The Aged Women

The aged women in Titus 2:3-5 are to behave like holy women. That’s pretty straight forward, right? But Paul continues with some specifics because he thought the aged women might want some practical hints.

First, not false accusers. Older women are to watch what they say, careful to safeguard information that is confidential, and particularly not passing on false accusations. Women are sometimes tempted to attribute motives, and it is tempting to pass on their own opinions as though they were the actual facts of the case.

Second, not given to much wine. I suppose older women may have more leisure time to indulge in wine and that is why they are singled out for this exhortation. Older women are to be temperate, setting a good example for the younger generations. So older women are not to be party animals, not to always have a glass of wine in their hands. They are to be sober (serious); they are to be wise.

Third, they are to teach good things. The aged women are to be busy teaching the younger women good things. This doesn’t necessarily mean a class room setting. They may be teaching their own daughters and granddaughters, as well as other younger women with whom they have opportunity.

What kind of good things are they to teach? Things about the feminine calling: loving their husbands and kids, how to be discreet, how to be chaste, how to keep house, how to be obedient to their (own) husbands. In other words, the aged women are to be showing the younger women how to build their houses and not tear them down.

Of course the older women are not fit to teach these things unless they themselves are doing them. The older woman is to remember her first calling to be her husband’s helper, to love and obey her own husband. This means a mid-life crisis won’t work, deciding she just is not “in love” anymore. Those low points call for loyalty and fidelity, not resignation and divorce.

Loving the kids seems like the easy part, but this requires wisdom and self-discipline, stamina and resolve. And even when the kids are grown, a mom is still a mom, her love still needed, though it may be expressed in different ways than when the kids were little.

Discretion means good judgment and young women, married and unmarried, need to be taught to be wise, to be circumspect, not rash or impulsive. A life-long chasteness means purity before marriage and fidelity after marriage.

Home-keeping is a vast undertaking and young women need encouragement, help, reinforcement, and training to do it well. The older women have the experience to offer, and there are many subjects they may be able to teach, from knitting to cooking to gardening.

When the aged women are obedient to their own husbands, they are setting a great example for future generations. And when women sin against what they know to be true, they are in a sense giving covenantal permission to their own children and grandchildren to do the same. This goes back to the beginning: the aged women are to be holy.

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9 thoughts on “The Aged Women

  1. Thanks for this. AS I read this, tears stream down my face, as I lost one of my favorite aged women today. I just wrote about her an hour or so ago. An excerpt from what I wrote:
    Grandma taught me a lot. She taught me to love the Lord my God with all me heart and with all my soul and with all my mind. She taught me to be patient with family. She taught me to rock babies and to pat their butts hard. She taught me to cook. She taught me the value of hard work. Grandma taught me that church was not an option, but a priority. Grandma taught me to love my Lutheran heritage, and to respect my pastor. Grandma taught me to pray.

    Grandma taught me some fun things too! Grandma taught me to play pinochle (even though I think she and aunt Elizabeth sometimes cheated.) Grandma taught me to always keep a stash of candy around. Grandma used to like to hang toward the back of the room when we were watching movies and then shriek really loud to see us jump. Grandma taught me to laugh out loud, and even to laugh at myself. Grandma taught me the value of letter writing. I’m fairly certain, if she had been born 60 years later, she too would have a blog, and it would be way better than mine…her weekly letters kept us all close while growing up pre-email!

    thanks for the reminder, in this day in age, it is easy to forget our calling, as wives, as mothers, and as teachers.

  2. Dear Nancy,
    Please keep writing to us older women and grandmas. Frequently I have read or heard your husband on various topics and wondered just exactly how to work out the ideas in everyday life. I really appreciate the specific instuction. God bless!

  3. As Susan said, indeed! And keep writing to the older women so the younger ones know more what to aspire to!

  4. A great word indeed! What an awesome charge given by God in His Word to older women. May our love for Him and our reliance on His amazing grace inspire obedience in this area! How we older women need to be holy. And, how our families and churches need such women! Thanks, Nancy!

  5. Good stuff! Nancy, thank you for your rich, kind words which are a reminder about biblical maturity and holiness. And, those of you who have shared your thoughts, thank you also. I think there are those who we inherit wisdom from, when we have the grace to receive it, those we admire for their grace and rich words, and those who have shown grace in situations we observe. And, I’m thankful for many such memories. But, I am drawn to savor these words from the Psalms, in Ps 24 (take some time to read the entire passage) – The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, . . .Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. . . .”
    I’m thankful today for the creeds we confess, that it weekly causes us to remember who we are in Christ, for confession as a Body, where we can confess silently, as well as the conviction of sin from angles we have not realized in isolation, for communion with the Saints, a new song, a day of rest, and a new week to do all unto Christ. And, just to think, we live to serve our Lord, our Savior and King in the essence of it all. May we serve our husbands, our families, and others, as He draws us nearer to Himself.

  6. Nancy,
    I love reading your posts, and come now seeking some advice. I’m starting to teach a Sunday school class tomorrow, and I’m very excited about the subject. There are three elementary girls in the class and we are going to study “The Jeweled Fountain” by Deborah Morgan and Barbara Mouser. There is lots of material about the role of a father and mother and I’m not sure how to mentor two of the girls. Their mother has left home and is fighting for a divorce. The father has returned to church and brought his two girls. How can I encourage them to honor both their father and mother despite the conflict?
    The divorce has not come through and the mother is already living with other men. Do you have any advice on how I can teach these girls? How do I teach them to grow into a feminine young woman despite their mother?

  7. Jenny,
    My suggestion to you is to stick to the basic material. There is plenty of good stuff to work with, and you won’t need to make specific applications to them because they will do that themselves. Although you are their Sunday school teacher, you are not the one ultimately responsible to see that they grow into feminine young women. That is their dad’s job. But you can be a good role model and teacher. And of course, if they ask something directly related to their own situation, you can feel free to answer them. But I would be careful to defer to their father. By that I mean, if it is something that you think might be awkward to handle in the class, it would be better to suggest that they ask their dad about it. And then I suggest you give him a heads up.
    The Lord bless your labors.

  8. Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for blogging on this topic; I too seek advice… I’ve been asked to speak at our ladies group coming up and was thinking about speaking on the role of older women teaching the younger women using the Titus text. Our church has an abundance of 30-50 year old married women and many young women in their teens. Do you think this text leaves room for the older women being women as young as 30 teaching younger women (teens) about chastity before marriage, modesty, wisdom, keeping home, etc? If so, do you have any resources you could suggest that could guide me in my studying?

    I guess I see all the women in our church at various stages in life and know the wisdom is there to be had, I just want to encourage women to step up and share, encourage, and teach when they see an opportunity. I long for help, advice, and encouragement now as a 31 year old mother of 3 and I remember longing for the female mentorship when I was 25, married, and childless, and the same when I was single in my late teens. I would love to see it happening more than it already does in our church and am seeking advice on how I can spur that on through my 20 minute talk.

    Many thanks in advance!

  9. Maile,
    It sounds to me that you already have plenty of material for a twenty minute talk! I would encourage you to keep it simple and not spread yourself out too thin in such a short talk. I see no reason why the thirty-somethings can’t be encouraging the teens, as long as that is needed. Some teens have enough help coming from their own mothers, while some don’t. Many “older” women are not comfortable speaking or leading a study, but you can encourage them to be hospitable to the younger women and see where that leads. And the younger women can be encouraged to be hospitable to the older women and be ready to ask questions. Some prefer this style while some prefer organizing the women into groups. Which ever style you adopt, I bet you will find a very receptive audience.

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