Question: "What does the Bible say about women working outside the home?"
Answer: Whether or not a woman should work outside the home is a struggle for many couples and families. The Bible does have instructions regarding the role of women. In Titus 2:3-4, Paul gives these instructions as to how a young married woman is to be trained by older women: “...train the younger women 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.” In this passage, the Bible is clear that when children are in the picture, that is where the young woman's responsibility lies. The older women are to teach the younger women and to live lives that glorify God. Keeping these responsibilities in mind, an older woman's time can be spent at the Lord's leading and her discretion.
Proverbs 31 speaks of “a wife of noble character.” Starting at verse 11, the writer praises this woman as one who does everything in her power to care for her family. She works hard to keep her house and her family in order. Verses 16, 18, 24, and 25 show that she is so industrious that she also moonlights with a cottage industry that provides additional income for her family. This woman's motivation is important in that her business activities were the means to an end, not an end in themselves. She was providing for her family, not furthering her career, or working to keep up with the neighbors. Her employment was secondary to her true calling—the stewardship of her husband, children, and home.
The Bible nowhere forbids a woman from working outside the home. However, the Bible does teach what a woman’s priorities are to be. If working outside the home causes a woman to neglect her children and husband, then it is wrong for that woman to work outside the home. If a Christian woman can work outside the home and still provide a loving, caring environment for her children and husband, then it is perfectly acceptable for her to work outside the home. With those principles in mind, there is freedom in Christ. Women who work outside the home should not be condemned, and neither should women who focus on the stewardship of the home be treated with condescension.
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