In many homes in the West both the mother and the father work. In some proportion only one of the parents works. Sometimes because childcare is very expensive and it doesn’t make sense to pay another person one of the incomes to raise your own children.

This has meant for some families that the parent with the higher paying job and greater benefits (health insurance, dental, life insurance, bonus et cetera) goes to work while the other stays at home. And sometimes this is the mother going to work. How does that fit in with Titus?

“(v4 young women) to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” ‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:5

How does Titus 2:5 apply to such families? Whether they both work or the wife only works

  • Husband and husbandry are also related terms; that does not mean married males concern themselves only with the latter. See also 1 Timothy 3:4-5, where the male priest/bishop is described in similar terms. – Lucian Sep 28 at 20:38
  • The text is not addressed to the world in general. It is addressed to the church, the body of Christ, a separate community from the world with a completely different set of values and principles. – Nigel J Sep 29 at 21:31
  • Obviously and how did that apply to the church then especially when you have an example of Lidia a working woman, did she give up her business when she got baptized? And does it still apply today @NigelJ? Or are you saying that in the church today no one struggles with having to have the father stay at home with the children and the mother working? Or the mother working and the father working? – Nihil Sine Deo Sep 30 at 0:17
  • @NihilSineDeo Speaking personally, I waited until I had the necessary substance (house and developed career) before marrying (at the age of 36) and having children. So, financially, it was not a 'struggle'. I cannot speak on behalf of anybody else. – Nigel J Sep 30 at 3:03
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    @NihilSineDeo One doesn't have to be rich. One just needs enough. And the Lord provides. Amen. The system is discouraging me from further comment so I shall leave it there. Regards. – Nigel J Sep 30 at 5:43

A woman's work is not confined to her household. That view point has been wrongly driven by past church dogma still persisting today, which does not carefully consider Prov. 31. If we look at the description of the woman's activities in managing her household, you might well consider that she is a modern day business woman.

"10 A woman of worth who doth find? Yea, far above rubies [is] her price. 11 The heart of her husband hath trusted in her, And spoil he lacketh not.

12 She hath done him good, and not evil, All days of her life. 13 She hath sought wool and flax, And with delight she worketh [with] her hands.

14 She hath been as ships of the merchant, From afar she bringeth in her bread. 15 Yea, she riseth while yet night, And giveth food to her household, And a portion to her damsels.

16 She hath considered a field, and taketh it, From the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. 17 She hath girded with might her loins, And doth strengthen her arms.

18 She hath perceived when her merchandise [is] good, Her lamp is not extinguished in the night. 19 Her hands she hath sent forth on a spindle, And her hands have held a distaff.

20 Her hand she hath spread forth to the poor, Yea, her hands she sent forth to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of her household from snow, For all her household are clothed [with] scarlet.

22 Ornamental coverings she hath made for herself, Silk and purple [are] her clothing. 23 Known in the gates is her husband, In his sitting with elders of the land.

24 Linen garments she hath made, and selleth, And a girdle she hath given to the merchant. 25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing, And she rejoiceth at a latter day.

26 Her mouth she hath opened in wisdom, And the law of kindness [is] on her tongue. 27 She [is] watching the ways of her household, And bread of sloth she eateth not.

28 Her sons have risen up, and pronounce her happy, Her husband, and he praiseth her, 29 `Many [are] the daughters who have done worthily, Thou hast gone up above them all.'

30 The grace [is] false, and the beauty [is] vain, A woman fearing Jehovah, she may boast herself. 31 Give ye to her of the fruit of her hands, And her works do praise her in the gates!" (Prov. 31:10-30, YLT)

Is this woman confined to her house, or is she out buying supplies, selling land, trading goods? She is the household manager, and she does whatever it takes to be sure her family and servants are well fed and well clothed.

The better understanding of Titus 2:5 is a directive to the woman/wife that she actually does work, and not to be a lazy layabout with her feet up on a cushion, reading all day, and watching TV programs till her husband comes home at night.

If today that means that she also has to work outside the home in order to be able to acquire the goods to manage her household then so be it. The cause of the two income household is another topic all together which is fully the fault of the international counterfeit fraudulent reserve "banking" system that has stolen the wealth of the people.

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    This answer is really good until the last paragraph which does not add to the answer and (at least from my perspective) is opinion based. – ARich Sep 28 at 23:30
  • I don't think the Proverbs 31 woman applies to Titus 2:5, or to Christian women in general. The passage is regarding the kind of woman that would be suitable as a queen in the royal house of King Lemuel. The reason the Proverbs 31 woman can act according to the verses you shared is because she is wealthy and free to leave the home to her domestics. The modern, average Christian woman cannot do this, and so, shouldn't be compared to the Proverbs 31 woman. – The Votive Soul Sep 29 at 1:19
  • @ARich - the OP expresses some of the current problems encountered with both husband and wife working & is wondering how to balance that with the traditional view of a woman staying at home. The final para. provides the reason for the current situation. My degree is in Banking & Finance, & have significant minors in Economics and Acctg. The federal reserve banking system is thievery & that is not my opinion but well documented fact by very many ppl. – Gina Sep 29 at 8:36
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    @TheVotive Soul - I disagree. The virtuous woman is not limited to a queen. A queen would not be building up the strength of her arms by planting a vineyard, nor rising before dawn to be sure food was prepared. The several commentaries make it plain that this model of a virtuous woman applies to all household managers to increase the wealth of the family. In today's society we have been forced to adjust how we do so, but the examples are still of any virtuous woman. You might read Clarke's Commentaries as well as McLaren's, Benson's, & Matthew Henry's. All apply Prov. 31 to all wives. – Gina Sep 29 at 8:43
  • @Gina the OP did not ask “why” the current situation exists for many households, only how to view Titus 2 in light of the current situation. Regardless of whatever credentials you may have, your last paragraph is off topic and does not add any significant value to the answer. – ARich Sep 29 at 13:56

Berean Literal Bible Titus‬ ‭2:5

self-controlled, pure, keepers at home, kind, being subject to the own husbands, so that the word of God should not be maligned.

managers of their households,
οἰκουργούς (oikourgous)
Adjective - Accusative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 3626: A keeper-at-home, a housekeeper. From oikos and ouros; a stayer at home, i.e. Domestically inclined.

The verse is not about working at home to earn income. There is another Greek work for that in 2 Thessalonians 3:10

For even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat.”

to work,
ἐργάζεσθαι (ergazesthai)
Verb - Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Strong's Greek 2038: To work, trade, perform, do, practice, commit, acquire by labor.

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  • How does your answer apply to today’s context? You’ve only partially addressed the question. Now that you set your base please answer the heart of the matter. Thank you – Nihil Sine Deo Sep 28 at 16:40

To mix some metaphors, this Titus 2:3-5 is one that is a hornets nest of difficulty and Pandora's box of trouble; but only to those who do not see the whole picture. Let me break this down into separate points.

Essentially, Paul is telling Titus to train the older women to help the younger women (no problem so far!) in the following matters:

  • love their husbands - surely no problem here either anciently no in modern times!
  • love their children - this also causes little exegetical difficulty
  • to be "self controlled" - an honest exegete cannot object here either
  • "pure" - again, no difficulty
  • "workers at home" - I will return to this shortly
  • "kind" - no problems here
  • "submissive to their husbands" - this is the other problem

Thus, we have two potential problems here for modern society which require different responses.

"Workers at Home"

Recall that in the 1st century Roman world, the opportunities for women to work and earn an independent income were exceedingly rare (Lidia appears to be an exception). Widowed or divorced women faced grim prospects - either starve, become a prostitute, or get remarried. The Christian church altered this dynamic dramatically as it allowed older women to be supported by the church (Acts 6:1; 1 Tim 5:9). As a result, some had become a little arrogant and Paul wanted to remind them of their social position.

I do not believe that this applies in modern times as much precisely because modern western society, informed by the likes of Acts 6:1 & 1 Tim 5:9, has implemented welfare programs to allow women to be more independent, just as Lidia (and possibly Dorcas?) was.

"Submissive to Husbands"

This is the "old chestnut" - a favorite of bible deprecators. There is a similar instruction in Eph 5:22. What many forget is the previous verse which says (Eph 5:21)

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Later, the text goes on to say (v25)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

That is, Husband must love their wives enough to be willing to give their lives for them, in the unlikely case that this occurred. V21 also means that husband should submit to their wives as well!!

This paints a picture of an ideal marriage as a relationship of mutual submission and thus respect and love. Never should Eph 5:22 (and Titus 2:5) be read in isolation.

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