Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women everywhere for their contributions to the world. It’s also a day to urge others to stand for women’s dignity and value around the world.
Our culture talks a lot about what it means to be a woman, and with each generation we seem to constantly redefine what womanhood is and how women should function in that role.
The church has played a large part in fighting against unbiblical definitions of womanhood, but, unfortunately, we too often confuse womanhood with wifehood. This confusion leaves all women, both single and married, with the natural assumption that their purpose and worth are intrinsically tied to marriage. This assumption is gravely flawed.
What does it mean to be a godly woman and what is the biblical role of a woman, be she single or married?
7 Biblical Commands for Women
- “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
- “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
- “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Ephesians 4:32).
- “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks. . . . Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, 22).
- “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12).
- “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
If you’re thinking that these verses do not specifically apply to women, you’re right. They apply to men and women. And that’s the point.
For too long we’ve allowed cultural, sometimes even Christian cultural, stereotypes of men and women to define our genders. There are biblical roles for men and women in marriage and the church, but the overwhelming majority of God’s Word is directed to all people because God created us equal in purpose and in His love and plans for us.
When God created Eve, He did not create her to be Adam’s servant, pet, or inferior. He created her as a companion with whom Adam could find his equal, just as the animals each had an equal female counterpart. God even gave Eve a job—the same job He gave to Adam—tending the garden and having dominion over the animals and every living thing that God had created.
Although history reveals the oppression of women, this was not God’s perfect plan. Every woman’s value is the same as every man’s because both were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Just as God had a plan and purpose for Adam, so He also had a plan for Eve, even after the Fall, and used her for His glory.
In the Bible, we see many women whom God used for His glory:
- Rahab hid the Israelite spies from danger and became part of the bloodline of Christ as Boaz’s mother (Joshua 6:17; Matthew 1:5).
- Ruth selflessly cared for her mother-in-law and reaped grain in the fields. She married Boaz and became the grandmother of King David, entering the bloodline of Christ (Ruth 1:14–17, 2:2–3, 4:13, 4:17).
- Esther married a pagan king and saved God’s people (Esther 2:8–9, 17; 7:2–8:17).
- Deborah was a judge over Israel (Judges 4:4).
- Jael helped deliver Israel from King Jabin’s troops when she drove a tent peg through the wicked Sisera’s temple (Judges 4:17–22).
- The virtuous woman purchased land and planted a vineyard (Proverbs 31:16).
- Elizabeth gave birth to and raised John the Baptist (Luke 1:13–17).
- Mary was chosen by God to bear and be an earthly mother to His Son (Luke 1:26–33).
- Mary and Martha were two of Jesus’ closest friends (John 11:5).
- Tabitha was known for her good works and was raised from the dead (Acts 9:36–40).
- Lydia was a businesswoman who hosted Paul and Silas (Acts 16:14).
- Rhoda was in the prayer group for Peter (Acts 12:12–13).
The list could go on, including single and married women through the ages whom God has used to change the course of history and further His kingdom. He’s still using women as missionaries, teachers, lawyers, politicians, doctors, nurses, engineers, artists, businesswomen, wives, mothers, and in hundreds of other positions to accomplish His work in this world.
What This Means for You
Because of our fallen condition, men and women will always struggle to live amicably together. Misogyny, injustice, and strife exist because sin exists and must be fought against. But the role of women is to face all of life with wisdom, fearing the Lord by following His leading. As such, women must be dedicated to praying, studying God’s Word regularly, and applying it to their lives.
On this International Women’s Day, we can celebrate our Creator for His love and His plans for every one of us, regardless of whether we are male or female.