Does the Bible Say It is Ok to Murder Women?

“Genesis 9:6 says it is wrong to shed man’s blood because God made man in his image.  But 1 Corinthians 11:7 says only males are the image of God.  Does that mean the Bible is saying it is ok to murder women?”. This was a question I recently received from a reader calling himself Jacob.

Below is Jacobs’s complete email.

“BGR,

I have read what I think are all of your writings on the image of God in man.  I was hoping you could help clarify some things the Bible says about the image of God.

I was always taught growing up in church that Genesis 9:6 teaches us the very foundation for the value of all human life (both men and women) comes from the fact that they are made in the image of God.

Genesis 9:6 says it is wrong to shed man’s blood because God made man in his image.  But 1 Corinthians 11:7 says only males are the image of God.  Does that mean the Bible is saying it is ok to murder women? Please do not misunderstand me.  This is not a trick question.  I do not believe it is ok to kill women but I am very confused by what seems to be a contradiction between Genesis 9:6 and 1 Corinthians 11:7.

James 3:9 has a similar statement to Genesis 9:6 but instead of it talking about murder, it talks about not cursing men because they are made after the “similitude of God”.  So, the same rhetorical question would apply, since only men are made in the image of God is ok to curse women?

What about when it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 “Christ who is the image of God” and in Hebrews 1:3 that Christ is “the express image of his person”?  What is the difference between Christ being the image of God and the express image of his person and man being the image of God?

Thank you for your time.

Jacob”

I am actually very grateful for Jacob’s email because I have been meaning to write on Genesis 9:6 and how it harmonizes with I Corinthians 11:7 and this pushed me to finally write on this subject.

What is God teaching us in Genesis 9:6?

Genesis 9:6 teaches us that mankind, both male and female, were made in the image of God.  This is where the value of human life begins and why God commanded the death penalty for those who shed man’s blood.

Some of my readers may be confused that I have just stated that men and women were both made in the image of God because I have previously stated in many of my articles that Genesis 1:27 does NOT show that both men and women were made in the image of God.  And I still stand by that interpretation.

“So God created man [Hebrew “adam”] in his own image, in the image of God created he him [Hebrew eth haa-‘adam”]; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 1:27 (KJV)

The Hebrew word “adam” can mean “man”, “mankind”, “men” or it can particularly refer to a certain man and sometimes Adam, the first man.  To understand the correct meaning of adam we must always look to the surrounding context in which it is used.

In the case of Genesis 1:27, when it says “God created adam in his image” this could have meant “mankind” if there were no qualifiers in the verse to indicate otherwise.  But there is a qualifier which is “eth haa-‘adam” which literally means “this same man” and is translated by the KJV as “he him”.  This means God was talking specifically about Adam.

The most literal rendering of Genesis 1:27 is as follows:

“So God created Adam in his own image, in the image of God created he this same man; male and female created he them.”

The phrase that follows “male and female created he them” does not indicate that woman was created in the image of God, it simply states that just as man was created by God, so too woman was created by God.

However, Genesis 9:6 is different than Genesis 1:27.  Genesis 9:6 is speaking of something which applies to all human beings and that subject is murder.  And it uses no qualifiers for handling the murder of women differently than that of men.  So, when Genesis 9:6 tells us the reason murder is wrong is because man was created in the image of God, we can rightly understand that “adam” in the Hebrew in this context is referring to “mankind” which includes both men and women.

And on the subject of killing, Genesis 9:6 is not talking about any killing of man by man, because God actually commands men to kill men at certain times as is seen in this very passage.  It is talking about unjustified killing.

And who determines if the taking of a human being’s life is justified or not? It is God.

The Bible shows us three major categories of justified killing where the person who does the killing is not considered sinning in the sight of God.  Exodus 22:2 shows us the God given right of self-defense.   Psalms 144:1 shows us that God teaches men how to fight and wage war in defense of their nations which is another God given right.  Numbers 35:27 teaches us that those who have the authority to execute the death penalty for various moral crimes God deems worthy of death are not held guilty for the blood they shed.

This is why abortion is considered an unjustified killing from a Biblical perspective but execution of a murderer on death row is considered a justified and righteous act.  The doctor who sheds the blood of the innocent child within the womb is held guilty by God because God does not allow the killing of someone simply because their life presents an inconvenience to their mother. However, the executioner who pulls the switch to kill the murderer is held righteous before God because God ordains this as part of his justice.

Understanding the Image of God in Christ, Man and Woman

Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time will know that I heavily teach on the forgotten and unpopular Bible doctrine that man was created to be the image bearer of God and woman was not.  But some misunderstand this to mean that I am saying the Bible says women are not human or are less human than men.  And nothing could be further from the truth.  My prayer is that after reading what I show here from the Scriptures that you will understand that the life of a woman has equal value in the sight of God with that of a man.  All human life has equal value to God.

But we must teach another truth at the same.  While all human life, both males and females, has equal value to God this does not mean men and women were made for the same purpose. In this article I will demonstrate that these two truths stand side by side and they do not contradict.

Below is a table which will help to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between what the Bible says about the image of God in Christ, man and woman.

 

Male & Female Human Beings Male Human Beings Christ
Genesis 9:6 (KJV) I Corinthians 11:7 (KJV) Hebrews 1:3 (KJV)
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: FOR IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN.” “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.” “Who being the brightness of his glory, and THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”

 

As we mentioned previously, Genesis 9:6 shows us that the value of human life begins with the fact that all human beings, both men and women, were made in the image of God.  But then we read in 1 Corinthians 11:7 that the man (literally “the male” in the original Greek) is the image and glory of God but the woman is the glory of the man.  Finally, we read in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus Christ in relation to God is “the express image of his person”.

So how do these three passages in the table above harmonize?  To answer this, I want to show you another illustration below:

In the table above are a list of characteristics.  Some align with God, while others align with man and still others align with women.  There is a highlighted characteristic type that intersects God, man and woman.  These characteristics of self-awareness, speech, creativity, morality and emotions are what separate man and woman from the animals and they reflect God’s image in all of us.  These common characteristics that are common to both God, man and woman are rightly called “Human”.

It is in this way that all human beings are equal in their humanity and all human beings bear the image of God.  It is because of these characteristics of God in all of us that all human life has value and it is why murder is wrong.

There are many Christians who would take offense at the table above and they teach and believe that God’s nature is only seen in the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Still others will maintain that some women can be aggressive, competitive and strong while some men can be cooperative and weak.

But this is why I very carefully used the word “characteristic” in the illustration above. The word “characteristic” can be used as both a noun and an adjective.   When used as a noun a “characteristic” describes something that is a distinguishing trait or something that is an integral part of something or someone.  When used as adjective it refers to something that is typical of something or someone.

I am using “characteristic” in both senses of the word in the illustration above.  While there are times that God can act in feminine ways this is not typical or characteristic of God’s behavior.  God’s behavior throughout the Scriptures is more typified by the masculine characteristics shown above and it is why God is always referred to in his person in the masculine sense throughout the Scriptures.

But now let’s go back to another question this raises.  How are man and woman both made in the image of God, yet man is the image bearer of God in a way woman is not?

To answer this question let’s look at Christ.  As we showed in the above table, the Scriptures tell us of Christ regarding his relation to God that he is “the express image of his person”.  And in Colossians 2:9 we read of Christ “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”.  These passages are teaching us that Christ is the image of God in that he has all the characteristics of God because he is God.

Now let’s compare the image of God in Christ to the image of God in man. Does man have the image of God in him to the same degree that Christ does? The answer is no.  Man does not have any of God’s deity characteristics.

And now we can answer the central question of this article.  Does woman have the image of God in her to the same degree that man does? The answer according the Scriptures is no.  And this is why we read in the Scriptures that both men and women are MADE IN the image of God, yet it is only of men and Christ that we read that they are THE image of God.

Why Did God Make Woman Different Than Himself and Man?

As we can see while women share their common human characteristics with both God and men, they also have characteristics that are not typical of God or man.  Why did not God make women with these traits that are uncharacteristic of himself or man?

This all comes down to God’s purpose in creation.  Why did God give us the characteristics of our common humanity? The reason is different for men than for women.  God gave men their human characteristics along with their masculine characteristics for the purpose of imaging God and bringing him glory. God wanted to create a being that would be like him in every way except for his deity characteristics so that he could watch that being demonstrate his characteristics and thereby bring him glory.

But in order for that being, man, to fulfill his created purpose God needed to create another being.  He needed to create a being of a similar nature which could provide companionship.  But this being would also have to be created in a way that they would need the leadership, provision and protection of man.  So, God created woman as “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7) for man so that he could fulfill his created purpose to image God.

Conclusion

Here is the summary of what the Scriptures teach about the image of God in man and woman and the differences between the two.

While male human beings do not have all the characteristics of God in that they lack God’s deity characteristics there is nothing that is characteristic of male human beings that is not also characteristic of God.  The same cannot be said for female human beings.  There are many traits that are characteristic of female human beings that are not characteristic of God.

And this is why we can rightly say based upon the Scriptures that our value as human beings, both men and woman, comes from the fact that we were both made in the image of God in our shared human characteristics yet men in their masculine characteristics are the image of God in a way that women are not.

Is it wrong for Christian women to wear pants?

If a Christian woman wears pants is she violating the Bible’s command that “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man…” (Deuteronomy 22:5)? Are Christian woman essentially cross-dressing if they wear trousers? In this article we will seek to answer the question of the morality of women wearing pants.

The Bible is clear that God want’s women to dress like women and men to dress like men.

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.” – Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

This is something that the vast majority of Christians would agree about. But where the disagreement comes in is what is masculine dress and what is feminine dress?

Before we dive into this I just want to share a little personal history here.  I grew up in Independent Baptist churches for most of my life(and still attend one today).  Back in the 80’s and still well into the 90’s it was very common for Baptist preachers to preach against women wearing pants.  While they are fewer in number today – there are still some conservative churches and Christians that believe it is immoral for a woman to wear pants.

Did God command all men to wear pants in Exodus 28:41-43?

Some Christians contend that the following passage from Exodus 28:41-43 shows that God wants men to wear pants:

“41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.” – Exodus 28:41-43 (KJV)

In Exodus 28:41-43 we see the first mention of “breeches” in the Bible. This English word was chosen to translate the Hebrew word “Miknac” which means:

     “underwear, drawers, trousers

a priestly undergarment of linen”

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/miknac.html

When we look at this passage in context God is telling priests that they had to wear breeches when they came near to the altar. These were commanded to be worn ONLY during their priestly duties around the altar.

There is nothing in the passage indicating that God meant for men to wear breeches outside of this very particular situation.

Who does the Bible mention wearing skirts?

While the Bible never commands all men to wear breeches it actually does mention the skirts of men:

“A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.” Deuteronomy 22:30 (KJV)

“And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.” 1 Samuel 24:5 (KJV)

The fact is that while there are some ancient examples of men wearing pants for the most part men did not wear breeches or pants as we call them throughout the entire Biblical time period except in limited instances where priests wore them in their priestly duties and some warriors may have worn some ancient forms of trousers when riding on horseback.

Most men and women wore tunics. Were the male and female tunics made in different styles? Yes. But both of them were continuous pieces of cloth that were sometimes worn with some type of belt – there were no pants involved. Sometimes men would wear a robe over their tunic as well.

Did God command women to always wear dresses in I Timothy 2:9?

Some Christians contend that this passage from I Timothy 2:9 commands that women should always wear dresses and it forbids them from wearing pants:

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” – I Timothy 2:9 (KJV)

The word “modest” here in I Timothy 2:9 is an English translation of the Greek word Kosmios, which means “seemly” or “appropriate”. In modern English, most people think of a woman dressing modest as a woman dressing in a non-sexual manner. But this was not the meaning of the original word used by the Apostle Paul. Can sexually revealing clothing be “unseemly” or “inappropriate” on a woman in certain situations? Yes. But the Greek word Kosmios is not specific to sexually revealing clothing.

The word “apparel” here in I Timothy 2:9 is an English translation of the Greek word Katastole, which comes from two Greek words, Kata and Stole. This literally refers to a “complete stola”. A stola in New Testament times was a one piece robe with holes for the head and arms. Often times a strap would be worn around the middle below the breasts to give the stola some form around the body. Sometimes a stola had sleeves, other times it was sleeveless.

The roman stola was a long flowing gown as pictured below in several varieties and was worn by women exclusively.

Men on the other hand wore togas or tunics which sometimes had an outer robe. A typical tunic that a roman man would wear is seen below.

The roman male version of the female formal stola would have been the toga as picture below.

RomanToga

The stola was typically worn by women for formal events such as weddings and other special occasions. But during their day to day work women typically wore tunics called peplos like men with the difference that a woman’s tunic typically went down to her feet where a man’s tunic might go to his knees at the most.

As we can see here from these pictures a Roman stola looks nothing like a modern dress that women might wear today. Likewise men don’t wear togas anymore. Paul was not saying that we had to have our clothing fashions frozen to Roman era dress. But the Apostle Paul was giving us three Biblical principles here regarding a woman’s dress:

Women are to wear clothing that is appropriate to the occasion

As we previously mentioned Paul by using the Greek word Kosmios is telling women they are to wear clothing appropriate to the occasion.

Women are to wear feminine clothing

Paul is remaining consistent with Deuteronomy 22:5 in admonishing women to wear clothing that pertains to women. While the roman stola may have been different than the clothing worn in Moses time he was enforcing the concept that whatever is considered feminine dress in our culture – that is what women should be wearing.

Women are to be fully covered for the occasion of worship

The context here of I Timothy 2:9 is referring to how women are to dress when they come to worship in the assembly. Paul is literally saying here in I Timothy 2:9 that women are not to look at the Church as a fashion show but in the same way they should not wear their normal work clothes to church. Rather they should wear a stola (clearly feminine clothing meant for special occasions) and make sure it is a complete stola or fully covering them when coming to worship in the Church.

Does I Timothy 2:9 apply to women in all occasions?

Some Christians have argued that Paul’s commands here regarding the “appropriate complete stola” which is literally what “modest apparel” is translating here applies to how Christian women should dress in ALL occasions.

The general principle that women should wear clothing that is appropriate to the occasion is a principle that women should apply to all areas of their life. The general principle that women should always wear clothing that pertains to a woman as stolas specifically pertained to women in Paul’s time should apply to all areas of a woman’s life.

But do women have to wear their best clothing – the modern equivalent of the stola every day of their lives? I don’t think this is what the Apostle Paul was saying and I will explain why.

Women typically did NOT wear stolas every day but rather they wore them only for special occasions like weddings or other more formal gatherings. Instead they wore much simpler “tunic like” peplos during their day to day lives as they went about their work.

A person reading this when Paul wrote this would have understood that Paul did not mean that women had to wear their complete stola every day but rather that they should wear it for the assembly as this was a special occasion.

Conclusion

Both the command for men to wear breeches in their duties as priests and for women to wear complete stolas when coming to the assembly for worship were clothing commands regarding SPECIFIC and special occasions.

Nowhere in the Bible does the Bible say that men must wear pants at all times or that women must wear dresses at all times nor does it say for a woman to wear pants is a sin in and of itself.

The only way it is sin for a woman to wear pants is if her father or her husband forbids her to wear them or if she wears pants to her church when her Pastor has made it clear that female church members are to wear dresses for church services and activities.

But if a woman’s father, husband or pastor allows her to wear pants then there is no sin in her doing this as long as the pants she wears pertains to a woman and not to a man.

Where do I stand on this as a Christian husband and father? I have no problem with my wife or daughter wearing pants for their day to day activities.   But when we go to Church or any other formal type of gathering I have them wear dresses. When my wife and I go out to a nice restaurant for a date I like her to wear a dress. If my wife does wear jeans for other occasions I like her to wear jeans the accentuate her figure and I don’t like baggy pants on her.

Was there a time in our culture when it would have been wrong for women to wear pants? Yes. When they were viewed as only male clothing. But as the decades have passed clothing styles have changed and pants have been designed in very feminine ways for women.

A Christian woman can definitely find pants that do indeed “pertain to a woman” that a man would not be caught dead in. For men who claim that no pants can look feminine on a woman I would bet you would never want to wear a pair of women’s slacks or skinny jeans because you know that they “pertain to a woman”.

In my previous post “7 Biblical Principles for how to dress as a Christian woman” I listed these principles for how Christian women should dress:

Principle #1 – Your physical beauty is symbolic of the spiritual beauty of the Church

Principle #2 – You should dress appropriately for the occasion

Principle #3 – You should dress in feminine clothing

Principle #4 – You should dress to please your husband

Principle #5 – Don’t be lazy with your appearance

Principle #6 – What others think does and does not matter

Principle #7 – Do not hide your beauty from other men for fear of causing lust

I encourage you to read that post where I explain each of these principles in more detail.

Also for a larger discussion on I Timothy 2:9 please see my post “What does Modesty mean in I Timothy 2:9?

Roman Toga Source:

By Klaus-Dieter Keller, Germany – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=721508

How to help women learn their place

Women do not know or accept their place in God’s creation anymore. “A woman’s place is in the home” is just one of many truths that our society derides and mocks. “to ‘love, honor and obey’” has been stripped from most marriage vows as women no longer believe they must obey their husbands or be in subjection to their husbands as Sarah who called her husband “lord”(I Peter 3:5-6).

Feminism has been largely successful in eradicating the femininity that women once had. Churches have for the most part abandoned the practice of teaching Biblical gender roles that God has commanded for men and women.

We have women saying things in the wrong place or in the wrong way. Women showing no deference or respect toward men. Daughters showing little to no respect for their fathers and wives showing little to no respect for their husbands. Wives routinely shame their husbands in public not to mention in private. Daughters disobey their fathers and wives routinely disobey their husbands with impunity. Many women pursue selfish career ambitions instead of being ambitious for marriage, child bearing and homemaking.

We as Christians can turn this around by having the courage to speak the truth of God’s Word even if our world does not want to hear it. We need to show our young ladies from the Word of God what it truly means to be a woman of God.

The most important people in this endeavor are first fathers, then mothers and finally Pastors and teachers in our local churches. Fathers need to teach their daughters what it means to be Godly women and this needs to be enforced by their mothers and further enforced by church leaders.

My teenage daughter has been asking me for some time to put together a guide with Scripture passages that she can commit to memory as she shares these truths with other young girls she attends school with.  She looks forward to one day being the wife and mother that God designed her to be. This is dedicated to you my daughter! I love you.

Below are several Bible passages that teach women how God wants them to conduct their lives.

Her speech

She is not loud or boisterous but instead she is quiet and meek

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” – Proverbs 9:13 (KJV)

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – I Peter 3:3-4 (KJV)

She is not a gossip but rather she is a trustworthy confident

“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” – I Timothy 5:13 (KJV)

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” – Proverbs 31:11 (KJV)

She knows when and where to speak and when to hold her tongue

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” – Proverbs 11:22 (KJV)

When she does speak she does so in a wise and kind manner

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” – Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

Her ambitions

She is ambitious to be a wife, mother and homemaker

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

When she has a home she is ambitious toward the care of it and is never lazy or idle

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens…

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:15 & 27 (KJV)

When she has children she is ambitious to be joyful in her care of them

“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” – Psalm 113:9 (KJV)

Her love

She shows compassion and empathy towards those in need around her

“She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” – Proverbs 31:20 (KJV)

Second only to God, a woman’s greatest love and affection is reserved for her husband and her children

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” – Titus 2:4 (KJV)

Her sexuality

She protects her virginity for marriage and does not manipulate men with her sexuality

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.” – Proverbs 6:26 (KJV)

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

In marriage she ravishes her husband with her body and she never defrauds him

“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” – Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)

“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.” – I Corinthians 7:4-5 (KJV)

Her appearance

She dresses in a way that never places her femininity in doubt

“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.” – Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

She dresses appropriate to the occasion (modestly)

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” – I Timothy 2:9 (KJV)

She cares for her beauty knowing that her husband desires it as God desires the beauty of his church

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” – Psalm 45:11 (KJV)

“How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” – Song of Solomon 7:6 (KJV)

Her submission

She has a submissive spirit as opposed to a contentious spirit

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” – Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

She embraces patriarchy (male authority over women) in the home, the Church and in society

“5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.” – Numbers 30:5 (KJV)

“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.” – Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

“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.” – I Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV)

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” – I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

Her dependence

She looks to her father and later her husband for her provision

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

She embraces that fact that God has placed her in “the weaker vessel” and that she needs the protection of men

“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.” – I Peter 3:7

She looks to her father and later her husband for her spiritual guidance

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” – I Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

Her place

She embraces the fact that God made her to be the helper to her husband, not him to be her helper

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

She sees her husband as her master and not her equal partner

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

Her methods of persuasion

She does not nag her husband into doing what is right

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” – Proverbs 27:15 (KJV)

She wins her husband by her righteous behavior toward him in spite of his failings

“1 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.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

Her reverence for her husband

She never makes her husband ashamed, but rather she brings him honor

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” – Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

She reverences her husband’s position despite the flaws of his person

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)

Her Influence

She influences and teaches other women to be good wives and mothers

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:3-5(KJV)

Her legacy

She realizes that her greatest legacy is built by what she does in her home and not what she does outside her home

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” – Proverbs 14:1 (KJV)

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” – Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)

Is God more like man, more like woman, or a combination of the two?

IsGodBothMaleFemale

Does Genesis 1:27 tell us that “God created both man and woman equally in his image” as we are so often told by Christian Feminists, Egalitarians and even many conservative Bible teachers? Does this passage or the surrounding passages show that God split his attributes between man and woman – so that only together do they form the true image of God?

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 1:27(KJV)

Every Word of the Bible is important, that is one of the tenants of our faith. I don’t want to lose you with technicalities, so we will look at the two most important words in this key passage of Scripture which will help to set the tone for this discussion. The words are “man” and “him”.

A Quick Bible History Lesson

The Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language. One of the words translated as “man” comes from the Hebrew word “adam”. “adam” is both the name of the first man, as well as a word used to reference all of mankind (all humanity, men and women). In Genesis 1:27, the Hebrew word here is “adam”.

Is the “adam” of Genesis 1:27 referring to “mankind” (all human beings) or is it referring particularly to Adam, and the male gender of humanity?

The exact Hebrew phrase here is eth haa-‘adam. “eth” literally means “this same”, and “haa” is similar to our English word “the”. Literally this phrase could be “this same man” or “the same man”. In any case, it refers very particularly to Adam, not mankind in general. This is why it is correct that that translators accurately add the phrase “created he him”. The “him” here, refers to a particular person – to Adam.

But What About “male and female created he them”?

The phrase “male and female created he them”, refers to the fact that God created both man and woman. It does not mean that he created them at the same time or that he created them both in his image. We can clearly see that this is not the case from Genesis chapter 2 when Eve was created from Adam’s rib.

Woman Made in the Image of God But is Not the Image of God

God gave the following command to Noah after the flood as part of his Noahic Covenant:

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” –  Genesis 9:6 (KJV)

This passage is different from Genesis 1:27 in that there is no qualifier saying this is talking about about a particular man – that being Adam.   The context of this passage indicates that “man” in this passage represents all people, all of mankind which includes both men and women.  So while Genesis 1:27 does not specifically say woman was created in God’s image, Genesis 9:6 does in say she was.

If this was the last revelation from God on how he created men and women then we might conclude that man and woman were created in God’s image in the same way or equally.

However, in the New Testament the Apostle Paul is given divine commentary from God on the Genesis account where he states:

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.” – I Corinthians 11:7 (KJV)

The Greek word translated as “man” in this passage above is “male”.  So it in its most literal form it is saying “For the MALE indeed out not to cover his head, for as much as he is the image and glory of God, but the FEMALE is the glory of MALE”.

Genesis 1:27 says the particular man, Adam was created in God’s image and that God made both male and female human beings.  Genesis 9:6 says that God created all mankind in his image, including men and women, and this is why it is wrong to murder and this is why all human life has special value to God.  But then I Corinthians 11:7 states that the male is the image and glory of God but the female is the glory of the male.   So how do we harmonize all of these statements about men and women being created in the image of God?

The answer is the word “is“.  Look Genesis 9:6 and I Corinthians 11:7 again compared side by with the special emphasis I show below:

Genesis 9:6 (KJV) Corinthians 11:7 (KJV)
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God MADE he man.” “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.”

Both man and woman were MADE in the image of God, but only man IS the image God.  that is a fundamental truth of the Scriptures.  But what is this difference that the Scriptures are communicating between “made” and “is”.   I think the best way to describe this is to look at the table below illustrating the characteristics of God’s image in both men and women.

The word “characteristic” can be used as both a noun and an adjective.   When used in as a noun a characteristic describes something that is a distinguishing trait or something that is an integral part of something or someone.  When used as adjective is refers to something that is typical of something or someone.

So if we look at the characteristics of God in the above table we can see in the middle the characteristics that both man and woman share with God.  These characteristics of self-awareness, speech, creativity, morality and emotions are what separate man and woman from the animals.

So when God says in Genesis 9:6 that mankind, both men and women, were made in the image of God it is these shared attributes of humanity to which God is referring. And it is these attributes of God’s image that gives value to every single human life.

But if you look at the chart above again you will notice something else.

While male human beings do not have all the characteristics of God in that they lack God’s deity characteristics there is nothing that is characteristic of Man that is not also characteristic of God.  The same cannot said for female human beings.  There are many traits that are characteristic of women that are not characteristic of God.

And this is why we can rightly say based upon the Word of God that while both man and woman were MADE in the image of God that only man IS the image of God.

Some may contend that that God can demonstrate some of the qualities of the feminine human nature as well.  For instance God will sometimes act in empathetic ways.  Others will point to Christ’s submission to the Father or Christ’s gentleness in some situations.

But if we look at men, can  even the most masculine man sometimes act in ways that are more typical for feminine behavior? Do men sometimes show empathy? Yes.  Do men sometimes cry as women do? Yes.  Can men be gentle and caring as women are sometimes? Yes.  But the question is this – is this behavior typical for men or characteristic of men?  The answer is no.

In the same way God may act in more feminine ways at times but this is the exception and not characteristic or typical of his behavior.

The truth of God’s Word is that while man and woman were both made in the image of God, it is the masculine human nature which more closely represents the image and character of God.

Why Does This Matter?

Some will continue to reject what I have shown here from the Word of God, even though it is plainly in front of them. They will reject 99 percent of references to God in the masculine sense, and cling to those 1% of references to God that seem to be indicating a feminine sense.

But others who may accept this on face value, still might ask – “why does it matter if God’s image is more accurately represented in “masculine humanity” than in “feminine humanity”?

We don’t teach this belief to belittle women, or to say that men have more value to God than women. If any person is reading that into my words here, I have said no such thing. Every human being, whether they are male or female, have equal value to God. In fact in I Peter 3:7, men are commanded to honor their wives as “the weaker vessel” and we are told in Ephesians 6:2 to honor our mothers.

But understanding that God’s image is best reflected in that of masculine humanity, and not as well in feminine humanity is very important.

Today masculinity has come under massive attack because of modern feminism and egalitarianism, men are constantly called to be more like women. But would any Christian leaders today have the courage to say women ought to try and emulate men more?

How Should Women Try to Emulate the Image of God in Men More?

By “emulate men more”, I don’t mean women need to start dressing or acting exactly like men – we already have way too much that today! What I mean is that women ought to try and emulate the sense of duty that many men have, rather than living their lives completely by their feelings.

  1. Do your duty toward God, even when you don’t feel like it, or don’t feel his presence.
  2. Do your duty toward your husband, even when you don’t feel like it, or perhaps don’t feel an emotional connection with him.
  3. Do your duties as mother toward your children, even when you do not feel like doing them, and even when you don’t feel appreciated by your children.
  4. Do your duties toward your home, and keep up your home even when you don’t feel like it.

God’s Love is More Often Seen as a Love Founded in a Commitment of the Will, a Duty

When the Bible famously says in I John 4:8, that “God is love” it is literally saying God is “Agape”.

Agape love is a love of the will, of duty and commitment, and this is the way that God’s love is most often described, it is not a love based in emotion. It is the strongest kind of love, and an unconditional kind of love. The emotional type of love, Philia love, is used far less to describe the kind of love God has towards us, or that we are to have toward God.

This is another way in which women should try to emulate men more. Women most often love based on feelings, or how others make them feel. Men more often love from a sense of will, duty and commitment, this is the driving force of how God loves us. A woman should try to emulate this Agape love that men usually possess more naturally than women often do.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying women need to become exactly like men, God created women with the natures they have for a reason. God purposefully made woman both emotionally weaker and physically weaker (“the weaker vessel”) so that he could demonstrate his strength in woman’s weakness.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I Corinthians 12:9(KJV)

Just as God made all of humanity(both men and women), weaker than him, so that he could demonstrate his strength and glory in us, so too woman was made weaker than man, so that man could exercise the image of God within him, by being a strength for her.

Conclusion

I hope as both men and women, we will all seek to emulate God more each day in our lives. The battle with our sin and pride will never end until God takes us out of these sin cursed bodies. As Christians, we ought to honor true and Biblical masculine qualities, and not belittle them or engage in the misandry(hatred of all things male) that we too often see today in our TV shows, books and schools. But in our honoring of true Biblical masculinity, we ought never to dishonor women, but continue to honor them as the “weaker vessel” as the Apostle Peter commanded us to do.

What does Modesty mean in I Timothy 2:9?

Standing girl in checked dress. Isolated with clipping path

I Timothy 2:9 is probably the most popular passage in all of Scripture that is taught by Christian teachers and preachers regarding how God want’s Christian women to dress.

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array”

I Timothy 2:9 (KJV)

What is the context of I Timothy 2:9?

Some people interpret I Timothy 2:9 as applying to Christian women at all times, as opposed to being specifically targeted at how women should dress for worship and instruction in the Church Assembly. This a faulty interpretation.

One of the first rules of proper Biblical Hermeneutics (interpretation of Scripture) is to take verses within the larger context of which they are written.

I Timothy, was a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a young church planter who was working under him. In the beginning of I Timothy Paul writes to Timothy:

“2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine…”

I Timothy 1:2-3(KJV)

In the first chapter, Paul is encouraging to take on false teachers in the churches at Ephesus. In Chapter 2 of I Timothy, in verse 8 Paul moves to instructions for proper etiquette in worship and instruction in the Church assembly:

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

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. “

I Timothy 2:8-12(KJV)

Verse 8 is a clear jump into worship with men being told “to pray, lifting up holy hands”.

Paul’s ending of I Timothy, after giving the qualifications for Bishops and deacons, clearly gives the purpose for this entire first epistle to Timothy:

“14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

I Timothy 3:14-15(KJV)

But what about the phrase “every where” in verse 8?

Some in order to apply all parts of I Timothy to all parts of Christian life(not just Church assembly etiquette), have attempted to use the Paul’s phrase of “ever where” to mean this equally applies inside and outside the Church assembly meetings. This is an incorrect interpretation, as this phrase is means for Church assemblies “every where”. Paul makes it clear at the end of his Epistle that this entire letter is aimed at proper etiquette in the Church, taking on false teachers, and the qualifications of Bishops and Deacons.

Four key words in I Timothy 2:9

Now that we understand the context I Timothy, as apply to Church assembly etiquette, we will look at four key words that are found in this passage.

Modest – This is an English translation of the Greek word Kosmios, which means “seemly” or “appropriate”. In modern English, most people think of a woman dressing modest as, a woman dressing in a non-sexual manner. But this was not the meaning of the original word used by the Apostle Paul. Can sexually revealing clothing be “unseemly” or “inappropriate” on a woman in certain situations? But it is not specific to sexually revealing clothing.

With the word Kosmios, Paul is telling women to wear clothing that is appropriate for the given situation.

RomanWomensClothing

Apparel – This is an English translation of the Greek word Katastole, which comes from two Greek words, Kata and Stole. This literally refers to a “complete stola”. A stola in New Testament times was a one piece robe with holes for the head and arms. A variety of stolas women might of worn are pictured above. Often times a strap would be worn around the middle below the breasts to give the stola some form around the body. Sometimes a stola had sleeves, other times it was sleeveless.

When peasant women were working they might wear tunics (like men did), similar to this:

RomanManWearingTunic

The differences would have been in the coloring or extra straps worn by women.

When playing sports some Roman women actually wore bikinis as seen in this ancient Roman painting:

RomanBikini

 

Paul had just told women to wear appropriate clothing for worship and instruction with the Greek word Kosmios. Nowwith the word Katastole, he was telling women what the proper attire for Church worship and instruction was. They were to be fully clothed, as opposed to wearing tunics they may work in, or bikinis they might have played sports in.

Those Christians who still believe it is wrong for women to wear pants (and yes they are still out there and I grew up in Churches that taught this) take the Greek word stole, which refers to the Roman Stola’s that women war, and they go its most literal meaning – which means “long and flowing”. But this is not Paul’s intention in using this word. It was simply referring to what women in that day would understand as the dress that women generally wore when they went out to meetings and gatherings, or special occasions.

Paul is not saying that Christians must be frozen in time with fashion, and literally saying Christian women must wear ancient Roman stolas. If we take it that literally, then men can’t wear pants either, because men back in Paul’s day wore tunics and togas.

All Paul is saying is, it is appropriate and proper for a woman to be fully clothed and covered for Church gatherings.

Shamefacedness – this is an English translation of the Greek word Aidos, which means to show honor, respect or reverence to others. With Aidos, Paul was saying the attitude of a woman’s dress in the Church services was to be one of reverence for God, and respect for others.

Sobriety – this is an English translation of the Greek word Sophrosune, which means self-control. With Sophrosune, Paul was saying woman needed to dress for Church services in a way that showed self-control.

Is Paul forbidding women to have “broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array”?

Paul is not saying it is wrong for Christian woman to have nice hair, jewelry or dresses. What he is saying is, the Church assembly should not turn into a fashion show. Unfortunately in many of our modern Churches today – that is just the case. Paul is not saying women cannot wear nice Sunday dresses, he is just saying women should not go overboard or be trying to compete with one another in what they wear for worship.

So if we take I Timothy 2:9 in its full context, understanding the key phrases in it, this is what Paul was trying to tell us:

“I want men in all church assemblies everywhere to lift up holy hands, and do not be angry and doubt. In these same church assemblies, I want women to wear clothing that is appropriate for Church worship and instruction. Women should be fully clothed, in clothing that shows respect and self-control when they come for worship and instruction. I don’t want you to turn the church assembly into a fashion show with broided hair, fancy jewelry and costly clothing. I am writing all this to you so you will know how to behave when the church is assembled for worship and instruction.”

There is one other place where the Apostle Peter mentions “braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses”:

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

I Peter 3:1-4(NASB)

Here Peter makes a similar statement about women’s adornment. The word here translated as “dresses” in the NASB (and “apparel” in the KJV) comes from the Greek word Himation.  Himation simply refers to garments in general. It is a term that could apply to women or men’s garments depending on the context.

The context of I Peter 3:1-4 is not behavior specific to the Church assembly (as I Timothy is) but this is just talking about the general behavior of women as they go about their daily lives. This is not telling women that you cannot have your hair done, or wear jewelry or put on dresses. Even though the word “merely” is not in the original Greek, the NASB correctly adds this for emphasis as to what Peter is saying.

It is interesting to note there is no mention here of “Katastole,” referring to the more full and formal dress that Paul spoke of for women to wear in the Church assembly in I Timothy 2:9. Instead Peter refers simply to garments here.

Peter is saying a woman’s inner beauty is just as important as her outer beauty. Some Christians historically have incorrectly interpreted this passage as well as I Timothy 2 to say Christian women cannot wear makeup, or wear nice clothes. This is not Peter’s meaning, he simply wants to drive home the point, that you can look pretty on the outside as a woman with your outer adornments, but your inside person may still be ugly. God wants both the inside and outside of a woman to be beautiful.

Conclusion on Biblical modesty

While Paul’s Katastole requirement (women to be fully clothed) is confined to the Church assembly, that does not mean that the principle of modesty cannot apply elsewhere, when we understand that modesty means Christian women ought to wear clothing that is appropriate to the occasion.

What a woman wears to church may be very different than what she wears to Church. What a woman wears to beach may be very different than what she wears to work. What a woman wears for a date with her husband, may not be what she would wear for Church on Sunday.

In the end, whatever, we do as men or women, or whatever we wear should all be done in manner that would bring glory to God, and not bring shame to him in the eyes of the world:

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

I Corinthians 10:31(KJV)