Titus: Multi-Generational Ministry in the Church; Older Women.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.” (Titus 2:3 ESV).

The church is to be engaged in multi-generational life. While there may be particular emphasis placed on certain age group ministries in any given week, the church must not exclude any age group from any other. All generations in the church must be involved with each other. Examples include men and women’s ministries, AWANA, youth groups, Sunday school and Adult Bible Fellowships.

The Apostle Paul focused on healthy church behavior involving the typical people groups in the church. He gave special attention to age and gender. We studied the importance of older men. Today, we examine the importance of older women.

Like older men, older women (Πρεσβύτιδας; Presbytidas) were likely women over sixty years of age.  There is no mention of whether they were single, married, divorced or widowed. What Paul does refer to is their character.

First, older women are to be reverent in behavior. Behavior (καταστήματι; katastēmati) is an individual’s deportment or manner of living. Paul said that an elderly woman’s manner of living is to be reverent (ἱεροπρεπεῖς; hieroprepeis). It is to be holy or sacred.

My wife and I lived in two elderly women’s homes when we were first married. Respectively, we lived in the basement apartments of our pastor’s grandmother, and then his mother. In exchange for the living accommodations, we helped out around the house. In both situations, we encountered two women who were reverent in their behavior; towards God and other people.

Second, Paul stated that older women are not to be slanderers (διαβόλους; diabolous). They are not to be false accusers Our English word diabolical comes from this Greek word. It means to be disgraceful or unpleasant. It means to be like the Devil. Colossians 4:6 says, Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Third, they are not to be slaves to much wine. This was the besetting sin of the Cretans (Titus 1:12). Literally, it means to be “enslaved to much wine.” Addiction to alcohol is slavery (Rom. 6:162 Peter 2:19).

Fourth, older women are to teach what is good (καλοδιδασκάλους; kalodidaskalous). This teaching is to be done by precept and example.

Susan Hunt is former director of women’s ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America. She is author of many books, including Spiritual Mothering and coauthor of Women’s Ministry in the Local Church. She provides some insightful thoughts concerning today’s text.

“The gospel mandate in Titus 2:3–5 captivated my heart and imagination thirty years ago. Now, at age seventy-seven, I still wonder—have I become a Titus 2 woman yet? My inclination is to answer by evaluating my performance. Invariably, this leads to despair or arrogance depending on the numbers. Then the Spirit renews my mind as I read God’s Word. He shows me markers to help me think biblically.  The imperative for older women to disciple younger women is given to the leaders of the church. This ministry is to take place in the context of church life and under the oversight of church leadership.”

Thank God for the older women in your life who provide examples of reverent behavior. Pray for them as they seek to impact the younger women in your church.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

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