Likewise, encourage older women to be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not enslaved to much wine, but teachers of what is good, so that they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind, and submitting to their own husbands, that the word of God might not be slandered. Titus 2:3-5 (EHV).
Last time, Paul advised older men to exhibit certain qualities. Here he does the same thing for women.
Let’s get this out there: male chauvinism. At first glance, Paul seems like a chauvinist. But when you read more of what he wrote and consider it in the context of his times AND in the audiences he was addressing, you find he isn’t. You find that he’s merely echoing the qualities of the kinds of people God wants us to be. Paul is no chauvinist.
I follow two Facebook pages that are full of funny memes: “Mommy Needs Vodka” and “Mommy Drinks Wine and Swears.” They’re snarky words to say about the conduct of older women. Perhaps in his experience he had encountered women who drank too much or gossiped too much or whatever. We don’t really know.
The pages point out all kinds of funny situations where, you’d think, good women would be driven to drink (mainly because of the conduct of their husbands, kids, or things around them). It’s all in fun, and shouldn’t be taken seriously. But if you read such pages too closely, you’ll pick up more than a subtle whiff of female chauvinism, bias in favor of a different view. In the end, perhaps the only thing you can walk away with (from such things) is a laugh, or maybe a tweak on your morality. They aren’t really chauvinist.
Yet underneath this is the opposite message from Proverbs 31; a message with which Paul would be familiar. In those verses the author outlines the behaviors a wife of noble character would exhibit. Read them today; they’re a beautiful passage in Scripture. And they comport exactly with Paul’s words here in Titus.
Perhaps that means that they both describe the kind of people God wants His perfect creation, woman, to be.
Me, I love a woman who has a drink but tempers her behavior. I love my wife who lets her hair down without making herself (and me, in the process) undignified. I love that her character is strong, admirable, and that she’s the kind of woman other women should want to be. She loves fun and being around friends and family and even likes a little wine, in moderation. That isn’t God-displeasing. If saying that makes me a male chauvinist, so be it. I think not.
For further reading: Proverbs 31:10-31, Ephesians 5:22, 1 Timothy 3:11, Hebrews 4:12, Titus 2:6
Lord God, You give us examples and qualities of the kind of people You want us to be. Help us to do just that.