The Fruit of Her Hands Book Study – Chapter Four

Principles and Methods

As I began to consider this chapter, a wave of conviction flooded over me and I had some confessing to do before the Lord. Why? Because I know that I have been guilty in one way or another of allowing my pride and my arrogance in this way (principles and methods) to cause other women to stumble. I believe this is probably true for most of us. This chapter begins by defining the difference between a principle and a method.

Principle: A fundamental truth, law, etc…upon which others are based. (Webster)

Method: A way of doing anything, a procedure or process. (Webster)

Most of us as women can relate almost immediately to the very practical and common examples Nancy gives us to compare this “principles and methods” idea to (i.e.….Feeding babies: breastfeeding versus bottle feeding; Educating our children: home schooling versus private/public schooling; and the list goes on.) I found it interesting that Nancy uses the idea of being at peace with other women to help us connect the dots here.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”

The main point she quickly brings us to here is that if we become overzealous for conformity to “our method,” strife between Christians will likely result.

Nancy cautions us to remember that there are others, wiser than we, who see the inferiority of some of our methods. Then, she tells us that instead of pushing for “our method,” we ought to rejoice in a common commitment to biblical principles and in the variety of methods God’s people employ. What she means is there is a unity in diversity. The unity is the common goal of the principle and the diversity is seen in the various methods used to achieve the principle. However, Nancy cautions that not all methods are equal; some methods are inferior to others. It is here that Nancy very wisely interjects that the methods of others are not our business. We can give advice when friends ask for it, but when we share a method we have to remember that we are not on a moral crusade. There is much wisdom in this chapter on principles and methods. Ladies, we could all benefit in our relationships if we took the time to examine how we present our principles and methods to those close to us. How gracious are you to those around you who do not practice “your methods”?

Nancy suggests that it would be better, when we adopt a method, if we call it a biblical approach rather than the biblical approach. This takes us back to chapter two. How well we know the Word of God will most certainly have an effect on our ability to distinguish between a godly principle and a biblical approach to that principle. And ladies, let’s not forget what Ephesians 5 says about you being subject to your own husband. Just as you are subject to your husband, your friends are subject to their husbands and their method will most certainly be influenced by their husband. Again, we are pointed to the headship of the home and, as a woman of the Word, that headship is central to everything that we do.

In this chapter, we are also cautioned about putting a spiritual value on “our methods.” The Bible tells us that God gives us everything that we need for life and godliness, but the methods by which we work out these principles are not always clear and will differ from household to household. God gives us much freedom and many resources. I would encourage you to reflect on Galatians 6:4-5, and examine your principles and methods. In closing, if you are a younger woman I strongly encourage you, to use the resources God has given you in the older women of your church and if you are the older woman consider God’s call for you in Titus 2:3-5.


  1. What a refreshing chapter. Not only grounds you and reminds you to watch how you are speaking to others (or about them). BUT reminds you that you have the freedom to be you; as long as you are honoring your husband and God. Or shall I say God and then your husband ;). This….finding comfort in who God made me to be, has been such a relief. Like the weight of the world lifted off of me, and I am just at the begining of this specific “journey”. To keep my eyes, heart and soul directed toward God that he may make use of me and convict me when I stray… only to hope that one day I could be a wise women of God. Blessings 🙂 Mandi

    • Thanks Mandi for your input and I am very encouraged to hear how the Lord is using this study and working in you. It is always a good thing when we see our need for the Lord to work in us and an amazing awing moment when He does what only He can do in us. Keep looking to Him and thanks again for sharing.


  2. Kendal Barriere says:

    Thank you, Vicki, for reminding us ladies about this topic. I constantly struggle with not giving my opinion as the “only way,” and having a lot of caveats to conversations to protect that. It’s exhausting sometimes. We all think that we have the best way to do something, or say something, and want to share it with everyone. But this was a great reminder that my “best” way is not necessarily another family’s “best” way. It is so important to follow our husbands lead, and seek their counsel.

    • Thank you Kendal for being willing and honest to share your struggle in this area.I know that can be a difficult thing to do sometimes.But be encouraged the Lord is so faithful to us when we humble ourselves before Him. It’s an honor and encouragement for me to see how the Lord is working and growing so many of you young ladies. Be encouraged Kendal.

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