What does it mean to be a godly woman? If we want to become godly women, we need to understand godly attributes and begin developing them in our lives.
Congratulations! If you’re interested in the topic, it shows that you have the heart to learn and grow and take your role as a godly woman seriously. This is a topic that is significant to me too. Allow me to share what I have learned about this subject, based on guidance from the Scriptures.
What does “godly” even mean?
Before we take a deep dive into what it means to be a godly woman, I think it is crucial that we first understand what being godly means. Is it just a cutesy phrase that some religious types throw around? Or is this an actual character trait that we can work toward attaining?
The suffix -ly attached to a root word often conveys that something is like the root word. To illustrate this: What comes to our minds when we hear the following: brotherly, cowardly, friendly, motherly and kingly?
The actual root word came quickly to our minds, didn’t it?
This is the same way we can visualize what godly means. The root word is God. Therefore, if we want to know what it means to be a godly woman, we must first understand God’s attributes. And to begin to actually be godly—be like God—we must begin developing those behaviors in our lives.
What do the Scriptures say are godly attributes?
The Scriptures are abundant with details of God’s wonderful attributes, such as:
- God is righteous and kind (Psalm 145:17).
- God has been and will always be reliable (Hebrews 13:8).
- God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4).
- God never lies (Titus 1:2).
- God is faithful and merciful (1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalms 145:9; 86:15).
- God is loving (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:8, 16).
- God is slow to anger (Psalms 145:8; 103:8).
The apostle John said that whoever “says he abides in Him [Jesus Christ] ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). The apostle Paul and apostle Peter were also in total agreement with this mind-set.
In his letter to the Corinthian congregation, Paul instructed members to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). To the church at Ephesus, he stressed that they should “be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1).
Similarly, in his first epistle, the apostle Peter wrote that we follow Christ’s example by following in His (Jesus Christ’s) steps (1 Peter 2:21). It is pretty clear that we should follow in His steps!
Now, consider three overarching behaviors that can steer us toward becoming godly women.
1. A godly woman is a God-fearing woman.
A godly woman’s most apparent behavior trait is that she fears God. In fact, fearing God is a blessing mentioned in the book of Psalms. The psalmist begins Psalm 128 by saying, “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.” The entire psalm makes the point that ultimately happiness is found in a proper relationship with God.
Fearing God is vital because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Fearing God means that we strive to live righteous lives, embrace truth and love others as Jesus Christ demonstrated and instructed us to do (Mark 12:30-31). In other words, God-fearing women are God-obeying women.
You probably remember the biblical account about the new king of Egypt who looked at the growing number of Israelites in his country with concern. His fear was an ungodly fear. His fear was selfish. His fear was ego-driven. He feared being outnumbered and losing power, so he inflicted horrible burdens on the Israelites (Exodus 1:8-14).
This same account noted two beautiful examples of biblical women who obeyed and feared God. In Exodus 1:15-21, two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, disobeyed Pharaoh’s command to kill the Israelite male newborns. How is it possible that these women resisted the orders of a king? Weren’t they fearful? Surely they knew the consequences of disobedience!
Clearly, they did know the consequences of disobedience. But their concern was not about disobeying the king, but about disobeying God. In verse 17 we learn that “the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.” Their fear wasn’t selfish or ego-driven. Why? Because they feared God. (See “What Does the Fear of the Lord Mean?”)
Fearing God means that we strive to obey His commands from the heart and in our deeds—no matter the consequences.
Additional reading about fearing God:
2. A godly woman is a mature woman.
It takes a certain level of maturity to fear and obey God. I’m not talking about the maturity of someone who has reached a particular age. Instead, the emphasis is on emotional or mental maturity.
The apostle Paul talked about this aspect to the Corinthian church, telling them to “not be children in your thinking” and instead instructing them “but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20, English Standard Version).
So how exactly can maturity help us to become godly women?
We start with controlling our emotions. Yes, this is tough! We start by bringing every thought into submission (2 Corinthians 10:5) to make it obedient to Christ. What are we putting into our minds? What are we saying without even thinking—or sometimes without even caring what others think? It takes wisdom to hold our tongues and reserve judgment.
Deborah, the prophetess and judge, showed maturity in wisdom and judgment in the Old Testament. In Hebrews 11 Barak is listed as someone who “through faith subdued kingdoms” (verses 32-33), yet it was Deborah who gave Barak the motivation and help to do so. In fact, Barak hesitated and said that he would do as God commanded through Deborah, only if Deborah would go with him! And she did.
Can you imagine the maturity it would take to control your emotions to go into battle? Deborah’s wisdom and faith came from obedience to God as a spiritually mature woman.
Additional reading about spiritual maturity:
- “2 Peter 1:5-7: Spiritual Maturity Explained in Three Verses.”
- “Deborah in the Bible.”
- “Emotions in the Bible.”
3. A godly woman is a devoted woman.
What do we call someone who is loyal, faithful, committed, dedicated, loving, caring and steadfast? If we are lucky enough to know someone like this, we might call the person devoted. Who wouldn’t want to be recognized as a devoted person?
If we take the time to sit and really think about what it means to be devoted, we quickly realize how important these traits genuinely are. Yes, it takes effort and determination to live a life devoted to following God and doing the right thing. The good news is that if we do this, God promises that He will help us (Psalm 37:3-7) and make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:1-6).
An excellent example of a devoted, godly woman is Ruth, a young Moabite, who married a man from Bethlehem. When her first husband and her father-in-law died, Ruth left her family and culture and committed herself to a new life with Naomi, her mother-in-law. That included following the true God that Naomi worshipped. Ruth declared to her that “your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Ruth’s actions—and heart—showed that she was a loyal, faithful, committed, dedicated, loving, caring and steadfast imitator of God. She was now a follower of God. Ruth’s devotion pleased God, and her offspring through Boaz continued the royal line that ultimately led to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Just like Ruth, when we put our faith in the Lord, He will bless us (Jeremiah 17:7). We can take that to the bank!
Devotion to God means that we strive to please Him, draw close to Him in prayer and fasting, study His Word and meditate on what we have learned. It also means being devoted in a godly manner to one’s husband and family.
Additional reading about being devoted to God’s way of life:
- “Women of Faith in the Bible.”
- “How to Please God.”
- “Prayer, Fasting, and Meditation: Relating to God.”
- “Christian Conversion: How Does the Bible Say We Become Christians?”
- Change Your Life booklet (digital, audio and free print version available).
When we reflect on these three overarching behaviors, we can see how beneficial they are to living a godly life. So, let’s strive to do our best by applying these principles today!