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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Should A Woman Agree To Submit To Private Bible Studies With A Man?

Since this post could be considered instructive, I want to start out by letting people know that I am a woman.  

Should women or teen girls have private one on one Bible studies with a married man who is not their husband?   

For a married woman whose husband is a Christian, this should be a no-brainer.  You are subject to your own husband, and Ephesians 5:22-24 makes it plain that  a wife is directly under her husband (not someone else's).   Verses 26-27 shows that the husband's love must be a type that desires purification for his wife.   Christian men need to take responsibility for their own wives.   Surely women can learn from public instruction in the church, but men are the special leaders in the home.
So, of course, if a married woman has a Christian husband to lead her in Bible study that is super and desirable.
Older women also are to instruct younger women how to behave, and to love and be subject to their husbands (Titus 2:3-5).
The Bible seems to lead back to men being over their wives, and parents being over their children.

What about wives of non-believers or single women?  
Again, older women can instruct other women.
I believe this could include wives of unbelieving husbands.
The unbelieving husband is still head over the wife (1 Peter 3:1-6), but clearly the unbeliever won't be able to lead in Bible study.
We all should be willing to be disciple makers, but certainly there is a huge danger of temptation in crossing gender lines.
Women tend to form emotional attachments with those that they look up to and admire.   Men are not immune either when they meet alone with vulnerable women.   People shouldn't think that someone's being married will keep them from coveting or lusting which can lead to adultery.

Single women are very vulnerable, so as a single woman I would not want to have a private Bible study or a private in person meeting with a married man who isn't my father leading me.
I try to limit private communication to infrequent with married men, and if I ever cross over a line, I hope that I will be warned by someone and heed the warning!

Christians are to flee youthful lusts and to pursue righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22).

In Proverbs 5, there is warning for men to avoid an adulteress.
Women should also show discretion to keep from those who could lead them into temptation and sin.
Age isn't the issue.  I'm not young, but that doesn't take away danger.

In the disciples' prayer,  Jesus gave an example of praying to God the Father, and the prayer includes "lead us not into temptation."
Why would we pray for God to not lead us into temptation and then intentionally put ourselves in situations that bring it about?

Some Biblical accounts where people went into dangerous situations that did not turn out so well:
David outside looking at the roof where a woman was bathing - and then having her come to him to be intimate,  Amnon with his half sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13)- inviting her into his room alone and then violating her,  etc.  We don't even always know that someone is a danger to us.  I don't know if Bathsheba knew David's plans, and certainly Tamar didn't.  I'm not blaming them at all.  Sometimes we know the danger, and other times we can't.
David knew & Amnon knew.

Nobody is immune to temptation.  

If you think that you can intentionally put yourself into a dangerous situation and not get burned, that is not wisdom.  That is pride.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
Christians can fall into sin too.

David was a man after God's own heart, but he sinned.
Abraham had an immoral relationship with Hagar, but he was a man of faith.
He also threw his wife into danger by only calling her his sister in Genesis 12 & 20.
While a person whose life pattern is sin is not a believer, that doesn't mean that a true Christian will never sin or is immune to temptation.
Sin has temporal consequences even for believers.
The hyper-grace movement is a dangerous one.
Christians should never sin that grace may abound.

1 Corinthians 10:8-13 is a warning not to indulge in immorality, and again, lest we think Christians are immune, it warns those who think they stand to be careful lest they fall.
God will provide a way of escape in situations of undesired temptation (like He did for Joseph with Potiphar's wife), but that is not an invitation to intentionally put ourselves into temptation's path! Proverbs is full of warnings to avoid temptation.

Christians need to also avoid intentionally being a temptation to others.

Just as a father shouldn't provoke his children to anger, and one Christian shouldn't tempt another to go against their weaker conscience, so we should show discretion in our own behavior toward each other.

My Application Thoughts: 

For a godly woman, an example of not tempting or provoking someone to lust, would be not wearing provocative, skimpy, peek-a-boo, or tight clothing, and not to have private or flirtatious meetings with men.

It could also mean limiting the amount of private communication with married men who aren't a spouse (also making sure that others can have access to what is said).
If you are a married woman, that would also include single men.
Even what might seem spiritual, evangelistic, or harmless could become a stumbling block and a temptation (which is true for both men and women).

When there are two single people, being alone in a room or building is a great danger.
That is why when I see a movie where a single person goes into another single person's home alone the mental alarm goes off in my mind.
That is so unwise, and it is putting both people into the path of temptation.

Avoiding and fleeing temptation is good, but I need to also pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8 NASB

I would appreciate kind Biblical feedback.

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