“Older women are to be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.” (Titus 2:3-5)
In hushed conversations with women in big churches, small churches, among believing women overseas, and in and out of the “Bible belt,” I’ve heard the question.
“Titus 2 says that older women are to be teaching us; so…… where are they?”
It’s puzzling when Christian women look “up” to those who are older, but feel disappointed in what they find there.
- “Why does she seem spiritually immature?”
- “Her kids haven’t turned out well; she’s not someone I would go to for parenting input.”
- “I think she references movies and late night TV more often than Scripture.”
- “She criticizes her husband constantly… that’s not a marriage I want to imitate!”
But as believing women, God has made us part of His Body. He specifically writes for us to learn from Christian women who have gone before us.
Yes, even those imperfect ones in your church.
So what do we do when we don’t have a perfectly godly woman to learn from?
- LOOK FOR WHAT IS GOOD. We can sometimes miss the “good” because we’re looking for the perfect. Perhaps she’s a hospitable woman. Learn that from her, even if she’s crabby to her husband. Or maybe she’s raised children who love the Lord– ask questions about that, even if she’s not a Bible scholar.
- HUMBLE YOURSELF & ASK. Sometimes we are sitting around complaining about not having it, because inside we know that if we actually asked an older woman to begin mentoring and discipling us, it would open our lives up to scrutiny and require some self-discipline on our parts to change and grow.
- THINK SHORT-TERM. Unless you know the woman well, don’t make a year-long commitment to weekly meetings. Instead, ask if she’d meet with you over the next few weeks to talk through the challenges you’re facing in your marriage, or pepper her with a few questions after home group.
- BE DISCERNING. Even an older woman may get some things wrong. Perhaps she didn’t learn biblical principles for parenting, or maybe she doesn’t know the Word as well as she should. Be like the Bereans and filter everything through Scripture. None of us reach perfection here on earth, so sort out the advice you’re given and hold on to that which is good.
By doing these things in a variety of settings, I’ve continually found older women from whom I can glean biblical encouragement, practical lessons, and rich truth.
This has been the continual prayer of my heart:
Lord, show me an older woman who I can learn from. Help me to be humble and willing to learn.
And I want to say: GOD HAS ANSWERED MY PRAYER AGAIN AND AGAIN!
I am so thankful for the older women in our churches over the years that have loved, trained, and encouraged me in my roles of disciple, wife, and mother. I am especially thankful for the older women in my church now, who are planning a ladies retreat, specifically for the “experienced women” so that they can study Titus 2 and grow together in this area. What a blessing!
Other articles & resources about Titus 2:
- WHAT DOES TITUS 2 MEAN FOR ME?
- THE OPPOSITE OF THE TITUS 2 WOMAN
- THE ELUSIVE TITUS 2 WOMAN
- TO TEACH WHAT IS GOOD: 7 excellent, FREE audio teachings about Titus 2 by Carolyn Mahaney
- Book: FEMININE APPEAL: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney
8 thoughts on “Where Are the Titus 2 Women?”
A few years ago I coordinated a ladies’ group in the church where we were at the time. Most of the ladies who attended were in the 40-50 year old age range (which, once you get there, doesn’t seem “old.”) I wondered why none of the younger women came, and one day one told me that it was because the meetings were attended by only “older” ladies (well, of course, when no younger ladies came). We made a concerted effort to gear meetings toward what we thought the younger ladies might be interested in, and finally 2-3 started coming. When we first came to that church and were asking which adult Sunday School was which so we’d know where to go, we were told, “Oh, you don’t want to go into that class. That’s the older class.” When everyone seems to have this “Ew, yuck” attitude toward older people, it makes one feel like their advice, even their presence is unwanted. I would say to younger women who want to be taught by older women – show them that you want them. Don’t only cluster with other young women or moms at showers and church fellowships. Spend time with them and ask them questions. And, I agree with Jess, don’t expect perfection, because you won’t find it.
I agree that most older women aren’t out there touting their information, so we must look for opportunities to learn from them (and let them know we want to learn). Our church group is very small, and I have learned so much from the “older” women because all functions include everyone, there is no segregation. I call them some of my best friends. Even if they’ve done things differently than I would, there is still plenty to learn.
Yes, I completely agree with the four things you’ve recommended we do. I would also like to encourage young mums to not overlook their own mum (yes I’m an Aussie) if you are blessed to still have her in your life. I’d also like to encourage young mums to take care that social media doesn’t rob you and others around you of real life relationships. I recently heard an older Christian woman telling me about her interactions with her 4 daughters. I was so saddened to hear her say that only one has called to ask for advice about their babies, the others ask their friends on social media instead. I don’t know if I’m weird, but this made me really sad, as if something very wrong is emerging that won’t be without detrimental consequences. When I had my first child, I read a lot beforehand (like most of us do), but back then it was books, not google. I wanted everything to go perfectly, as we all do. When my first baby was born my mother was around to help, and having had 7 children of her own, she obviously had plenty of experience to help me. But it was really hard for me to accept her help then, I struggled inside with submitting to her knowledge, believing I probably had a better handle on things, having read so extensively, and her ideas being a bit old fashioned and all (as if anything about newborns ever really changes). Now that I’ve had 9 children, I feel very differently. I would highly recommend that any young mum let their own mother help them, if she is willing and able, don’t reject her. So what if they give baby a “comp” feed, so what if they give them a bottle with some cool boiled water, so what if she tries some potion on the cradle cap that the book didn’t recommend. Baby isn’t going to be adversely affected, your mother is going to feel needed, and who knows, you might get a little rest and find your mum’s ideas actually can work (despite what the book or your friends on social media say). When I was in hospital having my 9th baby, I shared a room with a very young first time unmarried mum. Guess how much I got to impart to her – NOTHING!! and I prayed and tried many many times. I almost cried at the sadness of the situation. She spent the whole time looking at the phone on the end of her hand, and our one spark of real life interaction finished quickly with her commenting about the cuteness of my baby, as she went back to her phone.
Love from Kathryn.
I really appreciate your emphasis on learning even from the imperfect women in your church. I tend to like propositional statements that include references (whether to Scripture or research or some other authority) and can find myself frustrated when other women, including older women, share in relational statements – telling stories instead of relating facts. I’ve had to realize that just because their style of sharing wisdom is different than mine doesn’t mean that it isn’t wisdom – it just means I may need to think a little harder to evaluate it. Yet I have to fight the tendency to tune out instead of attending carefully. Thanks for the reminder to continue to work at learning from the Titus 2 women around me.
I really enjoyed reading this post. So many great points. Especially the one about not looking for a mentor due to the scrutiny it might bring us. Isn’t that just how we are with God sometimes? We don’t want to worship or draw close for fear of correction and reprimanding but if we do, the rewards are great. Thank you for sharing.