The Mom Heart of Old and Young, Part 1 - Tip #13

Are you familiar with TITUS 2:3-5?  Such practical, timely, and applicable information for us today.This familiar passage should be at the heart of every biblically-informed ministry to mothers. The Apostle Paul is writing to his close friend and faithful fellow-worker Titus, instructing him to entrust the teaching and training of young mothers in the church to the “older women.” The term “older” naturally refers to being advanced in age, but it also can refer to being older in relative terms. The context of the passage indicates faithful mothers who are old enough to have proven themselves to be mature and trustworthy. It is not about defining when that occurs, but about understanding the spirit of the ministry that Paul was describing.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5)

elderly-bible-handsPaul’s instructions are in two parts. First, he describes five qualities of the “older women” that will qualify them to teach the younger. Then, he describes seven kinds of lessons they are to teach to the “young women.” In both cases, Paul’s lists are not meant to be comprehensive, but rather representative. He is describing lives to emulate, and suggesting lessons to imitate, but not creating rules to regulate. It’s about the spirit, not the law.The Older Woman: Qualities of a Teacher (2:3-4a) Paul describes this older woman as “reverent,” choosing a term used only here in the Bible that suggests she is fulfilling a priestly role. Within an irreverent and ungodly culture, Paul calls the older women of the church in Crete to stand apart as God’s representatives to the younger women living in and coming out of that culture. The older woman’s behavior should befit whatever God considers sacred, which in this case seems to be their role as older women. In addition to that spiritual quality, Paul says that the older woman should also be known for four other specific traits.First, the older woman must be self-controlled in her words and attitudes, not a “malicious gossip.” Paul uses an unusually strong term, diabolos , that is used mostly of Satan (“devil”) and means here to slander or accuse falsely (he alone also uses the term this way here and in 1 and 2 Timothy). Second, she is to be self-controlled in her desires and habits, “not enslaved to much wine.” By inference, she is to restrain her desires and impulses not just for wine but for anything else that would belie her testimony of godliness. Third, she is known as one who teaches what is good (literally, a good-teacher). The kind of goodness referred to here suggests teaching things that are beautiful, noble, and praiseworthy. Fourth, her teaching should be known to “encourage” or admonish others. In English, we might say that she “sensibilizes” the young women—she helps them come to their’s profile of an older woman in first-century Crete has lost nothing in the translation of two thousand years. As a Mom Heart group leader and teacher, the qualities Paul describes will qualify you to be an effective minister to other moms, whatever your age.Ask yourself the following questions and ask God to help you embody the spirit of the older woman:• Am I willing to be God’s representative in my personal ministry to the women in my Mom Heart group?• Am I self-controlled in my words and attitudes, refusing to engage in gossip and slander?• Am I self-controlled in my desires and habits, not enslaved to anything that would detract from my ministry for God?• Am I committed to being a teacher of what is good—of God’s truth that is beautiful, noble, and praiseworthy?• Am I a committed to being a teacher of sensible living—of God’s truth that encourages faithfulness, soundness, and stability?Excerpt taken from Taking Motherhood to Heart.