As the father of two young daughters I am becoming an expert at identifying Disney princesses. From movies and figurines to coloring books and clothes it seems like my life is surrounded by nail painting, the color pink and everything princess. Sooner or later, this princess phase will fade, and my girls will be faced with all sorts of real-world decisions about how they will live out their identities as daughters of the True King. We are blessed to live in a time and place where they will have many choices and opportunities. But as I look at my own daughters, I also have to allow my heart to break for the 70% of girls in this world who face discrimination, violence and horrendous abuse simply because of their gender.
This month as we focus on the global issues facing women and girls, we start with this question: What can the Bible teach us about the value of women and their God given identity?
Women are being devalued and degraded at alarming rates across the globe and, as we seek to bring awareness in our blogs this month, the issues are very real and producing disturbing consequences. Abuse. Abortion. Rape. Murder. Slavery. All of this and more are justified by the belief that girls are property.
We will start by taking a quick look at the cultural view of women, then confront those lies by looking at the Biblical perspective on valuing women and femininity.
Women as objects: Are women merely objects for sexual pleasure? This common perspective throughout the world is producing multiple forms of female extortion, abuse and abandonment.
- Sex trafficking across the globe enslaves women and treats them like animals traded without dignity and value.
- Pornography degrades, enslaves and views women as objects of instant pleasure and no strings attached sexual gratification.
- Men in “civilized” cultures use women for no-consequence, no-commitment sex in order to bring sexual fulfillment.
- TV, movies and music constantly bombard our senses with a message of sexual excitement and the need for continual sexual satisfaction.
Sex has become idolized, and the message seems to be that the role of women is to be the object that provides sexual pleasure.
Feminism and freedom: Early European and American feminists (like Susan B. Anthony) were taking a stand against such things as domestic violence, rape, forced abortions and laws that denied women the right to vote or own property. Though our society is far from perfect, for the most part, the early feminists won those freedoms for the privileged in the western world. Yet for women in the majority world, those are the very issues that they continue to face every day, more than a hundred years later. Meanwhile, in the 1970s, a culture of lies took over “feminism” in our culture, twisting it into a battle ground about sexual freedoms and tricking us into ignoring the real issues facing women and girls in the majority world. The result is that significant energy is spent debating the rightful use of endless options while millions upon millions of women and girls face atrocities and issues of basic survival.
How does the Bible view women?
The Bible highly values and esteems women, celebrating their uniqueness and depicting them in positive ways throughout. I believe the following verses speak for themselves:
Priceless: Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loves the church—even, if necessary, at the cost of their own lives (Ephesians 5:25-31).
Honored: God commanded children to honor both father and mother (Exodus 20:12).
The Bible also in many ways exalts women and praises their unique impact and roles. John MacArthur  discloses some of the many roles of women in the Bible:
- Miriam led all the women in worship and praise of the Lord after crossing the Red Sea in Exodus 15.
- Deborah was a prophetess and a judge of Israel. She, along with Barak, led Israel in a military victory over Jabin, king of Canaan (Judges 4).
- Huldah was the leading prophetess at the time of Josiah and gave him counsel (2 Kings 22).
- Anna, who was then 84, had lived most of her life as a widow and yet she served the Lord in the temple. She saw Jesus as a baby and was the first to start proclaiming Christ to those in the temple who were looking for the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:36-38).
- Jesus’ disciples included several women (Luke 8:1-3).
- Christ’s first-recorded explicit disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26).
- Jesus always treated women with the utmost dignity—even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27).
- He blessed their children (Luke 18:15-16), raised their dead (Luke 7:12-15), forgave their sin (Luke 7:44-48), and restored their virtue and honor (John 8:4-11).
- Paul counted several women as his co-laborers. He specifically mentions Phoebe, Prisca (or Priscilla), Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Julia in Romans 16.
There is no shortage of respect, dignity and value given to women throughout the Bible. Their talents, intellect and abilities are to be honored and promoted. Women should be seen as influential and pivotal to a developing society and community while being honored and respected at the highest level. The Bible values women and stands in stark contrast to the sex-driven, degrading message portraying women today.
Throughout the world a selfish, secular perspective of women has lead to many atrocious acts towards women and girls. At the root of this violence is a pure disrespect towards what God has created and called “very good.” As Christians, parents, and human beings we should seek to stop the degrading of women by living and promoting a Biblical dignity of women. We need to stand in the gap for vulnerable women and girls in the majority world by:
- Becoming aware of the global issues (stay tuned to this month’s blog posts for resource suggestions).
- Pray for God to move on behalf of vulnerable women.
- Speaking out to our political representatives when the U.S. has an opportunity to use our influence to better the situations of women and girls.
- Financially supporting Christ-centered organizations working on behalf of women.