Female leadership in the home

OK, I’ve been talking about male leadership in the home and I keep saying that women are to submit to men, that men are to lead. So does that mean that women are to be door mats? Are women to bend to every whim of the husband? Are women to be silent and just do for her husband? Are women to have no opinions? Are women to used?


First, realize we are not to sin, nor allow others (including our family) to entice us to sin.

Proverbs 1:10

10My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.

Psalm 1:1

1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

A woman should not allow her husband to draw her away from worshiping God Deuteronomy 13:6-8

6“If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known,  7of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end),  8you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him.

Now, the passage above goes on to say he should be killed, but we have to mitigate that with the New Testament passages which say we are to love and our sins have been forgiven (John 3:16-18; Romans 13:8). Of course, this does not mean we should hide what they attempt to do, in fact, the Deuteronomy passages tells us to not conceal him.

Neither should a woman allow her husband to cause her to sin against God.

Acts 5:1-10

1But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  2and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?  4“While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

7Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”  9Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

Also, a woman should not forget she is given to her husband (and he to her) to help him.

Genesis 2:18-24

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone ; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19  Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and  brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever  the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to  all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept ; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The  man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh ; She shall be called Woman, Because she wastaken out of Man.” 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife ; and they shall become one flesh.

One of the ways she can help is to help sharpen him.

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

To do that, a woman should be able to give godly advice to her husband.

Proverbs 19:20

20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.

Now, that is not saying she should be contentious if her husband does not take her advice on things.

Proverbs 21:9

It is better to live in a corner of a roof  than in a house shared with a contentious woman

We’ve talked about some of the things a woman should or should not do in a home. But what about female leadership in the home?

A woman is to run her home. Paul was clear that married women are to bear children and keep house. The Greek word translated here as ‘keep’ is Oikodespoteo. This is the verb form of Oikodespotes (defined as “master of the house, householder”). Oikodespoteo means:

  1. to be master (or head) of a house
  2. to rule a household, manage family affairs

The term Oikodespoteo is used only in one place and in conjunction with the wife. Oikodespotes is used in 12 places in reference to a man.

1 Timothy 5:14 NASB

14 Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach;

We see an example of how a woman is to manage her home in Proverbs 31. She gains the trust of her husband. She does him good. She works with her hands (is industrious). She shops as needed. She ensures those in her household (which could include servants) are fed and clothed. She earns money while managing the household (buying a field and planting a vineyard). She’s not lazy, but works so her arms get strong. She doesn’t feel guilty for what she is gaining, but recognizes it as good. She is charitable to the needy. She makes and sells clothing.

Proverbs 31:10-31

10 An excellent wife, who can find ? For her  worth  is  far  above  jewels.  11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will  have no lack of  gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her  life. 13 She  looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. 14 She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. 15 She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And portions to her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings  she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong. 18 She  senses that her gain is good ; Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed  with scarlet. 22 She makes  coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and  purple. 23 Her  husband is  known  in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She  makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen.  25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future .  26 She  opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  27 She  looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of  idleness.  28 Her  children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 “Many  daughters  have done nobly, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman  who fears theLORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works  praise her in the gates.

Of course, I am not saying the woman is to be the sole provider or even the main provider. I don’t say this because there is a prohibition against women working. I say this because I think God is clear that men are to provide for their families.

Genesis 2:15

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

1 Timothy 5:8

8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Thessalonians 4:11

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,

2 Thessalonians 3:10

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order : if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either

One of the roles a woman has in her family is to teach a younger woman how to be a mother and wife. Paul told Titus to teach older women so they can teach younger women. This is like aunts and mothers and grandmothers teaching a young lady what she needs to do when she marries, or how to act with her children and husband if she is already married. In most cases, I’m sure the teaching would occur through how she lives and deals with life in the day to day events in the normal course of life, rather than through a more formal Bible study or anything like that.

Titus 2:1-5

1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 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 train 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.

Notice that these things are to be taught and done so no one will speak poorly of the word of God. And 1 Peter 3:1 tells us women should submit to their husbands even if they are unbelievers, so they might come to believe the word and trust in Christ. It is not about the qualifications of the man, but about the God the wife follows.

One of the roles a woman has in the home is to train her children.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

A woman should teach the children what God has done.

Deuteronomy 6: 6-7

6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

So in the areas of her children and her household and what she needs to do to provide for her children, and other women in her circle of influence, a woman has a leadership role.

But even so, she should submit to her husband, who is the head of the house.

1 Corinthians 11:3
3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
So yes, a woman has a role of leadership in the home. She should teach children and other women in her sphere of influence. She is in charge of her home, subject to her husband.

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