I have noticed an alarming prevalence of Titus 2 websites promoting the role of women as homemakers and submissive wives and felt a series of posts on what the bible really says about the role of women might be in order As I have been a stay at home mum and wife , happily married for 30 years and a christian for well over 30 years I feel fairly well qualified to contribute to the subject.Especially as the first part of the bible verse specifically urges older women to aid younger women in their duties as wives and mothers
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves too much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women
Here is the bible verse in question,taken from the New international version bible.Titus is one of the later ,shorter New testament letters written to churches to give them help on doctrine and conduct.
Titus 2 ,4 /5
Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 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.
This seems fairly clear the bible wants women to be first and foremost wives and mothers and to be submissive to their husbands ans stay home otherwise they are bad women ,bad mothers ,bad wives and bad christians because they bring shame on their faith and on their God.
I feel the particular evil of using this verse above others is that it uses this final phrase to insist on obedience,To every christian there can be no more heartbreaking a thought than that we may have done something or want something that will bring shame on the gospel or our faith or our familys.I do not think any christian would choose to live their lives in a way contrary to the word of God.That said to apply this the bible verse to the modern world without knowing its context is utterly WRONG .
While I was a stay at home Mum and still spend a lot of time as a stay at home wife I also run my own business ,have a HND in business studies and hospitality management, A diploma in classical studies ,a diploma in European history and culture and an Honours degree in European humantieswhich focused on Classical studies and the culture ,religion and society of 16th and 17th century europe, specifically the reformation and the history and developement of science and mathematics ,I started a masters in Jewish studies focusing on the History of the near east and first temple Judaism and I have several other qualifications in archaeology ,christian counseling ,Food hygiene and religion.Until recently I had for several years led with my husband a bible study group in our home and I have contributed papers on both the role of Women in the religion of ancient Israel and the culture and archaeology of ancient Israel.I also studied at Honours level the Roman empire and specifically the Roman family .I have studied the bible for over 30 years both old and new testament and also the Jewish Talmud, the dead sea scrolls and the work of Josephus I would therefore suggest I am also qualified to comment on the passage in Titus and on the role of women in the life of Ancient Israel ,first temple Judaism ,the new testament church and the New testament world of both the roman empire and greek based cultures.
I would describe my spiritual stance as that of a liberal minded conservative charismatic with Catholic leanings.
I can say with absolute certainty NOWHERE does the bible condone the view that women should only be educated in so far as it makes them good daughters ,wives of mothers .NOWHERE does the bible condone the position that women should consider their normal and natural sphere to be solely the home ,their only roles as homemakers,no where does it promote the idea that women should focus their lives entirely on men or submit entirely and without thought to their husbands.Nowhere does it promote the ideas women are inferior to men or should devote their lives to serving men.Nowhere does it promote homeschooling or lack of education and nowhere does it condone the idea that women should have no say in the church or home .Biblical women are almost without exception strong ,intelligent and active .Jesus NEVER tells women to be submissive ,to stay at home or to be only “homemakers” Women were central to Jesus Ministry ,,theres is an old but not often quoted saying
” last at the cross and first at the tomb ” Women supported Jesus in his darkest hours on the cross when most men had fled ,Women were first at the tomb braving both the soldiers of Rome and the Temple facing social and religious ostracism and possible death to fulfil their final service to Jesus by caring for his body,,meanwhile the male disciples were hiding behind locked doors afraid .Jesus first appearance after his resurrection was not to Peter or Paul or any other man but to a woman. The importance of this has long been overlooked ,there is no random happening or event in scripture Jesus resurrection begins a new era and a the New covenant view of women as important and capable and as mens equals before God.
I will follow this introduction with an in-depth look at the Old testament ,then the New Testament and then a look at the role of women in the old and new testament world