Since Scriptures specifically focused on women are few and far between, I think we need to give special attention to what Yahweh is teaching us in passages such as the gems found in Titus chapter two. Using Strong’s Concordance and Dictionary, as well as Vine’s Dictionary, I did a word study a year or so ago that really benefited me. I hope to share with you the meanings I found of the Greek words of instruction written by Paul to Titus that really make the passage of verses 3-5 much clearer. Paul here is teaching the importance of the character of elder women in the ecclesia and what they are to strive to teach the younger women. The qualities and characteristics he professes are “the things which become sound doctrine” (verse 1). In other words, the walk that goes with our talk. The older women were expected to behave in a way that “becometh holiness”. This is better rendered as “demeanor as becometh reverent”.
Our overall personality as women should be reverent to Yahweh, displaying His character to those around us. Elder women are not to be “false accusers”, or as Strong’s interprets as “traducers”. The verb traduce “is to speak maliciously and falsely of; slander; defame: to traduce someone’s character” (dictionary.com). This reminds me of the verse found in the next chapter of Titus, “…speak evil of no man… but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” (3:2). How easy it is to revert to gossip! Without even having the intention of traducing, we can slip into the habit of speaking negatively about others.
The next quality Paul mentions is “not given to much wine”, which meaning is obvious. A Godly woman withholds from any indulgence in wine or anything addicting. The Titus 2 women are to be “teachers of good things” or “teachers of the right”. Any false way is to be discouraged and anything true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, etc. (Phil. 4:8) to be upheld and promoted. So these are the qualifications of those older Sisters in the Household of Faith fit to instruct the younger generations. Paul goes on in verse four to explain what Titus 2 women are to teach. They are to teach the younger ones to be “sober” which means “discipline or correct”. This seems to include self-examination and self-correction as well as the more challenging examination and correction given by parents or spouse.
The focus is on what is correct in God’s sight. We often focus on what we need to avoid, the evils of the world to be hated, and how much “better” we are than those around us. We need to be sober-minded, always focusing on what we need to be doing and how we need to be improving. Moving on to the word “love” in “to love their husbands”, love here means “affectionate”. Bitterness and coldness can subtly creep into marriages and take hold of women’s hearts and steal the affection they can have toward their husbands. Young wives and mothers need to learn to better love and show affection to their husbands and children. This is an area that can always be improved upon, especially when the temptation to just be the laundry-folder and meal preparer.
The physical aspect of a woman’s household duties can take the primary focus away from the love to be nurtured in the home. Following in verse five, Paul continues with “discreet” which means “self-controlled”. I prefer the phrase “God-controlled” because it is letting God’s Word to be the guiding force behind what we think, say, and do. Influenced by the life-changing Scriptures will help us to curtail any negative thoughts which then become words to those around us. The next word mentioned is “chaste”. It is an old English word which encompasses innocence, modesty, purity, and perfection. What a quality with which to aspire! What a responsibility for grandmothers, mothers, elder women in the ecclesia to teach chastity to the young women. The next phrase is a popular one today in some Christian circles: “keepers at home”.
An easy way to view it is as being “domestically-inclined”. The Proverbs 31 woman comes to mind. Her lifestyle, everything she did, revolved around her family and home. Her hands were always busy with the domestic arts benefiting her home and beyond. “Obedient to their own husbands” is not an easy thing for the modern, “liberated” woman to accept. Some skirt around it and make excuses. The word obedient is clear: to be subordinate and to obey. This mostly needs to be taught by example. It is easy for older women to tell those younger to obey their husbands, but quite another matter to do it themselves. Just like when females are young, obedience to parents is obedience to God, so it is with wives with their husbands. Respecting the proper order of authority during this life is very important to God. We honor Him when we are in subordination to those “over” us. It is an example of Christ and the future Bride. All of these instructions for women are important to God so His word “be not blasphemed” (verse 5).
People in the world are watching us to see an example of who Jesus Christ is and the depth of Christ-like love. Their curiosity for the God we serve and His plan for the earth may be awakened when they see women respectfully and joyfully fulfilling their Godly roles in whatever stage of life they are in. “Sound doctrine” (2:1) includes not just a statement of what we believe, but the actions that display our beliefs. God’s Word is reinforced as a Book that is true and to be cherished when we are willing to let God mold us into virtuous women with the help of those older than us. Let us increase our value to “far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10) by becoming polished cornerstones for God’s glory!
Leslie Wood is a 20-something Sister of Christ at home with her parents and two out of her six siblings. Daily she is astonished at YHWH’s provision of all things good. She earnestly looks for her Savior’s return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.