Responsibilities of Women

titlepageAFResponsibilities of Christian Women

By Annie Laurie Wolfum

Reprint 2020

{This tract was given to me by Loyce Rogers in 2019. I scanned it for current reprint, without revision or edits; only formatting changes. Annie Laurie Wolfum lived from 1900 to 1978, a noted English Teacher at Mission High School and member of the Laurel Heights Church of Christ.}

Immediately before the ascension, Jesus gave his apostles the great commission (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 24:44-48; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). In Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost following, the gospel was first preached in its fullness. Three thousand obeyed that day. It is reasonable to suppose that the number included women. All three thousand believed, repented, and were baptized (Acts 2:37-41). Today men and women do the same things when they obey the gospel. The Lord has had only one plan of salvation — the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17). It is His plan now.

However, Christians must grow in grace and knowledge of the truth so long as they live (Acts 2:42; 20:32; II Pet. 1:5-7). It is a shame for Christians not to grow (Heb. 5:12-14). Indeed it is a sin not to grow. Christians must also practice in their daily lives the principles of truth as detailed in apostolic teaching and recorded by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 5:16).

Both Paul and Peter give special admonitions to men, to women, to children. Without making God a respecter of persons, these instructions vary according to the needs of the group addressed. Of God’s wisdom there is no lack. He knows all men and their utmost need and has given them all things pertaining to life and godliness. This article is a study of Scriptures that teach women’s responsibilities as Christians.

DAUGHTERS

First a woman is a daughter. She may also in the course of her life be a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and perhaps a widow. You know how God made woman from a rib of the man Adam, whom he had already made. Adam called her woman because she was taken out of man (Gen. 2:23). He also called her Eve because she was the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20). These facts are important in the man-woman relationship (I Tim. 2:11-13). 

The world scoffs at the truth in these matters, but Christian women obey God rather than follow public opinion. Let us investigate God’s will for those women who wish to serve him.

What does God require of a daughter? She must honor her father and mother. Exodus 20:12 calls this the first commandment with promise. It is repeated in the New Testament (Eph. 6:2). This passage says also, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” The word honor involves respect and obedience. The home is the unit of society, and parents have authority in the home. Children must obey them in everything that does not conflict with God’s laws. Christian parents would not require a child to do wrong. When children learn obedience at home, they are less likely to disobey other laws, as of school or state. A parent who does not teach his children to obey does not love them as well as he should and is himself disobeying God. As girls are growing up, they honor their parents in what they say, in where they go, in the friends they cultivate, in their dress, and in their general behavior. Good girls do not engage in ugly talk; they learn early to guard the tongue (Jas. 3:8; Mat. 5:37; 12:34; 1 Pet. 3:10). They do not “talk back” to their parents. Christian girls do not go to dances. They do not enjoy lewd movies. They choose friends who are respectable and well-behaved (Ps. 1:1; 1 Thess. 5:22). They themselves behave in a manner which commands respect of the boys they go out with. Girls who please God wear modest clothing: their dresses are not too low at the neck; their skirts are not too tight nor too short. If the fellows whistle at a girl who calls herself a Christian, she would better look at herself again in the mirror and then check with her Bible.

If for any reason, a daughter never marries and thus obviates the possibility of her being a wife and mother, the Christian woman will accept the situation and seek to serve God in other ways. She can find compensation and legitimate fulfillment in doing work ordained of God for Christian women. If she is faithful in such service, her eternal reward will in no wise be diminished.

WIVES

As a wife a Christian’s responsibility is very great and important. God approved marriage in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:24). Marriage also has apostolic sanction (Heb. 13:4; I Cor. 7:1-2). A nation’s stability is closely related to its attitude toward marriage. A Christian’s usefulness to God, even his salvation, may depend on his marriage. A woman’s part in the success of a marriage is large and significant. In 1 Cor. 11:3 and 8-12 Paul reveals God’s order. There we learn that man is head of woman as Christ is head of man and God is head of Christ. A wife must be in subjection to her husband: he is the head (Eph. 5:22-24; 1 Pet. 3:1-6; 1 Cor. 5:1-5, 10-16). Christian husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ the church. If they do this, Christian wives find it easy to be in subjection (Eph. 5:25-33) but even when the husband fails in his duty, the wife is still subject to him. Both must work at achieving the ideal. Christian husbands and wives are also brothers and sisters in Christ. They therefore have a double obligation to each other (1 Pet. 3:7). A Christian woman loves her husband. She does not “fall out of love” with him. She loves, honors, and obeys him without consideration of external circumstances. She loves him in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. She is for him the only woman in the world, and she has no interest in any other man. If her husband is an unbeliever, he may be converted without the word by his wife’s example as he considers her “chaste conversation coupled with fear,” (1 Pet. 3:1-2). If he is weary or worried, if he is angry or discouraged, if he neglects to pray or forsakes the assembly, as the manner of some is, her gentle concern, her sincere interest in his welfare, her kind reminders and good example help him to straighten out his thinking and continue walking in the light. The heart of a husband safely trusts in his Christian wife. A good wife always keeps herself neat and clean, attractive to her husband; but she gives more attention to adorning the hidden man of the heart with a meek and quiet spirit, which is of great price in the sight of God, than she gives to adorning the outward appearance by plaiting her hair and wearing gold ornaments or pretty clothes. Of course, it is right for a woman to make herself pretty for her husband. She does not compliment him by slovenliness, nor God either. Gradually such a wife will develop an inner beauty which age cannot fade. It is a beauty as pleasing to God as to man.

MOTHERS

When a wife becomes a mother, her sacred responsibility deepens and broadens. In becoming a mother, a woman is then most like God. A woman cannot create a child, but she can mold the disposition and character of her children. What a mother does in training a child determines to a great extent that child’s destiny both in time and eternity (in this world and the next.) What a privilege! What a responsibility! For her child, the mother is responsible to him, to herself, and to God. She cannot escape this three-fold responsibility so long as she is normal, even if she neglects it or refuses to accept it; yet in discharging it she must at the same time be a true and faithful wife. Her husband comes first — after God, who wishes always to be first in the heart of every Christian. Mothers must teach their children to love God and country, to respect others as themselves. A Christian mother prays for God’s help in bringing up her children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” She will teach them to pray and to serve the Lord. She will take them with her to worship when the saints assemble. At home she will teach them the truths of the gospel. There are many Bible stories interesting to children even before they can read for themselves. When children hear these stories early, of people like Noah, Abraham, and Moses, these servants of God come to seem like members of the family–as indeed they are: of the Lord’s family. A mother needs to be unselfish, patient, understanding — compassionate yet realistic. She must be industrious, energetic. The Lord does not love laziness –in anybody– so a Christian mother teaches her child to work and eventually earn a living for himself. She will also teach him to give the Lord a generous portion of anything he earns. He can learn to do this by giving the Lord part of his allowance even before he becomes a Christian. A mother’s training job seems never to have an end. It is the noblest career any woman can pursue.

GRANDMOTHERS

When a woman becomes a grandmother, she has a second chance to enjoy the pleasures and privileges of loving little children and helping to train them. Paul commended the young preacher Timothy for his “unfeigned faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice,” (I Tim. 1:5). Evidently Lois had done well with two generations. Christian grandmothers are to be teachers of good things (Tit. 2:3-5) both by precept and by example. They teach their own daughters and granddaughters and other young women in the church “to be sober, to love their own husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Yes, a woman who has been a wife such as Sarah was to Abraham is one of Sarah’s daughters (1 Peter 3:6). She can serve the Lord as long as she lives and can influence those she has taught even after her death. Like Abel, she “being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4). She will have used her tongue and all her mental and physical powers for the good of others and for the glory of God.

WIDOWS

Women seem to live longer than men. Thus many women in their old age are widows. As a Christian, a widow continues to serve God. If she marries again, she chooses a Christian (1 Cor. 7:39). If, as a widow, she has no living, no substance, no income, her children or other relatives are obligated to take care of her; and a Christian widow will yield gracefully to this necessity. If she has no relatives to care for her, she may be cared for by the church, provided that her earlier life has been characterized by good works “which becometh women professing godliness,” (I Tim. 2:10; 5:3-10). Consider the fine character of such a woman; she has been walking by faith, not by sight — walking in the spirit in order not to fulfill the lust of the flesh — for most of her life. Do you suppose that she grew “weary of well-doing?” Apparently not. She has had her heart on “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 3:14). Her “affections were on things above, not on things on the earth,” (Col. 3:2). A “crown of righteousness is laid up” for her, as it was for Paul (I Tim. 4:8). That is a glorious prospect. As earthly eyes grow dim, what they see by faith beyond the veil becomes more glorious to behold.

CONCLUSION

Dear sisters in Christ, you and I can have the same beautiful life and the same reward. No one can please the Lord more fully than a virtuous woman who, as a girl, as a wife, as a mother, and as a grandmother has given diligence to serving God. How sweet to die in hope of hearing in that great day “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Women like Sarah, Hannah, Jochebed, Mary the mother of Jesus, Dorcas, Phoebe, Lois and countless others have been worthy of commendation in the Scriptures. They are also worthy of our emulation. Let us read about them, meditate on their lives, pray and strive to follow their example.

–Annie Laurie Wolfrum.

McAllen, Tex.

Scanned by Warren E. Berkley, Feb. 2020

 

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