The postmodern world around us claims the woman is nothing more than a brick in a man’s wall. Or an object to buy and sell. Or an unbound speck of sand at liberty from any and all things. It tells her that she must make herself, create herself, and glorify herself if she is to have any value. But, value to whom? Value to herself, of course. She is taught to value herself for herself. Her value is as much as she makes it out to be.

This is obviously a self-defeating, redundant black hole which goes absolutely nowhere. It’s destructive, tragic, ugly, and satanic. All that fall into this lie implode. Jesus pointed out,

If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me. (John 8:54)

This is one of those deeper theological truths that invite us to meditate upon very deep and profound things. In saying that the Father glorifies him, Jesus is teaching us that the Father works in him identity, value, and glory. The idea of glory has everything to do with work and reciprocity.

The best way I have found to think of it is in terms of electricity. Electricity is real power. The work of electricity is hidden and invisible but once the work manifests itself, it’s bright and beautiful with all sorts of warmth, color, and majesty. It draws everyone in like a campfire on a cold night. In order for electricity to manifest itself however there must be a closed circuit  or “closed path.” Everyone knows that a lamp shuts off when the switch is flipped. But few realize that what is really happening is not that the source of power is being cut off but rather the circular path (the circuit) is being interrupted. Notice that there are two (or three) prongs on a plug. One of those prongs supplies the power and the other prong (or two prongs) return it. If the supplied power is not returned there will be no power and consequently no light.

Power and glory work on a closed circular path. Power and glory are at once two different things and yet the same thing. Power is the invisible side, and glory is the visible. Power is the work, and glory is the fruit. Power is the digging, sowing, and watering, and glory is the fruit and the harvest. Power is the skill and imagination, and glory is the music. Power is the craft and glory is the construction.

Hebrew thought was rooted in the circular as opposed to the linear. The cosmic dance between God and all his work is a truly electric one:

O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (Psalm 104:24)

The closed path is completed when his works return his glory:

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD (Psalm 145:10)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion (Psalm 103:22 NASB)

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:6 ESV)

This is the completion of the circuit. If you are a Westerner, chances are you have been raised and taught your whole life to view life as a “linear path” and consequently this revelation will likely feel like a tectonic shift in your thinking. Yet this is the Christian journey of renewal.  Our minds must drop the carnal ways of thinking and learn the heavenly ways of thinking.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)

Paul wrote that this is what the “new life” is all about in Ephesians 4. Notice how he focuses in on two kinds of “minds” in this passage:

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24)

Postmodernism (infinite number of ways to interpret everything) is the product, more or less, of our Western “linear” way of thinking. A linear path is not a closed path. It has no beginning and no end. It has resulted in a way of thinking that is rooted in nothing and that aims at nothing. This characteristic alone defines the mass of men in our society today does it not? This is why the postmodern man is perhaps the stupidest man to walk the face of the earth. Rooted in nothing and aimed at nothing. They are completely open circuits. They are trees that produce no fruit. They are men who produce no good works. They are light bulbs that shine no light. They are effectively nameless and without any identity.

Identity is something that comes as a product of work. In Hebrew thought it is referred to as haShem meaning “the name.” God has the highest name of all and when Moses asked God what his name was, God responded, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). This means that God’s identity has everything to do with what he does. His identity is in how he asserts himself in creation. How he attends himself to the universe as well as within the Godhead as the Father, Son, and Spirit.

For example, God’s name is “Father” because of how he asserts and attends himself to a “Son”. The “Son of God” is so named because of how he attends to the Father. By themselves, alone, they would be nameless. But as it is they are one because they are constantly active in asserting and attending one another in their respective roles. If both were the same (i.e. two “Fathers”) you would have a serious conflict. Instead, because of their difference, they create a closed circuit and thus a whole lot of electricity.

Consider the name of God as Yahweh Yireh, the God who Provides (Genesis 22:14). Or Yahweh Bore, the God who Builds or the God who Forms (Isaiah 40:28). Consider the story of Hagar and how she identified God by what he did for her:

So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” (Genesis 16:13)

This is a tell all verse to how identity works. Can you see the reciprocity in this verse? The closed circuit and the resulting light? Look closely. God sees her and in return she sees him. Out of that reciprocity of God asserting himself and attending to her in a specific way and her attending to him in response, his name becomes known as El Roi.  This is reciprocity in action.

The Hebrew word barah for “create” or “Creator” is better understood as build, shape, or form rather than “create” as the Hebrew language is concrete and not abstract. God formed [yatsar] the man of the dust, and built [banah] the woman out of his flesh and bone.

Jesus on earth was effectively the manifestation of God’s great power and work. Jesus spoke of himself three times as “the light of the world” (Cf. John 8:12, 9:5, 12:46). In Jesus there was a perfectly closed path for the glory to manifest. A perfect harmony, a perfect reciprocity, and a perfect connection between him and the Father. In him there is no interruption of the flow of glory.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you (John 17:1)

‘Round and ‘round the glory goes. That is a closed path of glory and the precise reason Jesus was and is the light of the world. He is the most powerful display of “electricity” to ever pass through this world. The brightest and most powerful bolt of lightning to ever cut through our earthly skies. The light of the world. Jesus earlier noted how it is impossible to self-generate electricity, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me” (John 8:54). You have to stop and consider that God himself just said that. The Father, Son, and Spirit each glorify one another.

The Father initiates the glory just as a power source initiates the electricity. The Holy Spirit is the one who carries that glory and the Son is the one who “grounds” that glory back in the Father through submission. The Son as a result manifests and radiates it. The author of Hebrews writes for us,

And He [the Son] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3 NASB)

Until the glory or electrical current is properly returned uninterrupted (referred to as “grounding” in electrical terminology) there can be no light and no name. Jesus sacrificed himself (agape love) for God to save what God lost.

In the book of Revelation Jesus tells us “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13)

It is crucial that we learn to think in this way, today more than ever, as our society implodes into a black hole of meaninglessness and Satan, the accuser of the brethren, escalates his attacks on the foundational meaning of Church: the masculine power and the feminine beauty. Jesus is our masculine head as the initiator and source of power for the Church and the Church is the feminine recipient of his power and glory, praising him for his work. “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go…’” (Matthew 28:18). When the Church fulfills her role as his Bride and glorifies him as her head she radiates and thus she becomes the “light of the world” (Cf. Matthew 5:14). She also bears his authority (Matthew 16:19). This oneness is everything to understanding the mystery of the masculine and the feminine and subsequently our roles as men and women in marriage.

Oneness through reciprocity is a manifest piece of theology found throughout the entire scriptures and I could go on and on with scriptural examples. The thing to remember is that it is not a hierarchical power but a reciprocal power. The enemy, Marxists, fascists, feminists, and postmodernists, et. al. would have us all believe that it is purely hierarchical power and nothing more. Do not be seduced by this. But let’s now apply this practically to ourselves as men and women. Paul tells us succinctly,

For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God [the masculine power], but woman is the glory of man [the radiant beauty]. (1 Corinthians 11:7 ESV)

The man initiates and asserts his power in the form of agape love (sacrificial love) just as Christ did for the Church. When the Church responds in reverence and worship she “completes the circuit” and radiates. Paul told the Church,

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Christ’s goal as the head is the splendor, beauty, and radiant glory of his Church. A husband likewise has the responsibility to initiate sacrificial agape love to his wife. His goal is her radiant glory. The wife, when she returns it in the form of reverence, will radiate in splendor.

and the wife see that she reverence [phobeo] her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)

The correct word in that verse is “fear” or “reverence” though many modern translations water it down to “respect.” If a man glorifies himself his glory is nothing. He becomes an idiot. If a woman glorifies herself, her glory is nothing. She becomes undesirable and a nobody.

Man has no glory apart from what God has given to him. The married man is not glorified apart from the glory he receives from his wife. The wife has no glory apart from what her husband bestows upon her. No Christian has any glory but what Christ bestows upon them.

Either spouse in a marriage can fulfill their role whether the other does or does not. The power of agape sacrificial love is the height of power that a man can bestow on others.[i] The power of reverent fear is height of the power a woman can give back to a man. If she gives it to an undeserving man or husband she puts him to shame and even heap coals on his head.

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21-22)

And who knows whether you will save him or not? (1 Corinthians 7:16). In the same way, God’s greatest power is found in his own work of agape love shown on the cross for the world. Those who deny his agape love are dead ends in the circuit. They are those who produce nothing of value. They hold the glory of God in contempt as long as they are alive because while on earth they continue to partake of God’s glory who continues to freely give it to them. We are called to imitate this:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)

God is eternally active and bestowing glory on everything, everywhere. The Hebrew word for “glory” is chavod. It means splendor, honor, and beauty all at once. Paul wrote,

There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

The glory of the heavenly is masculine and the glory of the earthly is feminine. This is evident from the language Paul uses in Romans to describe creation: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). That is a distinct feminine or maternal symbology. The earth was without form (nameless and void) and the Heavenly Father asserted himself and worked for it for six days and as a result the earth became adorned with ornaments galore. We take trillions of photos of it now and travel near and far to behold its beauty. She’s a looker!

Glories are everywhere. Reciprocity is everything to understanding this glory. It’s also why, in regards to the great porn problem, I tell men that the way they view the woman is how they view themselves. The woman either reflects his glory or makes his shame apparent before all. This is why there are men who hate women—they can’t stand their own shame and refuse to reckon with it. A man who has a problem with porn, has a problem with how he views himself. A man who reduces a woman to a sexual object has reduced himself to nothing more than a meaningless object. The more the man values the woman the more he values himself, or rather, sees the value in himself. The same holds true for women. The way she views men is the way she views herself.

Creation is valuable beyond measure and humans, male and female, are the most valuable creatures in it. “Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psalms 8:5 NASB). We are proof of the Father of Creation’s glory.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 ESV)

We were worth saving.

Men are damned for not reflecting the masculine image and power of God as a Father, holding the glory they receive from him in contempt rather than bestowing in on others—a.k.a. love your neighbor.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love [agape] your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (James 2:8)

The woman is damned for holding the glory she receives from her man in contempt, and not returning his glory to him as his helper. When a man works for his wife and family (as he should) he is laying his life down for them in agape love. If a wife or his children take advantage of this and do not return honor to him they hold his glory in contempt. They bring shame to his name because they bear his name.

His Name, Her Glory

This is where a woman’s identity really takes shape. She inherits it from the work of her husband. As the Bride of Christ inherits Christ name and finished work so the wife inherits the husband’s name and work. “For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Christ’s name is our name. This doesn’t mean marriage is a woman’s only path in life. In the Old Testament, the law obligated the perpetuation of a man’s name as it was closely associated with inheritance, i.e. land and livestock. This was for the welfare of women who had next to no chance at building and maintaining wealth in a primitive and brutal agrarian world full of thieves, enemies, and tyrants. Without the man and his work providing for her, a woman was helpless, barren, and had nothing. She was nameless. Namelessness was seen as a reproach to a woman. In Christ however a woman becomes an inheritor of an eternal name and all Christ’s eternal belongings. She can remain unmarried and is even encouraged to do so by Paul so that she can remain devoted to Christ.

In the book of Isaiah we get an interesting and even prophetic image that speaks volumes to this concept. The passage pertains entirely to the adornment of a woman. Read it in full.

In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.
Your men shall fall by the sword
and your mighty men in battle.
And her gates shall lament and mourn;
empty, she shall sit on the ground.

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” (Isaiah 3:18-4:1)

That passage presents two kinds of women. One is in her glory and the other is in her shame. Notice how alike the woman in her shame is to countless women today. Women today are doing exactly everything in that list meant to symbolize shame. Smelliness, baldness, hard clothing, and branding (tattoos?). Notice also how the shame is brought on by the loss of their mighty men. It was strong, working, guardian men, working hard in sowing and tilling and skill and craft that provided all the anklets, headbands, crescents,  pendants, bracelets, scarves, headdresses, armlets, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, signet rings, nose rings, festal robes, mantles, cloaks, handbags, mirrors, linen garments, turbans, and veils in the first place.

Today, obviously, this has changed. Post-industrial revolution, all these things are now made of cheap materials in factories somewhere in China and the men play video games. At the end of this sad passage, so reminiscent of our times, sits a consequence. Seven women will chase down one man wanting nothing more than to have the shameful reproach of having no name be taken away.

Hebrew identity is important to understand. It teaches us that as we build upon our identity given to us by Christ, we will in the end find ourselves presented to him spotless in splendor. It teaches that apart from Christ, we humans are nameless and stuck in our shameful nakedness. To those who deny his name he will say plainly, “I never knew you; depart from me”(Matthew 7:23). Identity is rooted in a work. Christ has completed his work for us. A husband must find his work to complete for his wife and family. The man takes on the earthly identity of his work and a woman takes on the earthly identity of her man. Both take on the heavenly identity of Christ. Peter reminds men how both men and women inherit the name and property of their head, the Christ:

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life. (1 Peter 3:7)

Our bodies and what we do with them is key. We don’t lean toward antinomianism and so believe the body doesn’t matter nor do we lean toward legalism and live under strict rules. Our souls find identity in how we fulfill our roles as men and women. The scriptural picture of identity does not leave the women with nothing to do. Far from it. She has her own works which return glory to her. In Proverbs 31 it says, “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (Proverbs 31:31). Many women are worried that this biblical picture marriage would mean losing their individuality. This is so far from the truth one would have to spend lightyears in a cryogenic sleep to reach it. Our souls don’t diminish in marriage, they cleave and become one.

The Soul

This truth takes us beyond the level of the cultural constructs into a deeper sense of the inner self. Every soul has one identity and it is unique to every individual. Getting to know our inner and eternal self is often the most frustrating and even ignored aspect about life. Especially for young people. But we have to remember it comes about as we live our lives. For most people in the West the soul is neglected or even denied that it exists. But Jesus taught that our eyes are the lamps of the body (Luke 11:33-36 ).

This has long been understood to mean that the soul gets its light through the eye and thus “knows” what to do with the body. The soul is immaterial and views the physical world through the lamp of the eye. The body is the soul’s physical connection to the physical world. Pause for a moment and think about your emotions. Where are they located? Are they sometimes in the gut? Are they sometimes in the chest? Do they move around the body? Are emotional feelings ever in the head or the limbs? Your soul feels these sensations and they are always in the same place. They have locality, yet can’t physically be touched. Though they feel physical, they aren’t. Imagine if they were—think of all the scientific ways we might manipulate them—a simple surgery and the emotional pains is gone!

Because Hebrew language and thought is objective and concrete (not abstract like Greek) the description of emotions in the Old Testament are concrete. Speaking of emotional pain, Jeremiah talks about his kilyah, meaning kidney:

He made the arrows of His quiver To enter into my kidney [kilyah]. I have been a laughingstock to all my people… (Lamentations 3:13).

The organs symbolized inner “organs” of the soul that could be pained. The Psalmist, using the same word, says:

For you formed[lit. possessed] my inward parts [kilyah]; you knitted me together [sawkak] in my mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:13)

The phrase “knitted me together” comes from the Hebrew word sawkak meaning “covered.” I believe this Psalm speaks of the physical body and the soul in the womb. A soul is being covered in the womb. Far from being merely metaphor, the poetry speaks of a concrete reality. He writes that his soul was birthed from God and taken up into the womb where it was covered with flesh. Note that the Psalmist says that God covered him in and not with his mother’s womb. It was covered just as God covers us with his “wings”:

He will cover [sawkak] you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. (Psalms 91:4)

And as the lotus tree covers the behemoth with shade:

For his shade the lotus trees cover [sawkak] him; (Job 40:22)

Another Hebrew word used figuratively for the inner-self is bones. This word is very relevant to a woman’s identity as we shall see. Take a look at these following verses in the Proverbs:

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30)

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8)

The Prophet Isaiah uses it:

You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies. (Isaiah 66:14)

Job’s friend, Zophar, uses it:

His bones are full of his youthful vigor, but it will lie down with him in the dust. (Job 20:11)

The young, wise Elihu, rebuking Job, uses it:

Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with unceasing complaint in his bones; (Job 33:19)

What are they talking about exactly? Job’s words in the following passage seem to give the best definition:

“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With great force my garment is disfigured;
it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes. (Job 30:17-19)

The context of this is Job’s soul which is being poured out within him. It apparently relates to the substance of the soul. The figurative expression carries over into English. When we say something like, “there’s fire in my bones,” we speak of something deep down in our hearts.  Jeremiah says exactly this,

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)

The author of Proverbs was saying that a tranquil heart is good for the body while envy rots the soul. Envy doesn’t do anything to your real bones. So, the interpretation fits. Now, with this in mind, what happens if we apply this to the song of Adam in Genesis 2:23?

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

What we find is that Adam wasn’t being redundant but instead saying that the woman was of the same substance as his flesh and the same substance as his soul. This yields insight, I believe, to the act of God “removing one of Adam’s ribs” as taking a piece of Adam’s own soul and generating it into a woman. Notice that Adam didn’t name her “female” after the flesh. This presents to us a truth that Adam and Eve were not separate egalitarian creations like the animals but of one and the same substance inwardly and outwardly. And why would this not also carry over into marriage when the two souls unite to make one flesh? The whole picture is truly enigmatic and prophetic in every way. Our skeletons are the invisible part of our humanity. This is probably why it became a poetic device for speaking about the soul. Since Hebrew thought is concrete and not abstract, it is easy to believe that the Hebrews associated the human skeleton with the human soul. Both are “invisible” but both have a human “figure” or shape to it. This further enunciates their reasoning for being careful with the bones of their ancestors. Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones is an entire sermon of the Lord based on bones.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.” (Ezekiel 37:11)

These “inward parts” are where we experience emotional pains that resemble a piercing sensation. Your soul and body are attached in the same way the skin of a peach is attached to its pit, inside of which is a seed. The Bible is loaded with teachings about this but for the most part we’ve been blind to it (Cf. 1 Corinthians 15). The Apostles understood their bodies to be “tents” which they would soon put off like clothing,

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4)

Why in the world were they referring to their bodies as tents? Because they saw the lesson of their bodies and themselves in the Old Testament stories of the tabernacle and temple. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

“No Paul, we don’t because we haven’t been taught the Bible.”

By referring to their bodies as tents they alluded to the temporary tabernacle in the wilderness which preceded the permanent temple at the holy city of Jerusalem that came after it. You might also recall that the tabernacle and temple consisted of three parts—the outer court, the inner court, and the holy of holies. Are you seeing it yet? The skin, the pit, and the seed. The prophetic image of the temple wasn’t about God, it was about us.

There is more to discuss about the triune nature of the human and we’ll get to that in a moment. But first let’s go back to the subject of the eye.

A simple meditative exercise for focusing on your soul is to simply close your eyes. Closing our eyes is what we do during prayer not as a symbolic action but to literally disconnect our inner self from the physical world—at least visually. Even when your eyes are closed your soul still sees. What does it see? It sees darkness. It sees darkness because “the lamp” is covered. Try to walk around the house when darkness is all you can see. What happens? You stumble and run into things. Your hands move about you aimlessly as you try to feel your way around. Try to make up your hair. Try to coordinate your dress and fashion. It doesn’t work. Your physical appearance to the world is out of your control now. Once you open your eyes, your physical appearance is back in your control. In fact, your whole physical life is back in your control.

I have a good friend who is mostly blind. He needs me to tell him if his appearance is right or not all the time, like whether his shirt is inside out or not or what the color is. When we walk around town he must trail just behind me. He takes his cues for curbs and obstacles from me. He gets the information from the menus at the restaurants from me. His ability to accommodate to his physical environment is very difficult, and because he has been blind from birth, his ability to interact with the physical world is not far from a child. Numerous times he has injured himself simply because of being unable to see and not because of haste or lack of attention.

The Pulpit commentary elaborates on this teaching of the eye,

As the body is illuminated by the eye, i.e. as by the eye the bodily constitution learns its environment, and naturally, almost automatically, tends to accommodate itself to it, so is it with the gaze of the soul. If this be upon the things of this world, the soul perceives, and tends to accommodate itself to the things of this world; if upon things in heaven, it perceives, and tends to accommodate itself to, the things in heaven.[ii]

This is the precedent for Christians to “fix their gaze on heaven” or live a heaven-focused life with a singleness of mind. The Proverbs say, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you” (Proverbs 4:25) and “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart” (Proverbs 15:30).

 How can we know what to do with ourselves if our eye is darkened? Jesus said, “If your eye be single your body will be full of light” (Luke 11:34).

Johann A. Bengel, in his time-tested, authoritative Gnomon (or index of the Greek in the New Testament) noted that this word for “single” was the antithesis of the word “two.”[iii] The two Greek words are antonyms: haplous and diplous. If your lamp is half-focused on things of the world and half-focused on things of heaven your eye is not single but duplicitous. And the light within you is diffused. Because your physical appearance reflects the light of your soul by way of how accommodated it is to the physical world, it is not hard to tell when one is walking in the light of their true self or not. The biological identity complex and the loss of soul has left a lot of people thinking they are a cis-trans-bi-non-gay-cis-gender thing one day and a cat the next, making it obvious that their inner selves are full of darkness. They are stumbling around, hands roving aimlessly, trying to navigate life by feel. “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Jesus warns. Are you walking in the light? Has your bodily constitution accommodated to physical reality? Or, are you dressing up like a cat and “meowing” at everyone? The more you know yourself the less you will stumble.

Appearance as Symbol of the Soul

Images of women in battle with zero armor, women flying around in capes, women with pointy ears riding on the backs of dragons, women trying to “look” like men, and women cross-dressing in every way imaginable are everywhere. These are not correct inflections of the woman’s soul to physical reality. They are transient fashions that will disappear as quickly as they came. Superman did not make men want to jump off massive waterfalls with a cape strapped to their backs. Reality, thanks to the lamp of the eye, tells us that’s a very stupid idea. Reality is tough. Entertainment was an escape from reality. To see the same sort of images being rehashed in an effort to re-educate women on reality that “they too can jump off sky-scrapers with a cape on their backs” as though they were somehow feeling left out is not only stupid but essentially communicating to everyone that women are stupid. Think about it. Children try to copy these sorts of fantasies. Men never took such entertaining images of magical feats of power as something to learn from. Entertainment, fundamentally, is a drug that sedates. When Superman speedily flew across the field to stop a 30,000 pound Combine Harvester from shredding little Ricky with his bare hands or when Neo in the Matrix stopped dozens of bullets in the air with his bare hand, men did not think to themselves,  “Gosh, look at how great men are.”

So why are women doing this to themselves? To those who might object that such entertainment “conditions” or “constructs” certain weavings of a subconscious fabric somewhere in the depths of boy’s psyche I must ask, how are you able to see such profoundly deep and invisible things? Do you have superhuman x-ray powers? Are you the witch of Endor? Such ideas are nothing more than modern forms of fortune-telling and sorcery. To know what people think, you need only ask. Only God and you alone know your own heart. “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

No one knows the heart except the one who possesses it and the one who made it:

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11 NASB)

Reducing the mystery of the heart to psychological jargon leads to a very boring and un-mysterious view of life. Joy lies in mystery. Strip mystery from creation and you strip our joy from it. Both manhood and womanhood as God designed it are full of joy if you have the eye and the light of the soul to see it. It’s not about rules, and it never was.

Contrast all these modern icons with that of the “woman in dress” which is now seen as an icon of female degradation. Interestingly, men and women both wore long dresses or robes around the world until pants came into vogue in the West during the middle ages. In Ancient Rome male emperors and senators actually wore long white dresses laden with purple. The color purple being reserved for them alone. Degrading right? Some Roman soldiers even saw trousers as being effeminate. The Scottish Highlanders wore full-length kilts and still wear a shorter skirt-version today. In some parts of Asia pants were worn by men as much as 3000 years ago.[iv] For centuries in the West only men wore them. Modesty still had an agreed upon place in society. During the women’s suffrage movement, as virtually all the historical photographs show, none of the women wore trousers. Women in the suffrage movement were not trying to make a statement about wanting to be men, clearly. They could have put trousers on if they wanted to, as some women were doing out in the wild west, and marched about with their message of “equality” but they didn’t. Their dress code was distinctly feminine, or womanly.

How did dresses become “the degradation of women” then? Thank the 1970s for that. The decade when egalitarianism wiped out honor and distinction.

But what does God care about what anybody wears? Well, the issue of clothing wouldn’t matter for our purposes except for one thing: God does care. In Deuteronomy we read, “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). This doesn’t mean clothing of the flesh mind you–rather this refers to the clothing of the soul.

Personally, if God calls something an abomination I’m inclined to take extra care that I know what he’s talking about. Abominations are not things to gloss over. Abominations are defined as things hateful. If God hates something it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Lying with a man as with a woman is an abomination (Leviticus 20:13). Sacrificing children to gods is an abomination (Deuteronomy 12:31). Lying is an abomination (Proverbs 12:22).

I believe the reason God detests cross-dressing has to do with the fact that it was he who clothed the man and woman’s soul in the first place. He didn’t just make a male and female. He made a man and a woman. Thus what this law is really about is women acting like women and men acting like men. Men, we learn, who act like women will not inherit the kingdom of God:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [molokoi], nor homosexuals (1 Corinthians 6:9)

The Greek noun for effeminate is in the masculine. Later, Paul says to the men in the Church, “be strong, act like men” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Paul was just following up on the spiritual reality of the law. Thus, the Mosaic law against “cross-dressing” is taken to mean the preservation of “sacredly observed distinctions” of the soul and even went so far as to include apparatus such as implements, tools, weapons, and utensils.[v] Interpreting this into our time is beyond the scope of this book, but it’s important to know the mind of God. Do we care what he thinks?

The Bible provides more insight than this to the male and female soul. In talking about hair, the Apostle Paul alludes to nature:

Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. (1 Corinthians 11:14)

Notice the connection between nature and glory in this verse. We mentioned earlier the effect this had on the symbolic act of Mary washing Jesus’ feet with her hair. Nature has something to say about the differences in appearance between men and women and it’s something glorious, not burdensome. In discussions about 1 Timothy 2:9 where Paul says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…” the debate almost always revolves around the words modest apparel which means “appropriate clothing.” No attention is paid to the word adorn. If we focus on the object, it feels like confinement. But if we focus on the verb, it becomes something positive and uplifting. Paul gave instructions that women in the Church should adorn themselves. As I see it, the Biblical instructions about dress are not about hindering women but pointing them in right direction of nature and the glory revealed in the feminine soul.  Womanhood is a glory, and God wants to renew the woman’s soul in it day by day, not clamp it down in a set of confined strictures. We do that to ourselves and God repeatedly tells us to stop it, listen, and walk in the light.

And now, pray tell, what does it mean for a woman to be adorned? I wouldn’t attempt to write anything of it except for the fact that God himself once actually adorned a woman. Let’s let Him speak for himself. Pay attention to the unique adjectives here:

When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 16:8-14)

Now take that context and apply it to Peter’s admonishment to women:

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands… (1 Peter 3:4-5)

By submitting, a woman is adorned. Consider that possibility. Submission here is equated with the preciousness of an expensive alabaster box. Marriage increases her beauty once she steps into that role. I’ve heard it said more than once of women who were newly married. That’s the link I think Peter is making. The height of the design so evidently manifest here is the great honor and glory found in the submissive, obedient heart. And behold! Peter is not laying a rule on women. What kind of law is it to tell one they must adorn themselves? What he does lay on them is the example of “the holy women” of the past. Beauty is entirely in the woman’s own hands. She chooses what to do with herself just as Sarah chose what to do with herself. Sarah was not oppressed by Abraham into submission. The woman is not compelled to act from servile fear, but from true piety. This admonition of womanly submission is brought up only in the context of marriage. It is written so that sisters might know what true beauty and glory is, and not miss out on it. Moreover, a husband’s soul will cleave to her even more. Moreover, young women will find it absurdly easy to attract the right kind of man because so many will be drawn to her.  What if these Apostles were only trying to ensure that women had the best shot possible at not missing out on the good things that life has to offer?

If women forgo adornment and instead choose to equip their souls with a bunch of aggressive apparatus, shave their heads, put on a stern face, hollow eyes, and an assertive posture, no real man is going to come within a mile of her.

“Too intimidated by a woman, huh?”

“A woman, you are not.”

With Peter’s admonition in 1 Peter 3:3 against dressing too elegantly or richly we develop more complete vision of where the Church ought to stand with regards to the rich or the poor. Church is not the Hollywood Grammys. The poor should feel welcome. But a more pertinent aspect of what Peter is saying, as Ellicott points out, is in the methodology of attracting.[vi] The gracious, appropriate feminine dress is not a means of attracting. Many of the female celebrities in Hollywood are extravagantly dressed and adorned and yet have repulsive characters. Don’t dress to attract says Peter. Let the attraction be the inner beauty. If more women were akin to this one principle they might find themselves using significantly less effort, if any at all, to reign in the guys, or the husband. Not too many women believe that men are paying attention to the inner example of the womanly soul, and thus they try very hard by external appearances to attract them. I have heard the conversations between Christian women who are convinced that, “all men want is sex.” No, it is not. But those who try to attract sex, get what they attract. What you win them with is what you keep them with. The great majority of men, believers or not, take great notice of the inner beauty if it is there. They are attracted to it like a magnet. It’s not unnoticeable. When they see a woman honoring the man in a biblical way, it blows their mind. In a world where so many women are going for the attract-by-sex routine such a woman stands out like a…a… “Like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the young women (Song of Solomon 2:2). Thank you, King Solomon. Nailed it. A man will drive his head through a cinderblock for something like that. He’ll cross the oceans for that. He’ll die for that. It only requires a little prudence and a little reprogramming of the womanly conscience and affections by God’s will to achieve this, as we’ll learn more about shortly.

We’ve now taken a very short journey through the thick jungle of biblical dress instruction, and not for reasons of creating more codes and rules to run the Church. The reason this must be included is because the Bible includes it. It means a lot to God. The Bible says to women, look beautiful. Don’t look like a man, because that’s degrading. These are pearls that teach us something about nature and our glory as humans. They speak above all else to how deeply connected our physical presence is with our soulish presence. Christianity does not place the believer solely in one, to make him a legalist, or in the other to make him an antinomian. With a single, focused eye, the believer will be neither judgmental nor self-destructive, but filled with the light of the Word. They will be individuals that others can follow because they can see where they are going. Said the psalmist, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet” (Psalms 119:105).

עָדָה, Adorned

I would have chosen this word for the title of this book except that Peter defined female Christian adornment as having “a gentle and quiet spirit” when he spoke, “let your adorning be…” Peter spoke as though adornment was a universal truth. While outward adornment is largely dependent on the culture you are in, inner adornment is not. Inner adornment is entirely dependent on being obedient to the Word of God. The Church’s own adornment, as the Bride of Christ, is the same. This is why Church has always been a gentle and quiet place to go. Its serenity, empathy, and keen ability to listen is what gives the Church its replenishing and nourishing power. Its free of pressures, stress, criticism, and finger-wagging. Churches that are not serene, empathetic, or don’t know how to listen to people but instead constantly wag the finger and put pressure on people are awful places to find nourishment. Men learn these characteristics from women and the Church, if they are there. This glory of feminine adornment is the power of the Church just as it is the power of the earth. The earth is a highly attractive place. The Church should be equally so. The role of men leading in the Church is a supportive role otherwise known as shepherding. It’s not playing CEO or President. Shepherds don’t make the Church, they adorn it.

“Adornment” is the call of the feminine as “strength” is the call of the masculine. This is unquestionably evident in the physical and the scientific itself. In Hebrew thought and language, beauty is not “in the eye of the beholder” any more than strength is. Beauty is adornment and strength is power. There are different kinds of adornment and different tastes, obviously. But the Hebrew sees it as an objective practice. The practice of using ornaments for adorning is virtually universal in every culture of the earth. It may be basic ornament as with nose rings or bracelets in tribal societies, or it may be very elaborate as with Balinese traditional dancers. Men in various cultures may wear emblems (not to be confused with ornament) virtually universal in purpose: to symbolize strength. Our militaries still practice this.

In turning us against a “heavenly Father”, atheism left the door wide open to earth-worship. “Mother Earth” became a god, or goddess rather, because she is now considered the source of our existence. There is a very distinct difference between “heaven” and “earth.” This difference is also a powerful testimony to masculine and feminine glory in and of itself. When we look across the planet we are in awe of its seemingly endless beauty. The sunsets, mountains, forests, jungles, flowers, wildlife, and endless rivers and lakes are all adornments that cause us to know beauty. Much of what was on earth was destroyed with the flood and now the earth is covered in inhospitable harshness—frozen tundra, deserts and vast seas. Conversely, when we turn our gaze heavenward, at night, we find ourselves overwhelmed in awe of a raw power and authority. We find ourselves not merely gazing on a bunch of specks of light but something eternal and unfathomable. The connection we have to the heavens is real. The eternal nature of our own being matches the eternal nature of the heavens. It’s that mysterious connection with the heavens that testifies to us that we are in fact not begun in the earth. We were wrought in the heavens. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

We are part beautiful and part eternal. Part earth and part heaven. This creates a distinct longing for meaning within us. When the heaven part, the spirit, is alive we cry, “Abba, Father!” (not Mama!). The earth has its distinct feminine glory, and God has his distinct masculine glory. Likewise, the woman has her distinct glory and the man his. Paul alludes to different glories in one of his letters, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB).

This universal truth of beauty and raw power is still powerfully at work in modern Western culture, even if it is disagreed with. Compare how many photos there are of the landscapes and natural glories of the earth with the number of photos taken of the stars. Humans are more focused on the beauty of mother earth than on space. And isn’t it true that it’s mostly men who are astrophysicists and astronomers? Then compare how many photos and artistic representations there are of the female form with the number of photos and pictures of the male form. There’s no comparison.

חֶפְצִי־בָהּ, Hephzibah

Paul taught that husbands are to agape love their wives “as Christ agape loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25 ESV).  The meaning of this can be directly explicated in detail from the Old Testament. We have seen already the significance of Ezekiel 16 where we find the Lord lavishing adornment on his Bride. There is also another glimpse into Christ’s love in Isaiah 62:3-4 where we find him naming his Bride:

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her [Hephzibah], and your land Married [Beulah]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.

Sounds like the story of Adam naming his bride in Genesis, doesn’t it? “She shall be called woman because…” (Genesis 2:23). Notice again the poetic language—crown of beauty, royal diadem. What’s most interesting about this, and a true lesson for us all, is that she is named for just one thing: who she is to him. She is not named because of the fact that “her righteousness goes forth as brightness” among the nations or  because she’s a “crown of beauty.” She is not named because of her devotion to her savior. She is not named for her hard work and sacrifice at spreading his salvation to the ends of the earth. She is not named for the two thousand years of labor she has given herself to. For Christ, it’s all about who she is.

and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give…

My Delight is in Her.

This is how nearly all men delight in women. It may be misdirected as in the case of countless idiots today who weren’t raised and taught by a father on how to respect a woman, or darkly mishandled as was the case with Shechem in Genesis 34, but practically every man possesses this same proclivity. This existential truth confuses many women and often causes them to freeze in their tracks at the first realization that some man delights in her. Almost immediately she is compelled to wonder a question she may never be able to fully answer, “Why?” We all wonder in a similar way at the first realization of Christ’s love for us.

“Why does he love us so much?”

This mysterious husband to wife kind of love is an ageless, eternal truth and not just some cultural construct of ancient times.

The Triune Woman

The reality of our souls is starting to make more and more sense to modern “enlightened” society. In 2012 a report was published about how psychologists from Yale University “discovered” through a study that “most people intuitively feel as if their ‘self’—otherwise known as their soul, or ego—exists in or near their eyes.”[vii] It should be nothing new to Christians yet too many men and woman in the Church are without real understanding of that immaterial soul just behind the eyes. They are just as confused as the world around them about the true nature of their soul. They struggle through a duplicitous life caught between two identities—one for the flesh and one for the soul. The entire picture of the biblical woman, just as for the biblical man, is a picture of one identity. Singularity is a big biblical concept that deserves a book of its own. A couple of verses give us an idea of what’s at stake:

And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart… (Acts 2:46)

The lamp of thy body is thine eye: when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when it is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34)

With that in mind we can get a good idea of what Jesus meant by our eye being “evil”: multiplicity. The Bible brings all the different feminine attributes together into a cohesive unity. What this means is that there is no conflict between being a mother, a helper, a daughter, a sister, or a wife. They are manifestations of her one identity. It’s not unlike the manifestations of God as Prince of Peace, Eternal Father, or Mighty-Warrior which speak of his one identity, Yahweh. Who he is is what he does. A woman is simply living out what she already is in whatever circumstances may arise. Christ has set her free. She isn’t riding a merry-go-round or juggling a bunch of different hats. She is at peace like Mary and not stressed out like Martha.

I dealt with the triune man in my book Strong as a body, soul, and spirit. The manhood of Adam is rooted in three Hebrew words, Zakar, Ish, and Adam. They mean Male, Man, and Adam respectively. Likewise, the womanhood of Eve is rooted in three Hebrew words, Neqabah, Ishshah, and Eve. Female, Woman, and Eve.

This has given me the greatest understanding of biblical identity though the breath of its instruction is often more than I can handle. A useful study on the tripartite nature of man can be found in a book I highly recommend by Clarence Larkin called Dispensational Truth.

The Body

Called soma in the Greek, this is our physical connection to the physical world. Five sensations are picked up by the flesh which act like radio antennae that transmit the information to our souls. The body is a shell. Peter said, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body [lit. tabernacle] will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:13-14). Paul says the body is transient, but the soul is eternal, “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (1 Corinthians 4:18-5:1).

The Soul

Called psyche in the Greek, this is where imagination, conscience, memory, reason, and affections take place, all of which are directly impacted by the physical senses. The soul is a human figure complete with face, torso, hands and feet just like your physical body.[viii] It is a concrete reality, not a mystical, ethereal vapor that floats away in the wind once your body dies. The outer body is to the inner body what the outer court is to the inner court of the tabernacle. The soul is not allegorical. The first man was birthed of God, not constructed by him, and breathed from God’s own spirit into the nostrils of the carcass that lay motionless on the ground called Adam. That body was not formed artistically but specifically after his own image. It says there that “the man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The soul is made alive by the spirit (hence the need for our spiritual regeneration). We are his children, not his pets. His offspring, and not his offshoots. God then took it upon himself to walk with Adam in the garden. God himself has a human-like form like us; how else could we be created in his image and likeness? If it were only in function, or in characteristics, then “image” is the wrong word to use. The Hebrew for image” is tselem which means literally “form” or “cut-out.” We are shaped as the Godhead is shaped.[ix] Idols are cut out and therefore also called tselem. The word for “likeness” is demuth, meaning figure, pattern, or similitude of external appearance.[x] Hence a more concrete rendering of Genesis 1:26 would be, “Let us create man in our form, after our appearance…” It is a form that distinguished us from all other animals. Psalm 8:5 says it in black and white, “Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psalms 8:5 NASB). Without a specific human form, the soul would be unrecognizable post-death. No one would know each other. Keep all of this in mind when re-reading 1 Corinthians 15:

“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:44 ESV)

Spiritual bodies are bodies of the spirit. Our souls are the bodies of the spirit. Our physical bodies are the shells or “tents” of the soul. Jesus at the transfiguration revealed his soul to his disciples, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:1-11). At the same time the soulish apparitions of Moses and Elijah appeared fully recognizable to the disciples. After the transfiguration Jesus said that Elijah had come back (Elijah never went through death) in the form of John the Baptist and according to Jesus, “they did not recognize him.” Instead Elijah’s head got finally cut off. Talk about an extended ministry with a brutal ending.

The five fingers on each of your hands work well to remember the five senses of the body and the five senses of the soul. The body has sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. The soul has conscience, reason, memory, affections, and imaginations. These are at work every single day. Taking time to quiet the body and soul each day is how we find the Spirit and gain our bearings for life. I say all this because I have found it to be an imperative topic to study for those who want to discover the essence of what it really means to be a man or woman. It doesn’t begin with our bodily appearances, but our souls. A good way to learn the health of someone else’s soul is to observe how absorbed in their appearance they are. Beauty and glory are not forced, but natural, and very simple manifestations of the soul.

In marriage the souls of the two “cleave” to each other. Genesis says a man leaves his parents and cleaves [dabaq] to his woman (Genesis 2:24). Shechem’s “soul was drawn [dabaq] to Dinah” so much so that he raped her (Genesis 34:3). He did not have self-control, and lost his life as a consequence. When two souls cleave to each other you get a beautiful marriage, or in the case of David and Jonathan, whose souls “knit” together, a beautiful brotherhood. In marriage a male soul (Ish) cleaves to a female soul (Ishshah). This means manly imagination, manly conscience, manly memory, manly reason, and manly affections unite with their womanly counterparts. Is it not true that women tend to remember different things than what men do? How about having different imaginations and dreams, or different ways of reasoning and showing affection? Their reasoning is different as attested by popular books such as Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti both of which I highly recommend. When all these faculties of the soul are properly united they create a complimentary reaction that results in a union of glory and power—that is, what some might call, soul mates. But, they have to be understood, acknowledged, and respected. They have to be learned. The stages prior to marriage should be spent learning about compatibility along these lines. A person must know themselves well enough to communicate these things. Paul’s statement that man is the image and glory of God speaks of a man’s soul—like Father like son. This absolutely does not mean superiority. Men who think they have some sense of superiority because of what Paul said are dimwitted creatures who have scarcely counted the cost. They erroneously think honor is free. No woman ought to honor and respect a man simply because he is a male. What it means is men are held to a higher standard.

This is how the “the two become one flesh” and why the husband and wife have an authority over each other’s body. A husband and wife’s soul (should) grow up around each other more than anything else in the world. This is why Paul makes a big deal of our being divided in the service of the Lord and why this is meant to teach us of the mystery of Christ and the Church. Christians are taught to adapt to the environment of heaven and cleave to Christ first and foremost.

On the subject of “married souls” one very important aspect has to be kept in mind for a woman. In marriage, a woman indirectly cleaves to the man’s work environment or she cleaves to his wanderlust and uprooted lifestyle. She doesn’t have much choice. Why? Not only does a man’s soul become knit with his wife’s, it also becomes knit with his work or what he spends most of his time doing. Robert Hicks writes in The Masculine Journey, “the most common usage found in Scripture for ish (man) is that he is the man of something.”[xi] The man’s soul literally becomes entwined and even identified with his characteristics, location, actions, and work. Characteristically, he could be called “a man of good appearance,”[1] “a man of Shalom-peace,”[2] “a man of understanding,”[3] or “man of truth.”[4] He might be associated with his location such as the “man of the hill country Ephraim.”[5] Occupationally he might be called a “man of skillful hunting, man of the field,”[6] “a man of the priesthood,”[7] “man of war,”[8] or a “man of the king.”[9] This is the antecedent of God’s command to Adam to work—Adam was supposed to become something. A man needs to do more than just “get a job.” He needs to become a man of some noble work. This is where the woman, as helpmate, comes in. There are no equivalent expressions in the Bible for women and that is of no small consequence, I believe, for if there was a precedent for a woman to become a noble craftswoman, woman of the field, or woman of war, the Bible would have some examples, but it does not. Even with the peculiar “man of God”, Ish HaElohim, of which there are twenty instances in the Old Testament we don’t find a single equivalent Ishshah HaElohim. This is not to say that a woman could not be counted as such but remember, such a person is one hundred percent devoted to God and thus doesn’t marry.

The Spirit

The spirit is called pneuma in Greek. The place of spiritual insight and true identity. All true identity is found in God because he is the Father of creation (Cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6). His name is our name. We take on his name through adoption and the receiving of his Spirit into our lives. This is where we are “born again.” Faith, hope, reverence, prayer, and worship originate in the spirit. The Will also begins here. The Will directs our imagination, conscience, memory, reasoning, and affections. Thus the need for quiet time. Our own will becomes “God’s Will” the more we seek him, meditate, study his word, and set our affections on him—the work of the soul. This is where real manly or womanly transformation begins. When his good and perfect will is made known to our hearts, we begin to “reprogram” our souls. Our imaginations about the future are transformed. Our conscience is re-aligned and righteous boundaries are put in place. Our memories turn into gifts, no matter how bad. Our reasoning faculties become centered on logic and truth. Our affections are taken off the things of the world and put on the things of heaven. God’s Will is supposed to be in the throne of our very hearts. This is why we are not our own and why we don’t get to name ourselves. Our modis operandi is not self-will, but God’s Will. Our parents had the authority to name us and for the first couple of decades of our young lives our souls were largely subject to their will. Didn’t like what your sibling did? Tough. Go apologize. Don’t think that was fair? Too bad. Learn from it. Likewise, after being reborn as sons and daughters of God our souls become subject to his will and at the end of our transitory journeys he will give us a new name. All throughout the Christian life, the Pilgrim’s Progress, we move further and further away from our old names and ever closer to our new names.

All that said, the following are to be taken as postures of the soul. How these ultimately manifest will generally be dependent on whether one is rooted in God’s Will or operating under their own self-will. Men and women dropped the ball on their Creator and decided that “re-creating themselves” was the best thing one could do for themselves. The outcome in the physical realm has been disastrous. God warned them. To the point that our souls are regenerated and being renewed day by day these qualities, if not physical realities, should become more and more evident. The tough reality that we all must deal with is that our physical qualities are not being renewed day by day. Our bodies and physical posture is stuck in death and decay. Physical exercise shouldn’t be about fighting death and decay for that is vain. What exercising should be about is maximizing the productivity of our souls while the world has us. We remain here after regeneration, and are not taken away, for the express purpose of preservation and illumination of the world. The salt and the light.

Helper

God says in Genesis, “I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). Being a helper does not mean being a subservient lowly slave for a slave does not have ownership of their master. A woman has ownership of her man in marriage. The Church as the Bride of Christ finds her meaning, purpose, and identity in her man, the Christ. Exousia authority is implicit in the marriage relationship: “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4). Likewise we, the Bride of Christ, have an ownership of the Body of Christ and thus can enter the very throne room of God confidently. We are redeemed to an equal plane with Christ though we submit to him. “Let us approach the throne confidently (Hebrews 4:16). The Greek word for “confidently” is paresia and means “freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, without concealment, without ambiguity or circumlocution, without the use of figures and comparisons, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance.[xii] Any soldier who would approach someone of higher rank in such a way without asking for permission would be overstepping his position.

I do not take this to mean that women are required to become helpmates. They are not disobedient if they do not take on roles of mother, wife, helper, homemaker. However, it is disobedient if they choose to take on the corresponding responsibilities and neglect to fulfil them. The woman is obligated to help her husband if she chose to have one. She is obligated to nurture and raise her children if she chose to have them. She is obligated to keep the home if she chooses to have a family and own one. Choice is everything because God holds us accountable to our choices. He holds us responsible for our actions. He created us to be adults. He is not pleased at all when we remain stuck in immaturity or spiritual adolescence.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity… (Hebrews 6:1)

These pseudo-identities, helper, mother, wife, homemaker, etc. have sometimes been posited as the woman’s “highest virtues” or “greatest roles.” This was especially so post-Industrial Revolution when the spheres of the home and the world morphed into the separate “man’s sphere” and “woman’s sphere.” That division found its way into the Church, even though it should not have. So, are these the greatest roles for a woman? There are some teachings by the Apostle Paul that say plainly they are not:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. (v.38)

…she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. (v.40)

Paul is telling us what the greatest role is for both men and women: singleness. Actually, it isn’t singleness in and of itself, but the potential of singleness. As a single, an individual has the potential to do truly well for the Kingdom. There is no special honor held out for the single guy or gal except that they earn it in some way through hard work and devotion. It is my belief that most singles do not know they have more capability than anyone else for great honor as they are blinded by their strong desire to marry. Amy Carmichael, for example, a life-long single, earned more honor than most women ever did for her incredible work in rescuing children from abuse in India. Her singleness in fact allowed her to be more of a “mother” than most mothers. When she died, the children she cared for put a bird bath over her grave with a single inscription, “Amma” which means mother in Tamil.

Decisions have consequences. This one truth sets the tone for all roles and virtues, for both male and female. We all know the desires and passions that burn to be married and have children, but God leaves that choice up to us. Paul makes it clear we are not sinning if we choose those responsibilities but if we choose them, we must follow through, be committed, and not neglect the duties that come with them. This is growing up into spiritual maturity (Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 5:14; Philippians 3:15; Colossians 1:28).

Mother

Adam is called Guardian, shâmar, in Genesis 2:15. He is the masculine initiator. Eve is called Mother of all living, ‘êm, in Genesis 3:20. She is the feminine reciprocator. It is of no small consequence that Eve was identified as a mother before she had any children. How does that work? It can only mean one thing. Motherhood is a soulish quality just as fatherhood is. Motherhood and fatherhood are not biological axioms constrained by earthly activities. They are glories of an invisible world that invite us into eternal truths. They have great power to build cities and nations. Without them, the nation, kingdom, and city does not exist.

Men gain a great deal from the nurturing of their mothers as boys until they reach the time of manhood and must enter into the discipline of the Father. With out the feminine input of the mother, a boy will grow up with no clue how to properly initiate agape love to the feminine. They will have an incomplete picture of it or miss it altogether. They will be prone to exploiting and destroying the feminine—both Creation and the woman. On the other hand, without the Father’s discipline they will never learn the sacrificial nature of agape love and become self-seeking, fearful cowards, hiding behind all sorts of masks—the idiots we are so surrounded by today. Make no mistake about it, what mother’s have to teach males is by no means small.

Wife/Keeper of the Home

The wife is called êshet in Hebrew which is just a construct of ishah, woman. “Wife” is not a formal identity in Hebrew or Greek. “Husband” and “wife” are words we use in English. The term “husband” originated in Old Norse and meant house-holder. The term “wife” originated in Old German and meant woman. In Hebrew and Greek the words were left alone as a construct of “man” or “woman.” They are translated into our English terms based on context. Translated literally we’d read this in Scripture:

Why did you say, “She is my sister,” so that I took her for my woman? Now then, here is your woman; take her, and go. (Genesis 12:19)

If any woman has a man who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving man is made holy because of his woman, and the unbelieving woman is made holy because of her man. (1 Corinthians 7:13-14)

The Bible states that the two become one flesh, and that this is the premise of the marriage. The process of this unification, both biblically, and in civil life, is the identification of the woman with the man. She takes on his last name. His name becomes her name. This is a unilateral event. This mysterious transfer of identity is the reason why Paul writes, “For a married woman is bound by law to her husband” and not “a married man is bound by law to his wife.” Paul did not ignorantly overlook this statement. This is a very specific comment. This does not mean the man is unbound to anything. Nay, in marriage the man is bound first to God:

For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. (1 Corinthians 11:7)

If a woman marries an unbeliever she marries someone bound to nothing but whatever the prevailing civil laws are in that society. That is no good, especially in a corrupt society. If a woman marries a man bound to God, that will result in the best possible outcome. How can it not? When marriage is looked at in this way, everything else in the New Testament falls in to place. A man is bound to God first and his woman second. Civil laws are a wild card. In some countries those civil laws are hell for women and it’s no surprise that in said countries women end up committing suicide more than men. Bodily, the husband and wife have authority over one another and are divided by earthly interests in pleasing one another as the scripture says.

For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:4)

In soul, the man struggles with God, not his woman (Cf. Genesis 32:22-32). In soul, the wife submits to her husband as she does to God (Cf. Ephesians 5:22). In soul, a man takes a stand in this world and defends the cause of the oppressed like King Josiah (Jeremiah 22:15-16). In soul, a woman arrays herself in splendor and beauty like the Bride of God. God does not dictate or confine our souls when we submit to him. He frees our souls to be who we really are. A man bound to God does the same for his woman. Submission does not mean entrapment. It’s a choice. The Scriptures tell women to choose this way of life. Contrast that with Islam where women have no choice but to submit. The difference is to too great to even compare the two.

A prudent wife recognizes when God is laying the smack-down on her husband and the very last thing she does is contribute to it. A man’s soul strives with God all the time. Even daily. Faithlessness and fear leads a man to distrust God and even get angry with him. Similarly, faithlessness and fear lead many women to distrust their husbands and want to criticize or correct. Indeed, a man bound to God is not perfect and makes mistakes but lest we forget, he is bound to God. Wives should never do anything to punish their husbands. A husband in the Lord gets more than enough of that from God:

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. (Deuteronomy 8:5)

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Hebrews 12:6)

Trying to “fill in” for God is a recipe for disaster. There are no guarantees in life and a man who once bound himself to God may tomorrow look back after putting his hand to the plow. In this case, as we learned, she has the power to sanctify him.

A godly marriage is not a two-fold but three-fold relationship and flows in a certain way. The man identifies himself with God, then in the marriage covenant the woman identifies herself with the man. It should be done in order if it’s to start off on the right foot.

I can’t stress the importance of the doctrine of discipline enough. I have found no instance in the Bible of God chastising a daughter. He judges, condemns, saves, and rewards all but discipline hits home only with his sons. Women themselves I think are punished enough when they give in to the pressures of the world which is not a Disneyland but a cruel and deadly environment that chews people up and spits them out. God wants to save and adorn them, not put them through the wringer. Society eats at the soul, it does not replenish it. Home should be the opposite of society, a place of replenishment. Thus, the wife is called a “homemaker.” Titus 2:4-5 says:

…so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

The Greek for “working at home” is oikourgous, homemaker. The commentaries and translations universally agree on its meaning, keepers at home. Keeping it is not the same as being confined to it. There is no indication that wives have to stay at home although some English translations make it sound that way. But if wives don’t make the home, no one will and it won’t be much of a replenishing refuge for anybody. Men, generally, do not have the sense to create environments of replenishment. They instead are in the trench digging the foundations.

Where are those older women who are supposed to “train the younger” to love their husbands and children and to be such keepers of the home? Have they not been ostracized from the household of faith in the name of egalitarianism? That there is a way to love their husbands and children is important to understand because egalitarianism says that any way is fine. Loving individuals “any way you choose” does not pass for considering their actual needs, and as such can scarcely be called real love. “Love does not seek the things of its own,” says Paul (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Home and the married life are huge and sacred undertakings; they are not materialistic conveniences. Such a secularized view is dishonorable and reviles the Holy Writ as Paul says. Thus, the scriptural precedent for the need for us to be trained in them. Young men also must be trained. It can’t be overlooked how this passage in Titus speaks to four socio-cultural constructs that span all stages of life:

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. (Titus 2:2-5)

I do wonder about the organization of this passage: older men at the top, young men at the bottom, women in the middle. It makes sense to me anyway. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). Young men provide the support. Each of these four groups have four different roles to play along two different paths—the masculine path and the feminine path. To the egalitarian Church this entire passage is rendered meaningless. In fact for them it shouldn’t exist. If the Apostle Paul were an egalitarian, he would have lumped everybody into one group and on the same path. Why are these roles so important? So “that the Word of God may not be reviled.” It’s all about our representation of the Scriptures. We are people of the Book.

Sister/Daughter

A man takes on a new identity by being adopted as a son: “he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5).

There’s a crucial doctrine in this verse known as sonship. The doctrine extends all the way back to the stories of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 and of Abraham with the offering of his only son. The underlying concepts are rarely if ever given proper analysis and discussion for fear of being too un-PC. The consequence of this is that the sonship of Christ ends up as a meaningless token of our religious language and the name “Son of God” yields no more effect on us than if we were to just call him “cool dude.” The Greek word for sonship it is huiothesia which means “made legally sons.”  This carries into other scriptural truths such as discipline,

 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7)

And the need for men to be strong and act like men,

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

And pass the great test of life that God has in store just for them,

“The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly…their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 21:7)

And in case there was any confusion, female believers are not called sons,

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. (Matthew 9:22)

I believe that the neutering of verses like these in some modern translations has done more to damage the Church’s witness to men and the world than anything else. These speak to the very sort of battle that a man must overcome as explicitly indicated by the Apostle John who wrote emphatically, “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

I have never in my years growing up in church heard such encouragement spoken to me. My father was gone, and my mother was gone. Consequently, I became weak and unable to cope with even half the garbage thrown at me by the kingdom of darkness. This set of teachings must be left alone by Christian women so that they may have the full impact on men that they were intended to. In fulfilling her duty as a helper, a wife can gain great wisdom from these teachings in how she can help and support her man effectively as he engages in his battles with the world. If she is able to help her man, the man will be able to help her that much more.

A sister can likewise find wisdom in learning how to play a supportive role for the brothers in the Church. Paul writes to the Romans, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother… For if your brother is grieved [lit. pained] by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love…So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” The principle Paul is teaching here doesn’t apply only to what we eat, but to anything that could cause a brother to trip. The word stumbling in these verses are indicative of much more than a slip-up; they are speaking to the very destruction of their souls. Just as the cross was a “stumbling block” to the Jews. It was serious.

By sinning against your brothers in this way and wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:13)

We have all learned that we are free from the law and that there is no hard and fast rule about what we can and cannot wear. The law of Christ is a law of love. Paul warns us thus, “And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died” (1 Corinthians 8:11). God could care less about what you wear so long as it is consistent with his thoughts as revealed in Deuteronomy 22:5. But he is not happy if it can potentially mean the destruction of a brother.

Mutual upbuilding is not the same as equal upbuilding. That is why we have the New Testament instruction on appropriate dress for women.

If there is one thing that I have seen almost 98% of guys entirely incapable of doing, it is not fixing their gaze on the rear end of a female deliberately publicizing it as she passes by. In the postmodern world this has been preached as something “natural” and “good” and that to hide her hide is to give in to male oppression and not be “free.” But now the West is reaping the disastrous consequences of this falsehood. It really doesn’t take long.

“All that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh,” said John, “is not of the Father but of the world” and  “the entire world is under the power of the evil one”—the causes of the greatest struggle a young man will ever endure (1 John 2:16; 5:19). “I write to you young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

For sisters I believe the reciprocal would be along the lines of this: “I write to you young women, because you are gracious, and the word of God abides in you, and you have supported and encouraged the brothers in self-control as they are incessantly subjected to the threat of death by lust.” The territory of darkness that is lust is one that virtually no brother makes it through in one piece. Every last one of us men get blindsided by this when we least expect it. For me it was since I was eleven years old when unruly neighbor kids hid porn in our mailbox and told me to go open it.

The darkness of lust hides in wait and ambushes a man when he least expects it. The grocery store, the library, the school, the office, the streets—all are enemy territories in this matter. It is a man’s greatest fear and shame that follows him like a shadow that does not sleep. The shame slam-dunks us like an oversized rag-doll in an undersized box, all folded up and incapable of moving. The very, very last place he should have to worry about this battle is in the household of faith, his church.

A Barna Research survey showed that only 8% of women say they struggle with lust.[xiii] Roughly 100% of men say that they do. This fact cannot be treated lightly and is why wisdom must be sought. The Proverbs are clear about the severity of this battle that all men face. “For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,” says the Proverbs (Proverbs 6:26). “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” (v.32). “He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away” (v.32-33). A wise mother earnestly warned her son, “Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings” (Proverbs 31:3). It was lust that brought down David. It was lust that brought down Solomon. It was lust that brought down Samson. These were some of the Old Testament’s strongest men—and yet not strong enough! We see it play out today over and over in front of our eyes: great leaders, ministers, rulers, and pastors all atrophying under the power of lust and losing everything because of it. When the right reciprocity between brothers and sisters is achieved—i.e. the mutual upbuilding—the Church will take off like a honed arrow slicing through the air and great things will be accomplished by the both of them. The enemy will not know what hit him.

A man becomes a son, and a woman becomes a daughter. Sons and daughters are not the same. Ask any mother. If God is a father and not a mother, then the implications should be obvious. The man, being in the image and glory of God, as Paul wrote, means that he will reflect the perfect masculinity of God in the resurrection. What else could it mean? Logic would say that women in the resurrection will not look like God as masculine beings. They don’t even want to. A woman who aspires to be like Jesus is certainly not communicating that she is interested in a sex change. Many women have never liked this fact and ever since Elizabeth Stanton they have been trying to turn the Father into a bifurcated half male, half female Ardhanarishvara. This is not who he is. Ardhanarishvara is hideous and the kind of thing that would give your children nightmares.

In the resurrection women will be his daughter and bear his identity in perfect femininity. Even now as born-again believers, women’s souls are being renewed in this holy femininity day by day. Are you being renewed day by day? It’s hard to say much more to this end because the Bible only gives us so much information on what the end will be like. Some settle for preaching Galatians 3:26 which says, “in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” But I do wonder if Christian women really appreciate being called “sons of God”?

At the heart of the discussion is glory not hierarchy. Hierarchy is not beautiful. Glory is beautiful. Stubborn egalitarian partnerships are not marriages full of beauty flowing throughout and illuminating the power of God to a world lost in darkness but instead are selfish business transactions that each person enters into with as little risk to themselves as possible. Those relationships have no glory and no beauty. Often, they are ugly, and they don’t last.

As you can see, the truth of a woman’s identity is comprehensive, mysterious, eternal, and very powerful. What I have written here is just the beginning. Identity is not a rule, after all. Identity is something that happens to us as we journey through life. It grows, develops, and matures. Identity is a living thing that becomes us. God, I believe, finds great fascination and joy with observing how our identities grow and develop. We may be born into one identity or marry into another. We may choose to leave one identity behind and take on another. Such transformations are life altering. In the end they culminate into a single name given to us by God, written on a stone or, in the case of the Church, the name Hephzibah, for he knows us better than anyone, including ourselves.


[1] 1 Sam. 16:8 – Hebrew ish to’ar

[2] Ps. 37:37 – Hebrew ish shalom

[3] Proverbs 17:27 – Hebrew ish tabuwn

[4] Exo. 18:21 – Hebrew ish emeth

[5] Judg. 17:1 – Hebrew ish mehar Ephraim

[6] Gen. 25:27 – Hebrew – ish yada tsayid

[7] Lev. 21:9 – Hebrew ish kohen

[8] Deut. 2:14 – Hebrew ish milchamah

[9] Exo. 2:14 – Hebrew ish sar

[i] Cf. John 15:13; 2 Peter 1:7. Agape love does not mean unconditional love. It means sacrificial love. Jesus defined it clearly when he said, “No greater love [agape] has a man than this, that he lay his life down for his friends.”

[ii] Cf. H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell. Pulpit Commentary. Matthew 6. 1919.

[iii] Johann Albrecht Bengel. Bengel’s Gnomon of the New Testament. Commentary on Matthew 6. 1742. Biblehub.com. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/bengel/matthew/6.htm. Retreived 29 Dec. 2017.

[iv] Bower, B. “First pants worn by horse riders 3,000 years ago.” ScienceNews.com. 30 May 2014. Accessed 29 Dec. 2017. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/first-pants-worn-horse-riders-3000-years-ago

[v] Cf. Pulpit Commentary. Verse 5. – The divinely instituted distinction between the sexes was to be sacredly observed, and, in order to this, the dress and ether things appropriate to the one were not to be used by the other. That which pertaineth unto a man; literally, the apparatus (כְּלִי) of a man, including, not dress merely, but implements, tools, weapons, and utensils. This is an ethical regulation in the interests of morality. There is no reference, as some have supposed, to the wearing of masks for the purpose of disguise, or to the practice of the priests at heathen festivals of wearing masks of their gods. Whatever tends to obliterate the distinction between the sexes tends to licentiousness; and that the one sex should assume the dress of the other has always been regarded as unnatural and indecent (comp. Seneca, “Epist.,” 122, “Nonne videntur contra naturam vivere qui commutant cum feminis vestem;” and Juvenal, “Sat.,” 6:252 –

“Quem praestare potest muller galeata pudorem Quae fugit a sexu?”) Such a change of vesture is here declared to be an abomination to the Lord, because of its tendency to immorality.

[vi] Cf. Ellicott’s Commentary on 1 Peter 3:3

[vii] Wolchover, N. “Our Souls Are In Our Eyes, Psychologists Claim.” Livescience.com. 20 Mar. 2012. Retreived 29 Dec. 2017. https://www.livescience.com/19185-soul-eyes.html. Emp. add.

[viii] Cf. The story of the transfiguration where Also the story of Samuel being raised from the earth by necromancer in 1 Samuel 28:14, “He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” The visual representation of Samuel’s soul was, Samuel, as he was bodily, an old man. Saul was apparently unable to see him with his own eyes, only the necromancer could. Some commentaries say it was Satan disguised as Samuel. There is a serious problem with this however: the apparition spoke the truth. Samuel prophesied truthfully, and in the name of the LORD, that Saul and his sons would die the next day. Saul and his sons died the next day (Cf. 1 Sam 31). This, bearing in mind what God spoke in Deuteronomy 18:22, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” It would also make the author of that text slightly deceitful or deceived himself because he gives us no hint that it wasn’t Samuel. Ellicott’s Commentary provides good insight here:

(14) An old man Cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle.—The “mantle;” Hebrews, m’il. The garment so named was not a peculiar one, and bore no official signification; still, its mention here in this place would seem as though the woman recognised the well-known m’il which the prophet used to wear in life.

But it has been asked, How could a spirit bear the semblance of an old man? and further, How could such a being be clothed? Rabbi Moses Maimonides of Cordova (twelfth century), surnamed the “Eagle of the Doctors,” in his Yad Hachazakah, admirably replies to these queries when discussing certain similar expressions used with regard to the Holy One, who is a Spirit without a body or a frame. “We find,” says Maimonides, “such expressions as “under His feet,” written with the finger of God,” “the eye of the Lord,” &c. Of Him one prophet says, “That he saw the Holy One—blessed be He !—whose garment was white as snow” (Daniel 7:9); whilst another saw Him “like a warrior engaged in battle.” Compare the saying of the sages in the Yad Joseph on Exodus 15:3 :— ‘On the sea He was seen like a man-of-war, and upon Sinai like a reader of prayers, wrapped (in a surplice); and all this though he had neither similitude or form, but that these things were in an apparition of prophecy, and in a vision.’”—Yad Hachazakah, bk. I., ch. 1 “God designed,” says Bishop Wordsworth, “that the spirit of Samuel should be recognised by human eyes; and how could this have been done but by means of such objects as are visible to human sense? Our Lord speaks of the tongue of the disembodied spirit of Dives in order to give us an idea of his sufferings; and at the Transfiguration He presented the form of Moses in such a garb to the three disciples as might enable them to recognise him as Moses.”

[ix] See Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon. Cf. Ezekiel 23:14, “She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images (tselem) of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermillion…”

God is revealed in human form in many instances in the Old Testament before He took on the flesh of Jesus. Some of the more notable ones include Genesis 18, “And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant (Genesis 18:1-3). In Genesis 32:24-43 God appeared to Jacob and wrestled with him. In Judges 13:21-22 God appeared to Manoah who thought “we shall surely die, because we have seen God.” In Daniel 3:23-29 God appeared in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew guys, “Look! he answered, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

[x] Cf. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon. דְּמוּת likeness, similitude, of external appearance, chiefly in Ezek.: Ezekiel 1:5 (likeness, i.e. something that appeared like) so Ezekiel 1:26; Ezekiel 8:2 דְּמוּת כְּמַרְאֵה (אֵשׁׅ (compare Co), Ezekiel 10:1 כִּסֵּא ׳כְּמַרְאֵה ד; compare also Daniel 10:16 כִּדְמוּת בְּנֵי אָדָם i.e. one like the sons of man; similitude, resemblance Ezekiel 1:5,10,16,22,26; Ezekiel 10:10,21,22; דְּמוּת כְּמַרְאֵה אָדָם Ezekiel 1:26; ׳מַרְאֵה ד ׳כְּבוֺד י Ezekiel 1:28; also 2 Kings 16:10 (pattern of altar), 2 Chronicles 4:3 (images of oxen); of son in likeness of father Genesis 5:3 (P); so also of man in likeness of God Genesis 1:26 (“” צֶלֶם) Genesis 5:1 (both P); compare Isaiah 40:18 what ׳ד will ye compare to him (אֵל) ?

[xi] Hicks, Robert. The Masculine Journey: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1993. 154.

[xii] Cf. Strong’s 3954.

[xiii] Barna Research Group. “Christian Women Today, Part 3 of 4: Women Give Themselves an Emotional and Spiritual Check-up.” 21 Aug. 2012. Retrieved 28 Dec. 2017.