Part one of my script from last night
Well our journey though Titus has already had us look at the qualifications for the Elder of the church, and older generation of men in the church. We’ve seen that those qualifications, those standards are high. We’ve seen that Paul wants Titus to build a stable church around holy people. We’ve seen, by implication that for any church to be prosperous in the Lord it needs men who are like this. Tonight, in verses 3-5, Paul turns his attention to the older women in the church, to detail what he expects from them, and what the church needs to look for in them.
As ever, the Word of God is central here. We see in verse one that this character is to be produced by the teaching of sound doctrine, and we see at the end of this passage that the reputation of the Word is why our conduct is so important to Paul. It’s inevitable that anyone who preaches on the subject of Biblical womanhood is going to say some things that are considered out of date and unpopular. But that doesn’t bother me at all, I’d far prefer to hold to Biblical values that modern ones.
We see in verse three that there are four qualities that Paul expects from the older women in Titus’s church, the first of which is described as ‘in behavior as becometh holiness.’ The older women in the church are to promote holiness by their living, actions and speech in the church. They are to be a great example to those who look up to them. They are to be women whom the younger members of the church can look up to. The word described here as ‘becometh holiness’ is only used this one time in the New testament, and has the root meaning of being priest like. Here is clearly describes the quality of holiness in all of life, a holiness that means others want to draw nearer to God as they view the older woman.
As a result of their holy way of life, the older women are expected to not be false accusers. To not be slanderers. Not to spread gossip that spreads and destroys like wildfire. If the older, holier, more revered members of the church are behaving like this, what chance to the younger members have? The older women in the church are not to be slanderers, but, if they really are in behavior as becometh holiness, they will love truth, and want to speak it into all situations. One of the most common titles scripture gives to Satan is ‘the accuser’. The message here from Paul is clear. False accusations and slander are demonic and have no place ion the life of the church, certainly not from the older members of the body. When we have problems with each other we are to follow Matthew 18, not the world. It should strike us as to how serious our false accusations are when they can get us put in the same class as the Devil himself.
Finally women are not to be given to much wine, that is, they are not to drink and put alcohol in the place of Christ for comfort and release.
They are also to teach good things. This is the final quality that is mentioned by Paul for the older lady in the church, and the first positive one. The older women are to teach good things. They are to be able to teach what is noble and right. They must be able to teach, either with words, or by example. The older women, having fulfilled the responsibility of teaching their children in the way of the Lord, now have the opportunity to teach the younger women in the church to be the same way. We see from this that the high standards set for the women of the church are not just ends in themselves, but they have a reason behind them. The older women of the church are given a great responsibility here to hand over the baton of their love and experience to the next generation. Whether this is in a formal teaching setting, like we might do in the Bible study or a Sunday School class, or whether in a more informal setting the text isn’t clear, but the point is. While scripture is clear that women can not teach men, it is equally clear that older women have a responsibility to teach younger women, and younger women have a responsibly to listen.
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