Sunday, May 13, 2012

Women, female personification, and feminine imagery in the Bible: a series

Over the past year or so I have been thinking about women, myself in particular, in relation to the church. When I was younger it was simple: I would love God and then eventually I would love my husband and my children and those would be my primary ministries. However, as I have continued to age as a single, childless person I started questioning what my role was within the church (both the church as a institution and as the larger body of believers). I imagine even women who do have a husband and/or children often end up with similar questions as well. The debate about women's role within the Christian contest is old and vast. I'd like to undertake this study not trying to answer those questions (as much as I can seperate myself from my culture and context). Rather, this is time and space for me to focus on where we see girls, women, and female imagery and personification in the Bible. I pray that I will be sensitive to the voice of God whatever it has to teach me at this time in my life and that it will be beneficial to others who read -both men and women.

Even with my attempts to not make this a series with the point of defining the role of women, I recognize that I am here writing this because of a variety of thoughts in my head and circumstances in my life. My contemplations on finding myself a single woman without the predictability of transitioning into the "plan" of a wife or mother, the thoughts from many others questioning the dominant cultural beliefs about women in the church, my own journey into a theological education as I prepare to begin seminary in the fall, and personal studies that are focusing on women of the Bible have all lead me to a desire to really study both the women and the feminine imagery in Scripture. Eve, Wisdom, Mary, the Church, the prostitute in Revelation. If there is a "she" or a "her" I want to take the time to examine it. I won't write about every instance. This is, obviously, a long and extensive undertaking. I'm hoping it will inspire me to write a bit more consistently here. (We'll see what happens when I'm in the midst of grad school and internships in the fall!) Look for these posts showing up here on a regular basis on Fridays! I've got my first entry in progress and am excited about it. Please feel free to suggest passages and stories you'd love to read about.

I look forward to being here a bit more!


  1. I'm excited to read this series!

  2. That sounds like a great study... What's also interesting is the word, "Help meet." Did you know that it's applied only to one other person: The Holy Spirit!? That blew my mind!!! :-)

  3. Bri - I just read something similar myself a couple of days ago and was also blown away! So cool!

  4. Kind of in relation to the "help meet" comments above, I'd love it if you could include the "feminine" sides of God in your posts. I think He calls Himself a He for a reason, but I think we all could benefit from realizing that that doesn't limit Him to our human understanding of male.

    I'm excited for this series of yours. I often see lessons on women in the Bible that force the "characters" (for the lack of a better word) into our culture's idea of a woman's role, which I think is wrong. (Ex: Esther was not being a submissive wife in waiting to be called by the king... it was a life or death situation! etc.) Cultural context matters.