Nancy: Well, Mary, today we come to what I think is one of the most foundational elements of biblical womanhood, and the more we've talked about this, the more we've just said it all comes back to this.

But let's just back up again and say what the context is here.

We're in the book of Titus, and Paul the apostle is writing to Titus, who's a pastor of a church on the Island of Crete with many similarities to the culture in which we live today. And in the first chapter, he says, "If the church is going to make a difference in the world, if the church is going to survive the onslaught of paganism and secularism, immorality and false teaching, and if the church is going to be a light in the dark work, then first they have to have leaders who are biblically qualified. They're sound in doctrine. They know how to model good behavior and right doctrine, holy living, and they know how to teach it, and they know how to correct it when it gets wrong.

Mary Kassian: And then in the second chapter, he picks it up from there and makes it a little more personal to everyone and addresses various groups, telling the various groups in terms of their behavior what all believers should act like and what Christianity should look like to a pagan world because there's a lot at stake. Because of the way that we live, the way that we display Christ at work in us is going to be a testimony that will either be attractive to a broken, hurting world, or it will repel them.

Nancy: Right. So let's just go back and read the context of this first paragraph in Titus chapter 2. And I hope those who are following this study with us will be reading this passage in the context of the book of Titus over and over and over again (that's what we did as we were digging into this study) so you see the context to what Paul was saying to women here.

But he starts by saying to Titus, "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine."

And that's where we talked about discernment.

Mary: Yes, discernment.

Nancy: Right thinking, and that believers are to use the Word of God as a plumb line and to be discerning about whether they're thinking about everything in life is in accordance with the Word of God.

Mary: And then he challenges the various groups: the men, the women, older men, younger men, older women, younger women to make sure that discernment is being worked out in the way that they live their lives as men and as women and as younger and older.

Nancy: So what does sound doctrine look like?

Mary: Exactly. On us, as women at this stage and age of life.

Nancy: I would say we would qualify as older. Not old, but it says older here. I like that.

Mary: Older.

Nancy: Older than we used to be.

Mary: Everyone is older than someone.

Nancy: Right. So he starts in verse 2 with older men. He says they are "to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness."

And then in a part later in the chapter, we won't go there today, but he speaks to younger men, what they are supposed to look like.

Mary: Right. And,

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They
are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (vv. 3–5).

So that's what older women …