In my recent post, Protecting the Weaker Vessel, I made the assertion that Titus 2:3-5 was not an open invitation for women to lead in Bible studies for other women, but an admonition for older women to actually teach younger women that the focus of their lives is to be loving their husbands and children, in making the home a godly place. It is not to lead women’s ministries and a host of other things that is put forth in the name of this verse.
Here is what Paul writes:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
My point here is that this passage is not a license for women to start having Bible studies in their homes, which seems to be the common understanding of the day. Women use this passage as an open invitation to teach and preach God’s word in women’s ministries on a regular basis. What seems to be happening is that those women who use this verse to become preachers and teachers of God’s word, end up teaching everything except what the verse is telling them to teach.
Women are to teach in the home. I grant that women should be teaching their children the things of God. Their mouths and lives should be filled with Scripture and they should be using Scripture on a regular basis to help point their children to Christ. I even believe that women can share the gospel with non-believers, or answer theological questions when asked by other people. My contention is that the current form of Bible study by women, and women’s ministries, and men’s ministries for that matter, that are not led by those called to do so, and ordained to do so, are superfluous to what we are truly called to be, which is being fed by in the local congregation. If the pastor of the local congregation is doing his job, preaching the full-counsel of God’s word, then this is sufficient for all of us. Yes, we should read the Bible in our homes, and teach the truths to our children, and share the gospel with our neighbors. But God’s declared word in the congregation on the LORD’s day is quite sufficient for our needs.
But lest I am misunderstanding this passage, allow me to quote John Calvin, from his commentaries on Titus 2:3-5. Calvin writes concerning the phrase, that they may teach young women temperance:
That they may be more attentive to duty, he shows that it is not enough if their own life be decent, if they do not also train young women, by their instructions, to a decent and chaste life. He therefore adds, that by their example they should train to temperance and gravity those younger women whom the warmth of youth might otherwise lead into imprudence.
Notice, there is a real need for older, godly women to train the younger women. They are to train these women to have decent and chaste lives. The idea is morally pure and innocent, modest and not extravagant. Hardly anything we see in our modern church. But maybe I’m too judgmental.
But so far, we have not seen the use of the Bible brought up in this training. This is because the purpose of this training is spelled out by Paul:
…Paul goes on in explaining the duties of women, which apply equally to those who are older… In short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them to be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands.
There is a lot said there. Paul seems to be under the impression that women should be focused on raising their children, modest in their actions and subject to the dominion of their husbands. They are not to be trying to have it all, as the modern woman would have it. In fact, for the godly woman, her focus is on her home so much that it is the center of her universe. She is not confused by trying to serve the two-masters of the modern day. The first master being the calling the LORD has placed on the Christian woman, the second master is the lure of the world to have all the material wealth and prosperity she can obtain.
But what we don’t see, is a call to having great women’s ministries so they can be told how to have it all, like Beth Moore and company so often promise. The role of the older woman is not to lure the younger woman away from the home, but help her in the calling of being in the home, serving the LORD by loving her children and her husband. After all, she was made to be a helper to her husband, not the world, not some secular boss.
One final note: what is the fruit of all these sub-ministries that the church is so busy putting forth? How are we doing as evangelicals? How deep is our understanding when it comes to the real issues of the faith?
According to the latest poll from LifeWay Research, not very good.
According to a September study by LifeWay Research, Americans don’t know much about theology. While most Americans identify as Christians, they seem confused about the details of their faith.
“Contradictory and incompatible beliefs are OK for most people,” explained Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. Even those who identify as evangelicals often fell into some of the worst theological errors.
It’s obvious that the teaching and preaching that has been taken place in the church, and all the sub-ministries, is quite ineffective when it comes to helping Christians understand the faith. Read about here.