A pastor’s wife is one of the hardest roles to occupy in a church. These ladies don’t technically have a position: There’s no job description for being the pastor’s wife, and she doesn’t directly receive a paycheck. However, make no mistakes about it, there are expectations: More than a few churches expect the pastor’s wife to be a well-dressed lady who always works with children, shows up every time the doors open, and probably plays the piano. What I want to consider is the biblical role of the pastor’s wife.
General Observations about the Pastor’s Wife
In general, we can apply what the Bible says about being female to the pastor’s wife. For example, we can point to Genesis 1 and say that she bears the image of God; furthermore, we can reference Genesis 1:31 and say that being female is a very good thing. Thus, her gender is a God-given gift to her that should be respected and honored.
Likewise, the Proverbs 31 woman teaches principles about the potential effects that the pastor’s wife can have on her husband’s ministry. From this passage, we see that the pastor’s wife has the unique ability to make or break her husband’s ministry in a way that no other single person can.
Her relationship with her husband isn’t her only source of value, however: When we read 1 Corinthians 12 or Romans 12, we see that she has her own unique position as a valuable member of the body of Christ. Consequently, she shouldn’t be pressured into the stereotypical mold of the “good preacher’s wife.” God gave her unique abilities, her own personality, and a specific calling, and she shouldn’t be expected to hide in her husband’s shadow.
Similarly, the household codes located in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 teach that she has a proper role in her household. Insofar as her husband leads the household in a godly manner, she should follow her husband’s lead as an equal member of a team.
Finally, it seems reasonable to suggest that the pastor’s wife should be a role model. Though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that she must hold herself to a high standard as the pastor’s wife, it does command believers to live holy lives. Furthermore, since she’s married to the pastor, she will invariably draw extra attention. Thus, a pastor’s wife ought to be a role model to other women.
While all of this information is certainly applicable to the lady who is married to the pastor, it doesn’t really speak to her role as the pastor’s wife. All of this information applies to every married Christian woman regardless of whether she’s married to a preacher or not. What I want to consider is specific information: What requirements does the Bible place on a pastor’s wife because she married a preacher? In other words, when a woman wears a wedding ring that a preacher bought, what obligations does she have that other women don’t?
Specific Observations about the Pastor’s Wife
In this section, I will cover every passage in the Bible about what the pastor’s wife must do because she is the pastor’s wife. So, take a deep breath (and read to the very end of the page). Here we go:
That’s it! That’s every verse in the Bible about what the preacher’s wife must do because she is the preacher’s wife! In truth, the Bible has very little to say about what a minister’s wife must do as the minister’s wife. Instead, the Bible mentions ministers having wives, but leaves their precise role open to personalization. Perhaps the reason is that God doesn’t value the preacher’s wife for her relationship with her husband, but as a unique piece of his good creation.
Since the Bible doesn’t place special requirements upon the pastor’s wife, we should be careful when we say that a woman must do x because she said “I do” to a preacher. Instead, we should allow her to use her God-given gifts to serve God according to God’s unique plan for her life. For some, that will be the stereotypical pastor’s wife; for others, this approach could be lead to an unorthodox ministry. If she’s obedient to God, neither is wrong.