That they may teach the young women to be ... keepers at home, ... that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Tit 2:4-5

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What Does it Mean to be a Keeper at Home?

This is a sensitive area in Christianity today but failure to give heed to this scripture is causing the Lord's churches to suffer the consequences for disregarding his word.  Our modern career oriented society is diametrically opposed to the scriptural teaching on this subject.  Furthermore, our  indulgence in the prevailing atheistic, materialistic philosophy of our times is resulting in the consequent loss of God's blessings in our families and churches.

It is simply not possible to have a career and be a keeper at home.  The scriptures never teach a woman to seek a career.  The scriptures consistently teach a woman to be a keeper at home.  Further the scriptures do not say be a keeper of the house.  You can keep the house clean and hardly ever set foot in it.  No, the scriptures say be a keeper at (meaning in) the home.  Houses may sit empty but a home is the place kept by a special person, a woman. 

This does not mean that women are prohibited from having any role outside the home.  The scriptures do not teach that a woman is prohibited from trying to earn income for her family.  The Bible teaches that a virtuous woman may earn income.  Proverbs  31 says, She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. (Pr 31:13, 17-19,24).  The woman spoken of in Proverbs 31 is an example, meaning a woman doesn't have to be engaged in tailoring clothes but the point is her business is based in the home.  It is important that her business is home based because it is the only way she can fulfill the requirements set out in God's order of authority.  The order of authority teaches that a woman is to be submissive to her husband, Eph 5:22,24.  If she works for an employer, there is a conflict with the order of authority because she must now submit to another man's authority rather than her husband's.

Another Biblical avenue open towards women desiring to earn income is to work for their husbands.  Working for one's husband keeps the order of authority intact and allows a woman to be an asset to her spouse in the operation of a business.

I'm sure some reading this may feel this doctrine is too ridged.  Aren't there exceptions to the rule?  Are there not times when it is OK for a woman to have a career?  First, let me say that we are not under the law but under grace.  A Christian woman who has a career is not endangering her redemption in Jesus Christ.  However, we are not to use grace as an excuse to disobey the word of God.  Second, there might be extenuating circumstances where God doesn't necessarily look down on a woman who holds a job outside the home.  But those circumstances would be exceptionally rare and not the norm.  In our day, Christian women with careers have become the norm and not the exception.  It has become too common to be scriptural.  Third a woman who works for her husband may still fall under the category of being a keeper at home.  By remaining under his authority as a laborer in his work she fulfills the duties of being a help meet to her husband, Genesis 2:18.

If you hold the philosophy that a woman is too smart to sit at home having no career and not living up to her income potential then I encourage you to read once again the Proverbs 31 woman.  I have heard some woman say they are too smart to just be a house wife and use that to justify a career.  If you are indeed that intelligent the Bible authorizes you to put that intelligence to good use through a home based income.  An intelligent woman with drive and enthusiasm can be very successful and Biblically sound working for herself of working with her husband.

What is a young unmarried woman to do?  The Bible gives instruction about this in two places. 

First Paul says in 1Ti 5:14, I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.  It is the purpose of God that ordinarily, the younger women are to marry.  Seeking higher education etc. is not necessarily wrong but such things should be pursued with the understanding that following the instruction of 1 Timothy 5:14 takes precedent.  Such things as higher education are good if you can afford it.  What can be afforded really doesn't include borrowed money.  Our country makes getting into debt too easy and getting out of debt very hard.  A young woman exiting college with large debt is under bondage to pay it back.  Too often when she marries and has children she is forced to work to pay off the debt or her husband, if he is able, must pay off the debt for her education.  Likewise, new cars purchased with borrowed money are to be avoided for the same reason.  It is a mistake for Christians to take upon themselves financial burdens that will interfere with their duties to the scriptures when the time comes for marriage and child bearing.

Second, Paul says  The aged women likewise ...that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed, Titus 2:3-5.

Elder James Taylor

 
 

10/1/2006

 

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