Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 11- A Beautiful Wife

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Read These Selected Scriptures

Lesson 10 focused on our role as godly daughters. In lesson 11, we’ll be examining God’s design for women who are wives.

Questions to Consider

1. In lessons 2 and 3 (links above) we took a look at some of the attributes of a godly wife that we can emulate. Because Proverbs 31 mainly zeroes in on godly character, most of that passage easily applied to most women regardless of marital status. In today’s lesson, rather than attributes to emulate, we’ll be focusing on God’s instructions to obey for wives. Some of these instructions can also apply to unmarried women. Read over today’s passages and explain how unmarried women might apply some of these Scriptures. Why is it important for unmarried women to study passages about married women and vice versa?

2. Examine the Genesis 2 passage. What are the main points God is making about wives and marriage in this passage? What word does this passage use (18,20) to encapsulate a woman’s role in marriage? What does it mean for a woman to be a helper “fit for” or “corresponding to” her husband? Whom did God create first, man or woman? Second? Whom did God create to be the helper, man or woman? How do these two things point to and undergird male headship in marriage? Does the Genesis passage mean that all women have to marry or that the only purpose for which women were created was to be wives?

3. Look at the Ephesians and Colossians passages together. Explain how the relationship between husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. Write a character sketch of a godly husband and a character sketch of a godly wife according to these passages. Why does God instruct husbands to “love” their wives, but wives to “respect” their husbands? (33) What is the difference, and why doesn’t God give the same instruction to husbands as to wives? What should motivate a wife to submit to her husband? Pretend you are discipling a newly married, newly saved woman who has never read these passages. How would you explain biblical submission to her? How is it “fitting in the Lord” (3:18) to submit to your husband?

4. Study the 1 Peter passage. In verse 1, what is the spiritual state (lost or saved?) of the wives Peter is addressing? The husbands? Imagine Peter wrote this part of his letter to answer a question he had been asked by some of the women of the church. What was the question they asked? Carefully examine the end of verse 1. Does this mean a wife should never share the gospel with her unsaved husband and that he can be saved simply by watching her good behavior? What does it mean? How is biblical submission an aspect of holiness? (5) Some women believe they only have to submit to their husbands if their husbands are saved or if their husbands are acting in a godly way. How does this passage answer that misconception?

What does “adorning” (3-4) mean? Why and how do women usually adorn themselves? How are godly women to adorn themselves? For whom? Why? Explain external adorning versus internal adorning. Which do you think is more winsome to your husband? Compare 3-4 with 1 Samuel 16:1-13. Which is more important to God, the external or internal? Why?

Explain what it means to have a “gentle and quiet spirit“. (4) Can a woman with an outgoing, vivacious personality still have a gentle and quiet spirit? How? How is your spirit different from your personality? How should a godly spirit inform a godly personality? Explain why a gentle and quiet spirit is beautiful and how that beauty is imperishable. Why is a gentle and quiet spirit precious in God’s sight?

5. Make a list, in your own words, of God’s instructions about a husband’s and wife’s sexual relationship found in the 1 Corinthians 7 passage. God considered these instructions important enough to include in the Bible. Why? How is the marriage bed a protection against sexual temptation and sin? (2) How does this passage teach and emphasize the mutuality of the sexual relationship? Is this mutuality limited to the bedroom, or does it extend to other aspects of marriage? Explain the terms “rights” (3) and “authority” (4) in the context of this passage. In our culture, we most often think of sex in terms of pleasure or recreation. Is pleasure or recreation the main concern of this passage? What adjective would you choose to describe the perspective of this passage toward sex?


Consider the concepts each of today’s passages addresses: the husband’s headship, the wife’s role as helper, respecting your husband, submitting to your husband, your marriage imaging the relationship between Christ and the church, witnessing to an unsaved husband, external adornment vs. internal adornment, the sexual relationship, etc. Pinpoint one aspect you need growth in. Repent of any sin in this area, and spend the next week praying that God will grow you to more Christlikeness in this area. You may even wish to memorize and meditate on a verse you found particularly helpful.

Suggested Memory Verse

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4


The Mailbag: I’m a female executive in the workplace. Is this OK with God?


Women executives and managers in the secular workplace…. I have been battling this and feel I should no longer have the position. My husband is not quite in agreement. I want to honour God. I have been in upper level management since I was 25 years old- 33 years…. About two years ago God started to deal with me here. I do not have a peace.

I’m a tad bit unclear on your question. I’m not sure whether you’re asking if you should be working outside the home at all or if you’re thinking you shouldn’t be working in an executive/management position because it places you in authority over men.

If it’s the former, the short answer is that God’s design is for a wife and mother’s primary focus to be caring for her family and her home. There are seasons in life (for example: before you have children, after they’re grown and have left the home, etc.) in which a woman can do that just fine while holding down a part-time or full-time job, and there are seasons in life in which working outside the home would cause a woman to neglect her primary responsibility of home and family (and sometimes there are emergency situations in which a woman has no choice but to work outside the home).

If your question is whether or not you should work at all, you and your husband will need to sit down, consider all the factors, pray over it, and try to reach a consensus. If you cannot, Scripture is clear that you are to submit to his final decision on the matter.

But I’m guessing your question is the latter: “Is it biblically permissible for a woman to hold a position of authority over men in the workplace?”

Technically, the answer to that question is yes. (Unless, of course, your workplace is a church and it’s a 1 Timothy 2:12 situation.) Scripture does not prohibit women from holding positions of secular authority over men in the workplace, politics, volunteer or civic positions, etc. What the Bible forbids is women preaching to, teaching Scripture to, and holding authority over men in the gathered body of Believers (the church). This command does not apply to non-church gatherings, events, or positions. (Click here for more detailed information.)

However, it’s a little more nuanced than a simple “yes, you can” or “no, you can’t”.

One of the reasons Scripture doesn’t address the issue of women holding positions of authority over men in the workplace is that this wasn’t an issue in the culture and time when Scripture was breathed out by God. Generally speaking, women of the Bible weren’t career women. At that time and in that culture, a woman’s “career” was wife and mother.

We do see women like the Proverbs 31 wife and Lydia earning money from their work, but it was an extension of their work in the home as wives and mothers (Also, in Lydia’s case, her work is mentioned before her conversion. We don’t know whether or not she continued her sales business after she got saved.) They weren’t leaving the home every day to go work in someone else’s business.

The point is, the mere fact Scripture doesn’t address a particular scenario doesn’t give us blanket permission to do whatever we want about it, nor does it mean the Bible blanketly prohibits something. We have to look further.

When Christians make decisions, we always make them by correctly handling and applying Scripture. The first thing we look at is clear cut commands and biblical principles. For example, if you were looking for a job and there was an opening for a stripper or an abortion doctor, or a job that required you to lie, or a job that said you couldn’t (even in your off time) read your Bible or share the gospel, you would know right off the bat that those jobs violate clear commands and principles of Scripture.

So the first thing you’ll want to do in your situation is sit down and think about any clear commands of Scripture or broader biblical principles that apply to your situation. Scripture does not prohibit you from working in a supervisory position over men, but it does command you to submit to your husband and to live peaceably with others (including him) as far as it depends on you.

If, “My husband is not quite in agreement,” means the two of you need to talk about this issue more, then by all means, keep discussing it until a decision is reached. (It might even be helpful to set up an appointment with your pastor for counseling.) But, if it means he has stated that he wants you to continue in your position (and your job does not cause or require you to sin), you need to respect and submit to his decision. You can certainly keep praying about the situation in your personal time with the Lord. You can also revisit the issue if the situation changes (ex: an opportunity to work from home arises, you’re offered a better job or early retirement, etc.). But today, joyfully and graciously submit to your husband.

The next thing Christians need to consider when making a decision is, “Is it wise? Is it helpful?” Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Both of these verses are written in the context of setting aside your personal rights to do something non-sinful for Christ’s higher calling to serve or do good to your neighbor. And remember, your husband and family are your closest neighbors.

Ask yourself some probing questions. Will this non-sinful thing I want to do, and have a right to do, make it more difficult for me to share the gospel with someone? Is it best for my family? Will it be good in the short term, but detrimental in the long term? Is it wise stewardship of the blessings, resources, and positions of influence God has given me? Will it create unnecessary strife in my marriage? Could denying myself the right to do this thing be more impactful for the Kingdom than doing it?

Has the desire to do this non-sinful thing become an obsession you can’t let go of? Repent and determine in your heart not to be dominated by it.

One of the “wisdom questions” you and your husband might want to ponder in your situation is, “Is it difficult for me to transition from being the boss of men at work to submitting to a man at home?”. If your job is tempting you to sin against your husband or making it more difficult to obey Scripture’s command to submit to him, that’s a weighty factor to consider.

You might have noticed that I have not said anything about the necessity of “having a peace” about whatever decision you and/or your husband have reached. That’s because there’s nothing in the Bible about a peaceful easy feeling being a sign that you’ve made a godly decision. Feelings are subjective (and often deceitful and wicked). We can’t depend on them to lead us in a godly direction. Scripture is objective. We can always depend on Scripture to steer us right, regardless of our feelings.

So dig through Scripture with your husband, pray together about the situation, get some wise counsel from your pastor or other mature believers, and come to a mutual conclusion if at all possible. But in the end, make sure you’re submitting first to Christ and His Word, and second, to your husband.

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.

Marriage, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Marriage: It’s My Pity Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To ~ 7 Ways to Take Your Focus Off Yourself and Put it Back on Christ

Originally published November 5, 2014


Let’s face it, Ladies, there are days when even the best of marriages* are just plain tough. Hubby’s in a bad mood and snaps at you. There’s no money in the budget for that thing you really want to buy. You’re feeling overworked, underappreciated, and beyond stressed. It can be all too easy to haul out the party hats and confetti, hunker down in the corner, and throw yourself one big “woe is me” bash. Have you ever stopped to think about whether or not it’s biblical to feel sorry for ourselves? Believe it or not, there’s not a single passage of Scripture that says it’s OK. So what does the Bible say about how to handle those times in our marriages when we want to indulge in self pity? Let’s find out.

1. Have the mind of Christ

But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

be conformed to the image of his Son, Romans 8:29

As Christians, Christ is to be the master of everything we are, not just our actions, but our thoughts and feelings as well. We are to act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, think like Jesus, and even feel like Jesus. Punished and executed for sins He did not commit, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”(Isaiah 53:3) Jesus had much more reason than you or I to feel sorry for Himself, but did He? Then, should we?

2. Have the attitude of Christ

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, Philippians 2:5-6

When we follow Christ, we adopt the same attitude towards others He had. Jesus was prepared for the fact that people He loved and served, even those closest to Him, would let Him down. Still, He loved them and forgave them. Your husband is a broken, sinful human being (just like you). He’s going to mess up. A lot (just like you). Being prepared for, and accepting, that fact (along with a healthy understanding of how many times you’re going to let him down) can help put things into perspective.

but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7

Jesus put aside all of His rights to be served and esteemed and, instead, focused on serving others, even those who didn’t deserve it and were ungrateful. Instead of retreating into hurt the next time your husband blows it, what if you took a deep breath, put your rights aside, and did something to lovingly serve him?

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

Jesus humbled Himself. He was so focused on obedience to God that He gladly gave up His life for people who hated Him. Often, our obedience only takes us to the edge of where we’re comfortable. What kind of impact would it have on your marriage if you had the same level of humility and obedience Christ had? How could that humility and obedience to Christ help ward off self pity?

3. Give thanks

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It is not God’s will for you to feel sorry for yourself. It is God’s will for you to give thanks in all circumstances, including a lousy day in your marriage. If you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, tell that to God, and ask Him to show you things about your husband that you can thank Him for. Even if you have to start with the small things (Does he have good breath? Tie his shoes neatly? Floss semi-weekly?), start somewhere. You’ll be amazed at the way your perspective shifts from the negative to the positive as you thank God for your husband’s good qualities.

4. Be content

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11

Whatever situation. Ever read about Paul’s little “whatever situations”? You can find some of them in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. I’m guessing you’ve never been shipwrecked or stoned, not to mention all the other things on his list, which, by the way, Paul wrote while he was in prison. Yet he said he had learned to be content. How? Paul found his contentment, not in his circumstances, but in Christ. Jerry McGuire not witstanding, your husband does not, will not, and cannot “complete you.” Only Christ can satisfy the deepest needs of your heart. When you lay hold of that, you will find true contentment. Your husband will let you down. Christ never will.

5. Rejoice in suffering

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-4

God wants to do something greater in you than just make you feel better in the moment. He has long range plans to grow you in endurance, character, and hope. That’s great news, and certainly cause for joy. So instead of directing your gaze inward, look down the road to where you’re more mature in Christ, and rejoice. God is at work on your heart. (And P.S.- Rejoicing will make you feel better in the moment, too. Pitying yourself will only make you feel worse.)

6. Put yourself aside and put your husband first

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

There’s that H-word again. Humility. When I read this passage, I think back to the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. The One to whom every knee will one day bow got down on His hands and knees and took on the disgusting task that normally fell to the lowest, least talented servant. If the God of the universe could put ahead of Himself these men whom He personally knit together in the womb, who would, in mere hours, deny and desert Him at the darkest time of His life, is He asking too much of us to put our husbands ahead of our hurt feelings?

7. Change your husband by changing your behavior

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 1 Peter 3:1-2

It seems counterintuitive. “Is your husband being an ungodly jerk? Don’t nag him or pout about it; submit to him with respectful and pure conduct.” The world would call this weakness and say you’re being a doormat. Quite the contrary. If you’ve ever tried putting this passage into practice, you know just how much strength it takes to do the godly thing when everything in you wants to strike back or retreat in self pity. To realize that, regardless of how your husband acts, you are responsible to God to do what is right in His eyes. But God’s word is full of paradoxes and counterintuitives. The question is, do we believe God when He says this is the way to win our husbands to godliness, and do we trust Him enough to obey His word?

Being a Christian wife pursuing growth in godliness is tough. It can seem impossible to forge ahead in obedience to Christ on those difficult days in your marriage when all you really want to do is retreat into that corner and whimper. But you have a Savior who understands your weaknesses,  loves and cares for you deeply,  and promises to give you the strength you need to do anything He calls you to.

Even the strength to take off the hat, sweep up the confetti, and say, “The party’s over.”