I nearly failed Latin in college, so I easily decided against taking classes in Classical Greek. Therefore, I don’t claim to know much about the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. As I write this series on Titus 2:3-5, I sort of wish I did know Greek, since the construction of the sentence would probably deepen my understanding.
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. (NASB95)
Verse 3, after describing the character qualities older women should exhibit, commissions us to teach what is good. The translators of the New American Standard Bible 1995 indicate that teaching what is good includes the topics listed in verses 4 and 5 by using the phrase, “so that.” This rendering helps us determine that the primary purpose for older women to teach younger women to focuses on encouraging those younger women to be wives and mothers who honor the Lord. Most definitely, we should maintain this goal at all cost!
But does this passage limit us to teaching domestic skills? If Paul had written Titus 2:3-5 in present day American English, would he have placed a comma or a colon after the word “good?”
Maybe getting married for the first time at age 48 has something to do with it, but I’ve felt uncomfortable about using this blog to teach women how to be godly wives. Writing articles on false teachers and theological matters seemed more up my alley. And there’s a place for women teaching other women such things.
Scripture also says, however, that older women should instruct younger women particularly on domestic issues. Look with me at the passage in Titus 2:
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)
I liked focusing on the phrase “teaching what is good,” taking it to include teaching sound doctrine, I still believe that’s a legitimate application of this phrase, and I think women sorely need such teaching because of all the false teachers that prey on women who aren’t well-grounded in the Word. But I tended to ignore the bulk of what older women should teach younger women because I felt inadequate.
Let’s begin by affirming the Scriptural model that a wife must submit to her husband unless he demands that she disobey God’s Word.
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. ~~Ephesians 5:22-24 (NASB95)
Paul leaves no wiggle room for any Christian wife to rebel against her husband, and I don’t want anyone to misconstrue this article as a subtle encouragement toward feminism. Indeed, I pray people will come away from this article with a deeper conviction of a husband’s authority over his wife as well as how sinful it is to interfere with his authority. I have discussed what I’m about to write with my husband, and we completely agree on the perspective I wish to present.
For almost a year, I’ve seen discussions on Twitter promoting an extreme version of patriarchy. Now, patriarchy in and of itself simply means male leadership in the home, the church and society. Society, however, no longer operates on Christian principles, so we really shouldn’t expect non-Christians to adhere to patriarchy. By and large, therefore, wisdom dictates that we limit our conversation to male leadership within Christian marriage and church structure.
Lately, advocates of extreme patriarchy have been tweeting their belief that, if women vote at all, we must vote exactly as our husbands vote. They reason that, because the man is the head of the household, the wife must follow his political convictions in order to preserve family unity. And I see some merit in their argument.
Yet I seriously question whether or not they take the command to submit beyond the boundaries of Scripture. Does the Bible prohibit wives from having convictions that differ from those of their husbands? More importantly, does Scripture allow strangers on social media to impose their views about a couple’s voting decisions on Christians at large?
Leslie A has a wonderful talent for turning my brain into a five lane highway. Often, she’ll accomplish this feat by writing something that exposes a subtle sin in my life — like my television viewing choices. In those instances, I’ll initially try to ignore her points until the Holy Spirit forces me to see that He’s used her to work on my sanctification. Over the years, I’ve grown to love her blog precisely because the Lord uses it to challenge me to live in holiness.
Last week, however, the five lane highway Leslie put me on had little to do with sin on my part and everything to do with a topic I have been wrestling with since last September. Her blog post this week didn’t address the topic at all, and in fact my application of it hadn’t occurred to her. Leslie wrote A Warning (and a bit of encouragement, too!) as a response to the overall disintegration of our world. And she certainly hit the nail on the head all the way through her article!
As she wrote about the Hegelian Dialectic, lightbulbs started flashing in my head, sending me racing down all five highway lanes at once. To explain my mental traffic, let me offer a brief definition of the Hegelian Dialectic:
The Hegelian dialectic is the framework for guiding our thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead us to a predetermined solution.
The Hegelian Dialectic will pit parties into extreme, polarizing positions on a given topic until a third party can help them arrive at some sort of consensus that said third party wanted from the beginning. Essentially, it manipulates the opposing parties into seeing their mediator as a final authority. Once consensus has been achieved, dissent is not allowed.
Upon reading Leslie’s explanation of the Hegelian Dialectic, I began driving down the highway on which feminism and extreme patriarchy currently drag race.
Although my back is a great deal better than it has been since I fractured it six months ago, I still spend a few days in bed each week. On those days, I watch YouTube videos streamed through our DVD player. (Okay, I also watch Animal Planet’s Putbulls and Parolees, but that has nothing to do with this blog post). This weekend (because Pitbulls and Parolees wasn’t on), I watched several videos from a Reformed ministry that seriously challenged my thinking in regard to two important topics: eschatology and the content of what women should teach other women.
The video on eschatology lead to another video of a sermon on the subject. My head is spinning from that one, and it will take a long time for me to process it. Just when I thought I’d landed on a position, too! Please don’t expect me to blog on eschatology any time soon — I have so much more to study on the matter before I attempt to write about it. Jesus will return to save His people and judge unbelievers. I stand on that promise without being properly educated on the particulars.
The video on women’s ministry also stretched me, but I feel far less confused as to where I agree and disagree with the lady being interviewed. The points that bothered me need to be considered, of course, but even she acknowledged that her position leaving room for debate. Gotta respect her for the humility to admit that possibility!
She began at the same foundation as I do: Scripture allows women to teach women, but not to teach men. Hallelujah — absolute solidarity on that point! And we draw from the same Biblical passage to substantiate the practice of women teaching women.
Driving me home from college every day, my mom would reach a particular on-ramp that indeed was dangerous. She firmly believed that one day someone would be killed there (to my knowledge, thankfully, her prediction hasn’t come true). I still remember her lips tightening in disdain as she muttered, “A man must have designed this!”
Actually, she muttered those words any time she encountered things that she deemed inconvenient or illogical, explaining to me and my sister that women would not make anything so complicated or dysfunctional. She taught us to degenerate men, as if the poor things simply didn’t possess the intellectual abilities that characterize women. Yes, men came in handy now and then, she conceded. But for the most part, women could manage just fine — and perhaps better — without them.
Definitely women would have designed that on-ramp better!
As we prepare for Father’s Day, and the many sermons pointing out the shortcomings of fathers, I find myself thinking about Mom’s disparaging remarks. Society pretty much echoes her sentiments. Television, movies and even comic strips routinely portray men as buffoons. At times, according to my husband (an authority on all things pertaining to Superman), even Clark Kent had occasional moments of ineptitude. I believe I can safely say that our current culture all but celebrates male bashing.
Ladies, I know we get frustrated with the men in our lives sometimes. But don’t you think that we frustrate them just as much as they frustrate us? Maybe more? And yet, our culture wastes no time in labeling them as misogynists if they dare say anything the least bit unflattering about us. This double standard has no place in Christian conversation!
James, the half-brother of the Lord, may not have written specifically about male bashing, but his passage on the tongue in Chapter 2 of his epistle definitely applies to the matter. Look at the passage with me as we consider what we say about our husbands, dads, brothers and male friends.
Have you ever noticed how people with strong opinions tend to push those who disagree with them into opposite extremes?
While the Patriarchy Movement actually covers a large spectrum of approaches to the Biblical roles of men and women, an extreme wing of the movement sees any sort of variation from wives being full-time homemakers as feminists. And, in trying to reason with them, sometimes I feel pushed into a feminist box.
Adherents of the extreme Patriarchy Movement insist that feminism has invaded the church. This feminism, according to them, manifests itself in women going to college and working outside the home. Apparently, such behavior violates Titus 2:5, which tells older women to teach younger women to be “workers at home.”
As demonstrated in my last blog post, I question some of the tenets of the Patriarchy Movement. Sadly, in this era of polarization, the assumption is that so much as questioning patriarchy means an embrace of feminism.
I think that’s a false dichotomy.
My husband will be the first to tell you that I’m far from being a feminist. True, I struggle to submit to him as well as I should. But even in confessing my struggles in submission, I agree with Scripture that my responsibility as a wife is to submit to John’s authority as my husband.
At our wedding, we chose Ephesians 5:22-33 as our Scripture reading:
A few days ago, someone told me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”
“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”
The pressure began in the 1970s with a reaction to Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique. Friedan asserted that society had conditioned housewives against recognizing their boredom and “quiet desperation.” Women, she said, should want more.
All too quickly, succeeding generations of women came to frown upon the idea that stay-at-home moms could possibly be fulfilled. No, society now said, women need outside careers — in addition to being wives and mothers — if we want to have satisfying lives. Stay-at-home moms deserve pity. Or scorn.
As the daughter of a single mom, I certainly understand that some women have to work outside the home. Others may believe that, in order to maintain their standard of living, they can’t afford to stay home (an attitude that should demand serious questioning). If a husband wants his wife to contribute to the household income, that wife may need to submit to his wishes by getting a job. As Christians, we should Read More »