The Fruit of Her Hands Book Study – Chapter One

A Woman’s Orientation to Marriage

Hello ladies.  I hope you all had a blessed Lord’s Day! Thank you for coming back and going through this book with us! So here we go, grab your drink of choice, and let’s work our way through this first chapter.

But first let me give you some idea as to how I’ll be handling this study.  By its definition a book study is just that, a book study.  We will deal with what the book says, what the author is trying to convey, and the points she makes.  As you may have figured by now, she doesn’t exhaust each topic, nor looks at them from every angle.   The challenge for us would be to stay on topic and not try to deal with things she simply does not deal with.  In that sense this book falls short, but from the start this book never promises to be thorough.  Comprende?  Alright. Let’s get on with it.

Right off the bat, Nancy (the author) calls us, American women, gullible.  (I’m thinking I don’t count, just sayin’…wait, nevermind.) Oh boy, she has wit, doesn’t she?  Well, don’t judge her, it isn’t her that calls women gullible, but God himself.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 reads, “For know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [Emphasis on gullible]

Other translations use the word weak or silly.  Gullible means to be easily deceived or cheated.  The opposite of it is to be a maturing and wise woman, not merely being hearers but doers of the Word.  Nancy paints a pretty good picture of what these gullible women have allowed to enter their minds and be deceived by.  They believe that,

“Fruitfulness is bad; children wreck the budget and the figure.  Marriage is a partnership; submission is for imbeciles.  Being a homemaker is for airheads who can’t make it in the business world.  Women are not designed with a unique purpose, but should and can compete with men on any level.  The most important thing is to have a healthy self-image and to have your deepest needs met.  If they are not being met by your husband, find someone else.  The old femininity is outdated.  The new femininity dictates that women should look capable, confident, and, at all costs, young and sexy. “

I think we get the picture.  Gullible, weak, silly women are more influenced by the culture than the Word of God. Now so far you may think you’re doing well; the description above does not describe you, or at least not anymore.  But Nancy then goes in and digs a little deeper.

Nancy’s second point of this chapter is to have us consider our view of marriage, our homes, and children.  The point here being that our views and true understanding of our calling as women are reflected in what we actually do.  So, she poses these questions to help us recognize what our actions show we actually believe: “What is your perspective when you look at your husband? When you think of him, when you speak to him, when you pray for him, what is your view? Is it a biblical view?”  She argues that in practice, our real struggle is that we don’t have a high view of marriage, men/women roles, etc.  Her observations are right.  Women are quick to go to someone else’s head for counsel.  We run to our parents, friend, discipler, or elders first.  Well, not all the time, right?  Some of us are getting better at going to our own husbands, but then if we don’t like what we hear, we keep the survey going until we find someone that can agree with us. Others have a high view of their own heads, but fail to have a high view of the position men have in their own homes so we lead women astray and we listen…when we should be sending them back to their husbands!  In our circles, we know the right thing to say, but in practice, we don’t take it seriously enough.  We don’t go to battle against our own will and submit to the Word of God. This is what the verse above refers to, “we are always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

In terms of who you should let have influence over you, Nancy exhorts us to be careful and to look at these women and their home-ministry first.  The Titus 2 mandate, as Nancy puts it, is to teach women to be “into husbands” and “into kids”.  So she wants us to consider the practice of the women that want or have influence over us and ask ourselves these questions:   “Who is this woman’s husband? Is she fulfilling her ministry to him? Is he her priority? Is she helping him? Is her house in order?”  I really like her series of questions here.  It isn’t the only thing you must consider, but it has to start there, with a woman’s relationship to her husband.  So be mindful of, “The women who sacrifices her own home, while teaching other women to be respectful and submissive wives, has been deceived and is deceiving others.”

In closing, let me ask you this, in practice what does your orientation/view of marriage reveal? (comment below)

Comments

  1. Amanda Prybylski says:

    In practice, my orientation/ view of my marriage was lacking biblical direction. I think thank practically, both my husband and I have had no idea of what a Godly marriage looked like. We have always wanted one and have tried our best to please eachother but when the world feeds you your direction instead of God and his Word you end up spinning in circles; just as we have been. Mind you these circles have gotten a lot “nicer” as the years have progressed but they are circles none the less. Nothing ever got resolved and we both end up feeling empty, sad, lonely, like we are hitting our head against a wall…..over DISHES! UGH, seriously though….that could spark a cirlcle of misunderstanding that could carry on for a week. Now, as we are growing in the Lord and through book studies, discipleship, and sweet friends in Christ I see how we are being directed to what Godly marriages look like.
    When looking at the 2 Timothy verses I seriously thought, I am not those things…..to outsiders that is. Truthfully, I have been all those things to my husband and that just breaks my heart. It breaks my heart for him and leads me to the cross on my knees repenting to God for forgiveness. Praise be to God that these circles don’t have to continue as HE gives us strength, guidance, and understanding for eachother by His command to follow Him and obey His word. Praise be to God I have a loving husband who desires to be a man after God’s heart.
    ~Blessings, Mandi

  2. Mandi,

    It has been so encouraging to watch you and your hubby grow in your understanding of the faith. Your humility to say, “hey, we need direction” in time will bear sweet fruit. Determine yourself to be obedient to the Word no matter how hard it may seem to you.
    Love,
    Esme

  3. The way it now reveals itself in my life is when I insist on pursuing ministry above my home. I have to constantly remind myself, “my home comes first.” If I’m not careful, I can believe the lie that sacrifice is better than obedience. When I let Jon look into the details of what I do, he can protect me. I don’t particularly like it, but I’m always thankful that he does. When you feel capable and able, you almost have to learn to be vulnerable so that your husband gets a chance to guide you. I once read that a strong-willed woman is not strong at all, if she always gets her way. In fact, that proves quite the opposite. A strong-willed woman is the one that goes against her will/bent/weaknesses. My bent is to bypass Jon. So I make it my job to go to him. The result is, well, grace.

  4. Liz Roeder says:

    My view of marriage has been a work in progress. This will be our 38th year of marriage and the first 14 years of our marriage were without Christ. When He became the 3rd person in our marriage, it was like a new marriage. It was a gradual process, but as we learned through God’s Word, bible studies, and through the example of mature Christians what God expected of us as a husband and wife, our marriage deepened at a whole new level. As time went on, the world’s view of marriage became less, and God’s way increased. One of my biggest challenges has been to let go of wanting to be in control of everything (that curse we got from Eve!) The world says that to be in control is a strength, but in reality it’s a weakness as we’re usurping our husband’s God given authority as the leader of our home. I have learned that it’s freeing to have my husband lead our home and family.
    The Lord has also been convicting me of when I’m disrespectful to my husband. Sometimes my pride gets in the way, but the Spirit keeps nagging at me to make it right and ask for forgiveness. When I give in and do it, it makes our relationship stronger and sweeter. A Christian marriage is always a work in progress, but God gives us the grace we need for each day.
    Liz

  5. Linda Cate says:

    Liz, My struggle has been as yours: curse that curse from Eve! I used to think my struggle to control was hereditary, from my Italian roots. lol But as I had good teaching and began to submit to it (also agree that it is a work in progress and a struggle I suspect we will have until Jesus comes), I began to enjoy this blessing from God that protects us women. I must admit that being submissive, by dying to myself daily, relieves a huge burden. When I give the decision-making to my husband it truly is a relief. I had to learn that, even though I have had sound teaching for much longer than my husband has, and even though we may not be at the same place in our lives spiritually, I can still go to my husband with my questions. I had to learn to entrust my husband to the Lord, that if he did not have the answers I sought, that he would seek to find out, either through consulting the Bible or godly counsel. As I give up control to my husband, I have seen him grow in his desire to lead our household and to do it well.
    What I am working on now is being a better helper for him, so that he may be freed up to do what God has called him to do, to “live up to all God has called him to be.” (p.18) I try to be intentional each day in doing first what he has asked me to do, before I work on my tasks. The Word is rich with instructions on how to be a Godly wife and mother and on God’s promise to help us to do what he has called us to do. I cannot emphasize enough what a blessing it is to be obedient to His Word, and to reap the rewards of our obedience! “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” -Linda

  6. Linda Cate says:

    I do have a question regarding women whose husbands are not believers. I do believe they must still be submissive wives, but where would one direct them to get answers to spiritual questions they have?

    • Linda: isn’t funny how nothing happens until we learn to “yield”, be it control, manipulation, etc! And God is always so faithful to give us his grace. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here with us!!

      As for your question, I’m not sure what you mean by spiritual questions. If you are looking for resources that address particularly women married to non-believers, let me do some research and get back to you.

    • Liz Roeder says:

      Linda: in the case where a woman is married to an unbeliever, they could go to their pastor or elders with their questions. They would need to set boundaries though so they don’t become emotionally or spiritually dependent on them and guard their hearts. They could also seek out a woman who they respected and was wise with God’s Word–maybe the pastor or elder’s wife.
      Liz

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