By Stacie Gibson
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sin and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at the knowledge of truth.” 2 Tim. 3:6-7
The word "theology" used to intimidate me when I first became a Christian. I was under the impression that it was for pastors and other men to study. I didn’t think that I had any business as a woman studying it. Over the years I have realized I was really wrong and am so grateful that the Lord has shown me through His Word and through others that theology really does matter for both men and women alike.
Theology is important because your knowledge and belief about God and His Word will affect how you live your day to day life with trials, temptations, suffering, refuting false teaching (or get duped by false teachers if you don’t have a strong knowledge of truth), strengthening the way we worship, and love others. Blogger and writer Jen Thorn says:
“When theology is mentioned in a circle of women I have often found the response to be less than enthusiastic. Mention books on homemaking, marriage or parenting, on the other hand, and everyone seems interested. Why is that? I have heard comments like, 'I’m just not smart enough', 'I will leave the study of theology to the men', or 'I don’t need theology. I just need to read my Bible.'"
I too have heard these responses and have a desire to encourage women to be theologians so they can rightly handle the Word of God and have discernment when bombarded lies. God doesn’t just want the men to be good theologians but He also created women to be diligent students of the Word (Luke 10:42). Why then should women in particular study theology? I already listed many good reasons above, but for today I am going to focus on knowing theology so we can arrive at the knowledge of truth and not be lured in by false teachers.
Long ago, the world was a flawless paradise. Man and woman lived in unity together having the perfect home and marriage they were committed to. One day, a crafty Deceiver came into the garden and found the ideal opportunity to smooth talk Eve with his empty words and promises that quickly led her astray from a sincere devotion to the Lord and her husband. I believe that Satan went for the woman because he knew she was the weaker vessel and had the greatest influence on her husband. God created women to be responders and he knew just how to get a response out of Eve as she was away from her husband’s protection.
Satan has been convincing women (and men!) since the fall that God’s ways are not good and that you can live by your passions. In 2 Timothy 3:6-7 Paul is warning Timothy of the same issue. He’s telling him “Timothy, watch out! False teachers are going to come to your church! They will worm their way into households and capture the women that are not studying their bibles or paying attention to the preached word on Sunday! You know those ones that are burdened down with sin all the time and live by their passions and feelings!” Doesn’t this sound familiar? Eve had a “worm” that wiggled his way into her home just like false teachers try and achieve today. If we are solid about God, we too will become susceptible. Take note that Paul says these weak women are “always learning and never able to arrive at the knowledge of truth.”
Ladies, we are still in the last days until Christ returns and this text is for all of us to pay close attention to. I am a biblical counselor to women in my congregation and to my community and I am always shocked at what women today are filling their minds with. There is a lot of bad theology and false teachers that claim to be Christ followers that use a lot of human wisdom and feminism in their teaching that will take us captive. These teachers intrigue us and whisper:
“You don’t have to stay in a miserable marriage; God wants you to be happy.”
“Being a wife and mom is not valuable; you’re wasting your life.”
“If God was good, He would not allow this trial in my life.”
“You don’t have to submit if you don’t feel like it.”
The women in this text were always learning, but I have a pretty good hunch that they were not learning the right stuff. If they were burdened down with sin and led astray by their passions, they were not being controlled by the Spirit, but instead they were gratifying the desires of their flesh. When we are weak like this, we are susceptible to error and will be tossed to and fro by the waves carried by every wind of doctrine that comes our way.
These women allowed their hearts and wills to be shaped by the culture around them instead of filling up with the knowledge of God, His Sovereignty, and His love for them in Christ. John Piper says: “It is not God’s will that women be weak in their discernment, burdened with sin, and led astray by passions. It is not God’s will that women be vulnerable to creeping moral and theological error from those who possess a form of godliness and deny the power of it “.
What can a woman do to avoid being what the bible describes as “weak women?”
- Be under the authority and protection of a healthy, local church. False teachers and false teaching will come into the church, but the Lord has given us Elders to watch over the flock and will silence those who bring in error.
- Read and study the Word of God regularly! I am always surprised how many women I interact with that are not in the Scriptures that often. Neglecting the Word will make you a target to false teachers/teaching
- Consistent prayer life
- Memorize Scripture and hide God’s word in your heart
- Get a good, systematic or historical theology book and study it (Wayne Grudem, Louis Berkhof, and Greg Allison).
- Read solid, Christian books such as Trusting God by Jerry Bridges, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink, Housewife Theologian by Aimee Byrd, Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Horger Alsup, True Woman studies by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian and Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
If you are a Christian woman, I exhort all of you to develop a good “theological sniffer” that can help you to sniff out and discern truth from error. Continue to study all you know about the one true God, who is able to keep us from stumbling and will protect you and I from being captured and lead astray.