Whenever the topic of scripture about/for women arises, I expect repeated references to Proverbs 31. To clarify, there isn’t a single word in the Bible that I believe lacks purpose or is rendered trite by its use in any way. However, I do feel our perpetual, sole focus on Proverbs 31 in regards to women risks hiding the depth and breadth of the Bible for convenient references to women.
Christians all understand and accept that the Bible was written by men, God-breathed. What Christians don’t always stop to consider is how the language impacts our understanding and experience with the Bible. Androcentrism is defined as emphasizing masculine interests or a masculine point of view. Whether you’re aware of the term or not, if you speak any major world language including English, you’re a participant in androcentric communication. Simply put, for centuries society has placed emphasis on the masculine point of view on culture, history and ultimately language.
In the rare instances scripture is flipped to a countercultural female perspective, we catch a glimpse of the Kingdom perspective on humanity.
It’s why “Hey guys” refers to a general crowd but ‘Let’s go ladies” is reserved for the women. When we look at the Bible, written by men yet God-breathed we experience its glorious wonder to have access to such a sacred text. We are prompted to wear the lens of the disciples who lived on earth who were called to share their experience from the God of Ages.
Like many Christian women, the prevalence of masculine-lead language in the Bible is undetectable. Our subconscious has already mastered the practice of instinctual translation in every aspect of how we experience the world. However, in the special moments when I encounter a verse deliberately written from a female perspective my attention is drawn to the surprisingly personal engagement with scripture.
It’s funny and odd at times to see yourself represented “verbatim” in the language of the Bible. It also forces us to embrace and confront this enduring truth; men and women are equal in the eyes of God. As stated in Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Despite the male lens much of the Bible was written, it doesn’t erase this fact.
The Bible allows us to navigate the world as it is, broken and desperate to bring His kingdom on Earth. It allows us to relate personal experiences and biases from our tattered lives and surrender them to Christ’s understanding, and ultimate disruption of man-made law. In the rare instances that scripture is flipped to a countercultural female perspective, we catch a glimpse of the Kingdom perspective on humanity.
Men and women both reflect the fullness of God in the world despite the inevitable limitations our man-made languages can convey.
To honor this truth here are 7 verses from the female perspective outside of Proverbs 31:
“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”
“Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.”
“When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.”
“And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name.”
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
“A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.”
“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”