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Are Women Second Class Citizens? (Part IV – Questions Answered)

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1 The words of King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him: 2 O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, 3 Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which ruins kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to crave strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what is decreed, and remove from all the poor their legal rights. 6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitterly distressed; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more. 8 Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the legal rights of all the dying. 9 Open your mouth, judge in righteousness, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. 10 Who can find a wife of noble character? For her value is far more than rubies. 11 The heart of her husband has confidence in her, and he has no lack of gain. 12 She brings him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She obtains wool and flax, and she is pleased to work with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. 15 She also gets up while it is still night, and provides food for her household and a portion to her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; from her own income she plants a vineyard. 17 She begins her work vigorously, and she strengthens her arms. 18 She knows that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out in the night. 19 Her hands take hold of the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hand to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all of her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes for herself coverlets; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is well-known in the city gate when he sits with the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and honor, and she can laugh at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done valiantly, but you surpass them all!” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. 31 Give her credit for what she has accomplished, and let her works praise her in the city gates.1

Introduction

I was called upon to perform my civic duty by reporting for jury duty. When I was called for a particular panel, questions were asked of panel members both collectively and individually. In the course of the jury selection one of the attorneys asked the panel if any of us had a problem with lawyers (that brought to mind a whole litany of lawyer jokes), or with the trial process. A man in the back responded, “Yes, sir.” The lawyer asked the man to clarify his concerns. The man’s response went something like this:

“Something just seems wrong with the whole process. Here we are, sitting in court all day long, and you give us six bucks. There you are, being paid big bucks. There you are, sitting in your comfortable leather chair. Here we are, sitting on these hard wooden benches. Something just doesn’t seem right about that.”

Needless to say, that man was not selected for duty. (I must remember his words for future reference.) But one can see his point of view. For some (lawyers in particular), trials can be very rewarding. For others, it would seem that they get the short end of the stick. And so jury duty is just that, a duty which we endure. (Even the judge who dismissed the remainder of the jury panel told us we had “dodged the proverbial bullet.”)

My point here is not to protest against lawyers or against the jury system. It is no doubt the best system known to man. I tell this story not only because it is humorous, but because it expresses (to one degree or another) the way some women feel about their circumstances. In the words of the jury panelist, they think they are getting $6 a day and sitting on oak benches while the men get the big bucks and sit in cushy seats.2

When I say “some women” feel they have gotten the “short end of the stick” I must quickly follow up by making it clear that I have not heard this from any of the women in our church. The response to these messages (as well as to our practice over the past 31 years) has been consistently and enthusiastically positive. There has been no debate regarding the interpretation of Scripture on these issues, only a desire on the part of the women to understand the Scriptures so that they might fully obey them. Some have wondered where to draw the lines, and a few have even inquired as to whether or not we have gone far enough in our application of Scripture. What a wonderful spirit I have seen among our women and I praise God for this, and for each of them.

The Necessity for This Lesson

There are a number of reasons for this lesson, in which I will attempt to answer some of the questions that have been raised as a result of my teaching on the ministry of women in the church. There are many who strongly oppose the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the ministry of women in the church. Most would not consider themselves evangelical Christians. But some would. In this lesson I’m not concerning myself with those who oppose the teaching of Scripture. I do greatly respect those who have a personal faith in Christ, a high view of Scripture, and a commitment to obey God’s Word in regard to the ministry of women. Some of them hold to a somewhat different interpretation of the texts we have considered, or they have reached the conclusion that these texts should be applied differently. In other words, there are legitimate questions which should both be asked and answered.

Furthermore, the elders have determined not to make matters like “head coverings” a test of piety or of submission (either to husbands, or to the elders of our church). Indeed, we should make it clear that some of the elders and their wives have reached conclusions different than mine, or other elders. Because I greatly respect the wisdom and spiritual commitment of my fellow elders and their wives I must take their positions into account, and I need to try to convey those things which we all agree upon, and those where there is disagreement. What we are most concerned about it the heart attitudes of people in our church. We do not want mere compliance; we desire heartfelt obedience to God’s Word, realizing that this may take somewhat different forms within or outside our church.

If I have not said it clearly enough before this, one of the reasons that there are questions to be answered is that some decisions are necessary, but also arbitrary. Whether or not a woman wears a head covering in church is really a personal decision that doesn’t have a significant impact on others (unless, of course, the woman decides to wear a large hat, which obscures the view of those sitting behind her). But there are decisions that the elders must make that impact nearly everyone. Can there be women elders? Can a woman preach? Can a woman sing a solo? Can the women call out a hymn, share a prayer request, or pray in the church meeting? These are decisions that will have to be made, and some of them (Can a woman sing a solo, or share a prayer request?) can be arbitrary. With these things in mind, let us press on to deal with some questions that have been raised.

Questions and Answers

Questions About Head Coverings

The most frequently asked questions have been about head coverings. In our congregation the issue of the submission and silence of women is not hotly debated, but graciously and gratefully embraced. Questions about head coverings do not originate out of a spirit of debate, but rather from a sincere desire to understand the interpretation and application of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. Questions also arise about head coverings because the elders have chosen not to make this the focus of our teaching or practice regarding the ministry of women in the church. In short, we have not told our members what to believe or what they should do regarding head coverings. Thus, questions abound.

Let me observe as a kind of footnote that I find it fascinating to observe how much interest egalitarians have in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. Really their interest is only in one verse, verse 5:

But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is one and the same thing as having a shaved head (1 Corinthians 11:5).

This is because they hope that verse 5 will give them some support regarding the public ministry of women in the church, and this is spite of the clear teaching of Paul, especially in chapter 14. And while they make much of verse 5, they quickly turn away from what follows in verses 6-16. I would simply say that if you are going to build a case on the basis of one verse in chapter 11, you have been not cast aside the rest of the paragraph. You can’t have it both ways.

Question one: Why have the elders not made head covering a matter of policy (i.e. a requirement)?

Submission is the substance, silence (in the public meeting) is the application, and head covering, at best, is a symbol. As I mentioned earlier, whether or not a woman covers her head has very little impact on the church. Whether or not a woman is silent has many more implications. Submission and silence is at the heart of the New Testament teaching and practice; head coverings are more peripheral. This is not to say that Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 should be ignored. It should be taken seriously, but we should also expect that women may apply it differently. When they do so for good reasons, and with a proper spirit, we find that sufficient. Those who brush this text or the subject aside without giving it due thought are not taking Scripture seriously enough.

Question two: Why don’t all of the elders’ wives wear a head covering?

The answer to this question is simple: because not all elders or their wives interpret or apply 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 in the same way. This is an important point. I have previously indicated that verses 1-16 may not refer to the church gathered – something that is clear in the next paragraph.3 Some who I respect greatly believe that in the church meeting a woman demonstrates her submission by her silence. They believe that a head covering may be more appropriate when a woman is teaching (children or women), and thus she is not silent. There are also those who are reluctant to wear a head covering in church because they fear that it will produce the opposite effect than what Paul was teaching. In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul taught that a woman was to cover her head (including her hair) to veil her glory. She was to do this to avoid drawing attention to herself and to keep the focus on her husband. But in our society women don’t wear a head covering. In some churches if a woman wore a head covering she would actually be drawing attention to herself.

While I am still personally persuaded that a woman should wear a head covering in church, I would not impose my convictions on others, including my wife. She does wear a head covering because that is her personal conviction. But when others do not wear a head covering, or wear it in some other context, I respect their decision and understand that there are other factors to consider.

Question three: What would a proper head covering be? Could this be a hat, or a veil? Does a woman’s own hair serve as a sufficient covering?

I believe that Paul teaches women to veil that which is their glory, so that they are not the focus of attention. In 1 Corinthians 11 it is a woman’s hair that is in focus, and this is one source of glory for a woman.4 Paul says that a woman’s hair is a covering, and this is true in the sense that it covers what would otherwise be a bald (and thus shameful)5 head. When Paul speaks of a woman’s hair as a covering he does so to make a point of her need for a covering. But he is not arguing that her hair is a sufficient covering because he argues that it is a part of her glory.6 Thus, long hair doesn’t suffice, in my opinion.

So what does suffice? In short I would say “something that covers a woman’s hair that does not, in and of itself, draw attention to her. A gaudy hat, for example, would not be an adequate “covering.” It would circumvent the purpose of the covering. The women in our church who cover their heads usually do so with some kind of scarf, and a few may wear a hat.

Question four: How long should a woman’s hair be? Can a woman cut her hair?

It think that it is quite clear in 1 Corinthians chapter 11that Paul is talking about long hair. It is shameful, Paul says, for a man to wear long hair.7 It is a woman’s glory to have long hair.8 So how long is long enough? I would let this text in Deuteronomy serve as a clue:

A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor should a man dress up in women’s clothing, for anyone who does this is offensive to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 22:5).

Trust me, I’m not eager to get into the issue of women’s clothing here. But it seems to me that this text in Deuteronomy is instructing Israelite women to look like women in the way that they dress. So, too, with the men – they are to dress like men. When you see a person walking down the street, you should be able to tell whether they are male or female. I would apply this same principle to one’s hair. One’s hair should distinguish a woman as a woman, or a man as a man.

O.K., I’m going out on a limb here. I believe that we live in a day when our culture is seeking to obliterate the distinctions between men and women, between male and female. I think this is wrong, and contrary to God’s Word. And thus, I likewise oppose the translation of the Bible in a way that seeks to do away with gender distinctions. I realize that there are impressive advocates of this approach, but I disagree.

Question five: When should a woman cover her head?

Assuming that a woman is convinced that she should cover her head, when would this be? Those women in our church who wear a head covering usually do so during the Lord’s Supper meeting. Most do not seem to cover their heads during the Sunday school or elective classes, or during the preaching. Some women have asked if we are not going far enough. They wonder if they should wear a covering for the entire morning. I think that I’m inclined to agree with those who cover their heads for the entire morning.

Part of this has to do with how we define Sunday Morning. The church from which Community Bible Chapel was birthed (Believers Chapel) had four preaching services on Sunday morning. The Lord’s Supper was observed on Sunday evenings. This evening meeting was viewed as the “meeting of the church” where the men who were led of the Holy Spirit took leadership in the meeting (by calling out a hymn, passing out the elements, teaching, etc.).

The problem (as we saw it) was that only a small percentage of those who attended on Sunday mornings came on Sunday night. We believed that the “meeting of the church” – the open worship meeting during which we partook of the Lord’s Supper – was the most important meeting of the week. When we started Community Bible Chapel we moved the “meeting of the church” to Sunday mornings, alongside the preaching and teaching service. Frankly, we tried to make it hard for folks not to attend the Lord’s Supper. And it has worked! But we never meant it to be assumed that the Lord’s Table portion of the morning was the entire “meeting of the church,” and thus that the preaching and teaching was a separate function. I consider the entire Sunday morning gathering to be the “meeting of the church,” and thus wearing a head covering for only a portion of the morning does not seem sufficient. Once again, I express my point of view and leave it to the women to decide when (or if) they will cover their heads.

Question six: Are the restrictions we find in the New Testament for married women only, or do they apply equally to single women (whether unmarried, widowed, or divorced)?

As I understand the matter, the fundamental principle is that of submission. In a number of biblical texts (1 Corinthians 14:35; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7) the issue of submission is dealt with specifically in the context of marriage. Thus, we see that a good deal of Paul’s teaching about the ministry of women in the church is addressed to wives. But there are also a number of texts (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; Titus 2:3-5) where the focus is more related to gender, and thus we see that the application is to single women as well as to married women.9 It would be silly to say that a married woman could not preach but a single woman could. So, too, with being an elder. Thus I believe that the submission and silence of women in the church is that of all women, and not just married women.

Question seven: Then how can a single woman share their needs with the church?

My answer would be, “The same way married women do; by sharing it with a man (in the case of the married woman, this would almost certainly be her husband).” Women who have special needs for prayer simply convey these to a man before the service and they (at the man’s discretion) are shared with the church body. I know that some women have asked their husbands (or a man nearby) to call out a particular hymn. It is, of course, the man’s decision as to whether or not he will do so. But I must confess that I believe women should trust God to lead through the men, without prompting by the women.

Question eight: What about asking questions in church?

Paul’s words are quite clear in 1 Corinthians 14:35. He says that a woman’s silence includes questions. She is to wait and ask her own husband at home. The purpose, I believe, is clear. By asking questions of her husband at home the wife is encouraging her husband to lead. Bypassing her husband is thus counter-productive. I am not overly paranoid about answering a question or two after my sermon. Often the husband and the wife are together at the time. But the wife should always strive to keep her husband in the lead.

Question nine: Are there deaconesses in the church?

Egalitarians are more eager to try to prove that there are women elders in the New Testament, but some will settle for an office of deaconess. The Greek noun diakonos is found quite often in the New Testament, but only three times is it rendered “deacon.”10 The term is found in a feminine form in reference to Phoebe in Romans 16:1:

Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea (Romans 16:1, emphasis mine).

This rendering “servant” or “minister” (in a non-clerical sense) is the most common way of translating the Greek term diakonos. There is no reason to assume that in Romans 16:1 it is a technical term for “deaconess.” And remember that in 1 Timothy chapter 3 the qualifications for a deacon assume that deacons are men:

11 Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife and good managers of their children and their own households (1 Timothy 3:11-12).

It therefore strikes me as most unlikely that there is an office of “deaconess,” and if there were it would be a function where women submitted to men, and not the reverse.

Question ten: What about hymns and books authored by women?

I just so happens that today in our services we have sung at least two songs written by women. The fact that most of you did not note that the author was a woman is probably significant. Personally I have no problem singing a song written by a woman, or reading a book authored by a woman. Anyone who has seen the books I have read knows that I don’t assume the writer is an authority. I often cross out statements I disagree with, or write a note of dissent in the margin. Thus I do not see this as a position of authority over men.

Comments

(1) Remember that most of the ministry of a church takes place outside of Sunday morning, and outside of the walls of the church building.

It would be wrong to assume that most of the ministry occurs within the walls of the church on Sunday (or Sunday and Wednesday). God has gifted certain men (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers) to build up the body so that it can carry out the “work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12). Very few people have a prominent leadership role in the church, men included. The ministry takes place outside the church, as the church takes Christ to the world. (Strangely, in our day it is expected that the world will come to the church.) Thus, some restrictions on the public ministry of women in the church is not a great hindrance to real ministry outside the church.

(2) There have been – and sadly will continue to be – abuses of the biblical teaching on the submission and silence of women in the church, but this does not justify setting aside God’s instructions.

Any truth can be distorted, in principle or in practice, but the truth doesn’t cease to be truth (only its distortions). Here, I want to go on record that I recognize that the truths of Scripture pertaining to women and ministry have been distorted. I should probably go on to say that our practice of the truth is never perfect. Let us continually seek to understand and more accurately practice the truth of God’s Word.

(3) While women should not teach or exercise authority over women, men should be humble enough to learn from them.

A number of years ago my father asked a godly older woman to open the adult Sunday school class in prayer. (This was before my father had come to embrace the teaching of Scripture regarding the ministry of women in the church.) This woman, Mrs. Mell, softly responded to my father, “I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.” I’m sure some folks wondered what that was all about. Had she had an argument with her husband that morning, or was there some sin that kept her from praying publicly? No. She believed it was not her place to lead men and women in prayer. She did not explain her reason for declining, for to do so would have been to teach men (and women). And so she avoided praying in public as graciously as she could, and in a way that was completely consistent with Scripture. My point here is that I believe my dad (and perhaps others) learned from her actions, although she did not teach or exercise authority. Teaching does not only flow from men to women. Godly men are eager to learn from others, including their children.

(4) How do women worship at Community Bible Chapel?

I’m sharing with you what some of the godly women in our church have shared with me, at my request. The women begin preparing for Sunday the week before. Each week we send out a study guide for the following week’s sermon, which includes the Scripture text(s) as well as study questions. In addition to this we send out the Scripture texts and topic for the next meeting of the church (the Lord’s Supper and open worship meeting, led by the men). The women study these texts and meditate upon them in preparation for the coming Sunday. The women also pray for the men who will be leading us in teaching and worship, ahead of time and during our gathering on Sunday. They pray that God will lead the right men to participate and that their contribution will edify the church and glorify Christ. Because we observe the Lord’s Table every week they meditate upon our Lord and His sacrifice at Calvary. They listen to what the men have to say and worship our Lord privately, silently speaking expressions of worship to the Lord. I have never heard a woman in our church complain that they were short-changed in their worship on Sunday.

(5) We should not overlook husband-wife ministry as a “team ministry.”

I am thinking in particular of the ministry of Aquila and Priscilla, as seen in Acts and Romans.11 It seems fairly clear that both Aquila and his wife were instrumental in enhancing Apollos’ understanding of the gospel:

24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak out fearlessly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. 27 When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed by grace, 28 for he refuted the Jews vigorously in public debate, demonstrating from the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus (Acts 18:24-28).

It may be significant that the order in which this couple is named is reversed from verses 1 and 2 of the same chapter; and so also in Romans 16:3. Priscilla may have been a gifted teacher, perhaps even better than her husband. She is free to exercise her gift outside the church meeting, and in conjunction with her husband. I am thus inclined to grant that women have more freedom to minister outside the church meeting than within it. But she still does not function independently of her husband. She functions under his authority.

(6) Many of the principles that apply to women also apply to men.

In the final analysis it is not men who are to receive the glory in the church but Christ.

20 Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, 21 to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).

As my friend Carey Dula put it, “we all have a place on the chain, but the goal is to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Women are not to seek glory for themselves, but to glorify Christ by giving their husbands greater prominence. Men are not to seek glory for themselves, but are to lead in such a way that Christ is glorified.

As I mentioned in a previous lesson, the same truths which encourage women to joyfully remain silent in the church meeting also encourage men who may also need to remain quiet. We do not need an audience larger than God alone. We can always speak to Him privately, without taking the floor and addressing the church. The application of biblical principles may differ somewhat between men and women, but the principles remain the same.

Conclusion

You may have wondered why this lesson began with a citation of Proverbs 31. I wanted to call your attention to this chapter because I believe that it is pertinent to this message. I want you to notice the first nine verses. Usually we begin with the “godly woman” in verses 10-31, but I would like us to begin at the first verse of chapter 31. It, too, deals with the ministry of a woman to her son. We know that Proverbs has a lot to say about the ministry of fathers and mothers to their children, but these first nine verses of chapter 31 describe the ministry of a mother to her son, who is destined to be a king. She has taught her son in a way that will prepare him to rule a nation. We might say that she taught her son about wine, women, and song.

She warned her son not to become a victim of moral impurity. A king will have many opportunities to pursue women, but this is really destructive. In our own times we have witnessed those in positions of political power fall into moral depravity. The common notion is that this is normal, and that it has no impact on the way a man rules a nation. This king’s mother taught him otherwise. She also warned of the dangers of alcohol. Strong drink clouds a man’s reasoning, rendering him incompetent to fulfill his responsibilities. Finally, his mother reminds him that he is not to abuse his power, but rather he is to defend the rights of the poor and the powerless.

These first nine verses remind me of the last verses of 1 Timothy chapter two:

9 Likewise the women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing, 10 but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. 11 A woman must learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. She must remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first and then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was fully deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But she will be delivered through childbearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control (1 Timothy 2:9-15, emphasis mine).

I realize that there are many different interpretations of verse 15, but doesn’t Proverbs 31:1-9 help us to understand what Paul is saying? A mother has a very powerful and influential place of ministry. Her ministry helps to shape the lives of her children, and who knows what God may have in store for some of them? Lemuel’s mother taught her son how to rule. A whole nation profited from the counsel she gave to her son. How many women have played a crucial role in the lives of their children? Her leadership12 in the home is priceless.

Now when we come to verses 10-31 we have another perspective of the value of a woman’s ministry. This woman is not only a very gifted person; her husband has complete confidence in her abilities and he facilitates her ministry.13 The hub of her activities is the home, but it is clear that she has a broad range of functions. She not only prepares meals and provides clothing; she also considers a field and buys it. She adds to the family income, not to mention the ways in which she economizes, thereby saving money. She does a fair bit of what we would call administration, and she also teaches (mainly children and other women, I would suppose).14 In all of this she brings honor and status to her husband.

The thing I wish to emphasize is that even in the Old Testament women had a very important role to play, though it was largely within the context of the home. And as we conclude may I also call your attention to the fact that the “godly woman” does receive public recognition:

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed,
her husband also praises her:

29 “Many daughters have done valiantly,
but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

31 Give her credit for what she has accomplished,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.

The godly woman is not only praised by her children; she is praised by her husband at the city gates. She may have a more private ministry, but her praise is public.

As I conclude this message I would like to end by publicly expressing my appreciation for the godly women in this church. While their ministry is not as public as that of the men it is a vital ministry they perform and they do it exceedingly well. I praise God for the women He has given to this church!

Copyright © 2008 by Robert L. Deffinbaugh. This is the edited manuscript of Lesson 11 in the series, Can We Serve Church Cafeteria Style?, prepared by Robert L. Deffinbaugh on April 20, 2008. Anyone is at liberty to use this lesson for educational purposes only, with or without credit.


1 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the NET Bible. The NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION, also known as THE NET BIBLE, is a completely new translation of the Bible, not a revision or an update of a previous English version. It was completed by more than twenty biblical scholars who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The translation project originally started as an attempt to provide an electronic version of a modern translation for electronic distribution over the Internet and on CD (compact disk). Anyone anywhere in the world with an Internet connection will be able to use and print out the NET Bible without cost for personal study. In addition, anyone who wants to share the Bible with others can print unlimited copies and give them away free to others. It is available on the Internet at: www.netbible.org.

2 It is sad to say that women do seem to have been short-changed in the workplace, but that is not the subject of these messages.

3 Notice how the paragraph begins at verse 17.

4 Elsewhere, both Paul (1 Timothy 2:9-10) and Peter (1 Peter 3:3-4) instruct women to avoid hair styles and jewelry which draw attention to themselves. I would hasten to add that looking overly “plain” may actually call attention to oneself. Dressing in good taste and in a way that conforms to Scripture is not something to be taken lightly.

5 I realize that many lose their hair when undergoing treatments for cancer, but it is they who most often choose to wear a wig. In Paul’s day a woman who shaved off her head was assumed to be a woman of loose morals. See 1 Corinthians 11:5-7.

6 I will repeat, as tactfully as I can, what I have said at other times. In our culture there are other parts of a woman’s body that are considered to be her glory. She would do well to cover those as well.

7 1 Corinthians 11:14.

8 1 Corinthians 11:15.

9 I think we must be careful to distinguish between a wife’s submission to her husband and the submission of women (in general) to the men. There are a number of texts in which wives are to be subject to their own husbands. Wives are to be subject to their husbands in a way that is different from their submission to other men. Some serious errors (sins) have been made by excesses in the area of the submission of women to men.

10 Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 12.

11 See Acts 18:1-4, 24-28; Romans 16:3-5.

12 I am not denying the primary leadership role of the father; I am simply underscoring the influence of the mother in the home. We will see this in the remaining verses of chapter 31.

13 See Proverbs 31:11.

14 See Proverbs 31:26.

Related Topics: Ecclesiology (The Church), Women's Articles