A strong society is hinged on healthy homes. Edward Gibbons, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, lists the “undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home” as being one of the five reasons that great civilizations wither and die. This is because the home is the basis for human society, and the Scripture cites women to have the domestic dominion of the home.
Perhaps this is why Paul was emphatic about the importance of women modeling and teaching values to the younger generation. God’s design for discipleship ensures that biblical values are sustained in cultures even if laws are passed with an attempt to circumvent biblical ways. To relationally transfer a virtue regardless of the law is to preserve a gospel that cannot be stopped.
The purpose for women’s discipleship is to address gender-specific virtues that are essential in maintaining godly relationships that develop God-fearing families. Older women play a very important role in Jesus’ mandate to “go and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to obey everything [He has] commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20, NIV).
Selecting a curriculum for women’s discipleship is as easy as reading Titus 2. This sound doctrine was clearly given in the midst of a godless, Cretan, out-of-control society that was insubordinate, deceptive and motivated by personal gain. Paul gives practical advice to men and women on how to maintain dignity and bring honor to the Word of God.
It is an older woman’s example of her obedience to God that trains and qualifies her to train others to live in peace and make their homes places of love. It is not a question or suggestion; it is God’s design that each generation must give encouragement and guidance to the next.
If loving our husbands, nurturing our children, working at home and submission came naturally and easily to all women, there would have been no need for women to be trained in these areas. Scripture is clear that these virtues must be taught and demonstrated.
Younger women need encouragement and training. Why? So that “the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:5, NASB). What does that mean? The “word of God” refers to the universal, timeless principles for wholesome living described in the Bible. When women do not place a high value on the areas described in this passage—“to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands” (vv. 4-5)—families weaken and societies break apart.
John Adams once said, “From all that I have read of history and government of human life and manners, I have drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women were the most infallible barometer to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue of a nation. The Jews, Greeks, Romans, Swiss, and Dutch all lost their public spirit and republican form of government, when they lost the modesty and domestic virtues of their women.”
Creating new venues to sustain timeless virtues is the exciting role of each generation. Methodologies change, but the message must never change.
William Ross Wallace, son of a Presbyterian preacher who died when William was an infant, wrote the poem originally titled "What Rules The World?" This is one of the poem’s four stanzas:
Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother's first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” is the most quoted phrase in the world, according to Wikipedia. Mr. Wallace must have known in 1865 what Jesus and, later, Paul knew all along: Women are the preeminent force for change. How we are mentored will determine the impact of our influence—for good or for evil.
Devi Titus, wife of Larry Titus, is among America’s most recognized Christian conference speakers and authors. She is an award winning communicator with the Washington Press Women’s Association and speaks to multiple thousands annually, both nationally and globally.
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