The wife at work

Status
Not open for further replies.

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
If you have a method of bible interpretation that says a woman cannot work outside because she needs to be "at home", than a woman may not go to church, go shopping or go visit relatives and so on and so on. There is no biblical reason to limit the application of "keepers at home" to just employment, which is what seems to be typically done when the verse is used to rule out outside employment for women.
We are talking about about a noble biblical concept and it is being brought low by reductio ad absurdum . :banghead:
 

Ex Nihilo

Puritan Board Senior
Just sayin'. That a married woman would be under the authority of a man in the realm of employment doesn't mean that she's no longer under the authority of her husband. This is like saying that a man shouldn't ever be under the authority of another man, because God has ordained that the head of man is Christ. Kind of silly.
Or that the church can't submit to Caesar, because Christ is her head.

Yet Christ, as our head, has commanded us to submit to Caesar.

But there are many cases when it would be imprudent for a man to ask his wife to work outside the home. When he does, however, he's still her head: he's exercising his headship by allowing her to be directed by someone else. As long as the husband retains the ultimate authority to decide whether she continues in the job or not, his headship hasn't been supplanted.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
We are talking about about a noble biblical concept and it is being brought low by reductio ad absurdum . :banghead:
Kevin,

I really had no intention of doing so. If something is really the truth, it can stand being pushed to extremes of argumentation and any result will still make sense. If something can be brought low by reductio ad absurdum, maybe it is not really the truth.

How would you define "keepers at home" then, and how would you reconcile your definition with a wife leaving the house for necessary reasons?
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
I think it's important to keep in mind that this issue is not one of explicit command in Scripture; and thus is not one that can be addressed in a 'blanket' fashion. Both liberty and conviction are paramount in this. My household does feel very strongly on this issue and for biblical reasons we can readily defend, but it would be very wrong for either Toni or I to pass judgment on those households that do not hold to our convictions. Likewise, the opposite is true.

Therefore, let all of us plainly state our convictions and, if desired, the biblical reason why or why not workforce wives are appropriate for your household, but at the same time not pass judgment on the households of others who may not feel as you do but none the less love the same Savior and trust in the same resurrection as any and all confessional Christians do.

Theognome
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I think it's important to keep in mind that this issue is not one of explicit command in Scripture; and thus is not one that can be addressed in a 'blanket' fashion. Both liberty and conviction are paramount in this. My household does feel very strongly on this issue and for biblical reasons we can readily defend, but it would be very wrong for either Toni or I to pass judgment on those households that do not hold to our convictions. Likewise, the opposite is true.

Therefore, let all of us plainly state our convictions and, if desired, the biblical reason why or why not workforce wives are appropriate for your household, but at the same time not pass judgment on the households of others who may not feel as you do but none the less love the same Savior and trust in the same resurrection as any and all confessional Christians do.

Theognome
Bill, there are those that hold the same conviction, have done everything possible to keep the wife at home while avoiding dependence on the state, but still find themselves at a point where the wife has to work. Her work and her hours can be decided by her husband as to when she is available. Hours and such can be worked around the family. Unfortunately, home business is not always possible or viable.

There is the ideal that we strive for, but it is not a cut and dry "this is forbidden".
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
I think it's important to keep in mind that this issue is not one of explicit command in Scripture; and thus is not one that can be addressed in a 'blanket' fashion. Both liberty and conviction are paramount in this. My household does feel very strongly on this issue and for biblical reasons we can readily defend, but it would be very wrong for either Toni or I to pass judgment on those households that do not hold to our convictions. Likewise, the opposite is true.

Therefore, let all of us plainly state our convictions and, if desired, the biblical reason why or why not workforce wives are appropriate for your household, but at the same time not pass judgment on the households of others who may not feel as you do but none the less love the same Savior and trust in the same resurrection as any and all confessional Christians do.

Theognome
Bill, there are those that hold the same conviction, have done everything possible to keep the wife at home while avoiding dependence on the state, but still find themselves at a point where the wife has to work. Her work and her hours can be decided by her husband as to when she is available. Hours and such can be worked around the family. Unfortunately, home business is not always possible or viable.
In my household, it came down to a question of faith. We were both committed to the principles of covenant theology and coverture marriage, yet my employment problems after 9-11 became dire- for three years I made less than $30,000 combined- that's less than ten grand a year. My annual mortgage alone was more than this, much less any other bills, food, etc. So I do understand dire straights.

I was told by my elders that if I didn't have Toni go get a job, I would be disciplined. I in turn, in writing, gave my biblical reasons (several pages of exegesis) why I did not feel that even under these extreme circumstances I should do so. Toni also wrote to them, exegeting the situation from her perspective. The session did not agree with us, but also could not give a single biblical reason for their position- pragmatism reigned supreme.

Toni and I both believed that, as bad as we thought the situation was, if we remained faithful to the convictions that the Lord placed in us and worked hard within the confines He presented, He would eventually bless this work and heal or finances. And he has done so. We did lose that house, but we now live with a very good income and are closing in on being debt-free- something unthinkable five years ago.

We both trusted in His promises as we understood them despite the pressures from elsewhere. This is not an easy thing to do. This is not something everyone can or will do. Not everyone has the same strength of conviction on this issue or the same circumstance. But circumstances do not dictate faith, but rather they reveal it.

Theognome
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
We both trusted in His promises as we understood them despite the pressures from elsewhere. This is not an easy thing to do. This is not something everyone can or will do. Not everyone has the same strength of conviction on this issue or the same circumstance. But circumstances do not dictate faith, but rather they reveal it.
Theognome
Bill

Thanks for sharing that... while I respect your faith and willingness to stick to your convictions, your taking such an uncompromising stand seems to conflict with your earlier statement that it would be wrong for you to pass judgment on those who do not hold your convictions. If something is truly so important from the bible surely it would be a matter of obedience/sin, and not one left to the convictions of each family?
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
If you have a method of bible interpretation that says a woman cannot work outside because she needs to be "at home", than a woman may not go to church, go shopping or go visit relatives and so on and so on. There is no biblical reason to limit the application of "keepers at home" to just employment, which is what seems to be typically done when the verse is used to rule out outside employment for women.
We are talking about about a noble biblical concept and it is being brought low by reductio ad absurdum . :banghead:
I wasn't bringing the concept low -- only a particular argumentation used to arrive at that conclusion. We'd probably come to at least somewhat similar conclusions on this issue, to be honest, but the "she might be under the authority of another man at some point" route doesn't seem to hold together under either logical or biblical scrutiny.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Bill, that's exactly the sort of thing that I was going for - what a blessing.

I've seen more than one woman get involved with a male boss, and I just can't imagine why it was worth the money to have her in that position. I'm not trying to be hyper-sensitive here, I just think that we've come SO far from what was the norm to what we have today.

Another article that can perhaps articulate better than I what I am trying to get at:

Exegetical Defense of the Woman as Keeper At Home

by William Einwechter, February 9, 2004

In Titus 2:3-5 the apostle Paul charges the older women in the church to teach the younger women “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” The instruction for women to be “keepers at home” generally has been understood by the church as teaching that the sphere of a married woman’s work is her home. This understanding is reflected by the Puritan commentator Matthew Poole, who interpreted the phrase to mean: “housewives, not spending their time gadding abroad, but in looking to the affairs of their own families.” ([1]) The Christian woman as a housewife, looking diligently to the affairs of her family, was the standard in Puritan New England:

In seventeenth century New England no respectable person questioned that a woman’s place was in the home. By the laws of Massachusetts as by those of England a married woman could hold no property of her own. When she became a wife, she gave up everything to her husband and devoted herself exclusively to managing his household. Henceforth her duty was to “keep at home, educating her children, keeping and improving what is got by the industry of the man.”([2])

However, this view went beyond the Puritans and was the perspective of all branches of the church and a central aspect of Western Christian culture. For example, Lenski, the eminent Lutheran commentator, stated that the phrase “keepers at home” indicates domestic responsibility and that the home is the place of a married woman’s work; she is a “housekeeper” who dispenses “all good things in this domain.” ([3])

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 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.” ([4]) 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, 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.

The difference between the traditional interpretation of “keepers at home” and the modern version is considerable. While the traditional interpretation established the home as the sphere of a married woman’s work and calling, the modern understanding says that the term does nothing of the kind. While the traditional interpretation defined a married woman’s “career” as homemaking, the modern view teaches that a married woman may pursue a career outside of the home as long as she does not neglect homemaking. While the traditional interpretation calls the woman to focus her energy, time, and talents in the home in the service of her family, the modern view says that she is not so “restricted” and may go outside the home for her employment. Which is the correct understanding? It is our belief that the traditional interpretation is the correct one. We base this opinion on the meaning of the Greek word translated “keepers at home,” and on the wider Biblical teaching on the roles of the wife and mother.
The Meaning of “Keepers at Home”

The Greek word translated “keepers at home” is oikourous. This word is derived from two Greek words. The first, oikos, means a house, a dwelling, or, by metonymy, a household or family. The second, ouros, refers to a keeper, watcher or guardian, i.e., one who has the oversight and responsibility for something. Thus, the basic significance of oikourous is that of a “housekeeper,” that is, one who watches over a household and family, seeing to it that all members are cared for, and all things maintained in good order. Oikourous is used only in the New Testament in Titus 2:5; therefore, in seeking to accurately discern its meaning we must look to the Greek literature of the New Testament era. There, the word oikourous meant watching or keeping the house. It was employed in reference to a watchdog and to a rooster, but more germane to the context of Titus 2:5, oikourous also meant keeping at home, and was employed as a substantive, “housekeeper,” to indicate the mistress of the house. Furthermore, it was specifically used in praise of a good wife. Interestingly, oikourous is utilized contemptuously of a man who refused to go out to war, designating him a “stay-at-home” man. ([5]) The verbal form, oikoureo, meant to watch or keep the house. It was used of women to indicate those who were at home to watch over the affairs of a household, and of men to designate those who stayed at home to avoid military service. ([6]) Other closely related words such as 1) oikourema, meant keeping the house and staying at home, and was used to refer to women as the “stay-at-homes”; 2) oikouria, referred to women as those employed in the work of housekeeping; 3) oikourios, meant the wages or rewards for the work of keeping the house, but also designated, significantly, keeping children within the doors of the house, i.e., keeping them at home. ([7])

On the basis of this word study, it is concluded that oikourous was primarily used in the positive sense to indicate both the nature and sphere of a married woman’s work. The nature of her work is to manage the affairs of her household, and the sphere of her work is the home. It is important to note that oikourous and its cognates all included the idea of staying at home. Therefore, we believe that the “keepers at home” are those who stay at home for the purpose of managing their households. Paul’s admonition is definite: Let the older women teach the younger women to remain within the sphere of their own households so that they might properly attend to their duties of caring for their family and managing its everyday affairs.
The Biblical Roles of a Wife and Mother

The fact that “keepers at home” refers to the married woman’s responsibility to stay at home to care for her family is confirmed when the Biblical teaching on the roles of a wife and mother are considered. Her role is so vital to the well-being of her husband and children, her responsibilities in keeping the home so demanding, that it would not be possible to properly fulfill them unless she devotes herself entirely to them. She cannot do what God has called her to do unless she abides at home.

God assigns three specific roles to the wife and mother. First, she is to be the helper of her husband. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). Here is revealed the primary purpose of the woman in relation to her husband. The Hebrew word “help” (ezer) comes from two roots: the first meaning to rescue or save, and the second meaning to be strong. It indicates one who is able (has what it takes) to come to the aid of someone who is in need. Thus, God created the woman so that she would be able to come to the aid of the man and be his support and help. The word “meet” means corresponding to, suitable, or comparable to. The woman will be man’s counterpart equal to him mentally, spiritually, and physically. Note carefully that “meet” is a word of essence or nature, while “help” is a word of function. This means that in essence the woman is equal to man, but in function she is subordinate to the man — she is to assist and support him in his calling; or, her calling is to help enable him to be successful in his calling. As Calvin states: “Now, since God assigns the woman as a help to the man, he not only prescribes to wives the rule of their vocation, to instruct them in their duty, but he also pronounces that marriage will really prove to men the best support in life. We may therefore conclude, that the order of nature implies that the woman should be the helper of man.” [8]) Other important Scriptures indicate that the woman was made for the man to be his helper, and that his success in due measure is dependent on her love and support (1 Cor. 11:7-9; Tit. 2:4; Pr. 12:4; 18:22; 31:10-12, 23).

Second, the wife is to bear and nurture the children. The bearing and raising of children is one of the central purposes of marriage (Gen. 1:28). By God’s creative design, the woman is the primary caregiver for a child; she is called and equipped by him to nurture the life and soul of a child. She was created with the marvelous capacity of conceiving and carrying life within her. After birth, she is prepared by God to nurse the child and provide the tender love and affection the child so greatly needs. In conjunction with her duty to help her husband, the wife has the great privilege and high calling to nurture the children of the marriage. The English word “nurture” is a beautiful word to describe a mother’s role. It means to nourish both body and soul. It refers to the tasks of feeding and educating a child.

The Scripture is definite in regard to the motherly responsibilities of the woman. When Paul discusses the qualifications for those widows who will receive support from the church, he gives a list of “good works” that should be present in the report concerning her. The first good work on the list is “if she has brought up children” (1 Tim. 5:10). The Greek word translated “brought up” (tropheo) is extremely important. It means not only to raise, but also carries with it the idea of personal attendance, that of being with the child to care for and to train. Furthermore, the word “brought up” indicates that the rearing takes place in the home. The noun form of “brought up,” trophia, means “brought up in the house, reared at home.” In other words, the good work of the widow in view is that she stayed at home to raise her children! In Paul’s instructions to younger women, he admonishes them to marry and “bear children” (1 Tim. 5:14). To “bear children” means to bring them into the world, but also to nurture and train them. In another text, where Paul discusses the public ministry of the church, he says that women are not to teach but be in silence. However, he quickly points them to the place of ministry God has called them to — “childbearing” (1 Tim. 2:15). This word is a comprehensive term that comprehends all the duties of a mother — physical care, training, etc. — and could be translated as “motherhood.” Hiebert states:

“Childbearing” denotes the proper sphere in which woman finds the true fulfillment of her destiny. It speaks of the highest ideal of Christian womanhood. It brings out that which is noblest and best within her being. Paul’s thought naturally includes the training of children in a Christian home. It stands in opposition to the sphere of public teaching closed to her. ([9])

The motherly nurture of children in their physical and spiritual development is of utmost importance to the kingdom of God. The next generation of God’s servants is largely in her hands. If she is faithful in fulfilling her calling, God will highly honor her, and she shall be counted as one of the true heroes of the Faith.

Third, the wife is to manage the home. In Paul’s charge to the younger women, he exhorts them to “marry, bear children, guide the house . . .” (1 Tim. 5:14). The verb “guide” (oikodespotein) is an expressive term meaning to rule the household, to manage family affairs. It indicates that the sphere of a woman’s authority is the home (as opposed to the spheres of church and state). Furthermore, “guide” is a present infinitive indicating that managing the home is the wife’s constant occupation, her full-time job. In the Biblical description of the virtuous woman, we are told that “she looketh well to the ways of her household” (Pr. 31:27), meaning that she is a wise and diligent manager, supervising all aspects of family life. Additionally, the Scripture says that through her skill as a manager a wise woman secures the well-being of her household, while a foolish woman neglects her managerial responsibilities and her house comes to ruin (Pr. 14:1).

Thus the roles assigned to the married woman by God confirms that “keepers at home” refers to those who remain at home so that they might properly attend to their duties of caring for their family and managing its everyday affairs. When her duties are understood in all their scope and significance, it becomes clear that only by being “keepers at home” can a wife and mother fulfill her high calling from God to be a helper to her husband, a mother to her children, and a manager of her household.
What About the Virtuous Woman?

A common objection to the interpretation that to be “keepers at home” requires a married woman to confine her work, her “career,” to that of her home, is that the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 did not so confine herself. We are told that she was a “business woman” engaged in pursuits beyond the sphere of her own household, thus justifying the claim that a wife and mother is free to pursue employment and a career outside of the home. But the picture of Proverbs 31 is that of a woman managing her own household, not of a woman leaving the home for employment elsewhere. Actually, the portrayal of the virtuous woman provides strong support for the traditional interpretation of “keepers at home.” She is a wise manager of the resources her husband commits to her care (vv. 14, 16, 24). She is a true helper to her husband enabling him to rise to prominence (v. 11, 12, 23). She cares for the needs of her children and husband, assuring that they are well fed and well clothed (v. 15, 21). She sees that all their property is put to good use (v. 16). ([10]) She even engages in “cottage industry” by using any available time and strength to make fine linen and sashes to be sold to the merchants. ([r:>11])
Conclusion

May God be pleased to restore to the church the proper understanding of “keepers at home” so that the Christian family and the Christian church might once again benefit from having the wife and mother in the home filling it with her presence, love, care, and wisdom. We often speak of the home as being the foundational unit of both church and state. We often say, “As goes the family, so goes all else.” So let us give it the priority it deserves, and return the wife to her indispensable role of helping her husband, nurturing her children, and managing her household. We know that a well-ordered home is one of life’s greatest treasures. So let us act accordingly, and return the jewel that truly makes the home a treasure. Let us obey God’s law when he commands the wife and mother to stay at home so that she can properly care for her family and manage her household. Let us give honor to “keepers at home” for to such much honor is due. Our hope for the future of the church and society rests, in large measure, with the virtuous women who are “keepers at home.”

1. Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, 3 vols. (Edinburgh, [1685] 1990), 3:803.

2. Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Family (New York, 1944), 42.

3. R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon (Minneapolis, 1937), 912.

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

5. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed. (Oxford, 1940), 1205.

6. ibid.

7. ibid.

8. John Calvin, Commentaries on the First Book of Moses called Genesis, trans. John King (Grand Rapids, reprint ed. 1989), 129.

9. D. Edmond Hiebert, First Timothy (Chicago, 1957), 62.

10. The true sense of Proverbs 16:31 is not that she purchases real estate, but that she puts the family’s property to good use. The virtuous woman sees a field belonging to her husband that is either sitting idle or is not being used in the most profitable way. So she, literally, “takes” it (not “buys” it; see Hebrew text, and the center column reference of KJV), and sets it to good use by planting a vineyard there.

11. But she herself is not a merchant moving in the marketplace. She is a woman working out of her home under the authority of her husband (not some other man) to provide extra income for the family as she is able.

Used With Permission - Chalcedon Foundation
About the Author

William Einwechter (Th.M.) is an ordained minister and an elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Linda, are the homeschooling parents of ten children.

“The fact that ‘keepers at home’ refers to the married woman’s responsibility to stay at home to care for her family is confirmed when the Biblical teaching on the roles of a wife and mother are considered.”
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
In seventeenth century New England no respectable person questioned that a woman’s place was in the home. By the laws of Massachusetts as by those of England a married woman could hold no property of her own. When she became a wife, she gave up everything to her husband and devoted herself exclusively to managing his household. Henceforth her duty was to “keep at home, educating her children, keeping and improving what is got by the industry of the man.”([2])

However, this view went beyond the Puritans and was the perspective of all branches of the church and a central aspect of Western Christian culture
That just simply isn't true. I agree that a woman working outside the home is not optimal, but we've had these conversations before, and the Bible just doesn't forbid it. It's easier to make a case for not eating pork than for a wife to never work outside the home.

As to the statement bolded, it is the sort of sweeping generalisation that some of our Baptist brethren are inclined to make, and it weakens their argument. Reference has already been made to the Proverbs 31 woman who buys a piece of land, and it boggles my mind that someone thinks there was anything universal about a woman not having property rights in an area of the world where women were regularly queens, duchesses etc...and had huge family holdings.

Biblical examples of women working outside the home tend to be servants, and there are plenty of verses dealing which encourage the accumulation of wealth so that a family can be free of such work. But not everyone gets there at the same time, or at all. For example to look down on a woman who has to go back to work when her husband is injured is petty and cruel.

I also think that answering that "hey, it's cool if she's smart" it flippant, and misses the point that a married woman working outside the home isn't optimum, but something Scripture allows in recognition of the Fall.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
A piece I once wrote on the issue:

God, right after the fall, judged the man to earn his and his family's bread in the sweat of his face. To the woman God said that in sorrow she shall bring forth children (Gen 3:16-19). It is this present world's folly, especially of the women, that in addition to their own sorrow they want to take upon themselves the curse placed on man. God commanded the man, not the woman, to work to sustain his family.

While this is not censurable sin, and in that sense it is a matter of Christian liberty, yet God's commandments do have a bearing on this issue. The effect of ignoring it can and does lead to discipline issues, because of the effect and results of not being a keeper at home—on marriage and on the family in the generations.

I believe that Scripture plainly teaches that the woman must be a keeper at home, not merely a keeper of the home. It is so often the worldly woman's discontent with the position in which God has placed her that causes her to seek work outside the home. Thus she scorns the authority of her husband (sin against the 5th commandment), and desires what the world has to offer (sin against the 8th commandment), in her coveting that which is not hers (the 10th commandment). This is one of the great curses of today's society. It is gradually taking away any remnants of a Christian family life. And it is very hard for anyone, man or woman, to hold down two jobs and do justice to both
.

You can read the whole piece here:

The Standard Bearer
 

AltogetherLovely

Puritan Board Freshman
**Edit: Posted by AltogetherLovely's husband (smhbbag) accidentally under her name :lol:

Theognome (and others of his conviction), I am genuinely curious how you would respond to my situation.

We both work full-time, with us both freshly out of college while the Lord has not yet given us children. We live like college students in a cheap, small apartment with 10+ year old cars, and plan to live that way the rest of our lives only because a simple life is more enjoyable.

Because of this, we are able to live entirely off of my (very average) income and still have room to save a good bit. Everything she makes goes straight into the bank, and to pay down student-loan debts (at a furious pace that will, Lord-willing, have us debt free in < 1 year).

That's the background. My wife is an unbelievably perfect helpmeet for me in every possible way. I eat like a king and she's a coupon-queen - breakfast, lunch, and dinner of home-cooked goodness. Our small place is neat and tidy. In short, if someone put a gun to my head and demanded I tell them how Rachel could be a better wife for me - I genuinely could not come up with a single thing. She teaches individual art lessons as a side job once a week or so, and we are heavily involved in a whole lot of places at church.

My question: how exactly would she be a better wife for me if she were not working? There are precisely zero needs of mine she is not meeting. Shoot, there are no wants of mine she's not meeting.

Once we are free of student debt that, very recently, was more than our combined annual income, we are both wanting for her to quit her day job. She looks forward to this to be a better servant of the church - able to offer free day-time babysitting to church members who need it, and other such works of mercy if the Lord tarries in giving us children.

But, as far as the home is concerned, it seems like folly to assume that there is something lacking in her keeping of it. I've been pondering it for a long time wondering if she should come home - and I still can't think of a single thing we would gain from it as a married couple. We do know the church could use her extra ability to minister, and so we are striving for that. But, strictly in the home, I'm not missing out on a thing.
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
We both trusted in His promises as we understood them despite the pressures from elsewhere. This is not an easy thing to do. This is not something everyone can or will do. Not everyone has the same strength of conviction on this issue or the same circumstance. But circumstances do not dictate faith, but rather they reveal it.
Theognome
Bill

Thanks for sharing that... while I respect your faith and willingness to stick to your convictions, your taking such an uncompromising stand seems to conflict with your earlier statement that it would be wrong for you to pass judgment on those who do not hold your convictions. If something is truly so important from the bible surely it would be a matter of obedience/sin, and not one left to the convictions of each family?
My post was concerning the convictions of my family, and not a judgment on other families. As I mentioned, not everyone has the same circumstances or convictions, nor does everyone hold to their convictions in the same manner. The post, in it's entirety, was regarding my family and nothing more.

Theognome
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
A piece I once wrote on the issue:

God, right after the fall, judged the man to earn his and his family's bread in the sweat of his face. To the woman God said that in sorrow she shall bring forth children (Gen 3:16-19). It is this present world's folly, especially of the women, that in addition to their own sorrow they want to take upon themselves the curse placed on man. God commanded the man, not the woman, to work to sustain his family.

While this is not censurable sin, and in that sense it is a matter of Christian liberty, yet God's commandments do have a bearing on this issue. The effect of ignoring it can and does lead to discipline issues, because of the effect and results of not being a keeper at home—on marriage and on the family in the generations.

I believe that Scripture plainly teaches that the woman must be a keeper at home, not merely a keeper of the home. It is so often the worldly woman's discontent with the position in which God has placed her that causes her to seek work outside the home. Thus she scorns the authority of her husband (sin against the 5th commandment), and desires what the world has to offer (sin against the 8th commandment), in her coveting that which is not hers (the 10th commandment). This is one of the great curses of today's society. It is gradually taking away any remnants of a Christian family life. And it is very hard for anyone, man or woman, to hold down two jobs and do justice to both
.

You can read the whole piece here:

The Standard Bearer
I agree with how you fleshed this out with the 10 commandments, especially the 8th - Thou shalt not steal. I personally believe it is wrong for women to take jobs away from men that those men need in order to support their families. :stirpot::worms: An unpopular belief, I know, but alas...

The real reason women were encouraged to enter the workforce in the first place was not to grant women liberation, but to tax the other half of the population, and thus this gave the woman the additional curse that the man has.

If everyone's working and no one's guarding the property, the state is free to seize it. And voila. Try buying your home outright and not paying property taxes and see who really owns your home. That's the key to the whole issue, IMNSHO - who owns women and their labor - their husbands and fathers... or anyone and everyone.
 
Last edited:

Theognome

Burrito Bill
**Edit: Posted by AltogetherLovely's husband (smhbbag) accidentally under her name :lol:

Theognome (and others of his conviction), I am genuinely curious how you would respond to my situation.

We both work full-time, with us both freshly out of college while the Lord has not yet given us children. We live like college students in a cheap, small apartment with 10+ year old cars, and plan to live that way the rest of our lives only because a simple life is more enjoyable.

Because of this, we are able to live entirely off of my (very average) income and still have room to save a good bit. Everything she makes goes straight into the bank, and to pay down student-loan debts (at a furious pace that will, Lord-willing, have us debt free in < 1 year).

That's the background. My wife is an unbelievably perfect helpmeet for me in every possible way. I eat like a king and she's a coupon-queen - breakfast, lunch, and dinner of home-cooked goodness. Our small place is neat and tidy. In short, if someone put a gun to my head and demanded I tell them how Rachel could be a better wife for me - I genuinely could not come up with a single thing. She teaches individual art lessons as a side job once a week or so, and we are heavily involved in a whole lot of places at church.

My question: how exactly would she be a better wife for me if she were not working? There are precisely zero needs of mine she is not meeting. Shoot, there are no wants of mine she's not meeting.

Once we are free of student debt that, very recently, was more than our combined annual income, we are both wanting for her to quit her day job. She looks forward to this to be a better servant of the church - able to offer free day-time babysitting to church members who need it, and other such works of mercy if the Lord tarries in giving us children.

But, as far as the home is concerned, it seems like folly to assume that there is something lacking in her keeping of it. I've been pondering it for a long time wondering if she should come home - and I still can't think of a single thing we would gain from it as a married couple. We do know the church could use her extra ability to minister, and so we are striving for that. But, strictly in the home, I'm not missing out on a thing.
Actually, you already answered that question- with a gun to your head you yourself couldn't come up with anything. I don't see how I or anyone else could do better than you.

My (and Toni's) understanding of scripture and convictions concerning biblical principles of marriage are what drives our decisions, and it should be likewise for you. We shouldn't interpret Scripture to fit our situations, but rather strive to make our situations align with Scripture. If, in your own study, you have no biblical conviction at this time that your wife should not work outside the home, then be at liberty. If you agree with the biblical principle but are making excuses instead of change, then there would be a problem.

Theognome

Theognome
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
What are your thoughts on a wife having a job (either part or full time) BEFORE the children are born?
My thoughts, sometimes with this economy it has to be done. Gone are the days of a one house wage unless you have a great wage, my wife worked until she was laid off.
Although I am on the side that thinks a woman may work, I just want to say that even without a great wage, a single-income family can work. My husband has a decent wage--it might be good even, if we lived where housing was more affordable. Our desire is for me to be home with the kids and to hopefully school them at home, so our "plan" is for me to be home basically until the kids are all in college/married. In deciding this, we have accepted that we may never own a house and that we may never have a savings and we may never pay off my school loans (thankfully he doesn't have any, thanks to the generosity of his parents...another thing we are accepting as unlikely for us to have for our own children). I am not saying that my anecdotal evidence is evidence at all, but merely that we sometimes do forget that savings aren't supreme, nor is a mortgage.

A piece I once wrote on the issue:

God, right after the fall, judged the man to earn his and his family's bread in the sweat of his face. To the woman God said that in sorrow she shall bring forth children (Gen 3:16-19). It is this present world's folly, especially of the women, that in addition to their own sorrow they want to take upon themselves the curse placed on man. God commanded the man, not the woman, to work to sustain his family.

While this is not censurable sin, and in that sense it is a matter of Christian liberty, yet God's commandments do have a bearing on this issue. The effect of ignoring it can and does lead to discipline issues, because of the effect and results of not being a keeper at home—on marriage and on the family in the generations.

I believe that Scripture plainly teaches that the woman must be a keeper at home, not merely a keeper of the home. It is so often the worldly woman's discontent with the position in which God has placed her that causes her to seek work outside the home. Thus she scorns the authority of her husband (sin against the 5th commandment), and desires what the world has to offer (sin against the 8th commandment), in her coveting that which is not hers (the 10th commandment). This is one of the great curses of today's society. It is gradually taking away any remnants of a Christian family life. And it is very hard for anyone, man or woman, to hold down two jobs and do justice to both
.

You can read the whole piece here:

The Standard Bearer
Thank you, that was well-thought out! We used to get the Standard Bearer.

I agree with how you fleshed this out with the 10 commandments, especially the 8th - Thou shalt not steal. I personally believe it is wrong for women to take jobs away from men that those men need in order to support their families. :stirpot::worms: An unpopular belief, I know, but alas...

The real reason women were encouraged to enter the workforce in the first place was not to grant women liberation, but to tax the other half of the population, and thus this gave the woman the additional curse of toiling the ground.

If everyone's working and no one's guarding the property, the state is free to seize it. And voila. Try buying your home outright and not paying property taxes and see who really owns your home. That's the key to the whole issue, IMNSHO - who owns women and their labor - their husbands and fathers... or anyone and everyone.
Toni, I agree with the why women have begun to work and will add that it was an employment of communism to get everyone working and put the children with the least effective workers, either grandparents who were tired or daycare with 30 kids to one young woman.

I do not think, however, that a woman working means that she is stealing.
If there is dishonesty in hiring her, that is on the boss or the gov't, but not on the individual (unless she did somehow cheat).
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
I do not think, however, that a woman working means that she is stealing.
If there is dishonesty in hiring her, that is on the boss or the gov't, but not on the individual (unless she did somehow cheat).
True, Jessi, it's not stealing in the same sense as going into a department store and shoplifting or stealing money out of someone's purse. Just like the murder of hatred in your heart isn't legally the same as taking someone's life. However, I've spoken to men who've stood in unemployment lines and have seen women's employment be a first priority, because of feminism, etc. As Christian women, we should be especially sensitive to our brothers, and not increase their burden and make it more difficult for them to work than it already is. That's all I'm saying. We are to lighten others' burdens. :)

It's not so much the women who are stealing as it's the state that is stealing. And just as Jereboam (sp?) seduced the Israelites, telling them it's too much trouble to go down to Jerusalem to worship, our government and our society is seducing women into believing it's too much trouble to work from home. It's a seduction that women and men are buying into.

In no way do I think the women here who work outside the home are in sin or are thieves. No way. :judge:
 

asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Bill, that's exactly the sort of thing that I was going for - what a blessing...

Exegetical Defense of the Woman as Keeper At Home

by William Einwechter, February 9, 2004

In Titus 2:3-5 the apostle Paul charges the older women in the church to teach the younger women “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” ...
In my humble opinion, by going beyond Scripture in believing married women should
not be allowed work outside the home and are limited to being "keepers
at home" (and then by broader implication: cannot own property, cannot
vote, etc), you're actually inviting blasphemy of unbelievers; which ironically
is what Paul was trying to avoid in the Titus 2 passage.

Not that some Biblical conduct isn't going to offend non-Christians,
but why make it unnecessarily offensive with your man-made rules?
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't mean to stir the pot more...but I think that one thing we may have lost sight of is that some women love their jobs. I, personally, love love love the field I am in. I know that I glorify God in the work I do and in the love I have for my work. Many other women feel the same. I plan on working after I marry not so much for practical reasons, but because God has gifted me with a talent and a love for what I do. Of course, as its been noted, a career (both the husband and the wife's) shouldn't have an ill effect on the home and family. If that happens, the situation needs to be carefully and prayerfully re-evaluated. But barring a situation like that, I don't think that its Biblical to insist that a woman must leave behind her talents and her education if she wants to get married. :worms:
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
To say that a wife being a keeper at home denies her the right to own property or conduct business is absurd by definition. How does one define the phrase that Paul uses? By Scripture alone. In Scripture we see Godly women owning property and conducting business - from their homes. This is what is going in on Proverbs 31. We cannot understand this issue properly if we ignore the examples from Scripture. In Scripture we see the home as a place of productivity. This concept is almost completely foreign to Westerners today. Now, the home is a place of consumption. Much of this happened when women went into the workplace. I've sat in the office with multitudes of couples in financial counseling. Most of the time the family would have been better off if they downsized to a more moderate house and the women left the job / career she was pursuing. I'm not talking about living in squalour, but modestly. Rarely did the woman's income outweigh the added expenses required by her job: second wardrobe, child care, transportation, more expensive meals, etc. Many times it was not even necessary for them to change housing.

Regrettably, all too often families 'require' large combined incomes because they desire stuff. They want a lifestyle that matches what American 'success' seems to entail. We have fallen prey to Madison Avenue. We like our toys. We like our sweet rides. We enjoy a lifestyle that was not even available to royalty all that long ago. (If you are a modest middle income family you already do anyway, but that is not enough. . . )

I fear that we are losing the rich reward of a productive home, a well discipled offspring, a family and church that has time and resources to serve the truly needy in the name of Christ, and so much more all in the pursuit of stuff.

Add to that the fact that most husbands and wives are chronically exhausted because of their work and home schedules and it is a recipe for disaster.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't mean to stir the pot more...but I think that one thing we may have lost sight of is that some women love their jobs. I, personally, love love love the field I am in. I know that I glorify God in the work I do and in the love I have for my work. Many other women feel the same. I plan on working after I marry not so much for practical reasons, but because God has gifted me with a talent and a love for what I do. Of course, as its been noted, a career (both the husband and the wife's) shouldn't have an ill effect on the home and family. If that happens, the situation needs to be carefully and prayerfully re-evaluated. But barring a situation like that, I don't think that its Biblical to insist that a woman must leave behind her talents and her education if she wants to get married. :worms:
Never should a woman leave behind her talents and education. The question is how she should use it and for whom and in what capacity.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't mean to stir the pot more...but I think that one thing we may have lost sight of is that some women love their jobs. I, personally, love love love the field I am in. I know that I glorify God in the work I do and in the love I have for my work. Many other women feel the same. I plan on working after I marry not so much for practical reasons, but because God has gifted me with a talent and a love for what I do. Of course, as its been noted, a career (both the husband and the wife's) shouldn't have an ill effect on the home and family. If that happens, the situation needs to be carefully and prayerfully re-evaluated. But barring a situation like that, I don't think that its Biblical to insist that a woman must leave behind her talents and her education if she wants to get married. :worms:
Never should a woman leave behind her talents and education. The question is how she should use it and for whom and in what capacity.
This is a very good point and I am all for women working out of home businesses or using their talents in other ways at home. However, there are some talents/education that almost have to be used outside of the home. I am an archivist and there really isn't a way for me to turn that into a home business. I will always have to be working for the state, a university, or a library. My mother was a physical therapist and starting her own physical therapy business would have been taxing on our home. Her working 15-20 hrs/week doing home health was a way for her to continue to stay in the field while still "keeping the home." (I should add that my father encouraged her to work outside the house if that was her desire. He knew how dedicated she was to her field when he married her)

Let me be clear that I'm not trying to criticize anyone else's decisions or convictions on this matter. I just wanted to point out that there are also non-practical reasons for women to work - its not always about having to provide money for the family, sometimes women love their field.
 

bug

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think anyone is recommending starvation as opposed to one's wife working outside the home (so maybe not at ALL costs). But let's remember that God has ordained that a woman's head be her husband; taking a job outside the home will put her under the authority of another man at some point... :worms:
I think we have to be a little careful here, for does that mean she shouldn't be in a church, under the authority of an eldership either? Nowhere do I read in my bible that the only person a woman can have in authority over her is her husband. Woman, just like men, are sugject to different authorities, church, government, as well as husbands. It is only when that authority stands in direct opposition to God that such an authority is wrong. Now this is not reductio ad absurdum, as some would suggest, it is the logical conclusion that must be reached when someone takes an arguemnet out of context. A wife is to be subject to her husband, yes, but she she is subject to her husband alone.

I know many pastors whose churches cannot afford to pay them enough to support their families, there wives are forced to work part time, many with children (at school). Should we reduce the number of reformed pastors still more so that their wives can stay at home whilst they go out and earn enough money to keep their familes. For many this is a sacrifice the wife chooses to make so that her husband can continue to serve in the church, personnaly I believe that is a sacrifice that should be commended. Most local churches in this country are in middleclass areas, to be able to afford to live near to your church you will need to earn more then twice the average salary to be able to secure a mortgage. It is a necessity for most christain couples for the wife to work. I am sad to say she usually has little choice in the matter.

Have you noticed, that in the story of Ruth, it is naomi who nurses the the child, was that so Ruth could continue her work I wonder? Perhaps, just perhaps, it is worth thinking about just hoew influenced by the modern nuclear family our view of family has become. Too often these issues are viewed through a lense of victorian lifestyles, rather then a strictly biblical teaching on the matter I feel. Did woman work in the bible? Was that work always based in their husband's (or fathers business) - where woman ever condemend for such enterpise?

Yes, a woman who becomes so career focussed that she neglects her responsibilities of being a wife is sinning, but then a husband is sinning if his career is such that he neglects his responsibility to be a husband as well is he not? I see nowhere in my bible that says woman must stay at home, and cannot have a job at all. I feel sure if it was displeasing to God, that he would have made it clear in his word. Perhaps the ideal is that the man works, and the wife stays home to raise the children, but how often is life ideal, just like every other aspect of our lives there is balance that needs to be struck in these matters, to my mind as long at that balance is right, and the woman is being a wife, and an active church member, as well as a homemaker, she can work.
 
Last edited:

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
Let me be clear that I'm not trying to criticize anyone else's decisions or convictions on this matter. I just wanted to point out that there are also non-practical reasons for women to work - its not always about having to provide money for the family, sometimes women love their field.
True - being a keeper at home doesn't mean being in the house all the time. I love helping out with homeschooling, tutoring a variety of subjects, piano lessons, etc and often these things have to take place in lots of other places!

BTW, :offtopic:, but glad to have another hot topic-type dialogue with you and Jessi. I think we're almost ready for a Crossfire or similiar type news show - but not so fast - not until I'm completely rehabilitated! :D
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't mean to stir the pot more...but I think that one thing we may have lost sight of is that some women love their jobs. I, personally, love love love the field I am in. I know that I glorify God in the work I do and in the love I have for my work. Many other women feel the same. I plan on working after I marry not so much for practical reasons, but because God has gifted me with a talent and a love for what I do. Of course, as its been noted, a career (both the husband and the wife's) shouldn't have an ill effect on the home and family. If that happens, the situation needs to be carefully and prayerfully re-evaluated. But barring a situation like that, I don't think that its Biblical to insist that a woman must leave behind her talents and her education if she wants to get married.
Talents should not be thrown out the window, I wholeheartedly agree. That being said, I have a friend who is an MIT grad (holds a doctorate in engineering) and she homeschools her children because there is no more valuable expression or avenue for her skills than in the home. Their legacy is their children. That being said, she does help her husband with the family business, but it is under his headship and still with children in tow.

The other issue is that few in the situation you describe see the ill effects on the children because it is just business as usual. When you're in the rat race, these things happen. We've gone through this exact issue. I tried to do my Master's degree while working a very demanding job and saw no ill effects. It was only when I switched jobs that I saw the incredible damage I had done.

As an addition to all this, I simply cannot conceive how a woman can leave her children in day care to work. That's me. I just don't see an upshot to it. My mom worked in the family business and we stayed with grandparents during the day when we were young. I look back on that time with them fondly. I think I would look back on things with resentment if I were in day care, and that seems to be the new norm. I don't see that as a cure-all to the issue, but it made the best of a less-than-ideal situation in my case.

I'm not trying to get off-topic with the whole day-care thing, I'm just saying that there are so many detrimental aspects to this sort of action.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
I know many smart, competent, well educated women (my wife is one) that stay at home and care for their families.

I respect & admire them. They have made a God honouring choice, in my opinion.

However, they are not REQUIRED by scripture to follow this path. I can see many circumstances that could result in an other, just as God honouring choice.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm not up to reading the last few replies, but here are my comments on what I see at a glance.

Bill: at this moment, I'm not going to comment, because anything I say would eventually turn not so nice.

on the other side

To whomever equated women staying at home with not being allowed to own property, etc: that is just plain ignorance.


*removing herself from the conversation*
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top