How ’bout we stick to the basics?

I was reading the blog of a woman who is an Internet “Titus 2 teacher” and she posted this commentary from Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible as an authoritative execution of how women should live out the Titus 2 mandate (I’m picking a nit with the section I have bolded):

To be discreet,…. Or temperate in eating and drinking, so the word is rendered in Titus 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 “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, Psalm 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 , “sitting at home”, and keeping his house; and this they observe is the glory and honour of the woman. The passage in Isaiah 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.

To be frank, this is the craziest thing I ever heard of!  It is patently unworkable in 2016 suburban America and more than that, completely dismissive of the primary directive to the wife, which is to be submissive to her own husband.

There are plenty of good, God-fearing, loving Christian husbands who simply do not desire this template of wife-hood. Mine is among them, for the record. He doesn’t want me to stay in the corner of the house, never leaving, never interacting with other women, families, or without any church responsibilities.

In fact, for the -very brief- period of time in our marriage when I attempted to walk out an extreme and limiting version of the “godly wife”, it resulted in my husband not liking it or me very much.

We had always had a great relationship because for the duration of our marriage (even during the early years when I was mostly clueless), I kept it simple, and rather than give in to the raging legalist lurking inside of every one of us, doing it this way has served me -and our marriage- quite well. Besides, unlike all of that other extemporaneous commentary, this is actually IN the Bible:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.Ephesians 5:22

As an aside, I have absolutely no idea how my taking my kids to co-op or basketball practice threatens the sanctity of or defiles the marriage bed.

Like I said, let’s keep it simple, eh?


10 thoughts on “How ’bout we stick to the basics?”

  1. “minding their own family affairs, not gadding abroad; and inspecting into, and busying themselves about other people’s matters”

    If only…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The part about the tortoise really cracked me up.

    Voddie Baucham once said that inside of each one of us is a raging legalist, and I agree with him. These verses were NEVER meant to be used as a New Testament version of the law.


  3. I did find myself amused about “not busying themselves about other people’s matters” … THAT was helpful. It speaks to the raging legalist – or rather, against her. If I’m busying myself with my things, my problems, and only messing with your problems when I’m asked for help (or when there’s something big that I notice, like a death, and I show up with a casserole and a broom) then I’m probably Titus 2ing.

    She’d probably be horrified that my church has organized Titus 2 (speaking of) and that I’m meeting my mentee there today. Gadding about!!! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This commentary was written by John Gill, an English Baptist with Calvinist leanings from the 16-1700s. This is wholly impractical today. An extended family is assumed in this, which most of us do not have, for a start. Those who cling to this idea of going back to some imaginary golden age would hate it – the men and the women.

    For better or worse, we live in the time we live in, and we have to manage according to our station in life. These ridiculous proscriptions have nothing to do with being Biblical or more godly or anything. There was never any perfect golden age except maybe the Garden of Eden and look how long that lasted, lol.

    Really, how far back do you want to go? Maybe it’s unbiblical to drive cars and have flush toilets. People are flying up their own you know whats with this stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had not bothered to look into the guy who wrote this commentary, so thanks for the intel.

    You are right that a lot of this boils down to expecting us to live as if it is 1900 or earlier.

    As if God either 1) had no way of knowing we would be living in such an age or 2) he just figured it might be fun to ask us to live an impossible lifestyle while still somehow letting our lights shine and serving others.

    There is a lot wrong with that guy’s commentary even for a woman who lived 125 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not so many people avail themselves, which is a pity.

    I had great fun, I always do. I wonder if, if people knew how much FUN it was to serve in the way you were built for, if more people would serve??


  7. The main thing about that kind of commentary is that it assumes marriage is comparatively rare and rafts of single people are serving married people (broadly speaking). Marriage being fairly common and single people not basically being random free labor for married people is a very different context.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a good point. I did a cursory bit of clicking and found that there were eras where it wasn’t a normal thing for most people could reasonably expect to marry.

    More than though (since we’re easily approaching such an era again), is that cultural, financial, and technological shifts have made it so that single people, rather than staying close to home as they would have during the time John Gill lived, are fanning out across the country and even the world.


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