Saturday, July 10, 2010

Know Your Place, Women!

“We not only find instructions concerning the overseers and “deacons” of the church (I Tim./Tit.) but also guidelines for women, slaves, and worship” (Schenck, 2009, p. 413).

I believe that there is something both missing, as well as slightly misleading in the author’s assessment here. While I don’t dispute the charge by Schenck, two things should be addressed:

1) The message in Titus actually addresses how ‘all’ Christians, rather, all aspects of the Body of Christ, shall live; this includes men, or those at least of the male gender. I think that the way Schenck depicts [Titus] as “guidelines for women, slaves, and worship,” thus leaving out men altogether, only perpetuates a problem in the church today: men, at least those in leadership roles, often feel superior and women often feel overlooked.  Furthermore, women have had to overcome a lot in our church and have every right to be heard, teach, and preach.

2) I feel that to write in this nature is disregarding (women) from an author that certainly is a respected theologian and thus seems to write very even-keeled. Women have a very important role/place in the church, and always have. To read the words in Titus – where Paul addresses women in particular – with a 21st century understanding, one might feel very domesticated or ‘traditional’ in keeping with the words. But to view the words with a Greek understanding and through a lexicon, the woman’s role is not to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ or simply ‘obedient’ to men.

Why do I write this? Not merely to find something to pick apart in a superior analysis of this NT book. Instead, I feel it is important to properly understand the Biblical language and intent of the author; simply stating something the way Schenck does is not necessarily intentional however. But by omission of the male gender – while referencing a book that specifically addresses the way MEN too shall live – new Christian men, perhaps reading a book like [Schenck’s] early in their walk of faith, could lead to a misunderstanding of the role of men, as well as women, in the church.

Again, this is not intended to discredit the author, merely to examine a thought I had while reading. What do you think? Let me expound a bit more on my understanding of Titus:

Titus 2 uses some specific language aimed at men and how they shall live; that is, characteristics of a godly young man: “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (v. 2), and “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech…” (vv. 6-8, NIV).

These are things that must not be overlooked and should thus be properly understood by all – especially those teaching. While I am newer in my walk with Jesus, Titus is one of those books that often overlooked on Sunday mornings; unlike the Synoptic gospels or Paul’s letters to the churches (i.e. Romans).

Now, I understand the roles of deacons and overseers in the church – especially in the days in which Titus was written – were strictly relegated to men. Furthermore, deacons and overseers are the only men being addressed by Schenck; not withstanding slaves. However, I am sure that not all men were deacons or overseers. Instead, many were simply parishioners.

Therefore in the 21st century, I believe we should hold a more uniformed and inclusive language; one that includes women. Perhaps I’m being too critical or over-analyzing? No, I think these are just musings and thoughts conveyed during a road trip while stuck in the back of a mini-van – trying to tune-out children and in-laws. Your feedback is appreciated and welcome.

Schenck, Kenneth. (2009). Jesus Is Lord. Marion, IN: Triangle Publishing.


  1. Thanks for the thoughts Ben. You know they'll let just about anyone write a book ;-) I don't think I meant to deny that men were addressed in Titus, but was trying to hit the highlights. Thanks for filling in the blanks!

  2. Besides the OT has Women in leadership roles, one Deborah even the Judge of Israel. In the NT we see women prophesying(acts 21:9 Phillips 4 daughters), women Apostles Priscilla to name one and others in leadership mentioned in the NT.