PAUL’S STATEMENT STANDS! (1 Corinthians 14) –
In fact, in many translations, including the Greek rendition available in the Parallel New Testament, part b of verse 33 is connected to verse 34, making the statement even stronger:
[33 b.] As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God’s people),  the women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says. [Gen. 3:16].
“Women” is translated “wives” by some modern translations, though the same word is rendered “women” in other passages.
1 Timothy 5:2 commands younger “women” (same word) to marry. Try “wives” there!
But even if it were “wives”, the command is generally disobeyed.
And why the word “your” in verse one?
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly. but exhort him as if he were your father…”
The letter is addressed to the church. So then, the “your” refers to that church, not to the men of that church only!
Women in Church Should Be “QUIET”.
They are not permitted to speak and permission is denied because… God’s original standard was set down in Genesis, not because of some local restraint placed on them by woman-hater Paul.
In Paul’s mind, the opposite of female authority is female submission; not submission to male dominance but submission (subject to) God’s authority in the relationship (Ephesians 5:21, 27).
1 Corinthians 14:35 mentions a possible incident that may have given rise to Paul’s instruction, but this doesn’t in any way affect the strong language in verse 34.
I think that it is possible, women were shaming their husbands by raising their voice in the assembly; boldly questioning the speakers and ignoring the fact that their own husbands could supply them the knowledge needed. At least this is the gist of the “myth” that has been created to make this verse understandable to us. Although, I’m not aware of any historical proof-text from which this story is raised.
Paul tells them that such action is not called for, that women are to be SILENT.
He settles the Corinthian issue, but in so doing, it should settle our issue too, if we will hear him.
SILENCE means no more questions! It follows that this also means…no more TEACHING!
If the simple asking of a question is met with such shock from the man of God, with what spiritual rage would a full-blown lesson be met?
KEEP SILENT. It’s shameful! Is this not clear?
Much of the New Testament was written to correct a local issue. But for the most part, we don’t shrug off the teachings because they were first written to the “early” Christians. We should assume the eternality of the Word from God. Why not here?
Paul goes on to ask, (1 Corinthians 14, verse 36, paraphrased)..
‘Are you the originators of Scripture? Are you in charge here? Is it to be your feelings and experiences that will determine the practices and doctrine of the church of God?’
More than that! (verse 37)…‘even if there be among you a “godly” person who basks in his great revelations from Heaven, let him come down out of the clouds long enough to realize that we’re dealing with the Prophet Moses and the Apostle Paul.’
(Verse 38), ‘Of course, if you’d rather be ignorant, go ahead, but to your own peril.’
But doesn’t Paul contradict himself here?
1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul earlier pointed out the phenomenon of the praying and prophesying woman.
“See, women DID speak out in the assembly!”
It’s good for us that Paul himself wrote both of the passages chapters apart, or men would be pitting Paul against other church leaders. As it is, we need only to harmonize the thoughts of one man, convinced he didn’t contradict himself.
In the first place, it’s hard to prove that the woman mentioned here is praying or prophesying in a public assembly. The context is again the man and woman relationship (verse 3), and could be easily seen as the area of the home.
Just a note in passing here, that people coming to this passage may be looking for relief for the poor restricted women, and only find more restriction (vss. 5-6); her liberty in the form of the head covering, another taboo topic to Western preaching.
In Paul’s letter to his traveling companion and young minister in training, Timothy, Paul gives instructions as to the setup of churches governmental structure.
Before stating the qualifications for a man who would be the church official servant, Paul specifically spells out the role of women, or “wives” if you prefer:
1 Timothy 2:9 (AMP):
 Also [I desire] that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with [elaborate] hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing.
Then being consistent with his word in Corinth and God’s Word to Adam and Eve, he demands silence and submission.
He goes a step further here with the step that’s implied to the Corinthian Church:
A WOMAN IS NEVER TO…
1. teach a man, or…
2. have authority over a man.
His reasons are not cultural, historical, or temporary. It is not “wicked Corinth,” as some love to explain. No, every age is wicked, including our own, as we almost certainly have entered the great apostasy.
That said, Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus (1:3), and it is here addressed. And, his reasons are theological, Scriptural, and based in the origins of ALL things:
#1. ADAM was formed first.
#2. WOMAN sinned first, bringing the natural order under the Law.
I realize that these words are painful to the modern ear. This is a “hard saying” to them. But those who get their arms around hard sayings should allow it to make hardened soldiers of Christ, and not allow REBELLION to spoil the perfect work of God.
Would this APOSTLE approve of the present set-up of our churches? Would he favor women on the ruling board of a congregation? How about women teaching in our adult Bible class? I think not!
“How about all these women the Bible talks about who were great “religious” leaders?
Probably the most prominent of Old Covenant women that comes to mind is DEBORAH.
If there’s a woman in the Bible that gives any support to “female leadership” advocates, it’s this incredible prophetess. And yet, with close examination of what the Bible actually records, reveals that the entire extent of her work was the receiving of God’s WISDOM miraculously for the people who came to her as she “would sit under the palm tree.” This is how she “JUDGED” the nation through the WISDOM OF GOD, not the arm of fleshly power. Here is not an exalted elder. Here was a simple handmaiden of the Lord who received His messages and passed them on. She is never seen TEACHING in an assembly and taking AUTHORITY over men. At the most, she claims for herself in the battles won, that she was “a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7).
There’s a PRINCIPLE established in DEBORAH, not broken:
In all visible ways, MEN must lead the people of God. But this special woman of God teaches us that women will be used to receive revelation from God through PROPHECY, since gender is not a factor when the fullness of God is present.
This PRINCIPLE helps us understand more fully Paul’s seeming “contradiction” in 1 Corinthians 14.
There, women are commanded to BE SILENT for all normal functions of the Church. BUT, when God raises up a woman to speak (chapter 11), when He fulfils the prophecy of Joel to pour out His Spirit on His “handmaidens,” and the prophecy of the Word of the Lord, or pray empowered by that same Spirit, let not any take issue with them!
After Deborah judges, the kings rule Israel. No women are seen RULING the kingdom except in gross disobedience (Jezebel).
IN THE LIFE OF JESUS…
In the life of Jesus Himself, it’s only with the most difficult “stretches” we see any women, even His mother, raised to “AUTHORITY” by His command.
- Women give money to His ministry.
- Women support their apostle husbands.
- Women tell the story of Jesus to their neighbors.
- Women praise Him and weep for Him and women see His resurrected Body and announce such…
BUT no woman rules or teaches any man in all the Gospels.
In the history of our Church, the Book of Acts, one must prove or lose their case dealing with church “issues.”
If you can’t DISCERN even a single female teacher or leader there, it becomes apparent that current female leadership is being driven, promoted by, another spirit.
We have run out of history!
The godly women of the Bible… ALL submitted to their husbands (Ephesians 5:24). And men, who are reading this…stop grinning at the words “submitted to” [Read Ephesians 5:25].
The ungodly rebelled and were judged. Women prophesied, but none ruled in Israel or the Church. None were called upon to TEACH except by Paul, who asks older women to teach younger women (Titus 2:4).
Women are called to SILENCE in public assemblies except in the area of PROPHECY.
“Are there no other female voices to be raised?
How about the woman Phoebe in the Bible?” (Romans 16:1-2)
 NOW I introduce and commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae.  That you may receive her in the Lord [with a Christian welcome], as saints (God’s people) ought to receive one another. And help her in whatever matter she may require assistance from you, for she has been a helper of many including myself [shielding us from suffering] (Amplified Bible).
A total of TWO VERSES describe all we know of her. We learn that she served the church, she needs assistance in that service, she helped many people, and she helped the apostle Paul.
To raise this SERVANT of the Lord to church office and leadership is to once more, ask Paul to contradict Paul! All we know is that she SERVED!
The Greek “diakonos,” a term here applied to Phoebe, is translated SERVANT, deacon, minister at various times in Paul’s writings. Paul and Phoebe were both called “diakonos” – SERVANT. Paul wasn’t an “official” DEACON, nor was Phoebe.
Oh, how we all love to make a big deal out of titles!
Distinct from this general servant-hood, is the call for men to be “official” servants, deacons, chosen by the church as were the original 7 of Acts 6.
For these men, SERVICE was not given as they desired, but as the ELDERS needed. Yes, “deacons” could preach and minister in the miraculous, but their calling was to be “on call.”
There are MANY WOMEN who serve and served Jesus in the Bible, but none in AUTHORITY–NONE!
Paul didn’t allow it.
But wait, the apostle John has a word for us. Actually, it’s Jesus speaking in him, and He IS mentioning a woman in a leading position in the local church of her day in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-20).
VERSE 20: “But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and who is teaching and leading astray my servants…”
She is teaching, and obviously has quite a following. She even calls herself a “prophetess”. Yes, her name is JEZEBEL…the New Testament Jezebel. And no, I’m not labeling ALL modern day female leaders “Jezebel.” I refer that only a woman teacher of God’s people in all of Scripture is a “wicked” woman.
Here then is what I believe, the whole counsel on my thesis. And, of course there will be many who disagree.
WOMEN DO HAVE SPECIFIC TASKS TO PERFORM IN THE CHURCH! AMEN!!
- They are to stand behind their husbands, serving him as the Lord.
- They are to pass the faith on to their daughters and grandchildren and other women who need teaching because of a lack of it at home.
But they must keep SILENT when the church assemblies gather for worship, prayer and the Word of God.
Is there a woman in this wicked age who can hear the VOICE of God and keep this hard word?
I truly believe that a special reward will be hers when the Lord, Who sees all, returns to claim His own!
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES
The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew, Greek, English.
** For footnotes, photos, Bible translations used, see PART ONE.