When Paul told aged men to be sober, grave, temperate, and sound in faith, charity and patience, and then said that the aged women “likewise” should be “as becometh holiness,” that means aged women should be holy by being all those things as well. When Paul wrote of the ancient Gentile world that “even their women” were sinful (Rom. 1:31), that reminds us that women are the guardians of decency in society.
But then Paul tells aged women to be holy in an area that’s hard for them when he says they shouldn’t be “false accusers.” This is hard in that women tend to hurt with words (I Tim. 3:11) while men hurt with their fists (I Tim. 3:2,3). Paul adds they shouldn’t be given to wine because wine tends to overcome a woman’s inhibition not to slander others.
The “good things” Paul wants aged women to teach younger women (v.4) include being sober. Coming right after being told not to be given to wine, this means not drunk. Women can be tempted to drink because they must also “love their husbands” (v.4), and some men aren’t easy to love. Aged women must teach this by their example, and by the example of Christ, who loved the unlovable (Rom. 5:6,10). If a wife doesn’t love her husband, she must realize that if love can be taught by aged women, love can be learned by young wives.
You wouldn’t think that wives would need to be taught “to love their children” (2:4), for a mother naturally loves her children. But sin can make women “without natural affection” (Rom. 1:31; II Tim. 3:3). So moms sometimes abuse or abandon their children, and need to be taught not to.
Young wives must be taught to be “discreet” (2:5), which means wise in avoiding mistakes and accomplishing a purpose (cf. Gen. 41:33) — the purpose of making a home for her husband and kids. They must also learn to be “chaste,” pure from extramarital sexual contact. Young wives must also be “keepers at home” (2:5). Some say that means she shouldn’t have any kind of life outside the home, but zookeepers and barkeepers do, as do jailkeepers (Acts 16:27). They keep prisoners from escaping, and so must the mothers of young children! Keepers of sheep (Gen. 4:2) feed and care for them, as moms do their kids. Doorkeepers (Ps. 84:10) must keep more than the door to the house, but also the door of their kids’ mouths (Ps. 141:3) by watching what they say. Doorkeepers in the temple also kept false religions out (II Ki.23:4), and moms must keep false teachers from creeping into the house (cf. II Tim. 3:6). Kids might not seem to be paying attention, but they learn little by little by repetition (Isa. 28:10,11). Moms also have to be the “keeper of the wardrobe” (II Ki. 22:14), in charge of laundry.
Mothers can also be doorkeepers that are involved in the family finances (cf. II Chron. 34:9,10). The virtuous woman did (Pr. 31:16-24), as did Lydia (Acts 16:14). These women were involved in earning finances as well as managing them.
Some Christians believe wives can work outside the home before they have kids, or after the kids are grown. Some believe they can operate home businesses. But if it is your understanding that wives shouldn’t work outside the home, just don’t judge those who hold other convictions (Rom. 14:4,5). Whatever your position, God is on your side!
Young wives must also learn “to be obedient to their own husbands.” Are there exceptions to this rule? Well, are there exceptions to the rule that all believers must obey the government? (Dan. 3:8-18; Acts 5:29). In the same way, if a wife’s husband asks her to cheat on their income taxes, she can refuse to sign the return. Do wives have to obey when he wishes to be intimate and she doesn’t? It’s easy for a husband to read I Corinthians 7:4 and say to his wife, “I have power over your body so I can do as I please with it.” But he’s forgetting his wife has power over his body and so he can’t do as he pleases with it.