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Women In The Church

1 Corinthians 14:34
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

See I Corinthians and other Pastoral Epistles. Paul states that a woman is to keep silent in the Church (I Corinthians 14:34). In 1 Corinthians 11:5, a woman is praying in the assembly. Examine closely the context of 1 Corinthians 14 and determine if Paul meant for the woman to keep silent only in regard to the tongue issue. Did he apply this only to the Corinthian Church or the culture of the Middle East? Scripturally, can a woman pray, sing, or give a testimony in a church service? Can she teach men? Research, discuss, and come to a conclusion.

There is no doubt but that women may be highly gifted teachers and leaders. Paul’s teachings make it emphatically clear, however, that these gifts are not to be exercised over men in the public worship services of the church. God’s creation is to reflect God’s nature of peace and not confusion. When any part of God’s order is ignored or rejected, His church is weakened. This will dishonor God and the Holy Spirit will be unable to accomplish His work within the church. Confusion rather than peace will reign. In the settings discussed by Paul in these verses, this confusion arises when women take upon themselves roles that God has restricted to men. 

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

The word “shame” is translated as improper or disgraceful in several modern versions. It can mean dishonorable as well. Paul leaves little doubt as to his meaning in these verses. Women are not to speak in the church service! If questions arise in their own minds, they should ask their husbands at home at a later occasion (although the modern trend is probably for whispered conversations in the pews, something equally dishonoring!).

The notation in 14:35a raises another ground of objection for many. Since Paul indicates the women should asked their questions at home, the apostle could mean (a) the provision applies only to wives or (b) could only apply to situations where the women have questions. Of course, in the modern worship service, who, male or female, would dream of interrupting the pastor’s sermon with a question? There is nothing in the text that suggests Paul is applying either limitation. While arguments from silence should be treated gingerly, the entire context of both the Timothy and Corinthians verses clearly indicate the command runs to all women in all public worship situations. 

One does not read too much into the text to suggest the women at Corinth were going beyond the bounds set by God through the apostles. The next verses clear suggest women were questioning the order established within the churches. Paul’s response to them, as it should be to the modern church, is that it is God who has set the rules and there is no place in creation for us to question them. 

1 Corinthians 14:36-37 (KJV)
36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.


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July 2, 2022

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