In the first century, Christianity gave women more social rights than they had ever known. Women were valued, educated, worshipped with men, and could build positions of power – all things that did not happen in the ancient world for women. So why did Paul day women are to submit to their husbands?
Paul gives different instructions to different people. He starts with the men, who should strive to be godly. It is much easier to submit to a godly man. He then instructs the women to be godly and submit to their husbands. This is so that Christian women, who had a ton of new rights, would not go too far and seek to domineer their husbands (part of the Fall, see Genesis 3:16). This is also so that they will not bring shame on our faith.
The goal is to follow Jesus in all things, including our marriages. Husbands are not to dominate their wives, but to submit to Jesus and cherish their wives always. Wives are not to dominate their husbands, but to follow Jesus and respect their husbands. This is God’s plan for all cultures and generations.
1As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.
3Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.a Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,b to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
6In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.