Several weeks ago Wendy Alsup wrote a blog post entitled “Pink Fluffy Bunny Women’s Bible Studies.” The post was a gentle but firm indictment against Bible studies for women that contain “a lot of emotional fluff” and are merely “masquerading as Bible study — stuff that quotes chick flicks and romance novels more than it does Scripture.” I hear that.
In her post, Wendy articulated a point I have made many times before on this blog, but she also added something that I found particularly insightful and I want to share with you.
So often women want to study the passages of Scripture that “apply to them.” You know what I mean–the passages of Scripture that single out women, like Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. Wendy, however, points out the fundamentally flawed reading of Scripture that such an approach entails:
“We have sold women in the church a lie — that the stuff specific to them in Scripture is made up of a piecemeal compilation of small sections of Scripture from a few select places in the Old and New Testament. Ephesians 5:22 isn’t the only Scripture particularly applicable to women in Ephesians. The WHOLE BOOK of Ephesians is written to women. Men too. But don’t make the last part of Ephesians the only part we speak particularly to women. Stop it, women authors!! The women in your realm of influence need the whole counsel of Scripture. And they will benefit from hearing it from the perspective of a doctrinally sound, well grounded woman.”
I love what she says about a “piecemeal compilation of small sections of Scripture.” How true! While women generally admit that the whole of Scripture is for them, many of us also feel that the passages on women are ESPECIALLY for them. On the contrary, those passages either serve as boundaries for interpreting the rest of Scripture, or they serve as the practical application for certain core doctrinal principles. Without a doubt, THE most important passages for women are always, always ALWAYS about the Gospel! The GOSPEL is what matters most to women, and if we teach women all about submission but fail to equip them with the knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection, the righteousness they have through nothing but faith and Christ, and the freedom they have from sin and death as a result of salvation in Him–then we will be neither Biblical or effective women’s ministers. We also risk imparting to women a guilt-driven works-righteousness in which “all good Christian women do this and this and this.”
When it comes to discerning which passages are most relevant to women, we find our standard in 2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us, “ALL of Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Study Scripture. Teach Scripture. That is the call of women’s ministers, and every disciple of Christ.