The Truth about Woman
It is obvious that man and woman are different. The physical differences are manifest, but the many other differences are not so apparent to many. There have been many forces at work to redefine woman as presented in the Bible. Many of these feminist movements have been very hurtful to women in general, society as a whole, and to the important family unit.
The origin of woman. Organic evolutionists claim that man simply evolved by natural selection. They are even more hard pressed to explain the presence of woman. How could such wonderful and complex beings as man and woman have concurrently come into existence in a primitive form from nothing and then have simultaneously evolved? The intelligent answer as to the origin of woman is found in the Creator's book, the Bible. God created woman (Gen. 2: 18-25). Man is a social being (Gen. 2: 18). Hence, God made woman for man (Ibid.). Regarding Genesis 2: 18, allow me to insert some comments from commentator Matthew Henry:
"Now he that made him knew both him and what was good for him, better than he did himself, and he said, "It is not good that he should continue thus alone. (1.) It is not for his comfort; for man is a sociable creature. It is a pleasure to him to exchange knowledge and affection with those of his own kind, to inform and to be informed, to love and to be beloved. What God here says of the first man Solomon says of all men (Eccl. 4:9, etc.), that two are better than one, and woe to him that is alone. If there were but one man in the world, what a melancholy man must he needs be! Perfect solitude would turn a paradise into a desert, and a palace into a dungeon. Those therefore are foolish who are selfish and would be placed alone in the earth. (2.) It is not for the increase and continuance of his kind. God could have made a world of men at first, to replenish the earth, as he replenished heaven with a world of angels: but the place would have been too strait for the designed number of men to live together at once; therefore God saw fit to make up that number by a succession of generations, which, as God had formed man, must be from two, and those male and female; one will be ever one" (Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary of the Bible).
God made woman not only for man but also from man (Gen. 2: 21, 22). Hence, the language "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man" (Gen. 2: 23, ishshah, woman, is feminine of ish, man). The fact woman was made for man and made from man is very significant in determining the role and needs of the woman. In fact, woman's origin and purpose provide great insight regarding the social, physiological, mental, and emotional aspects of woman.
The station of woman in life. The station of woman is plainly taught in the Bible. "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Gen. 3: 16). As mentioned, woman was created from the man, for the man, and she is "his glory" (I Cor. 11: 8, 9, 7). Hence, her primary station is that of being "keepers at home" and "childbearing" (Tit. 2: 5; I Tim. 2: 15). The expression "keepers at home" (oikourgous) cogently reveals the chief domain and responsibility of the woman. She must guard the home and maintain it. America is in dire need of the family being restored. Much of the health and domestic well being of the family depends on women executing their God given responsibility. God did not design woman to be a leader in religious matters or to be the head over man (I Tim. 2: 12 ff., Eph. 5: 22-33, I Cor. 11: 3). The leaders of local churches are to be men who meet certain qualifications (I Tim. 3, Tit. 1, see addendum below).
The purpose of woman. All of God's creation has purpose; woman is no exception. We read, "And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him" (Gen. 2: 18). "Help meet" is from a Hebrew word that suggests a counter-part or helper comparable to him. Every aspect of the woman is a compliment and counter-part to the man. Feminists who deny this are not only in opposition with the Bible but also basic and observable facts. Those who see this biblical truth as belittling to women err. The male and female compose a perfect unit. When God's assigned order and arrangement is perverted, chaos results. The woman and man (husband and wife) are to encourage one another spiritually. Hence, we read "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 Pet. 3: 7).
The godly woman. Regarding man and woman, the greatest achieved goals are spiritual in nature. Proverbs chapter 31 contains a description of a "virtuous woman" (vs. 10-31). This text presents the greatest challenge ever set before woman. The virtuous woman "fears the Lord," cares for her family, and has the respect of her husband and children (vss. 30; 13-15, 21, 27; 11, 12, 28, 31). Her speech is commendable, she aids the needy, and properly adorns herself (vs. 26; 20; 22-25). She is not limited to the needs and sphere of her family. We know this because the virtuous woman is presented as industrious and engaging in financial ventures of her own (vs. 16, 24, 27). In all these "extra" efforts, however, she does not neglect her primary duty, her family. The virtuous woman is said to be immensely valuable, "her price is far above rubies" (vs. 10).
In closing, allow me to quote from B. W. Johnson regarding I Timothy 2: 15: "'15. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.' Rather, through childbearing. Work was laid upon the fallen man; the pains of childbearing on the fallen woman. The apostle means here, that women will be saved in the line of their duties, and that those duties are domestic rather than public. There surely is no recommendation of the celibacy of monasticism. Possibly, too, another thought still may be alluded to. The first woman was assured that her seed should bruise the serpent's head. It was woman's glory that one of her sex was chosen to be the mother of our Lord. Thus through childbearing the Savior of all men comes into the world. 'If they continue.' Domestic duties will not save unless to these are added the graces of a holy life" (The People's Commentary). Beloved, the woman is the very crowning act of creation as far as man is concerned. She displays the deity and power of God in her beauty and charm. (Be sure to read, "I Timothy 2: 8-15, an Exegesis," "The Virtuous Woman," "Keepers at Home," and "The Truth about Man," click on to visit.) (For additional study, click on "An Exchange on the Role of Woman" and "I Corinthians 14: 34, 35, An Exposition")
Addendum: Phebe was said to have been a "servant of the church...." (Rom. 16: 1). The Greek word servant in Romans 16: 1 is diakonon, accusative case. As you can see, "deacon" is applied to Phebe. Some scholars believe the qualifications of I Timothy 3: 11 (the Greek is literally, "the women") are alluding to female deacons (see also I Timothy 5: 9 ff.).
There is no doubt that Phebe was a female deacon of the church. However, what meaning do we assign to this fact? Was Phebe simply a female servant (meaning of diakonon), without any intended thought of being appointed by the local church to serve after the same manner as the male servants or deacons in I Timothy 3? It does appear especially in view of the strict distinctions between men and women in the First Century that women of spiritual caliber where needed to minister to needy women. If Phebe were a deacon (in exactly the same official sense as the men who met the qualifications of I Timothy 3: 8-13), it must still be remembered that even deacons (males) have no delegated authority such as the elders have (I Tim. 3: 1-7; Tit. 1: 5 ff.). Also, restrictions imposed by the scriptures would still apply to such female servants. Perhaps the reason more is not said in the scriptures regarding "deaconesses" is because it was a needed function especially in the culture of the First Century and was not necessarily meant to be present in order for the local church to be fully organized (see Phili. 1: 1).
God has exceptionally used women in the past. Deborah is a case in point (Judges 4). Deborah was not only a Judge over Israel but she was a "prophetess" (Judges 4: 4). We also read of prophetesses in the church at Corinth (I Cor. 11: 3-16). However, even in these exceptional cases, these prophetesses were under strict regulation regarding headship, particularly as it applied to them in position to their male counter-parts, the prophets (I Cor. 11: 3, 4, ff..). I point out and stress these matters because some are using the case of Phebe, Deborah, and the prophetesses to argue for female leadership in local churches. Concluding from these unusual examples that women may lead (in the pulpit, serving as elders, etc.) local churches today is to violate such plain and universal teaching as that found in I Timothy 2: 8-15.
In conclusion, it is certain that the early church had deaconesses (Rom. 16: 1). It is also certain that there was a special class of women possessing the qualifications who were "enrolled" (ASV, I Tim. 5: 9, it appears these women were to be used in some capacity, notwithstanding the benevolent nature of the circumstance, see total context of I Timothy 5). What is not so certain is the presence and extent of officiality in this function. As seen, it is also certain that even assuming full officiality (compared to the male servants meeting the qualifications, the deacons), these deaconesses were not leaders in the local churches. (For a more complete study of "deaconesses," click on "Deacons, Their Work and Qualifications" and scroll down to the addendum.)