Young Women and Discretion
by Walter E. Isenhour
“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness . . . that they may teach the young women to be sober . . . to be discreet, chaste . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed” —Titus 2:3-5.
In the fifth verse of the second chapter of Titus the aged women are to teach young women “to be discreet.” What does it mean to be discreet? It means to be prudent, judicious, cautious; wise in conduct and management, especially as to matters of propriety and self-control.
A young woman who measures up to these qualities in mind, heart, soul, spirit, and life certainly rises above the degrading principles of sin and wickedness. Her life is one of nobility, beauty, usefulness, and sublimity. She sets examples before her husband, children, and neighbors that areworthy of emulation. They know her life is hid with Christ in God. She possesses the Spirit of our Lord, and this enables her to discern between the evil and the good, and to avoid evil, error, and anything and all things that would mislead her. She likewise shields her husband and children from evils and errors, sins and wickedness, that they are environed with. At least she warns and cautions them against such, and shows them the higher, better, holier, and more beautiful and worthwhile things in life.
The discreet woman is possessed with the spirit and ability to adopt “means to an end,” and of course this means that which brings her and the family to a good end. She avoids the means that would injure her life, character, soul, and influence, and that would likewise injure her family and those about her. She must realize that what she takes into her life will have its effect, through the years—and will bring her to a good end, only as the means are good. She knows that the good will work out right, while the bad will work out wrong. She realizes that the good is a means to a good end, but the bad is a means to a bad end. Therefore she takes into her very soul the good and rejects the bad. She is discreet. Those who know her realize that she is a woman of great and commendable discretion.
Her discretion includes prudence. She is careful about her conduct, her influence, her aims, plans, and purposes. She guards her tongue, her temper, and her dress. She is decent in dress, upright in manners, and is careful to lead others right. She uses economy at home, seeing that nothing is wasted, and lives within her income. Extravagance is far from her. She is not stingy by any means, as there is a vast difference in stinginess and economy. Rather, she is blessedly liberal, yet she is cautious to see that money is not foolishly and uselessly expended; that food and clothing are not wasted, and that anything usable is not cast into the rubbish heap and carried away as rubbish.
The discreet woman is likewise judicious. She is governed by sound judgment. She is wise. The devil can’t lead her into the snares, traps, and pitfalls that he leads the sinful, wicked world into. She prays for wisdom, for sound judgment, and God gives it unto her. She helps her husband with his problems, and helps him in his decisions, plans, aims, and purposes. She uses her good judgment in the home, in the church, in the community; and when she passes on anything, it is usually right. The enemy can’t “pull the wool over her eyes” as he does the woman who only lives in sin and serves the world and the flesh. To God be the praise and the glory. What a blessed thing for a wife and mother to be sound in her judgment—and when she passes on anything, for it to be in reason and within the will of God! If sometimes she errs, it is an exception, and is of the head and not the heart. God overrules in all such and brings good out of it (Rom. 8:28).
The discreet woman is cautious as to how she lives, with whom she keeps company, where she goes, what she says, and what she does along life’s journey. She helps her husband and children to be cautious. We might say, too, that the unmarried woman is discreet—and every one should be—who uses much caution as she journeys through the years. She is cautious as to her company, as to her courtship and companionship, as to her character and virtue, her conduct, and influence. She is cautious about everything that pertains to noble and beautiful womanhood. She regards her character far above riches, and the trifling evils, pleasures, amusements, and destructive sins of the world. To her, clean, pure, upright womanhood is a “pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:46). She would not sell her virtue, character, and pure womanhood for all the gold and silver, rubies, diamonds, jewels, and pearls in the world. She is not for sale at any price. That’s womanhood at its best. That is what makes a woman a real lady in the sight of both God and man. Men respect her, admire, love, and appreciate her, out of hearts that are godly, which likewise make them Christian gentlemen.
The discreet woman conducts herself wisely. Life to her is real and earnest. It is noble and sublime. Her deportment is such that men take knowledge of her—that she has “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). She possesses great self-control. She cannot be led astray, like silly women who are worldly and ungodly. She anchors her life to God, to Christ, the mighty “Rock of Ages.”
To be a discreet woman is a wonderful height to reach in life. It is more to be desired than education, fame, honor, and earthly glory. The woman of great discretion certainly out-rises, outshines, and far outdistances the ungodly movie star, actress, popular worldly flapper, or anyone else that lives for the devil.
Dedicated to all my Facebook lady friends and Sisters
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, (4) and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, (5) to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (ESV)
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, 4 So that they will wisely train the young women to be [a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, 5 To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). (Amplified Bible )
Gills Commentary ~
And the aged women likewise,…. Speak also to them the things which become their profession, and what is right for them to be, and do: these aged women design not persons in office, who were ancient widows, and had some care of the poor; or presbyteresses, as some call them, the wives of presbyters or elders, as being distinct from deaconesses; but godly women in years, who are to be instructed and exhorted:
that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness; or “holy women”, sanctified by the Spirit of God; and who are priestesses unto God, as the word may signify, being made so by Christ unto the Father, as men are made kings and priests by him; such ought to be in their clothing, and in their speech, and in the whole of their conduct and conversation, as become the character which they bear, and the profession they make:
not false accusers; of the brethren, and sisters, which is to act the part of the devil; and indeed, the same word is here used which is commonly given to him; not raising false reports of, bringing false charges against members of churches, and so making differences and divisions among them.
Not given to much wine; or serving it, or being enslaved by it, which is very scandalous in any, especially in the female sex, and yet was what was too common in the eastern countries.
Teachers of good things; both by example and by instruction, but in their own houses privately; for they were not suffered to teach publicly, or to speak in the church; these should be teachers, not of old wives’ fables, of superstitious customs, rites, and ceremonies, of the intrigues of love, and of things filthy and obscene, which are too often handed down to posterity by such persons; but of things that are solid and substantial, useful and improving, honest and honourable, chaste and pure. Particularly,
That they may teach the young women to be sober,…. Or to be chaste, modest, and temperate; or to be wise and prudent in their conduct to their husbands, and in the management of family affairs, who have had a large experience of these things before them.
To love their husbands; to help and assist them all they can; to seek their honour and interest; to endeavour to please them in all things; to secure peace, harmony, and union; to carry it affectionately to them, and sympathize with them in all afflictions and distresses; for this is not so much said in opposition to placing their affections on other men, and to the defilement of the marriage bed, as to moroseness and ill nature.
To love their children; not with a fond, foolish, loose, and ungoverned affection; but so as to seek their real good, and not only their temporal, but spiritual and eternal welfare; to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and to use and keep proper discipline and government over them; for otherwise, amidst all the fondness of natural affection, a parent may be said to hate a child, Pro_13:24.
To be discreet,…. Or temperate in eating and drinking, so the word is rendered in Tit_2:2 or to be sober both in body and mind; or to be wise and prudent in the whole of their conduct, both at home and abroad:
chaste; in body, in affection, words and actions, having their love pure and single to their own husbands, keeping their marriage bed undefiled.
Keepers at home: minding their own family affairs, not gadding abroad; and inspecting into, and busying themselves about other people’s matters. This is said in opposition to what women are prone unto. It is reckoned among the properties of women, by the Jews, that they are יוצאניות, “gadders abroad” (x): they have some rules about women’s keeping at home; they say (y),
“a woman may go to her father’s house to visit him, and to the house of mourning, and to the house of feasting, to return a kindness to her friends, or to her near relations–but it is a reproach to a woman to go out daily; now she is without, now she is in the streets; and a husband ought to restrain his wife from it, and not suffer her to go abroad but about once a month, or twice a month, upon necessity; for there is nothing more beautiful for a woman, than to abide in the corner of her house; for so it is written, Psa_45:13 “the king’s daughter is all glorious within”.”
And this they say (z) is what is meant by the woman’s being an helpmeet for man, that while he is abroad about his business, she is יושבת בבית, “sitting at home”, and keeping his house; and this they observe is the glory and honour of the woman. The passage in Isa_44:13 concerning an image being made “after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house” is by the Targum thus paraphrased:
“according to the likeness of a man, according to the praise of a woman, to abide in the house.”
Upon which Kimchi, has this note.
“it is the glory of a woman to continue at home, and not go abroad.”
The tortoise, which carries its house upon its back, and very rarely shows its head, or looks out of it, was, with the ancients, an emblem of a good housewife. These also should be instructed to be “good” or “kind” to their servants, and beneficent to the poor, and to strangers, towards whom, very often, women are apt to be strait handed, and not so generous and liberal as they should be:
obedient to their own husbands; See Gill on Eph_5:22, Eph_5:24.
that the word of God be not blasphemed; by unbelieving husbands, who, by the ill conduct of their wives, would be provoked to speak ill of the Gospel, as if that taught disaffection and disobedience to them.
(x) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 40. 3. (y) Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 13. sect. 11. (z) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 5. 4.