After discussing older men in verse 2, Paul discusses the traits of “older women.” As with the men, they were to be “reverent in behavior.” This again means clear thinking, slow to anger, and not prone to drunkenness. Three other attributes are given in this verse. These are added to a command to “train the younger women” in verse 4.
The first of these three traits is not to be “slanderers,” or “malicious gossips.” Slandering involved speaking badly of others, which includes all forms of gossip. This sin was also condemned in the Torah (Leviticus 19:16). In the New Testament, Jesus also spoke against slander (Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:22). So did Peter (1 Peter 2:1; 1 Peter 3:16) and John (Revelation 2:9). Paul mentions slander, or gossip, more than a dozen times in his writings.
The second of the three traits was not to be “slaves to much wine.” This parallels the qualifications of elders in Titus 1:5–9. Drinking alcohol was not itself condemned, and people commonly drank fermented drink in this time. What is forbidden is being controlled by it. The Greek phrase here is either translated as “slaves” to wine, or “addicted to” wine. It is the same Greek word translated “servant” in Titus 1:1, referring to Paul as a servant of God. Like the older men and elders, older women were to “teach what is good.” Unlike the men, however, their teaching has a uniqueness seen in verses 4–5, focusing on helping younger women.
This is great advice for anyone, but here it is specifically given to older women. They are to have holy character reflecting Jesus. They are not supposed to drink too much or falsely accuse people. Lastly, they are to teach good things. It is interesting that older women are instructed to teach. Knowing they have a lot of wisdom, they are instructed to pass that wisdom on.
And we pray:
Father in Heaven, You are the great teacher. You know ALL and You teach others Your truths. Help me to grow and mature into a good teacher of Your truth. Instill wisdom in me so that as I age others benefit from knowing me, Amen. Help me to have character that is worthy of Your calling and reflects Your holiness. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.