If men got the Titus 2 Treatment…

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
'34 // picking up off the streets' photo (c) 2009, Victor Ramos - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Every evangelical woman knows what it’s like to get the Titus 2 Treatment. 

This happens whenever a woman is presented with a universal statement about the “biblical” role of women in the world, which is typically extrapolated from a single biblical text without regard to literary or historical context and followed by a parenthetical string of additional unrelated and out-of-context Bible verses for support. 

For example, in an article that characterizes a man who takes responsibility for the laundry as a “man fail,” Owen Strachan of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood writes: 

“The curse bore down upon Eve’s primary activity, childbearing, showing that her intended sphere of labor and dominion-taking was the home (Genesis 3:16).  This is true of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 as well, who though something of a whirling dervish of godly femininity was not, like her husband, by the city gates with the elders (Proverbs 31:23), but working tirelessly to bless her family and manage her home for God’s glory.” 

Classic. Root feminine identity in the curse rather than the redemptive work of Christ and then make the argument that because the ancient Near Eastern woman of Proverbs 31 is not described as consulting with the elders, then all women everywhere for all of time are restricted to the realm of the home and therefore responsible for the laundry. 

I call this the “Titus 2 Treatment” because Titus 2:5 is one of the most commonly abused passages in this regard.  It’s a verse in which women are instructed to be “busy in home,” (as opposed to being idle in home, not, as some claim, as opposed to working outside of the home) and I’ve seen it cited in support of all sorts of statements about how domestic duties such as washing the dishes or doing the laundry fall exclusively to women and how mothers who have careers outside of the home are shirking their God-ordained roles.

So I thought it might be fun to give guys a sense of what it’s like to get the Titus 2 treatment with this little piece. (Don’t take it too seriously): 


The Crisis of Biblical Masculinity in the Church 
By Roberta Heard Ellis

It has come to my attention that we are facing a crisis of biblical masculinity in the Church today. An increasing number of men are neglecting the roles God clearly outlined for them in Scripture (Genesis 3:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Timothy 2:8) in favor of blatant cultural capitulation.  I’d like to focus on three biblical principles that many modern men, out of total disregard for Scripture, continue to ignore: sweating, kissing, and hand-raising. 

1.  Sweating: 

Take a look around our culture and you will see millions of men who earn a living by working in climate controlled office buildings. Such work may be mentally strenuous, but far too often, it can be accomplished without even breaking a sweat. 

The curse of Genesis 3 clearly describes man’s primary activity as difficult physical labor. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,” God declares in Genesis 3:19. 

David, who is described as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) was a shepherd (1 Samuel 16:11), who clubbed wild animals to death (1 Samuel 17:35-25). He was also a warrior (1 Samuel 18:27) and a king (2 Samuel 12:30). 

The men of Scripture—Abraham, Isaac, Sampson, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul—are men of action whose occupations centered around physical labor like farming, shepherding, carpentry, tent-making, and fighting animals with their bare hands. (Note: any exceptions to this trend should be immediately discounted as irrelevant anomalies.)  Nowhere in Scripture is a man of God described as sitting at a desk in an office building from nine to five.  Nowhere. 

So men who wish to honor God with their lives and humbly submit to His will should make physical labor their primary occupation, and resist the urge to give in to our culture’s glorification of “white collar” work, which is a departure from biblical principles of masculinity. 

Now, some men will say they find office work more stimulating and rewarding than manual labor, or that it provides more financial security in their particular situation, but these men are more interested in pursuing selfish ambitions and wealth than submitting themselves to the Word of God. Our culture’s rampant obesity epidemic among men can be clearly traced to this departure from God’s perfect design. And it threatens to undo our whole society, negatively affecting our children and generations to come. 

2.  Kissing 

It may surprise many men to learn that one of the most common instructions found in New Testament Scripture is for Christians to “greet one another with holy kiss” (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 11 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Peter 5:14). In 1 Thessalonians 5:26, Paul specifically instructs men to do this. 

Yet despite the fact that this is one of the most repeated directives of Scripture, one is hard-pressed to find men kissing one another on the cheeck in churches today.  This is because those who do not take the Bible seriously claim these clear teachings of Scripture have a “cultural” component. 

But let us not forget that God’s word does not change or pass away (Malachi 3:6, Mark 13:31) and also that studying the Greco-Roman cultural context of the New Testament is kind of a pain. We are therefore obligated to take God at his word, whether these instructions make sense in our culture or not. 

3.  Hand-Raising  

I Timothy 2 stipulates the responsibilities of men and women in worship. 

Thankfully, 1 Timothy 2:12—“I do not permit a woman to assume authority over a man”—continues to be rigidly applied in many churches today without regard to its original context or intended audience. However, the instructions 1 Timothy 2:8—“I want men EVERYWHERE to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing” (emphasis mine) is taken as a sort of suggestion that need not be directly enforced in the modern church. 

Often I have been to churches where women are properly silenced, but men do not even bother to lift their hands during prayer! Furthermore, some of these men are known to engage in public disputes around theology—often on their blogs—which this passage clearly condemns. 

And it’s not just the rules for worship in 1 Timothy 2 that men have chosen to disregard. These days, little attention is paid to 1 Corinthians 11:14—“Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him”—even though the language used here is the same used in Romans 1:26, which many Christians are quite fond of citing when condemning other people. 

In summary, if staying true to the Word of God means applying its instructions to women literally, without regard to their cultural contexts or original intended audiences, then faithfulness requires we do the same for men. 

It’s only fair. 


It seems funny, bizarre even, to subject men to the “Titus 2 Treatment.” But don’t forget that every day, there are very real Christian women who are discouraged from pursuing ministry positions, dream jobs, or equal partnerships with their spouses because of how the Bible is used to manage and regulate women. 

For a more a much thoughtful treatment of these topics, check out: 

Mutuality Series: 

Week of Mutuality: How it will work, definition of terms

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? (Genesis 1-3)

4 Common Misconceptions About Egalitarianism

Submission in Context: Christ and the Greco-Roman Household Codes

Dan on roles, leadership, and supporting your partner 

Who’s Who Among Biblical Women Leaders

For the Sake of the Gospel, Let Women Speak (1 Timothy 2:11-15) 

Ask an Egalitarian...(Mimi Haddad)  

Is patriarchy really God’s dream for the world?  

When Men and Women Ministered Together as Equals (Ed Cyzewski)

Women of Valor: It’s About Character, Not Roles (Proverbs 31, Ruth)

Mutuality 2012 Synchroblog

 List of Resources


Submit One To Another Series

4 Interpretive Pitfalls Around the New Testament Household Codes

The Letter to Nympha’s Church

Aristotle vs. Jesus: What Makes the New Testament Household Codes Different

“The Grace of Good Love"' - A Guest Post from Sarah Bessey

Subordination in the Trinity? – A Guest Post from Zack Hunt 


Will the Real Complementarian Please Stand Up?

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles, Exhibit B:  Guys and Dolls

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles, Exhibit C: “As long as I can’t see her…”

Women of Valor: It's About Character, Not Roles

Biblical Womanhood and the Illusion of Clarity: A Response to Kathy Keller

The Bible was 'clear'....


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