, are the most worthy investments for a woman’s energies whether as biological, adopted, or spiritual children (Deut 6:1-25; Prov 31:21, 28; 2 Tim 1:5; Titus 2:3-5).
  8. Ministry – We believe that every Christian woman is called to fulfill the Great Commission and has the opportunity for significant service in the Kingdom of God; that all service to Christ according to biblical guidelines is significant to the Lord; that women are exhorted to instruct and mentor other women (Titus 2:3-5).
  9. Church – We believe that women are indispensable to the Church; that concerning a woman’s sphere of service, within biblical guidelines her opportunities are boundless (1 Tim 2:11-14; Titus 2:3-5).
  10. Education – We believe that every woman is worth the investment of educational opportunities; that women as created in God’s image not only can learn but should learn and have access to literacy, skills training, and vocational instruction; that the God-called woman warrants the investment of theological education and preparation for service to Christ according to biblical guidelines (Deut 31:12; 2 Tim 1:13-14; 2:15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:15).
  11. Influence – We believe a woman has particular capacity for effecting societal change and preserving moral values through her influence in the home and family and her involvement in community decisions, social action, and public policy (Exod 2:1-10; 2 Chr 22:10-12; Matt 5:13-16; 25:34-40; 1 Tim 2:1-2).
  12. Sanctity of Life – We believe that every woman’s life, regardless of culture or condition, has dignity; that whether unborn or aging, impoverished or privileged, she is worth protecting; that the life and dignity of every woman must be defended (Ps 139:13-16; Matt 18:2-5).

Do these 12 points of biblical womanhood reflect your convictions? You may be surrounded by competing messages about what it means to be a woman, but you are not alone in the journey. In fact, you might be surprised to discover how many women share your beliefs. Always remember: It’s not about fitting a mold or living up to an expectation; it’s about allowing our identity in Christ to inform how we see the issues in our world. In the coming months, we’ll be talking about each of these points in greater depth and what they mean for our daily lives, so stay tuned!

Share the BW Statement with others and start discussing how these values are shaping your perspective on biblical womanhood.

Download a printable version of the Biblical Woman Statement

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  1. Adelene Howell says:

    These 12 points do agree with my convictions. I am very saddened that it is not so for many women.

  2. Melissa Meredith says:

    Beautifully written statement that captures the beauty of God”s design for womanhood. I”m excited to share this with my ladies at church and start the discussion!

  3. Biblical Womanhood Staatements are FANTASTIC principles for moms!
    Moms are the ARCHITECTS OF THE NEXT GENERATION…
    “To make a lasting impression on your son, you must be set on fire by the single most glorious purpose of life-To know Christ and joyfully exhibit His greatness in all areas of life.”
    Rhonda Stoppe
    Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

  4. Retha says:

    Most of these things are true regardless of gender. Women and men were created in the image of God, women and men”s lives are worthy and must be protected, etc. Women and men are called to submit to one another.

    To say these true things as if they are for only one gender make men miss out on a lot of great things!

    But those points that get gender specific misuse scripture, for example saying women are uniquely gifted to teach children – no text says it, and some of the texts stated calls both genders to teach children.

    • Katie McCoy says:

      Hey Retha –

      Thanks for commenting! You bring up some great points and have obviously given these issues some thought. Context seems to be where we might see these things differently. Paul does tell us to submit to one another in reverence to Christ (Eph 5:21), then explains in the next verses how men and women are to do that within marriage: the husband loving his wife sacrificially, as Christ loves the Church, and the wife voluntarily lining up her will with (submitting to) her husband (Eph. 5:22-33). And all of that is basically a living, breathing, walking display of the Gospel! So vv. 22-33 goes with v. 21.

      You are, of course, correct in many of these relate to men, like ministry and education. But, we weren’t writing about men, or to men, or even about male-female relationships. We just really believe women are worth affirming and have stated what we believe Scripture says about their value and giftedness as women.

      Which brings up your point about parenting. When I think of Timothy’s mother and grandmother, or how the Proverbs 31 woman poured out kindness into her family as she cared for them, there is a particular influence that a mother has in raising her children that is different from a father’s. To say that men can be the same as women in a family is to devalue the uniqueness of women.

      Thanks again for sharing your views!

      • Retha says:

        I never said “men can be the same as women” in raising children – I said that the Bible never state what this confession does. The confession misuse scripture by tacking Bible verses onto something which is not in the Bible.
        “Uniquely gifted” in the statement is misleading wording – It seems to the casual reader that you assert a greater gifting, and the whole point 7 implies greater responsibility than men for the task, but both genders could be “uniquely gifted” for the same task. If you think women are called towards things in child nurture (besides having them in the womb and breast feeding- those are biological fact and don”t need Scripture) which men are not, you need to show these things from the Bible.
        On marriage, I have a question: If marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church with men cast in the Jesus role in this picture, what do you make of 1 Cor 7 where it says, “the husband does not have authority over his body, but the wife does, and the wife does not have authority over her body, but the husband does.”
        Read it with your assumptions, and it will mean: “Jesus does not have authority over his body, but the church does, and the church does not have authority over her body, but Jesus does.”

  5. Jeannie E. Hess says:

    IOW, what I am reading here is a paraphrase of Animal Farm. Both sexes are equal, but one (the male) is more equal than the other (the female). This is the same type of hermeneutic that defended racism, antiSemitism, and the divine right of kings. Unfortunately, it still defends theological sexism and misogyny.

    How sad that the complementarian Kool-Aid continues to be drunk–much to the delight to the father of lies.

  6. Mabel says:

    How do you submit without love and how do you love without submit? The key point of the verse is not in the gender of the person doing this, but in the essence of it: loving and submitting. It was pointed to the husband as at that time, wives were more like property, and never like “equals”. There was more love between David and Jonathan than between David and any of his wives. When the 10 commandments include do not covet thy neighbor”s wife, the emphasis is on covet, not on the gender of the coveted object. To say that only husbands are to love and only wives are to submit is like saying only men should not covet neighbor”s wife and women can then covet neighbor”s husband. That would be absurd. But no-one thinks it absurd that Paul does not also want husbands to submit and want wives to love. I am extremely tired whenever I read another article talking about “manhood” or “womanhood”. I do not know anything that is spiritually good that does not apply to BOTH GENDERS. Think fruit of the Holy Spirit. People, please STOP DIVIDING the genders. Let”s work together without constantly obsessing with what is manhood and what is womanhood. How about what is Christ likeness? I do not read a bible divided in blue verses and pink verses. The Danvers Statement and the Baptist Faith Statement are just plain waste of time.

  7. Sabrae says:

    If these are your articles of faith concerning women, you will, I”m sure, be thrilled to know that yours fit seamlessly into Mormonism.

  8. Vanessa Loy says:

    Take a Biblical Woman who is in the single season of her life, with no children. Outside of the church, are there any careers or positions which you would consider to be off-limits to her?

    • Terri Stovall says:

      Hi, Vanessa. Great question! The Bible speaks to the home and the church. Beyond that, scripture is silent. So, I cannot really say that there are certain types of professions that women are prohibited from doing. For a single woman, her opportunities are boundless as long as those career opportunities do not conflict with her faith in Christ.

      • Jeannie E. Hess says:

        I would like to know on what basis you would grant women equality in the workplace and society at large and yet still call for their subordination to men in the family and the church?
        If Scripture is the ultimate authority for faith, truth and justice, (and I believe it to be), one has a very weak case for non subordination in society at large and yet still holds to it in the home and church.
        BTW, haven”t women always worked?

  9. Win says:

    Terry,
    If women are subordinate in creation, they are subordinate by their very nature, in all areas, the workplace, church and home. Eden had no such divisions.

    If, on the other hand, women are not, by design, subordinate in the workplace, they are not by nature and God”s design, subordinate to men at all.

    Therefore, the subordination of women, parcelled out here and not there, is a human creation.

    • Win, we do not believe women were “created subordinate.” Women are created in the image of God and are equal to men in all their being. Women and men have just been given different roles to fulfill. God”s word speaks to marriage and the home as a picture of the Gospel. To usurp those roles tends to skew the Gospel message.

      • Jeannie E. Hess says:

        Could you please tell us what your definition of subordinate/subordination is? Thank you.

        • Katie McCoy says:

          Hi Jeanne,
          Interesting questions. First, the definition of “submission” in Eph. 5 is to voluntarily line up under. It”s a volitional thing – husbands are never told to demand submission and it”s ultimately in obedience to the Lord, about whom marriage was created to reflect. (Terri Stovall wrote a great post on what this looks like in her day-to-day marriage: http://www.biblicalwoman.com/2012/09/11/1719/) Ultimately, the whole point of leadership/submission in marriage is display the Gospel (Eph 5:22-33)

          The term “subordination” is often used to communicate a different in rank/level because of a difference in quality/ability. That”s not what we”re talking about. It isn”t about intelligence, giftedness, or even personality (plenty of strong women I know who honor their husbands through voluntarily submitting to his leadership). Rather, it”s a purposeful choice out of obedience to the Word. Within the church, Paul”s direction on church order (men teaching and exercising authority over the Church) is anchored in pre-fall Genesis, telling us that the pattern isn”t limited to specific culture/era.

          For women in the workplace — one would have a very weak case indeed if these spheres were all on equal planes. But the two institutions given by God are marriage and the Church and they both reflect His character and nature. Scripture isn”t talking about society and the workplace – it”s talking about the home and Church.

          And yes – you”re so right that women have always worked. My mom opted out of a career to raise me and my brother and she”s one of the hardest working women I know!

          • Win says:

            I think the issue is that complementarian preachers clearly state that men have “authority
            over” their wives – nothing voluntary about it. That is why i use the term subordination, under authority. It is a definite difference in rank. I don”t know how else to describe it.

            In a marriage both husband and wife ought to voluntarily and regularly submit to each other. How else can two people get along?

          • Jeannie E. Hess says:

            The result of denying women *and* men equality in the home and the church makes for a weakened church and a scoffing world–for whom Jesus died. Patriarchy (no matter how “prettified” a term one uses) is not of G-d. If it were truly of the Lord, its fruit would not be so rotten. For example, why is there so much greater potential for women and child abuse within patriarchy? And why do so many complementarians tell victims of domestic violence that they need to submit even more?

            If G-d doesn”t judge by appearances, we call Him a liar because we are saying that He does judge by appearances–gender identity. Is G-d really that impressed with the X or Y chromosome?

            The gospel doesn”t come in pink for girls and blue for boys. The Ephesians 5 passage tells *all* believers to submit one to another–“wives submit” is not found in the original Greek text. Re husbands, it is Christ”s *actions* that Paul focuses on, not His divinity. To liken Our Lord”s divinity to a husband within marriage is utter idolatry. In addition, “head” doesn”t mean “leader” in 1st century Greek (Wayne Grudem”s “proof” notwithstanding). We must be extremely careful not to apply 20th/21st century meanings to 1st century words. Gordon Fee”s commentary on 1st Corinithians makes an excellent word study of “head” as it was used in the 1st century.

            Where in Genesis does it say Adam was Eve”s “leader”? One has to engage in questionable exegesis to see that–not to mention a lack understanding of what “ezer k”negdo” means. And would CBMW really have us believe that nobody understood it properly before 1 Timothy? Are women more prone to deception than men? And at what age does a boy become a man? Even complementarians cannot come to an agreement on how to answer that question.

  10. Win says:

    We can call them roles, but in every single description the roles are described by words and hand movements in the pulpit as being “under.” I have noticed this for some time, and watched carefully for exceptions, and have not found one description that does not put women “under.” So I don”t mean to read anything into this, but just use subordinate as short form for the underness, or restrictedness of of women. I will now call it difference to continue the conversation.

    The current explanation for this difference of women is that women were different by design in creation, before the fall. But in this state there was no division into workplace, church and home. All was one. So if women were different in creation and only able to fill the submissive and supportive role in creation, how have women been able to lead in the workplace? That is my question. How can women possibly perform outside of the way they have been created?

    However, if you believe that the roles are assigned without reference to any difference in design, then I would understand that. That is what I think also. That the roles are independent of creation.

  11. Rebecca S Dawson says:

    As I read through all the questions and responses, I always come to the same conclusion- authority, title & responsibility are gifts. God gives to those whom are deserving & qualified. Those that demand equality in roles, titles, authoritarian positions- are often the ones who least deserve or understand the positions. The church has varying loads for each person to bear. Not everyone can carry the same weight. This is honorable. We are all parts of the same body (church) – role and superiority are meaningless topics to argue/debate. We need one another. Those that are concerned about a special title are looking for glorification outside Christ & misunderstand the role of the church. This should not be.

    As a side note… when Eve sinned, God said her desire would be for her husband but that he would rule over her (thus a desire to rule over him we should surmise is the evil one distracting us.) Let us also not forget why women were created in the first place… As helpmeets for men.

    • Win says:

      Rebecca,
      Everyone must carry the weight they are given. I know single women with handicapped children, women who take in and care for ex husbands who are declining in health, women who care for aging husbands, women who pay for their children to go to university. This is my world. These women are not “demanding equality in authoritarian positions. ” these women are just women, daughters, mothers, sisters. Etc. They could be anyone. What life has not offered to these women is that they be “helpmeets” of men who provide for them on any way at all. This is the real world.

      This has nothing to do with women “desiring to rule men.” It is hard enough to live this life, but sad to be dressed down like this. There should be some sense of reluctant respect, at least, for single women who support their family. – parents, ex”s, children, etc. Women in this position have no opportunity to belong to the circuit of female teaching. They go to church, taught only by men, receive the word, taught only by men, and perceive the gospel as relevant only to men.

    • Emily says:

      “authority, title & responsibility are gifts. God gives to those whom are deserving & qualified”
      I apologize if I am misunderstanding your intent, but this seems to be implying that women are not deserving and qualified. What is it about women that makes us not deserving and qualified for positions of authority? Both women and men can have poor or outstanding leadership skills.
      I also do not “demand equality in roles, titles, authoritarian positions”. I request equality in opportunity. If leading is one of the ways I can most effectively serve my church family, and I am less skilled at more stereotypically feminine roles such as emotional support, why would I not offer my greatest area of skill to The Lord? I do not just want a special title.

  12. Karen Jones says:

    I appreciate the effort taken with this statement, and I have found this discussion insightful. My initial stumbling block with this statement, however, was with point number eight. Citing Titus 2 and stating that women are exhorted to instruct and mentor other women is accurate, as written. Unfortunately, I fear that it is meant to infer something beyond the text, that women are ONLY allowed to instruct other women and never males, unless the males have not yet transitioned into puberty. I know this misinterpretation is being propagated by some today, though it cannot be supported through a careful hermeneutic. Would you clarify this group”s position on that subject? Thanks for your sincere attempts to discern Truth.

    • Katie McCoy says:

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. The woman-to-woman ministry described in Titus 2 takes on so many forms and is expressed in so many ways that it can’t be put into a “box” or a program. What this relational ministry does is so important that, without it, God’s Word is “maligned.” When we look at 1 Tim. 2:11-15, we find that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church (most frequently this is done in a pastoral role, but it also includes roles that may not have a title). Since he refers to Adam and Eve, we believe this command is trans-cultural for the Church. And since the church was created to reflect God’s character/nature (unlike a company or society in general), then this order within the Church has a trans-cultural significance as well.

      I believe women have a particular ability to influence according to the need of the moment. Priscilla comes to mind in how she and her husband invested in and nurtured Apollos like his spiritual mother in Acts 18. Priscilla was of course not contradicting 1 Tim 2 – her ministry was through her personal relationship, rather than as a teacher/authority over a church – and she had incredible influence.

      One more interesting thing to share with you – so often when we talk about 1 Tim 2:11-15, the tendency is to ask “why only women?” But I think there’s a bigger question too: “Why aren’t women enough?” What if every woman poured into the women in her church in all the ways she could? Not just the “formal” things like teaching a Bible study, but sharing how to take care of a parent in their old age, or talking through college opportunities with a high school girl, or helping a mom of toddlers through the “terrible two” stage? I hope this is helpful. Blessings on you as you wrestle to apply the Word to these important questions!

      Katie McCoy
      Editor, BiblicalWoman.com

      • Win says:

        The main reason why teaching women is not enough is because some men misexegete the Bible texts pertaining to women. I had an ongoing discussion with one Bible translator who thought that in the Latin Vulgate of 1Tim. 2:12, the verb used was dominare, and not dominari. Why does this matter, because he published a paper on the translation history of 1 Tim. 2:12 without looking the word up in the relevant dictionary. Otherwise, I think he would have realized his mistake. There were errors throughout his paper. He also insisted that Junias and Junianas were male names in antiquity, instead of Junius and Junianus. This man is the editor of an influential Bible translation. Some men don”t feel any accountability to women or to being honestly careful.

        In addition, the Colorado Springs Guidelines for gender in translation were produced without the use of a lexicon. How could these things happen? Because women are not treated as equals. It is that simple. I am constantly shocked at the sloppy careless way some men exegete the Bible.

        Take another example, a discussion of the masculine pronouns in 1 Tim. 5:8. There are none in Greek so someone with a ThD from a seminary should know better than to invent them. I would simply never, ever trust a man”s interpretation of the Bible.

        If you want verification, I can give you links for these errors and many more and show how they have been replicated over the internet to the extent that people take them as truth.

        As long as women do not take on equality they will live with untruth. If you want truth, you have to seek it yourself.

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