In the Bible there are a number of gray areas, things the Bible doesn’t directly address, even mysteries! Women discipling women is not one of them.
Paul writes in Titus 2:3-5 , “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.”
Note this starts with specific instructions on how the older women themselves should live! Discipling others always begins with being a disciple of Jesus ourself! Then out of that will flow not just words to pass on, but “follow me as I follow Christ!”
“Older women are to teach what is good,” but Paul doesn’t stop there. He proceeds to give seven specifics that need to be passed on in any discipling relationship where women are seeking to invest in other women. Older women are to teach what is good and so train the young women:
* to love their husband
* to love their children
* to be self-controlled
* to be pure
* to be working at home
* to be kind
* to be submissive to their own husbands
If you are involved in discipling women and this is not a key part of what you are doing, then biblically your discipleship is deficient! And note, he doesn’t say to train married women in these things, but young women.
The best time to train for this isn’t after marriage! Trust me, learning to love before you get married can really help your marriage get off on a much better start! And if you don’t learn the value of purity and how to pursue it when the heat is on before you get married you are most likely going to do major destruction to your marriage before it even starts!
And please note, Paul wouldn’t highlight these areas if they came naturally to us!
You see a cute baby pass by and think, “What’s not to love?!” but just wait until you have your own and he’s sick and fussy and you’re sleep deprived and there’s nothing you do can make him stop crying! It does not come naturally to be patient at that moment!
And you watch the movies and think love is just going to flow when I find the “right” guy – not realizing every single person, including yourself, struggles with a sin nature and lives in a broken and fallen world. Just wait until your husband hurts your feelings or you start experiencing the consequences of his sin. What comes naturally is to react in pain, anger, frustration, not to be kind.
Yet kindness is so key Paul doesn’t just leave it as a part of love (expecting readers to cross reference his first letter to the Corinthians!) but he specifically states it again. Training in being kind is a critical part of discipleship!!!
And in truth when you go through seasons where you aren’t happy with your life, where past wounds resurface, or where you are in pain from health problems, guess what’s the first thing that usually goes out the door?! Kindness! What comes naturally when you’re feeling poorly – emotionally or physically – is to take it out on whoever is closest to you! We have to learn to be kind, learn to love, learn to be self controlled… and all the rest!
There is incredible wisdom in what the Lord has revealed through Paul regarding how women should be training other women! Don’t ignore this!
And note he calls older women to train women “to love” and “to be” ~ the focus is not on doing. It’s so easy to get a microcosmic focus where the goal of your discipleship is to teach someone how to do scripture memory, or how to have a quiet time, or how to pray. And there is value in each of these things, but what a difference it can make when you keep in mind, the purpose for passing these things on is not simply to be doing these things but part of something so much greater!
The reason Paul gives for teaching women so they will be trained in these seven areas is so God’s word won’t be reviled or as it says in the New King James Version blasphemed. To revile is to assail with abusive language, to blaspheme is to speak of God in an irreverent manner. This is what can result when women aren’t trained in these areas.
Paul doesn’t say, teach women so they’ll be trained in these areas so they can live a wonderful life! But so God’s word and God himself aren’t spoken poorly of. What we do, the way we live reflects on the One we belong to! It’s not about us!
If you take time to camp out prayerfully in this verse really seeking to understand what the Lord is saying ~ is there ever wealth in here! And key guidance for how to disciple women!
Really good blog, full of wisdom and a great exploration of the Scripture. Thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us!