God wants men to be the leaders in the family and the church. Husbands are to take the responsibility of being the head of the family. Ephesians 5:22-23 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” The leaders of the local church are the elders, also known as bishops, overseers, and pastors, indicating the functions they perform (see Acts 20:28). In reviewing the qualifications for these individuals, it is obvious that they are to be men (Titus 1:6-9). While men have the responsibility to be the leaders, women have important functions in both the home and the church. The apostle Paul taught Titus in Titus 2:3-5 “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Let us look at these characteristics of older women in the church.
The older woman should be reverent in behavior. She should be respectful and others should respect her and see her as a mature, holy woman of God. She knows her proper place and dresses, speaks and acts appropriately. She should not be a slanderer. That means she should not be a false accuser, a gossip, a critical person, tearing other people down with her words. She should love her fellow Christian even when they are not perfect. She should not be given to much wine, meaning she is not a drunkard. She exercises self-control in all her actions.
The older woman is to be a teacher of good things. She has experienced many things in her life and gone through multiple trials. She should now impart her wisdom to the younger women. God has not given the woman the role of teaching in the church assembly. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.” The apostle Paul taught the Corinthians that a woman is to keep silent in the churches. But this teaching was not just to the Corinthians in the first century. The apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” A woman is not to teach in the church or have authority over a man. The roles of man and woman are a result of Adam being formed before Eve and Eve being the one deceived in the Garden of Eden. But there remains a teaching role for the woman outside of the church. It should be obvious that it is appropriate for her to teach her children. As we find from Titus 2:4, the older woman should teach the younger women how they should behave. The things the older woman should teach the younger women are some of the things she has learned in being a Christian woman.
The older woman is to teach the younger women how to love their husbands. Unfortunately, not all husbands are easy to love. Perhaps the husband is the silent type or he is a workaholic or he doesn’t help her as he should or he has other flaws. The wife is still to love her husband. By her love and Christian behavior, she has the potential to have great influence over her husband. 1 Peter 3:1-2 “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” The older woman can teach the younger women how to love their husbands even if he is not easy to love.
Next, she is to teach the younger women to love their children. You would think that it is natural for all mothers to love their children. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Children can be a source of irritation and trouble in the family and some mothers want to be relieved from the responsibility of their children. The wise, older woman should admonish the younger women in loving, disciplining, and instructing their children.
Next, she is to teach the younger women to be discreet and chaste. Discreet is to exercise good judgment in conduct and speech. The younger women need to be taught how to have appropriate speech and action that is becoming of a Christian woman. Chaste is to be pure. The younger women need to be sexually pure and spiritually pure from other carnal thoughts and actions.
Next, she is to teach the younger women to be homemakers, good, and obedient to their own husbands. The bible teaches that the man or husband has a responsibility to provide for his household (1 Timothy 5:8) and the woman or wife has the responsibility to be a homemaker. Today, in the modern world, these lines of responsibility may be blurred. While a woman may work outside of the home and a man may do much inside the home, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the older woman is to teach the younger women their responsibility in the home. The younger women are to be admonished to be good – good in all respects. They are to be admonished to be obedient to their own husbands. Previously, I quoted Ephesians 5:22 that women are to submit to their own husbands; this is the role that God has designed. The older woman can teach the younger women how to be obedient.
My encouragement to the older women and the younger women is to learn how to live appropriately in speech and action so that the word of God may not be blasphemed.