WOMEN'S ROLE IN THE CHURCH #9
1 CORINTHIANS 14:33b-36:
WOMEN AND SPEAKING IN THE CHURCH
1. Content and Interpretations of the Passage
In 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 Paul gives a brief instruction
regarding the role of women in church, somewhat similar to the
advice found in 1 Timothy 2:9-15. The passage reads as follows:
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep
silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to
speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If
there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their
husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in
church. What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are
you the only ones it has reached? (1 Cor 14:33b-36).
This statement occurs in the context of the discussion of
how to maintain order in the worship assemblies. Beginning with
verse 26 Paul gives specific instructions on how speaking in
tongues and prophesying should be regulated in the church, so
that good order might prevail. In this contex Paul gives his
instruction regarding the silence of women in the assembly. This
passage has been the subject of considerable controversy,
especially because it appears to stand in stark contrast to 1
Corinthians 11:5 where we have seen, Paul assumes that women will
pray and prophesy in the church.
(This is a false assumption, for nothing in the context talks
about "in the church" - a good lesson is here, for many false
teaching arise from the foundation of a false premise or
assumption. Women pray and can speak any time outside of church
services. Paul is only in that section giving instruction on
"hair" length for men and women as they live their daily lives
- Keith Hunt)
Four major interpretations have been proposed to resolve the
apparent contradiction between 1 Corinthians 11:5 and 14:34.
One view maintains that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is a
post-Pauline interpolation. 49 There is no textual evidence for
such a view, though a few manuscripts tend to edit the text by
placing the passage after verse 40. 50 Except for the difficulty
of the text, there is no reason to view it as an interpolation.
(I fully agree - Keith Hunt)
A second view holds that Paul was simply inconsistent in his
application of the Gospel. 51 It is hard to believe that a man of
Paul's caliber would not have recognized his inconsistency on a
practical matter, within the space of three chapters. Such a view
undermines confidence inspiration of Scripture.
(I fully agree with Dr.Sam - Keith Hunt)
A third view assumes that Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 did not
give permission or women to pray or prophesy publicly but only
privately. Consequently, in 1 Corinthians 14 we have "an absolute
prohibition against women's speaking in the services." 52 The
weakness of this view is that there is little warrant for
believing that the praying and prophesying mentioned in 1
Corinthians 11:5 was to be done privately alone at home. Paul
saw prophecy as a gift for public use. 53 Moreover, it is hard to
believe that Paul would prohibit women from praying with their
heads uncovered in the privacy of their homes. By the same token,
it is hardly conceivable that Paul would forbid a man to pray
with his head covered when alone outdoors in the cold weather.
(Here Dr.Sam is way off beam, as he apparently never comes to
realize what Paul is teaching in the first section of 1 Cor.11.
This section has nothing to do with "church services" as does the
section section. Paul is merely teaching about length of hair for
women and men - that there is to be a difference. Long hair for
women is a glory - long hair for men is not - such was the
nteaching of common society and especially the society of Jews
who mfrom the time of Moses knew that only men under a nazarite
vow were allowed to not cut their hair. Praying and speaking the
words of God outside of a "church service" was open for women as
well as men - local in house Bible studies, or studies in a park
or by the lake etc. were open for women to partake in as much as
men. Paul in the first section in only giving judgment on the
length on hair for women and men as they serve the Lord in
praying and speaking during everyday life, outside of church
services. He then, starting in verse 17 talks about issues in
"church services" then he drops the "come together" for chapters
12 and 13 and picks it up again in chapter 14, which once more is
to do with things "come together in one place (v.23). This
understanding then has no contradiction or bearing on chapter 14
and the role of women in church services - Keith Hunt)
A fourth view maintains that chapter 14 does not contradict
chapter 11, but only restricts certain forms of talking on the
part of women, such as wives asking questions publicly of their
husbands, or women engaging in a disorderly form of speech. 54
A basic weakness of this view is that it ignores the fact
that Paul instructs women to be silent in the church not because
they are disorderly, but because they are women.
If the problem were disorderly speech, it is difficult to
see why Paul would single out women (or wives) when in the
immediate context he speaks of the confusion created by people in
general who were speaking simultaneously in tongues or as
prophets. If the problem had been one of disorder, as with
tongues or prophecy, then Paul would have simply prescribed order
(cf. vv. 27,29,31), not the silence of women. Surely not all the
people behaving in a disorderly way were women.
Second, Paul says that the same rule is followed in all the
churches of the saints. It is unlikely that the problem of noisy
women had arisen in all the churches. Finally, Paul clearly says
that "it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church" (v.35).
What is shameful is not her disorderly speech but her "speaking"
as a woman. Thus the reason for the unction must be sought not in
some kind of disorderly speech, but in the type of speaking that
would have been inappropriate for a woman in the assembly.
(I fully agree with the reasoning of Dr.Sam here - Keith Hunt)
2. Prohibition of Authoritative Speaking
The Key Phrase.
The sentence which may provide the key to understand the
meaning of the injunction is the phrase "For they are not
permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even
the law says" (1 Cor 14:34). The phrase "should be subordinate"
is often overlooked in determinin the meaning of the passage,
yet it contains an important qualification. The strong contrast
implied by the preposition "but" (alla) suggests that the
speaking that Paul has in mind is that which involves not being
subordinate. Women are forbidden a specific type of speech,
namely, that which constituted some sort of exercise of authority
and was therefore inconsistent with the subordinate role which
Paul believd women should fulfill in the church. The speech then
denied to women is a speech that is inappropriate to their
position as women or wives.
What kind of speaking by women in the church represented for
Paul a violation of the principle of women's submission to men?
Three major views have been expressed.
(We must bear in mind that this is all to do with "when you all
come together in the church" - "the whole church come together
into one place" - 1 Cor 11:18; 14:23. Outside of the official
church service women have as much right and freedon as men to
proclaim the Gospel of Christ - this I have proved in other
studies under "Church Government" on my website - Keith Hunt)
Some maintain that Paul must be referring to teaching
because "teaching is by nature an exercise of authority
and would violate the principle of submission of women to men."
This view is plausible, because as George W. Knight
"the correlation of speaking and silence found here is
in 1 Timothy 2:11-14, where what is prohibited is women
teaching men. Such an understanding seems most appropriate
for 1 Corinthians 14." 56
On the other hand, it must be admitted that there is nothing
specific in the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34 which indicates
that Paul is referring exclusively to teaching.
(2) Evaluation of Prophets.
On the basis of a rather convincing structural analysis of 1
Corinthians 14:29-36, both James Hurley and Wayne Grudem conclude
that what Paul prohibited is the participation of women in the
evaluation of the prophets. 57 The specific issue addressed in
verses 29 to 33a is the regulation of the speaking of the
prophets. The number of speakers is restricted to two or three
and the words of the prophets are to be "weighed" (literally,
"judged," or "assessed," diakrino) to ensure conformity to
The following three verses 33b to 36 are seen as an
additional instruction regarding the evaluation by women of the
message of the prophet. In the light of this, what Paul would be
saying is "Let the women keep silent in the churches during the
evaluation of prophecies." The reason why women would be
prohibited to publicly evaluate the message of a prophet is
because this would be seen as exercising a leadership role
inappropriate for women.
(I find this to be a forced meaning, for if Paul was referring to
being silent in regards to "prophet" evaluation, he surely would
have made it very clear by saying something like: "Now concerning
the evaluation of the prophet, let the women keep silent." Paul
goes on further to talk about "learning" and women are to ask
their husbands at home. So there is in Paul's inspired view a lot
more to this keeping silent that just not evaluating the prophet.
I have covered this fully and in depth in my studies on "Church
Government" on this website - Keith Hunt)
(3) Words Spoken. A
A slight variation of this view is offered by Walter
L. Liefeld who feels that the "judging" need not be restricted to
the message of prophets, but could refer to the words spoken in
general by any leader of the congregation. He finds support for
this interpretation in Paul's reference to the "law:" "as even
the law says" (v.34). He suggests that an example of such a
"law" could be Numbers 12:1-15 where Miriam and Aaron complained
against Moses. Liefeld draws the following conclusion from this
Miriam was a prophetess (like Deborah, Judges 4:4, and
Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22), but when she
countered the authority of Moses, she transgressed. She was
a leader (Mic 6:4) but should not have "judged" the prophet
Moses (Deut 18:15). So, Paul's argument might run, women in
the church can prophesy, but should not judge the words of
others. They should be "in submission" just as Miriam should
have been to the leadership of Moses. This fits well but
does not require that the limitation placed on women in
chapter 14 was with regard to the "judging" of the prophets.
(This I also find as a forced meaning to the entire passage, and
the example of Miriam was OUTSIDE of a church coming together
service, which Paul is addressing and which is his whole context.
And it also does not take into account that women are to ask
their husbands at home, which of course is taking into account
they have a husband. Once more I turn the reader to my in-depth
studies on "church government" for a full explanation of all this
- Keith Hunt)
All the above attempts to define the nature of the speaking
prohibited to women in 1 Corinthians 14:34 in terms of official
teaching, evaluation of the prophets or of the words spoken by
others, appear to contain an element of truth. (Maybe an element,
but a mighty small element it is - Keith Hunt) The notion that
some kind of "judging" may be involved is suggested by the
immediate context which speaks about weighing the words of
prophets (v.29). On the other hand, the lack of an explicit_
connection between the regulation about prophets (vv. 9-33a) and
that about women (vv.33b-36) suggests that the speaking
prohibited to women includes any form of speech inappropriate to
the subordinate role of women.
(Now Dr.Sam is getting at the bulls-eye of it all - Keith Hunt)
The key phrase that qualifies the kind of speaking by women
Paul had in mind, is "but should be subordinate" (v.34). This
phrase suggests that the speech denied to women is a kind of
speech that was seen as inappropriate to them as women or wives.
Such speech could include women speaking up in the church as
authoritative teachers of the congregation, or as judges of the
words spoken by prophets, elders, or even by their own husbands.,
It cauld also include any form of questioning that was seen as
challenging the leadership of the church. In the light of these
observations, it is preferable to understand Paul's prohibition
in broader terms, that is, inclusive of any form of speaking by
women that was seen as reflecting lack of subordination to their
husband and/or church leaders.
(Now Dr.Sam is on the button here and has come to see the
aforementioned ideas are lacking and are forced understandings to
the whole context and question of women speaking in church
services - Keith Hunt)
Speech and Authority.
To appreciate the significance of Paul's ruling, it is
important to note that in most cultures, including the Jewish
culture of Paul's time, people were expected to speak in a manner
appropriate to their position and status. For example, as Stephen
B. Clark points out, "a trained disciple in first century
Palestine would be very reluctant to voice an opinion in the
presence of his rabbi or any other rabbi; he would even be
reluctant to intervene in a discussion when his rabbi was
present." 59 I discovered to my surprise that the same custom
still held true in most of the classes I took at the Pontifical
Gregorian University in Rome. Questions were to be asked not
publicly in the class but privately to the teacher after class.
Refraining from asking questions in class was seen as a sign of
respect for the authority of the teacher.
Disciples, wives and children were expected to hold their
speech in a public gathering where teachers or the heads of the
households were discussing issues of concern to the community.
These men represented in public the concerns of their household
members to whom they would later explain or expand any question
discussed. 60 Presumably this is why Paul urges women to ask
their questions not publicly in the assembly; but privately to
their husbands at home (v.35). By so doing they were showing
respect for the headship role of their husbands. On the con-
trary, if a woman insisted on presenting her own viewpoint,
irrespective of the presence of her husband or church
leaders, that, according to Paul, was "shameful" (v.35), because
it violate the "law" (v.34) regarding the subordination of women.
(Amen - that is the truth of the nitty-gritty of it all - Keith
3. Basis and Scope of Paul's Ruling
Cultural or Biblical Law?
To validate the authority of his ruling, Paul appeals to
"the law:" "For they are not permitted to speak, but should be
subordinate, as even the law says" (v.34).
To which "law" is Paul referring? Some argue that Paul is
referring to cultural Jewish and Gentile laws that restricted the
public participation of women." 61 This view is discredited by
the fact that the term "law" (nomos) is never used in Paul's
writings with reference to cultural customs. Moreover, as we have
seen in our analysis of 1 Timothy 2:13 and 1 Corinthians 11:8-9,
Paul grounds his rulings regarding women not on cultural customs,
but on Biblical revelation.
The problem is to figure out which Old Testament "law" Paul
had in mind. Obviously he could not be thinking of an Old
Testament law requiring women to be silent at all times in
worship, because such a law does NOT exist. The Old Testament
shows the opposite to be true (Ex 15:20-21; 2 Sam 6:15, 19; Ps
148:12). The "the law" Paul had in mind is most likely the Old
Testament principle of leadship and subordination which we
discussed in chapter 1. Some commentators think that Paul was
thinking of Genesis 3:16 ("Your husband ... shall rule over you")
when he spoke of the "law." 62
This is most unlikely because the New Testament never
appeals to the "curses" of the Fall as a basis for Christian
conduct or teaching. We have seen that in those other passages
where Paul gives instructions on the roles of women, he
consistently appeals to the relation of Adam and Eve before and
not after the Fall, that is, to Genesis 2 and not Genesis 3 (cf.
1 Tim 2:13; 1 Cor 11:8-9).
(Indeed to give emphasis to Dr. Sam's thought, there is NO
SPECIFIC LAW in the OT to which Paul is sending his readers, it
is just NOT there. Hence it can only be as Dr.Sam points out, the
principle of the overall law of the OT regarding headship of the
family before the fall of mankind into sin - Keith Hunt)
Since the law to which Paul appeals in the parallel or
analogous passages (1 Cor 11:8-9; 1 Tim 2:13) is the order of
creation of Genesis 2, we can safely presume that the latter is
what Paul has in view in his reference to the "law" in 1 Corin-
thians 14:34. This means Paul's appeal to "the law" need not
have any particular text in mind. It is sufficient for him to
remind women of the headship ordination principle that God had
established in the Old Testament, a principle still applicable to
the participation of women in the worship service (1 Cor 11:5).
At this point it is necessary to distinguish between a
permanent Biblical principle and its cultural, time-bound
Refraining from asking questions in the assembly was the
customary way for women to show subordination to their husbands
and/or church leaders. Thus, "not asking questions in the
assembly" was a custom subservient to the principle "[women]
should be subordinate" (1 Cor 14:34). While the principle is
permanent, its application is culturally conditioned. Yet in
every culture the principle is to be expressed in the home and in
the church through appropriate customs.
This interpretation is consistent with Paul's concern to
maintain an authority structure in the home and in the church,
where men are called to exercise responsible and sacrificial
leadership, and women to respond supportively. We have seen in
the course of our study that Paul repeatedly emphasizes the
importance of respecting the headship-subordination principle:
"the head of a woman is her husband" (1 Cor 11:3); "Wives, be
subject to your husbands, as to the Lord" (Eph 5:22; cf. Col
3:18); "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I
permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men" (1 Tim
2:1112); "train the young women ... to be submissive to the
husbands" (Titus 2:4-5).
Harmony Between 1 Corinthians 11:5 and 14:34.
In the light of the headship-subordination principle, it is
understandable why Paul would deny to women an authoritative
speech function in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-34. To allow the latter
would have undermined the above principle. On the other hand,
Paul readily allowed women to pray and prophecy in 1 Corinthians
11:5, because these activities did not involve the assumption of
a position of authority over men. (And it is important to add, in
the setting of an official "church coming together service."
Outside of that situation women had every freedom as men to teach
and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in local Bible studies in homes
etc. and also in the written word, which is more applied for
today than in any age of the past, with the invention of the
printing press and now the Internet - Keith Hunt)
Prophesying at Corinth was apparently understood in the
broad sense of communicating to the congregation a message of
exhortation from God. This ministry did not involve assuming the
leadership role of the church for a least two reasons.
First, Paul suggests that the prophetic ministry of
"upbuilding and encouragement and consolation" (1 Cor 14:3) was
open to all: "For you can all prophesy one by one Cor 14:31).
Second, each member of the congregation could question and
challenge the speech of the prophets: "Let two or three prophets
speak, and let the others weigh what is said" (1 Cor 14:29).
The implication of the Greek word "diakrino," here translated
"weigh what is said," is that members were to listen critically,
sifting the good from the bad. It is hard to imagine that an Old
Testament prophet like Isaiah would have invited the people to
critically evaluate his message and to accept only what they
viewed as sound. This suggests, as Wayne A. Grudem notes, "that
prophets at Corinth were not thought by Paul to speak with a
divine authority of actual words." 63
This conclusion is supported by verse 36: "What! Did the
word of God orginate from you, or are you the only ones it has
This statement implies that the word of God had come forth
from Paul and the other apostles, thus even prophets in the local
churches were to be subject to apostolic directives. In the light
of this observation there is no contradiction between the
prophetic speaking of women in 1 Corinthians 11:5 and the
prohibition of their speaking authoritatively in 1 Corinthians
14:34, since the former did not involve the latter.
(The main point is, and I'm not sure if Dr.Sam is really getting
it. 1 Cor.11:5 had nothing to do with "official church services"
on the other had 1 Cor 11:17-34 and chapter 14 have EVERYTHING to
do with official church services. There is no contradition
because the two teachings of Paul are not the same context - one
is outside church services the other is inside church services -
Wives or Women?
Is Paul's directive in 1 Corinthians 14:34 intended for all
women or only for wives? Verse 35 refers explicitly to wives: "If
there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their
husbands at home." This statement has led some to conclude that
Paul's ruling applies exclusively to wives and not inclusively to
all women 64. In discussion of 1 Corinthians 11:3 we have shown
that for Paul the husband-wife relationship is the paradigm for
the man-woman relationship in general. Married women, which made
up the majority of women in the congregation, served as a model
for women in general. Stephen B. Clark illustrates this point
with a fitting analogy:
If Paul had forbidden children to speak in public as an
expression of their subordination to their parents, no one
would hesitate to apply the rule to orphans as well as to
children with parents. The parent-child relationship
would be the normal case, but the rule would also apply to
children with surrogate parents. Similarly, unmarried women
would be expected to adhere to a rule for married women. 65
Women and Spiritual Gifts.
Note should be taken of the fact that Paul's ruling
concerning women in the church in l Corinthians 14 is given in
the context of a chapter dealing with spiritual gifts.
Apparently some people claimed then, as now, that if a
person has received a spiritual gift, then he or she can freely
use it in the church without restrictions. A question often asked
is, who has the right to deny to a woman the opportunity of
serving as a pastor/teacher of a congregation if the Holy Spirit
has given her such a gift?
In this chapter on spiritual gifts, Paul shows, first of
all, that an unrestricted use of gifts results in confusion and
disorder. The latter is contrary to God's will, "for God is not a
God of confusion but of peace" (1 Cor 14:33).
Second; the apostle refutes the apparent contention that
unless women are allowed to speak as the authoritative leaders of
the congregation, then the church may be opposing God and His
Spirit. Paul responds that that such an exercise of that
spiritual gift is contrary to God's law, that is, to the
principle which is grounded in the order of creation. Therefore,
spiritual gifts are gifts are given to be used, not contrary to,
but in harmony withhe revealed will of God. In other places Paul
explains how women can use their spiritual gifts with propriety
by praying and prophes the church (1 Cor 11:5) and by teaching
women and children (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Tim 5:14).
(Again 1 Cor.11:5 is using what God has given you via the Holy
Spirit outside the official church service - hence an open field
to teach and via the mouth or the written word the Gospel of
Christ, as well as an important function as to teaching other
women and children. And in a society where a woman could be at
home, and not having to be in the outside work force, as the man
and husband would be, this gives her even more time than the man
to teach and proclaim the Gospel. So ladies, do not feel bad
about having to keep silent for maybe 1 and 1/2 hours a week in a
church service - Keith Hunt)
No Independent Norms.
Paul closes his instructions about the "speaking" of women
in the church, saying: "What! Did the word of God originate with
you, or are you the only ones it has reached?" (1 Cor 14:36).
These words are directed not merely to women but to both men
and women, as the masculine plural form of monous ("only ones")
indicates. In this closing statement Paul challenges the right of
the Corinthian church to establish norms for church worship which
are contrary to the ones he has laid down, namely, that women
should, in a qualified sense, keep silent in the churches.
Paul's direct challenge ("What! Did the word of God
originate with you?") suggests that the Corinthian church had
adopted the practice of allowing women to speak and teach
authoritatively as the leaders of the congregation. The apostle
challenges their course of action by reminding them that they
were not the source and definition of Christian principles and
practices. On the contrary, they should coform to what was done
"in all the churches of the saints" (v.33).
To strengthen the authority of his instructions given in the
whole chapter, Paul appeals to any one who regards himself as "a
prophet, or spiritual" to acknowledge that what he has written
"is a command of the Lord" (v.37). This forceful statement makes
it clear that Paul viewed the teachings of the whole chapter,
including those concerning women, as applying not only to the
local situation of the Corinthian church but to Christian
churches in general. This means that Paul's teachings on the role
of women in the church are to be accepted as an integral part
of God's revelation found in Scripture.
(And that is an AMEN! So is the will of God, and as Paul
elsewhere said, "Have the mind of Christ in you." - Keith Hunt)
We asked at the beginning of this chapter: How does the
principle of headship and subordination relate to the role of
women in the church? Our examination of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1
Corinthians 14:33b-36 has shown that the application of this
principle in the church requires that women not be appointed "to
teach" (1 Tim 2:12) or "to speak" (1 Cor 14:34) authoritatively
as the leader of the congregation. We have found that this
Pauline instruction derives, not from the cultural conventions of
his time which restricted the participation of women in public
gatherings, but rather from Paul's understanding of the
distinctive roles for men and women which God established at
Paul felt that the creational pattern of male headship and
female subordination in the home and in the church, requires that
women should not exercise spiritual oversight for the flock. He
rounded his view on the relationship of man and woman before,
and after, the results of the Fall. He did not appeal to local
or cultura factors such as the dorderly conduct of some women,
their relative lack of education or the negative impact on
outsiders of the appointment of women as leaders in the church.
The nature of Paul's arguments leaves no room to make his
instructions of only local and time-bound application.
The exclusion of women from the teaching and leadership
office in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 must not
be construed to mean that Paul excludes women from active
participation in the ministry of the church. We have seen in
chapter 2 that Paul commends a significant number of women for
working hard with him in the missionary outreach of the church.
However, women ministered in the church, not as appointive
leaders, but in supportive roles such as "fellow-workers,"
deaconesses, and prophets who edified and encouraged the
To better appreciate why only certain men and no women were
appointed in the apostolic church to serve as pastors/elders/
overseers of the congregation, we shall consider in the next
chapter the New Testament understanding of the role of the
NOTES ON CHAPTER VI
1. Some of the studies which view 1 Timothy 2:9-15 as limiting or
prohibiting the full participation of women in the ministry of
the church, are: George. W. Knight III, "Authenteo in Reference
to Women in 1 Timothy 2:12," New Testament Studies 30 (1984):
143-157; Douglas J. Moo, "The Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:1115:
A Rejoinder," Trinity Journal 2 (1981): 198-222; Carroll D.
Osburn, "Authenteo (1 Timothy 2:12)," Restoration Quarterly 25
(1983): 1-12; A. J. Panning, "Authentein--A Word Study,"
Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly 78 (1981): 185-191; B. W. Powers,
"Women in the Church: The Application of 1 Timothy 2:8-15,"
Interchange 17 (1975): 55-59; Susan T. Foh, Women and the Word of
God (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 1979), pp.122-128; James B.
Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective (Grand Rapids,
Michigan, 1981), pp.193-228.
2. Some of the studies which view 1 Timothy 2:9-15 as
supporting the full participation of women in the ministry of the
church, are: J. J. Davis, "Ordination of Women Reconsidered:
Discussion of 1 Timothy 2:8-15," Presbyterian Communique 12
(November/December 1979): 1-15; N. J. Hommes, "Let Women Be
Silent in the Church: A Message Concerning the Worship Service
and the Decorum to Be Observed by Women," Calvin Theological
Journal 4 (1969): 5-22; Catherine C. Kroeger, "Ancient Heresies
and a Strange Greek Verb," Reformed Journal 29 (March 1979):
12-15; "1 Timothy 2:12--A Classicist's View," in Women, Authority
and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen (Downers Grove, Illinois,
1986), pp.225-244; Philip B. Payne, "Libertarian Women in
Ephesus: A Response to Douglas J. Moo's Article: '1 Timothy
2:11-15: Meaning and Significance,"' Trinity Journal 2 (1981):
169-197; David M. Scholer, "Exegesis: 1 Timothy 2:8-15,"
Daughters of Sarah 1 (May 1975): 7-8; also "l Timothy 2:9-15 and
the Place of Women in the Church's Ministry" in Women, Authority
and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen (Downers Grove, Illinois
1986), pp. 193-224; Aida D. B. Spencer, "Eve at Ephesus (Should
Women Be Ordained As Pastors According to the First Letter to
Timothy 2:11-15?)," Journal of the Evangelical Theological
Society 17 (1974): 215-222.
3. See, for example, Rom 1:27; 1 Cor 15:25, 53; 2 Cor 5:10; 1
Thess 4:1; 1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:6, 24; Titus 1:7, 11).
4. James B. Hurley (n. 1), p.196.
5. David M. Scholer, "1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the Place of Women in
the Church's Ministry" (n. 2), pp.200, 218. The same view is
strongly defended by Philip B. Payne (n. 2), pp. 190-194;
Catherine C. Kroeger, "1 Timothy 2:12 -- A Classicist's View,"
(n. 2), pp.225-244.
6. I am indebted for some of the criteria to Douglas J. Moo, "The
Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15: A Rejoinder" (n. 1), pp.
7. Carroll D. Osburn (n. 1), p.11.
8. Susan T. Foh (n. 1), p.123.
9. For an extensive documentation of this point, see David M.
Scholer, "Women's Adornment: Some Historical and Hermeneutical
Observations on the New Testament Passages," Daughters of Sarah
6, (January/February 1980):3-6.
10. David M. Scholer, "l Timothy 2:9-15 and the Place of Women in
the Church's Ministry" (n. 2), pp. 201-202; see also n. 9.
11. Philip B. Payne (n. 2), p. 191; see also David M. Scholer, "1
Timothy 2:9-15 and the Place of Women in the Church's Ministry,"
(n. 2), p.202.
12. Philip B. Payne (n. 2), p.192.
13. Aida Spencer, "Eve at Ephesus," The Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society 17 (1974): 217.
14. Philip B. Payne offers very compelling reasons for
translating hesychia as "quiet" and not "silence" (n. 2), pp.
15. James B. Hurley (n. 1), p.200.
16. N. J. Hommes, "Let Women Be Silent in Church," Calvin
Theological Journal 4 (April 1969): 7.
17. Douglas J. Moo sees in verses 11 and 12 a chiastic structure
(inverted parallelism) with the word "submission" (hypotage)
functioning as the pivotal point of the verses ("l Timothy
2:11-15: Meaning and Significance," Trinity Journal 1 :
18. James B. Hurley (n. 1), p.201.
19. Philip B. Payne (n. 2), p. 172; see also Grant Osborne,
"Hermeneutics and Women in the Church," Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society 20 (1977):347.
20. David M. Scholer (n. 10), p. 205; also Grant Osborne (n. 18),
p. 346; Richard and Joice Boldrey, Chauvinist or Feminist? Paul's
View of Women (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1976), p. 62; Philip B.
Payne (n. 2), pp. 173-175; Catherine C. Kroeger (n. 2), pp.
21. David M. Scholer (n. 10), p.203.
22. Ibid., p.205; the same view is defended by Philip B. Payne
(n. 2), p.175. A somewhat similar conclusion is reached by
Catherine Clark Kroeger who interprets 1 Timothy 2:12 as follows:
"I do not allow a woman to teach nor to represent herself as the
originator or source of man" ("I Timothy 2:12 -- A Classicist's
View" [n. 2], p.232).
23. George W. Knight III, "Authenteo in Reference to Women in 1
Timothy 2:12," New Testament Studies 30 (January 1984): 152. The
same view is expressed by Fritz Zerbst, The Office of Woman in
the Church (St. Louis, Missouri, 1953), p.53 (Zerbst gives an
extensive list of other authors who hold the same view); J. N.
D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (London, 1963),
p.68; James B. Hurley (n. 1), p. 202; Stephen B. Clark, Man and
Woman in Christ (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1980), pp.197-198.
24. George W. Knight III (n. 23), p.152.
25. See 1 Tim 4:6, 13, 16; 2 Tim 3:14-17; 4:1-4; Titus 1:9; 2:1,
26. Karl H. Rengstorf, "Didasko," Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1974),
vol. 2, p. 147; also Douglas J. Moo, "l Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning
and Significance" (n. 1), pp.
65-66; "The Interpretation of Timothy 2:11-15: A Rejoinder" (n.
1), pp.200-202; R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul's
Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to
Titus, and to Philemon (Minneapolis, 1937), p.564; David P.
Scaer, "May Women Be Ordained as Pastors?" The Springfielder 36-2
(September, 1972): 104; Susan T. Foh (n. 1), p.125.
27. J. Keir Howard, "Neither Male nor Female: An Examination of
the Status of Women in the New Testament," The Evangelical
Quarterly 55, 1 (January, 1983): 41.
28. Aida Spencer, (n. 2), p. 219; Philip B. Payne (n. 2), pp.
29. Douglas J. Moo provides a most compelling critical refutation
of this interpretation in ("The Interpretation of 1 Timothy
2:11-15: A Rejoinder," Trinity Journal 2 (1981): 202-204.
30. Paul K. Jewett, Man as Male and Female (Grand Rapids,
Michigan, 1975), p.57.
31. Virginia Mollenkott, Women, Men and the Bible (Nashville,
1977), p.99; Arlene Swidler, Woman in a Man's Church (New York,
1972), pp.34-35; Karl Schelkle, The Spirit and the Bride
(Collegeville, Minnesota, 1979), p.90.
32. Letha Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty, All We're Meant to Be: A
Biblical Approach to Women's Liberation (Waco, Texas, 1974), p.
28; see also Paul K. Jewett (30), pp. 126-127; Karen Hoover,
"Creative Tension in 1 Timothy 2:11-15," Brethren Life 22 (1977):
164; Margaret Howe, Women and Church Leadership (Grand Rapids,
Michigan, 1982), pp.46-47.
33. Elizabeth Fiorenza, in The Liberating Word: A Guide to
Nonsexist Interpretation of Scripture, ed. Letty Russel
(Philadelphia, 1976), p.49.
34. Paul K. Jewett (n. 30), p.61; Francis Cleary, "Women in the
New Testament," Biblical Theology Bulletin 10 (1980): 81; Donald
Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles: an Introduction and Commentary
(Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1957), p.77; H. P. Liddon, Explanatory
Analysis of St. Paul's First Epistle to Timothy (Minneapolis,
35. Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ (Ann Arbor,
Michigan, 1980), p.204.
37. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D.
C., 1957), vol. 7, p.296; see also George W. Knight III, The
Role Relationship of Men and Women (Chicago, 1985), p.32.
38. Douglas J. Moo (n. 17), p.70.
39. See, for example, Ida Ramig, Exclusion of Women from the
Priesthood: Divine Law or Sex Discrimination? (Metuchen, 1976),
pp.111-116; Sister Albertus Magnus McGrath, O. P., What a Modern
Catholic Believes about Women (Chicago, 1972), pp.36-37.
40. This translation has been adopted also by Moffat and NASB.
41. See C. Spicq, Lees Epitres Pastorales (Paris, 1969), p.380.
42. Philip B. Payne (n. 2), p.; Aida Spencer (n. 2), pp.219-220;
H. P. Liddon (n. 34), pp.38,39; Walter Lock, A Critical and
Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (Edinburgh, 1924),
p.33; Pace Don Williams, The Apostle Paul and Women in the
Church (Van Nuys, California, 1977), p.113.
43. This view is expressed by Douglas J. Moo (n. 17), pp.71-72;
Robert Falconer, "1 Timothy 2:14-15. Interpretative Notes,"
Journal of Biblical Literature 66 (1941): 376-378; J. N. D.
Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles
(London, 1963), p.69; C. Spicq (n. 41), pp.382-383; Herman
Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids,
Michigan 1975), p.309.
44. For information on the improved social status of women in the
Roman world in New Testament times, see Mary Lefkowitz and
Maureen Fant, Women in Greece and Rome (Toronto, 1977); J. P. V.
D. Balsolon, Roman Women (London, 1962). For a brief treatment,
see Elisabeth Meier Tetlow, Women and Ministry in the New
Testament: Called to Serve (Lanham, Maryland, 1980), pp.14-20.
45. Philip B. Payne (n. 2), p. 190; see also David M. Scholer (n.
10), pp. 195-205; Catherine Clark Kroeger (n. 22), pp.226-232.
46. Carroll D. Osborn (n. 1), p.11.
47. Acts of Paul 41, 42, in New Testament Apocrypha, eds. Edgar
Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher (Philadelphia, 1965), vol. 2,
p.364; Tertullian challenges the use that some made of Thecla's
example to defend the right of women to teach and to baptize, by
pointing out that the presbyter who fabricated the story was
convicted and removed from office (On Baptism 17).
48. The suggestion is made by Martin Dibelius and Hans
Conzelmann, The Pastoral Epistles, Hermeneia (Philadelphia,
49. See, William O. Walker, Jr., "The 'Theology of Women's
Place' and the 'Paulinist' Tradition," Semeia 28 (1983): 101-112;
E. Schweizer, "The Service of Worship: An Exposition of 1
Corinthians 14," Interpretation 13 (1959): 402ú; Arnold
Bittlinger, Gifts and Graces: A Commentary on 1
Corinthians 12-14 (London, 1967), p.110f.; Hans Conzelmann, 1
Corinthians, Hermeneia (Philadelphia, 1975), p.246.
50. For a discussion see Wayne A. Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy
in 1 Corinthians (Washington, D. C., 1982), p.241.
51. Paul K. Jewett (n. 30), p. 115; Hans Conzelman (n. 49), p.
52. F. W. Grosheide, Commentary on the First Epistle to the
Corinthians (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983), p. 342; cf. George
Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids,
Michigan, 1974), p.528.
53. For a discussion of prophecy as a gift for public use, see
Wayne A. Grudem (n. 50), p.181.
54. Among those who believe that the issue is disorderly speech
are R. Banks, "Paul and Women's Liberation," Interchange 18
(1976): 94; Letha Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty (n. 32), pp.68-69;
D. Pape, In Search of God's Ideal Woman (Downers Grove, Illinois,
55. L. Birney, The Role of Women in the New Testament Church
(Pinner, 1971), p.15.
56. George W. Knight III (n. 37), pp.24-35.
57. James B. Hurley (n. 1), pp.188-193; Wayne A. Grudem (n.
58. Walter L. Liefeld, "Women, Submission and Ministry in 1
Corinthians," in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera
Mickelsen (Downers Grove, Illinois, 1986), p.150.
59. Stephen B. Clark (n. 35), p.187.
60. See discussion in Stephen B. Clark (n. 35), pp.186-187.
61. See Walter L. Liefeld (n. 58), p.149.
62. See C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the
Corinthians (London, 1968), p.330; Leon Morris, The First
Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (London, 1958), p.201.
63. Wayne A. Grudem (n. 50), p.73. See Grudem's analysis of the
prophetic speech at Corinth on pp.58-73.
64. See, for example, E. Earle Ellis, "The Silenced Wives of
Corinth," in New Testament Textual Criticism, eds. Eldon Jay Epp
and Gordon D. Fee (Oxford, 1981), p.217; Gilbert Bilezikian,
Beyond Sex Roles (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985), p.149.
65. Stephen B. Clark (n. 35), p.187.
To be continued