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Genesis 2:18(KJV)

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Within the broader Christian tradition, are wives still called to help their husbands in their work for the Lord, such as in the home and in the husband's ministry? (I don't mean that they should be employed at the same job as their husbands.)

From what I see, many wives do not support their husbands' ministry, but either have their own non-overlapping ministry, or simply are not interested in participating for other reasons, such as preferring more worldly pursuits.

Does the Bible teach elsewhere that this helper role should be a fundamental aspect of being a Christian wife today?

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I know of many pastors whose wives support their ministry wholeheartedly, yet there are many pastors who work alone. I am not restricting the question to only pastors, however. –  Steve Sep 3 '13 at 5:14
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Surely "helpmeet" simply means companion or spouse, someone who helps another with living life. Why restrict it to helping with Christian ministry (which, after all, Adam wasn't really involved in)? –  Andrew Leach Sep 3 '13 at 12:00
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@AndrewLeach Actually, Adam was involved in a God-ordained ministry, which was to tend and keep the garden (2:15). As my comment above said, I'm not necessarily narrowing down the man's work as pastoral ministry. –  Steve Sep 3 '13 at 13:21

3 Answers 3

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Yes, it still applies, but it has to be properly understood. It is not a question of worth or independence, but rather a question of role. God looked at Man and saw that Man was not ideally suited to life by himself and that he should have someone to be with. Woman was created to fill this role as a partner and helper to man just as man is a helper to his wife. This passage specifically does not lay out any hierarchy, but rather just the relationship of men and women as complementary.

Later, in Ephesians 5, a more specific relationship is laid out by the instruction for wives to submit to their husbands, but this is easily abused if taken out of context if the follow up that men are to love their wives as their own bodies. In short, the meaning of Ephesians 5 is that if living rightly, it is the husband's responsibility to make choices such that his wife benefit and that in the event of a conflict, wives should trust their husband to put them first.

This is a conflict resolution strategy more than anything else and puts more burden and responsibility on the husband, who is expected to sacrifice for his wife just as Christ sacrifices for the Church. Again, it is not intended to put women in a position of lesser importance or rights than men, but rather to instruct men that they should treat their wives as themselves, which includes not requesting submission unless they truly believe it is in their wife's best interest. Similarly, while men are asked to sacrifice their interest for their wives interest, wives are asked to sacrifice for their husband in following his leadership in the case where he feels that something is genuinely for his wife's best interest.

Ephesians 5 particularly is a hard passage to internalize, but with proper understanding that it in no way establishes one as more worthy or more powerful than the other. It is not an establishment of authority of one over the other, but rather a template of the type of sacrifices that should be made in a healthy relationship. This is a mirror to Christ's relationship to the Church where we submit ourselves willingly to God's will even when it isn't what we think is best and how God does what is best for us.

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The word for "help meet" means more than just a helper. She was to be his counterpart. This is not limited to just man's ministry, but to everything in his life. She was not to be seen as lesser, or just a helper, but as his divinely appointed co-equal complement. This quote I believe explains it better.

God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him”—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” Ephesians 5:29...

"The Faith I Live By" P.251

If you see it from this perspective, she is not limited to only help in man's ministry. They are to have one purpose and work together in every aspect of life. After sin came in, she was to be subject to her husband, but notice that this was as a result of sin. God's original plan was to have her be equal with her husband.

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This would be Ellen G White presumably? –  Andrew Leach Sep 3 '13 at 12:26
    
It is a writing from Ellen G. White, that is correct. –  jlaverde Sep 3 '13 at 12:29
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I have deleted one sentence from your answer. Please check the history of the answer for my reason to see if you agree. (If you don't you can rollback.) –  Wikis Sep 3 '13 at 19:53
    
Wikis has made a good edit. You are doing pretty good for a newcomer. +1 for this good post. –  fredsbend the Grinch Sep 3 '13 at 23:47
    
Ah, good edit. It certainly did not add to the answer. Much appreciated! Also @fredsbend thank you! I am glad to be a part of this community and humbly share the knowledge the LORD has given me. –  jlaverde Sep 4 '13 at 14:29

It is one thing to answer these questions in the tongue and lingo of the Bible; it is a whole new universe trying to bring this home to our everyday life. I will try to keep this short and simple.

Does the Bible teach elsewhere that this helper role should be a fundamental aspect of being a Christian wife today?

Yes…

  • somewhere in Ephesians 5 (as stated above)
  • God saw Adam was "lonely" in Genesis—the creation
  • …and other metaphors from the lives of Sarah, Ruth, Naomi, Mary—mother of Jesus, …and so on—dare I add Rahab.

However, bear it in mind that these teaching were in times when the female gender was naturally subjugated to the authority of the male in the dim light of ignorance. So allow me break down your question.

Does the Bible teach elsewhere that this helper role should be a fundamental aspect of being a Christian wife…?

Yes.

…today?

No.

There was no possible means to infer into the standards of a future culture for people and prophets to use as a reference point.

However, the answer still remains yes women should be helpers. All other laws and conventions of love (as states in the New Testament as the greatest law of all) binds them to the help role—especially as it is generally known that they have a greater emotional capacity. But we shouldn't be blind to the intricacies of this answer—for men are should be helpers too. And women should never never be subjugated. For nowhere was it written "I have created thee a lesser of thyself that thou mayest dominate cleansing thy heart of loneliness" …nope!

In the end, we are all souls.

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How exactly do you relate helping the husband and submission to the husband? Helping and subjugation are same? –  Mawia Sep 3 '13 at 16:42
    
I think you are missing the point. The question is not about women helping their husbands in everything they do. The question is asking, "Are women obligated to help their husbands' ministries or they are allowed to do things of their own interest?" –  Mawia Sep 3 '13 at 16:55
    
My answer was general. Consider help as "help" and not help as "help with a purpose"—we all need help. And I must admit—I totally missed the second last paragraph. It is a rule to help. However, an obligation is born when one subjects oneself to the rule beyond rational thought. From this thought pattern, women are not required to help because we all have free will. But!—according to the verses of the bible, women help the men out. –  Yasky Sep 3 '13 at 17:33
    
The women of old may have had their own endeavours. However, such will not be recorded—let alone allowed in the Bible (hope you know the contents of the Bible was voted on)—because of morality, order and "sanctity"; because in decades before, women—like I said—were required to be subject to men –  Yasky Sep 3 '13 at 17:36
    
"... in the dim light of ignorance." This implies that women yielded to the husband out of ignorance, and not out of deliberate acceptance. I don't think this is what you meant. –  Steve Sep 4 '13 at 0:11

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