Titus 1:3 Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.
Here the apostle Paul is giving direction related to deportment of women in the Christian community. Reading this passage from a 21st century Western perspective, the words paint the picture of a very traditional role for women – which is to be expected given this writing is 2,000 years old. I hesitate to call this description “dated” because this traditional interpretation of wife/mother is still very much present in our day and works well for some families. That said, the possible roles for women today are much broader than in Paul’s day and are thus not reflected above.
What strikes me this morning is how this description of a woman’s role in the family from 2,000 years ago sounds very much like mid-20th century America. In other words, the movement of cultural expectations for women from the 1st century A.D. to 1950 America is in some ways far less than the shift from 1950 to now. I think perhaps this is one reason why there is so much cultural/political conflict in our day. Some people cheer the rapid changes in culture while others want to slow it down. I don’t know that anyone is right or wrong, but the tension that rapid cultural change produces is very real.
Gracious God give us grace to be persons of peace and understanding in an anxious time. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.