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 Vol. 4, No. 2 


February, 2002

Since You Asked

~ Page 17 ~


Fountain Pen Aged Women

By Louis Rushmore

… a sister … has questioned what right some of our younger women, throughout the brotherhood, have in teaching at lectureships (to ladies), ladies inspiration days and such. She argues that Titus 2:3-4 states that this should only be done by older woman. Some are getting the idea that no female can teach at any time unless she is an "aged woman." They are also taking the definition that can be found in the Gospel Advocate Commentary of a youth being anyone from 18-40 to say that an "aged woman" allowed to teach must be at least 40, thus excluding anyone under than the age of 40 from teaching.

Titus 2:2-8 is a rare occasion in Scripture where each age group of accountable souls is addressed in a single context: aged men, aged women, young women and young men. The references to the aged women and young women primarily concern the God-ordained, feminine domestic role, that is, in the home. The passage presumes that the aged women previously were the successful recipients and faithful practitioners of what they were expected to convey to younger women. The information that the aged women were to pass on to younger women pertained mostly how to be godly wives and mothers.

Significantly, the elders were not entrusted with the training of young married women, a function that pertained to the godly older women in the congregation. There are seven qualities to be instilled in the younger women, two mentioned in this verse, five in the next. They are: (1) husband-lovers, (2) children-lovers, (3) sober-minded, (4) chaste, (5) workers at home, (6) kind, and (7) in subjection to their own husbands. (Coffman, James Burton, James Burton Coffman Bible Study Library, (Abilene: ACU Press) 2001.) [Emphasis added, ler]

Titus 2:1 To aged and young women (vv. 3-5) considerable emphasis is placed on the foundation of the home. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press) [Emphasis added, ler]

The type of information with which the "aged women" were charged to teach to the "younger women" was not confined to a classroom situation. It involved the type of interaction one would expect between generations within a family or an extended family and in the family of God.

Further, the Titus 2:2-8 passage does not purport to be the totality of what the Bible has to say about women teaching or what they should teach. Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, taught a preacher and taught him subject matter other than that listed in Titus 2 (Acts 18:26). The apostle Peter quoted the prophet Joel (who wrote through the guidance of the Holy Spirit) and announced that "daughters" would "prophesy" (Acts 2:17). Philip the evangelist's virgin daughters were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9). Both the definition of the Greek word for "daughter," which is "female child," and the description of Philip's daughters as virgins indicate that they were not "aged women." Though whom prophetesses would instruct and under what circumstances is regulated by 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34, the content is not necessarily confined to teaching about domestic responsibility (Acts 18:26; 2 Timothy 1:5).

The Greek word translated "aged women" occurs only once, here, in the New Testament. It refers to "an old woman" or "an adult female advanced in years" (Louw, Johannes P. and Nida, Eugene A., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, (New York: United Bible Societies) 1988, 1989.) The "aged women" of Titus 2:3 is similar in the Greek and its use in 1 Timothy 5:2, "The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity."

Essentially, the Titus 2 passage requires women who are experienced and otherwise apprised of the female role in the home to teach younger women respecting their domestic role. Nothing in the passage either prohibits women from teaching other subjects or from younger women teaching as well, if they have something to teach, irrespective of whether it pertains to the domestic role of the woman or some other Christian doctrine. All that can be said confidently respecting Titus 2 about "aged women" is that they must teach the younger women, not that younger women are either incapable or not to teach, too.

Typewriter Paradise on Earth?

By Louis Rushmore

Does the Bible teach that the earth will be a paradise again? Psalms 37:10,11 "the meek will inherit the earth." Also, do we not pray for this, when we pray God's will to be done on earth? Was that not God's original purpose for man, live in paradsaic conditions? Would it not be accepting defeat by God to abandon this original purpose? Answers from the Bible only please! ~ David J Aldridge

The phrases "the meek shall inherit the earth," "those that wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth" and "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed" appear respectively in Psalm 37:11, 9 and 3. The same Hebrew word is translated "earth" in verses 11 and 9, while it is translated "land" in verse 3. The King James Version and the New King James Version use the words "earth" and "land" as noted, but the American Standard Version, New International Version, New American Standard Version and Revised Standard Version use "land" in all three verses. Either English translation accurately represents the original language word. The latter versions cited more readily convey to us today the idea involved in the context. Jesus quotes Psalm 37 in Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." The way in which the Jews used this reference and, consequently, the way in which Jesus used it is well illustrated by the commentators Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke.

Matt 5:5 [They shall inherit the earth] This might have been translated the land. It is probable that here is a reference to the manner in which the Jews commonly expressed themselves to denote any great blessing. It was promised to them that they should inherit the land of Canaan. For a long time the patriarchs looked forward to this, Gen 15:7-8; Ex 32:13. They regarded it as a great blessing. It was so spoken of in the journey in the wilderness, and their hopes were crowned when they took possession of the promised land, Deut 1:38; 16:20. In the time of our Saviour they were in the constant habit of using the Old Testament, where this promise perpetually occurs, and they used it "as a proverbial expression to denote any great blessing, perhaps as the sum of all blessings," Ps 37:20; Isa 60:21. Our Saviour used it in this sense, and meant to say, not that the meek would own great property or have many lands, but that they would possess special blessings. The Jews also considered the land of Canaan as a type of heaven, and of the blessings under the Messiah. To inherit the land became, therefore, an expression denoting those blessings. When our Saviour uses this language here, he means that the meek shall be received into his kingdom, and partake of its blessings here, and of the glories of the heavenly Canaan hereafter. (Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Under this expression, which was commonly used by the prophets to signify the land of Canaan, in which all temporal good abounded, Judg 18:9-10, Jesus Christ points out that abundance of spiritual good, which was provided for men in the Gospel. Besides, Canaan was a type of the kingdom of God; and who is so likely to inherit glory as the man in whom the meekness and gentleness of Jesus dwelt? (Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

The apostle Peter also used similar phraseology to reflect the eternal kingdom. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). In all of the passages cited (Psalm 37; Matthew 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13), the literal land promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1) and received already by the Jews, beginning in Joshua's day (Joshua 21:45; 23:13-14), was employed to represent a figurative and spiritual goal in which the righteous are to take comfort in the face of evil men and evil days (Psalm 37).

Respecting the original inquiry, "No, Psalm 37:10-11 does not teach that the Adamic paradise will be restored on earth." No other passage teaches that the Garden of Eden will be restored on earth. Man was cast from the Garden following sin. The Tree of Life is not available on earth but, figuratively, it is now in heaven (Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14). Happily, Jesus left to prepare heaven for his faithful followers and will return to retrieve them and take them to the heavenly paradise (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

Image Image Has Satan
Won Over God?

By Louis Rushmore

Thank you for answering my question. However, you did not answer all of it. If God does not restore the earth to paradise, then has not Satan won? He kept God from fulfilling his purpose, did he not? ~ David Aldridge

Sometimes querists are not satisfied with the answers provided to their inquiries through the pages of Gospel Gazette Online. However, the Gazette is neither a forum for debate nor a discussion list. Consequently, rebuttals to the biblical answers for religious questions posed, as well as subsequent counterpoints to rebuttals usually are not entertained in the pages of the Gazette. We choose, though, to treat this follow up question because, like everything we include in the Gazette, we believe there are some points that may prove useful for our readers.

It is a grievous misunderstanding of spiritual matters to imagine that (1) Satan is victorious over God if God does not "restore the earth to paradise" and (2) God's primary "purpose" respecting the human experiment is provide mankind an earthly paradise. Also, it is a misrepresentation that the earth was ever the paradise versus God placing a paradise (called the Garden of Eden) on earth. Further, the querist's acknowledgement that his previous question was answered, for which he offered no complaint other than the above assertion, allows that the previous answer stands, which standing disarms this more recent question before it was asked. Yet, we will respond.

Indeed, Satan did realize many victories in his battle against God, including tempting mankind to sin in the Garden of Eden, from which the original pair was expelled. God, however, also realized many victories, ultimately and finally being victorious, even as prophesied as early as Genesis 3:15. Especially the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is an ungetoverable victory over Satan. God wins! The whole Book of Revelation is a volume of God's ultimate, complete and final victory over Satan. It is very shortsighted and biblically incorrect to assign victory to Satan over God owing to man's expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Second, it never was God's purpose for mankind to spend forever on earth in paradise. This earthy mentality is the same religious error that led the Jews to petition the Romans to crucify Jesus Christ. They were not interested in a spiritual kingdom (John 18:36), but desired a physical kingdom to liberate them from their subjection to the Romans (John 6:15). This misguided earthy mentality, further, underscores the same error among millennialists, for which cause, at all costs, irrespective of what Scripture clearly teaches to the contrary, they feverishly long for paradise on earth.

Instead, God's eternal purpose appears in brief in Ephesians 3:9-11. God's purpose was "from the beginning of the world" (Ephesians 3:9) or from "before the world began" (Titus 1:2). That purpose pertained to Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9, 11; Titus 1:1), involved the church (Ephesians 3:10), was eternal (Ephesians 3:11) and pertained to eternal life (Titus 1:2). God's purpose pertains to spiritual matters, not merely earthly habitation.

The earthly habitation that the querist desires would frustrate the true purpose of God, which is spiritual, eternal and heavenly, not earthy. Had Satan been able to prevent Jesus Christ from resurrecting, establishing his church and consequently providing for the redemption of souls from sin, then Satan would have been victorious over God. Satan loses! God wins! Earthly real estate, alias "paradise," notwithstanding.

Image Image Fruit Juice Blend
for Communion?

By Louis Rushmore

Someone posed a question as to whether it would be biblically permissible to use a fruit juice blend for communion instead of grape juice alone. The drink specified by Jesus as he instituted the Lord's Supper or communion is "the fruit of the vine" (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). Likewise, the bread available in the house (because of "the feast of the unleavened bread" Matthew 26:17) at the time Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper was limited to unleavened bread.

The Bible is the final, absolute standard of authority that God has provided and preserved for mankind. That authority is conveyed through explicit commands, approved examples and implications. In some instances, biblical authority specifies the details pertaining to its instruction. Regarding other topics, biblical authority does not specify details respecting its instruction and we may refine those details without opposing what God has authorized.

An example of the latter is Mark 16:15, "…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." While it is obligatory to "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel," what kinds of conveyances (i.e., walking, riding an animal, by wagon, by car, by bus, by boat, by airplane, by train, etc.) are not specified and mankind can opt for himself whichever means of travel he deems to be expedient. Further, how the Gospel is preached (e.g., before an audience, by radio, by television, through literature, etc.) is not specified and mankind can opt for himself whichever means of proclamation he deems to be expedient.

Jesus provided an example respecting the observance of the communion, in which the specific items that represent his body and blood are specified: "unleavened bread" and "the fruit of the vine." This biblical example, then, provides authority for the use of "unleavened bread" and "the fruit of the vine" when observing the Lord's Supper. Since the emblems of that observance are specified, only they are authorized and man is not left to make his own decisions in this matter. It is sinful to substitute any unauthorized emblems (e.g., Twinkies and Dr. Pepper, as I read after one who used these items and personally thought they constituted the most spiritual communion he had ever experienced).

The phrase "the fruit of the vine" refers exclusively in the biblical context applicable to this discussion to grape juice, which is the product of the vine. That is what Jesus used and what, through its specification, is authorized and only what is authorized. "Unleavened bread" is a baked (was broken versus pinched off as one would dough) flour and water mixture in which there is no leaven (e.g., yeast, baking powder). Only "unleavened bread" is authorized in the observance of the Lord's Supper. Anyone truly interested in biblical authority will heed only what the Bible authorizes, and regarding the emblems in communion, that remains grape juice and unleavened bread.

Image Principles of New Testament Christianity
by Charles Crouch

paperback, 208 pages
$9.90 + S&H   Order: [email protected]

Image Within the Halls of Pilate
by David T. Lusk

paperback, 132 pages
$5.45 + S&H   Order: [email protected]

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