Blasphemy is a rather archaic word in 21st Century society, perhaps because we’ve lost the sense that God deserves honor and reverence. I once had a conversation with an obvious non-Christian who said quite flippantly, “Oh yes, Jesus is my Buddy!” (Happily, this woman has since come to Christ.) Her remark reminded me of how little people regard the Lord as Someone worthy of reverence.
Even more disturbing, many evangelicals lack reverence for the Lord. Hymns that exalt Him as the Sovereign Ruler of all creation have been replaced by soft rock songs focused on self, often depicting Jesus as a cosmic Boyfriend or a Butler poised to fulfill our slightest wish. We quote Scripture out of context to assure ourselves that God exists to ensure our happiness and to give us abundant lives. Like the non-Christian woman I spoke with. most of us demote the King of kings down to the level of being our Buddy.
I bring this matter up as I conclude my loosely organized series working through Titus 2:3-5. We’ve discussed the various attributes that God commands of older and younger women, and now we arrive at the purpose of those commands.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASB95)
That word “dishonored” come from the Greek word often translated as “blasphemy.” It carries the connotation of hurting someone’s reputation through speaking evil of or slandering that person. When applied to God, it means irreverence either toward Him directly or toward things that pertain to Him. Thus, women dishonor the Lord if we rebel against His instructions (given through Paul to Titus) outlining how godly women should conduct ourselves.
On the immediate level, Paul had concerns that the pagans in Crete would blaspheme the Lord if the Christian women refused to conform to God’s expectations of them. The next few verses, directed to younger men (including Titus himself), bear this out:
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. ~~Titus 2:6-8 (NASB95)
This principle also appears in Romans 2:24. Although the world hates God’s standards to the point of demanding that we violate those standards, it has no problem turning around and calling out our hypocrisy when we do compromise. Non-Christians know what the Bible teaches, and they watch us like hawks to see whether or not we really live up to our professed beliefs. If they see failure, they use our hypocrisy as an excuse to reject and ridicule the Lord Jesus Christ.
So yes. the primary concern Paul had was that Christians behave in a manner that doesn’t give unbelievers fuel for ridiculing the Lord. In reading these verses, we should let them remind us that a hostile world watches us with the eager intention of discrediting us in order to justify their rejection of Jesus Christ.
At the same time, I believe Paul’s instructions to women protect us from dishonoring the Lord. Each instruction reinforces Christlike attitudes and behavior, teaching women how to walk as Christ walked. Some apply to men as well as to women, while a few are unique to us. As we obey these instructions, we show honor to the Lord regardless of whether or not anyone sees our obedience. Conversely, if we disobey, we in fact revile — or blaspheme — Him by living as it His Word isn’t important to us.
In contrast to a culture that thrives on blasphemy. Christians can live lives that honor the Lord. Therefore, we can praise Him for Titus 2:3-5. These verses direct us to become women who bring Him the honor and glory that rightfully belongs to Him alone.