Posted by: Ety W. | April 11, 2008

Older Women Likewise: Women in Christian Leadership

Leadership / Followship. There have been some Christian groups which I have declined to join because I didn’t care to follow in the direction they were going. This is true not only for myself, but also of the groups and activities I chose for my children. On the other hand, when I found myself in leadership positions, I had to consider in what direction I was leading. As women, there are some things we need to consider here. How do we know if we are qualified for leadership? How do we evaluate someone else’s qualifications for leadership? With whom should we align ourselves? How do we know whose advice to take? How do we know whose example to follow when we are uncertain of our own circumstances? The book of Titus offers answers to these questions.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women….. Titus 2:3-4a

In reading over the above verses, I immediately notice two things. Firstly, that there is a list of qualities to consider. Secondly, I notice the word “likewise.” Do you remember that this word was the example I used in my How To Do A Word Study post? It doesn’t seem like a very meaty word to study, but its being there points to something else. It points to what went before. Let’s take a look at it.

Likewise – Strong’s 5615 – ωσανυτως – hosautos = in the same way
Zodhiates1 adds, “In the same or like manner.”

Nothing profound there, but it begs the question, in the same way as what? To answer that, we need to look at the preceding verse.

Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Titus 2:2

From “likewise” then, we can see that these same qualities are to apply to the women in verse three. They too, are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, sound in love, sound in perseverance.

From both verses, we have a more complete list of the qualities of spiritual maturity for women.

~ Temperate
~ Dignified
~ Sensible
~ Sound in faith
~ Sound in love
~ Sound in perseverance
~ Reverent
~ Not malicious gossip
~ Not enslaved to much wine
~ Teach what is good

I think it is important to point out that even though we are dealing with older women in verses 3 and 4, biological age doesn’t necessarily correlate with maturity. An older person can be exceptionally immature, and a younger person can be exceptionally mature. It’s a matter of attitude and behavior, which manifest themselves in what we say and how we say it; what we do and how we do it. Either way, we set an example whether we intend to or not. Because of this, spiritual maturity should be one of the most important qualifications for Christian leadership.

Over the next several posts I’d like to take a closer look at these qualities, one by one.

Next … Temperance: For Lushes Only?Content copyright 2008 by If you find it anywhere else, it’s been stolen.
1 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, AMG Publishers, 1992), p. 1503

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