3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Some women might say this scripture verse is outdated, no longer carrying significance in modern society. I say, if more women lived according to the words written in this verse, our society would be in a much better state! Not only do I endeavor to live my own life according to this scripture now that I am an “older woman,” I also wish, when I was a young lady, women who lived like this had guided me.
When I was a young teen, my parents bought land three hours from home and began spending all their weekends there, building their future retirement home. Until this point, we had attended church every Sunday. With my parents away on the weekends, frequenting church was no longer even a consideration. My dad figured we were in Catholic school so missing church was not an issue. My mother may not have agreed, however, she had no say in making decisions. I was the youngest of three and was left in the care of my two older siblings. My brother, the oldest, was mainly interested in partying. My sister admittedly never liked me so, at best, I was invisible to her. I was left largely to my own devices. Such a situation does not lend itself to a girl growing up properly, but I did the best I could.
My situation as a teen taught me how not to be an adult. While I only raised one biological child, a son, I did help more than a few girls grow up. I taught one girl to read, using the Bible, so she would not be held back in elementary school. Others I steered away from bad choice after bad choice. On many Friday and Saturday nights, my home was a slumber party, complete with makeovers and appropriate teen flicks. I knew, if they were with me, they were not getting into trouble.
These days I cringe when I see posts from young girls, mothers, and even a few older women, on social media. Where is their self-respect? They show too much skin, too much drunkenness, and too little Godliness (some of these ladies even call themselves good Christian ladies)! Yet, we as a society, wonder what has happened to the younger generation. They mimic what they see, that’s what!
Let’s go back and look at that verse again, and discover what some of those potentially misconstrued phrases really mean. Some require no explanation: “…not addicted to much wine …teach what is good …love your husband and children …self-controlled …pure. …kind.” But what about the rest? “Reverent in the way we live” simply means to be respectful of ourselves and others. “Slanderers” are people who gossip; gossip benefits no one, ever! “Busy at home” does not mean women cannot work outside the home. It simply means do not be lazy. I knew a very Godly woman who, upon being asked why she was always busy, replied, “idle hands are the Devil’s playthings.” I have never forgotten that. Think about it, a never-ending list of chores, or hobbies as I prefer to call them, such as gardening and home improvements can be fun, with satisfying results! They also alleviate temptation. Bored people find trouble more often than busy people!
Now let’s examine the phrase that some women abhor: “…be subject to their husbands…” Are Christian women supposed to be subservient? What does Paul really mean in saying this? If you know the New Testament well enough to know Paul’s personality, then you know not to be put off by this phrase. Paul respected women. He respected that, just like men, women must walk out their calling. Lydia is a perfect example; she was a successful textile merchant, Paul’s first female convert, and a hospitable hostess to Christian missionaries.
Then what does it mean to “be subject to [our] husbands”? It means to respect them. It means to remember that they are our worthy guardians and gatekeepers. As a phrase, it simply sums up all the other qualities named in this verse.
Ladies, let’s join together and teach our girls by example. Let’s live according to the instructions provided by Paul in his letter to Titus. Let’s be self-controlled, pure, kind, busy in our homes, and reverent in the way we live. Then, no one will accuse us of maligning God’s Word. In the end, we will have raised generations of Godly women!