Pressing On


A study of the Scriptures to discover who God is, what He is like, and how to partner with Him now.

Filtering by Tag: younger women

Healthy teachings for the younger women

Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

Although it is Titus’ responsibility to teach the Cretan believers how to do life in light of Christ rescuing us from the penalty of our sins, Paul specifically states that

Titus 2:4 [the older women] can train the younger women…

It is within this relationship framework that younger women can learn to handle life’s challenges.  Paul identifies several lessons that the young women of Crete will need help in both understanding and applying…and Paul recognizes that they will need the guidance of an older woman to get there.

Titus 2:4-5 Then [the older women] can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

An easy, knee-jerk response would be to start picking off individual items from the list and turning them into arguments.  However, before we do that, it would be wise to consider why Paul is listing these specific topics for the Cretan women to learn and apply.  Paul gives his reasoning at the end of the verse five:

Titus 2:5 …so that no one will malign the word of God.

Other translations render the phrasing as so that God’s message will not be slandered or discredited or dishonored.  Paul is indicating that if the Cretan young women were to choose against the listed character traits, then there is the possibility that God’s message would be poorly represented or the reputation of the gospel could be damaged…even to the point that outsiders might ignore the good news of the gospel.

The heart of what Paul is getting at is this: that a young woman’s walk needs to match her talk.   Her life should mirror the good news of Christ’s salvation, and to live otherwise would discredit God’s life-changing message.  Remember that the Cretan reputation and accepted daily culture was to be always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.  Living in accordance with the healthy teaching of the gospel would be clearly counter-cultural.  A quick look at the opposites helps demonstrate this point:

What does a young woman communicate about the gospel
if instead of aiming to love [her] husband and children, she lives selfishly?
if instead of aiming to be self-controlled and pure, she lives reckless and immoral?
if instead of aiming to be busy at home, she is consumed by exterior passions?
if instead of aiming to be kind, she chooses to be cruel?
if instead of aiming to be subject to [her] husband, she undercuts her husband’s role and authority within the family unit?

All these lessons derive from one point of contention – a woman’s relationships, especially those within her own family.  These difficulties find their root all the way back to Eve’s part of the curse.  Adam and Eve’s sin introduced different, specific consequences into the world.  One of the consequences that God told to Eve was that:

Genesis 3:16 Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.

Sin broke the natural order of what God had created all life to function under.  Part of the curse clearly damaged a woman’s relationship with her husband – that from then on, he will rule over you.  The effects of this curse (and Adam’s) have echoed throughout human history ever since.  For the Cretan women to decide live in such a way that mirrors Christ’s love and Christ’s life would be absolutely counter-cultural.  Her choice to love her family in this sacrificial, dynamic way would produce a life that would force those around her to recognize that the gospel she believes in is both revolutionary and life-changing.

Paul never says this list is easy.  He never indicates that a young woman will get it right on the first try.  But these choices are so important that Paul specifically states that the young women will need to be taught and mentored by an older woman in order to live them out.  The young women aren’t supposed to “just figure it out” all on their own.

If you fit the category of a younger woman, ask God for an older woman to come along side and mentor you.  You have a tough job, but you don’t have to do it alone.

If you don’t fit the category of a younger woman, think of those you know.  Ask God to give them the desire to ensure that their walk reflects God’s impact on their lives.

Keep Pressing,

Healthy teachings for the older women

Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

After giving Titus instructions for topics to teach the older men, Paul then turns to the topics for older women that are in accord with the healthy teaching of Christ’s work on the cross.

Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good

Just like the older men, the older women need to be taught into maturity.  Maturity doesn’t happen on its own or by default.  If we are going to imitate God and his love for us, then we must be instructed on how to get there.

Paul also lists two enemies of an older woman’s maturity – the temptation to gossip and the possibility of becoming addicted to, or enslaved by, wine.  When all the children have left the home, many older women go through an identity crisis.  So much of their lives have been (rightly) focused on preparing their contribution to the next generation.  When that season is over, the question “What’s next?” has many potential answers to choose from – and not all of them are good.

Slander or Gossip, as well as an addiction (either to wine or some other substance) are very self-centered choices.  The thinking behind both behaviors – “Hey, listen to the info I’ve found out” and whatever rationalizations we give ourselves for addictions – all have motives which are focused inward.  An inward focus undercuts the ability to mature and imitate God’s love to others.

Paul lists these two traps in contrast with what the older women should be focusing on – to teach what is good.  But whom shall the older women teach?  Paul gives the answer in the next verse:

Titus 2:4 Then they can train the younger women…

After they have finished preparing their own children, an older woman needs to shift her focus to preparing the next generation of Christian women.  Paul gives instructions for Titus to teach several different groups in the church – but he specifically calls on the older women to teach the younger women.  Paul does not give Titus the responsibility to teach the younger women.  I fully believe this was intentional, as the mentor-relationship bond formed between an older woman and a younger woman cannot be duplicated.

The younger women needed support, as evidenced by Paul’s first lesson that an older woman needs to teach:

Titus 2:4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children…

As one who has been a child and is now a husband…I fully admit that we’re not always easy to love.  I am thankful for the older women who have come along side of my wife to help her, to teach her, and to train her how to love like Christ.

If you fit the category of an older woman, ask God to point you to a younger woman for you to mentor.  She needs you more than she’ll likely let on. 

If you don’t fit the category, pray for the older women that you know.  Ask God to include them in preparing the next generation of Christian women.

Keep Pressing,