“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers…” (Titus 2:3).
Former first lady Barbara Bush was one of our nation’s most beloved aged women. In her memoirs, she tells how she and her husband George were once at a state dinner in Japan while he was our president. She was seated next to the emperor, but just couldn’t seem to engage him in conversation. He replied to every inquiry with a “yes” or a “no.” Finally, she complimented him on the splendor of his official residence. He responded: “Thank you.” Undaunted, she pressed on. “Is it new?” “Yes.” “Well, was the old palace so old that it was falling down?” “No. You bombed it.” At that point, she turned to talk to the person sitting on her other side!
Mrs. Bush tried to courteously engage the emperor in conversation for she knew she represented her husband and her country. But Christian aged women represent the Lord, so Paul says they should be “in behaviour as becometh holiness.” The word “holiness” has different meanings, but when Paul says that aged women should be “likewise” in behavior as becometh holiness, he must mean they should be holy in the ways in which he had just encouraged aged men to be holy (vs.1,2). After all, what’s good for the aged gander is good for the aged goose!
But aged women should know that it is especially important for them to be holy, for women are the guardians of decency in society. Did you ever wonder why, in speaking of the sins of the ancient Gentile world, Paul wrote that “even their women” were engaged in those abominable sins (Rom. 1:26)? It is because women, by their very nature, are more refined. We see this illustrated in the account of the creation of men and women. God made man from the dust of the earth, but He drew woman from the man. Thus women are by nature further removed from the dirt of which we men were created! Because of this, women can often rein us men in by simply being who they are. This is especially important for aged women, who must set an example for younger women.
But after telling aged women to be holy like the men, Paul singles out an area where it is harder for women to be holy when he says they shouldn’t be “false accusers.” If you’re wondering why women would have more trouble with that than men, it’s not because they talk more, as I might suggest if I were a sexist! It is because when women want to hurt someone, they tend to use their words and not their fists like us men. That’s why when Paul talked about the qualifications of a spiritual leader, he wrote,
“A bishop then must be… not given to wine… no striker… not a brawler” (I Tim. 3:2,3).
But when he gave the qualifications for the wife of a spiritual leader, he wrote,
“Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers” (I Tim. 3:11).
The Greek word for “slanderers” there is the same as the word translated “false accusers” in our text, the word diabolos. Aged women need to be reminded that it is simply diabolical to slander someone by accusing them falsely.
And the reason Paul adds, “not given to much wine,” is—well, do you know what tends to make a woman slander someone? The same thing that tends to make a man strike someone—much wine! Did you notice that before telling leaders to be “no strikers,” Paul tells them to be “not given to wine?” And right after telling aged women not to be false accusers, he tells them the same thing? There’s just something about alcohol that overcomes a man’s natural inhibition to deck some jerk, and there’s just something about it that overcomes a woman’s natural inhibition to slander someone as well.
But slandering and striking others is not very holy behavior. So by God’s grace, let’s all determine to be in behavior as becometh holiness, to the glory and praise of God.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.