In this series, I will explore family relationships from a Bible perspective. In this session, we will look at the wife’s role.
The Virtuous Wife:
Proverbs gives us several excellent descriptions of a Godly wife, ending with Proverbs 31, which is a tribute to her.
Proverbs 12:4: A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. (KJV)
Proverbs 18: 22: Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord. (KJV)
Proverbs 19:13-14: A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord. (KJV)
Proverbs 31:10-31: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth 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 maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (KJV)
This passage describes a wife who is first of all trustworthy. Her husband can have complete trust and confidence in her. In addition she is industrious, working with her hands to do whatever she can to help support her household. She is generous to those in need. She takes good care of her family, ensuring they have all they need. She sacrifices her own wishes when necessary to meet her family’s needs. Her husband is respected in her community. She is wise, and most of all she fears the Lord.
New Testament Wives:
In the New Testament, we see additional roles and responsibilities for wives. In our last study on husbands, we saw that Ephesians 5 said that husbands are to love and honor their wives. Let’s see what it says to wives. Notice it starts with both partners submitting to one another.
Ephesians 5:21-24: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (KJV)
I do not believe this means that wives have no say in decisions. Wives are to make their opinions known to their husbands, but the final decision rests with him.
1 Timothy 5:14: I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (KJV)
Titus 2:3-5: The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (KJV)
This required a total change in attitude from the Greek and Roman wives, whose culture was totally the opposite of this. But making that change results in great blessing in the home life. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word for “love” in this verse is the Greek word “philandrois”, which means to be totally devoted to. Next to God, our total devotion is to be to our husbands, then children.
1 Peter 3:1-6: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with. fear…. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (KJV)
Examples of Godly wives:
There are many examples in the Bible for us to follow. Here are references to some of the better known wives.
- · Ruth 1:4 and 8 – Ruth
- · 1 Samuel 25:3 – Abigail, Nabal’s widow, who David married.
- · Esther – Esther 2:15-17
- · Elizabeth- Luke 1:6