As I grow older, I think about the amount of energy the Proverbs 31 Woman must have needed to be and do all of these things. It’s seems exhausting! I know however, it wasn’t all her, it was God working through her. Still, I find it overwhelming to think of me, in any way, exhibiting all of these godly character traits.
Although we as women always need to strive to exhibit the character traits mentioned in Proverbs 31, no matter our age, as I grow older I find myself transitioning from that Proverbs 31 Woman to a Titus 2 Woman. If you’re in that boat with me, friend, let’s look today at 9 character traits for the Titus 2 Woman and how we can become that person.
The Titus 2 Woman is:
How can we become this kind of woman, and how can we encourage and mentor other women to become like her as well?
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be reviled." (Titus 2:3-5)
According to Titus 2, older women are to teach and train young women how to live as the Proverbs 31 Woman lived. Why? "...that the Word of God may not be reviled" (3:5). Older women are to teach and mentor younger women to be virtuous, faithful, reverent, strong, enduring, well-rounded, charitable, a provider, well-dressed, a wife of a good husband, honorable, wise, kind, a good mother, praise-worthy, one who attains and excels at her goals, but most of all, a woman who fears the Lord.
Who Are These Older and Younger Women?
It is clear, from 1 Timothy 5:1-16, that Paul most likely had in mind women beyond childbearing age when he spoke/wrote of the older women.
The reason the advice in Titus 2:3-5, for younger women, focuses so strongly on married women with children is that the vast majority of young women in the first century would have been married.
However, Titus 2:3-5 (just as Proverbs 31) is relevant for all women—not just older women and not just younger.
We are almost all older women in relation to women younger (in age or faith) and we have a responsibility to teach and mentor them.
What Are the Older Women To Teach the Younger?
It is all very well to say that older women should be teaching and mentoring young women, but what are we to teach them? Let’s take a look at Titus 2:3-5 in the broader context of the passage and see what we should be teaching.
There are four main topics older women should teach younger women. The first two are also taught by men to men, but the third and fourth are uniquely relevant to us as women.
The Gospel of Grace
Books and conferences on biblical womanhood can be strong on practice yet weak on principle.
Women’s teaching often degenerates into a list of dos and don’ts—for example:
This is all well and good, but it can be particularly damaging for some women because even though so many of us long for self-transformation we also excel at comparing ourselves to others. We look to Instagram and compare her home to our home and her life to our life. Her children are all wearing matching clothes. Her makeup and hair are perfect. We listen to a talk on womanhood and walk away with 20 ways we need to change—right now!
But Paul doesn’t let us get away with comparison or rule-based teaching. Even when he addresses the specifics of godly living he makes it clear that our behavior flows from the gospel. It is the gospel and sound doctrine that gives godliness its shape (Titus 2:1). It’s the grace of God that teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12). Only a woman who knows the gospel will live her life in the loving freedom that comes from grace rather than attempting to meet her culture’s vision of perfect womanhood.
As we teach the younger women we need to constantly remind them (and ourselves) that:
I don't know about you, but I an incredibly grateful for those last two—God knows me by my name and is patient with my slowness to change, and I am forgiven and transformed by faith through His grace. PRAISE THE LORD!
It is occasionally argued that women should not teach doctrine, even to women. That may be because the list in Titus 2:4-5 focuses on lifestyle, not doctrine, and because men are responsible for the teaching and theological direction of the church (1 Timothy 2:11-15, 1 Corinthians 14:26-39).
However, if we as older women are to teach the young women sound doctrine (Titus 2:1), we need to understand the great truths about God and learn to handle the Word of God (His love letter to us) correctly (2 Timothy 2:15).
When we mentor younger woman, we begin with the same topics as when older men mentor younger men—salvation, assurance, the authority of the Bible, and so on. We may even address more difficult topics like the Trinity, the role of the Holy Spirit, and predestination.
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At the heart of becoming a godly Titus 2 Woman is a confident trust in God. This includes an inner strength that comes from a deep knowledge of His Word and sovereign purpose. Only a woman who hopes in God and reverently fears Him will possess the courage for submission, and display the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:1-7). We need deep, deep roots that search out God’s Word and His truth to be a Titus 2 Woman.
Want to study truth? Join us as we deepen our roots and search out God’s Word and truth during our Summer 2020 Book Club-Style Bible Study She Loves Truth. We'll meet here on the blog, each Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m., June 2 - August 4, for a ten-week study of the book of Proverbs. Let’s seek truth together and record what we find because She Loves Truth!
Becoming a Woman After God's Own Heart
We long to hear about God’s glorious plan for us, don't we!? Manhood and womanhood were never an afterthought in God’s design plan for humanity. From the beginning of creation God made us male and female, in His image, equal before God, but with different roles and responsibilities. The woman was made to be the man’s helper (Genesis 1-3, 1 Timothy 2:11-15).
There is an entire chapter in The Heart That Heals about the emotional difference between men and women and how men are made to be burden bearers and women are created to be man’s helpmate. It's important that we understand and embrace these roles, and that we teach them to the younger women.
Titus 2:3-5 spells out what becoming a woman after God's own heart looks like in the life of a young, married mother.
At the same time that we use Titus 2:3-5 to teach young women to be lovers of home and family, we must also be careful not to use the passage to encourage them to idolize home and family. We must find the proper balance.
If we are not careful in the way we teach Titus 2:3-5, we can find ourselves subtly encouraging homelife idolatry. In doing so, singleness becomes a waiting room for marriage rather than an opportunity to serve God with undivided attention (1 Corinthians 7:32-35), and the family/home becomes an end in itself rather than a place to reach out to others. This is not the proper balance.
Both Proverbs 31 and Titus 2:3-5 encourage Christian women not only to be workers at home, but to also be kind. In 1 Timothy 5:9-10, the word kind is linked to the good deeds of godly women—not just bringing up children, but also showing hospitality, serving others, and caring for the needy. A godly woman’s home should not only be a secure refuge for her family, but also a base for loving, serving and reaching out to others.
I doubt Paul was thinking of formal teaching, or even mentoring, when he encouraged older women to teach the younger women.
The items on Paul’s list are very practical:
Young women need older women to come alongside them, give them help and support, and especially in the mundane of life offer words of wisdom and a godly example in very practical ways.
Let’s find our place in women’s discipleship and mentorship in a practical way. Do you see yourself as an older woman discipling or mentoring younger women? Or, do you see yourself as a facilitator of discipleship and mentorship relationships between older and younger women? Quite likely, you find yourself fitting into both of these categories.
Whichever group you find yourself fitting into, here are some practical everyday ideas for discipleship and mentorship:
Wrapping It All Up
Four topics that we, as a Titus 2 Woman, should be teaching younger women—the gospel of grace, sound doctrine, becoming a woman after God's own heart, and practical skills. We don’t have to be theological experts or trained in ministry to teach these things to the younger woman. We simply have to be willing to open up our Bibles, our hearts, and sometimes our homes.
Transforming from a Proverbs 31 Woman to a Titus 2 Woman can be as simple as sharing with a younger woman your life and what you’ve learned about being a woman after God's own heart.
If we have daughters, we should teach these things to them first and then to other women. It is also important for us to remember that discipling and mentoring younger women does not generally take place in a formal setting. Most likely it will happen naturally as we get involved in each other’s lives. At the same time, we need to encourage them to pass these things onto others so that the teaching of younger women doesn’t stop with us (2 Timothy 2:2).
When Did I Become This Older Woman?
When I think about growing older—daily my body reminds me that this is my new reality (there’s no doubt about it! LOL), quite often, I think about these words of wisdom from John Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God.
This quote describes who I want to become as a Titus 2 Woman:
"One of the challenges I repeatedly hold out to the people of our church—especially the women—is that they make it one of their aims to age into a sage. I love the vision of older women full of seasoned spiritual fruit that comes only with long life and much affliction and deep meditation on the Word of God. So many younger women yearn for older women, who are deeply wise, to share the wisdom God has taught them over the years." —John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God
When I was a young woman, I longed for encouragement from an older woman. As I grow older, I hope to become the kind of woman I longed for. l want to fill this gap in the lives of the young women around me.
This isn’t just my dream. This should be every older, Christian woman’s dream and goal! Every Christian woman has a responsibility to mentor women who are younger (in age or in the faith) to grow into a woman who fears the Lord like the Proverbs 31 Woman.
If you are an older Christian woman and this doesn’t lie close to your heart and shape your priorities, you should ask yourself, "Why?" We don’t all have the same gifts, and we will all respond to God’s call in Titus 2 in different ways. However, we must remember that our Lord Jesus Christ has committed younger women to our mentorship.
It is the desire of my heart to see a new generation of Titus 2 women rise up in our churches—older women who devote themselves to discipling and mentoring younger women. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we committed today to asking God to raise up women like this? In the meantime, let’s be the answer to our own prayers.
Change is hard. Really hard. Whether it’s something wonderful like a job promotion or devastating like a difficult health diagnosis, change brings stress. As followers of Jesus, we know He is ultimately in control and yet we are too familiar with feelings of apprehension and uncertainty when our circumstances change.
Gina Brenna Butz assures us that the God who loves us is working for good for us in transition, no matter how messy it is. We don’t have to resign ourselves to just coping with the change or merely trying to survive it. She shows us how, instead, we can make peace with change.
Gina has experienced God’s faithfulness through many seasons of transition. With warmth and wisdom, she shares personal stories and explores biblical principles that will help you trust God in your seasons of change and stress.
While our world is ever-changing, be reminded that your hope is secure in the One who is constant: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
How are you discipling and mentoring the younger women (in age or in faith) in your life?
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