What is a help meet? The phrase “help meet” is an old King James Version word. It is found in Genesis 2:20 KJV “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” If you were raised in church or have read the King James Version bible, you may have heard this phrase. Men are often called the spiritual leaders of the home. That is easy to understand. Women are called a help meet. This phrase has caused a great deal of confusion leading women to feel devalued in the family. God has given women an incredibly important role. I hope that by the time women and men get done reading this article they will see the question, “What is a helpmeet?” and be able to answer clearly elevating the role of women to the high place God intended.
My dad is currently 85 so he preached out of the King James Version. I just remember a funny thing he said, “Your wife should be a help meet, not a help eat the meat.” Well that bible humor doesn’t help much to answer the question: What is a help meet? The more modern versions simply say Helper. Okay, I know that there are some women who will kind of say really? All I am is a helper? It is more than that. A woman is to be a suitable helper to her husband. Genesis 2:1 “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Being a suitable helper is a powerful role for a woman. I wish every woman could think of it in this way: The scripture uses the Greek word “paraclete” to describe the role that He takes on in the life of a believer. The word paraclete literally means “one called alongside to help.” If the Holy Spirit has that role in our lives as a helper that elevates the role of helping to a very high place. Just like Jesus elevated the role of “serving” the Holy Spirit elevates the role of “helping”.
What is a help meet or a helper? Notice what it doesn’t say: It doesn’t say that the man is to be the bread winner and the woman is to be the housekeeper. It doesn’t say the woman does all the cooking and cleaning and works a full-time job and that the husband has no responsibility except to sit in his recliner as a little dictator. This isn’t about division of labor. By the way, I think there should be equality in that. This isn’t about who does what at home. I don’t think that this means as some have been taught that the wife is all about the husband’s career, and that she is in a supportive role and that is all she can do. This doesn’t say that a man should work outside the home and a wife should never have an outside job. That is not what it says. Frankly, it is hard to exist on just one salary many times. A woman having a job is a wonderful blessing to her husband. A husband is supposed lead and wife needs to help him.
If I were to ask the women in our church, many who are professionals in the work place, some who make more than their husbands, does your husband ever need help? I am sure that 100 percent would say, “Of course he does!”
Sometimes a woman’s role is to help their husband see the error of their ways. Maybe your husband spends all the money in stupid ways. He needs help. Helping may be insisting that he not have control over the money. Maybe he has addictions or habits or problems. Your role is to help. Helping is insisting that he find a Celebrate Recovery program and attend it. Maybe your husband gets down and discouraged about life. He needs help. Sometimes he needs someone to help him think differently. Maybe he has failed spiritually and feels like he could never lead. He needs help. He needs encouragement. Help may mean that the wife takes over the finances. Help may mean that the wife goes to work and the husband stays home in certain scenarios. Help may mean that the wife does the driving because the husband has too many speeding tickets. Help may mean that in certain areas the wife makes decisions. Let’s not limit the word help. Let’s expand it to its full potential.
I think that for too long women have either been told by the church that their role is to sit silently on the sideline suffering the consequences of their husbands’ ways. What is a help meet or a helper? Someone who enters the conversation. Someone who speaks their mind. Someone who says, “Hey, there are negative consequences to what is happening here.”
I want to ask this question. Since when does the Holy Spirit take a silent role in our lives? No sir! The Holy Spirit is our helper. He speaks sometimes loudly about our lives. Now I am not saying that the wife should take on the role of the Holy Spirit. Only He is the one who convicts of sin, and righteousness and judgment to come. I am saying that this part of the Word has been misinterpreted so that women are “put in their place” or “made to be quiet”. This never was God’s intention.
I sat listening to a wonderful woman of God tell us how her husband (who claimed to be a Christian) had stayed out all night long. He came home having spent the family’s money. He refused to give any clue about his whereabouts or activities, after all he was the “man”. The woman said to us, what can I do? She had been taught that a wife is always to be silent and win their husband only by their words. But I don’t that applies to a marriage where both are Christians. The answer is found in the question, what is a help meet or helper? Is it someone who sits silently on the sideline and does nothing? No! The man needs help. She can confront him in love. She can triangulate with others who have influence in his life, his parents, his brothers, his church family to help her in the confrontation. She can cry. She can open her own checking account where he can’t waste family money. She can become angry. I am not talking about becoming angry and sinning. I am talking about the type of anger that is justified. Those actions are not the actions of a Christian man. To ask a woman to simply, grin and bear it, is not a true understanding of a wife’s role. Yes, I would even Say in certain cases that the best thing that could happen is a time of separation so that the man would understand that the wife isn’t going to live this way. According to the Word in Ephesians 5:21 says, “submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
And what if the husband is not a Christian? The wife is to help her husband. 1 Peter 3:1-2 “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” These are areas that require wisdom and discernment for those whose husbands are not saved. But I have good news. The greatest help is to sincerely pray! This is also helping the husband.
What is a help meet?
A very powerful role indeed.
I would love to hear your comments and personal insights into this subject.