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Walking as Women of the Lord

Womanhood is a term that the world is struggling to define and explain in light of recent cultural revolutions. Rather than looking to the foolish wisdom of man for answers, we as Christians ought to turn to the one unchanging and infallible source that we have, that is, the holy Bible. We can explore the idea of biblical womanhood by looking at examples of godly women whose stories are told in the pages of Scripture, women who revealed in their lives God’s calling for them. 

Hannah was the beloved wife of Elkanah. Every year, Elkanah and his family would go to Shiloh to worship God with sacrifices and feasting. Each time, Hannah would ask for a child. This weighed upon her so heavily that she went away to pray and weep. In this prayer, she vowed to dedicate this longed-for son to Jehovah. Eli, the high priest at the time, saw her and mistook her mouthed prayer for drunkenness. After understanding Hannah’s faith, he blessed Hannah that her petition might be granted. Her son Samuel later became a great priest and prophet to the nation of Israel. 

We can draw many applications from the life of Hannah. First of all, marriage and children (the family) are biblical institutions. Therefore, it is not selfishness to desire marriage or children. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Ps. 127:3). Second, here we see not only what we may desire, but also how we are to ask for those things or act when they are not immediately granted unto us. Even when Hannah felt “bitterness of soul,” she did not blame others or become angry. Instead, she went to a place where she could be alone with God; where she could fellowship with her covenant Lord. This idea is also emphasized in Matthew 21:22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Finally, we are reminded to persevere. Hannah had likely prayed a similar prayer many times before, yet God did not immediately answer, for it was not yet God’s will to grant her that child. Her example is an excellent reminder to first and foremost go unto the Lord when we are struggling with our place in life. 

Next we turn to the New Testament and the example of Tabitha. Very little is known about her life beyond that she was “full of good works and almsdeeds,” in sewing coats and garments for the widows of Joppa (Acts 9:36).  

Through her walk and life, Tabitha teaches us that it is unnecessary to perform grand gestures of faith to live in the service of God and his church. While women are not called to serve in church offices, there is still a place for service. Tabitha served those around her by providing clothing to the widows. Our Lord Christ Jesus grants unique grace and gifts to each of his people that cause his bride, the church, to be fitly framed together (Eph. 4). Not all of us are, nor need to be, a Martin Luther who confidently stood before the Diet of Worms refusing to recant his beliefs and writings—a stand that would later make him an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire. In Tabitha, there was a humbleness of spirit and character that caused her to look beyond herself and her own problems to see others who were struggling. Yet even though she did not advertise her deeds, they were noticed. Her godly walk was what caused the men of Joppa to send for Peter when she died. With her rising again by the hand of God, she was able to be an even greater witness of the glory of God and Christ’s work in her. 

Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, is mentioned five different times throughout Acts 18 and the epistles of Paul. While Paul was in Corinth, he stayed with the couple because they, like Paul, were tentmakers. Later on, this couple accompanied Paul to Ephesus where it appears they stayed (1 Cor. 16:19). It was here that they later took in Apollos, already known as a mighty man of the Scriptures, and expounded the word of the Lord unto him more fully. Based on Romans 16:4, it appears that this couple did much more for the churches established by Paul, as it states, “Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.”  

 What can we learn from the life and walk of Priscilla? First of all, it is immediately apparent that this couple was of one heart and mind. Priscilla did not try to outshine her husband or be the leader in the house, but the couple worked together to create a godly marriage and a strong church.  

Second, the importance of learning and doctrine is emphasized by Priscilla’s life. Women may need to teach and guide others concerning the truths of Scripture; therefore, women are called to incline themselves to learn and understand what God has revealed unto all his people. We must emphasize the need for a true knowledge of scriptural doctrine rather than solely focusing on a life of service as it is part of the image of God restored unto us in Christ. However, we also must recognize that this teaching must be done in the proper way. Priscilla went with her husband in teaching Apollos and helping the churches of the Gentiles; that is, not as a leader in the church but instructing under the proper authority of the church and the creeds that it holds. Other scriptural passages point to this truth as well. The virtuous woman of Proverbs is called to train up her children in wisdom, and the “aged women” are called to teach the young women to be sober and fulfill their calling in the church (Prov. 22:6; Titus 2:3–5).  

These are but a few examples of biblical womanhood. There are many more beautiful examples of godly women throughout Scripture, such as Naomi, Deborah, Rahab, and Elizabeth to name but a few. Let us pray to God that the Holy Spirit may work in us to follow after the example of these women in praising God with our hearts, words, and deeds. 

 

Suzanna is a teacher at Hope Protestant Reformed Christian School in Walker, MI, and a member of Grace Protestant Reformed Church.