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"Daughter, Give me Your Heart" (On Titus 2:5 and Working at Home)

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Tit 2:3-5 commands, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

What does it mean for a woman to be “working at home”? Does this mean that a woman would be sinning to have a career outside of the home of any kind?

We would be wise to proceed with caution. There are other passages within the pastoral letters that, upon first reading, seem to say something which it does not. For example, 1 Timothy 2:15 says, “Yet she (a woman) will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” Does this text mean that women must bear children to be saved? No one would conclude that based on other clear texts of Scripture (cf. Eph. 2:8-9).

The same is true with Titus 2:5. Before we reach any conclusion, we need to study it. We need to consider what was happening in Crete and allow the rest of the Bible to put its weight upon this verse like an inverse pyramid.


Before we seek an answer, we must first test our hearts. Hypothetically, if Christ today, right now, were to ask you to leave your job, be fully committed to home-schooling your kids, and be physically at home, would you do it?

If not, is that not the very definition of an idol? Maybe far more of us have the exact same heart as the rich young man who, when asked to sell everything he had to follow Jesus, turned away sorrowfully because he loved his money too much. Do we love our jobs too much? Do we love the acclaim and praise of others too much? Do we think that Christ may ask us anything, except to leave our jobs? Are there certain things we would never consider giving up in obedience to Christ? (By the way, this is not a question only for women as the rich young ruler proves).

This is important because we should never come to Scripture and say, “I don’t like what I think it says; therefore, it cannot say that.” Instead, our hearts should belong to Christ supremely and say, “Lord, whatever You require of me, my answer is ‘yes.’ Whatever Your commands are, I will do it. I trust You.” Whatever our conclusion on this passage is, let none of us be idol worshipers but Christ followers. God calls you today, “Daughter, give me your heart.”


The context shows that this is addressed to women who are married and have children. Young women are to “love their husbands and children . . . and [to be] submissive to their own husbands.” This is not addressed to single women.

This emphasis makes sense within the context of Crete (and Ephesus in 1 and 2 Timothy). Paul writes regarding the false teachers in Titus 1:11, “They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” In Ephesus, false teachers were forbidding marriage (1 Timothy 4:3) and by implication childbearing as well. That is why Paul commands younger widows to marry instead of being “idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies” (1 Tim. 5:13). Since they had no husband and children, they could not be working at home, but instead were always going from home to home. Sadly, some of these younger widows “have already strayed after Satan.” (1 Tim. 5:16).

In 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul gives another route which parallels beautifully with Titus 2, “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” This is such a clear parallel to Titus 2:5 that they may be taken as synonymous. To work at home is to manage your home.

With marriage and childbearing under fire, Paul sought to restore the goodness of God’s design for marriage and childbearing. Far from hindering a woman’s calling to follow Christ, to bear children and raise them is exactly the way she works out her salvation as a Christian woman (1 Tim. 2:15).[1] Bill Mounce summed it up well, “The church’s women were to work out the implications of their salvation not by following the false teachers, but, among other things, by accepting the callings for which God had created them.”[2]

Therefore, the opposite of working at home would be to despise your husband’s authority, neglect your children, and wander from house to house. But to work at home means to make your home your highest delight, calling, and duty.


The virtuous Proverbs 31 woman confirms our understanding of Titus 2:5. How did that woman “work at home”?

Proverbs 31:15-16 says, “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” To buy a field must mean a field outside of your house. But more than that, she turns that field into a business. “She is not contented with simply becoming a land baroness. She wants her property to become a money-making venture yearly, not simply when it is resold.”[3] This is running a business. This is making money.

Yet, this woman has a completely homeward motivation with everything she does. Notice what makes her distinct from just a career woman. “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (vv. 11-12). What she does, she does for her husband and children. John Kitchen wrote, “She is, first, a ‘keeper of the home’ (Titus 2:5) and only secondarily a career woman. Her focus is fixed and helps to secure the marriage and home (‘All the days of her life’).”[4]

The rest of Proverbs shows how a godly woman views her primary calling as supporting her husband and children. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones” (Prov. 12:4). “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” (Prov. 14:1).

This is still a radical departure from modern culture. Today women are told that they should not give up their careers for their husbands or children. Nothing should stop her from reaching her potential (which means, making money). Women are told to find their identity and worth in their careers, how much money they make, and how independent they are from their husbands and children. If your husband or children are in the way, discard them. If your husband desires you to stay at home, rebel against him.

The biblical view is the opposite of this. A woman will reach her fullest potential and make her fullest impact when she is her husband’s helper and the manager of her home. She succeeds when he succeeds. As Proverbs 31:23 says, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” When her husband is honoured, she feels honoured. She is not the typical career woman; she is a godly woman, because she does everything for her first love, the Lord Jesus, and secondly, in obedience to Him, for her family.

Practically, this would mean that whenever her career is to the detriment of her house and children, she makes a plan to make more time to manage her house well. She submits to her husband's authority when he lovingly leads in a direction that affects her career with joy and trust. She rejects the world’s view that a stay-at-home mom is somehow wasting her gifts and time. Every family stands before God and will give an account to Him for how they raised their children, especially the husband and father. 

The counsel of John MacArthur is wise, “In consultation with their husbands, they must use good judgment in deciding how much time can justifiably and wisely be spent in activities outside the home, whether at a paying job or in some form of service. When they have a genuine desire to obey and honor the Lord in all things and to conscientiously seek guidance from His Word and in prayer, they can be assured that He will provide the necessary wisdom and resolution.”[5] Under the authority of her husband, she is to wisely consider what the best way forward is to care for the house and her children.


Titus 2:5 does not teach that it is sinful for a woman to have a career or make money. The context shows that marriage and family were under attack and Paul sought to restore a woman’s holy calling of being a wife and mother. She is to manage her home and to do whatever she does for her home as her highest priority. A career always comes second to this.

If our hearts belong to God, there is nothing worth keeping if it keeps us from obeying Him. And if our hearts belong to God, our hearts will also be at home – gladly giving ourselves for the benefit of our husbands and children that they too might treasure our greatest Treasure, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a high and noble calling!



[1] This is my view on what 1 Timothy 2:15 means. Paul is saying that a Christian woman is fulfilling her calling by bearing children and in this manner to work out her salvation by embracing motherhood (that is, to show that her faith is real and not dead). He does not mean every Christian woman should bear children, but that bearing children and raising them well is the ordinary expectation for women in marriage.

[2] Bill Mounce, “Should Women ‘Work at Home’?” Desiring God, October 19, 2023,

[3] John A. Kitchen, Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, 2006), 714.

[4] Kitchen, Proverbs, 712.

[5] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus (Chicago: Moody, 1996), 87.


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