Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Titus 2:1-5

But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching. 2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. 3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.

The Original Intent

1) Why were Paul’s admonitions to women so much more specific than his directives men? (verses 2-3)

In Titus 2:2-3, Paul instructs Titus, “Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good.” Then Paul specifies what the older women should teach.

Addressing men first “makes sense,” according to Ligonier.org “because Scripture lays upon men the primary responsibility for servant-leadership at home and in the church.” Paul exhorts older men so they can train up strong leaders within the church, but Paul realizes that developing strong female leaders is equally important. The fact that Paul “devotes three verses to this . . . probably indicates the important role the older women played in the church on Crete.” (Ligonier.org)

Paul understands the essential role that experienced, mature Christians play in discipleship. Kristie Anyabwilde notes that “Titus 2 makes the Great Commission (Matthew 18:16-20) gender specific… not just limited to men or pastors . . . [giving] specific instructions to women in how to be both student/disciple and how to also be teacher in the things of God.” Paul encourages and instructs older women because their place of influence in the life of the church is vital.

David Guzik points out that God gave women a “strategic position of influence and assistance to their husbands and their children.” In mentoring young women, older women have an opportunity to affect the entire church. Author Dave Furman asserts, “Neither male elders, male preachers, nor the word of God itself negate the need for older women to teach younger women in the church. Every church needs older women who will model godliness and teach younger women to follow their example.”

We can be grateful Paul provided specific ministry instruction for older women and for the impact of their faithfulness on the Church.

The Everyday Application

1) Why were Paul’s admonitions to women so much more specific than his directives men? (verses 2-3)

There is an interesting passage in Jane Austen’s Persuasion where a man attempts to prove women as fickle by alluding to countless examples in literature, to which Anne Elliot argues, “’Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”

While we know that the Bible was not written by men or women, but by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16), the majority of the key players are men, leading to false observations that the Bible portrays women as second-class citizens. The truth is, God regularly and meaningfully includes women in His story, utilizing their talents and gifts to further His kingdom. (Judges 4, Esther, Acts 16:11-20)

He reiterates this empowering emphasis through Paul’s letter to Titus where Paul sets up a mentoring structure for older women to teach younger women, “Older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good.”

While men and women may have different roles in God’s Kingdom, this doesn’t indicate one gender as more or less important than another. God’s love and His plans for men and women are equal, even if they don’t always look the same. (1 Corinthians 11:11-12) Author Susan Hunt suggests, “The man and the woman have different designs, different functions, but the same purpose: God’s glory.”

It is encouraging and reassuring to know that God values all of His children equally (Galatians 3:28) and provides opportunities for all to serve Him using the different abilities He has gifted each one.

The Original Intent

2) Why does Paul advocate a mentor relationship between older and younger women? (verses 3-5)

Paul encourages the righteous older women in Titus’ church to mentor the younger women in how to be good wives, mothers, and Christ-followers. (Titus 2:4)

Of course, the women received instruction from Titus himself at church, but, according to author David Guzik, “it was wrong – and dangerous – for Titus to make the young women a focus of his ministry.” Paul knew that even the best teaching by Titus could not benefit young women in the way a discipleship relationship with an experienced older woman could.

As author Dave Furman suggests, “While God calls men to lead and preach in local churches, godly older women tutor the whole church through their faithful ministry, their commendable example, and their Scripture-shaped words.” Knowing what God wants us to do is one thing, but seeing how to put it into daily practice is helpful on another level.

Author Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth asserts that having older women mentor younger “is where God makes valuable use of the things we’ve learned to help others avoid mistakes we have made and to encourage each other to become faithful, fruitful followers of Christ.” Having the expertise of someone who has gone before us and learned a thing or two in the process is a priceless blessing. (Hebrews 13:7)

Author Elisabeth Elliot remarked that her mentor “schooled me not in a class, or seminar, or even primarily by her words. It was what she was that taught me.” Lord, bring us more “mothers” in the faith who are willing to serve God by walking alongside younger women, demonstrating faithful service to God and providing helpful, wise encouragement along the journey. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

The Everyday Application

2) Why does Paul advocate a mentor relationship between older and younger women? (verses 3-5)

I was mentored by a wonderful teacher, Mrs. M. On day one she put me at ease by promising to back me up no matter what I did. “If you tell the students the sky is pink,” she said, “I will verify that the sky is pink.” That immediately lessened my performance anxiety. Mrs. M shared how she developed lesson plans, maintained a gradebook, and handled discipline, which provided a starting point from which to develop my own procedures. She provided a safe place for me to learn, fail, and grow.

My mother had a mentor as well, a woman 20 years older. Pat poured into my mom out of her experiences as a parent, a wife, and a servant of the Lord. They were friends who laughed and had fun, but my mom also soaked up all the knowledge Pat was willing to give.

Paul encourages women like Mrs. M and Pat to take younger women in the church under their wings, teaching them how to be godly wives, mothers, and church members. (Titus 2:4) Dave Furman notes, “Older women have a plethora of wisdom to share with younger women about singleness, marriage, parenting, and other aspects of life. Regardless of one’s situation, older women have likely walked the same paths younger women are now walking.”

Young women, I urge you to seek out older godly women who can pour into you out of their rich experiences!

Older women, I implore you to share your lives with younger women, giving from the abundance God has provided you! (Proverbs 13:20)

The Original Intent

3) What should submission to husbands look like? (verse 5)

Paul advises older women to teach younger women “to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands . . .”. (Titus 2:5) This exhortation to submission has come under serious scrutiny in the last 50 years.

Having a good understanding of what submission entails is imperative. It’s helpful to address what Biblical submission is not to better understand what it is. Submission to one’s husband is not subjugation to him, though that is often the criticism leveled by the secular world. The truth is, Jesus Himself is the model of Biblical submission.

Catherine Martinez asserts that submission in the Bible “is notably not cruel or oppressive. Since “the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3), we know headship cannot be an oppressive kind of power; the Father and Son are equally God and equally worthy of worship. Jesus’ submission to the Father was critical to the salvation of the world, an example of the power of humble obedience to God’s authority.”

Neither is submission a forfeiture of one’s voice. Sarah E. Frazer asserts, “Submission is not letting others run over us, but allowing others to help guide and advise us. It is about accepting the authority in our life and trusting God, through surrender, to work out the smaller details.”

Submission to one’s husband has to do with respect for his godly role of authority in the family. (1 Peter 3:1) According to John Piper, “Biblical submission for the wife is the divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.”

When submission is seen as a way to exemplify Jesus in humble service, it can be celebrated and embraced as a way to be more like our Savior.

The Everyday Application

3) What should submission to husbands look like? (verse 5)

As a young adult living at home, our family contemplated a move. We all thought it was God’s will, but we hesitated because we were all leaving something we valued like school, jobs, or boyfriends, with many unknowns ahead. My Dad took all of our concerns on board, but he made the final call to sell the house and make the move. Though we disagreed on the timing, we were all at peace knowing Dad cared about our input and acted based on the Lord’s leading.

We also appreciated how difficult it was for him to make the call knowing it would have a major impact on everyone’s lives. If it turned out to be an epic fail, all fingers would point at him!

I noted at the time that my mom was doing what Paul advised in Titus 2:5, by showing submission to her husband. She provided guidance and direction, but ultimately submitted to my dad’s decision, trusting his leadership and the Lord’s provision. Author Jennie Allen describes a similar situation in her own family, writing, “I ultimately find my home under the headship of my husband. That means that he really calls the shots when it comes to decisions we don’t agree on . . . he’s leading our family so that I feel nourished and cherished. . . It has never felt like he is a dictator. He is a servant.”

In a culture that is all about speaking one’s own truth, submitting to someone else’s will seems counter-intuitive, but so does the love (1 John 3:16) and humility (John 6:38) of Jesus. It is not what the world expects, but just what the world needs.

God models authority in families after His own loving authority lived out within the godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit as they each submit to one another out of love and deference. (Ephesians 5:22-25) Submission in marriage as God intends displays the love and humility of Christ.

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