Updated: Mar 2
The Virtuous Wife, Proverbs 31:10-31. This passage has absolutely nothing to say about a woman's sex life. I would argue that being a wife isn't even required, to be considered "virtuous". This passage is simply a mother's advice to her son, on the type of woman he should pursue as a wife. And I would argue that the definition comes down to, a woman who knows how to handle her business, while still being kind. The fruits of her labor prove her virtue, and her community gives her props. She is also stylish and wise, never lazy. She realizes that "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing..." v. 30. So she seeks after more important things. She seeks after God.
The fall of Adam and Eve led to the curse of sin. But each of them had additional curses, separately. Genesis 3:16:
'To the woman He said:
"I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you."'
I'd like to address the evidence of these curses, instead of discussing whether it's fair or not. It's not our place to pass judgment on God. What matters, is if His curses actually exist or not. If He has the power to back up His words. Because later, when the curse on the serpent is executed (Genesis 3:14-15) by Jesus, I would argue that the curses over both Adam and Eve are broken.
So what are the curses spoken over Eve? First, sorrow in conception. Any woman can verify the truth of this statement. Menstruation is painful, and childbirth almost unbearable. Second, that the husband would be put in charge, which implies that he wasn't actually in charge at first. Patriarchy is very apparent in pretty much all world history. Patriarchy also aligns with the curse over Adam (Genesis 3:17-19).This shift from an egalitarian mindset, to a complimentary mindset, was a consequence of the fall. Several different cultures hold the opinion that women are worth less than men. There are some exceptions, but the majority have discriminated against women for centuries. Can we see evidence of these curses being broken, after Jesus was sacrificed?
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." All of the things that separate us; nationality, economic status, gender, were defeated by Jesus. This is evidenced in the body of Christ, as we seek the kingdom of God. When Jesus returns, these changes will become permanent, and we will no longer be fallen. The whole world will become a new creation. Before the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, the church was beginning to live this out.
Lydia was a business woman mentioned in the history of the early church (Acts:16:11-15). I find her interesting because 1) she was a worshiper of God before she knew Jesus (v.14) and 2) she was a spiritual leader among her peers (v.13). I would like to point out her spiritual leadership, because people like to use 1Timothy 2:22 and 1 Corinthians 14:34 to prove that women cannot be in leadership positions. However there is overwhelming evidence that women did lead in the early church. Priscilla (Acts 18:26, Romans 16:6), Phoebe (Romans 16:3) Tryphena (Romans 16:12), Lois and Eunice (2 Timothy 1:3-5), and also even in the time of Jesus (Luke 8:1-2).
So what is happening in the context around 1 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Corinthians 14:34? Israel would most definitely be considered a patriarchy. The custom in the days preceding the early church, was to educate little boys on the Torah (or the old testament). By the time they were adults, they had a solid foundational understanding of God's word. The same training was not extended to little girls. So they did not have that foundation by the time they reached adulthood. I think this relates more to the Church's posture of submission to Christ (also described as the Word John 1:1-2). Before we speak on the teachings of God, we need to be familiar with what God Himself has said.
I think that's why we see so many women in ministry in the early church. The church changed its posture and began to teach women just as much as men. Once the women became familiar with God's word, they were able to speak about it. Lydia was a woman who was already a worshiper of God. I think it's safe to assume that means she was familiar with God's word. And that's why she was a spiritual leader.
When we cling to the ways of the curses of the fall, we are like Israel who wanted to go back to Egypt after they were freed from slavery. There is nothing for us in Egypt. We need to press forward to the promised land. We need to seek the kingdom of God; the new creation.