“That they [the older women] 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).
What is a “keeper at home”? In many Christian circles today, this phrase has been passed around numerous times and translated to mean many different things to many different people.
The Greek definition for this phrase is “guardian of the home.” In 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul says, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house . . . .” The Greek word for “guide” means to “rule a household; manage family affairs.”
Therefore, as writer and homemaker Jennie Chancey says:
“A woman cannot be the ruler of her home if she is rarely there or if her chief concerns lie in a career that requires her to give her children to someone else to raise, neglect her role as helper to her husband, and let the culture of the home be guided by others (pop culture, peers, television, etc.).” 1
Many parents have recognized God’s design for women to be fulfilling their God-given roles as a guardians of their homes and are seeking to raise their daughters with a vision to fulfill this calling. In training their daughters accordingly, they quickly run into the issue of whether it is wrong for a young woman to be earning money.
In Scripture, we find examples of women who earned an income while still fulfilling their God-given roles. The “Virtuous Woman” described in Proverbs 31 was certainly the ideal wife and mother (“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her . . . .” “Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Proverbs 31:11a, 28). Not only was she an exemplary wife and mother, she also managed a small home business. Proverbs says, “She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant” (Proverbs 31:24).
In the New Testament, Lydia is described as “a seller of purple,” but more importantly, she was a worshipper of God (Acts 16:14). Scripture also gives us a beautiful example of a husband and wife team working together. Aquila and Priscilla served the Lord, while at the same time working jointly as tentmakers (Acts 18:2-3).
However, these Scriptural examples do not give a young woman license to go out and pursue a career. Rather, I believe there are some basic principles which must be followed in order for any young woman to be earning money in a God-honoring manner.
She Must Have a Home-Centered Mentality
As stated above, a woman cannot be the “guardian of her home” if she is rarely there. Not only must she be there physically; her heart must also be there. It is vitally important that daughters are trained to have a home-centered mentality. If they can learn sweet contentment in domestic duties now, they will be equipped to be wonderful wives and mothers in the future. For this reason, any job or business a young woman is to have should not take her heart or her focus away from her home.
She Must Not Neglect Her Own Home and Family
Before a young lady ever pursues starting a small business or God-honoring job, she must make sure that she is not neglecting her own family’s needs. Having a home business can be a wonderful endeavor, but it should never interfere with the responsibility she has towards those who ultimately provide for her.
She Must Work Under the Proper Authority Structure
I cannot stress this point enough. There is great danger in a woman working for a man who is not her husband or father. A staggering amount of marital infidelity has been caused by women working in such situations. God has established protection for women through their Biblical authorities.
During my life, I have held a number of different jobs but one thing has always been the same in each instance: I have either been working for my authority, for a Christian woman, or had my own business. I could never, under any circumstance, feel safe and protected doing otherwise.
It is also imperative that young women first seek the counsel and blessing of their authority before beginning any new business. If your authority has no desire for you to be earning money, I would advise you to pass this book along to someone else. God will only prosper those efforts done with the blessing of your authority.
It may appear at first that there are no jobs which would ever fit the above criteria. In actuality, there are hundreds of different opportunities and jobs perfectly suited for a Godly, virtuous young woman. All it takes to find one is a little creativity and determination.
Excerpted from Crystal Paine’s book, The Merchant Maiden: Earning an Income Without Compromising Convictions. This 32-page booklet includes ideas, personal testimonies, and encouragement for young women and women desiring to earn an income in a God-honoring manner. To order this book, visit: http://www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/
1. Chancey, Jennie, Can A Woman Ever Do Work Outside the Home?,
August 19, 2004