Women Working Outside The Home

Dr Pierre Coovert

The purpose of this paper is to give an accurate interpretation of “keepers at home” in Titus 2:5. Before I get to the passage itself, we must understand some basic Bible principles. I will cover these principles by asking four questions.

Why did God make women?

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. Genesis 2:18

God created women to be helpers of their husbands. They are made “meet” for him. This means they are fit for the man, they are just what he needs to complete himself. This is why the Bible says that when a man and a women get married they become one flesh.

What should a man look for in a wife?

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. Proverbs 31:1

This Proverb 31 is King Lemuel telling us what his mother taught him.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 10-12

These three verses, and the rest of the chapter, tell us what a man should look for in a wife. The principle I want us to note in this passage is that the wife will seek to do him good. Her job is to compliment him and make him look good, not to change him. If she thinks he needs to be changed she should not have married him in the first place. Likewise, if a man thinks the woman he is considering as a wife needs to be changed, he should not marry her.

What is a wife’s relationship to her husband?

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

The husband is to be the head of the household.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:24

As each church is to be subject to Christ, each wife is to be subject to her own husband in everything.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 1 Peter 3:1

Submission to the authority of the husband has nothing to do with his spiritual condition. Even if he is lost, the wife is to be in subjection to her own husband. It is here conversation (conduct) that will work to bring him to Christ.

And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:35

This is really a hard verse for the modern woman. The whole idea that it is a shame for women to speak in the church is foreign to our culture and our thinking. We don’t want to take this to the point that women can’t speak at a church business meeting or sing in church, but when it comes to learning from the preaching and teaching in the church she is to be silent. If she questions what is said or taught, or if she doesn’t understand it, she is to ask her husband at home. This means that the husband is responsible to know the answers.

What is a womans role?

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1 Timothy 5:14

I know that this is in the context of widows, but do you think that a woman’s role changes because she is a widow? God’s plan for young women is to marry, bear children, and guide the house. She cannot do this with a job outside of the home.

My understanding of keepers at home.

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:4-5

To begin with we need to define some words:

The Greek word translated “keepers at home”

Strong’s Lexicon

οἰκουρός

oikouros

oy-koo-ros’

From G3624 and οὖρος ouros (a guard ; be ” ware” ); a stayer at home, that is, domestically inclined (a ” good housekeeper” ): – keeper at home.

Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

οἰκουρός, όν,

(οὖρος B)

Watching or keeping the house, of a watch-dog

Domestic

Dictionary.com

adjective

1. of or relating to the home, the household, household affairs, or the family:

domestic pleasures.

2. devoted to home life or household affairs.

Keeper

The best way to define this word is to look at its usage in Scripture.

And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Genesis 4:2

And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: Jeremiah 35:4

And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. Acts 16:27

Do you think that any of these “keepers” could do their job if they were not physically present?

Reasonable conclusions:

  1. The KJV translators were some of the most qualified Greek and Hebrew scholars the world has ever known. It is therefore reasonable to think they knew how to translate οἰκουρός.
  2. Strong says that the word comes from two words meaning house and guard. It is therefore reasonable that the word means to be present at home to guard it.
  3. Strong says that it can mean “domestically inclined” and domestic means to be devoted to home or household affairs. It is therefore reasonable to think that that the person is occupied at home.
  4. Liddell-Scott-Jones uses the idea of a watchdog, and since a watchdog must be present to guard, It is reasonable to think that this passage means to stay at home.

It seems strange to me that people try to take the obvious meaning of this, and other passages, and change them to mean something else simply because they don’t fit our culture. The Word of God is the final authority, not culture.

At the time of the translating of the KJB women staying at home was not an issue. This means that they could translate the word without needing to bend it to the culture. It is only after women started violating this principle that they started trying to find another way to translate or interpret it.

One of the most basic principles of hermeneutics (interpretation) is, “if common sense makes good sense, seek no other sense.” This means that if the normal understanding of the words makes good sense, then we are obligated to use that understanding.

If I said that my wife is a “keeper at home” no one would understand that she is a good housekeeper, they would understand that she does not work outside the home. This is the normal understanding of this phrase. It must be interpreted this way unless there is compelling context that changes the meaning.

There are reasons why this is important. First of all, the authority of the Scriptures is in question. This, of course, brings up the Bible version issue. Without getting into this issue too deeply, let me say that there is only one Bible, the KJB, that is translated from the same Greek text used by Bible believing Christians down through the centuries and that has been the source of all of the great revivals from the time of its publication until this very day. The rise of the multitude of Bible versions parallels the rise of worldliness in those who call themselves Christians. Some will argue that we can’t make the link, but I will ask them, WHY NOT? It is certain that “Christians,” in general, are much more worldly than those from the time when the KJB was the only Bible used.

Another reason is that our children are at stake. When mothers work outside the home, someone else raises her children. We must realize that parents will answer to God for the way they raise their children and the excuse, it was the daycare center, won’t cut it before God. Will a daycare center have your child’s best interests at heart? Will it have the same values you have?

Another issue is that of human authority. This same passage says that women are to be taught to be obedient to “their own husbands.” When a woman works outside the home, the authority of her boss will trump the authority of her husband. Why will this happen? Because the money will become the more important than following the Scriptures.

Here are a couple of questions for those who say their wife must work to meet their financial needs. The first is, don’t you trust God? He promises to meet our needs if we are obedient to Him and His precepts.

The second is, why should you expect God to bless the husband with sufficient income if He knows the husband will not trust Him to meet the financial needs of the family?

The basic principle at issue on the subject of women being keepers at home is not financial or fulfillment in a career, The principle is, do we believe and trust God? Trusting God is not trusting Him to do what we want, it is trusting that whatever He does is best.

Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved