Bible Literacy: Essential for Biblical Womanhood

When we think of biblical womanhood, we typically think of how we act, how we dress, our church attendance, or maybe we even think about our reputations. We think of holding ourselves to a certain standard of morals or service in our communities. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things. We should desire to act biblically, dress modestly, worship corporately, and serve others. But if these are the first things that come to mind when we think of biblical womanhood, then I’m afraid we’re missing the point. Biblical womanhood begins in God’s Word. This is where we truly learn what it means to be godly women. This is God’s chosen medium for revealing his character to us, giving us wisdom, and bringing us to know what true worship is. If we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, I submit to you that this includes our minds.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.
— Romans 12:1, ESV

I have not come to this conclusion because I have been the model of biblical womanhood…quite the opposite. I have come to this conclusion because as a wife and mother who did not take the time and effort to immerse myself in God’s Word before this season of life, I often feel unprepared and inadequate. But there is good news for me, and for you, too, if you find yourself in a similar situation, and that good news begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. The inspired Word of God himself presents to us the faithfulness of Abraham, the wisdom of Solomon, the steadfastness of Job, and the courage of Paul. Every story on every page declaring the glory of God and pointing us to Jesus.

How are we to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength when we haven’t gotten to know him through his word? The answer, simply put, is that we cannot.  Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that “If we believe that the Scripture is indeed the Word of the Living God, then we must read it all.”  When we take bits and pieces out of the context of the whole of Scripture, we not only fail to understand it correctly, but we strip it of it’s redemptive power. When we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, and study it with our minds so that it can fully penetrate our hearts, we find ourselves armed and ready to be submissive wives and diligent mothers, caring neighbors and loyal friends, able to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
— Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

We will be prepared when trials and temptations come. They will come, and this is where God does his best work. He is not caught off guard when troubles come. He meets us in our mess and he transforms us in ways that only can be accomplished by suffering. We will learn to see suffering as his vehicle for sanctification…his vote of confidence in us.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
— Philippians 4:12-13, ESV

Will it be difficult to navigate our Bible study as wives and mothers? Yes, but we serve a great high priest, so let’s draw near to the throne of grace with confidence. This is the kind of access Jesus purchased for us with his blood.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
— Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV

Will we have to pray for discernment as to how to use our time? Yes. Sometimes this will look like studying our Bibles while our children play independently, and sometimes it will mean getting down on the floor and playing with them instead. Some days it will mean waking up an hour early to have our quiet time with the Lord, and some days it will mean getting that extra hour of needed rest so that we are able to care for our families as we should. No matter what this looks like for you day to day, God gives wisdom generously when we ask in faith.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
— James 1:5, ESV

Sisters, we cannot be content to let others do the soul sanctifying work of reading, comprehending, and interpreting the Scriptures for us.

As Matt Chandler says, “If you’re not confident in the authority of the Scriptures, you will be a slave to what sounds right.” God’s Word is not something that we can afford to be wrong about. We cannot become a generation of women who don’t know our Bibles. I know the appeal of turning to a commentary as soon as we don’t understand a passage, especially when that author is more educated and wiser than us, but in doing this we’re settling for another fallible human being’s opinion without first coming to grips with the text ourselves. I know that we want to get as much from his word as quickly as we can, but I think that God wants us to wrestle with it.  I think that makes the aha moments along the way that much sweeter.

We are commanded to love God with all of our hearts and minds, not someone else’s. Let’s taste and see that the Lord is good and let’s keep running back for more because he has provided us with a proverbial feast in his Word. Maybe you’re not where you want to be in terms of your Bible study, your walk with the Lord, or maybe you’ve even abandoned Jesus for lesser pursuits.  No heart is too hard for God to turn to flesh and through Jesus your failure is never final.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
— Ezekiel 36:26-28, ESV

God named Sarah the Mother of Nations when she was ninety and barren. Jesus called Peter a rock when he was merely a pebble who denied him time and again. He does not see us the way we see ourselves and he does not leave us where we are. He is making all things new, even me and you.