What does the Bible say about women working outside the home?

Question: "What does the Bible say about women working outside the home?"

Whether or not a woman should work outside the home is a frequent question. The Bible does have instructions regarding a woman’s role. 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, the 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, using her degree, or working to keep up with the Joneses. Her employment was only a sidebar 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 a woman to work outside the home.

Recommended Resource: Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman: Proverbs 31 by Elizabeth George.

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Does a wife have to submit to her husband?

Should all mothers be stay-at-home moms?

What does God have to say to single mothers?

How should a Christian deal with infertility?

What are the roles of the husband and wife in a family?

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What does the Bible say about women working outside the home?