As promised last week, I will share my study of Titus 2:3-5.
Disclaimer: Please note that I have never attended a Bible College, or done any theology courses. This blog post is an organized version of the notes I made while researching Titus 2:3-5, specifically the part that the NIV Bible translates as “to be busy at home”.
My attention was brought to Titus 2:3-5 through a few blog posts* I read regarding Godly Womanhood. I had heard this verse before, and I had done a brief study on it, but I had never felt God leading me to it like He did while doing the Funeral Visualization Exercise.
I mostly use the NIV Bible, so this is how I first read it:
Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
“3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 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.”
I went back and read the whole of Titus 1 and 2 so I could get the verses in context. The book of Titus is actually a letter that Paul wrote to Titus, giving him instructions.
For some reason, that I cannot explain, I pulled out all the different translations of Bibles I had in my home. What I found was that each of the versions I own translated the phrase “to be busy at home” in Titus 2:5 differently.
Revised Standard Version (1952): “to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.”
New Living Translation: “to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”
God’s Word: “to use good judgement and to be moraly pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husband’s authority. Then no one can speak evil of God’s word.”
While I noticed that all 4 of these versions translated the phrase differently, another part was very similar in all versions and caught my attention… women were to be taught these things so that nobody could malign / bring shame on / discredit / speak evil of the word of God. To me, this indicated that it wasn’t simply instruction for the times, but rather instruction for all time.
I couldn’t get over how each version was translating “to be busy at home” differently. So I went online to search for more translations of the passage and see what they say… (Comparison of Various Bible Translations)
I found that more translations used the phrase “keepers at home” or “workers at home” than any other phrase. So I decided to go deeper and I looked up the original greek word and its meaning.
οἰκουργούς is the greek word that I found to mean “keepers at home” or “workers at home” (Reference)
What I realized was that regardless of how a person interprets the phrase, the one part is clear: it is a woman’s responsibility to care for their homes.
The extreme of this viewpoint is to say that a woman must not work outside the home because her duty is within the home. Some people may feel that God has led them to this conclusion. After much prayer and careful consideration, I did not arrive at the same conclusion.
But, I feel that this verse does indicate that a woman should be the primary carer for her home. If she is capable of caring for her home and holding a job outside the home there is nothing stopping her from doing so.
Perhaps God has led you to a different conclusion. Your perspective may be different from mine, and that is OK… it would be an awfully boring planet if everybody thought the same. I would love to hear your perspective in a comment below.
* I really wish I still had the links to some of the articles and blog posts that started me on this study. I like hearing other people’s opinions, from all angles. Unfortunately I used my mobile phone for browsing, and it seems like my history was cleared sometime in the past month. So I won’t be quoting or referencing the blog posts and articles that led me down this path.