Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Read These Selected Scriptures
In lesson 14 we looked at the beauty of women’s position in the church. Today, we’ll examine how our character can beautifully portray biblical womanhood in the church.
Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review lesson 14 (link above). What did you learn about the position women occupy in the church? As you study today’s lesson think about some of the ways you can portray biblical womanhood to others from that position.
2. Carefully examine the 1 Corinthians 11 passage. (As you study this passage, it may help to keep in mind that, unless widowed, virtually every adult woman in the church would have been married. That was the cultural norm. So Paul is able to use the terms “women” and “wives” nearly interchangeably. Click on the “Read These Selected Scriptures” link above and read the footnote (c) for verse 5.)
Compare the format of this introduction (2-3) to the format of the introduction of the letters to three of the seven churches in Revelation. Describe this format noting how the word “but” acts as a pivot point for all four passages. For what does Paul commend the Corinthian church? (2) “But” in what area of church life does Paul imply the Corinthians are not “getting it”? (3) Explain what verse 3 means as it applies to the day-to-day functioning of the church both in Corinth and today. What is the authority “flow chart” for the church?
Verse 3 serves as the main idea or theme of this passage. What is the main theological point God is trying to drive home to the church?
To what event in biblical history is Paul referring in 7b-9? Compare these verses with 1 Timothy 2:12-14. Explain how the creative order (man created first, woman second / man as head, woman as helper) is the cornerstone of the authority structure (3) in the family and the church.
In 4-5 and 14-15, Paul uses two separate examples from Corinthian culture that demonstrate the differences between men and women in order to illustrate the concept of the hierarchy of authority in the church. What are those two examples? Is God commanding that Christian women today must have long hair and must cover their heads when praying? Is God commanding that Christian men today must have short hair and must never cover their heads while praying?
In Corinthian culture, one of the ways women could portray biblical womanhood in the church was to signify by wearing their veils that they embraced submitting to their husbands and to the authority structure of the church. Can you think of any similar ways women can portray biblical womanhood today?
3. Examine the 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 3 passages. What is the venue or setting for the instructions in each? (You may need to look at more of each chapter.) Locate the word “but” in each of these passages (2:10, 3:4), noting the concept that comes before the word “but” and after it. Describe how women are not to adorn themselves. “But” describe how women are to adorn themselves. Are things like braids, jewelry, and clothes intrinsically sinful, or is Paul again giving cultural examples to illustrate a theological point he’s making? What is that point? What is it about the bent of women’s hearts that would cause God to give this instruction to women in the context of the home and the church, but not to give this instruction to men at all? As godly women, where is our focus to be? How does it benefit the church for us to “wear”, or portray, biblical womanhood by adorning ourselves modestly and with good works?
What similar themes do you see in these two passages and the 1 Corinthians 11 passage? How do these three passages work together to demonstrate to us how we may live out biblical womanhood in the church?
4. Locate, in the 1 Timothy 2 (10), 1 Peter 3 (6), and 1 Timothy 5 (10) passages the phrases about doing good works. How are good works a major responsibility of women in the church, and a main way we display biblical womanhood?
Explain the context of the 1 Timothy 5 passage. The passage is talking about women who are _______. But a large part of this passage talks about how these women lived and served the church prior to becoming widows. Make a two column list. On one side, list the good works of all the women (widowed, married, young widows, any believing woman, etc.) mentioned in this passage. On the other side, list some specific ways you and other women in the church can carry out these good works today.
What are the “bad works” to be avoided in this passage? How can focusing on doing good works help us to avoid the bad works?
5. Study the remaining passages (Luke, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians) in today’s lesson. How did the women who followed Jesus, Dorcas, Lydia, and Priscilla (Prisca) each portray biblical womanhood in the church by their character and good works? To whom did they minister? How did the church benefit from each of them robustly living out God’s plan for women in the church?
If you’d like to read more about some of the passages from today’s lesson, you might enjoy the following articles:
Rock Your Role: A Head of the Times- Head Coverings for Christian Women?
The Mailbag: Potpourri (Calvinism, Baptism, Modesty…)
Rock Your Role: Oh No She Di-int! Priscilla Didn’t Preach, Deborah Didn’t Dominate, and Esther Wasn’t an Egalitarian
Suggested Memory Verse
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
1 Corinthians 11:11-12