|Volume 21 Number 5 May 2019||
T. Pierce Brown
A few moment ago, while reading Titus 3:4, I was struck by three things that I had never noticed before in over 50 years of Bible reading. I am convinced that if I lived for a thousand more, I would keep on finding new things.
First, when the older women are told to “teach” (KJV) the young women, the word is neither “matheuteusate” as in Matthew 28:18 nor “didaskontes” as in Matthew 28:20, both of which are translated “teach” in the Authorized Version. The word here is “sophronizosin.” This word involves more than verbal instruction. Its approximate meaning is “to train to have sound judgment, wisdom, prudence and discretion.” This training would doubtless involve example, action, correction as well as instruction.
Second, the text does not merely say that the older women are to teach the young ones how to love their husbands and children, but to teach them to be lovers of their husbands and children. This involves both the teaching them what they should be and how to wisely accomplish that which they should be doing. Have you considered the importance of both those concepts in many areas? To love your enemy is commanded, but one needs to know how to do it. To give as prospered is commanded, but one may have to do more studying to find how to give as prospered. To take the Lord’s Supper is important, but how is also important. So, when older women teach younger ones to be lovers of husbands and children, they need also to be able to teach how to show love wisely and properly, for that is involved in the meaning of “sophronizosin.”
Third, I noticed that words involving love of husbands and children are “philandrous” and “philoteknous.” Husbands are told to love (“agapao”) their wives (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19). No doubt wives are to love (“agapao”) their husbands, although I am not aware of a specific command that puts it that way. However, if 1 Peter 1:22, Romans 13:8-9 and 1 John 4:21 do not cover it, perhaps Matthew 4:44 and Luke 6:27 would. Husbands would surely fall into the category of “each other,” brother, neighbor or enemy!
However, these words in Titus are not agape-love but philos-love. Agape is not a feeling of emotion or affection. It is a choice of the will by which one deliberately chooses to sacrifice what he is and has for the pleasure or good of another. Husbands and wives can be trained to do that, too, but this is not what Paul here instructed the older women to do. They were to teach the younger women that they were to and how they are to show wisely, prudently and discreetly the proper feeling and concern for their husbands and children. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many mothers who love (“agapao”) their children, but need to be trained to be “philoteknous”—show prudently, discreetly and wisely the proper kind of affection, for some, as Shakespeare put it in Othello, have “loved not wisely, but too well.”
All of us are interested in learning more about our heritage. Who were our ancestors? What kinds of things did our ancestors pass on to us? Do we look like some of them? Perhaps some still own family lands from generations ago. I am a genealogy buff. I love learning more about my ancestors. Not only have I researched my background, but I have explored Alice’s also. I have several notebooks of family history for both of us. I’ve traced my family back to where family on my mother’s side left England on the good ship Francis to come to America, approximately in the year 1634. I’m the 12th generation from there.
The traveling manifesto even states that a young girl who was not a family member came to this country with them. There is no indication who she was. I’ve often thought maybe she was a household servant, but who knows? My interest in genealogy has been so strong that when our grandchildren were small and we were out driving, when we’d come to a cemetery, they’d say, “Pa-pa, we are not going to go there are we?” We’ve walked through lots of cemeteries and looked and taken pictures of lots of headstones.
Not only am I interested in familial history, but I’m also interested in our Christian heritage. From where did we come? Who were our ancestors? What are we doing here? Where are we going? How is this all going to come to pass? Perhaps you, too, have posed these questions. Let’s delve into some of them.
From where did we come? Certainly not from apes as some suppose! “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle and all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth…’ The Lord formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul” (Genesis 1 & 2). That’s from where mankind came. It’s that simple! Who were our ancestors? “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He them, male and female He created them… God said to them ‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth’” (Genesis 1). “Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain” (Genesis 4). These were our ancestors, and through their bloodline God planned to populate the earth.
What are we doing here? “Who is man that You are mindful of him? …You made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with honor and glory” (Psalm 8:4-5). “You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26), and we must demonstrate that faith in Jesus, Who said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). We have one purpose upon this earth, which is, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We are here to love and honor God.
Where are we going? “It is appointed unto men once to die and, after this, the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “We will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10). “The King shall say to those on His right hand, Come…inherit the kingdom prepared for you…He will say to those on His left hand, Depart from Me…into everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:34, 41). Our eternal destiny will be determined by what we’ve done [or not done] here on earth.
How is this all going to come to pass? “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth… He spoke and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6-9). Just as God spoke the world into existence, His word is all that is needed to end it. “The King shall say unto those on His right hand, Come… inherit the kingdom prepared for you…He will say to those on His left hand, Depart from me…into everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:34, 41). We are in the Maker’s hands, and we must live by His words to show our devotion to Him and our longing to be with Him in eternity. God bless you in doing just that!