Learning from Older People
But speak thou the thing which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as become 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. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.Titus 2:1-6
Why young people should learn from older ones?
If you were to ask the average young person in our society the question, “From whom do you learn most?”, and they were to give you an honest answer, it would probably be: “From my peers or the media.” The biblical order of learning is very different. God has ordained older people to teach young people.
This is related to the purpose of the home and church. Think of what we hear in the book of Proverbs. A father speaking to his son: “My son...” And in the church, we find Paul’s instruction to Titus (2:3-4), that older women should teach young women. Older people may be out of touch with the latest fashions, and the latest “buzz”. But if it is right, they are not out of touch with young people. You see, they too were young, and if it is right, have learned many things from the Word of God and experience, measured by the Word of God. From such young people should learn.
What should young people learn from them?
Of course, we can learn many things, but allow me to focus on two important things, that the Bible frequently emphasizes.
Titus has to teach sound doctrine (2:1). He has to ensure that it is “sound” (a word that means “health”). There is much unsound teaching. Not only in Colleges and schools, but on television, internet and the world of entertainment. Young people do not need this. This is very unhealthy for the soul. Stay away from unsound teaching. Instead, seek out sound teaching; teaching of the truth. Let older ones teach this. Let young people ask for this.
Titus has to speak that which is fitting with sound doctrine, and that is sound living. Sound doctrine is never alone. It goes hand-in-hand with sound Christian living. Young people also need to learn what sound living is, a life that is in accordance with God’s word. How we spend our Sabbath day. How we talk. How we walk. That is the effect of the new birth. Titus should be very specific. In verse 6, Titus is to exhort young men to be sober-minded. That is, they should think in light of eternity; think soberly. Now what does this look like? Well, let them observe God’s people. Older men are also to show this sober-mindedness (vs. 2). Not only must older men be examples to young men, but older women too. They are to teach 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” (4-5).
How should young people learn from them?
Don’t just let older ones come to you. Seek the advice and counsel of your parents and other older ones. One thought is to visit shut-ins or older family members, especially if they fear the Lord. Ask them about their lives. Ask them how the Lord taught them. Ask them about what sorts of things they learned when they were young, and what they wished they would have known then. Specifically:
Let young people listen. Imagine the following scene: A young man is getting involved with the wrong friends. His father, who loves him dearly, at times speaks with his straying son. But when he does, the young man says: “I know dad, I know.” He thinks he has heard these words from his father already, and so he feels he does not need to hear them again. But he does need to hear them again. We need to hear the most important things time and again.
Take to heart
How is this different from listening, you ask? Well, you have listened. But you must also absorb the significance of what your parents or catechism teachers, or elders, are saying. Ask questions if you need clarification. Ask the Lord to help you to see the value of what you are being taught.
This means you seek to apply it to your life. You try to put into practice what has been said. You will need the help and strength of the Lord. Go to the Lord with your heart and ask Him to be your great Teacher Jesus Christ.