"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." Titus 2: 1-5 ESV
We live what we believe in our community. We just can't live a godly life in isolation; we live and move among people: believers and non believers as well. We have heard so many times that "our relationship with God is personal," and while this is true in an extent, it has been carried too far as to deny our responsibility on how we live among the people around us, especially our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
In these verses Paul urges Titus, a young man, to teach in the church. But there are some guidelines he must follow; first of all, he is to teach in accord with sound doctrine. Bryan Chapell explains in a few words what sound doctrine is:
"The words 'sound doctrine' are used by Paul to refer to the teachings passed on approved by Christ's apostles, teachings meant to guard and guide the church."
And John MacArthur says,
"[T]he theme throughout not only Titus but 1 and 2 Timothy is the teaching of sound doctrine and the call for consequent sound living, healthy doctrine which produces healthy living. That's crucial.
Now this is all set against the backdrop of unsound doctrine which produces unsound living, or unhealthy doctrine which produces unhealthy Christianity."
"So holy living is proper. Holy living is suitable. Holy living is fitting. Holy living is inseparable from sound doctrine. That's the point."
I firmly believe that the importance of having sound doctrine is not necessarily to crush someone else's arguments, win debates, point out those in error and so on. The most important reason for us to pursue sound doctrine is that we may live accordingly to it. That we may live holy lives in a day to day basis. Down-to-earth-holiness, if so to say.
Instructions for older men are found on verse 2 and I do not intend to explain these, because I would never like to teach "older men" their place in the Church. However, I would like to point you to one sermon that may help you understand more about this verse: God's Plan for Older Men and Women by John MacArthur
Now we come to the instructions for older women -including myself-. These verses (3-5) are worth studying carefully as they are very practical and are a perfect guide that shows us how our sound doctrine must be manifested in our way of living. It is also a good way to help us choose our friends; we want to be close friends with women who display these characteristics.
1. Reverent in behavior: A mature woman should always seek to honor God and demonstrate this reverence in all her conduct. Our being close to God in prayer and through the Word, should be evident in all our manner of living.
2. Not slanders: No gossiping, not at all. MacArthur says,
"You know what the word is for malicious gossips? It's the Greek word diabolos, 34 times in the New Testament it appears as a name for Satan. Nothing is more Satanlike than slander. And whereas men tend to sin and violently react physically, men prove to be rough or violent in their action, women have a tendency to be rough or violent in their words. Satan is a malicious slanderer, slandering night and day. Don't be Satanlike."
3. Not slaves to much wine: Not slaves to much wine or to anything that may not be reverent and godly. We must not lack self-control. Any behavior that is out of control will certainly "damage the credibility of the life-changing power of the gospel" in Chapell's words.
4. They are to teach what is good: And what is good? Those teachings that are in accord with sound doctrine. (v.1) Ladies, let's take the big books and study, Let us go deeper in the Word taking the time to study it in-depth. Let us not be afraid to be Theologians, and go beyond our most-loved passages.
5. They are to train the young woman to...
* Love their husbands and children: Bryan Chapell hits the nail on a very important issue concerning young men teaching, counseling or giving advice to young women:
"Paul does not tell Titus to teach the younger women. This non-instruction probably reflects Paul's concern that a young woman perceive her husband (or father-my inclusion) as the male who is her primary spiritual instructor (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:35). Paul also apparently desires to establish a pattern of instruction in the church that does not lead to sexual temptation."
Older women are called to train younger women in the matters of family -marriage and child-rearing- What an enormous privilege is this! We are not called to preach from the pulpit on a Sunday's sermon; we are called to train younger women how to live a godly, pious life that accords with sound doctrine in a day to day basis. What woman wants a pulpit to preach if she has a beautiful family to minister, children to teach, and young women around her to train?
* To be self-controlled: If we are called as older women to teach self-control, let us first of all, exercise it in our own lives.
* Pure: It is true that many women struggle with pornography, but many more struggle with a false notion of what a romantic marriage should look alike. They are addicted to a romanticism that only happens in Hollywood. They are not pure, and in their hearts are not being faithful to their husbands, but are always in discontent, always wishing for a more "romantic" relationship. This is not pure, and does not accords to godliness.
* Working at home, kind: These three go hand in hand. And it is important to note that real issue here is not if a wife can work or not outside her home. The heart of the matter here is this: Is her home her priority? If she stays at home what is her attitude? Kind or resentful?
Chapell has some good words here,
"Any woman who makes career status or financial advantage a higher priority in her life than the welfare of her marriage, children, or home transgress Scripture as well as the signals of a heart sensitive to God's Spirit. Perhaps this is the reason Paul urges that young women not only be taught to be productive at home but also to be "kind." A sensitive heart will not get so caught up in the routines of homemaking, that compassion for a husband's or child's needs get lost, nor will such a heart be dissuaded by the callousness of the secular world regarding the value of the homemaking routines."
* Submissive to their own husbands: Because this is such an in-depth topic, I would like to poin tou to Nancy Wilson, a woman who has written several books on marriage and child-rearing, as well as some great articles on submission, for example this one: Stick to your Duties, in which she answers questions such as: "[W]hat about the women who are married to men who are not interested in leading, who have neither drive nor direction? What can a woman in a marriage like that do?" (other articles are: Submission Requires Courage, and First Duties)
All these lineaments are there so that the word of God may not be reviled. I love the way Chapell concludes hos commentary on these verses,
"The wonderful message implicit here is that what happens in the home as a result of a woman's care is a powerful tool for the progress of the gospel."
Let us not be deceived, sisters. Our duties at home have an eternal effect; let us be diligent in doing what we have been commanded to do. Our joys will be multiplied!