Women Training Women: What's the Point?
- Wednesday, August 16, 2006
People Need People
Americans value their independence, but we can carry it too far. Christians are called to encourage and seek community. People usually thrive on companionship, relationship, togetherness. There is timeless truth in the words of Barbara Streisand’s ballad:
“People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.”
As women, we draw strength from others who have survived tough times. We benefit from the wisdom of those who have walked longer with the Lord. We become better sisters, friends, wives, and mothers by growing in our relationship with God through Bible studies, prayer, and vital, strategic relationships. We need to see how life has been handled by others who can be examples for us to follow.
Job loss, serious illness, childbirth, death of a loved one, natural disaster... what is the path God has called you to walk? Each woman will travel the path God sets before her. Sometimes He calls us to hardships. But we need not go it alone. We need women who will speak out boldly with a mature wisdom that only the knowledge and application of God's Word provides.
Titus was a young pastor sent by Paul to the island of Crete to establish the church there. Paul wrote to him, giving instructions primarily on how to choose elders and other leaders. What qualifications should these men and women have? In chapter 2, he characterized godly leadership beginning with the older men, and in verse 3, the older women.
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
Other passages support the idea of teaching relationships. In 2 Timothy 2:2 we see the potential for four generations' worth of impact by the Word of God: “and what you (Timothy) heard me (Paul) say in the presence of many others as witnesses entrust to faithful people (third generation) who will be competent to teach others (fourth gen.) as well.”
The New Testament - supported by Old Testament examples such as Moses/Jethro and Elijah/Elisha - directly commands believers to join together in what we call mentoring. Both sexes are called to teach the truths of scripture, passing them down to following generations. But in Titus 2:3-2, the Lord speaks specifically to women. Why? Can’t a male pastor mentor women, too?
Perhaps. Certainly he can teach them about the Lord. But he will be limited in certain applications of the scriptures to their lives. He has only experienced life from a male perspective. An older woman will be able to expand upon a pastor’s input, applying God’s truth in a unique way to younger women.
For instance, how does a woman define 'pure' (Titus 2:5)? To abstain from sex before marriage? Well yes, but there’s more to it than that. Our young women need to learn true purity — why the way they dress matters, how their behavior and thought life and movie choices all reflect on God and affect their witness. What about submission? Who’s going to model godly marriages if not those who have been doing it for awhile? What does it mean to be kind, to work diligently at home? How do we love our husbands better? Our children? What wonderful characteristics to pass along to our younger friends. God knew that only women who have been there can speak with authority to those coming behind.
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