On Becoming a Titus 2 Woman
By Joy Unseth
Do you have what it takes? Often when it comes to being a Titus 2 woman, we think the answer to that question is a resounding “No!” when a more careful look will reveal the answer is actually a confident “Yes!” The prerequisites to training younger women in the church as set out in Titus 2:3 are pretty straightforward: be reverent in behavior, not gossipers or slaves to wine, and teach what is good. With the power of the gospel in us, I think we can do that.
I recently asked a couple of younger women at Bethany what they appreciated about the women who were discipling them, and what they thought were important attributes of a mentor. What they told me was very casual and off-the-cuff, and yet it matched remarkably with Paul’s description in Titus 2 of how older women in the church are to interact with and encourage the younger women in the church.
The Benefits of Wisdom and Experience
The first quality these young women mentioned was that their mentor was older and had more wisdom and experience, which was beneficial as they learned from them about life. “My mentor had faced some of the same challenges that I was facing in certain areas, so it really helped that she could share with me both the successes she’d had in applying the Word to that situation, as well as the mistakes she had made that I could avoid.” The young women had also observed in their mentors a spiritual maturity both in their knowledge of the Word and in the fruit they produced as they walked with the Lord. This follows the pattern that Paul sets out in Titus 2, calling for the older women to be “reverent in their behavior” and “teaching what is good” (v3). These older women of the churches in Crete had not only learned important doctrines, but in following Christ the gospel was transforming them from the inside out. Their actions were matching up with their words. The Cretan society around them was evil and debase, yet their lives were changed by the Word, and they could encourage the younger women to apply the gospel teaching in their own daily lives.
Encouraging, Teaching and Training
The young women also emphasized how their disciplers went beyond Bible study to ask about their lives. “It wasn’t just about Bible study. She asked what was happening in my life, and helped me to think biblically about some of the challenges I was facing. She didn’t just stay on the surface, but knew how to keep asking questions and digging into what I was thinking and feeling. She makes me be honest about myself, but also shares honestly with me from her own life.” “She wasn’t afraid to ask hard questions and tell me what I needed to change.” Paul’s challenge to the older women in Titus 2 looks just like that: “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” (vv4-5). Teaching from the Word is an important part of making disciples, but the other part of the equation is training them to put what they are learning into practice in the most basic areas of life. They could help them to learn to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, and kind, so that their witness could spread to the culture around them. They were to encourage the younger women in this way “so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” When the world looks at us as Christians, they see if our behavior shows we really believe the gospel has the power to change us. Why would people be drawn to the message of the gospel if it makes no difference in our lives? Earlier in Paul’s letter, he warns Titus of false teachers in Crete who “profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him” (Titus 1:16) In contrast, the believers were to be sound in both doctrine and deeds, and thus show a watching world the authenticity of the gospel.
At the end of Paul’s letter, he asks Titus to “Greet those who love us in the faith.” (Titus 3:15) To Paul, it’s a given that those in the faith will love each other. That is also a big part of the discipling relationships of the Bethany women I interviewed. “We enjoy talking to and being around each other. She accepts my personality as it is without stomping all over it. She shows a genuine love for and interest in me.” It’s love that compels the older women to probe into the hearts of the younger, and love that enables the younger to listen as a word of challenge or exhortation is given. Love is the glue that bonds us together as believers. “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Col 3:14)
Are You Ready?So are you ready to answer the Titus 2 call? I think many of you have what it takes to love and be a part of the lives of younger women around you at Bethany, helping to equip them to put the gospel into practice and encouraging each other along the way.
Joy Unseth welcomes the opportunity to talk with Bethany women about becoming a Titus 2 woman or finding a Titus 2 woman to connect with. She also enjoys long walks in the neighborhood, tandem bike rides with husband Joe, and reading when she gets the chance.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of By The Way.