Role of the Wife in the Bible
Role of the Wife in the Bible - God's Plan for the Wife
The role of the wife is clearly described in the Bible. Although males and females are equal in relationship to Christ, the Bible gives specific roles to both the husband and the wife in marriage.
As wives, we are given these roles, among others:
Mentors - Titus 2:4-5 says, "Then they can 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."
Witnesses - 1 Peter 3:1 says, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives."
- Examples - 1 Timothy 3:11 says, "In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything."
Role of the Wife in the Bible – The Design Order of the Family Unit
When studying the role of the wife in the Bible, it is important to understand how God designed the family unit. There are ranks described—Christ, the husband, the wife, and then the children. You would not expect to walk into a doctor's office and be greeted by the doctor, measured and weighed by the receptionist, and then treated by the nurse. Right? There are certain orders to things because that's what works. It's the same way with God's design in the family unit. It works smoothly, when done His way.
God designed the husband as the leader of the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). The Bible describes this leadership as loving—not dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing of his wife or children. In fact, a husband’s leadership is compared to Jesus’ love for the church. This love is one of mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and selflessness. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26).
Ephesians 5 also speaks of the wife’s role in the marriage. Ephesians 5:22-24 says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
Colossians 3:18-19 reiterates this concept. It says, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” From these verses we see that love and respect characterize the roles of both husbands and wives. If these are present, then authority, headship, love, and submission will be no problem for either spouse.
Beth, a wife, explains it this way,
“The role we have as wives is that of encouraging and helping our husbands. When we try to make it any more, or any less, that's when we run into trouble. My mom used to teach a young married couples class, and I will never forget her most ‘valuable nugget’ of truth. She always told them that the husband is the head of the home, and the wife is the neck. The neck supports the head, and helps the head to fulfill its duties.”
Role of the Wife in the Bible – The Wife of Noble Character
Proverbs 31 also speaks of the role of the wife in the Bible. We learn of her worth to her husband and family, how she cares for those who need her, how she provides for her family, protects them, and shares her strength with others. She fulfills her responsibilities with grace and strength. We also learn that a wife is a blessing to her husband. She is worth more than rubies! Wives can follow her example by living in the wisdom of God.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (Proverbs 31:10-31).
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