(This question seems to especially apply to modern western societies)
I’ve come across renown preachers (MacArthur, Bachmann, et al) that the man is the provider according to God’s design of the family
Granted the Scripture does say that the man is the leader/head of the family
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
However a leader does not by extension also have to be the provider in order to lead. One can lead without also providing. Leaders give guidance, instructions, direction and they can do all these without also having to provide.
Or put differently, if a man is in between jobs does he stop being the leader? No, obviously not. Or if the man becomes physically handicapped or is already handicapped, is he excused from being a leader in his family just because he cannot provide? No, of course not. There is a passage that comes to mind which seems to be misapplied and misinterpreted.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
This text assumes many things. Among which are the obvious, he has living relatives, they are in need, he has the ability to provide and is not in need himself. In essence it refers to someone who has resources but refuses to help, such a man has denied his faith.
But a man that would help yet barely has enough should not help a relative at the expense of his own family. Or would help but is handicapped. Or as it sometimes happens the wife earns significantly more than the husband and paying childcare for strangers (Christian or not) to raise the children seems like an abdication of responsibility as a parent contrary to other Scriptures that Instruct parents to teach their children. Or settling for less income so the man can provide puts undue and unnecessary stress on the family. Or more pointed, how is the man leading if his pursuit of providing is getting in the way of him spending time with the family?
Hypothetically If the father is home and teaching his children, focusing on the spiritual health of his family while the wife has a well paying job beyond what he could manage on his education path, is he not a leader? And if he chooses to distribute the income to help relatives and those in need though he didn’t earn the pay check has he denied the faith?
So can someone explain why some Christian leaders insist that the man must be the provider? What text are they basing this teaching on?
John MacArthur in the link above goes along these lines
So if you want your marriage to be blessed, you take care of your wife. When you know she has a need, you seek to meet it. When you know she has a secret longing in her heart and it’s certainly reasonable and will add to her virtue and her wellbeing and her happiness and her ability to fulfill her role, you do everything you can to meet that need. Something is seriously wrong when a man sees his wife as a cook and a clothes washer and a babysitter and a sex partner and that’s it. Something is seriously wrong when he puts her in the place of the breadwinner. She is a God-given treasure to be cared for, to be cherished, to be nourished, to be your loving helper, to fulfill your need for companionship, for the fulfillment of physical desire, for the fulfillment of love and partnership and friendship and to produce children in a home.
Another excerpt from John MacArthur
She is not the nourisher. She is not the provider. You’re to do that. That is the man’s responsibility. And if a man doesn’t do that, according to 1 Timothy 5:8, he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Throughout Scripture, the man is always the provider as Christ is the provider for His church. That’s key. We provide nothing. The church provides nothing. We just receive Christ’s provision, protection, preservation, His care, His nourishing, His cherishing. It comes to us. In a sense, it’s very one-sided. Men, we are to provide that in our homes. You say, “Well, I’d have to sacrifice my career to do that.” Then sacrifice it. Maybe you can’t climb as fast and as far up the ladder as you would like, but in the end you’re going to be so richly rewarded in the bliss of that home that it will be far worth every sacrifice. Christ provides everything for us, to nurture us, to warm us, to provide the security for us.