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Friday, September 13, 2013

Does the Bible say I have to be a stay at home wife/mom?

A few months ago I had an interesting conversation with a woman that is very special to me that got me thinking about the roll of a woman and whether or not it is Biblical for women to work away from the home and if all Godly women are supposed to be stay at home moms and wives.  In pondering this I have had several conversations with other women about this subject. Many women have a very narrow one sided view on the subject in one extreme or the other. So I set out to examine this subject and find out for myself what I believe based on the Bible.

I am not a teacher of the Bible, I am not super schooled in exactly what every word or verse means. But I do know how to research and I know that I must take a look at original meanings and the setting in which they were written.
I will preface by say that I completely and totally believe that I have been called by the Holy Spirit to work away from the home in the career and school I currently work in. I know the voice of the Lord and I obey it, but still I wanted to find out if I had Biblical backing and I needed to be confidant that the calling I felt and heard were indeed from the Spirit. I test the Spirit(s) by ensuring there is a Biblical basis.
That said, what I write is simply my opinion, agree or disagree I choose not to live my life in discord arguing about these types of issues but instead examining and finding out for myself so I can live the most pure and holy life possible for a human woman. I am far from perfect but each day gets better and I draw closer to my Lord.

So when talking to others I found Titus 2:4 being thrown up a lot as the Biblical basis for women being commanded to stay at home and not work. I found many different versions of this verse.

(Teach) "The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;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: 2-5

All translations have different meanings of the one line that is used: keepers at home; workers at home; homemakers; manage their homes; fulfilling their duties at home; taking good care of their households; keepers of their homes, and so on. All in all if we go back the original meanings of the words we find the KJV version uses the word "keepers" which in its original context means "guardians". A homemaker is defined as someone who manages the home. 
So is this verse enough on its own to keep a woman in the home working? Do women really have to be only homemakers? Or can we do both if we choose? 

So let us understand a bit about the day in which this was written, women did not do all of the work in their homes to begin with, in those days slaves were abundant. Women oversaw the duties of the slaves. Women planned things, birthed children and served their husbands. Women indeed did a lot of work, but not all of it, most importantly a woman was a servant unto her husband and ensured the home ran smoothly. Many women also had slaves looking after the children. 

in my opinion the main point of this verse is telling women to be kind, to be loving, to ensure their homes are in order not just physically but to ensure their spiritual house is in order. To ensure no strife is in her home, heart or family. To ensure all of these things so no one can ever doubt the goodness of God because of her actions. Everything she does must show God. Don't give people a reason to doubt. 

In this same way we can examine Proverbs 31; Verse 27 tells us "she watches over the affairs of her household" Ok, so there we see it again, the woman is basically the keeper of her home. But then we see the rest of the chapter and we see that she works, she leaves the home. She trades items, she makes and sells items, she buys land with her own money and works that land. She has servants that she cares for. Above all else she cares for and supports her husband. Because of her, her husband is respected at the city gate. 
In those days to sell and trade she would have gone to work in the market places. She travels, she is busy busy busy. 

Because of the examination of what I have shared here and other things I have examined I find that working away from my home is not Un-Biblical. I take care of my household and ensure no strife is in it, because of the things I do my husband is respected in the city or the district. There is much more but I am running out of space here. 

For me what this whole conversation led me to was a very simple conclusion, wives listen to the Holy Spirit and what He tells you to do. Wives listen to your husbands with respect and be submissive to what he wants. If he wants you to stay in the home then do that with diligence and if he wants you to work and you do, then do that with diligence. 
Above all else do not let your homes fall apart because your hands and hearts are idle. Whatever you do, do it with a servants heart, serve your Lord, serve your husband and take care of and nurture the home that you build together. 

So ladies, stay at home or work away from home, do what you do and give it your all. Honor your God and your husband with a joyful heart, and judge not anyone who doesn't do exactly what you do. 

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