Friday, August 10, 2012

Women "Silent" in Church

Again this morning, I was looking for something other than a powder keg scripture that has been used to suppress women in church…but I decided instead to research it a little…since I really didn’t know what to do with it. I’ve always assumed that it was a scripture for THE WOMEN in Corinth to remain silent… was a contextual or cultural problem within that community.  I felt that women like Jen Hatmaker were free to teach at ANC....simply because she was a good teacher...and scripture like 1 Corinthians didn't apply because of the contextual nature of the scripture. I believe now...I was mistaken. 

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

We actually had someone leave ANC a few weeks ago when we advertised that Jen Hatmaker would be teaching (which she wasn’t able to). They used this scripture to point out that women had no place speaking in church. When in actuality it says just the opposite. Bear with me.

When we read the book of 1 Corinthians….notice in places that Paul is responding via letter….to a corresponding letter that the church wrote to him. 
1 Corinthians 7:1 "Now for the matters you wrote about”
1 Corinthians 8:1 "Now concerning things offered unto idols..."
1 Corinthians 12:1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts..."

Unless we think that Paul is out of his mind…he can’t be saying two opposite things within the same scripture.
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (Clearly sisters are not to remain silent)
29 Two or three prophets should speak (did not say male prophets)
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. (again sisters be eager to prophesy….or speak truth…to edify the body)

In verses 34-35, Paul actually used their words (from their letter to him) in his response letter when he addressed some of their concerns and said they were foolish and they weren't of God. So 1 Corinthians 34-35 aren’t Paul’s words but whoever wrote the letter to Paul.

Okay…but there is one other scripture;
1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says, "I do not allow a woman (wife) to teach...Nor to usurp authority over the man (husband)."

The subject in Timothy is not regarding “men and women”, but the Greek translate these words “husbands and wives”. To “usurp authority” one must go against the will of another. When the husband recognizes the anointing on his wife to teach, all he has to do is allow her to do so. Then, there is no authority usurped, it is granted. So any man (not the husband) of the wife, has no authority over that woman (or the church that encourages or allows it) whether she teaches or not. She is not usurping power over men by teaching them, the only authority that is over the body is that of God. 

I believe Paul clearly was supportive of the anointing of women to teach the word of God or prophesy, in their home or in a church setting as biblical. Thoughts? 

God your Word is so awesome. You know were the author of it. Continue to teach us, correct us and yes...even rebuke us. Continue to reveal yourself and your heart through it. Amen. 


ThinkingSideways said...

I would have to say that I think that this is a great entry. At church, there was a bit of a discussion about 1st Timothy 2:12, because we are preaching through 1st Timothy. Boy, was THAT a discussion.

Bonar Crump said...

Forget conventional "church" wisdom. If you want to quell the influence of women in your church, then shouldn't you be doing the same thing in your own home? Yet another means of separating "church" from cultural practicality... perpetuation of an "us vs. them" mentality. I wouldn't stop to pee on a man engulfed in fire if he was the kind of misogynistic asshat convinced that women shouldn't speak or ask questions in any situation or setting.

Anonymous said...

place your readings into their cultural, not American context, you understanding will change significantly.

A Wilson said...

The bible doesn't change although when Jesus Christ came and walked upon this earth he made some changes. He did not demolish the old testament, but he made changes that people could live by. His message was new and profound and consist of love and understanding. There are many female preachers and teachers today. We have to work our own salvation and there is nothing saying a woman cannot speak in church.

Antony Nz said...

Woman must not speak during church.

Its as simple as that. If you catch a woman speaking during church make sure that she no her role!

Now you can try all you want to fish out some other part of the bible that contradicts this. But your scraping the bottom of the bucket here my friend.

By admitting that its OK for woman to speak during the church you are admitting the bible is full of contradiction.

Or at least admitting that it has been written in a way that it incredibly open to interpretation.

I hope you allow my post to be seen and i would be interested in any feed back.

p.s delete the advertising spam.

Brad maddox said...


Truth lover said...

Great points. I had never seen the 1 Corinthian 12 section like that. I have always been intrigued by Debra in the Old Testament. Actually there were 7 prophetesses in the OT, There's a woman apostle in Romans 16 (Junia) Enjoyed your post

Tray said...

You made no points. What is your argument other than that's what you've always heard in your church growing up? And might I ask where are you from and what kind of church?

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled onto your blog and thought I would share with you what the pastor of my church taught about this. He is very good about researching the history behind the bible and putting the information into the context of the time it was written. About this passage he taught that at the time Corinth was a major trade city, and the language that was spoken in Corinth was different from the trade language at the time. Since at the time it was the secular culture of the world that dictated that only the men worked and women would take care of the house (and sometimes take up small trades, sewing, pottery, etc) only men knew the trade language. Also the tradition in the church at the time was that women and men would sit at opposite sides of the church, and the message would be in the trade language. Since the women did not understand and it was rude at the time to talk to a man that was not her husband, all the women would talk over the service to ask what the men what was being taught. This obviously would disrupt the service and cause confusion. Which is why the bible advised against it, and taught that the women should wait till they were home to have the husband tell of the message.

Hope this was helpful

OmoUnice said...

Wow, great knowledge to learn and understand. goods words, the truth is in the word of God.

Jeremiah Zarn said...

I found your post very enlightening. If your Greek is correct then you have alleviated some concerns of mine with most of today's modern churches.

I pray God continues to bless you and the people that your life impacts.

A Lady's Life said...

Life was much different back then and so were the people.It was harder to survive so methods had to be produced to ensure survival.
This does not mean God intended women to be below men.Women are free to do what ever they wish in life, as do men.However if they decide to have children, children require both parents who support each other to raise them in a loving environment. Children need a mother to watch over them and a Dad to watch over every one.
Children are Gods' gift/blessing to us all and should always be treasured.Adults must sacrifice of themselves for their children.They did not ask to be born so if they are, it's because you are ready to take on the responsibility .