Titus 2 & Working Moms

An Exegetical Analysis

by Mark Hanson


Doug Wilson in Reforming Marriage

If a woman is competent, and she should be, in due time her industry will take her outside the home (Pr. 31:10-31). The Bible does not teach that the woman’s place is in the home; it requires that the home be her priority, but she is not at all limited to the home.[1]

Introduction: There and Back Again

 “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” - Titus 2:4-5,

About a decade ago, I went from being a staunch opponent to women working outside the home (stemming from my interpretation of Titus 2) to virtually having no biblical issue with a woman working outside the home at all.  During the years that followed, my new position would still undergo quite a few transformations both from further reflection on Scripture and through various life experiences.  It is my desire to now suggest what I believe the Scriptures say on this topic.  I originally wrote on this issue many years ago and a fair amount of this article will have many similarities with the original but if you continue to read you will see that several things have changed.  I hope you will find it even more biblically balanced and harmonious with God’s original creational intent and design for women.

As I did in my last article, I once again desire to engage the homemaker-only position that many good Christ-following and Bible-believing Christians hold to and so I offer a few quotes that describe their position on Titus 2, Jennie Chancey,

St. Paul evidently believed it would be obvious enough to his readers [That women working outside the home is a sin] that he didn't need to say, 'Leaving the home and going out into the workforce is sin,' as Rev. Sandlin seems to think is necessary in order for us to avoid Phariseeism.[2]

This writer sees Paul statement regarding being “keepers at home” in his letter to Titus as an emphatic condemnation of women from working outside the home. She expresses her frustration at those who disagree with her assessment, such as the Rev. Andrew Sandlin (who believes that working mothers are not in sin and can be a helpmate to their husbands by doing so) when she says, “What truly amazes me is that Rev. Sandlin can state so confidently that the Bible does not call a woman leaving her God-given, home-based occupation for work outside the home sin.”[3]

Melissa Keen, would be another person to hold to the homemaker-only position,

Looking again at the passage above [Titus 2:4-5] let me draw your attention to the phrase ‘that the word of God be not blasphemed.’ This is the chief point and objective of the list of qualifications of a godly young woman. I believe Paul is saying that disregarding this exhortation blasphemes the name of God – strong medicine for many, I know…My belief is that God did not intend for His women to pursue careers outside the home…In summary, I do not see how a career outside the home in any way honors or obeys God’s design for who we are as women.[4]

Jennie Chancey and Melissa Keen are bold in their assertions since many other biblically conservative complementarians (Christians that believe that the man is the God-ordained leader in the home and in the church) such as John Piper, John MacArthur, Jr., Wayne Grudem and the anti-feminist organization CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) would take issue with Chancey and Keen’s outright condemnation of women working outside of the home.  One should take note then that there is a consensus among these theologians and pastors regarding that Titus 2 does not ban all-together married women working outside the home.  John MacArthur states such an opinion here, “There is nothing in Scripture that specifically forbids a woman from working outside the home as long as she is fulfilling her priorities in the home (Proverbs 31).”[5]  Though this is informative it is not dispositive so let’s dive into the Scriptures.

But The Greek Says...

No intervarsity debate would be vigorous without a lexical examination of the text. Rev. William Einwechter, in his article published in The American View, “Exegetical Defense of the Woman as Keeper at Home” [6] agrees this is one of the key battlegrounds when he bases part of his home-makers only argument on his belief that the NIV and some other Bible translations have misinterpreted the Greek text in Titus 2:4-5 to accommodate to modern “feminist” thinking,

Nonetheless, in accord with the spirit of our age that looks in disdain upon the notion that the sphere of a married woman’s work is her home, many in the church have rejected the earlier consensus understanding of “keepers at home.” Instead, to be “keepers at home” is interpreted [by those interpreters that are supposedly affected by the spirit of the age] to mean that a wife and mother is “to be busy at home” (NIV), i.e., she “should not be idle or derelict in fulfilling home duties.”[7] In other words, “keepers at home” does not define the married woman’s calling or the sphere of her work, but is simply an admonition not to neglect her domestic duties. Therefore [Paraphrasing again those biblical interpreters who supposedly abide by the spirit of the age], a wife and mother may pursue a career outside of the home – as a lawyer, teacher, sales clerk, etc. – as long as she fulfills her responsibilities in the home…It is our belief that the traditional interpretation [That women are not to work outside the home] is the correct one. We base this opinion on the meaning of the Greek word translated “keepers at home.”[8]

As stated, Rev. Einwechter bases his assumptions that most biblical commentators have married the spirit of the age, including those who worked on the NIV, by the definition of the Greek word oikourous, found in Titus 2:5, which has been translated as “keep at home” or “guard the house”. Interestingly enough, because of Rev. Einwechter’s thesis we must now look into lower textual criticism (Definition: The study of all extant Biblical manuscripts to help determine what was the original text of the Bible.) to see if the NIV and other modern translations have indeed corrupted the text in Titus 2:5. The reason that we must have lower textual criticism is because we have over 5000 Greek manuscripts containing all or part of the New Testament with no two manuscripts being exactly identical (Note: No orthodox Christian doctrine is in question by any textual variant issue.). Because we do not have the original Autographs we must compare and contrast these manuscripts together to help determine what the original text of Scripture looked like. The principles used in this process are the following:

A. External evidence:[9]

  1. The earlier manuscripts are usually closer to the original. The Alexandrian text type is usually to be preferred (because of its early dating) to the Caesarean, Western, and Byzantine types. The Byzantine is particularly late and “smoothed out”, meaning there have been a few additions to the text so that it does not read “as rough”.  
  2. Manuscript variants supported by witnesses (writings from the early church and the Patristics) from different geographical regions are more likely to be original.
  3. Manuscript variants that read the same from different textual families are more likely to be original than manuscript variants that have many manuscripts but are from the same family.

B. Internal evidence:[10]

1. The more difficult reading is generally closer to the original. Scribes would sometimes change readings to make them easier to understand.

2. The shorter reading is generally closer to the original. Scribes were more likely to add material than to omit it.

3. In parallel passages, the reading that is different is generally to be preferred over the reading that is identical. Scribes would sometimes change readings to make them more parallel.

C. Bengel’s Rule:[11]

1. The reading that best explains the origin of the others is the one most likely to be original.

Looking at the various Greek manuscripts using the above principles, the Greek texts that are based on the Alexandrian text type (family of manuscripts) is preferred when doing an exegetical and lexical study of Scripture. Rev. Einwechter argues his position on Titus 2 based on the Greek word oikourous (translated “keepers at home”) which is not found in the Alexandrian text type but instead in the newer, less reliable Byzantine text type. In contrast, the Alexandrian text type uses the Greek word oikourgous, which means “workers at home” (could be translated also “busy at home”). Not only does lower textual criticism and New Testament Greek Scholars support the use of oikourgous, but it is also interesting to note that Clement of Rome (who is thought to be the same Clement who was a friend of the Apostle Paul and mentioned in Scripture – Philippians 4:3) uses the verb form of this same Greek word, oikourgous, in his letter to the Corinthians (The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians) while alluding to Paul’s command in Titus 2:4-5.[12]  Lastly, one of the most quoted and respected Greek New Testament Greek scholars, A.T. Robertson, also believes that oikourgous is the preferred Greek word to be used in Titus 2:4-5.[13]

It's All Greek To Me

Oikourgous, is a compound of oikos “house” with the word ergon “work” added to it. This is in contrast to oikourous (Greek word found in Byzantine text type) which too has the word oikos “house” but instead is combined with the word ouros “guard/watcher” rather than ergon “work” combined with it. Jim Stowe, a homeschool and seminary graduate from Toronto notes, “The King James translation “keepers at home” [Based off of the Byzantine text type] has led many people to understand the passage to mean that women ought to keep themselves at home. This idea is not suggested by the original text.”[14]  The impact of this is the following; oikourgous does not exclude the possibility of a woman working outside the home since its emphasis seems to be that women should be working with things having to do with the home/household.

The Town Gossip

In the paragraphs that follow we will see that oikourgous contextually in the Titus 2:5 passage (The main guiding principle in defining what a Greek word means is accomplished by looking at its surrounding context in the text) that it is obvious Paul is not banning women from working outside the home but instead is encouraging women to work hard at being busy with things that pertain to her household (part of which includes domestic work) in order to avoid being idle which leads to sin, such as slander and gossip. (i.e. being slanderers and gossipers)”

First, the very context and pericope of Titus 2:5 lends itself to this interpretation. We see the reasons for Paul’s command in Titus 2:5 is given in order that the women would “not to be slanderers” [Titus 2:3]. In Titus 2:6, just following the command to women in Titus 2:5 [“Be busy at home”], Paul says his command to the men is being said “Similarly” to what was just given to the women “so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

So to summarize the first point, the immediate context of Titus 2:5, the whole context of the letter to Titus and the whole Pauline corpus (which I will show more of later) bears out the fact that Paul’s desire for women is to avoid blighting the name of Christ by being idle which would lead to gossiping and slander; and that the solution for such a problem is to be hard workers at one’s responsibilities and priorities.       See I Timothy 5:13-14,

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel [Paul states a contrasting solution, “Be busy taking care of your responsibilities!”] younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander [by being idle which again would lead to slander and gossip].

My question now then is the following: Would working industriously and diligently in a job outside the home (Certainly helping to provide for one’s family is not something that can only be done by the husband, but according to Proverbs 31 can be done by the wife too) cause “opportunity for slander”? No! Paul is stating that it is being idle, lazy and a gossip that blasphemes the Word of God. Rev. Peter Hurst agrees,

It isn’t as though the world around these Christians had such a high view of the family that it was a great sin for a daughter or woman or widow to have employment, but that the world did recognize laziness and being busybodies and irresponsibility and other such things as opposing Christianity, with its emphasis on love, self-control, etc.” Paul in other letters equates idleness as leading to gossip, II Thessalonians 3:11, “We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.[15]

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Workshop

Idleness is a very serious sin in Scripture, which causes shame to the name of Christ, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. [II Thessalonians 3:6] So Paul’s command in Titus 2:5, “Be busy at home” is in contrast to being idle outside the home, which leads to gossip. Paul does not seem to be contrasting working physically in the home with working physically outside the home. So the main contrast seems to be with being busy versus being idle.

The fact is that being at home still would not be protection enough. Many in the world today who work alongside Christian women would testify to their good character, and know others who stay at home who might be lazy or wasting time on the computer or telephone. Employment doesn’t wear horns, and halos don’t automatically appear over homes…my point is that the person needs to be godly, and the place they are is not what makes them such nor contaminates them.[16]

Other Arguments Examined

ONLY ONE MASTER THEORY

Melissa Keen and others view of Titus 2 is an outgrowth of their interpretation of Scriptures such as I Peter 3:1a,5, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands…For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands”. They believe for a woman to properly follow passages like the one (Eg: Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18) just mentioned in I Peter 3, that it would be impossible to hold outside employment. They believe that a woman could not truly be a helpmate to her husband if she held outside employment. They often quote a Jesus (out of context) to support their view, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).  Melissa Keen states this point of view,

In my understanding, this leaves no room for a wife to be in subjection or submission to a man other than her husband, such as a boss at work. Jesus Himself taught “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).[17]

It is my understanding though that this position is a logical fallacy of the “false dilemma/false disjunction” (For those logic junkies this is an improper appeal to the law of the excluded middle[18]). The fallacy of the “false dilemma” is when there is an apparent contradiction between two theses or premises that seemingly forces one into an either/or situation when. A “false dilemma” is often caused when a premise is not valid or legitimate.

Let us break down the Only One Master Theory argument to the following: A woman is absolutely excluded (appeals to the law of the excluded middle, a law of logic) from Biblically submitting to her husband if she works outside the home according to Matthew 6:24 (“You cannot serve two masters”). The argument then concludes that Biblical submission to one's husband is an either/or situation as it relates to outside employment because of its original premise regarding the application of Matthew 6:24 ("You cannot serve two masters"). Why is then the Only One Master Theory invalid? Its premise is invalid (that submission is an either/or situation) because nowhere in Scripture (when read in its correct context) does it state (without making eisegetical “associative jumps”) that a woman cannot be employed outside the home and not at the same time be Biblically submitted to her husband.

Let me make my case. The Only One Master Theory, takes a Scripture, which is speaking of what will be the motivation and master of one’s heart (self & self-pleasing or Christ & God-pleasing), and instead makes an “associative jump” to its thesis on women working outside the home. An unwarranted associative jump is defined as,

When a word or phrase triggers off an associated idea concept, or experience that bears no close relation to the text at hand, yet is used to interpret the text. This error is shockingly easy to commit in textual preaching, overlooking the old adage that a text without a context becomes a pretext for a proof text.[19]

The reason that this is an “associative jump” is as follows. 

  1. The context is speaking of one’s spiritual master using the earthly analogy of slavery. First, the wife’s relationship to her husband is not one of a slave.  Second, Jesus is speaking of a relationship where the master is someone who “owns the other person”. Jesus is making a stark contrast here. A boss or supervisor certainly would never “own” a woman so the analogy falls apart.
  2. A woman can be a helpmate to her husband by working for another man/woman by helping provide income for the family. A wife working outside of the home is not being a helpmate to her supervisor in the Biblical sense otherwise she would be pooling her finances with her supervisor. When a woman works for another she is merely bartering her services for monetary reimbursement much like the Proverbs 31 woman who made belts for the merchants.
  3. Some would say that the Proverbs 31 woman worked under her husband’s name but Scripture does not say that one way or another so it is not required of a woman to sub-contract for a company under her husband’s business name in order to be Biblical.
  4. If the Only One Master Theory thesis were true, then Christian women who were slaves in the 1st Century (slaves made up the majority of the Church) would have not been able to follow Paul’s commands to lovingly submit to their husbands.

We are told in Scripture that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” [Colossians 3:23-24] Does this verse somehow just apply to men and not to women? If it does apply equally to both genders, then why is it impossible to submit to ones husband while working outside the home? Family and work lives are separate spheres. By following the leadership of her boss does not mean that the wife is not following the leadership of her husband. If the decision to work outside the home was made together as a couple with the husband desiring that the wife be able to contribute to the family in a way that would utilize his wife’s skills to the utmost then the wife in no way has compromised her place as a Godly wife to her husband.

In conclusion, since the Only One Master Theory’s premise, based on its interpretation/application of Matthew 6:24 has been denied, its conclusion has been denied as well.

DOUBLE CURSE THEORY

Another argument used is the “double curse” theory.  In summary fashion this theory states that if a woman works outside the home she is bearing both of the "Genesis curses" of childbearing and labor.  This is based the fact that God told Eve that she would have pain in child-bearing and Adam that he would have to painfully toil the ground (The soil would be cursed and so growing crops would have greater difficulty).

Let's look at this thesis more in depth.  The effects of the Fall are found everywhere. Even a wife who stays at home feels the effects of the curse in her everyday domestic work. Is not even the work that a wife does at home just as important to providing for the family’s sustenance as compared to the husband’s labors outside the home? Also, the Bible says nowhere that it is wrong for the women to help bare the “curse of the ground”. In fact, it is ironic that in Proverbs 31:16 it speaks about the Godly woman toiling the ground, which is the very thing that God had cursed.

Sometimes, I Timothy 5 is referenced in regard to the man providing for his house, which we all agree on; but it isn’t true that women don’t work to provide for the household. Here’s a disconnect with some in the patriarchy movement: on one hand, the woman must not work to provide for the household; on the other hand, her work in a home-based business, which monies help provide for the household, are most welcomed. Whether the Proverbs 31 woman was working in or outside the home is often disputed; but there can be no dispute that her work provided income for the family; indeed, it seems it probably accounted for a large portion of it, maybe more than her husband earned.[20]

DOMINION MANDATE THEORY

The last argument is that they see the command in Genesis 1:26-28 (often called the Dominion Mandate[21]) as given principally to husbands and that the wife then fulfills the Dominion Mandate by being a helpmate to her husband. They infer then that if a woman is working for another man she is neglecting her duty to help her husband and instead is helping another man fulfill his Dominion Mandate. Our response is two-fold:

First, the Bible says nowhere that a woman can only fulfill the Dominion Mandate by only and solely being a helpmate to her husband. While being a helpmate is certainly an integral-part to a woman’s calling, the woman was equally and directly called to do all the things found in the Dominion Mandate.

Second, the dispute that the woman is helping her supervisor fulfill his Dominion Mandate, we cannot help but see that even asking this question reveals flawed thinking from the start. A woman is not commanded to directly help her husband with his earthly vocation, of which is only a part of his own fulfillment of the Dominion Mandate. Every part of life is one way or another part of the Dominion Mandate. Man corporately as a whole is called to the Dominion Mandate not family per family. Pete Hurst does a reduction-absurdum to this type of thinking,

As for a woman helping a male boss fulfill his dominion mandate, what about her husband? Isn’t her husband in violation of working for a male boss, because he’s helping that guy fulfill his dominion mandate instead of working on his own? Maybe it is even more serious---by working for the male boss, he is replacing the boss’s wife, because she is the only one who is to be a helper to the boss.[22]

What Biblical Complementarian Scholars Say

Let us look at what some of the vocal opponents of feminism, known as biblical complementarians, say about this issue.  George W. Knight, III, Th.D., in one of his contributing chapters in the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, states,

Some Christians have interpreted Titus 2:5 (“workers at home,” NASB) to mean that any work outside the home is inappropriate for the wife and mother. But the fact that wives should care for their home does not necessarily imply that they should not work outside the home, any more than the statement that an “overseer” in the church should “manage his own household” (1 Timothy 3:4-5) means that he cannot work outside the home. In neither case does the text say that! The dynamic equivalent translation of Titus 2:5 by the NIV, “to be busy at home,” catches the force of Paul’s admonition, namely, that a wife should be a diligent homemaker. [Knight's footnote] Probably the KJV rendering “keepers at home” lent itself to that misinterpretation.[23]

We Present: Mrs. Proverbs 31!

What about Proverbs 31? What does it have to say concerning the issue of women working outside the home? The passage of Proverbs 31 to be sure is hotly debated amongst those who are either on the pro or con side of women working outside the home. It is my belief that Proverbs 31 does not condemn outside employment for women because it speaks of an industrious woman who provides for her family by making money (verse 24, “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” and again in verse 18, “She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.”) and whose work certainly in not always in the physical locality of the home (verse 17, “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”). This extra money and material goods that she acquires she multiplies, “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” [Verse 16] Her monetary profit is not used to selfishly lavish herself with pleasures but is used instead to make sure her family’s needs are met (Verse 21-22 – “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple) and to provide for the less fortunate (Verse 20 – “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy”).

Hi-Ho! Hi-Ho!  It's Off to Work We Go!

The Proverbs 31 woman actually does much of her work outside the home as observed so lucidly by Jim Stowe,

Interestingly, most of the things mentioned are done away from home. Verse 14 compares her to "the ships of the merchant." The point of this comparison is the fact that she brings things to her home from a great distance. "She considers a field and buys it." This too is done outside the home. Not only this, but she then plants grapes in the field that she bought. This is something that would take a considerable amount of time outside of the home. “She delivers sashes to the merchant." Such delivery would involve leaving the home.[24]

So any work outside the home should not be an ends by itself but should instead be an ends to further the family and home life to the glory of God. John MacArthur agrees,

The point is not so much that a woman’s place is in the home as that her responsibility is for the home. She may have a reasonable outside job or choose to work in the church or to minister in a Christian organization, a hospital, a school, or many other ways. But the home is a wife’s special domain and always should be her highest priority. That is where she is able to offer the most encouragement and support to her husband and is the best place for extending hospitality—to Christian friends, to unbelieving neighbors, and to visiting missionaries or other Christian workers.[25]

Ontologically Equal & Functionally Different

It is important in this discussion to frame my argument within the context that God created women and men as equals both ontologically and spiritually because they were both made in God’s image and equally given the responsibility to have dominion over God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-28; Galatians 3:28; I Peter 3:7). God has also creatively and beautifully made man and woman with both similarities and differences in their makeup, function, responsibilities and specific life purposes in order to glorify God and further His Kingdom while here on earth. Scripture while affirming that the husband is to be the loving servant-leader denies any superiority or inferiority whatsoever in the husband/wife relationship.

The wife is of equal worth and talent with the man (Genesis 2:20, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” - Hebrew for “helper suitable”: ezer kenegdo meaning an equally corresponding help); is spiritually equal with man (I Peter 3:7, “a fellow heir of the grace of life”), is in a one-flesh union with him in marriage (Genesis 2:24, “and they will become one flesh”) and co-interdependent with the man (Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone”) for, “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God” (I Corinthians 11:11-12) and “the wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” (I Corinthians 7:4).  Donald Bloesch, in the spirit of Paul’s view on men and women in I Corinthians notes in his book, “Is the Bible Sexist?” that the harmful fruit of egalitarianism (a willful ignorance of God’s created intent for male and female roles) has been anarchy and matriarchy. He also warns us that "a very real danger in the patriarchal family is tyranny in which the husband uses his power to hold his wife and children in servile dependence and submission."[26]

Righteous men are to rise up and call their righteous wives blessed (Proverbs 31:28), they are to cherish them and honor them and are to treat them with all gentleness and tenderness. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 2:25), husbands are to even “love their own wives as their own bodies” and are to “nourish and cherish” them “as Christ also does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29). Husbands are to live with their wives “according to knowledge” (I Peter 3:7) “so that nothing will hinder your prayers”. Living “according to knowledge” is to act in a way to help meet her needs, promote her well-being, and to encourage the development of her own skills and strengths to reach her full potential for the furtherance of the family and Christ’s kingdom (Proverbs 31:10-31).

A husband is called to regard his wife’s happiness and well being as part of his goal in leadership and view his wife’s needs as important as his own. Thus, the Godly husband is to avoid all suppression and repression of his wife emotionally, smothering micro-management and constant unilateral decision-making. Decision-making in a Godly marriage should be a pattern of interaction between the wife and husband that rests on the fact that greater wisdom can be found in the two working together. The husband will in fact even encourage his wife to take initiative, by dividing up responsibility between themselves. 

Understanding the functional differences between males and females is crucial to glorifying God as a part of His new creation.  Lee Grady, God described His purpose for both the man and the woman. Both bear God’s image fully, but each expresses that image in God-ordained ways according to the created order.”[27]  I think it is a disservice and dishonor to the female gender to downplay their differences from men. Women should be proud of their uniqueness apart from men and subsequently glory in how this uniqueness plays out in what specific tasks they are fitted so wonderfully to do.  The natural created order gives evidence of these intentional design differences authored by our Creator:

  1. Women have about 10 times more white brain matter than men, which consists more of connections between the neurons [28].
  2. Men have about 5.6 times more gray brain matter than women, which is full of active neurons.[29]
  3. Women have many more neurons than men connecting the right side and left side of their brains thus giving them more efficient access to both sides of their brain, wiring them especially for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.[30]
  4.  Male brains, had stronger connections between the front and back regions, wired more for perception and coordinated actions.[31]
  5. Men are built to undergo more physical stress: leaner muscle mass, build muscle quicker, have thicker skin.[32]
  6. Women are built uniquely to bare children and breastfeed them.
  7. Women possess a more nurturing instinct that men.[33]

Every man and woman’s aim should be to glorify God by functioning within the original creational role that He designed for them as a male or as a female and intended for them to find fulfillment in.  Part of living out the Gospel (Gospel = the inauguration of Christ’s kingdom and announcement of His Lordship in which through His atonement and resurrection is reconciling the world to Himself according to His original created intent and design) is to function as God intended for us to as males and females.  One example of this is in I Timothy 2:15, where it says, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.  Thomas Schreiner, a conservative evangelical theologian and professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (where Al Mohler, Jr. is President) comments on this below.  Two quick notes to frame what Tom Schreiner is about to say:

1.      He believes that Christ’s atonement was 100% sufficient payment for our sins and that salvation is not something that can be merited.  This is the ground of our justification. 

2.      Saving faith is a trusting surrender to God. 

3.      Perseverance in Christ (not perfection but a life of repentance) will be present in the life of a regenerate believer.  If we are truly in Christ we will be faithful in our lives to continue to surrender to Christ, which is our sanctification.  When we fall down, we repent and get back into the race.  Regenerate believers never permanently stop "running the race".

4.      God has wired us to where our beliefs are manifested in our actions, so God is right and just to separate the sheep and the goats on the Last Day by their fruits of repentance.  If they surrendered their lives to Christ it will show in their actions (our works will be in accordance with what our heart truly believes). 

Tom Schreiner (Excerpts are taken from his book, Apostle of God's Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology):,

We must face the starkness of the text. Paul actually says that a woman shall be saved through childbirth; and the word teknogonia refers to the birthing of children, not the rearing of them (cf. 1 Tim 5:10). We are thus back to the original question--why does Paul say a woman will be saved through childbirth? Probably because the bearing of children marks off the role of women in distinction from the role of men. When we consider what men and women can do in this world, the one thing men can never do is bear children. This task is specifically and exclusively consigned to women.  Paul thus employs the part for the whole here. A woman will be saved by living out her Christian life as a woman, fulfilling her specific and God-ordained calling.[34]

This is an example of synecdoche, in that bearing children is representative of how women fulfill the role intended for them by God. To avoid misunderstanding, Paul remarks that women must persevere in faith and love and other godly virtues to be saved. Salvation is not merited by having children, nor is Paul suggesting that all women must have children (cf. 1 Corinthians 7)! What Paul is saying is that women's bearing of children and living in their ordained role is one example of living out the godly life that is necessary to obtain eschatological salvation.[35]

Having laid this as a foundation, it is equally as important to make sure we are not going beyond these simple principles that God has established or swinging the pendulum towards statements that are not rooted in good exegesis but are instead an overreaction to feminism.  Donald Bloesch astutely observes: "In opposing militant feminism, however, we must not make the mistake of enthroning patriarchal values that have often held women and children in bondage and oppression."[36]  Steven Tracy, a writer for the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood echoes this too when he writes

Complementarians are not always as quick, however, to recognize the same perversion in heavy handed male authority in which males treat women as inferiors by making decisions unilaterally, selfishly, and insensitively.

Teaching which emphasizes female submission without equally emphasizing the man's responsibility to delight in his wife and share with her as an equal partner distorts male headship. The Father's headship over the Son teaches us that biblical headship makes submission not a matter of mere duty, but a delightful response from a woman who is loved, partnered with, and trusted as an equal.

While complementarians by definition believe that God has given the man final domestic and ecclesiastical authority, the woman as the man's equal is given significant and varied authority (the right or power to do something). While it goes beyond the scope of this article to flesh out the full extent of female authority, we should note that in Scripture godly women have authority to proclaim the gospel (Acts 1:8; Phil 4:2-3), prophesy (Isa 8:3; Acts 2:17-18; 21:8-9), run a household (Prov. 31:10-31), manage commercial enterprises (Prov 31:10-31), give men corrective accountability (1 Sam 25:18-38; Luke 18:1-8; Acts 18:26), and serve as co-laborers with men in ministry (Judges 4; Rom 16:1-6, 6; Phil 4:2-3).[37]

To Work or Not to Work

Scripture makes it clear that one's family comes first above all other earthly endeavors or responsibilities. A virtuous woman of God will find her purpose and meaning in womanhood not in any career accomplishments but instead through being a Godly wife, through which flows her role as mother. This heart attitude of trying to be the best wife and mother to her husband and children will drive her to make the right decision before God as to whether or not she should work outside the home. As a quick note, I believe often it is much harder and challenging to stay at home than to work outside the home. This is not to say at all that women who stay at home are "tougher" than women who do not. I want to just emphasize that we greatly admire and respect women who forego the workforce to homeschool their children (of which my mother was one of these women) to the glory of God.

The absolute importance and value of a stay at home mom is monetarily analyzed below in an article published in the Washington Post,

A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, according to a study released Wednesday by Waltham, Mass.-based compensation experts Salary.com. The amount is similar to that earned by top U.S. ad executives, marketing directors or judges, according to a Reuters story on the study. A mother who works outside the home would earn an extra $85,876 annually on top of her actual wages for the work she does at home, the study says. The calculations are based on the hourly wages of a mix of jobs, including housekeeper, day-care teacher, cook, computer whiz, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist. As all of us very tired moms/psychologists/janitors know, our work is far more than a full-time job, and overtime is the killer: The average stay-at-home mom reports working almost 92 hours per week, earning $88,424 (or 66% of our hypothetical pay) from overtime. Employed mothers reported spending on average 44 hours per week at their outside job and then another 49.8 hours at their home job. Nice to know that we've earned our collective exhaustion.'[38]

So, in conclusion if a Titus 2 woman would chose to work outside the home, it would be in order to glorify God by using her specific talents and skills to help care for her family, the body of Christ and the poor. Sticking to these responsibilities is what makes one a Titus 2 woman. It goes back to what is her heart motivation to serve and further the goals of her family and the Church of God or to please herself?  George W. Knight, III gives us some good questions to consider when a woman is considering working outside of the home, “

Here, then, are keys to the question of a wife and mother working outside the home: Is it really beneficial to her family, does it aid her husband in his calling, and does it, in correlation with these first two, bring good to others? Can she do it while still being faithful to her primary calling to be wife and mother and to care for her home?[39]

John MacArthur offers similar sentiments,

There is nothing in Scripture that specifically forbids a woman from working outside the home as long as she is fulfilling her priorities in the home (Proverbs 31).  Whether or not a woman works outside the home, God's primary calling is for her to manage the home. That is the most exalted place for a wife. The world is calling many modern women out of the home [her career as the primary goal and priority of life], but not the Lord. His Word portrays the woman's role as one preoccupied with domestic duties. It is a high calling, far more crucial to the future of a woman's children than anything she might do in an outside job.  Obviously, a single woman would be free to work and pursue outside employment. A married woman with no children is perhaps a little more restricted in the amount of time and energy she can devote to an outside job. A woman who is a mother obviously has primary responsibility in the home and would therefore not be free to pursue outside employment to the detriment of the home. In fact, from a parental perspective it is difficult to see how a mother could possibly do all that needs to be done in the home with the upbringing of children, hospitality, care of the needy, and work for the Lord (cf. 1 Timothy 5:3-14) and still work in an outside job. Indeed, any wife who fulfills God's priorities in her life and home will be a busy lady. However, her children and her husband will rise up and call her blessed, and a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised (Proverbs 31:28,30). [40]

Both the husband and wife should encourage each other in their talents as well as serving each other and the Body of Christ through these talents. The decision as to whether a wife should work outside the home should be made together by both the wife and husband together, looking out for the best interests of the family and then both together looking to see what would glorify God and further the kingdom of God the most in their situation.

End Notes


[1] Wilson, Douglas, Reforming Marriage (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1995), 40.

[2] Chancey, Jennie “Jennie Chancey Responds to Titus 2 Cynics” December 10, 2003 [article online]; available from http://www.visionforumministries.org/sections/hotcon/ht/family/wordofgod.asp; Internet; accessed 17 April 2004.

[3] Chancey.

[4] Keen, Melissa “Called to The Home – Called to Rule” June 16, 2004 [article online]; available from http://www.visionforumministries.org/sections/hotcon/ht/family/calledtohome.asp; Internet; accessed 2 July 2004.

[5] MacArthur, Jr., John  “Wife Working”  January 1, 2010 [article online]; available from http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/wifeworking.htm; Internet; accessed 31 March 2011.

[6] Einwechter, William “Exegetical Defense of the Woman as Keeper at Home” February 9, 2004 [article online]; available from http://www.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=1717; Internet; accessed 17 April 2004.

[7] Taylor, Richard A. “Who Are ‘Keepers at Home’?” Reflections (Spring 1982), 17.

[8] Einwechter.

[9] Colijn, Brenda IT 501 Biblical Hermeneutics – Handouts 3rd. ed. (Ashland, OH: Ashland Theological Seminary, 2003), 10.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] The Early Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers (Electronic Edition STEP Files) Reproduced in QuickVerse 6.0 [CD-ROM] (Hiawatha, IA: Parsons Technology, Inc., 1999), Volume1.

[13] Robertson, A.T. Robertson’s New Testament Word Studies (Titus: Chapter 2) February 29, 2004 [article online]; available from http://www.ccel.org/r/robertson/wordstudies/htm/TIT2.RWP.html; Internet; accessed 17 April 2004.

[14] Stowe, Jim “Women as ‘Keepers at Home’” (Toronto, Canada: by the author, 2004), 1.

[15] Hurst, Peter “The ‘Double Curse’ and ‘Husband-Only Helper’ Theories” September 2004 [article online]; available from http://www.patriarchy.org/family/double_curse.html; Internet; accessed 25 September 2004.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Keen.

[18] Carson, D.A. Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 90.

[19] Carson, 115.

[20] Hurst.

[21] “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground’".

[22] Hurst.

[23] Knight, III, George Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991), 355.

[24] Stowe, 2.

[25] MacArthur, Jr. John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary: Titus (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), (Electronic Edition STEP Files) Reproduced in QuickVerse 6.0 [CD-ROM] (Hiawatha, IA: Parsons Technology, Inc., 1997), Chapter 5.

[26] Bloesch, Donald  Is the Bible Sexist? (Westchester, Il: Crossway, 1982), 89.

[27] Grady, J. Lee  “10 Lies The church Tells Women” January 1, 2010 [article online]; available from http://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Book-Reviews/10-Lies-the-Church-Tells-Women-by-J-Lee-Grady; Internet; accessed 31 March 2011.

[28] Edmonds, Molly  “Do men and women have different brains?” October 8, 2013 [article online]; available from http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/men-women-different-brains.htm; Internet; accessed 04 December 2013.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Sample, Ian  “Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal” December 2, 2013 [article online]; available from http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/02/men-women-brains-wired-differently; Internet; accessed 04 December 2013.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Author, The International Dermal Institute  “Is a man’s skin really different from a woman’s?”  January 1, 2013 [article online]; available from http://www.dermalogica.com/is-a-man%27s-skin-really-different-from-a-woman%27s%3F/ys_shave_4,default,pg.html; Internet; accessed 04 December 2013.

[33] Weise, Elizabeth  Maybe we are different: New book argues female brain wired to nurture” August 22, 2006 [article online]; available from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2006-08-21-female-brain_x.htm; Internet; accessed 04 December 2013.

[34] Schreiner, Tom  Paul, Apostle of God's Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology  (New York, NY:  Zondervan, 1999), 286.

[35] Schreiner, 227.

[36] Bloesch, 104.

[37] Tracy, Steven  "I Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective to Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship" January 1, 2010 [article online]; available from http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-8-No-1/A-Corrective-to-Distortions-and-Abuses-of-Male-Headship; Internet; accessed 31 March 2011.

[38] Steiner, Leslie Morgan  “News Flash: Taking Care of Kids is Real Work!” May 4, 2006 [article online]; available from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/onbalance/2006/05/news_flash_taking_care_of_kids.html; Internet; accessed 04 December 2013.

[39] Knight, 356.

[40] MacArthur, Jr., John  “Wife Working”  January 1, 2013 [article online]; available from http://www.gty.org/resources/Questions/QA115/What-should-a-wifes-priorities-be-Can-she-work-outside-the-home; Internet; accessed 04 December 2013.


Ubique, Semper et ab Omnibus                      Everywhere, Always and by All