We all want to equip ourselves to be godly women, but do we really know what that equipping should look like? A diet of books on modesty, courtship, and cake decorating will definitely fill the bill if the role we aspire to is simply one of wearing modest clothes, going through a courtship, and decorating cakes. But if we truly believe the biblical role of women is bigger and more significant than this, we need put our money where our mouths are and pursue education and training to match.
As we’re preparing for our family’s upcoming “Ready For Real Life” webinar, and thinking through the things most we believe important for Christian women to study, we thought we’d share our top ten. Not necessarily in order of importance.
The Top 10 Things Girls Should Study (But Rarely Do)
Economics and Business – In Proverbs 31, even the virtuous woman’s wisdom and kindness are not praised as frequently as her business acumen, industry, and economic profitability, which is why we believe these are some of the most feminine things a Christian woman can study. (Yes, feminine.)
It’s interesting to note that although the man is the one biblically charged with providing for his household (Gen. 3:17-19, 1 Tim. 5:8), the kind of virtuous wife he’s told to look for (Prov. 31:10,11) is one who works and produces and brings in “no lack of gain,” in the context of her household economy and her husband’s interests. Along with cooking and cleaning, being a good homemaker should require learning the Proverbs 31 skills of buying, selling, investing, producing, marketing skills, having marketable skills, and of course stretching a dollar (v. 16,24,13,18,19,22, etc). By the way, this is the missing concept that made stay-at-home womanhood make sense once, in good times and in bad.
Law – If you want to understand the world, you have to understand the legal systems that rule it and where they came from – Common Law, Natural Law, Sharia Law, Constitutional Law, and so forth. Most importantly, though, you need a thorough knowledge of God’s law, His case-by-case specifics of how to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, the standard by which all other law systems must be evaluated. King David, the man after God’s own heart, wrote, “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”
And when we someday have to arbitrate complex disputes in our future homes (“He broke my toy truck!”), we aspiring Proverbs 31 women need to have the “law of kindness” (literally, in Hebrew, the Decalogue or Pentateuch) on our tongues. If it’s not biblical justice from the law of God that we’re teaching our children, we will be teaching them the law of something else – be it libertarianism, communism, anarchism, liberalism, Victorianism, or Santa Claus.
Political Science and Current Events – If we women knew how big the world was, we wouldn’t be content to live for things that are so small. From geopolitics to local elections, from scandals in D.C. to insurrections in Egypt, we women live in a world much bigger than our living rooms, churches, and friends. Studying current events and world politics means looking at the world beyond our social media feeds, at a reality outside of movies and novels, at events more significant than the latest great recipe/decorating idea/deal on shoes/celebrity-breakup. This is how you get the big picture view of where you, your family, your friends, your church, your community, and your nation, fit into God’s unfolding plan for the world. This is how you learn to recognize opportunity, see needs, and prepare for the future. Remember, it was because the men of Issachar “had understanding of the times,” that they knew “what Israel ought to do.” (1 Chron. 12:32)
And if we want to help our fathers, brothers, and husbands lead in the gates and raise our children to possess the gates of their enemies, our interest in world events should be bigger than checking facebook to see what our friends had for lunch.
History – And not only biographies, but the whole saga of the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. History is also the story of how women helped or hurt their men, raised villains or heroes, and helped build or tear down nations. If you really want to learn what kind of woman to be (or not to be), read more history.
The Sciences – We Christian women have been made co-stewards of a physical world that operates according to certain rules and it’s helpful to know what some of them are. It’s impossible to grow things, fix things, measure things, build things, invent things, code things, and compare prices of things without a good foundation in math, geometry, chemistry, botany, engineering, and so forth. And don’t dismiss these things as man things: The work of dominion – which involves invention, exploration, classification, cultivation, and discovery – was assigned to the man and the woman.
Health, Nutrition, and Basic Medicine – If you have a family, hope to have a family, or are ever around any people, you’ll be better equipped to serve if you’re ready to deal with burns, bites, gashes, choking, allergies, dietary problems, and women suddenly going into labor in the backseat of the car. And if you have a good basic understanding of how God designed the body to work, you’ll be able to sort between health/diet trends, to be a better steward of the kingdom resource that is your body.
Home Management – Yes, we should have the basics down by the time we’re ten, which means we should have plenty of time over the next few years to get to the next level – learning to do everything better, faster, and healthier, for less money, or how to cook for thirty on an hour’s notice. We all cook and clean every day anyway, but how many of us approach household management and hospitality as something worth studying to do with excellence?
Culture and Aesthetics – Pretend you could wipe the current cultural scene clean of all the filth, and redesign the whole thing – art, music, fashion, film, the works – to be what you think culture should be like. What would that be? This is exactly what your home, your wardrobe, and your ipod are – your own little tailor-made corners of culture. So what kind of aesthetics are you promoting? Thomas Kinkade? Picasso? Chopin? Lecrae? VeggieTales? Forever 21? If culture is religion externalized, that means these choices are not religiously neutral, and it’s time for Christian women, the creators of home culture, to start knowing the difference. Even if the biggest stand you ever take for Christian culture is the music you play around the house, the art you hang on the wall, and the way you dress your children… that will make a difference.
Communication – Knowing what to say and how to say it. It starts with having something to say, and a love for the person you’re trying to say it to, both spiritual qualities. However, assembling the tools for communicating effectively does take study and practice, whether it be in writing, editing, public speaking, or carrying on a conversation. And let’s take studying how to carry on a conversation more seriously – it means learning to be discreet (Prov. 11:22, 1 Sam. 25), gracious (Prov. 11:16), able to give an answer (1 Pet. 3:15), to “speak a word in season to him who is weary” (Isa 50:4), to speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), to give a biblical reproof (1 Sam. 25, 2 Sam. 20, Prov. 9:8, Prov. 27:5, 2 Tim. 4:2) and to “make knowledge acceptable” (Prov. 15:2). Your tongue is a weapon powerful enough to set the world on fire. Do you know how to use it?
Theology – It’s remarkable how easy it is to want to live biblically without making a priority of actually studying the Bible. Some ask how important it is for a woman to study theology if she isn’t going to be a pastor or a missionary. Answer: If she wants to know God, think His thoughts after Him, live the way He wants her to, and understand any other subject in the world, she has to start with theology.
This is because theology is more than the study of esoteric controversies like supralapsarianism vs. infralapsarianism. It is, in essence, the study of God’s mind, heart, and will regarding everything in the world (as He reveals it in His word). It’s not something we study just to make ourselves feel brainy or help us win debates – to fuel “an unhealthy craving for controversy,” “quarrels about words,” or “foolish controversies,” which are “unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9, 2 Tim. 2:23, 1 Tim. 6:4). Studying theology means becoming “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9) It means searching to find what God thinks about culture and education and bioethics and pop music and relationships and women in the military and anything else that affects your life. It means we stop using the Bible as a therapist to make us feel better, and read it instead to be challenged, convicted, commanded, and changed. How could this be optional?
And what better way to educate ourselves than to seek the mind of the One “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”? (Col. 2:3) Perhaps this is why Psalm 119:98-100 says that His statutes make us wiser than our enemies, His testimonies give us more understanding than our teachers, and His precepts make us more understanding than the ancients.