Okay. This one will be controversial. I'm going to bounce off something that Jean said to get us started, but I'm actually not just talking about what she says. It's a much bigger issue. Once again, feedback (especially strong, negative feedback) is welcome.
In this post, Jean states:
Titus 2:3-5 makes it pretty clear that Paul gives the responsibility of teaching and training younger women to older women (rather than to male overseers like Titus).
I disagree. I think the responsibility for teaching ultimately rests with the overseers of the church.
As I said in my last post, I think Titus 2:3-5 sets up a model whereby older women teach younger women what is good, by setting an example that encourages them to love their husbands and kids etc. The scope that Paul has in mind for older women teaching younger women, seems to be practical areas. Older women are to set an example of practical living that brings honour to God.
An older women who is irreverent in her behaviour, a malicious gossip and often drunk will not be able to teach what is good. Her example will not encourage younger women to lead sensible, pure, kind, hard working lives, loving their husbands and kids etc. An older women who is reverent in behaviour and not a gossip or drunkard will be in a position to do this.
It's fine for women to meet with one another to teach and be taught the scriptures. It's great if you want to do that, but that's not what Paul has in mind here. This verse doesn't compel you to do it. The responsibility for teaching the faith still remains with the overseers. It's an over-reach to say that older women are ultimately responsible to teach younger women doctrine.
Why have I bothered to write about this. Why does it matter? Three thoughts.
1. I think that this interpretation of Titus 2:3-5 is another legalistic load that women put on each other. Meeting with younger women and teaching them is just another thing we are all failing at. I've been encouraged to think of myself as the 'older woman' since I've been 18! In conference after conference I've been told that I need to be meeting with younger women and reading the bible with them. It's suggested that instead of going back to work, women should spend their time 'fulfilling' Titus 2:3-5. What I don't hear half so often is what Titus 2:3 really says to me as a (somewhat) older woman - I should be reverent in my behaviour and not gossip! Just about every woman I know who has had kids is interested in hearing younger mums' experience and offering advice. This comes pretty naturally for most women. The tough thing is hanging out with a young mum, then not going and gossiping about her with the next woman you see. If I can be reverent and not gossip (and keep sober!) then I will be an encouragement.
2. Perhaps we overplay the teach thing in Titus 2:3 because we are deep-down dissatisfied with the idea of not being able to teach men and run churches. Thoughts?
3. I think we ought to be talking about every member of the church being involved with ministry, but the ministry that Paul seems to want from every member of the church is that of doing 'good deeds'. It is mentioned 9 times in Titus! Good deeds are what we are saved to do (2.14)!
That's enough for now.