Holidays (Other), Reformation Day

A RefHERmation Day Study

Originally published October 31, 2018

Reformation Day is Sunday, October 31.

This article is excerpted from my Bible study
Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood.

What better way to celebrate Reformation Day and biblical womanhood than to combine the two? Today, we’re going to take a look at some women in Reformation history and in biblical history who exemplified biblical womanhood by influencing others toward godliness.

Choose any of the women below and read their stories (click on their names). Then consider the following questions:

1. In what ways did this woman exemplify biblical womanhood in her culture, context, circumstances, family situation, or church?

2. Which godly character traits or Fruit of the Spirit were especially obvious in her life, words, and actions?

3. Which Scripture passages come to mind as you read this woman’s story? In what ways did she live these Scriptures out (or fail to live them out)?

4. Are there any instances of sin in this woman’s story? If so, how can you learn from what she did wrong and avoid this sin in your own life?

5. How does this woman set a godly example that you can apply to your own life?

6. In what ways did this woman point someone to Jesus, serve the Kingdom, or help God’s people?

Women of the Bible

Esther

Ruth

Abigail

Deborah and Jael

Miriam

Mary

Priscilla

Lydia

Dorcas

Women of the Reformation

Catherine d’Bourbon

Jeanne D’Albret

Marguerite de Navarre

Margarethe Blaurer

Katharina Schutz Zell

Anna Adlischweiler

Anna Reinhard

Katharina von Bora Luther


Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Gnomes…Babies’ eternity…Teen podcasts…Biblical womanhood…Prophetess…African American women teachers)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


My church is having women’s ministry painting party. While I don’t have an issue with painting or even learning to paint, my concern is the paintings they have chosen for us to choose from. We were given 4 choices; a watering can, ice cream cone, circle plaque, and a gnome. What gives me pause is the gnome. What little I know of the history of a gnome isn’t biblical. In fact, it is demonic, I believe. Is it ok to still go even if I don’t choose the gnome? Should I say something to my pastor? What should I say?

It’s always important to think biblically about everything, not just accept something because your church endorses it. So, kudos on thinking this through!

Here’s what I would do if I were an invited attendee and if I were the event organizer:

Invited attendee: I would go and simply opt for one of the other three items to paint. I would not look down on any of the women who chose the gnome (not that you would, either), knowing that they (and probably upwards of 99% of people today) don’t know anything about the history of gnomes. To most people a gnome is just an imaginary, fairy tale type of fictional character, like a unicorn or a fairy godmother. A picture or figurine of a gnome doesn’t physically carry a demon within it, and it’s not going to curse your household or anything like that. That’s superstition, and superstition is definitely unbiblical.

I would not go to the pastor about this. In fact, I probably wouldn’t go to anyone about this, including other attendees. But if I felt I had to speak to someone about it, I’d go to the women’s ministry director (I assume she’s the one in charge of this event). I would just briefly (like a minute or two, tops) and breezily explain to her, “Hey, I know you probably didn’t know this, but I was reading this really interesting article about gnomes, and it said A, B, and C (give the 2 or 3 most important points – don’t overwhelm her with the entire history of gnomedom). I just thought you might want to know in case that would bother any of the ladies in our group. I decided to choose the ice cream cone instead. See you at the party on Saturday!”. And then I would go and have a good time while attempting not to embarrass myself with my severe deficit of artistic talent. :0)

Event organizer: If I were the event organizer and someone came to me the way I’ve just described above, if possible, I would explain the information to the ladies and rescind or replace the gnome option so as not to unnecessarily offend anyone. I can’t guarantee that’s what any other women’s ministry director would do, but that’s what I would do.

I think some of the principles in my article Is Christmas Pagan? might be helpful to you.


Two days ago I had a D&C after a miscarriage. This is the second time I can’t have my baby in my arms. It’s heartbreaking but I am so grateful to be alive, since both the pregnancy and the procedure ended up being life threatening.

During these days of recovery I re-read your article, Elizabeth’s Gift, and it comforted me deeply. I understood that no matter what happens, as long as I have my God around me I have everything I need.

But I also read an article that said that every unborn baby goes straight to hell. I don’t really know if it’s true but as a mum of two unborn babies thinking about this breaks my heart. What are your thoughts?

First, let me say, I’m so sorry for the loss of your two babies. I can only attempt to imagine how devastating that must be. I have taken a moment to pray for you, and I’m asking everyone reading this to pause for a moment and pray for you too.

I’m not sure what the author of the article you read meant by saying that babies who die before birth go to Hell, or which Scripture(s) she may have twisted to come to that conclusion, but I can tell you there’s nothing in the Bible which explicitly says that.

Here’s what we do know: God is far more loving, compassionate, just, and merciful than we are. We also know that every decision He makes is right and perfect, and He is not capricious. So that’s the foundation we start from when we look at an issue like this. We can always trust God to act in keeping with His nature and character.

So “judging” God by His own nature and character as He Himself has revealed it to us in the totality of rightly handled Scripture, does it sound like it’s in keeping with His nature and character to unilaterally condemn an entire group of people (babies who die before birth) to Hell based on a particular physical quality (lifespan and sentience) over which they have zero control and He has 100% control? Do we see Him doing that with any other people group – males, people with red hair, white people, etc. – in the Bible?

No, we do not, because, when it comes to entrance into Heaven or Hell, God judges us individually, not for being a member of a certain people group. And He’s able to do that because He knows – even better than we know, ourselves – what’s in our hearts.

As to the eternal destiny of an individual pre-born baby who dies, let me direct you to some resources that go into this in more depth, which I think will be helpful and comforting to you:

Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur

Do babies and others incapable of professing faith in Christ automatically go to heaven? by John MacArthur

Do babies and children go to heaven when they die? at Got Questions?


Any suggestions on biblically sound podcasts for teens?

Yep. I would, first of all, suggest mine, A Word Fitly Spoken, not because it’s mine, but because we try to make sure we explain things in a way that new Christians and people who are new to whatever topic or passage of Scripture we’re discussing can understand.

I would also recommend any of the podcasters you find at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, as well as any under the “Blogs and Podcasts I Follow” heading (that’ll be in the right sidebar if you’re reading this on a computer, or near the very bottom of the page if you’re reading on your phone or tablet – just above “Links I Love!”).

Personally, as a mom of 6 and a former teacher, I think we baby and cater to teenagers, especially Christian teens, way too much. They need to grow up and mature. And…hey…they want to be treated like adults, right? Well, this is one area in which we can confidently treat them like adults – turn them on to doctrinally sound podcasts geared toward adults instead of toward teenage silliness and the cult of cool.


I was wondering if you knew of a good book for a young college age woman on the topic of biblical womanhood. I’m trying to find a book that provides a biblical view in contrast to most popular “Christian” books which seem to try to tear down the biblical view. Any suggestions you have would be great.

I would strongly recommend that she study straight from the text of Scripture about this. Books necessarily have to approach these topics in a “one size fits all” way, and that’s not going to teach her what it looks like to live out biblical womanhood in her unique life and context. But the living and active Word of God can.

If she would be interested, she might like to try my Bible study, Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood. It’s free, and she’s welcome to print it out if she’d like to.


I was wondering what are your thoughts on Prophetess Kimberly Moses?

I’ve never heard of her before, but I cannot fathom any circumstance, any stretch of the mind, or any reason, under which a doctrinally sound woman would call herself a “prophetess”.

I would recommend you stop following her immediately. She’s almost certainly teaching New Apostolic Reformation heresy.

(So, after I wrote the above, I was just going to leave it at that. But my curiosity got the better of me, so I Googled her. Yep, NAR. If you know anything about the NAR, you’ll spot it all over her website in about 10 seconds.)


Any recommendations for female African-American authors/bloggers/influencers?

No, because I don’t recommend teachers on the basis of ethnicity. I recommend teachers on the basis of sound, biblical doctrine.

I would recommend any of the women (or men) at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, as well as any under the “Blogs and Podcasts I Follow” heading (that’ll be in the right sidebar if you’re reading this on a computer, or near the very bottom of the page if you’re reading on your phone or tablet – just above “Links I Love!”).


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Holidays (Other), Parenting

Beautiful Motherhood: A Mother’s Day Bible Study

As we look ahead to Mother’s Day,
let’s check out what the Bible has to say about mothering.
This is lesson 12 of my topical Bible study:

Imperishable Beauty- A Study of Biblical Womanhood.

Read These Selected Scriptures

Questions to Consider

1. What are some attributes or character traits of a godly mother from Proverbs 31 that we can emulate? In today’s lesson, rather than attributes to emulate, we’ll be focusing on God’s instructions to obey for mothers. We’ll examine how we’re to regard motherhood and our children, how we’re to train our children in godliness, how we’re to discipline our children out of ungodliness, and the example we’re to set for our children. Some of these instructions can also apply to childless women in their relationships with their spiritual children (i.e. younger women or children they disciple) and others. As you read over today’s passages, explain how childless women might apply some of these Scriptures.

2. Examine the first three passages (Psalm 127-Titus 2) together. What do these passages say about how we are to regard motherhood and our children? What should the attitude of our hearts be? In what sense are children a reward? How do we know that Psalm 127:3 does not mean that if you act in a way that pleases the Lord He will reward your good behavior with children? What does this verse mean? Is loving your children (Titus 2:4) simply a feeling of affection toward them? If so, why would young women need to be trained to love their children? When you finish today’s lesson, come back to Titus 2:4 and give a fully-orbed biblical definition of what it means to love your children.

3. Examine the next five passages (Proverbs 22-Ephesians 6) together. Why does God want us to train our children in godliness? Explain the phrase “in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). How does the gospel figure in to training your child? Look carefully at the three Old Testament passages. At what age should we begin training our children in godliness and the Scriptures and how long should this training continue? Is Proverbs 22:6 an iron-clad guarantee or promise from God that if we raise our children in a godly home they will definitely get saved and turn out to be godly adults? Why not? (Scroll down to the Deuteronomy 21 passage if you need help.)

To whom are the Colossians and Ephesians verses addressed? Does this mean they don’t apply to mothers or that it’s OK for mothers to provoke their children, but not fathers? If they apply to both parents, why are they addressed to fathers? How are we not to deal with our children according to these verses? What does it mean to provoke your children? Why are we not to provoke them (Colossians), and how are we to deal with them instead (Ephesians)? Compare Ephesians 6:4b to the Old Testament verses in this section. How are they similar?

3. Examine the next three passages (Proverbs 29-Deuteronomy 21) together. What is the purpose of godly discipline? What are the biblical definitions of the words “discipline” and “reproof”? Are discipline, reproof, and training the same as punishment? Why or why not? What are some of the consequences of disciplining your child? The consequences of refusing to discipline your child? According to Proverbs 13:24, what motivates someone to discipline her child? What motivates someone to refuse to discipline her child? Are “love” and “hate” simply emotional feelings in this verse or an attitude, posture, or orientation of mindset toward the child? Look closely at Deuteronomy 21:20. Is this passage most likely talking about a very young child or an older child/teenager? According to the Deuteronomy 21 passage, does godly discipline always result in an obedient son or daughter, or can there be exceptions to the rule?

Why is it important to both train your child in godly ways and discipline him out of ungodly ways? Explain how this fits into the “put off the ungodly, put on the godlymodel of biblical sanctification.

4. Examine the last five passages (Deuteronomy 21-Matthew 10) together. What do these passages teach us about the godly example we need to set for our children?

Sometimes we see implicit instructions to parents in passages that explicitly teach children how to treat and regard their parents. For example, if there were a verse that said, “Children, love your parents,” we could learn from that verse that we need to act in a way (lovable) that makes it easier for our children to obey that Scripture. Considering this concept, look at the Exodus 20 and Proverbs 1 passages. If your children are to honor you, in what manner should you behave? What should your teaching be like if your children are not to forsake it and to consider it a “graceful garland” and a “pendant”?

What is the context of Ezekiel 16? To whom is the parent/child metaphor in this  passage addressed? Explain the phrase “like mother, like daughter”. Why is it important to set a good example for our children with our own behavior, and why was this a good metaphor for God to use in addressing Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him?

Examine the Deuteronomy 21 and Matthew 10 passages together. What is to be a mother’s highest priority – her relationship with her child, even the life of her child, or her love for, obedience to, and loyalty to Christ? Do you love Christ more than your child? If you had to choose between your child and Christ, whom would you choose? What message does it send to our children when we show and tell them that we love Christ more than we love them? How can you demonstrate to your child that your highest love and loyalty is reserved for Christ?


Homework

Examine each of the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Make a list of practical ways your family could put each of these instructions into practice and discuss it with your husband. Together, pick one of these practices and implement it with your children this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 17- The Most Beautiful Girl in the World…er…Bible- Finale

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Read These Selected Scriptures

It’s been a beautiful 17 weeks studying biblical womanhood with you! Today, we’re bringing things to a close as we reflect on all we’ve learned. Links to all previous lessons are located above.

Questions to Consider

1. We started this study by looking at the Proverbs 31 woman (lessons 2-3), often considered the icon of biblical womanhood. In subsequent lessons, we tried to answer the question, “If the Proverbs 31 woman really is the ideal to attain to, how do we get there from here?”. And we’re finishing up today by looking back again at the Proverbs 31 woman. Is she really the quintessential picture of biblical womanhood? How do all the other Scriptures we’ve studied flesh out the ideal described in Proverbs 31?

2. What does verse 10 mean? Consider verse 10 in light of lessons 4-6. How does the fact that you were uniquely created by God (4), that your identity is found in Christ (5), and that you are a vital member of the Body of Christ (6), provide a foundation to build on for becoming the rare, excellent, godly woman?

3. Examine verses 11-12 in light of lesson 11. What are some of the ways you can be obedient to Scripture that will enable you to do your husband good and not harm, benefit him, and enable his heart to trust in you?

4. Consider verse 17 in light of lessons 7-9. How do knowing and loving God’s Word (7), obeying God’s Word (8), and sharing the gospel (9), dress you with strength and make your arms strong?

5. What is the general motif of verses 17, 22, 25? Compare these verses to the concept of “adorning” we studied in lesson 15. With what “clothing” should a godly woman “dress” or adorn herself?

6. Examine verse 26 in light of lessons 13-16. How can we open our mouths with wisdom and teach kindly through our position in the church (14), our portrayal of biblical womanhood in the church (15), and our proclamation of God’s Word (16) in the church? What are the unique opportunities single women (13) have to teach and model wisdom and kindness in the church?

7. Examine verses 27-28 in light of lessons 10-13. How can we diligently look well to the ways of our households and families as daughters (10), wives (11), mothers (12), and single women (13)?

8. In what specific areas has God grown you in biblical womanhood during the course of this study? What would you say was your most important takeaway from this study?


Homework

Go back over the questions in the “Expectations and Presuppositions” section of lesson 1. Have any of your answers changed? How or why? Did you get out of this study what you were hoping to get out of this study (#6)? Explain.


Suggested Memory Verse

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:31

Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 16- A Beautiful Proclamation in the Church

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Read These Selected Scriptures

In our last lesson, we examined how we can beautifully portray biblical womanhood in the church. Today, we’ll finish up our section on biblical womanhood in the church by looking at how godly women can beautifully proclaim the Word of God in the Body of Christ.

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lessons 14-15 (links above), noting the instructions God has given to and about women regarding our role in the church. What are the do’s and don’ts God has laid out for us, especially in 1 Timothy 2:12, regarding teaching and authority in the gathered Body of Believers (the church)?

2. Examine the first two passages (Titus 2 and 2 Timothy 2) of Scripture. Recalling that these books are pastoral epistles, to whom are these instructions primarily addressed? To which venue (home, marketplace, church, etc.) do these instructions primarily apply?

In the Titus 2 passage, the Holy Spirit gives instructions for which individuals (1, 7-8)/groups (2, 3, 4-5, 6, 9-10)? Examine the instructions for Titus and for each group. Are they instructed to be something (character), or do something (actions), or both? Why does God instruct Titus and these groups to be and do these things? What is the point of all this godly character and behavior? (“so that”: 5b, 8b, 10b)

Who, in the Titus 2 passage, is instructed to “teach”? (1&7, 3-4) Why do you think God singles out only the pastor and older women with the instruction to teach and train? Who is the pastor to teach? Who are older women to teach and train? (4) Using the context of these verses, what age or station in life would you infer this passage means by “older” women? “Young” women? If it is the responsibility of older women to teach and train young women, what is the responsibility of the young women?

Examine verse 3 carefully. Is this a “do” verse or a “be” verse, or both? Which instruction comes first, “be” (character) or “do” (action)? Would it be biblically accurate to say that older women without the godly character described in the first part of verse 3 should not be doing the action (teaching) in the last part of verse 3 – that godly character is a prerequisite for teaching younger women?

Examine 3b-4a: “They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women…”. Does this sound like a command, or is it optional/a suggestion? If it is a command, doesn’t that make the character instructions in 3a a command as well? Take a moment to prayerfully evaluate yourself. How are you doing on the “be” and “do” of verses 3-4?

As you continue to examine 3b-4a- is there a difference between “teaching” and “training“? Could it be biblically accurate to say that teaching is to impart knowledge, and training is to show someone how to apply that knowledge to real life situations? (For example, teaching someone the rules and regulations of basketball in a classroom-type setting, versus putting that person on a basketball court and training her to apply those rules with basketball in hand.) Which comes first in 3b-4a, teaching or training? What does 3b say older women are to teach? What do 4a-5a say older women are to train younger women to be and do? Is it possible to train Christian women “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,” without first teaching them “what is good” – what the Bible says about how to do these things and why they should do them? Is it wise to attempt to train Christian women in these things without basing them in Scripture?

Even though 2 Timothy 2:15 is primarily addressed to pastors, does it still apply to others who teach God’s Word? How should this verse inform your teaching and training of younger women? Whose approval should you be seeking when handling God’s Word? What does this verse mean when it says “Do your best” so you will have “no need to be ashamed”? What does it mean to “rightly handle the Word of Truth”?

3. Carefully read the 2 Timothy 3 passage. How does the Holy Spirit describe people’s attitudes and actions during the last days? (2-5) Considering what He says these people will do in 5-6a, are the people He’s describing in 2-5 Christians or non-Christians? Church-goers or non-church-goers? What does it mean to have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power? (5a) How do verses 8-9 describe these same people from 5a? What term might we use for people like this today? How are we to regard such people? (5b) Why are we to “avoid such people” (5b), and who are “them” (6a)? Why does verse 6 specify “weak women” instead of saying “men” or “people”? How do verses 6-7 describe these at-risk women?

If the (2 Timothy 3) weak woman, unable to arrive at a knowledge of the truth and captured by false teachers who oppose the truth, is one of the (Titus 2) young women in the church, is she going to have a truthful, biblical understanding of how and why “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”? How can the (Titus 2) older woman “rightly handle the Word of Truth” and “teach what is good” to this younger woman? What sorts of good things from Scripture would this older woman need to teach the younger woman? Have you ever seen a scenario like this in your church? How would you apply the Scriptures we’re looking at to that scenario?

4. Look at the final three passages (1 Timothy 2, 2 Timothy 1 & 3). Besides women, what is another part of the church whom women are uniquely gifted to teach? (You may wish to go back to lesson 14 (link above) and re-read the paragraph near the end of the lesson which begins with, “Verse 15 can be a little cryptic…”. ). Who were Lois and Eunice? (1:5) To which child did they teach the Scriptures? (1:2,3:15) What did he go on to do as an adult? Who are some other men from Scripture who had mothers who trained them in godliness? Describe the impact Christian women can have on the church by training children in godliness and the Word.

5. Considering all of today’s passages, which two groups of people in the church has God blessed women to proclaim the Word to? If women were not teaching other women and children in the church, would the church be healthy?


Homework

Egalitarians often cite the women listed in Romans 16 and Priscilla and Aquila’s conversation with Apollos as evidence that God is OK with women preaching or instructing men in the church. How would you answer this argument? Examine both passages. Does Romans 16 say any of the women listed taught or preached? Was Priscilla’s and Aquila’s private conversation with Apollos the same as Priscilla teaching or preaching to the gathered Body of Believers? Would Paul have commended any of these women in Romans 16 if they had disobeyed his instructions in 1 Timothy 2:12?


Suggested Memory Verse

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15