Woman Lives Biblically: Rachel Held Evans Cuts Hair, Submits To Husband And Writes Book About It

By Amir Khan on October 18, 2012 9:27 AM EDT

Rachel Held Evans
Rachel Held Evans just finished living biblically for a year, and she’s now writing a book about it. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Rachel Held Evans just finished living biblically for a year, and she's now writing a book about it. The 31-year-old Christian writer and blogger spent the last 12 months taking the Bible literally, which meant growing out her hair (1 Corinthians 11:15), calling her husband "master" (1 Peter 3:5-6), and sleeping in the backyard while she was on her period (Leviticus 15:19-33).

Evans grew up as an Evangelical Christian in Tennessee, and when married, felt that her marriage was too egalitarian, and decided to see what a marriage would be like with strict, Bible-assigned gender roles.

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"That was one of the things that led me to question [traditional roles of womanhood]," Evans told the Times Free Press. "I wanted to sort of challenge that the Bible prescribes one right way to be a woman of faith."

Her inspiration came from a popular book by author A.J. Jacobs, who took on a similar challenge. Rachel Held Evan's book, "A Year of Biblical Womanhood," will be available on October 30.

Evans used puritanical laws from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and focused on one virtue per month. For her, growing out her typically short hair was one of the hardest things to do.

"I know it's trite and vain," she said, according to the Daily Mail. "but it was the hair thing. I know it's supposed to be a woman's glory to have long hair, but my hair was not made to be long."

In order to be more subservient to her husband during her year of living biblically, she stood on the side of a road with a sign that read "Dan is awesome" and called him "master" for a week.

"We were both very weirded out by that one," she said. "There was no way I was going to do that for a month, much less a year."

When the year was over, she said she was glad to be done, but happy to have learned some things, such as how to cook. She also said she has tossed out her conservative view of a woman's role in church, but still respects any women who choose to live a traditional lifestyle.

"True feminism is celebrating the very best gifts of women and how they use them," she said. "If that's what's best for them and their family, I applaud them. I think that honors God."

Above all, she said she learned that the Bible cannot be used as a literal path to lead your life by.

"I guess that's biblical personhood," she said. "That's the closest to an answer, if you had to boil it down. Love is a lot harder and messier, but there's a lot more freedom there. Freedom is scary. That's why we have this whole biblical womanhood culture. We wish the Bible was a blueprint [for everything], but it's not a blueprint."

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