It is my firm conviction that some women who call themselves “Titus 2 keepers” and “Biblical womanhood women” have overstepped the bounds that God have given to them and their ministries. If you are a woman who read that kind of blogs or books, or listen to their speaking engagements, please read here, and see if they have the right, from what the word of God teaches, to teach as they do.
We will start with their favorite verse:
Tit 2:3-5 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, to be subject to their husbands, so that no-one will malign the word of God.
Titus 2:3-5 is certainly part of what the bible say to women. Undoubtedly. But what does Titus 2 allow women to do? And what does it command? It may perhaps be easier to get the point across, without whatever baggage we may have been taught about this passage, if I compare it to a second, similarly structured, sentence.
Aunt Tina: “Teach mothers (aged women) the words please and thank you, and where to use them (to be reverent… teach what is good). Then they can train their children (the younger women) to be thankful and say please and thank you (to love their husbands and children… to their husbands).”
* Older women (the text could also be translated women elders), should be reverent in the way they live, not slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teach what is good.
* You will see Aunt Tina don’t claim that knowing how to use “please” and “thank you” is the most important thing a mother should know. She probably made her statement on manners because she sees mothers and children falling short in one area, and it is possible that Paul made the Titus statement because this is where the church in Crete falls short. It does not say reverence, slander and alcohol avoidance, and teaching are the most important qualities older women should have. Even less does it suggest that these are the only qualities older women (women elders?) need.
* The text certainly imply that women should learn how to love their family, keep the home, and submit.
* The text does not imply that these are the only things younger women should learn, nor that it is the most important thing women should learn. Confused? Compare it to Titus 2:6, which tell young men to be sober-minded – and give no other qualities young men should have. By Titus 2 alone, a cold, calculating young man who murders for money would be a “biblical” man. But we know such a man is not a Christian, because the bible is bigger than Titus 2. Similarly, the Titus 2 words are not the only things Christian women should do, as the rest of scripture show gives many other messages.
* Aunt Tina don’t say siblings, fathers, any family friend who gives the children cookies (“what word did you just forget to say, when I gave you cookies?” – from someone who is not the mother) should stay out of teaching this. And the text does not imply that keeping the home**, loving children, not being enslaved to wine, or being subject, are things husbands do not have to do.
In short: This text mention some things women should do and should be. It does not call those things the most important. To put these duties in their proper place, we should see how important they are compared to the rest of the bible. (Continues in part 2: Bible passages prioritizing between mothering/ domestic duties/ husband-pleasing , and other parts of God’s will.)
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Ps, edit: **The blog owner does not believe that “keeping the home” (“busy at home” in the translation used) refers firstly or only to domestic activity. Read Kristen (comment 2011/06/04 at 3:08 vm) for what I believe with her. But for the sake of the teaching started here and made in part 2, you do not need to share our view of what a “keeper at home” is.