Christian Churches of God
Role of the Christian Woman
(Edition 2.0 20021015-20021015-20070629)
This paper looks at the role of women in the Plan of God and the myth that women are relegated to the position of second-class believers. There is One God, one Faith, one Body, one Church but many (male and female) members.
Role of the Christian Woman
God clearly does things decently and in order, as we also were enjoined to do by Paul.
1Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Mark 10:6-9 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Eve’s deception and choice
Eve was deceived and was in transgression (1Tim. 2:14; 2Cor. 11:3). However, both Adam and Eve failed in their individual responsibility to obey the Law of God. The serpent and the man and woman all received consequences for their actions.
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Because Adam and Eve sinned the land was also cursed. In order to protect man and the planet until Messiah restored all to God at the end of 7000 years, the Jubilee system was introduced. The Jubilee system is a God-ordained system that protects man and the planet when we follow God’s Laws.
After having been taught by Messiah, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden to go out into the world and live by God’s Laws (Gen. 3:22).
Ephesians 5:21-33 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery
1Corinthians 6:16-18 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For “the Two,” he says “shall bcome one flesh”. 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. 18 Flee sexual immorality [fornication]. Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits sexual immorality [fornication] sins against his own body.
Here fornication refers to both the physical and spiritual aspects. We commit spiritual fornication when we are joined to a false religion, referred to as a prostitute. We then become one with the prostitute (false religion) and we cannot be joined in marriage to our bridegroom, Jesus Christ, at his second coming.
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband (1Cor. 7:2).
Fornication is discussed in its much broader sense in the paper Law and the Seventh Commandment (No. 260).
Wives are to be in subjection to their husbands
Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
IPeter 3:1-2 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1Timothy 2:11-14 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, In addition to being in subjection to their husbands, wives are to love and reverence their husbands. 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
Death of a spouse
Romans 7:1-3 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be to another man.
Marriage prior to conversion
1Corinthians 7:12-16 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that her believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Matthew 19:7-8 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 9:1, 7 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
1Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully
Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Having children is a huge responsibility and a wonderful blessing. Just as adults are to learn to fear God, it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children to learn to fear God.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; 10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Deuteronomy 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
1Timothy 2:13-15 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
What does it mean that women will be saved in childbearing? Saved is also rendered preserved in the NASV. The Greek word is sozo (SGD 4982), to save. It has numerous meanings related to salvation: (1) material and temporal deliverance from danger, suffering, etc.; (2) the spiritual and eternal salvation granted immediately by God to those who believe on Christ; (3) the present experience of God’s power to deliver from the bondage of sin; (4) the future deliverance of believers at the Second Coming; (5) deliverance of Israel; (6) all the blessings inclusively of God on men in Christ; (7) those who endure to the end the time of the Great Tribulation; (8) the deliverance of the nations at the Millennium.
Abortion is permitted within the Law of God only when the mother’s life is in danger.
Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. (KJV)
She should also prepare healthy, nourishing meals in accordance with the food laws. See the papers Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183) and The Food Laws (No. 15); cf. also Leviticus 11:1-47 and Deuteronomy 14:21.
A woman should have the family’s clothing cared for and in good repair (Prov. 31:21).
She needs to understand God’s Calendar and the time of the Sabbaths. The woman should have the household and family prepared to keep the Sabbaths in a timely and proper manner. See the papersand
1Corinthians 11:7-9 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
Given this, let us look at ways women should conduct themselves. There are numerous texts that indicate we need to be given to hospitality, as we will see below.
Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
She is concerned for the welfare of others (Prov. 31:20).
She is diligent in whatever she does (Prov. 31:26-27).
She feeds strangers and cares for others (Gen. 18:6; Prov. 31:20; 1Tim. 2:10; 5:10).
The instruction in Proverbs 31 is a very hard act to follow but, needless to say, it has valuable instruction for the individual woman as well as the Church (cf. the paper Proverbs 31 (No. 114) and also Song of Songs (No. 145)).
Tendencies women have demonstrated over time that should be avoided
Being led into error (2Tim. 3:6).
Eve’s deception (1Tim. 2:14).
Promoting idolatry and superstition (Jer. 7:18; Ezek. 13:17,23).
Fond of self-indulgence, dress, ornaments (Isa. 3:17-24; 1Tim. 2:9).
Given to witchcraft (Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:9-14).
A woman should be modest and feminine. She ought not to overdo her makeup or wear earrings, jewellery or clothing that have pagan symbolism. See the paper The Origin of the Wearing of Earrings and Jewellery in Ancient Times (No. 197).
She should be modestly dressed (1Tim. 2:9-10; 1Pet. 3:3). Her hair should appear feminine and function as a covering for her (1Cor. 11:5-15). See the papers The Nephilim (No. 154) and The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143) for more specific details.
The Bible clearly indicates numerous occasions when ointments and spices are used (e.g. Prov. 27:9; Mat. 26:7-13).
Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend does so by hearty counsel.
There are also many indications of the wrong use of cosmetics (2Kgs. 9:30; Jer. 4:30; Ezek. 23:40).
Jeremiah 4:30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.
Again, some things are a matter of attitude, but a woman still needs to appear as a God-fearing woman.
A woman should clearly wear women’s clothing; not clothing designed for a man. Neither shall a man put on women’s clothing.
Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
There should be no tattoos or cutting of the flesh, even as a fashion statement rather than for the religious reasons of old (see the paper Tattooing (No. 5)).
Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
(cf. also Lev. 21:5)
Remember our body is holy when the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
1Corinthians 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
We are the Temple of God; we should maintain the proper physical appearance and take care of our physical bodies. This will enable us to serve our families and brothers and sisters in the Church. We should attempt to maintain the correct weight for our physical stature and deal with any medical or health needs in a timely fashion. Doing some form of regular physical exercise will also help in this regard.
1Peter clearly states that the woman is as the weaker vessel.
1Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
One could speculate and make assessments why this might be the case, but since all of God’s word is given for instruction, it can be accepted as a fact.
2Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Scripture indicates that within a marriage power of one’s body belongs to the other mate. But there are times when sexual relations could be declined due to fasting or prayer.
1Corinthians 7:1-5 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Leviticus describes another time when couples are to abstain from sexual relations. That is when the woman has her menses, or when either the man or woman has a bodily discharge (Lev. 15:24-33).
Leviticus 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
So, when a woman is menstruating, she should abstain from having sexual relations. This is usually for a period of seven days. It is a time when women don’t need any extra pressures put on them. See the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251).
An additional line of reasoning is that since the woman is “unclean” she should not attend Sabbath services during her time of menstruation. But what were the requirements before and after Messiah’s sacrifice? Where is the Temple of God after Messiah’s sacrifice?
1Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Messiah’s own blood (for the blood is the life; Deut. 12:23, Lev. 17:11) cleansed, atoned and reconciled mankind and the Host to the One True God once and for all!
Hebrews 10:9-12 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Hebrews 9:14-15 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
From Messiah’s perfect sacrifice we are cleansed and reconciled to the Father.
No matter what physical act we attempt, it is an affront to the One True God because He accepted Messiah’s sacrifice as complete and total. Nothing we do can make us cleaner than what Messiah’s sacrifice did for us. As stated earlier we are now the spiritual Temple (1Cor. 3:16-17).
It is impossible for a woman to stay away from the Temple if she is called and baptised, for the Holy Spirit is dwelling within her. Some believe a woman cannot attend the Lord’s Supper if she is “unclean”. Women should not let anyone take their crown by this deception. Since the cycle is a monthly occurrence, if a woman was “unclean” at the first Passover it is logical she would be “unclean” at the second Passover. This could also be the case with a woman being regarded as “unclean” after childbirth (Lev. 12:1-7). However, the separation period is for the child and for recovery. See the paper
Messiah cleansed us once and for all. We are all reconciled to the Father and remain part of the living stones of the Temple, providing we keep the three fundamental requirements for eternal life. These are:
1. Believe and know there is One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3).
2. Have faith in Jesus Christ through knowledge of the One True God (Jn. 17:3). This leads to repentance and baptism (Rom. 10:9).
3. We must participate in the Lord’s Supper with foot-washing and eating of the body and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:53-58; 1Cor. 6:11).
These are the prerequisites for the retention of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rev. 12:17; 14:12). Without God’s Holy Spirit we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Scripture clearly shows how Christ has completely cleansed and atoned for us and made way for us to boldly come before God’s Throne.
There is another line of thinking that alleges it is wrong to see a doctor (cf. Mat. 9:12). There are cases of women dying or nearly dying for not seeking timely or necessary medical help during their lives. This is not godly reasoning. God would not want a woman to die, making her husband a widower or her children motherless, if medical assistance could save the woman.
On the contrary, it would be wise for all of us to seek medical aid and/or intervention to help us continue to function in our daily lives. If the assistance and aids are there then we have a duty to our family to take advantage of them. Ultimately, if it is life or death situation, a spouse might have to make this decision for the other party.
A woman’s body is different from a man’s and has different needs. It is the woman’s responsibility to get proper nutrition, water intake, and the exercise she needs daily to keep her body in optimal health. This also applies to men. Many of us have health issues that we face in an acute or chronic phase, but it is still up to each individual to do his/her best to function in as healthy a state as possible.
Husbands need to understand that the woman is the weaker vessel and be supportive of the woman as she goes through the different phases and changes in her life. He always needs to keep her best interests at heart and support her in maintaining her body in the healthiest possible way while doing so in a kind and gentle fashion.
Just like all individuals in the Church of God, women too need to be able to give an answer of the hope that lies within them (1Pet. 3:15). Any woman in the Church needs to be just as equally able to wield the sword of the spirit and shield of faith to defend the truth as any man (Eph. 6:13-17).
Scripture gives us direction on how we should conduct ourselves in the household of God. We should be of one mind and spirit and avoid controversy (1Tim. 3:14-16).
Both male and female were created in God’s image, and so a woman was not created inferior to man (Gen. 1:26-27). Women have no less a position in God’s Plan than men. God’s purpose is for all mankind. Eve was formed from Adam’s rib and Adam was formed from the dust of the ground so ultimately they were of the same substance. All creation has one source and that is God (Eloah) who has eternally existed.
God’s purpose is for man and woman to be united in marriage and produce the future generations. They are to be one in flesh and live together as a unit. One is incomplete without the other and the addition of offspring makes the unit a family. From the very beginning, it was ordained to be a combined effort of male and female working together to further God’s purpose for the physical creation. Men and women are heirs together (1Cor. 11:11-12; 1Pet. 3:5-8).
Attending the Feasts
Exodus 34:22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.
(See also Ex. 23:13-17).
Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Joshua 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
1Timothy 2:8, 11-12 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. … 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
From the foregoing Scriptures we see clearly that women are not to conduct formal Sabbath Services in mixed company. However, women can hold various important roles within the Church, in addition to their responsibilities within their immediate families.
But there are instances in the Bible where women are seen to be teaching. For example, Priscilla was active in instructing Apollos (Acts 18:26).
When persecution came upon the Church, “both men and women were dragged out and imprisoned… those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went”. It does not say only the males preached. The Apostles were not in this scattering (Acts 3:1).
Acts 8:3-5 As for Saul he made havoc in the church, entering every house and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
Was Paul against women in the Church?
Some say Paul was anti-women, relegating them to home duties only. But from careful reading of Scripture it would appear women were much more involved with the running and functioning of the Church than is openly apparent. Of course much of this is implied or left to the imagination, rather than openly stated in Scripture. But it is likely his constraints on women teaching were confined to communal worship/study situations involving men.
Further, women can be ordained to the role of Deaconess if they have proven themselves suitable candidates. There is no specific criteria for qualification as a Deaconess, but one would have to consider the instruction for Deacons and their wives to be the model for Deaconesses (cf. 1Tim. 3:8-12). This work could entail administration, organisation, and liaison with both members and outsiders concerning the functioning of the Church and other related activities. In the absence of men, any converted woman can give opening and closing prayers at services.
In the Christian Churches of God women can also participate in open Bible Study gatherings with men. However, men are to lead in worship and women are to remain quiet (1Tim. 2:13-14). Women would not be permitted to stand up and conduct a formal service when men present are able to do so, but neither do they have to sit in the back row and remain mute till they return home. This does not make women second-class believers.
Women in membership of Christian Churches of God have full voting rights and can be elected to the Executive Committee of the National or World Conferences. On these committees women act as Secretaries and Treasurers and carry out all the duties those offices entail. In this sense, we are all governed by the Constitution of the Church.
As we saw above, the first woman, Eve, was deceived and became a transgressor and then tempted man. As Christian women we have an added responsibility in displaying modest and virtuous behaviour in our dress, speech and conduct. Women are to appear and act like women (Prov. 30:30-31).
Scripture clearly shows that women are as weaker vessel made to be helpmates for men. (1Pet. 3:7; Gen. 2:18). This is essentially physical. We are commanded to raise children in the fear and admonition of God. We are to fully use the Holy Spirit within us and assist our families and nation into becoming part of Israel.
A woman cannot rely on her father, husband or minister for her salvation. We are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). There is one God and one mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5-6). No man (priest or bishop) is mediator between God and man or woman. Women have the same responsibility as men with regard to salvation – i.e. prayer, fasting, studying, and assisting the work of the Church in preaching of the Gospel.