Ladies, It is NOT Your Life Purpose To Marry And Have Children

Early this week I saw a blog post that deeply upset me. It stated that “God’s will for young women is to marry, bear children, and guide the home” and then it referenced 1 Timothy 5:14. I cringed. I am sick and tired of Christians pulling verses out of context and using them to promote their own agenda. Conservative and progressive Christians do this. But I tend to see it more in Conservative circles, only because those are the circles that I’m part of.

God’s Will For You and Me

So, let’s get one thing straight: we get too caught up in trying to figure out “God’s will for us.” I get it. I’m a planner. And I think too many Christians (myself, too, at times) wrongly believe that there is some big, magical plan that we’re supposed to know (but don’t), and that we need to walk on eggshells or else we’ll mess up this big magical plan. We’ll marry the wrong person. We’ll go to the wrong school. We’ll take the wrong job.

Stop. Stop right there. Because I don’t think any of those things are possible to do.

Shortly before Jesus was crucified, he was asked: “What is the greatest commandment?” Meaning, in all of the universe, what is the greatest rule. His answer was quite simple, yet profound: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Go check out the full account in Matthew 22). So guys, this means that GOD HIMSELF said that the basis for all laws is to 1) love God and 2) love others. 

The more “detailed” rules, if you will, relate back to these and show us what actions are or are not loving. For example, taking the Lord’s name in vain (Commandment #2) is not loving God; lying to your neighbor (Commandment #8) is not loving your neighbor. Literally, every rule can be traced back to loving God and loving our neighbor.

So, God’s will for us is quite simple: we must love him and love others. His will for us is to love Him and love others. Y’all, literally, that simple.

Now, I fully believe God can call people clearly to certain fields (hello, Jonah and Paul!) and in those situations, it’s loving to follow his lead. Take my life, for example: did I experience an audible voice of God telling me to be a lawyer? No. But, God has given me the gifts and talents necessary to do the job, he has provided opportunities for me to do this job, and I have great peace when doing this job. I feel that practicing law is my calling. But, I could also fully serve God has a kindergarten teacher, a doctor, a chef, a stay at home mom, or anything else. So, do I believe that God’s will for women is to only get married or only have kids or only stay home? Absolutely not! The only verse in the New Testament that lends itself to this is severely taken out of context.

The Danger of Taking Scripture Out of Context

We first need to recognize what the Bible is, beyond the Sunday school version of “God’s word.” The Bible is a book. It’s composed of 66 books written by dozens of authors over thousands of years and across continents. The majority of these books are letters written from people to certain people to address certain issues at that time. These letters were then chosen by councils (that’s right, by men) to comprise our Holy Book. There were over 100 other letters and books that at one time or another were considered for the Bible but didn’t make the cut. In fact, different Christian denominations (such as the Catholic Church, the Christian Church in Ethiopia, and the Protestant Church) have a different variation of books in their Bible. Even though the books were organized by men, I (and the majority of Christians) believed that the words were “divinely inspired.” That is, God ensured that the books that were supposed to be in the Bible were in it.

But, here’s another problem: the Bible wasn’t written in English (shocker!) The New Testament was written in ancient Greek. That’s a problem, because as anyone who speaks 2 languages knows, certain norms, words, and customs are very difficult to translate to other languages (the easiest example is that in Greek there are 4 different words for love, meaning 4 different kinds of relationships, but in English we only have 1 word for love but the meaning changes based on context).

So let’s talk about this Timothy verse. First, you need to read verses in the context of the whole book and chapter. What’s the title of the Chapter? “Widows, Elders, and Slaves.” I have chapter 5 of the NIV (modern English) and KJV pasted below:

NIV

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame.Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor,especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprovebefore everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others.Keep yourself pure.

23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

KJV

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Honour widows that are widows indeed.

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.

10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

1I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

So in context, the WHOLE FLIPPING MEANING OF THAT VERSE CHANGES PEOPLE!!!! 

Paul is writing this letter to Timothy. The letter starts out “I am writing to Timothy,” specifically about how Timothy should handle a church in Greece. “When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus.” (1 Tim 5:3). The church in Ephesus was having a lot of problems, and this is Paul giving Timothy practical advice on how to run the church.
A problem that came up (and still comes up) is: how do we take care of widows? In Greece 2000 years ago women could not work, they were legally property of men. This is Paul explaining how the Church should help widowed women. Look at the verses before 14, Paul is saying how the church should determine who to help. Verse 14 is specifically talking about younger widows in the context of determining aid! Paul is telling women to get married (notice the burning with desire part, so it’s consensual) instead of forcing them to become burdens on the church. This has absolutely nothing, zip, zilch, zero to say about college. Or about how a young, single, never married Christian woman in 2018 should make her life decisions.
What’s the ultimate purpose of this chapter and verse? To explain to the leader of a struggling congregation how to conserve the limited resources of the church, and make sure that the resources are used to help those who are actually in need.
In 2018 women could work. So, if the purpose behind these verses is to reserve church resources, couldn’t it also be argued that young, unmarried women should get jobs or do things to provide more resources to the church? To not be a burden on the church? I’m not arguing that, but I’m trying to show how that verse does not mean what the author tried to make it mean.
So my message to young women is this:
1) Know your Bible. Read verses in context.
2) Determine what gifts and talents God has given you. If you want to go to college (or need to go to college to pursue your calling) AWESOME! I support you. If you have zero desire to go to college and would rather pursue ministries or other talents, AWESOME! I support you.
3) Ultimately, as a Christian, your job is to love God first, love others well, and lead others to a relationship with Him. You can do that just about anywhere, doing just about anything.
If your calling is to be a wife and mom, awesome. I hope to be a Stay-At-Home mom one day, too. But that’s not my ultimate goal in life. My ultimate goal is to serve God wherever I am. And right now, that’s in law school. If you feel called to be a wife and mom one day, don’t just sit home. Passionately pursue your talents in every opportunity God gives you.
xoxo

Krista

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10 thoughts on “Ladies, It is NOT Your Life Purpose To Marry And Have Children

  1. I know this woman who wrote these things. I consider her one of my mentors! I have seriously so much respect for her… she leads millions of women, and she goes against the most hateful, spiteful critics who daily attack her and her husband (and now even her children and grandchildren). I do wonder if you would be able to survive yourself, under that kind of pressure and daily harassment and attacks. I’ve found myself that not many female bloggers can withstand that kind of humiliation and pain.

    Either way, I may not agree with everything she believes (we all have different convictions), but she is a powerful woman of God, and what she is doing, presenting God’s word to women – young women at that – trying to get them to obey that command in Timothy, God is blessing her and strengthening her every single day.

    Since you are so keen to judge her and mock what she’s doing, maybe you’ll be equally receptive to some of your own medicine. Here is a godly rebuke toward you:

    What you take for granted, what you mock and criticize with an arrogant heart, using cuss-word style “flipping” words to mock her, millions of women are encouraged by. Myself just being one! But there are MILLIONS more encouraged by her.

    We need more women of faith like her – standing strong in the world and fulfilling Titus 2 prophecy of the older, wiser women in the church, teaching the younger women these things. I’m so grateful for her!!! Her wisdom, counsel, and even emails she’s sent me over the years have been such blessings. And she’s known the blessings of helpful SO MANY women like that.

    I wonder … how many women can look up to you? With your mocking, critical style and use of words like “flipping” (meaning of course “fucking”)? Are you such a godly person that anyone would feel like you were to be a trustworthy mentor? I sincerely doubt you have that many women looking up to you like this woman of God does.

    Hopefully you accept this rebuke, I would think someone who is so keen on judging another godly woman, even mocking her in arrogance, would be open to receiving a rebuke as well, and be able to take it with humility. Maybe not… but I’ll pray for you.

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    • Hi Sophia,

      Thanks for commenting! It seems like you’re angry and that you just said all of that out of anger and frustration and not because you actually wanted to rebuke me. I’m not mocking the poster, I’m stating that what she said was taken out of context and wrong. Becuase it was. Just as much as older women are to be mentors to younger women, younger Believers are to be examples to older women in faith, love, and purity. As Christians, we need to call out hypocrisy and when things are just plain wrong.

      Part of being a healthy grown up and/or Christian is being able to look at people we respect and say, “I respect you, but I disagree with you about X.” You can still respect your mentor, and recognize that what she said was wrong.

      Now, as to the word “flipping” here’s the dictionary definition: adjective BRITISH informal
      “used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance.” Do some people use it to mean the slang word for sex? Sure, but that’s not its meaning. I have never allowed profanity on my blog before, but I approved your comment so that others could see your unkindness. So you put a disgusting word on my blog, Sophia, not me.

      The words you used, your reasoning, and your comments suggest you were angry with me and weren’t actually concerned with my relationship. I did nothing to mock your mentor, again, here’s the definition: “tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner.” Nothing about this was teasing. I am seriously concerned that a woman is using verses OUT OF CONTEXT (if you can logically argue that that verse was addressed to ALL women and not just widows, please send along your sources) in a way that HURTS women and prevents them from following their God-given callings.

      Lastly, it’s deeply concerning for me that you get this upset when someone points out that a verse is being incorrectly used to support a proposition it wasn’t intended to support.

      So, I’ll pray for you too, Sophia. And I forgive you for being angry with me and using the guise of “rebuking” as a way to excuse your unkindness and anger. Comments like yours is why people question Christian character.

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  2. Sophia, pointing out that the “mentor” who apparently shall not be named has taken a verse out of context when she clearly has is not mocking. When someone teaches that God has said something about a subject we are supposed to check it out for ourselves and see if what they are saying is true. In context, what the “mentor” said is not what the Bible was actually saying.

    Before you jump all over me saying I must hate God and His ways as your “mentor” is so fond of saying when anyone disagrees with her, please know that I absolutely love God and am a follower of His. I even do a lot of the things the “mentor” teaches, like being a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling, and living frugally. But I do those things because that is MY calling from God and it is where my talents lie. Not everyone has the same calling. Even the “mentor” didn’t and doesn’t do half of what she teaches.

    But back to the matter at hand, Krista was absolutely right to draw attention to this particular post. The “mentor” can do a lot of damage to women by placing burdens on them that the Bible absolutely does not teach. I hope she keeps it up and that others will do the same. The proclamations of the “mentor” do not equal the word of God.

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  3. “My ultimate goal is to serve God wherever I am.” This is such an important reminder. It’s so easy to become distracted by all the voices telling us what to do that we forget to serve Him. Thank you for your well reasoned and insightful post.

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  4. Krista
    Thank you for writing this post.
    So many things have been misinterpeted for so long and has been accepted as the standard truth when in fact it is false doctrine.
    Koine Greek, and Hebrew play a vital role as well as cultural traditions of both. When righteous scholars use their own gifts , talents and callings to right the misunderstanding from the pulpit, oh what freedom, what joy it is! Jesus came to set the captive free , give sight to the blind and a big part of that message is freedom from the law that binds our hearts and minds and renders us stuck captive to things that are man made.
    I am in my 51 st year. I have been around the church, seen a few things come and go. I was a young naive, bruised and broken young wife seeking God. I very much so wanted to please him. Back in 1990 I read the book Mary Pride wrote The Way Home.
    I so wanted to be that Prov 31 woman.
    I stayed the course fully prepared to delve in. Had a succession of babies…and then reality kicked in. It made me go back and question everything. Surely God would not pidgeon hole every single woman on earth to the same task? I began to realise the inconsistency of her doctrinal beliefs. How they were very Americanized, western ways of thinking and simply did not fit every culture. If some families in other cultures did not work outside the family there would be NO FAMILY. Poverty, sickness, lack of education would captivate these women and families, The very opposite of Christ’s gospel would cause these families to perish. God gave each one of us brains to be used, talents, gifts for his glory. We are individually made in his image. We are to love him and reflect that love no matter where he leads.
    There are many out there pedalling a whole lifestyle , belief system, and traditions that are not actually in scripture.
    I stayed home, home schooled part time. But because of my horrific upbringing inpinging on my abilities to do a good job, the best and healthiest place for my children was school. Did it harm my kids? No.
    Are they educated? Yes. Degrees, even. God is a big God and takes care of us and our kids.

    It is super easy to fall prey to poor teaching. We as mothers want to do the best, raise Godly kids. It is easy to go to conferences, retreats ( I attended Nancy Campbell’s) listen to wonderful stories etc. Read blogs, books.
    But the best place is to go to the Bible, get some theology from those wonderfully educated scholars doing God’s work plowing through rightly dividing the word of truth. (Marg Mowzcko and others.)Depending on the Holy Spirit to lead us out of the errors we believe, so we Can love God with our heart mind and soul and our neighbor as ourselves! Such liberty!
    The other thing I noticed in these circles is the dependancy, on these false teachers. Almost idolatry.
    These woman can do no wrong! They are right! Everyone else who opposes is from the devil!
    Well not so. Not so.
    Jesus says you will know them by their fruit. That is a heavy subject not to be taken lightly.
    I have watched many of these blog leaders turn stone cold to people who need answers. If they are threatened in anyway the delete button sends the hurt and needy off into obscurity because they questioned….again that is directly in the opposition of Christ’s example! Thomas doubted, and Jesus never banished him. That is the fruit we need to watch for.
    I could rattle on.
    Thanks for your eloquent bold post. And I pray many links of chains begin to break in women caught up in a calling God has not ordained and He will set women free to be whom he intended even while mothering and making a home.

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  5. A little post script. 1 Cor 5:12,13 tells us to judge those in the church. Let God judge those outside.
    There are a few meanings on judging, One is to discern. A long list of verses in the NT tell us to use that ability. We need to watch out, there are wolves in sheeps clothing all over the church. Do not fall prey to every wind of doctrine….

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  6. A comment about Titus 2
    To grasp Titus 2 you must read Titus 1. It is not a stand alone directive to older women. Clearly men and women in the church were behaving poorly. They were corrupt and ungodly.
    And first Paul tells Timothy how to address and teach the men. Then he moves on to the older women.
    Clearly these women were a corrpt lot. Drinking too much, irreverant,……. i have got to stop here.
    What were these older women doing?
    Well, drinking, partying, wild and crazy. You can tell by the way he tells Timothy the outcome of their behaviour was not good.
    Because he says after they are taught right they will be EXAMPLES to the younger women, to stay home, love their husbands, something clearly the older women were not doing that while drinking it up, partying. The result of teaching they would be kind, and subject to their husbands. Again for Paul to point out those will be the results, the women were out doing whatever they wanted and unkind.

    So after Timothy addresses this the results are that the gospel wont be maligned by poor behaviour.

    Ok rant over. That whole Timothy stay at home never get a job, thing is just soooooo false.

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