Thursday, September 21, 2023

2023.09.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Titus 2:3–5

Read Titus 2:3–5

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom else is Titus to exhort (Titus 2:3)? In what are they to have the holy carefulness of a priest (translated “reverent” by NKJ)? What aren’t they to be (i.e., ‘accusers’ always accusing like a devil)? To what are they not to be in bondage? Of what does this make them teachers? Whom are they to help to be temperate (Titus 2:4, where NKJ “admonish” is from the same root as “temperate” in Titus 2:2)? What are the two great loves of a temperate/sober-minded young woman? What is she to be, generally (yet another instance of that temperate/sober-minded/self-controlled word)? And what else? Where is her work? How else is she generally characterized? How does this goodness express itself in relation to her husband? What is at stake in young women’s conducting themselves this way?

How should an older woman conduct herself? Titus 2:3–5 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that an older woman should conduct herself with such holiness and gentleness as encourages younger women to devote themselves to their crucial character and work. 

In making application of sound doctrine, Titus was to begin with the older men (Titus 2:1-2), who were an example for the congregation. Now, he turns to the older women (feminine version of the same word, Titus 2:3) for a similar reason. Their godly life is to be instructive to the younger women (Titus 2:4-5). 

An older woman’s example, Titus 2:3. There is a great spiritual danger for an older woman: live in pleasure (cf. 1 Timothy 5:6). Particularly if they have lived in service of others for decades, they may view old age as the time when they finally have the chance to live for themselves a bit. (Some even refer to this approach to life and “retirement” as “the American dream”!). But Titus is to exhort older women to a life that is exactly the opposite of living for pleasure. The word translated “reverent” is built off the root for a priest. Similarly to the widows of the roll in 1 Timothy 5, all older women are to live a life of consecration like the priests who had to be careful and wise to be always ceremonially clean. 

So, let older women live in holiness. There are two things they are especially to watch out for: being slanderers or given to too much wine. “Slanderers” is “devils”—it indicates backbiters or opponents, but it is the word devil. What a danger there is in becoming one who drops negative things about others into our conversations… the danger of becoming a devil! “Given to too much wine” is “slaves to much wine.” Alcohol has a particular enslaving power that makes it a representative of all earthly pleasures: to live for pleasure is to become its slave. 

A younger woman’s lesson, Titus 2:4. The older women’s consecrated behavior makes them a “teacher of good things such that they admonish.” The idea is not that they hold classes for younger women, but that their conduct is itself a masterclass. And what do the younger women learn to do? Love their husbands and love their children. More properly to the grammar in the original, they are to be husband-lovers and child-lovers. 

We live in a world that tells us to find our identity in ourselves, and the world finds a willing listener in our flesh. But the believer’s great identity is in the Lord, and that means embracing from the heart the roles into which He puts us. For a wife or a mother, this is to be her identity, earthly-speaking: not just that she devotes her time and effort to wife-ing and mother-ing, but that her earthly identity be that of a husband-lover and child-lover.

A younger woman’s conduct, Titus 2:5. “discreet” is sober-minded, self-controlled. She is theologically sound, and she lives not by impulses or emotions but by that sound doctrine. “Chaste” is holy, pure. She doesn’t muddle up her life with sin or competing interests. “Homemakers” is “workers at home.” She is a worker, and she has made her home the object of her labors. She is “good,” not just well-behaved but beneficial. She seeks to benefit all around her. She is subject to her own husband. That’s language that cuts against our flesh and very much against the mind of our age. So the end of Titus 2:5 presses the importance of wives submitting to their husbands: “that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” If we claim to hold to His Word, but then we live according to our ideas instead of His design and His commands, we bring shame upon the Word.

What does our culture expect older women to live for? What does it expect younger women to live for? What can you do to support a biblical culture? How can you honor and encourage the women who live according to these verses?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for Your design for marriage and for the household. Truly, You have made these beautiful and beneficial unto Your own glory. So forgive us for when we live selfishly—not only failing to serve others, but not being mindful of how we might cause your Word to be blasphemed. Grant unto us instead to love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Specifically, grant unto us to love those nearest and dearest neighbors—those in our homes. We pray especially for the young wives and mothers that they would be husband-lovers and child-lovers. Bless their labors and grant that their lives would adorn the gospel, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH548 “Oh Blest the House”

No comments:

Post a Comment