Define "Keepers at home"

The weekend before last I attended a seminar at a church I used to attend. The speaker was Devi Titus, and the three things she spoke on affirmed, confirmed, and encouraged me in the way only God can. In the next few days I want to share with you what Mrs. Titus shared with us and how God used her words to touch my heart.

The first thing I will be talking about is the phrase "keepers at home." Now, take a deep breath and jump in with me, please. I think you will like what I've learned.

Do a web search on the phrase "keeper of their homes" and I can tell you what you will generally find. Either people exclaiming that this means women should stay at home, or people exclaiming why it doesn't mean that. In all my reading, listening, and hearing I have never heard the phrase explained the way Mrs. Titus explained it.

Now, first thought on what she said affirmed me. It let me know that what I had been doing was right and the decisions I was making actually had a solid basis. Second thought, I knew that if this was unlike what I had heard before it wasn't necessarily wrong, but I needed to dig in a little before I simply took it at face value.

Boy was I shocked!!

(King James) Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
(NIV) Titus 2:5 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

I was surprised that the phrase changed so much from the King James to the NIV. Now, at first glance there is no difference but what Mrs. Titus challenged us in is how we define the phrase. My question was, did KJ or NIV truly represent what the writer meant? My problem was that I only own a concordance for the NIV so I can't research the keeper at home phrase. Thankfully others have done that, and through their research and my own of the NIV this is where I ended up.

The Greek word is oikouros which is DEFINED as domestically inclined in my concordance. While feeling a little bit as if I were splitting hairs, yet following the lead of others I found online, oikouros comes from two words: oikos and ouros. The first means house, dwelling, family and the second means keeper, watcher, guardian. When the word is split it seems to favor the KJ translation, but for some reason when combined they defined the word to mean domestically inclined. This confused me, and please know that the irony considering my "Define 'day'" post does not escape me. The experts say it means domestically inclined then I shouldn't argue that, right? Well, maybe, but it simply doesn't make sense.

You see, if you look up the other ways "keeper" is used in the NIV it is in grand ways. Keeper of the gold, keeper of the armory, keeper of the wardrobe, keeper of the gate, keeper of the money bag, keeper of the king's forest. And one other... "Am I my brother's keeper?" Now, I wish there was someone or somewhere I could go to for the answer of "why did this phrase change in Titus?"  Because for me, now, at this point, keeper of the home is something much grander than busy at home. It's not about housework, or working outside the house, or homeschooling, or cleanliness, or anything of that sort... and it's all about those things as well.

The same word used for keeper was also defined as watchman and watcher. Consider the watchman on the wall. What was his goal? To keep a keen eye out to alert the city for any trouble. To keep that trouble out of the city through protection and warning. If we keep the items I listed above, is it not similar? Are they not protecting the gate, money bag, king's forest? Was that not why Cain whined? "Why should I watch out for/protect my brother?" Now, take all of this into consideration and lay it in the phrase "keeper of the home."

Mrs. Titus said that our responsibility is to make sure that our home is filled with peace and love and to protect it and those in it from anything which wishes to disrupt that peace and love. We stand at the door to our home and we send an alarm when we see something that may bring harm. We warn those inside the home when we see trouble lurking. We set boundaries to keep that peace and love within our home safe and secure, so that those living and growing in the home (regardless of age or maturity) are safe and secure.

"The home is where the heart is formed."

In order to form the heart in a healthy manner we have to protect it, guard it. We are the keepers of the home. Our enemies are chaos, hurt, bitterness, anger, frustrations, provocations. Our helpers are discipline, order, love, peace, joy. We have to do what we need to do in order to protect our homes and family and that is going to look different for each address.

It has nothing to do with working in or outside of the house, unless that becomes your first priority and everything else falls to the wayside.
It has nothing to do with housekeeping and organization, unless things are so disorderly that you have created a small universe of chaos where you can't stay healthy.
It has nothing to do with a type of schooling unless you have abdicated your role as parent to someone else.

We have to work it out in our own lives, but how much more exciting is it to be a keeper at home when we define that by guard, protector, and watchman? And mind you, it's not that we need to make the Word of God exciting, but maybe when we get to the heart of what the words mean sometimes it does make a difference?

This was affirmation for me because I have always felt that it was important how this house was run. From how people behaved in it, to how clean it was, I knew within my heart that it was important to me and the others in the home. It also affirmed some decisions I made about protecting that peace and love in my home. I would much rather see this as a purpose that God has given me in taking care of my home and family, rather than simply in keeping house. It's deeper, more meaningful, and something I can truly stand on and behind. It helps me make my decisions and gives me something to fall back on when I might begin to waiver. And it doesn't cause divisiveness between Christians who are all trying to follow Christ in their best ability and calling. It allowed me to take a deep breath.

If you are curious you can read Mrs. Titus' thoughts on the matter here.


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