Last week, I wrote about what God expects from the husband/father in the family. This week, we examine what the Bible says to the wife and mother.
According to Titus 2:4-5, the older women in a church are to instruct the younger wives and mothers how to “love their husbands and children, to 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.” Much offense has been taken at any mention of women being in the home, and being subject to their husbands. As far as being in the home, many mistakenly believe that Biblical teaching to mean that women are to have NO other interests outside the home; the Bible never sets this restriction. However, in instructing women to be “busy at home” it does give them a unique role in the family unit; in the original Greek, the words “busy at home” translate to the idea of “guardian of the house”. Obviously, God’s intention has never been for this role to be demeaning for women, but one of special ministry to her family.
Where subjection to husbands is concerned, we saw last week that the husband is to love the wife with a sacrificial love, tending to her needs and desires before his own. Obviously, passages calling the wife to subjection are NOT giving husbands the right to be dictators or task masters. Nor is it an acknowledgment of any inherent superiority of men over women. It is a system which God has put in place, and it is much more about submission to him, than to a husband. (See Ephesians 5:22-24) One of the best arguments that could be made against the worldly attitude that condemns this arrangement as being humiliating for the wife is found in 1 Corinthians 7:4 “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” This is one of the clearest indications that God intended the marriage relationship to be one of equality.
The wife is also instructed to love her husband and children. The love that the wife is to have for her family is not limited to a simple fond affection; it is a Godly love, produced by a desire to see the best for them spiritually, as well as physically. It should be noted that the kind of maternal love spoken of here grows naturally out of a love for Christ as Lord. It can originate nowhere else.
The instructions for the wife to be self-controlled, pure and kind are fairly self-explanatory. But they also lend greatly to the image of the Godly wife. She is in control of her thoughts, interests and passions. She is morally chaste. She is loving and charitable in ALL of her dealings, especially with her family.
When we honor the role God ordained for wives, and encourage women to make themselves accountable to him in this way, the wife, the family, and society all benefit.
Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles.
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