Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Titus 2 Truths

Today we start a new series we're calling "Titus 2 Truths" where we will focus on the theme verses of our blog, Titus 2:3-5:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good and to 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.
The over-arching theme of these verses is that Paul expects older women to encourage and teach younger women what biblical womanhood looks like in practice, by example and explanation. Note that Paul does not trust this mission to Titus himself, but urges him to ensure that the older women in his church grasp the importance of their role in instructing the young women how to live.

Susan Hunt, in her book of the same name, refers to this process as Spiritual Mothering, and each week for the next few weeks we will focus on this issue.

Susan Hunt defines spiritual mothering as,
when a woman possessing faith and spiritual maturity enters into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live for God's glory.
All women in the church fall into the category of either an older or younger women and in fact, all of us really are "young women" in some sense as we can always learn from those who are more mature in the faith than us. So as we start thinking about older women mentoring young women, I challenge you to think about whether you are involved in this process. Are you mature in the faith and able to offer your time and open your home to show a young women how to live as a godly woman? Are you seeking out older women to act as your role models in biblical womanhood?

I encourage you to take to time this week to listen to Carolyn Mahaney as she speaks on this topic under the title Passing on the Language of Bibical Femininity.


Jamie Dunbar said...

I think this is great truth and surely should be practiced. I am in a unique position at the church I am serving at. I am one of the younger ladies, at 23. really there are not a whole lot of women younger than me, but may who are older. At my church I am leading 2 womens Bible studies, trying to encourage the women in the church and teach them. But in my 2 groups I have one female who is younger than me the rest are all 10-40 years older than me.

I have been putting a lot of thought into this lately. Because most of the women are older than me, though most are not real knowledgable in scriptural things. I know it is biblical for the older women to teach the younger women, does that also work in reverse the younger teaching the older?

Also what do you suggest for someone my age who really could use a female to learn from and be encouraged by, but really has no one. thanks

Catriona said...

This is a very good question and we may well devote a post to it in the coming weeks. Briefly, the norm in any church should be that the older women are the more spiritually mature and they teach the young women. Sometimes spiritual maturity will not necessarily equate with in-depth theological knowledge and different older women may have different strengths and wisdom to impart.

Younger women can learn many things from older women who may not have very deep scriptural knowledge but who nonetheless take God's word and its call on their lives seriously. You may not take your hard theological questions to them, but you could learn about other aspects of womanhood such as how to be a good wife, mother etc. Look for older women who have strong marriages, godly children and other positive characteristics, then take the initiative to get to know them! Your first port of call could maybe be your pastor's wife.

That said, there will be some churches where there is a lack of older women with the spiritual maturity to mentor the young women and indeed, younger women may find the roles are reversed. In situations you describe where there really is no older women to look up to, one positive thing we can do is surround ourself with wise words from older women who are in print! The writings of Elizabeth Elliot, Carolyn Mahaney, Sharon James and Susan Hunt are a great place to start.

I hope this helps - thanks so much for raising this. I'll be praying that you find an older woman to act as your mentor.