In recent months, there’s been conversation in some so-called “trad-wife” and “patriarchal” Christian circles about whether or not women need to study theology for themselves. It’s created some confusion for desirous Christian women who long to abide by the Titus 2 command to “train the young women to love their husbands and children.”
One must ask themselves how a woman can possibly obey this scripture and avoid studying theology. After all, theology is simply the study of God. How can a Christian woman accurately teach younger women to love their husbands and children outside of knowing who God is?
And how exactly does God call us to love them?
And what is love?
These are all theological questions that require theological answers, and a woman must know theology in order to truthfully answer them.
So, here are three reasons why all Christian women should unashamedly study theology:
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”–1 Peter 3:15
This passage was not specifically written to men; rather, it was written to Christians. All Christians should be prepared to defend their faith. But how are they to do that without theology?
What is the hope in you?
Who is Christ the Lord?
A woman simply cannot answer these questions if she doesn’t know and study theology — so she must.
As mentioned previously, Titus 2 exhorts women to teach women and children. It’s a duty for the Christian woman, whether that be teaching her own children or young women in the local church. But the entire passage in Chapter 2 is about godly living and sound doctrine.
How can a woman have sound doctrine without theology?
How can a woman live a godly life without theology?
Marci Ferrell at the “Thankful Homemaker” blog explains it like this:
“Sound doctrine is so important because what we believe affects what we do. Our behavior is an extension of our theology.”
In order to obey Titus 2 and effectively teach women and children, not only must we be equipped with sound doctrine but we must also set an example with our behavior. And godly behavior cannot exist without right theology. Which leads me to reason No. 3 why women should study theology.
“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”–1 Peter 1:15
What is holiness? And what does holiness in one’s conduct look like? More questions that beg theological answers.
Colossians 3:8 commands believers to put away all anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk. Titus 2:3 exhorts women to be reverent and not enslaved to much wine. Verses 4-5 say to be pure, self-controlled, working in the home, kind, submissive to your husbands, and to teach young women to love their husbands and children.
In order for a Christian woman to fulfill these verses obediently, she must know theology. She must be able to love her own husband and children well, and that requires that she know biblical love. She must understand what it means to be self-controlled, so she must know how to refrain from impulse and emulate Christ. She must be self-disciplined and flee from evil temptation, so she must know what it means to put on the full armor of God. She must be pure in her marriage and in her relationships, so she must know biblical purity. She must know what it means to be kind and to work in her home, so she must know what it means to do all things to the glory of God.
We can look throughout Scripture and see examples of godly women — young and old — who because of their right theology lived lives marked by holiness. Anna fasted, prayed, and shared the Gospel with others (Luke 2:36-38); Tabitha cared for widows (Acts 9:36-42); Esther’s obedience to God led her people away from destruction (Esther 4:13-16); Hannah’s prayer is a product of her theology and an example to all Christian women (1 Samuel 2:1-10); and Mary, the mother of Jesus, whose simple response of “let it be according to your Word” resulted in the birth of God made flesh (Luke 1:38).
So often, Christians look to women such as these as a model for how the ideal woman should behave, yet they forget that all of these women are good examples of godliness because of Christ. It is because their theology has led them to obey and submit to Christ as God sanctifies them to be more like Himself. Theology isn’t a scary word — it’s something everyone has. Everyone believes something about God.
The question Christians must ask themselves is, “Is what I believe about God right?” And the only way for anyone — man or woman — to know for sure is by reading and studying His Word.
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Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.