Titus 2 is a gender-specific model that honors God’s order of creation. It is a model for generational mentoring. It is a model with hope for those who wait for the blessed coming of Jesus Christ.
who me? a mentor?
There is a powerful reminder repeated throughout the Holy Scriptures. The Creator God instructs older generations to pass on the truth of His Word to younger generations. Sadly, many Christians seem unfamiliar with — or even irritated by — the instructions for life found in Titus, chapter 2. Perhaps one of the reasons why Titus 2 is so unpopular is because God’s Word through St. Paul to the young man Titus is gender-specific. Instructions from God that are gender-specific remind us of His created order and that being “equal” as male and female does not mean being “the same.” Women, in particular, take a defensive posture upon hearing verses 3-5. That’s because these verses instruct “older women” to teach “young women” to be “homemakers,” to be “virtuous,” and to “place themselves under their husbands’ authority.” This flies in the face of modern feminism. Who wants to be a homemaker when they could be a doctor, lawyer, or corporate president? Who wants to be virtuous? (Isn’t that dangerously close to being “Victorian” and prudish?) How many women bristle when they are told they should “place themselves under their husbands’ authority”? The other reason that Titus 2 may be so unpopular is because it is a model for mentoring. Too many of us don’t think we are capable of mentoring. Have you ever thought, or been heard to say:
- I’m not a role-model!
- I’m not a teacher or a counselor!
- I’m just a homemaker! or, I’m just a common laborer!
- I’m just a stay-at-home mom! or, I’m just a farmer!
- I’ve made choices in my life that I’m not proud of.
Regardless of how unpopular or seemingly impossible Titus 2:3-5 is to women, the mandate is life-changing! It transforms the culture No matter how unpopular or seemingly impossible Titus 2:2, 6-8 is to men, the mandate is life-changing! It transforms the culture!
living in truth, affecting the culture
When St. Paul was inspired by God to write the young pastor named Titus, the prevailing culture was immoral and embraced pagan ideas. You would think there would have been all kinds of suggestions Paul might have offered Titus in order to encourage men and women to stand against the immorality and decadence. But, Paul focused on the importance of “older” men and women teaching and equipping “younger” men and women to live godly lives.
We, too, are living a culture that embraces immoral and ungodly ideas. But, we have been blessed with a divine blueprint for holy living. If we trust that God’s Word is the same today as yesterday, we should also trust the importance of an older generation mentoring the younger. From God’s perspective, this is the best way for Christian men and women to affect the culture.
Over and over again, the Israelites were reminded to tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done (Psalm 78:4). These instructions hold promise! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in His commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generations of the upright will be blessed (Psalm 112:1-2).
Mentoring is not a new concept. It is the model used by people of God from the very beginning. It is the model God wants us to use today. Titus 2 emphasizes the created order by making the model gender-specific. This is because God is the Father of order, not chaos. Modern feminists have worked long and hard to erase (or at least ignore) the differences between male and female. But God is the Creator of male and female! His divinely inspired instructions in Titus are gender-specific because this is the best way to build a healthy culture for generations to come.
Evidence would seem to prove that at least two, maybe even three, generations of men and women have not received the priceless gift of Christian mentoring. Instead, they have been left under the influence of worldly ideas. Here are some examples.The ideas of Charles Darwin mock God’s design for manhood and womanhood. The result: Men and women struggle with issues of identity when they doubt God’s order of creation and are without an appropriate role-model of the same gender. The ideas of modern feminism lead women on a quest for “power” and “rights.” The result: Many women are discontented, bitter, or hurting because they have been separated from home and family. The ideas of Alfred Kinsey and Hugh Hefner focus on self-gratification for men. The result: Many men are untrained and ill-equipped to engage the world and make it safer for women and children. The ideas of the worldly church compromise Law and Gospel. The result: Men and women cannot know how to make right choices or be forgiven of wrong choices.
It is for this reason that Christian fathers, mothers, grandparents and other “older” mentors are needed. The “older” in age, experience, or faith are needed to train and equip those who are “younger” and perhaps more easily intimidated gy the ways of the world. “Older” men are needed to teach young men “self-control,” to “set an example by doing what is good,” and to “show integrity” (Titus 2:6-7). “Older” women are needed to teach “younger” women “virtue,” “kindness,” and “love” for husbands and children” (Titus 2:5). “Older” Christians are needed to relate stories and personal experiences that teach valuable lessons of life. But, in too many cases, the righteous call to mentor has been relinquished. Why? The reasons are many.
The call to mentor is ignored when we:
- Don’t know the Biblical mandate.
- Think we have nothing to offer.
- Carry heavy baggage and assume we’re too sinful to pass on goodness.
- Are intimidated by the “wisdom” of the world or by those younger than use who seem more intelligent, sophisticated, or talented.
- Have decided we deserve a “break;” after all, we’ve already raised our children and are ready to just enjoy life.
- Honestly don’t know where to begin or how to bridge the gap between “old” and “young.”
but, there is hope
Unpopular as it may be, the wisdom found in Titus 2 is as life-changing now as it was in St. Paul’s day. Those of us who believe that God’s Word is Truth can confidently and excitedly follow the model that has successfully served men and women since Adam and Eve.
The Christian life is said to be a like a mount-climbing experience. When we begin to climb (in our youth with energized enthusiasm), we see only the base and the high peak ahead with its challenges and expectations. As we climb (and grow older), we begin to see the bigger view — the panorama of God’s world all around us. We gain wisdom and knowledge by experiencing close calls and painful falls, victories and defeats. We begin to understand the mercy of Jesus Christ in our lives and His truth that never changes. At that point, we want to help others see the grandeur as they, too, struggle up — and over — the next peak.
“Younger” men and women long for the wisdom and help of those who have walked ahead of them. They do not need to see perfection. (It does not exist in a sinful world.) They do, however, need to see how sinful people fall on their knees with faces lifted to Jesus (1 John 1:9). They need to witness sorrow for sin and joy in forgiveness (Psalm 32:3-5). They need to see how to become “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) so they can begin each day with new attitudes and behaviors (Ephesians 4:22-24).
To mentor is to give a gift. Mentoring may teach a skill for life, warn against danger, or point toward hope. To receive mentoring is to be blessed. Those of us who are mentored can thank God for someone who cares enough to point out the path of life God desires for us and, in so doing, perhaps spare us pain and disappointment.
there is reason for titus 2 – 4 life
The mission of Titus 2 – 4 Life is to encourage men and women to live in this present age eager to glorify God and mentor generations of hope. This particular model for mentoring creates opportunities to bring women of all ages, with all experiences, and in every stage of spiritual growth together for a time of encouragement, support, and equipping with God’s Word for life. Titus 2 – 4 Life:
- Is practical for single and married women, with children or without.
- Motivates one woman to touch the life of another.
- Challenges women to bring out the best in men.
- Praises the vocations of manhood and womanhood, fatherhood and motherhood.
- Encourages men and women to build a culture of life.
Although the ministry model of Titus 2 – 4 Life seems primarily focused on women, a Bible study for men entitled Called to Remember is available for “older” and “younger” men. The 12-lesson Bible study called Men, Women, and Relationships: Building a Culture of Life Across the Generations is a helpful tool for both men and women (college-age and older) to use in a women’s, men’s, or mixed group. (Both may be ordered on-line from Lutherans For Life .)
God does not create male and female and then abandon them to struggle alone through life in a sinful world. He lays out boundaries (Psalm 16:5-6). He provides guidelines for living to men (Titus 2:1-2, 6-8) and women (2:3-5). His Word is filled with promise and hope. God’s saving kindness has appeared for the benefit of all people. It trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world. At the same time, we can expect what we hope for — the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be His special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things (Titus 2:11-14).
The men and women in St. Paul’s day found themselves in the midst of a troubled culture. But, God’s Word gave them a model that would transform the culture. “Older” men and women equipped the “younger” to lead godly lives, build families, and strengthen society with the gender-specific instructions for life found in Titus 2:1-8 and the practice of generational faithfulness. Today’s Christian men and women can do the same! Using God’s model for mentoring in Titus 2, we affect the lives of others while God transforms the culture — one woman, one man, one teen, one child, one family, one friend, one neighbor, one community at a time.
Believe it! Trusting the discernment of the Holy Spirit and the mercy of Jesus Christ, put it into practice!
suggestions for mentoring
Start a Bible study. Use Men, Women, and Relationships: Building a Culture of Life Across Generations by Linda Bartlett. Twelve lessons with a leader’s guide help men and women — single or married, in separate or mixed groups — contrast God’s Truth with the world’s half-truths and deceptions. Order #LFL901BS from CPH .
Plan a Titus 2 “tea” or “coffee.” Use resources offered by Titus 2 – 4 Life as a program or for discussion. Create a welcoming and feminine environment for mentoring God’s Word for women by decorating pretty tables. Practice the gift of hospitality!
Plan a Titus 2 Retreat. This retreat may be hosted in your own home or the home of a friend who loves to entertain. You may plan a one-day retreat or an overnight retreat. If you prefer an overnight retreat, you may want to consider accommodations in a local bed & breakfast, hotel or retreat center. The retreat, led by Linda Bartlett or a trained Titus 2 leader, requires a minimum of six hours. It is an opportunity to bring younger and older women together for encouragement and to contrast the world with God’s Word for their lives. Your guests might include wives of pastors, deaconesses, volunteers from your local caring pregnancy center, pro-life leaders, and Christian women ready to live counter-culture. To learn more about this retreat, you may download the Hostess Planning Packet as a PDF file (See Events page).
Bring older and younger women together for special activities.” During the year, offer a variety of teaching opportunities including Bible study, cooking or sewing classes, quilting, skills in homemaking, and parenting classes. Encourage “younger” and “older” women to build friendships. This is particularly helpful for young women who have moved far away from their own mothers and grandmothers. Connect women to the Word while mentoring skills for life.
Host a Young Mom’s Retreat for some of the clients from your local caring pregnancy center. Select a hotel or retreat center with a pool and appropriate meeting area, then raise funds to provide one night’s lodging for the moms. Invite middle-school age girls to babysit on site. Bring in presenters who will lead the young moms through sessions on purity and modesty, relationships and marriage, parenting, finances, and making God-pleasing choices. Allow time for Bible study and discussion. You may include a panel of mature moms for a Q & A session. For fun, arrange for a style-show of modest clothing, do hair or nails, or provide materials for making a piece of jewelry. Include Bible study and devotional time throughout.
Plan a Titus 2 cookout or breakfast for men. Challenge “older” men to invite “younger” men with the goal of establishing a mentoring relationship. Use Called to Remember (#302BS) or one of the lessons from Men, Women, and Relationships (#LFL901BS) as the topic. These may be ordered from Lutherans For Life .
Mentor young women about their dress and behavior. Use Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up as a ten-week Bible study for girls and their moms or grandmothers. Or, use portions of the study during a girl’s retreat, sleep-over, or at camp. Lessons include: “Fig Leaves Aren’t Enough,” “The Look and Behavior of Love, ” and “The Perfect Dress (and why we wait to wear it).” You may download this study by Linda Bartlett (#LFLDFLWEB) in a PDF file from CPH.
Discuss opportunities for mentoring. The booklet Generations of Hope for Generations to Come (#LFL906B) by Linda Bartlett is a teaching tool to help bridge the gap between generations. Use this booklet with pointed questions to facilitate discussions among parents, grandparents, teachers, youth leaders, or family life committees. This booklet may be ordered from Lutherans For Life .
Mentor generations using God’s Word.God’s Word is relevant for today! To help illustrate this, Lutherans For Life teamed up with God’s Word to the Nations to publish God’s Word for Life. This Bible features commentaries on current life issues including creation, Biblical manhood and womanhood, marriage, bioethics, abortion, purity, and end-of-life decisions. God does speak to today’s culture! God’s Word for Life makes a wonderful gift. Each topical commentary makes a great Bible study. Order from Lutherans For Life .
titus 2 resources for the next generation
- A Titus 2 Day or Overnight Retreat
- The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (visit Our Identity Matters for more information on this book published by Titus 2 for Life)
- Men, Women & Relationships (A 12-lesson Bible study w/ leader’s guide)
- The Failure of Sex Education (a booklet for public school parents)
- Modesty & purity brochures
- Short Bible studies (see “Resources” page) (new studies added periodically)