WOMEN'S ROLE IN THE CHURCH SERVICE....CONTINUED, PART TWO
There is a similar situation in the case of the Greek words
aner and gune. They are understood to mean "husband" and "wife"
when used together, and to translate them as "man" and "woman"
actually conceals the true meaning of the Greek text!
Who says these two Greek words when found together are always to
be understood as "husband" and "wife"? Where is such a rule
found in the pages of the Bible? You need to remember that the
NT was written in "common" Greek, not "classical" Greek of the
Universities, and upper highly educated people. The NT was
written in everyday down to earth language of the common people,
this is now a known fact. Then, you need to remember the Bible
does not come with a grammar text rule book, like some computer
programs do. My WordPerfect program comes with a "spell check"
and "grammar check" built in, the Bible does not. In fact the
original manuscripts of both the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT had
one letter after another, no spaces, no sentences, no paragraphs,
no punctuation whatsoever. In fact the OT Hebrew originally did
not have even any vowels.
You will notice that in their statement above, they do not quote
any book on NT grammar that was written along with the NT books.
As far as I know no book on NT grammar has been discovered, that
was written in the first century A.D. to explain all the verses
of the NT in grammar form. So their dogmatic statement is just
human reasoning or conjecture, or at best based upon classical
Greek or modern Greek grammar. Besides all that talk about the
rules of grammar, there is nothing to say the writers of the NT,
using common Greek, had to follow any rules of grammar. I
personally do not follow all English grammar rules in my
writings, after all, rules of grammar are only the invention of
other humans, and language does change over the process of time,
and so does spelling and so does grammar. The Americans do not
spell all English words as do the British (i.e. color-USA;
The argument above for the verses under discussion in 1 Tim. 2
can really bear no importance on the matter, as to determining
the truth of Paul's teaching and instruction in this section on
women's "teaching or not teaching in church services" nor also on
the section in 1 Cor 14 regarding the same matter. It is
especially the context of 1 Cor.14 that gives the truth of the
matter. The two passages go hand in hand, both must be taken
together. Paul was talking about the same topic within the
teaching of different contexts, and gave some different
explanations as to why he said the things he wrote were the
commandments of the Lord (1 Cor.14:37).
The key to understanding this verse is in knowing the proper
translation of the Greek grammar for the verb "to teach." Paul
uses the word didusko (Strong's #1321), which Thayer's
Lexicon defines as: "(1) to teach, to hold discourse with others
in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses, to be a
teacher ... (2) to teach one, to impart instruction, instill
doctrine into one..." Paul was indeed referring to women in the
act of instructing! But that's not the whole story.
It's not! Now it would seem to me that it is pretty plain,
especially in 1 Cor.14. The context and the EMPHASIS of Paul in
this chapter is "instruction" - "edification" - "teaching." See
verses 4, 5, 6, 12, 17, 19, 24, 25, 31, 35. The whole idea of
the church coming together into one place was so all may learn,
be taught, be edified, be instructed in the ways of the Lord.
After Paul had talked about the gifts of the Spirit, the use of
tongues, the prophets and prophesying in the church as it came
together into one place (verse 23), and knowing that these gifts
of the Spirit could be given to women as well as men, he then
answers the logical question: Can women then in official church
services, use their gifts and teach and preach - expound the word
of the Lord to the congregation? His answer is clearly given.
He also answers the comment that would also naturally arise:
Well I have this gift and the Spirit just led me to preach and
teach before the church, I just could not help myself.
For Paul, there was no such thing as "I could not help myself,
the Spirit forced me to speak out to teach and preach before the
gathered assembly." For Paul, the Spirit never forces anyone to
do anything. Paul would reply: "And the spirits of the prophets
are subject to the prophets." Everyone can, in Paul's mind,
control themselves and use the gifts of the Spirit as God
directs, and when He directs. It was then after uttering that
statement that he said the women are to keep silent in the
church(when the church comes together in one place, official
services). His context of the whole chapter is to do with
teaching, expounding the word and ways of the Lord, what today we
would call preaching in sermonettes(short messages) and
BECAUSE OF A COMMA
There was another subtle difference between what the KJV
states and how most modern translations read. Notice again verse
12, from the NASB: "But I do not allow a woman [Greek: gune,
wife] to teach or exercise authority over a man [aner, husband],
but to remain quiet."
There is a comma added in the KJV text which is not in most
modern translations! Without the additional comma, the sense of
the sentence would be that Paul was not forbidding women to teach
in church services, but rather to both teach, and grasp control
from, their husbands!
If this is what Paul was saying, then many people have had a
misunderstanding of this verse for a long time. As we will see,
this is indeed what Paul was saying!
Now how do you teach but not grasp control from your husbands?
Usually the teacher is in control over those being taught.
Usually they lead, they govern the situation, they control
the floor so to speak. Have you ever seen a teacher that does not
or is not able to grasp control of those they are supposed to be
guiding and teaching, be it men or women, or a mixture of both?
It soon degenerates into confusion and bedlam, certainly
Does the wife keep looking at her husband and somehow with her
eye or hand tell him she has not grasped control from him? Does
she give him some secret sign (only the two of them know about)
now and then to tell him he can take control if he feels she has
grasped control from him? Does he give her the nod to let her
know she has grasped control from him (as he sits there part of
the group being taught and led by her)?
Do you see some of the problems in executing this idea that the
wife can teach(what about women who are not wives or are widows?)
but not grasp control from her husband?
THE INFINITIVE MOOD
If we look a bit more deeply, we will find that the grammar
Paul used for the phrases "to teach" and "usurp authority" are in
the present tense, active voice and infinitive mood. As we will
see, this changes the whole flavor of the translation and,
consequently, our understanding of the verse.
The infinitive mood signifies that the action spoken of
"pertains to continuous or repeated action, without any
implications as to when the action takes place" (The Complete
Word Study New Testament, ed. Zodhiates).
The present tense is continuous action in the present ongoing
time. The "when" of the action would be determined by the
context. The context of what Paul is saying to Timothy
regarding women not teaching must be found in other parts of the
NT or other parts of the writings of Paul. And one major other
part of Paul writing on the same subject is 1 Cor.14 and it's
context is clearly given. It is when the church has come together
into one place for instruction and edification in the word and
ways of the Lord. The context of the whole NT shows as I have
before proven in part one, that women can OUTSIDE of the church
coming together into one place, speak about, teach about, preach
about, edify about, instruct about, write about, the word and
ways of the Eternal, to anyone, man or woman, teenager or child,
as the Spirit of the Lord leads and directs.
Zodhiates comments on this passage at 1 Timothy 2:9-15: "The
key to understanding what the Apostle Paul is teaching is that
woman should not try to appear or act like men. In addition
to this, they should not attempt to usurp the position of their
husbands in the home and in the church. God has appointed
specific tasks for both women and for men. Childbearing is
reserved for women, just as the role of a husband is set aside
for men. Paul emphatically states that these were differences
created by God Himself.....
Where in this section does Paul say that women were trying to be
like men? Does it say they were trying to "look" like men? He
talks about them dressing modestly and having good works. Such
could be said concerning men also. Can a woman not teach her
children, or other children in a grade school? Can she not teach
other people in her skill of secular work? How would she not
usurp and not grasp control over her husband in secular skill
teaching in her work, when her husband could be miles away
working in a different trade and skill?
In these specific verses of 1 Tim. 2 where does the word "church"
and "home" appear? They do not! So, we must look elsewhere in
the NT, and/or in the writings of Paul to find if there is any
other specific instruction on women "not teaching" and where that
injunction and command is to be carried out. We find it again
from Paul in 1 Cor.14 where the context is made very clear and
plain. It is when the church comes together into one place
for edification and instruction in the word and ways of the Lord.
The childbirth here spoken about is open for other
interpretations, as some commentators point out. In the Greek the
word "the" is present - "the childbirth." And as some point
out Paul could have had in mind THE ONE childbirth that came
through woman - the CHRIST! Hence verse 15 may not be talking
about anything to do with her home life as a wife per se, but
fulfilling her role in life, and knowing when and where to teach
or not to teach, how to outwardly adorn herself with moderation,
putting on good works, continuing in faith, love, holiness, and
self-control(sobriety), then she can be saved through the
childbearing of Christ Jesus.
"In verse nine, the Greek word sophrosune [Strong's
#4997]... provides the clue for the interpretation of this
difficult passage. This Greek word, translated 'sobriety' [in
KJV], means 'the voluntary limitations of one's freedom of
thought and behavior,' or 'sober mindedness.' The truth
is that in Christianity women became free and equal to their
husbands. Nevertheless, there was always a danger that they might
take this freedom beyond the limitations that God had placed
when He appointed man as head over woman in the marital
relationship. No two people or things can be exactly the same.
The inherent differences in people and things must be recognized
by a sophron, or a 'sober minded' person. This is one who
recognizes his abilities and his limitations, and is mindful of
his behavior in certain given circumstances."
This sober-mindedness, or self-control as the New KJV renders it,
also contains within it for a Christian, the understanding that
man was to lead in spiritual head of tribes, congregational
worship towards God. We certainly see this clearly brought to
light starting with Moses and the children of Israel. God
instituted a religious congregational (when you come before me
together in one place) worship service, and all who did the
teaching (and physical sacrificing of the animals at that time)
under that system were MEN. As they met in one place to worship
the Lord, those responsible for the teaching service were chosen
and/or ordained men.
There are no examples in the entire Bible, that any woman ever
taught or expounded or preached the word or ways of the Eternal,
during the time when the Church of God( in the OT or the NT) came
together into one place in an official worship service. That
expounding and teaching of the word of the Lord was always the
duty of men for the one to three hours a week that such
gatherings of the church were called.
Zodhiates later comments, "Furthermore, the word for 'teach'
in this verse is the Greek infinitive didaskein (1321). In this
instance, it means 'to teach continuously.' The Situation
refers to the home, and assembly, or anywhere the husband and
wife may be interacting together. If this were the case, the
position of the husband as the head would be undermined, and
would not be in accordance with God's ordained order in creation.
A wife should place limitations on her speech. Paul does not want
women to be lacklustre or mute, but to be careful lest they go
beyond the bounds of accepted propriety.
Oh, so now the wife must not continually speak or teach or preach
or expound the word in the assembly, in case the position of her
husband as the head would be undermined.
Hummm, so how much is continual? Do we have to have a
ministerial conference to decide the matter? Is she to stop
talking for say 5 minutes every so often, so it will not be
continual? Does she nod at him to tell him she is placing
limitations on her speech and he can take over for a while? What
if he is out of town for the weekend or for a month on business,
are these limitations of speech then discarded and not effective?
Can she then teach and preach continually without a five minute
break, or without having him take over for a while?
I mean to say, what do we define as "continuously"? Is a 5
minute expounding of the Scriptures not classified as
"continuously" but a 10 minute preaching or teaching would be
"continuously" hence not allowed, or her husband would have to
chime in with a two minute commercial break? Or would we
classify that if she takes a drink of water half way through her
sermonette or sermon, that would not be "continuously" and so
Now that's just trying to arrange this "not continuously" within
the church, when it comes together into one place, but what about
trying to arrange it at home, when human nature and emotions are
more open and active. What then is "continuous" talk on the part
of the wife? Who sets the bounds, and by what standard? Where
are the examples of all this in the word of the Lord? Where are
some kind of time laws or rules or examples found to guide us and
the wives in determining what is "not continuously."? I can find
teaching and examples on how a woman of God can dress at times,
under different situations. I can find all kinds of teachings and
examples on the "good works" a woman should have, written in
the pages of the Bible. I can find examples of women teaching the
word of God to others (even to men) outside of the context of the
church coming together into one place, written in the pages of
the Bible. But, can I find anything about women "not
continuously" talking so to usurp authority over her husband, not
one word as to guide me on what is continuous talk for a woman,
hence wrong or sin for her.
"Moreover, the word translated 'to usurp authority over' is
the Greek word authentein (831). Essentially, a wife's private or
public life should be beyond reproach and never undermine the
position that her husband has been given by God. Also, a wife
should never encroach upon the role of her husband."
Ah, now finally we are down to "role" - the role of men and
women. As far as Salvation, a Child of God - being able to study
and understand the word of the Lord, having a reward in the
Kingdom based upon what you did with what you were given from the
Father, then there is no male or female, there is no Jew or
Gentile, all are fully equal. But that does not mean I as a male
can produce babies from my body in childbirth. No! Only women can
still do that. God did make male and female, and technically the
male was created first, and later the woman. The Lord intended
from the beginning to have certain functions or roles within
certain contexts, for both the male and the female. One of those
roles or functions was who would be responsible for the
"teaching, preaching, expounding" of the word and ways of the
Father and Christ, in the setting, context, of the church coming
together into one place.
Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi has written a whole book on this very
subject of the roles of men and women in the Church. I recommend
to the reader and those who want to study this subject in depth,
Then, what Paul was saying in 1 Timothy 2:12 is: 'I do not
allow a wife to continuously teach, or to continually exercise
authority over, her husband"!
That is what man says Paul was saying, but it just is not so,
just is not so at all my friends.
With what is stated that Paul was supposedly stating, we are back
to the problems of "continuously." So Paul, we could argue, did
not allow a woman to teach in services EVERY Sabbath, for that
would be "continuously." So Paul only allowed her to teach or
preach or expound the Scripture, once a month. Then he only
allowed a woman to teach in the congregational service under 10
minutes, otherwise it was "continuously" and so exercising
authority over her husband.
On and on we could go with our ideas of interpreting how to put
into practice the above explanation of what Paul was supposed to
have been teaching. And the ministerial conferences on the matter
would be endless and subject to change as new ideas were
The husband is to teach the wife. The wife should not be
teaching the husband. For a husband to be asking his wife about
the scriptures (especially in those days when women were not
formally educated at all) is not appropriate, and does not fit
into the universal family concept found throughout all nations
and cultures, where the husband is the head of the household.
In today's society, there might be one exception to this
principle. If a wife has been attending church services for
years, as a member of the ekklesia, and then her husband is
called and comes into the assembly, the wife may likely have more
Bible knowledge than the husband. In this case, the husband might
not be able to answer the wife's questions because of a lack of
skill in the Word. A loving wife would want to bring her newly
baptized husband along in the faith by teaching him what she
knows, and there should be no problem involved with her sharing
her knowledge under these circumstances. However, the husband is
still the head of the family. The wife is still not allowed to
dominate, even if she has superior Bible knowledge.
While in the main I agree with what is said above, the Bible is
speaking in GENERAL terms that the head of the wife and the
family is the husband. As pointed out above, there could be
individual situations where the wife takes the leading if she
knows more. That would be the husband loving his wife in the
right manner, and having enough common sense and wisdom, together
with humility, to know she should take the lead in that
circumstance. But now, give me a break with that last sentence.
Outside the setting of the church coming together into one place,
and the wife or the woman having more knowledge of the Bible
than the husband or the man, there IS NO RULE, there is no LAW
from God saying, "well it must be this way" or "it must be that
way." We are not told who had the most Bible knowledge between
Priscilla and Aquila when they instructed Apollos. It may well
have been the wife for all we know. We are just not told! In
those situations of expounding the truths of God to others
outside of church services, it is open floor, full freedom, as
the Spirit leads, and as the gifts of the Spirit have been given
to each individual. Naturally, a husband and wife will work as a
team with the love and respect and with the knowledge of each
others abilities(Eph.5:21-33; 1 Peter 3:7), to the best edifying
of those they are called to teach. And it could be the woman will
have more gifts and more ability to expound and
put into words the truths of the Lord than the man, and hence be
used more, and do more of the talking. This does not mean she is
usurping his authority as head. It means the head has enough
sense and enough love to know the best way to get the job done.
Before we continue let me say this about the idea that we should
understand 1 Tim. 2 to read "wife" and "husband." I have two of
the most popular Greek/English translations on the market today -
one by Green and the other by Berry. Both men would be classified
as Greek scholars. Neither of them translate 1 Tim 2 as "wife" -
"husband." Both men render the Greek into the English very
similar to the KJV. The reader may want to find as many
translations as possible from various Greek scholars (some as
individuals and some as groups of scholars who worked on
translating the Greek into English) and see how many of them
translate 1 Tim. 2 as "wife and "husband." I think you will be
hard pressed to find even a few from all there is out there. I
personally have looked at these following translations: RSV;
Living Bible; NEB; Phillips; Jerusalem Bible; NIV; Good News
Bible; Lamsa Holy Bible; Fenton Translation; The Everyday Bible;
New Living Translation; NKJV; and the KJV. All of them are
basically the same as the KJV.
As we saw earlier, the phrase "usurp authority over" is
translated from the single Greek word authenteo (Strong's #831).
This is an unusual word. It only occurs this one time in the
Greek scriptures. Strong defines it to mean "to act of oneself,
i.e., (fig.) dominate." However, Thayer's Lexicon goes on to
define the word to mean, "(I) one who with his own hands kills
another or himself; (2) one who acts on his own authority,
autocratic; (3) an absolute master; (4) to govern, exercise
dominion over one."
Well! We can just see Paul telling Timothy, " I don't allow
a wife to instruct her husband or to take his life"!
This is the interpretation of the writers based upon their faulty
idea that Paul is talking about only husbands and wives here.
What they are doing is picking the definition of the word that
fits best their theory. Certainly the word of the Lord clearly
states that murder is wrong for anyone to commit, including a
wife towards her husband, but a wife "instructing" her husband,
to go along with their argument for the sake of argument, that
is another matter altogether, and one that outside of the church
coming together into one place, is very doubtful as being from
the Scriptures. I know of no Bible verse that says a wife CANNOT
instruct her husband. The truth is she may be much better
qualified in certain areas to do just that - instruct her husband
where he needs to be instructed, including Biblical instruction.
Sure when all things are equal, the man should be the head
and the leader in the home of Biblical knowledge, that's why Paul
spoke with a GENERAL statement in 1 Cor.14 when saying if the
woman, when in church services wanted to learn anything
(concerning what the men may be saying in their teaching of the
way of the Lord) she should "ask her husband at home." That was
a general statement from Paul, when all things are basically
equal between husband and wife. He gave that general statement
without going into all the exceptions there may be to that
general and ideal way of life for husband and wife. All things
being equal, God wants the man to be leader and head of his
wife in spiritual knowledge, so he can answer her questions at
home, when she hears and learns things from the men in church
services, that trigger questions in her mind that she is not sure
what the answer is.
Yet, Zodhiates verifies that this is a correct definition.
He defines authenteo as "A self-appointed killer with one's own
hands, one acting by his own authority or power. Governing a
genitive, to use or exercise authority or power over as an
autocrat, to domineer (1 Tim. 2: 12)"
(The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament).
Zodhiates also notes that, in Greek, a verb in the
infinitive form "has many more uses than it does in English, most
of which are idiomatic and difficult to translate properly." This
may well be one of those places!
And it may well be that it is not one of those places. But an
additional place that goes together like hand and glove with the
instruction Paul gave on this same matter over in 1 Cor.14.
It is very possible that some are making this passage in Timothy
and the one in 1 Cor.14 to be much more complicated than they
are. I think Paul's reader (the brethren at Corinth, and the
minister Timothy) had no trouble in understanding Paul in his
directives here as he instructed them concerning the role women
were to practice in the "teaching, preaching, expounding" of the
ways of the Lord in official church services, when the church
came together into one place.
When we understand the context Paul is speaking in for uttering
this commandment, which he claimed to the Corinthians, was from
the Lord, then it really does not take a rocket scientist or a
Greek scholar to interpret it for you. You simply read it for
what it says and believe it for what it says. Paul was saying
that during the "teaching, preaching, expounding" of the word and
ways of the Lord, part of the coming together into one place,
the women were to remain in silence, listening and learning,
taking notes if you like, thinking about what was being said and
taught, and if there arose any questions about what she heard,
she was to take them home with her and ask her husband at home
for the answers. And that is it, pure and simple to understand. I
mean even a child can understand it. Paul did, for the sake of
those theologians in the church, give some reasons as to why
the Lord said it was to be this way during the instructional part
of the church service.
These verses are; 1 Cor. 14: 34, 35; and 1 Tim. 2:13, 14. They
have been thoroughly elaborated upon in such works as "Man and
Woman in Biblical Perspective" by James B. Hurley (Zondervan
Publishing House) and "Women in the Church - A Biblical Study on
the Role of Women in the Church" by Samuele Bacchiocchi (Biblical
Perspectives, 4569 Lisa Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103).
Unquestionably, though, the overall sense of these two
verses is a clarification on how wives should submit to their
husbands (Ephesians 5:22).
That is their understanding based upon the comments by Zodhiates,
which are rejected by nearly all other Bible commentators and
In fact, with this new understanding of what Paul was
saying, we might better translate verses 11 and 12 along these
lines: "Let a wife learn in peace, fully subordinate; and I do
not permit a wife to be continuously teaching or domineering over
her husband; rather she is to remain at peace. I do not allow a
wife to continually teach or continually dominate her husband."
Again, if we are to understand that this is what Paul said to
Timothy, then we are back to having to determine just what
constitutes "teach continually" and "continually dominate
her husband" which could lead to many arguments, differences of
opinion, and many ministerial conferences, with each church
finally doing its own thing. Some no doubt believing that full
sermons by women would not be "dominating her husband" or
Notice how Zodhiates addresses these issues: "These verses
(1 Timothy 2:9-15) indicate that women were full and active
members in the early church. ... From an examination of 1
Corinthians 11:2-16, it is also clear that both wives and
husbands could pray and prophecy in the worship service. ... In
all this discussion, Paul's chief concern is that no woman would
be of immoral character" (Zodhiates).
This is Zodhiates idea and you will notice he uses the word
"indicates" for it is obvious from the rest of the NT that it may
not have been so at all, and he wants to cover his butt.
Now to the often quoted section of Scripture in 1 Cor. 11:2-16.
Please read this section.
Try to find the word "church" or "assembly" or "congregation" in
this section. Try to find the phrase "when you meet" or "in the
church assembly" or "when the church comes together" or "when you
come together into one place." Try to find ANYTHING like those
words or phrases in that section of Scripture. You will not, for
one simple and plain reason.....THEY ARE NOT THERE!!
This section of inspired Scripture has NOTHING to do with church
services, or when the church assembly came to gather into one
place for official worship services. It has to do with ANYTIME
BUT that time of the church "coming together." It has to do with
men and women praying and speaking forth the words of the Lord in
their day to day lives APART FROM the church coming together!
Notice it! It is not until Paul starts another thought with more
instruction and correction on another subject that he introduces
the phrase "come together" and "come together in the church"
verses 17,18. His mind now goes to the many problems he knew they
were having at and in the church assembly when they did come
together into one place. The first problem and first correction
he delivers to them is that of HOW to observe the symbols of
the death of Jesus correctly. Notice how many times he uses this
phrase "come together" or "come together into one place" from
chapter 11:17 to the end of chapter 14. In that whole section
Paul addresses many problems he saw that they were having in and
during official church services. Before this section - starting
in chapter 11:17 - he was addressing problems on a general basis
of everyday life. The one exception is the man guilty of sexual
immorality in chapter 5. Paul there does say they should act on
this situation "when you are gathered together"(verse 4). He
does not come back to "assembly" problems again until chapter
What about verse 11? "Let the woman (wife) learn in silence
with all subjection" (KJV). Contrast that with the NASB: "Let a
woman [wife] quietly receive instruction with entire
submissiveness." Which is correct?
Zodhiates comments on the phrase "in silence with all
"The subsequent term to consider is hesuchia (Strong's
#22711), translated 'silence.' In the NT it occurs numerous times
referring to tranquillity or the state of being undisturbed. This
should be the understanding in this verse. One must bear in mind
here that during the era of time when Paul was writing, it was
usually men who were the ones to receive an education. If this
word meant 'complete silence,' women would never have the
opportunity to ask questions or increase her knowledge of the
Scriptures. Simply speaking, the wife ought to be displaying a
tranquil spirit in her attempt to learn. The final word of key
importance in understanding the 'silence' mentioned in this verse
is hupotage (Strong's #5292), translated 'subjection' in KJV,
meaning 'to place in proper order.' ... Paul wanted to express
the idea that in the wife's desire to learn, she should respect
her husband's position over her in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3)."
None of these words explained above give forth any proof that the
case Zodhiates wants his readers to believe is the truth of the
matter (trying to say Paul is talking about wives and
husbands in the marriage relationship). His comment and idea
about if this did mean "complete silence" women would never "have
the opportunity to ask questions or increase her knowledge of the
Scriptures" is blown to shreds by Paul's words in verse 35 of 1
Cor.14. It would seem Zodhiates does not want you to see that
verse, or he himself cannot see it (what you call trying to proof
text your ideas by selecting only certain verses while completely
ignoring others on the same subject), or has conveniently
forgotten it is there.
For Paul it was quite simple, women during the "teaching,
preaching, instructional" part of the church service, were to
remain silent. They learned from what was being instructed
just like everyone else sitting in the congregation, thus being
edified in the Scriptures. If questions came to their minds
concerning anything being taught, they were to note it, and
"ask their husbands at home."
You will notice Paul did not say they were to run to the elders
after services and ask them.
Paul was indeed upholding the marriage and the family structure
as given by the Lord from the beginning. The head of the woman is
the man (1 Cor.11:3). The women with husbands were to first try
and have their husbands answer their questions concerning
spiritual matters they may have heard in services and had
questions on. How many in the church of God follow that
instruction today? In a lot of cases and in a lot of churches it
has been forgotten or has been neglected to be taught.
1 Corinthians 14
We have seen that Paul was not, after all, forbidding women
to teach during the assembly.
I submit we have not seen that at all proved by anything so far
said from the above authors of this article or from Zodhiates.
Setting aside that portion of the discussion for now, we
next need to consider the other passage of scripture most often
used in reference to women speaking in church.
In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV), Paul says, "Let your women
keep silence in the churches [ekklesia]: for it is not permitted
unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience,
as also saith the law. 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 [ekklesia]."
Was Paul lamenting the shame of seeing a woman getting up
to address the assembled group, and saying it was not permitted
for them to do so? Many people read it that way. But let's
see if we may not have read more into this verse than is actually
there. We might ask a fellow church member, "Who will be
speaking at services this week?". When we ask this, we are asking
who will stand up in front of the congregation and deliver a
message or lead a bible study. This is how we define the word
"speak" in a church setting. But is this what Paul meant when he
said women should not "speak" in the assembly?
Let's read 1 Corinthians chapter 14. Paul is giving lengthy
instructions about speaking in tongues and proper decorum in the
assembly. Notice how often he mentions speaking in this
passage: "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual
gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in
a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one
understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But
everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening,
encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies
himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like
every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you
prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in
tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.
"Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what
good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or
knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?... So it is with
you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how
will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking
into the air.
"Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world,
yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the
meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the
speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since
you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that
build up the church. For this reason anyone who speaks in a
tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I
pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful....
"I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to
instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers,
stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in
your thinking be adults.........
"So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks
in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers
come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in
while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that
he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his
heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God,
exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'
"What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together,
everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a
tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for
the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue,
two -- or at the most three -- should speak, one at a time, and
someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker
should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two
or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh
carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone
who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can
all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and
encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of
prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in
all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent
in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in
sub-mission, as the Law says. If they want to enquire about
something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is
disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of
God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has
reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually
gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the
Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
Therefore, my brothers, he eager to prophesy, and do not forbid
speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting
and orderly way" (I Corinthians 14, NIV).
TO TALK OR SPEAK?
The words emphasized above have something in common: They
are all translated from the Greek word laleo (Strong's #2980).
This word does not mean getting up to deliver a prepared
message. Rather, laleo means primarily to utter sounds with the
voice, to use the faculty of speech. "Talk" would be a better
translation than "speak."
Of course not. We can see from the context Paul is not really
talking about people preparing messages a week in advance. The
church at Corinth had many "spiritual gifts" which Paul knew very
well. That congregation had many who would speak the words of the
Lord, who would have revelations from the Lord, who could expound
the word of the Lord, right on the spot, there and then, without
doing any preparing ahead of time. So much so was this fact, that
there was no order in their services, and Paul was correcting and
instructing them concerning it. The fact remains people were
speaking with their mouths, call it "talk" or "speech" or
"instruction." Paul wanted "edification" for all present to be
the mark of the day, when the church came together into one
TO BE CONTINUED