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Monday, 25 February 2008

Titus 2

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 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 2v3-5


My husband and I are currently considering what exactly the outworking of these verses is. In particular, what is meant by "keepers at home"? The Greek word is οἰκουρούς. I know that οἰκος means home/house and my Greek-English interlinear new testament translates the word literally as "house workers". I have had a brief search on the internet but presumably it is not a word used in modern Greek as everything I found relating to this word was about Titus 2.


The reason we are particularly considering the outworking of these verses is so that we know how we should be raising our daughter in terms of her expectations of her life as an adult.

(I grew up in a non-Christian family and I was expected to leave home and support myself once I had finished my education. After I left home I worked for two years before training as a teacher. I got married just after my teacher training and we intended that I would work as a teacher until we had children. However in God's providence I was unable to gain a post and although I registered as a supply teacher I only got a few days work in the first year we were married and then I became pregnant and was too ill to work. Looking back I can see lots of reasons why it was better that I was not out at work all day and I am glad that things worked out the way they did. However even within the church the expectation seems to be that the wife would work (by which I mean being in paid employment outside the home) until they have children. I can remember getting really fed up that every Sunday I would be asked, "Have you got a job yet Susan?" as if the most significant part of my life was finding a job.)

So the questions we are considering are:

Does this list apply to all young women?
I would say yes but because it talks about loving their husbands and children it could be argued that it is referring to married women with children. However surely it is important to be taught about these things (e.g. that we should love our husbands and what is meant by this) before we are married rather than after? (Like if you were going to paint a room, you wouldn't just set forth and paint it - you would find out how to do it either by asking experienced painters or by reading a book by someone who knows about it.)

What does "keeper at home" or "house worker" mean?
In our discussions so far we have concluded that being a "keeper at home" or "house worker" means that the woman has the home as her priority. In order for this to be the case she would therefore have to be at home for a significant proportion of her time. Based on Proverbs 31 there is nothing wrong with a woman spending time on things which bring in money but this passage implies that such occupation should not take up too much of her time or take her outside of the home too much as this would prevent her from making the home her priority. Also we concluded that she is to be busy. She is "keeping" the home or a house worker. This means that she will be working hard at the aspects of running a household (such as cooking, cleaning, looking after children etc.) - not spending her days at leisure. Although it is possible to run the household with minimal work (and indeed many people who work outside of the home do) the implication is presumably that it is important enough that a significant amount of time should be spent doing it (and of course one can make a much better job of it if one spends more time). (At this point I want to emphasise that I am not attacking anyone who does work fulltime outside of the home but am looking at this in terms of how we should raise our daughter.)

What are the implications of these verses?
If the verses apply to all women, then presumably we should raise our daughter to expect to stay at home until she is married and we should be teaching her how to "keep" a home. It would be reasonable to raise her to expect to do things which would contribute to the household income (whether that is our household while she is unmarried or her husband's household if she marries) but not to expect a "career".

I would appreciate comments which might help in our understanding of these verses and also if anyone knows of any books or websites which go into this in detail that would be helpful too.

9 comments:

inlovewithchrist said...

Hi,
First of all I would like to thank you for your comment on my blog, and second, to thank you for this post!
I am in a little different position then you are, since I am actually a daughter being raised to "keep the home". I am 20 years old, and have chosen not to go to college for the purpose of learning to run, love and care for a home (all under the loving guidance and protection of my parents). And let me say that I am so thankful that God has allowed me to stay at home and instructed my parents to guide (not force) me to follow God's path for me, as is laid out in Scripture in verses such as the one you are discussing.

As far as additional insight on these verses, I really have none to offer except that obeying them in my life has been the greatest blessing and has brought our entire family peace and vision (and I have two younger sisters who are about to follow in my steps). Your interpretation aligns closely to my family's beliefs on these verses.

I was just encouraged reading over your thoughts that reconfirm why I am doing what I'm doing by the grace of God. Thanks.

In Christ,
Kaysie

Kristina said...

Hi Susan. Thanks for the comment on my blog :)

It seems like your understanding of Titus 2 is correct. This is pretty much how I understand the text as well. Obviously, not every woman will be able to stay at home 100% of the time (like if she is a widow, or her husband is an unbeliever, etc.). But, as far as how Christian parents are to raise their daughters, this is most definitely where the focus should be. I don't believe there is anything wrong with a young woman having a part-time job outside of her home before she is married, or after she is married before she has children - as long as that isn't the focus, and they aren't dependant on her income. But certainly her main job is to be a keeper at home, be a good wife, and a good mother. Far too often I see families where both parents work full-time, and their children are seriously lacking the discipline and proper relationship with their parents.

I am 19 years old and I am still living with my parents. They have no deadline set as to when I should leave. I contribute to the household by cooking, cleaning and running errands. My sister (as you read on my blog) lived at home until she married at 18 (nearly 19). She did work outside the home before she married, and for a very brief time afterward. It's been 6 years now, and she's never felt the need to work outside the home since.

My mother has not worked since she married my dad, over 25 years ago. My dad owns an auto repair shop and makes under $40k/year, yet with three kids they've always been able to manage. I often wonder why families with only one or two kids need to have both parents working?

So, as I said, I agree with your conclusions about this subject. Sorry this was so long :)

Have a blessed day!

~Kristina

Jimena said...

I was raised in a home where I was expected to have a career. I left home at 19 to go look for that career in Europe and I figured that as soon as I had it I would be off the hook. I worked for three years and even though I enjoyed it very much it never felt like it would be my calling in life. I remember very clearly telling my dad that my goal in life was to be like my mother... who was a stay at home mom from the time that we were born until we were in high-school. I wanted to be the "soothing hand" in my home... of course my answer was not very well received, and this is also what caused me to want to go ahead and get this degree. I was not raised in a Christian home so I understand where my parents come from. It's a world of insecurities where women have to know how to defend themselves financially and not depend on a man... but thanks be to God, I have Him to depend on. Now as a stay at home wife I do find that it is not always easy to know how to keep the home as I was not raised to keep it... I agree with your interpretation of the verses too. How did the marmalade turn out? Blessings :)

SouthernMom said...

I found http://www.achristianhome.org/Welcome_Home!.htm a while back and I thoughtht you might be intrested in their Titus study which is http://www.achristianhome.org/Titus2Study/ATitus2Journey.htm

Oh and how do you give the link a name intead of showing the whole link I tried everything it wont work in blogger for me.

Buffy said...

I pretty much agree with what you say except for the bit about girls staying at home until they're married. Not that I think there is anything wrong in doing this if the girl and her parents are happy with this situation. But I think some younger women (and older ones once children have grown up) are sometimes lead to make offerings to the community in a variety of ways such as nursing, teaching young children etc. I can't see that this goes against Titus 2. The main thing is not forcing a girl to get a job she hates just to support herself. IMHO of course.

Sis. Julie said...

Hi....I'm Sis. Julie from Julie's Jewels. You had left a comment on my blog and asked me to come by and read your post and leave a comment.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get over here. We've been dealing with a lot of sickness in our home. In fact...I'm sick as I'm writing this. But the Lord reminded me of your wanting me to come by so I thought I would before I forget to again.

I love this post you have done. And I think you are right on with it. We have been training our girls up as the Bible teaches of a woman being a "keeper AT home". God says what He means and He means what He says. Although we have done all we know to do to train up our girls according to God's Word and His way as we understand it to be....we have one daughter (19) who desires to be a keeper at home and doesn't want to work outside the home. My youngest daughter (17) however wants to go to college and work outside the home. Although we have given her Scripture to tell her what God says about it....she has so much influence from family and friends in our church that are making that life seem pleasing to her.

I believe that God wants the woman (young and old) to be at home to protect her. God tells us in His Word that the woman is the weaker vessel. She is more susceptible to influences and the sweet talk that goes on between the male and female species. If a woman is at home she won't find herself partaking in adulterous relationships and if all women were in the home then there wouldn't be men taking part in such wicked things either.

God never intended for us to go outside the home and obey someone else's husband. He tells us in Ephesians to obey our OWN husbands. When a woman works for a male boss she has to obey him as his employee.

These are just some of the things that God brought to our attention in studying and praying about this topic.

You are right about the Proverbs 31 lady working out of her home but she did make sure it didn't take up the time she needed to have for the caring of her home and her family. When our husbands are away at work we should be tending to the cares of our household...that includes the house and the children and our husband's needs. But there is nothing wrong (as you see in Proverbs 31) with making of tapestries and such things and taking them to sell to the merchants. That brings in income that may be needed for the household.

My thoughts with this may be a little scattered...and for that I apologize if they are....my mind is a bit fuzzy from the medicine I'm taking.

In fact...I notice that you have comment moderation enabled on here as well. I'll leave a separate comment with my email address and you can email me. Just please don't publish the comment with my email address in it.

Courtney, Jer.33:3 said...

Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog the other day and inviting me to comment on this post.
Presently, I am just a few weeks shy of my 24th birthday. I have never worked a public job (I have done some part-time office work at church related ministries ) and have tried to abide by the teachings found in Titus 2:3-5. It hasn't always been easy........folks haven't always understood, but I have found that staying at home can be really fulfilling......even to a single girl waiting for her "prince" to come. What better "wife" training could one get then from her own mother who has faithfully stood by her husband's side 26 + years? What better "motherhood" training could one get then from being around their younger siblings and helping them, cooking for them, instructing them, joking with them, etc. ?
I don't think it's wrong for a lady to use her brain/hands that the Lord has given her to earn some money for this and that. However, being a "keeper AT home" is the lady's first priority and her little "business" shouldn't take her away from her home or get in the way of her household duties. The Bible is also very clear that the man/husband is to be the provider of the home and to do that, a married couple should NEVER come to the place where they rely on 2 incomes.

Mrs. White said...

I love these kinds of discussions. They are so encouraging. Excellent post.

I found your blog through a comment you left on another blog. I plan to sign up for an email subscription to your posts.

I look forward to reading more.

Blessings
Mrs. White

Sis. Julie said...

Thank you for visiting Mrs. White. I hav created a public facebook fan page where I will be posting from now on. Please feel free to come by and visit anytime. Blogger has become more time consuming for me. I am thankful you have been blessed b what you have read here on my blog. You can find the link to my fan page in my latest post on my blog page.

Thank you again.

Sis. Julie

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