Dear Readers,
Today, we have the write-up of the Ladies’ Bible Fellowship by Sister Tammy Ho. They have chosen a most appropriate theme passage for 2016 :

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good,
obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
(Titus 2:3-5)

The epistle of Titus was Paul’s instruction to Titus on how to handle eccle-siastical affairs of the local church in Crete. As the pastor, he was to ordain suitably qualified men as elders (presbuteroi, c.f. Titus 1:5) to oversee (episkopoi, c.f. Titus 1:6) matters in the church (Titus 1:5-16). He was also to teach the sound doctrine of the Scriptures (Titus 2:1; 15) that all members of the church may learn to live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:12). This included all the women of the church, whether young or aged. Titus as their pastor was to oversee the spiritual growth of the women.

The Ladies’ Bible Fellowship is founded in line with this scriptural injunction. It is our desire that the ladies in the church may learn the sound doctrines of the Word of God and be a peculiar people who are zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).

Titus 2:3-5 also describes for us the pattern of ministry among the women in the church. The aged women are to be examples to those who are young. The way to do so is to keep studying the Word of God. The aged women will then be equipped to teach the young ladies the spiritual things of the Holy Scripture. They must be followers of Christ, so that others may follow their godly examples.

The aged women are to be exemplary in the following areas:

1. Behaviour as becometh holiness (v.3), chaste (v.5). The aged woman must recognise that every area of her life is sacred unto God. Thus, their demeanour is characterised by holiness.

2. Not false accusers (v.3). This expression is from the Greek word diabolos where we get the English term devil. The devil is famously known as the false accuser of the believers. A woman must not have the slanderous tongue of the devil. She must not spread falsehood about others, nor sow discord among the brethren. She must speak the truth, and be honest with her words, whether written or spoken.

Calvin’s commentary on aged women on false accusers should be given due consideration. “Talkativeness is a disease of women, and it intensifies with age. Women often think they are not eloquent unless they are given to prattling and slander. The consequence is, that old women, by their slanderous talkativeness, as by a lighted torch, frequently set on fire many houses.” Thus, let the aged women be masters of their tongues. Do not gossip! Use the tongue instead for the edification of the saints. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)

3. Not given to much wine (v.3). The aged women must not be enslaved to alcohol. She is not a wine-bibber. One who is intoxicated will have no control over her senses and will think, say and do things which are unscriptural. The aged women must thus ensure that she is not brought under the power of such drinks.

Some people will take this verse to mean that it is permitted for a Christian to drink alcoholic drinks. However, Proverbs 23:31 is explicit in its command not to even look at alcoholic drink, much less to drink it! “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” (Proverbs 23:31) On the other hand, drinking water in those days are often sterilised with a little alcohol. It is with this purpose in mind that Paul exhorts aged women not to be given to much wine. This expression in no ways contradicts the Biblical teaching of total abstinence from alcohol.

4. To be sober (v.4), discreet (v.5). These terms are based on the same root word sōphronizōsin. This word describes the training of the senses and a complete mastery of oneself. Such aged women are able by the help of the Holy Spirit to curb their lustful desires and impulses, and exercise sound and balanced judgement (Kent).

5. Lovers of their husbands and children (v.4). Be devoted to your own family. Do not lust after other men!

6. Keepers at home (v.5). This describes the active housewife. The home is the chief calling of the woman. However, some wives are so heavily engaged in their jobs that they neglect their primary duty. To the married ladies, are you fulfilling your duties as homemakers? If you are more devoted to your work than your home and family, the Scriptures declare that you are a derelict wife and mother. If you are unable to cope with the pressure of work and home, then stay at home and be the best homemaker for the glory of God! Bring up your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Be a godly example to the young ladies that they may do likewise.

7. Good (v.5). This talks about doing what is good for others. They are always thinking of the welfare of their neighbours before self.

8. Obedient (v.5). The aged woman will be submissive to the headship of her husband, and not override his authority. She will obey him in the Lord.

A woman who is not obedient to the Biblical pattern will be a stumbling block to others. On the other hand, a woman who is faithful to the Holy Scriptures can be a great blessing to those around her. We certainly hope that the ladies in Tabernacle BPC can be shining lights for the Lord Jesus Christ.

With this in mind, we heartily invite ladies of all ages to join the Ladies’ Bible Fellowship. One way a lady can occupy till Christ’s return is to learn God’s Word diligently and encourage fellow women to press on in their faith. Of course, the Ladies’ Bible Fellowship is not just restricted to women – men are very much welcome too, for it is the husband’s duty to look after the wife’s spiritual nourishment. Therefore, come and encourage the women to keep studying God’s Word, and be faithful to our good Lord.

Loving in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew