Quoting Quiverfull: What Girls Should Study?

Quoting Quiverfull: What Girls Should Study? August 22, 2013

by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin of Visionary Daughters written to promote the Botkin family’s newest money-making webinar “Ready For Real Life” The Top 10 Things Girls Should Study (but rarely do)

Economics and Business – In Proverbs 31, even the virtuous woman’s wisdom and kindness are not praised as frequently as her business acumen, industry, and economic profitability, which is why we believe these are some of the most feminine things a Christian woman can study. (Yes, feminine.)

It’s interesting to note that although the man is the one biblically charged with providing for his household (Gen. 3:17-19, 1 Tim. 5:8), the kind of virtuous wife he’s told to look for (Prov. 31:10,11) is one who works and produces and brings in “no lack of gain,” in the context of her household economy and her husband’s interests. Along with cooking and cleaning, being a good homemaker should require learning the Proverbs 31 skills of buying, selling, investing, producing, marketing skills, having marketable skills, and of course stretching a dollar (v. 16,24,13,18,19,22, etc). By the way, this is the missing concept that made stay-at-home womanhood make sense once, in good times and in bad.

Law – If you want to understand the world, you have to understand the legal systems that rule it and where they came from – Common Law, Natural Law, Sharia Law, Constitutional Law, and so forth. Most importantly, though, you need a thorough knowledge of God’s law, His case-by-case specifics of how to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, the standard by which all other law systems must be evaluated. King David, the man after God’s own heart, wrote, “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

And when we someday have to arbitrate complex disputes in our future homes (“He broke my toy truck!”), we aspiring Proverbs 31 women need to have the “law of kindness” (literally, in Hebrew, the Decalogue or Pentateuch) on our tongues. If it’s not biblical justice from the law of God that we’re teaching our children, we will be teaching them the law of something else – be it libertarianism, communism, anarchism, liberalism, Victorianism, or Santa Claus.

Political Science and Current Events – If we women knew how big the world was, we wouldn’t be content to live for things that are so small. From geopolitics to local elections, from scandals in D.C. to insurrections in Egypt, we women live in a world much bigger than our living rooms, churches, and friends. Studying current events and world politics means looking at the world beyond our social media feeds, at a reality outside of movies and novels, at events more significant than the latest great recipe/decorating idea/deal on shoes/celebrity-breakup. This is how you get the big picture view of where you, your family, your friends, your church, your community, and your nation, fit into God’s unfolding plan for the world. This is how you learn to recognize opportunity, see needs, and prepare for the future. Remember, it was because the men of Issachar “had understanding of the times,” that they knew “what Israel ought to do.” (1 Chron. 12:32)

And if we want to help our fathers, brothers, and husbands lead in the gates and raise our children to possess the gates of their enemies, our interest in world events should be bigger than checking facebook to see what our friends had for lunch.

History – And not only biographies, but the whole saga of the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. History is also the story of how women helped or hurt their men, raised villains or heroes, and helped build or tear down nations. If you really want to learn what kind of woman to be (or not to be), read more history.

The Sciences – We Christian women have been made co-stewards of a physical world that operates according to certain rules and it’s helpful to know what some of them are. It’s impossible to grow things, fix things, measure things, build things, invent things, code things, and compare prices of things without a good foundation in math, geometry, chemistry, botany, engineering, and so forth. And don’t dismiss these things as man things: The work of dominion – which involves invention, exploration, classification, cultivation, and discovery – was assigned to the man and the woman.

Health, Nutrition, and Basic Medicine – If you have a family, hope to have a family, or are ever around any people, you’ll be better equipped to serve if you’re ready to deal with burns, bites, gashes, choking, allergies, dietary problems, and women suddenly going into labor in the backseat of the car. And if you have a good basic understanding of how God designed the body to work, you’ll be able to sort between health/diet trends, to be a better steward of the kingdom resource that is your body.

Home Management – Yes, we should have the basics down by the time we’re ten, which means we should have plenty of time over the next few years to get to the next level – learning to do everything better, faster, and healthier, for less money, or how to cook for thirty on an hour’s notice. We all cook and clean every day anyway, but how many of us approach household management and hospitality as something worth studying to do with excellence?

Culture and Aesthetics – Pretend you could wipe the current cultural scene clean of all the filth, and redesign the whole thing – art, music, fashion, film, the works – to be what you think culture should be like. What would that be? This is exactly what your home, your wardrobe, and your ipod are – your own little tailor-made corners of culture. So what kind of aesthetics are you promoting? Thomas Kinkade? Picasso? Chopin? Lecrae? VeggieTales? Forever 21? If culture is religion externalized, that means these choices are not religiously neutral, and it’s time for Christian women, the creators of home culture, to start knowing the difference. Even if the biggest stand you ever take for Christian culture is the music you play around the house, the art you hang on the wall, and the way you dress your children… that will make a difference.

Communication – Knowing what to say and how to say it. It starts with having something to say, and a love for the person you’re trying to say it to, both spiritual qualities. However, assembling the tools for communicating effectively does take study and practice, whether it be in writing, editing, public speaking, or carrying on a conversation. And let’s take studying how to carry on a conversation more seriously – it means learning to be discreet (Prov. 11:22, 1 Sam. 25), gracious (Prov. 11:16), able to give an answer (1 Pet. 3:15), to “speak a word in season to him who is weary” (Isa 50:4), to speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and to “make knowledge acceptable” (Prov. 15:2). Your tongue is a weapon powerful enough to set the world on fire. Do you know how to use it?

Theology – It’s remarkable how easy it is to want to live biblically without making a priority of actually studying the Bible. Some ask how important it is for a woman to study theology if she isn’t going to be a pastor or a missionary. Answer: If she wants to know God, think His thoughts after Him, live the way He wants her to, and understand any other subject in the world, she has to start with theology.

This is because theology is more than the study of esoteric controversies like supralapsarianism vs. infralapsarianism. It is, in essence, the study of God’s mind, heart, and will regarding everything in the world (as He reveals it in His word). It’s not something we study just to make ourselves feel brainy or help us win debates – to fuel “an unhealthy craving for controversy,” “quarrels about words,” or “foolish controversies,” which are “unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9, 2 Tim. 2:23, 1 Tim. 6:4). Studying theology means becoming “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9) It means searching to find what God thinks about culture and education and bioethics and pop music and relationships and women in the military and anything else that affects your life. It means we stop using the Bible as a therapist to make us feel better, and read it instead to be challenged, convicted, commanded, and changed. How could this be optional?

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Is there no end to making women feel awful? Is cooking, cleaning, bearing children, raising them, and being a good help meet not enough? Add to that women are supposed to know everything from economics to politics to basic health care. When do they have time to learn? Who will teach them this stuff?
    Also, isn’t higher education for women a bad thing in these circles? Or does this type of stuff not count as higher? My brain hurts.

  • Lolly

    After years of study, learning, reading, praying, working, the only applicable use of your knowledge is to go all old testament, bringing down biblical justice on a kid who broke a toy. Liberal justice is just too mild and weak and can’t measure up to the full on harshness of bringing down the hammer of biblical law when a plastic toy is broken.

    Over the top much?

  • Baby_Raptor

    You’d think that, if any of these people were actually studying law, they’d understand things such as “separation of church and state,” “laws cannot be based on religion,” “freedom of religion,” ETC

  • JeanPing

    Learn all the things! — a sentiment after my own heart. I cannot see a reason to argue against more education for women, even (especially) those who do not plan to enter the workplace.

  • “our interest in world events should be bigger than checking facebook to see what our friends had for lunch”
    Their facebook friends are the kind who say what they had for lunch? My facebook friends post links to things like an analysis of the political situation in Egypt, Barak Obama’s policies, showing solidarity in Sweden when someone from a minority group is attacked for being “different”, etc. And all this world politics while I sit at my desk in South Africa. The things they probably find useless (facebook) and the things they find good (politics) is very compatible.

  • NeaDods

    I find this interesting. On the face of it, learning a little about everything is a good way to live life. The reality of it is much different, though, because of course this list is SO broad that no woman can measure up, so it’s another reason for guilt. (Did anyone else get a flashback to the bit in Pride and Prejudice when Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy were listing what a well-bred woman ought to know and Lizzy Bennett said she didn’t think someone with all those accomplishments existed?)

    And, of course, there’s so much that they DON’T actually learn about things like history and politics and sharia aside from “us good. Them bad. Smite!” Because really understanding those things might take a huge chunk out of the indoctrination.

    And finally, this long list flies right in the face of the advice given in Surrendered Womanhood and Created To Be His Doormat, etc., where the man’s word is the only law and learning a woman needs. IIRC, Surrendered or one of those “he can only love an idiot” books actually tells women to do small jobs badly so that the man can feel all manly as he rushes to undo her mistakes.

  • Saraquill

    How are women to learn all this is they’re kept cloistered all day, and their parents have a bare minimum of education?

  • Trollface McGee

    A well rounded education is a really great thing. At uni I think I took classes in all of those areas and then some, and while I don’t use them all, the knowledge is important and valuable… but aren’t these the same people who think women going to college is a bad thing? Where exactly are they supposed to learn all this?

  • JeanPing

    Most people who want to learn without direct access to a university or free online MOOCs (assuming we call those evil) go for books. Free at your friendly neighborhood public library, and traditional as it gets. 🙂

  • Independent Thinker

    Translation: Studying the law means going to a homeschooling convention or church retreat, buying one of the 30 preapproved books for sale and reading it at home. All of the preapproved books are written from a religious perspective and avoid topics like equitable distribution of the law because it is incompatible with fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

  • Trollface McGee

    Assuming you have a good library. Mine tends to have all the popular stuff that’s of little substance and most of the educational stuff seems to be junior high level or less.
    Of course older versions of textbooks can be gotten for free or near free so that’s a good alternative.

  • persephone

    Yes, but God’s law transcends all the lame humanist stuff, you know, the laws that are actually Christlike in their care for people.

  • Christine

    I confess I was wondering who wrote this list… and then I got to the History section. And there you have the “It’s all women’s fault for being unwomanly hussies!” Because for much of human history, it’s MEN acting, not women… at least not much.
    I sometimes wonder what it would be like to get into a historical debate with someone like the Botkins, because history is a passion of mine. Would I leave them crying and broken in the corner, or would my head explode from the “history” they peddle?
    And as for science… they might want to actually pay more attention to the scientific method in their arguments on scientific subjects. My fifth grade niece could torpedo a lot of their “science.”

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    I have to giggle a little at their list of “cultural choices.” Is it meant to be contrasting “good and evil,” or a list of acceptable choices? Kincaid vs Picasso, or both? LECRAE? Have they actually deigned to accept a black man rapping, just because it’s Calvinist theology? How does that square with Kinism and Neo-Confederate stuff? I would be curious to know.

  • Trollface McGee

    Yeah and some of the stuff.. like Sharia law? Unless she’s planning to make contracts with a Muslim corporation or have a child with a Muslim then it’s not very useful.
    I have a cynical suspicion that when they say to learn all this good stuff.. they mean “learn the right-wing talking points” instead of actual knowledge.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, of course. Liberal=evil, you know.

    The recommendation to study Sharia could work one of two ways in my mind: In order to recognize that “creeping Sharia” thing they’re all so afraid of or because they’re jealous of countries that are theocracies and want to study how it was done so as to pull it off in America.

  • Revenwyn

    I just have to say “Created To Be His Doormat”- great rewrite of that title!

  • Emily

    Well, problemo numero uno is that what they have to say in the article directly contradicts the proposition of their title. What the real title should be is: “The Top 10 Things Girls Should Study, [whether they “do” them rarely or every day]”. What do they mean, study politics but never “do” politics. They do politics in the very books they write, much more so in their, most likely, daily conversation with the brothers they are “helping” become as educated in these areas as they think they should be. Teaching politics is “doing” politics in the sense that thinking about the issue is a part of the process involved in doing the issue, and whether or not that process is completed by the person doing the thinking is irrelevent. The same goes for anything they list. I “do” Sharia law when I create opinions about it in my mind because thinking about it, though I am not acting out the law, is a vital part of the whole “doing” concerning Sharia. Considering something is a part of “doing” it. A detective might tell you “Oh, we do pediphiles in this room and homicides in that”. What he is saying is that those two topics are considered and filed in this room or that.

    I don’t know if I am making sense, but honestly, their title just didn’t fit the article. It was plain weird, the whole thing. ;P And yes, it is strange that they would encourage personal education on a wide range of topics when many of the girls reading their blog are under the assumption that they should not learn anything unless it be from the great minds of their individuals fathers and/or brothers or whatever dominant male is in the area.