Titus 2:3 (ESV): Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Most Christians today are content to have Christian women in general teach other women in the church. The assumption tends to be that while female Christians may not teach men in the church, they may teach other women in the church without qualification regarding whom they are teaching, or what is being taught. This is a mistake, one which will be rectified by a careful examination of this passage from Titus 2.
Claim #1: Any Christian woman can teach other Christian women in the church!
Rebuttal: This is false. Titus 2:3 does not permit any kind of female Christian to teach women. It’s a specific subset of women, namely “Older women”, that are permitted to teach other women.
Claim #2: As long as the Christian woman meets the criteria of being an older Christian woman, then she is free to teach to any other woman or group of women in the church!
Rebuttal: This is also false. Titus 2:4 specifies that the women who are to be trained are “young women”. Older women are not given free-reign to teach women of any age-range. They must make sure the woman they are teaching are young.
Claim #3: If an older Christian lady makes sure she only tries to teach younger Christian women, then she can teach them whatever she’d like, so long as it’s a true part of Christian doctrine!
Rebuttal: Again, false. Titus 2:3-5 does not grant to older women the freedom to teach whatever doctrine they like. The older women are supposed to train young women to be good wives and mothers. That’s all.
Summary: Titus 2:3-5 is a very specific passage of Scripture. It teaches that if a woman is to teach, she must come from a specific subset of women. This particular subset of women is not permitted to teach other women within that same subset. It’s from one subset of women of the older age range teaching women of the younger age range. What these older women are commanded to teach in this passage is not any old Christian doctrine they may wish to teach. They are commanded to teach what is necessary to train those young women to be good wives and mothers so as to avoid blaspheming God.
Recognizing these careful qualifications is foundational to understanding where most Christians have got it wrong on this subject. More to follow in the next few days/week.