Making disciples is the work of the church. Jesus made that clear. But how do we make disciples? As we read the New Testament we see this pattern: We make disciples by coming alongside one another in the lifelong pursuit of becoming like our Savior. In other words, the work of discipleship takes place chiefly through relationships—relationships that include the two elements of instruction and example.
These relationships involve those who are spiritually mature; that is, those who are further down the road of walking with Christ and living according to His Word. These relationships also include those who are brand new to the faith, or not as further along in walking with God. In His infinite wisdom, God placed both mature and immature, both older and younger, together into the community of the faith for the purpose of spreading the gospel of His grace and glory.
This is very different than the world’s way of gathering people. Society’s strategy for the propagation of ideas and principles is peer gathering. In other words, keep the same aged people together at all times so that they will feel accepted, like they belong—based on superficial similarities. However, God’s design for discipleship is different. God’s design for Christian growth includes the necessity of an example, the essential involvement of older, mature teachers and examples. By God’s design, the local church is the ideal place for discipleship; a plan that requires the regular, intentional interaction across the generations. For our discipleship strategy to be fully biblical, it must be multi-generational.
That is what we see in Titus 2:1-8, where Paul directed Titus to teach the older men to model godliness and instruct the younger men as to what Christian manhood looks like, and where he instructed Christian women in matters of godliness and exhorted them to train up the younger women. In verses 3-5, we see the pursuit of Christian womanhood, as defined by the Bible not our culture.
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.
In this passage, we see 3 aspects of Christian womanhood.
HER MODELING (v. 3)
The apostle’s emphasis, first, is on what a Christian woman is to be. Her own spiritual growth and character development must be a high priority to her. This will open the door for her ministry to other women in the church. Four character qualities are mentioned:
- Reverent Behavior – This is the only occasion this word in the New Testament. What does it mean that a godly Christian woman is “reverent” in her behavior? It means her demeanor and her state of mind are “suitable to holiness,” like those in sacred service. She acts in such a way as is fitting for God and service to God. Her godly behavior is her crown and jewel. Scripture says nothing about her career, education, or position in society, but it has much to say about the kind of woman she is. Infinitely more important than society’s measuring sticks for women, it is godly character and the confidence of her faith which God considers most important. The Christian woman’s reverent behavior is her adornment (See also 1 Timothy 2:9-11).
- Not Slanderous – Some translations say “not a malicious gossip.” The reason for this is that the description is translated from one word, diabolos, which means “slanderer.” The King James Bible uses this word 35 times for the devil. A gossip does the work of the devil, but a mature, godly woman does not use her tongue to lift herself up by running down others. Instead, she is confident in Christ and strives to only use her words in a way that will build up others.
- Self-controlled – Mature Christian women are not “slaves to much wine” (or any other foreign substance), but models of temperance and self-control. The word “slaves” means “enslaved,” meaning a completed state or condition. In other words, the godly woman is not enslaved to sin as a habit of life. In this case, drunkenness has no part in her life. Of course, the character trait of self-control applies to every area of life. Suffice it to say that the godly woman, by walking in the Spirit, rather than the flesh, exhibits the fruit of self-control (Galatians 5:23).
- Teacher of goodness- Mature Christian woman are “to teach what is good.” This does not refer to her formal role as an instructor or mentor, but describes the kind of advice she can give to the younger women, both privately in word and publicly by example. Now, notice where her godly example leads. Her faithful modeling leads to a disciple-making relationship with the younger women of the church. So, naturally, the apostle moves from her modeling to her ministry.
HER MINISTRY (vv. 4-5a)
The apostle is clear. The older women must be (verse 3) in order that they may do. They are to make their own spiritual growth in godliness a priority so that they may train the young women in the church. It is the noticeable godliness of the older women that earns the respect of the younger women in the church, thus paving the way for the eager reception of their verbal instruction, encouragement, and counsel. Her example is the launching pad of her ministry. That principle is true for all of us. Fruitful ministry flows out of who we are in our walk with the Lord. If we are not serious about living under the functional authority of the Word then we fail when it comes to being able to lead others. The apostle now gives 7 characteristics of the aspects of Christian character the older women are to train into the younger women.
- Husband-loving – The primary way a wife loves her husband is by being the helper that God designed her to be (Genesis 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). The older women are to encourage the young women to love their husbands—to serve them, to help them be successful.
- Children-loving – Today’s modern woman is consistently fed the lie that children are an inconvenience, that they are distractions that get in the way of her pursuit of a more meaningful career. However, the godly woman sees herself as uniquely created by God to bear children and to raise them up for His glory. Motherhood is a high and holy calling. Therefore, the older women of the church are to encourage the young women to invest their lives in loving their children.
- Sensible – It means “of a sound mind,” and refers to self-mastery in thought and judgment. Older women should be balanced and discreet, mature, not women of extremes.
- Pure – The godly woman is chaste, modest, and free from every fault. Christian women are to be holy, immaculate in character (1 Peter 3:2).
- Committed to their domestic duties – “Working at home” is from a compound word, from “house” and “guard.” This verse does not prohibit the Christian woman from working outside the home, but it does call her to guard the priority of her home and family. They must not be neglected.
- Kind – Commonly translated “good.” It refers to having a good constitution or nature, to be upright and honorable. There are some very mean women in the world, but a godly woman is known for her kindness. Kindness is her hallmark (Proverbs 31:26).
- Submissive to their husbands – To be submissive means to arrange under, to subordinate. Submission is a character quality which God requires from every Christian within a variety of relationships. In the case of marriage, the godly Christian wife does not view submission as bondage, or the action of one who is inferior, but as God’s beautiful design for the orderliness of the family. For the Christian wife who is married to an unspiritual man, this becomes a chief means of the Holy Spirit’s conviction in his life (1 Peter 3:1-4).
HER MOTIVATION (v. 5b)
Why should the women of the church want to be known for having this kind of character? Verse 5 so that the word of God may not be “dishonored,” or blasphemed. If Satan can get the men and women of the church to forsake God’s design for their unique roles in exchange for the ever-changing ideals of the unsaved world, he will disrupt the redemptive power of the church in this world. The world will look at the church and conclude that we have nothing different to offer. But Christian womanhood is very different.
The heart’s motivation for the women described in this passage is the same as that of the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:30-31, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” The chief motive of the godly woman is the glory of the Lord. Her chief desire is to please the Lord…even above pleasing her husband or children. She fears the Lord more than she does them.
Ladies, the world is sending you many different messages about what it means to be a woman. The Word of God calls out to you, saying, you are uniquely created and gifted by God to bring glory to Him. Do this by pursuing His will, according to His Word, in whatever station or season of life you find yourself in. At the end of the day, in whatever you do, seek to bring Him honor and glory.
[This post is adapted from a sermon by the same title. You may search on the title here.]