4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
(Titus 2:4-8 NIV)
In the previous passage, Paul began by reminding Titus what to teach the adult men and women of the congregations. Not everyone will be a spiritual leader, but all (including us) have a responsibility and calling to live a life that is Christ-centered and honoring to God. Last time we looked at what Paul told Titus to teach the older men and older women. Today we will see what Paul says to teach the younger women and the younger men.
As Paul transitions to teaching the younger women, he switches gears. Instead of having Titus teach them, Paul tells Titus to have the older women teach the younger women.
Before Paul talks about what the older women are to teach the younger women, he addresses how they are to teach. The word “urge” can also be translated “encourage”. The idea here is to train by example, as the older women invest in the younger women and show them how to live out these character attributes and behaviors. This is training that cannot be learned in books; it must be learned by walking alongside another person, learning by imitation and example.
Now to the “what” that older women are to teach younger women:
- Love their husbands – to be fond of and affectionate toward their husbands, to see the positive in them instead of only seeing the negative. This is a choice of the inner person that manifests itself in outward behavior of the wife toward her husband.
- Love their children – to be fond of, affectionate, and maternal toward her children. This is an inward choice that is manifested outwardly, even when the kids are crying, clingy, needy, disobedient, have poopy diapers, are sick, or tired. You get the idea.
- Self-controlled – with a sound mind – clear-headed.
- Pure – clear of carnality, of impure thoughts; chaste.
- Busy at home – at first, this may sound quite passive, just cooking, cleaning, and other domestic duties. But the deeper implication and picture here is that of a mama bear fiercely protecting and defending her home and her cubs, keeping watch over her domain. There are no shrinking violets in this word picture!
- Kind – good-natured, beneficial to others. This starts with a heart focused upwardly and outwardly, noticing the needs and hurts of others and responding to them.
- Subject to their own husbands – this is a military term, meaning to voluntarily put oneself under the leadership of another. Paul is not telling the younger women to be doormats for their husbands. He is saying, however, that they should be about the same purpose and direction as the husband, that they should form a team (like an army works together) to accomplish their life objectives. Again, this starts with an inward choice that is demonstrated in outward behavior.
Finally, Paul instructs Titus on what to teach the younger men. Paul tells Titus to “encourage” the younger men. This word “encourage: could also be translated “urge”. This word picture is that of one person calling another to their side in order to instruct, to admonish, or exhort. Think of a coach calling a ballplayer over to the sideline to give them correction and instructions, then sending them back into the game.
At first glance, it looks like the young men get off the hook easily, as Paul tells Titus to teach them to be self-controlled (to be of sound mind and choices, to curb their passions).
On further examination, however, Paul’s instructions to Titus run so much deeper. In verse 7, Paul tells Titus to be an example to these young men. Titus was a young pastor, and the other young men were to emulate Titus’ walk with the Lord.
And what characteristics should Titus display in his life that would be worthy of replicating in other young men?
- Integrity in teaching – teaching God’s truth; sticking with what God says in His Word and not chasing after other things as Paul noted that others were doing in Chapter 1, where some were teaching that you had to become a Jew before following Christ, or leading others astray for their own financial gain. This required singleness of purpose and dedication to study and leading others, starting with their own families.
- Seriousness – like the older men, this was a mix of gravity of character and dignity that showed their inner life was the same as their outer life. While they did not have the years of demonstration of this trait that the older men had, they had the foundation of a life dedicated to the Lord. This was a weightiness of character that would ground them in the things of the Lord and intentional care for others, again starting in their own families.
- Soundness of speech – healthy words on the outside reflecting a healthy heart and soul on the inside.
In the end, Paul says that by demonstrating on the outside the positive traits of their inner lives, Titus, along with the other young men, would convict the hearts of those who would oppose him and the message of the Gospel.
May we live out Paul’s calling for our age group and gender, living in community with one another for God’s glory and our good.