What Is a Helpmeet?

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JD Miller's picture

Don, thank you for your work on this article.  In a previous ministry I faced some conflict because of what was being taught by Debbie Pearl in her book "Created to be His Helpmeet".  Her teaching was conflicting with what I was preaching from the scriptures.  Of course Debbie's disciple who boldly promoted here book was not pleased and she got her husband upset as well.  We recently ran into another woman who had read the book and now refers to it as "Created to be His Doormat."  It seems that some women come away from the "helpmate" teaching thinking they need to be a doormat, and others come away from it having figured out how to manipulate their husbands while appearing submissive.  It is refreshing to see the Biblical approach of recognizing that we are there for each other.

Ron Bean's picture

This was a breath of fresh air. Having been in ministries where wives were treated like doormats, this was a blessed reminder that we men need "help". I found it interesting to read that when God saw that it was not good for man to be alone the next thing he did was to parade the whole of creation past Adam and Adam came to the same conclusion that, while it was all good, there was not a suitable helper and companion for him. 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

JD Miller's picture

Ron wrote:

I found it interesting to read that when God saw that it was not good for man to be alone the next thing he did was to parade the whole of creation past Adam and Adam came to the same conclusion that, while it was all good, there was not a suitable helper and companion for him. 

I was single for a lot of years.  During that time I had a good dog and a good horse.  The horse was much stronger than my wife.  The dog worked harder at pleasing me than my  wife does (you couldn't say that about a cat). 

Neither the dog nor the horse ever talked back to me, but that was not good.  My wife does talk to me.  We interact.  We meet each others needs in a fitting way.  Sometimes she even talks back to me in a way that expresses disagreement.  God knows that is what I often need and that is why he gave her to me.  There are times that I am wrong and she helps me to grow and be a better Christian.  There are times I am right and I need to help her see where she is wrong so she can be a better Christian.  We sharpen each others iron. 

I'll take her over a dog or horse any day.  I do not want to diminish those who have been gifted with singleness, but my wife fills a very important need in my life.

T Howard's picture

According to the NIDOTTE, the word in the context of Genesis 2, "is used in a general way to denote mutual assistance in the marriage relationship by one who corresponds to man."

Nothing in the context of the passage suggests Eve was a "strong ally" or that wives in general are "strong allies" to their husband. That conclusion is the result of a creative word study and is an example of an exegetical fallacy.

Jay's picture

I thought this was a really great article, with the paragraph cited above as one of the best and strongest.  Thanks, Don!

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

T Howard wrote:

According to the NIDOTTE, the word in the context of Genesis 2, "is used in a general way to denote mutual assistance in the marriage relationship by one who corresponds to man."

Nothing in the context of the passage suggests Eve was a "strong ally" or that wives in general are "strong allies" to their husband. That conclusion is the result of a creative word study and is an example of an exegetical fallacy.

If that is all NIDOTTE says about the term, I'd be surprised. And if that is all the term means in Genesis 2, it is the only use in the Bible that carries that meaning. It never means that in any other reference.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

T Howard's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

If that is all NIDOTTE says about the term, I'd be surprised. And if that is all the term means in Genesis 2, it is the only use in the Bible that carries that meaning. It never means that in any other reference.

 

Look it up yourself. The NIDOTTE does speak to other usages of the term, but in the context of Genesis 2, that's what it says. That is similar to what TWOT states in the context of Genesis 2: "While this word designates assistance, it is more frequently used in a concrete sense to designate the assistant. (Cf. Gen 2:18, 20 where Eve is created to be Adam’s help[er].)"

In the context of Genesis 2, both the NIDOTTE and TWOT disagree with this statement:

Quote:
This survey shows us that a Big Idea of this word “help” in Genesis 2.18 is help in the sense of a powerful ally who can tip the balances in the battle in your favor. It certainly isn’t "help” in the sense of a servant, the “hired help,” or in the sense of some junior subordinate. This “helper” God plans for Adam is a Very Strong Help with whom he can face all the challenges of life.

The fallacy you're committing is in assigning additional meaning to this word in Genesis 2 based not on the context of the passage but on how the word may or may not be used in other contexts.

This is similar to saying every time (or almost every time) the word agape is used in the NT, it refers to God's divine, unconditional love.