“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 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.
For many, the concept of Biblical homemaking seems to be founded on this one verse, and an interpretation that homemaking is the most appropriate “occupation” for a Christian wife. But, what is this verse really saying? Is it really saying that all Christian wives should be homemakers?
Well, for starters, we know that not all women are called to be homemakers as we have defined homemaking in our society. A more “traditional” homemaker was a woman who did not work traditional jobs either inside or outside the home, but focused primarily on keeping house (cooking, cleaning) and caring for children. In our context today, homemakers may work jobs or bring in an income – for example from work-from-home roles, or as business owners themselves – while still maintaining a primary focus on traditional homemaking duties. However, there are several women in the Bible held up as good examples to follow who were not traditional homemakers. So what do we make of this?
First of all, I think the overall point of these verses is that Christian wives should be set apart from then culture around them. Verse 3 can give us some insight into women in the culture – “slanderers and addicted to wine”. Chapter 1 talks about people in the culture as “rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception”. In other words, women were abandoning their duties to pursue pleasures. How does that apply today? Well, one could call themselves a homemaker, but be so consumed with social media, entertainment and socializing that they neglect taking care of home. Or they could develop a feeling of entitlement and laziness to the point of disrespecting their husbands. Or they could become so enthralled with building up their business to earn an income that they forget about their children, who should take priority.
There is a bigger call in Titus 2. Wives of the faith should stand out from other wives – not in a negative way, but positively. That includes making home a priority over worldly pursuits. Husbands aren’t off the hook. In fact, we are called to be self-controlled as well. When we both follow these instructions, no one will be able to twist the Word to justify contrary lifestyles, and we make the teachings of Christ and obedience to the Word of God desirable to others.