What Is a Woman?


Each week at my church, in addition to the sermon, one of our pastors or deacons offers an exhortation to the congregation as the “on-ramp” for confession of sin. I had the privilege of giving the exhortation this week and thought that it might both encourage and exhort you.

It’s no secret that we live in a confused culture and a lying culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in our culture’s orientation to womanhood. For all its vaunted talk of celebrating and empowering women, our culture despises womanhood. Just in the last few weeks, a mentally deranged man, serving as the Assistant Secretary of Health, was nominated as one of USA Today’s “Women of the Year.” Another confused and opportunistic man was celebrated for defeating female swimmers and breaking their records. And this week a Supreme Court nominee was unable to define when a human being obtains legal protection under our laws, nor what a woman is.

Our culture despises women and would love to erase all that makes women distinct and glorious. 

So what is a woman?

A woman is a member of the human species with XX chromosomes. A woman is made in God’s image, sent on God’s mission, for his glory. Every woman is a daughter of human parents. She is a potential mother and sister, even if because of the brokenness of this world she doesn’t ever bear biological children or have biological siblings. She carries this maternal and sisterly nature into all of her relationships.

The Bible tells us that Woman was taken out of Man and made for Man, thus making her the glory of Man. Fundamentally, she receives in order to give more. She is the life-bringer and life-bearer. Her body was designed to nourish and nurture, to feed and console. She is a garden, designed to receive seed and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. This is what women do: receive in order to give more. Receive and glorify. Receive and beautify. Receive and amplify. 

She has unimaginable influence on those around her—parents, siblings, husband, children, and friends. Though she is the weaker vessel, the power she wields—for good or ill—is remarkable. It’s why Solomon looked upon his bride and declared, “Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?”

Obviously more could be said. But this is an exhortation and I have yet to exhort. I’ve simply tried (in a brief way) to describe the glory of womanhood. So here’s the exhortation: Love that God made the world this way. Ladies, love that God made you a woman. Embrace and celebrate your femininity, in all of the forms and different personalities and vocations that God calls you to. In a culture that is confused and full of lies, love the truth that God made you to be daughters, sisters, mothers in your homes, in this church, and in the world. You are image-bearers of God and the glory of man. 

Men, celebrate both the common nature that we share with our sisters as well as the distinctive glory of femininity. Revel in the fact that your wife is not like you and your daughters are not like your sons and your sisters bring different strengths to the table than you do. Just love it. Be happy about it. Show honor to your sisters as weaker vessels and as co-heirs with you of the grace of life. In a culture that is confused and full of lies, speak the truth and guard the dignity and glory of women.

Clinging to Jesus with you,

Joe Rigney, PhD


Prayer Requests

At this time of year, three crucial streams in the life of our school converge, each one in need of God’s help and strength.

  1. We are fast approaching the end of the school year, and for our seniors, their graduation. Pray that they would finish their educational course well—with perseverance and joy.
  2. We have three months remaining in our fiscal year. Currently, 98 Serious Joy Scholarships remain to be funded. Our streamlined operations depend upon God’s provision through contributions to the Serious Joy Scholarship. Pray that God would supply our needs in Christ Jesus. And then perhaps consider whether you or someone you know might resonate with our vision for Education in Serious Joy and be led to contribute.
  3. We are in the midst of our admissions season. We have space available in our BA programs, our MA programs, and our evening programs. We even have a spot or two left in our MDiv program. Pray that God would bring us full cohorts of students.