The Woman's Place in the Home


The elder women among the Christians were to teach the younger ones "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 :4,5).

Titus had been instructed by the Apostle to teach the young men and the elder men what was becoming to them; and he was also instructed to teach the elder women, so that all together might show their Christianity in the everyday things of life. But when it came to teaching the younger women, Titus was to leave that for the older women. Such is the care for propriety which is evidenced in the Apostle’s words, so that Titus would be guarded against the subtle danger of undue attention to the younger women. Oh, what havoc has been wrought among professing Christians by the seemingly good intentions of Christian men taking a special interest in the welfare of young women. Even the solicitation for the salvation of young women is fraught with gravest danger for servants of the Lord. Age does not give any man a license for unbecoming conduct toward the younger women.

There is then a place for the older (it is not a question of aged, but of older in contrast with the younger) sisters in helping to guide the younger sisters in what would honor God in the affairs of their own households. The Word of God could be brought into disrepute by the failure of Christian women to suitably fill their spheres in their own homes.

Plainly then the proper place for marked women, is in the home, for they are to be "keepers at home." Another translation renders this, "diligent in home work," and two others render it "domestic;" Still another translates it "busy about the house." And yet today married women outnumber the unmarried in the positions they hold in the world. It is common in the world for young married women to remain on their jobs which they held before, or to go out and secure one shortly after marriage. This is not a wholesome thing for Christians, for it is not according to the Word. Christian wives have a definite responsibility to be diligent in their housework and to give their attention to the care of their husbands, and children when there are any. The same Apostle speaking to Timothy said that the married women were to "guide the house," and "give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." While the husband is the head, and as such is responsible to the Lord for the conduct of the household, yet there is a place where the wife is to guide the workings of the house.

We have spoken of husbands who neglected their God-given responsibilities as head, but we have also known of some who would order the work in the homes for their wives, down to the smallest details. This is also out of place.

There are two distinct dangers in a wife’s working at some employment and leaving her appointed sphere in the home. The first of these is that it throws the relative positions of husband and wife out of order; the former loses the sense of his duty as the provider and supplier of necessary things in the home, and the latter in some measure assumes the position of the husband in earning money and thereby takes over some of his place. It simply does not promote godly order in the home. The second is that the added warnings of the wife tend to lift the family’s standard of living above that which the work of the husband alone could provide, and once the standard is raised it is very hard to bring it back down. If at a later time the wife is compelled to give up her employment, unhappiness and discontent result.

Sometimes there is another danger lurking for married women who go out to work; that is, a moral and social one. They may be thrown into contacts and associations with other men. These may be designing, and thus a Christian wife may be unnecessarily thrown into temptation. Christians have many times found themselves in places of great trial and danger where they scarcely knew which way to turn, then if they had been where the Lord would have them, they would have escaped the trying ordeal. Abraham, godly man that he was, was ill-prepared for the trial he met in Egypt concerning his wife, but why was he in Egypt? God called him to Canaan. It is well to desire, "lead us not into temptation," and wise not to deliberately court it.

There is a wholesome lesson for us in Genesis 18. The Lord appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre as "he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day" (v. 1). Evidently the two angels that visited Sodom were also guests of Abraham that day. What a privileged man Abraham was! We read "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Heb. 13:2). These angels did not appear as angels, but as men; and so Abraham "entertained angels unawares." He also entertained the Lord of glory that day. But what would Abraham have done without the aid and cooperation of Sarah his wife? When "the men" asked him, "Where is Sarah thy wife?" he could reply, "Behold, in the tent." She was not away working in a neighboring village; she was "in the tent." And being in the tent, Sarah was there to prepare the feast for those heavenly guests.

Does it not interfere with showing hospitality to the saints (with entertaining strangers) when the wife is not the "keeper at home?" Does not many an opportunity for thus serving the Lord pass by the door of such? There is no better place to serve the Lord than in the one which is according to His Word. Who can measure the influence of a God-fearing wife who manages her home as unto the Lord, who recognizes her husband as her head, and who is ready for every good work which falls within her sphere? Great blessings have come in all ages from women who kept their appointed places and served therein for God. Jael did not go out of her tent to gain a victory that the army of Israel did not gain, nor did she use weapons that were not those which a woman of a tent would regularly handle (see Judges 4:18-22).

Women occupy a blessed place in the New Testament. Martha served the Lord in her home, as also Mary in another way. Other women ministered to His needs. John Mark’s mother opened her house to the saints, and a large prayer meeting was held there when Peter was imprisoned (Acts 12). Priscilla labored with her husband and we read of the assembly being in their home both when they lived in Ephesus and in Rome (1 Cor. 16:16). This epistle was written from Ephesus (Rom. 16:34). They also took Apollos home and instructed him in the way of God more perfectly (Acts 18:24-28). Would that have been feasible without a home to which to take him, or without a Priscilla in it? Phebe is mentioned in Romans 16 as having been a succorer of many, even of Paul himself. There are many other women named in Romans 16 as receiving honorable mention from the Apostle. Some are said to have labored in the Lord and one labored much in the Lord. How they did it we are not told, but this we do know, there is a place for women to glorify God and to serve the Lord without "usurping authority over the man," or speaking in the assembly, both of which are forbidden.