Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may instruct the young women in sensibility: to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be slandered. (Titus 2:3-5)
The older women are to conduct themselves in a godly way. After their years of family rearing are over, they then take the role of becoming mentors. The spiritual quality they maintain in their lives allows them to be the essential influence on the next generation of women. In other words, it takes a generation of godly older women to instruct a new generation of young women.
Now, let’s see what it is these women actually teach.
Loving your husband is a command. Obviously, after you’ve been married a while you’re not running around like a maniac like you were when you first fell in love and couldn’t talk, think, or control your life. This is the love of depth and commitment that sees past the flirtatious vision of the person to the depth of their character. It’s a sacrificial love. It’s a purifying love. It’s a commanded love.
Secondly, the older women are to encourage the young women to love their children — to be children lovers (philoteknos). Realize that your life is your husband; your life is your children.
Thirdly, they are to be sensible — to think right. It’s a sad thing when we think about the world in which we live today and how many women don’t think right. Priorities are all fouled up. Many have lost the ability to make sound judgments.
Teach them practical wisdom, discretion, and sound judgment. Having a woman who has gone through life come back and teach you common sense to get you through issues is very helpful.
Teach them to be hagnos, which means chaste, virtuous, and sexually faithful to their husbands in every way. First Timothy 2:9-10 says they are to be attired modestly and discreetly, with godly fear and sobriety. The word sometimes translated “discreet” comes from a word which means self-control. They are to demonstrate self-control over passion.
This is the sphere of a woman’s life. It is her domain. It is her kingdom. It is her realm. It doesn’t mean that she can never go out the door. It doesn’t mean that she’s always to be doing menial tasks. But what it does mean is that the home is the sphere of her divine assignment. Materially, she is to take the resources the husband brings home and translate them into a comfortable and blessed life for her children. She is to take the spiritual things that she knows and learns and pass them on to her children.
That is the same expression as in Ephesians 5:22, “to your own husbands.” Not somebody else’s, not some other men — to her own husband. Why? “So that the Word of God may not be dishonored.” Our testimony is at stake.
If we are going to reach this world, these are the principles, and the role of the woman is crucial in this regard. You have to take these principles and apply them in your own situation prayerfully and carefully, but the principles and the commands are straightforward and clear. If it means changing your lifestyle, change it to obey the Word of God.
If we’re going to have an impact in the world, that’s the way we need to live. And may God help us to do that for His glory.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1996, titled “God’s Pattern for Wives, Part 2.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at www.masters.edu.
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