Equipping the Generations: Teach What is Good -- By: Donna Thoennes
JFM 2:2 (Spring/Summer 2012) p. 90
Equipping the Generations:
Teach What is Good
Donna Thoennes (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves on the faculty of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. Donna and her husband, Erik have two daughters, both adopted from Taiwan. At church, she enjoys discipling younger women and leading an orphan ministry called Project Hope.
Paul cared so deeply for the church. Even as he considered his persecutions and trials, his concern over the churches remained his heaviest burden (2 Cor 11:24-28). Imagine the care he took in choosing exactly what he wanted to say to the churches and their leaders in the years leading up to the end of his life. That’s part of what we see in his letter to Titus. Paul had entrusted the church in Crete to Titus’ leadership and in his last brief letter, he tells Titus precisely what the church needs to know and why.
Paul instructs Titus in Christian responsibility first then presents the foundational doctrine for that behavior. In chapter one, Paul describes Christian conduct within the church; in chapter two, the home; in chapter three, the world. Within the church, Paul advises Titus to teach three groups of people: Older men, younger men, and older women. Yet, when it comes to young women, Titus is instructed to step aside and to allow the older women instruct them. What an honoring gesture, to call older women to this role! It testifies to the unique capabilities of mature women, as well as the unique needs of younger women.
Before calling these women to teach, Paul explains the type of moral character expected of older Christian women: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine” (2:3). They are to live lives of holiness, to exercise self-control in their words about others, and to avoid addictions. Then, Paul gives them the special task of teaching younger women “what is good” (2:1). The older woman isn’t left to wonder what good might mean; Paul specifically provides six informal, relationally-oriented, home-centered teaching points. “[Older women] 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, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:4-5).
JFM 2:2 (Spring/Summer 2012) p. 91
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