Author: Ron Graham
What Makes a Woman Beautiful?
—The Godly Woman
This lesson looks at the attributes and qualities that make a woman beautiful as God intended she should be.
The beauty of the human female is oft regarded as a physical matter, however any good artist knows that if you paint, draw, or photograph a woman purely to capture the physical form, the work will be a failure. There is a "hidden person of the heart" which you have to somehow express.
It is the eternal qualities of that hidden person that makes a woman beautiful. That counts far more than the short-lived and superficial attributes of her outward person.
1Corinthians 11:1-16 This passage links the relationship of man and wife with two other relationships that are similar in some ways. This shows a structure that's timeless and unchangeable...
|God is the head of Christ||Christ is equal to God|
|Christ is the head of man||Man is equal to Christ|
|Man is the head of woman||Woman is equal to man|
We cannot deny the equality of Christ and God (as to divinity), nor the equality of man and Christ (as to manhood), otherwise we deny the very divine nature and human nature of Christ, and enter into heresy. We would deny both if we denied the equality of man and woman (as to humanity), because the latter is all part of the structure above and you cannot deny one without denying the whole.
Adam looked in vain for a suitable companion among all the creatures of flesh and blood; none was suitable to be his wife. So God took a part of Adam himself, one of his ribs, and from it created a woman who corresponded to Adam, opposite but equal.
Were Eve not Adam’s equal, she would have been unsuitable like the other creatures, wouldn't she? Therefore a man finds a special and unique beauty in his woman, because she alone among all flesh is his equal, and not inferior to him (Genesis 2:18-25).
1Peter 3:1-2 Peter speaks of chastity. Our Creator told the first woman, "Your desire shall be to your husband" (Genesis 3:16).
The gospel binds the same on Christians saying, "Let marriage be honourable among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled" and that's not talking about getting toast crumbs in your bed (Hebrews 13:4).
A man may think his wife very desirable, but should he discover she is an adultress, what will he think then? Chastity might be an old idea and an old behaviour, but it is the right idea and the right behaviour, and not only for women but for all.
1Peter 3:1-2 (again) Peter links chastity with respect. He actually uses the word "fear" — in the Greek φοβος (phobos) — but what he means is that the woman would not dare to do the wrong thing by her husband, not because she is scared of him, but because she values her relationship both with him and with God. Therefore she treats her husband with great respect, which causes him to show similar respect for her.
1Peter 3:4-7 Next Peter speaks of a "gentle and quiet spirit" as an adornment worth far more than jewells.
- Peter goes on to speak of women being, in that spirit, "submissive to their own husbands"
- He cites the example of Sarah who "obeyed Abraham, calling him lord" —a fact which sometimes evokes laughter in twenty-first century women.
- After saying to Eve, "Your desire shall be to your husband" God then said, "and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16).
- The gospel has not scrapped this rule, but has given it greater dignity. Paul says, "As the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything" (Ephesians 5:22-24).
- Note as well the requirement for the husband (Ephesians 5:25-33, 1Peter 3:7). A man's sacrificial and selfless love for his wife is his true strength, and means much more to her than muscles.
Let us relate this matter of submission to our first point about equality and headship...
- Although Christ is equal in divinity to God the Father, Christ recognises the Father as head and submits to him.
- Although a man is equal in manhood to Christ, he recognises Christ as his head and submits to him, and therefore to the Father.
- Although woman is equal as a human being to man, she recognises her husband as her head and submits to him, and therefore to Christ and the Father.
1Peter 3:8 Finally, Peter mentions humility. "Let all be harmonius, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit" He is summing up a lot of things that he has said, but a woman's desirable attributes are included. So she too should be sympathetic, sisterly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit. The lack of the last of those qualities, humility, will mean the lack of all of them, and certainly a lack of any beauty that counts.