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 did Paul outline specific expectations of personal behavior for older, believing men and women in the church? (verses 2-5)

Titus was a Gentile convert (Galatians 2:3) and disciple of Paul, who had been commissioned by the apostle to set the fledgling church at Crete in order. (Titus 1:5) Titus was tasked by Paul with discipling, establishing, and training leadership in the Cretan church and teaching the new believers which behaviors were obedient, honoring, and pleasing to God. (Titus 1:1-9)

In Titus 1, Paul reiterated Titus’ mission and outlined the qualifications for men in leadership roles within the church. In Titus 2, Paul also addresses the qualifications for women in leadership and discipling roles within the church. (Titus 2:3-5) Simultaneously, Paul pointed to the fruit one could expect to see in the life of a believer who was growing in maturity and in their Christian walk.

False teaching had already reached the church at Crete, and the new believers were exposed to teaching that endorsed sinful behaviors, laziness, dissension, factions, and more. Paul underscored the importance of sound teaching, highlighting the fruit Titus could expect to see in those who followed sound doctrine and teaching.

Rather than focus on the mark of believing relationships between believers, Paul pointed to the fruit Titus (and all believers) would be able to see in the personal lifestyles and relationships of mature believing men and women. Paul explained that these fruits were indicative of the maturity of older men and women in the church, qualifying them to lead their newer counterparts in sound teaching, truth, and right living in Christ. These investing relationships would build strong, healthy churches.

The Everyday Application

1) Why did Paul outline specific expectations of personal behavior for older, believing men and women in the church? (verses 2-5)

While current American culture prescribes militant “femininity” as the only antidote for “toxic masculinity,” the church today is rife with women, men, and children who are starving for sound, Scriptural teaching and discipleship. As women who have chosen to surrender our lives to Jesus and pursue following Him, we seek sound teachers who will speak God’s truth to us and encourage us to joyfully serve those around us.

As a whole, the church desperately needs mature followers of Christ who are able and willing to pour into younger men and women and point them to Jesus. There is no shortage of false, twisted teaching from new age to self-affirmation, to false gospels, and more. Deceptions have been present in the church since the very beginning, because people make up the church, and people are selfishly sinful. Paul penned his letter to Titus centuries ago, but we share the same challenges and struggles within the church today.

Just like Titus, we must know how to discern which teachers and teachings point us to Christ and are in alignment with His Word. When false teachers effortlessly weave their errant teaching alongside truth, it is imperative that believers use sound discernment to determine whether a teaching aligns with Scripture, or whether it points to a false gospel or other false teaching.

When I’m considering whether a teacher is one I could trust, Paul’s words help me to know what fruit I should look for in their life. If the fruit of the teacher’s life doesn’t line up with the descriptions Paul provided in Titus 2:2-5, I can recognize warning flags that this teacher is not necessarily walking and growing with the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical maturity. The teaching they provide may not point me directly to Christ and His way.

The Original Intent

2) How did Paul’s descriptions of mature Christian lifestyle behaviors (verses 2-5) tie in with his exhortation for Titus to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching in verse 1?

As Titus was establishing leadership in the church at Crete, Paul knew he would need clarity, guidance, and wisdom to choose leaders. In addition, Paul wanted Titus to be bold in teaching truth and in training others how to live like Christ. Paul’s descriptions of mature, Christian lifestyle behaviors were directly tied to sound teaching; a mature believer would exhibit the evidence of sound teaching in a life marked by self-control, sensibility, strong faith, love, and endurance. (Colossians 3:5-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, James 1:22-27)

Paul explained mature women believers should be recognized by their reverence, or seriousness, about their life in Jesus, their edifying speech, and their lack of dependence on anything but Christ. These mature believing women should be pouring into younger women in the church, teaching them what is good, especially regarding how to serve and love their husbands and children well.

The primary roles of women in this time were within the household, and Paul highlighted the godly approach spiritually mature believing women would take. Paul demonstrated they would be given to godly discipleship of newer believing women, teaching them to walk in a godly manner and serving those God had given them well.

Sound teaching of Christ and His way naturally pointed to all these things, and Paul’s letter to Titus affirmed this as he outlined what the fruit of sound teaching would yield in a believer’s life.

The Everyday Application

2) How did Paul’s descriptions of mature Christian lifestyle behaviors (verses 2-5) tie in with his exhortation for Titus to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching in verse 1?

The fruit of sound teaching rooted in Scripture will yield radical transformation in the life of every believer, whether male or female. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us all Scripture is useful for teaching, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness. As women navigating life in the current age, we are inundated with a virtual tsunami of women’s teachings, guidance and more.

It is vitally important that we use the wisdom and discernment God has given us to ascertain whether a teaching or teacher is actually pointing us toward Christ and His way, or toward the way of the world. Paul’s words to Titus are a help to us as we navigate those waters. When we read or hear a teaching, receive advice from someone, or consider entering a discipling relationship with another Christian woman, Spirit-led discernment is imperative!

We should ask the Holy Spirit to show us what is true and then consider whether Scripture supports or refutes what is being taught. Sometimes, this is enough to clarify whether the teaching, teacher, or advice is sound and godly, but sometimes more consideration is required. If all is not clear, we can and should ask God to help us ascertain what the fruit of the given advice will be in our lives, and what the fruit of the teacher’s life reveals.

Will it yield fruit consistent with the Gospel and God’s desire for our lives as followers of Christ?

Will this teaching or teacher point us to lay down our selfish desires so we can fully serve and love others, our husband, our children?

Or does it elevate ourselves and point us to pursue what our “heart wants” or what we think is right at all costs?

The Holy Spirit is faithful to provide guidance, and God provides wisdom every time we ask. (James 1:5-6) Praise be to God!

The Original Intent

3) What is at the heart of Paul’s words in verses 4 and 5 regarding women, home, and submission to husbands?

The role of women in Paul’s day and age revolved almost entirely around the home and their families. The primary identity markers of wife and mother provided women of that time with financial and physical security. Those who did not have a husband or children rarely had financial provision beyond the generosity of others.

To be an unmarried woman was far less common than it is in our society today. Paul’s words in this passage were specifically directed to the behaviors and teachings Titus could expect to see in mature, godly women in the church.

While Paul did not indicate that women leaders in the church must be married, he did highlight that spiritually mature Christian women would be sound teachers of what is good. By teaching sound doctrine and godly truth, they would encourage the newer women believers to be faithful in the roles God had given them. Specifically, Paul mentioned the roles of wife and mother, but he also outlined qualities every believing woman should possess: purity, kindness, diligence, self-control, and submission to their husbands.

While Titus was setting order to the church at Crete, he was dealing with a mixture of people at different places in their walk with Christ. Paul’s direction to Titus regarding spiritually mature men and women were a great help to Titus in discerning where a believer was in their walk, and whether they were ready to lead others or needed further discipleship or transformation before stepping into those roles.

The Everyday Application

3) What is at the heart of Paul’s words in verses 4 and 5 regarding women, home, and submission to husbands?

Paul’s teaching regarding women leading and receiving in the church begins with character and how they serve those in their closest relationships. First, we see his outline for what Titus could expect to see in a mature Christian woman’s walk. She would be a woman who truly lives for Christ. She would take her Christian faith and walk with Christ seriously.

Second, he states that a mature believing woman capable of discipling younger women would be a woman who understands and respects the weight of her words. Rather than let fly cutting words with loose lips, she would be reluctant to slander.

Third, she would not be a believer still enslaved to besetting sins. Instead, she would teach what is good and sound, so she might encourage newer believing women to love their husbands and children well. The heart of Paul’s words to Titus is: believing women will love God and others well.

Believing wives are called to submit to their husbands as the spiritual authority in their household, just as the church submits to Christ as the spiritual authority of us all. “Submission” is a challenging subject, but the heart of Paul’s words is largely overlooked when we malign what God’s word actually says. Just as Adam called Eve, “flesh of my flesh,” when we enter into a Christ-centered union of marriage in Him, we are no longer two, but have become one. We are fitly joined together, and our marriage is a testament to the perfect design of Christ and His church.

As believers, we are all called to live in submission to all brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-21) Paul’s instruction to Titus wasn’t a mandate to enforce men in the church to control women, or anything similar. My friend, Jacob, says, “Submission is something that must be given to another; it cannot be taken.”

Every believer is called to live a life of willing responsibility, transparency, and submission to trustworthy brothers and sisters in Christ, all submitting together to Christ our head. Thank You, Father, for your beautiful design for marriage and Your church!

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