Why does the Bible make me feel worthless as a woman?

Modern America teaches women that they should judge their own worth by how intelligent they are, how educated they are, how independent they are and by how successful they are in their career.

These new standards of a woman’s worth are a radical shift from the standards by which women have historically judged their own worth.  Consider the table below which illustrates stark contrasts between how women judged their own worth before the 1960’s and the new standards after the 1960’s.

The measure of a woman before and after the 1960’s

Pre-1960’s Post-1960’s
Beauty Intelligence
Potential for having children(age/health) Education Level(College/University)
Submissiveness Independence
Cooking/Home Keeping Skills Career/Income Potential

We can make two primary observations about the differences between these two lists.

The first observation is that before the 1960’s a woman’s sense of self worth was very much tied to what she had to offer a future or current husband.  After the 1950’s women were taught to stop centering their sense of worth on what they had to offer a future or current husband and to concentrate more on what they wanted for themselves regardless of how attractive or unattractive such pursuits or qualities made them to men.

The second observation we can make from these two lists is that the modern list for what woman are told should give them their sense of worth is identical to what men historically have been told should give them their sense of worth.

In other words, women today are told that they must compare themselves to men to have any sense of worth.  So for example, if a woman has a submissive spirit this is not seen as a quality adding to her worth, but rather one that takes away from her worth.  If a woman does not speak her mind whenever she has a disagreement but rather holds her tongue and shows deference to men this quality is not seen as a worthy one, but one that takes away from her worth.

And if a woman has no desire for a higher education or career ambitions, but rather seeks to find a man and serve him by bearing his children and caring for his home this women is viewed today as the most worthless of all.

Recently I received a heart felt plea as comment to my blog from a woman who stated she has recently become a believer in Christ. She said that as she reads the Scriptures I present on this blog on why God made woman she has found herself feeling depressed and worthless by the Biblical view of womanhood.

It actually is easy for me to understand why she might feel worthless after comparing herself to Biblical standards for what should give a woman her sense of worth because they are so different than our modern standards. It is like studying for one test, only to be given a completely different test.

The name she wrote under is Adrienne.

Adrienne’s Dilemma

“As a new believer who is desperately trying to pull myself out of the pit of feminism, I find myself becoming depressed reading some of the articles and comments on biblicalgenderroles.com. I had bought into all the lies about marriage being an equal partnership. The whole “we are a team” as opposed to the master/ servant relationship it really is. I completely understand that everything (including men and women) is made for God’s pleasure.

I struggle with the knowledge that everything I am is made for my husband’s pleasure. Kinda makes one feel worthless as a person. I feel like I am not allowed to have my own tastes or preferences in anything. Should I even bother having an opinion or should I ask my husband what my opinion is?

It also kind of makes me feel like God hates women. After all, there are no women in heaven, and probably never will be. The Godhead is male, the angels are male and from what I understand there will be no marriage or children in heaven/eternity so there will be no need for gender. The pastors I have talked to about this tell me either:

  1. all women will be turned into men at the final judgement.
  2. women have no souls/ no need for salvation and when we die we just cease to exist like the animals.

They said God only created us as women b/c He had to for reproductive purposes not b/c He wanted to. This all hurts and I have no idea what is biblical or not. I just started reading the bible and have not made it past exodus yet. How do I find joy in my role as a woman if I feel like I am nothing to God or anyone else?”

My Response to Adrienne and other women who feel worthless in God’s sight

Adrienne, I could summarize your concerns as a new believer with this statement:

Why does the Bible make me feel worthless as a woman?

The first reason that you feel “worthless”(or have low self-esteem) when looking at the Biblical view of womanhood is because you still have a faulty view of what gives a woman or people in general their worth.  The Bible tells us as Christians that we have been preprogrammed with faulty ways of thinking by both our sin natures as well as the cultures and families we were brought up in.

When we begin our walk with God we must recognize this daily and seek to unlearn what our sin natures, cultures and families have taught us and renew our minds with what is good, acceptable and perfect according to the will of God which is found in his Word.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Women definitely have souls

I know in past centuries there were some who threw around such rumors as a church doctrine that teaches women do not have souls.  But the Bible supports no such notion.  I am unaware of any Pastors or churches today that preach such nonsense.  I would be very curious to know who you spoke with or at least their denomination.

The Scriptures show us definitive proof that women have souls and here is just one example from Mary, the woman who God chose to give flesh to his Son Jesus Christ:

“46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”

Luke 1:46-47 (KJV)

So yes there will be women in heaven and women in hell just as there will be men in heaven and men in hell.  Every soul goes to one of these two destinations.

Did God just create women for procreative purposes?

While the pursuit of motherhood for women is definitely honored and even commanded in the Scriptures (“be fruitful and multiply“– Genesis 1:28) that is not the only reason God made woman.  In fact God could have made men as asexually reproducing beings as other organisms on earth are.  He did not need to create a different type of human being for humans to reproduce.

Instead God created woman for a much more glorious purpose which we will explain next.

Equal personhood does NOT mean equal opportunity

One of the falsehoods we have been taught in American society is that if a certain class of people does not have equal rights or privileges with other classes of people then they are said to be treated as “less than human” or not as persons.

You will find no support for such a definition of personhood in the Scriptures.  In fact the Scriptures routinely show different rights for people based on various classes.  Free women had more rights than slave women.  Indentured servants had more rights than slaves but less rights than free men. Free men had more rights than free women, indentured male and female servants, male slaves, or female slaves.

In other words, in God’s view, our personhood is NOT determined by our social class or the rights we have or do not have.

But now let’s bring this back to men and women.

Every human being is given a soul by God which inhabits our “vessel” which is the word the Scriptures often use to speak to our bodies.  God made two types of vessels, one that is classified as the “weaker vessel” (I Peter 3:5) and thus the other by comparison is the stronger vessel.  The souls of women inhabit the weaker vessel and the souls of men inhabit the stronger vessel.

But then we must understand that God did not arbitrarily make one vessel weaker than the other.  He made one vessel stronger and one vessel weaker for a glorious purpose. The scriptures tell us that God made man to be his image bearer – to bring God glory by imaging him:

“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)

This passage of Scripture, which is part of a divinely inspired commentary on the Genesis account, tells us that God created man to bring him glory by imaging him.  God then created woman from man to glorify man.

But how does a woman fully bring glory to man as God intended in his purpose in creating her? We will answer that question in our next section.

How does a woman bring glory to her husband and thereby bring glory to God?

The scriptures reveal to us the full and glorious purpose for which God designed woman (and man) in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV)

Again just as with I Corinthians 11, we have here in Ephesians chapter 5 divine commentary from God regarding the Genesis creation account.  God did not create women as soulless creatures simply for procreative purposes but rather he created them for man to be able to fully image God.  Man needed someone to love as God loves mankind by leading them, protecting them and providing for them.  This is why we God made woman “the weaker vessel” (I Peter 3:7) because just as mankind is weaker than God and needs him for all these things, so too woman was designed to be weaker than man and need him for these things.

So how does a woman glorify her husband as God intended her too? By modeling what God desires from his Church in honoring, reverencing, submitting to and serving her husband as the Church is to serve Christ.

What is the measure of a woman’s worth by God’s standards?

As I said at the beginning of this post, God’s standard’s for what gives a woman her sense of worth and what our culture says gives a woman her sense of worth are two very different things.

The Scriptures tell us that a virtuous woman is worth more than rubies:

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

Proverbs 31:10 (KJV)

In another passage the Scriptures tell us that a virtuous woman is her husband’s crown:

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

Are rubies not of great worth? Is a crown not of great worth? We know these things are of great worth. But how does a woman make herself worth more than rubies to her future or present husband?

Seven ways a woman makes herself of great worth in God’s View

Do you as a woman want to be of great worth to your future or current husband?  If you reject the world’s definition of the worth of a woman and follow God’s definition you will have great worth both to God and to your husband.

Below are seven ways a woman can be a ruby and a crown in the eyes of God and her husband:

  1. She happily seeks to play her part in modeling the Church’s subordinate role to Christ. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
  2. She happily seeks to marry, bear children, and keep the house for her husband. (I Timothy 5:14)
  3. She happily seeks to be obedient to and submissive to her husband. (Titus 2:5, I Peter 3:1-6, Ephesians 5:22-24)
  4. She happily seeks to reverence her husband and never bring any shame to him or God by her behavior(Proverbs 12:4,I Timothy 5:14,Titus 2:5)
  5. She demonstrates her prudence and wisdom by being discreet and kind in when and how she shares her advice with her husband. (Proverbs 11:22, Proverbs 19:14, Proverbs 31:26, Titus 2:5)
  6. She makes both her inner person and her outer person beautiful to please her husband (Psalm 45:11, I Peter 3:3-6)
  7. She happily sees that God not only gave her to her husband to care for his children and his home, but also to bring him pleasure with her body and she never denies him a drink from the well which is her body. (Proverbs 5:15-19)

Is a wife allowed to have different opinions and tastes than her husband?

Adrienne, you asked “I feel like I am not allowed to have my own tastes or preferences in anything. Should I even bother having an opinion or should I ask my husband what my opinion is?”

Absolutely as a wife you are allowed to have your own opinions and “tastes” by which I think you mean preferences.  In fact the Scriptures say these two things are part of what makes a woman of great worth to her husband:

“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

So the Scriptures tell us that a prudent and wise wife are of great value to a man.  What is prudence? Prudence is planning for the future.  A wife who has things planned out for the needs of her home whether it be clothing needs or food needs or the other needs of the children is of great value to a man.  And wisdom is not just knowledge, but knowing how to use that knowledge in a right way.  This is also of great value to a man.

So yes you are absolutely allowed to have opinions and preferences and these can be beneficial to your future or current husband. But the key concept to understand is that you are not allowed to express your opinions and preferences in any way you want or at any time you want and you need to accept the fact that your husband may not always follow your opinions.

Let me give a few examples to better illustrate this.

The President of the United States has a chief of staff. The President delegates certain powers and responsibilities to the chief of staff to run the White House and represent the President publicly.  A good chief of staff certainly has his own opinions and preferences as to how the President should do certain things but he keeps those differences private and always shares them in a respectful and reverent way with the President.   If the President says “this is the way it will be”, then the chief of staff submits to that direction.

But from the outside world’s perspective – the chief of staff is always in lock step with his President.   One other thing about what makes a good chief of staff to a President.  The chief of staff realizes he is there to serve the President and not vice versa.  He realizes that he is there to help implement the President’s agenda – but never to set it.

This is the way a wife is to be toward her husband in regard to her opinions and preferences.  When she shares opinions and preferences with her husband she needs to ask herself “I am sharing this opinion or preference to help further his agenda or my own?”

For example – your husband may set these agenda items for your marriage and your family:

  1. He wants to have regular sexual relations with you at least 3 times a week.
  2. He wants the children to clean their rooms on a daily basis.
  3. He wants the children to do their homework on a daily basis.
  4. He wants to have certain budget priorities for the family.

I could come up with a much larger list but you get my point.  Now as a wife you could privately meet with him and share your opinion on how to best meet his agenda goals.  For instance in the sexual arena you could share your sexual preferences to help him better please you and thus have more sexual pleasure in the bedroom.  You could say maybe mornings work better than evenings sometimes for sex.   All of this is meant to further his agenda for you both to have a good sex life together as a couple and not simply to further some agenda that you have.  Maybe he wants oral sex – but you would prefer that he bathe before you do that.  You could share things like this with him in a private setting in a respectful manner.

In regard to the children – you could share your opinions on how to best implement his agenda items that they clean their rooms and do their homework.  The same goes for the budget.

One last thing in regard to your opinions and this would even apply to my chief of staff example with the President.  Sometimes a President will not accept the recommendation of his chief of staff.  Sometimes he may even accept the recommendation of another advisor over his chief of staff. In this same way you must accept that your husband will not always accept and act on your opinion or your preferences.

Your husband may actually take someone else’s advice against yours as his wife and you need to accept that and be OK with that.

A lot of Christian wives get offended by this.  But you need to realize as a Christian wife that if you are angered by your husband taking someone else’s advice over yours this comes from a place of pride.  You are one of his advisers, but not his only adviser as so many wives falsely see themselves.

The other thing to remember is that contrary to false teachings today you are not the Holy Spirit for your husband and your opinions, like his are not inerrant.  To put it bluntly, it is possible for a man to have a wife who is stupid in certain areas or a wife to have a husband that is stupid in certain areas.  But the chain of command remains.  I don’t get to say because my boss does something stupid that I no longer have to listen to him or respect him as my boss.  In the same way the chain of command in a family is not dependent on the husband’s intellect.  A wife must always submit to and obey her husband unless he asks her to directly sin against God.

Conclusion

I hope that if you are a Christian woman like Adrienne reading this that you will realize God has glorious plan in creating you as a woman.  You are not some soulless creature only made to procreate for mankind.  You were created to bring glory to God by bringing glory to man.  You are an indispensable part in helping to model the relationship of the Church to Christ with your future or current husband.

You need to come to reject the lies of this world.  You need to unlearn what the world has taught you gives women their worth and renew your mind according to God’s view of you – not this evil world’s view.

This world will tell you to compete with your future or current husband for power and equality rather than placing yourself in subjection to him so that you can fulfill the purpose for which God made you.

And here is the secret the world won’t tell you that I have heard from so many women through this blog and other ways. You need to realize that the woman God designed you to be, the nature that he gave to Eve is buried within you.  For someone women there is a little rubble to clear to get to it and for others there is a mountain of rubble to clear.  Some of the rubble simply comes from the corrupting influence of sin or to say it another way – some of the rubble you were simply born with.  But other parts of the rubble may have come from the corrupt teachings of our culture, or your parents or even your own bad life experiences.

Either way – you have to recognize this spiritual rubble and clear it away to see the woman that God truly designed you to be.  You need to clear that rock away from the ruby God meant you to be and then you will make yourself of great worth to God and your future or current husband.