In many Christian circles, the term “Titus 2” has been used to describe women’s ministry. The main idea churches have drawn on here is that older women would provide mentorship to younger women. While I do agree that this is an essential aspect of women’s discipleship, there are aspects of this passage that I believe have been overlooked. Consider the broader context of the chapter.
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.” Titus 2:1-7
Notice in the first verse, Paul urges Titus to teach what accords with sound doctrine to three groups: older men, older women, and younger men. This gives church leadership a very healthy and strategic approach to discipleship. Equip the older and younger men in these areas, that they might be prepared to lead well in their homes and in the church. However, it is the older women who are to be identified and taught what accords with sound doctrine, that they may be equipped to teach the younger women “what is good”. What are the older women to teach the younger women? Paul outlines seven specific areas of women’s discipleship: to love our husbands, to love our children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to our own husbands. Finally, notice why all of this is to happen: that the word of God may not be reviled (v.5).
I firmly believe if we took this passage seriously, under the work of the Holy Spirit, we would see the women and ministries of our churches be transformed. I hope and pray that we could invite more pastors and elders to lead and equip our older women that they might be prepared to teach and model sound doctrine and Christ-likeness to our younger women. In addition to this, all women and men who are Christ followers are to be imitators of Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to continually sanctify us to be more like him. There is much more to be said about disciple-making, so this is just a very exciting start!
I am thrilled to see God at work in his church in the development of women’s discipleship. The Gospel Coalition has released a new book, Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church. In addition to the book, they are promoting a fresh vision to see church leadership become involved and partner with regional training events that will focus on more intentionally Bible-based women’s ministry. Check out this video with Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson, editors and contributors to the book: