Is this passage sexist, or was it dangerous to be a female Christian at this time?
1 Corinthians 14:34 - 35
ESV - 34 The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
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I think that Christians should know who this verse is talking to. First of all, everybody is not married. Back in the days of old, the reason they told the women to be quiet in church because their husbands was sitting on the opposite side of them and when the women didn't understand something, they would holler over and ask their husband, which was disturbing to the services. What is a single woman supposed to do with what God has put down in them? What if there is no one to teach or preach God's word at the time of service but a woman, what is she supposed to do? I believe that women can be preachers and teachers, but the bible does teach who can be a bishop or deacon, which is a man. Now, there is another scripture that teaches: Ephesians 4:11 Viewing the King James Authorized Version. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers" Here he is not saying "and He gave some male apostles, and some male prophets and some male evangelists....." He did not specify whether they were male or female. God can choose anybody he wants, male or female to get His word out. What about Deborah in the Bible who ministered to a whole country? If the men would obey the Lord and teach and preach His word, women wouldn't want to teach or preach. But because we are passionate people, and love God so much, we open ourselves up for the Lord to use us! God has called me to preach, and I'm sorry, I just can't keep it to myself.
First of all, sexism (while real) is a human term often used by those who have a particular mindset or agenda for culture. The secular World-system would like us to believe that the only good society is one in which men and women are not only equal in worth, but the "same" in every way. Yet we are not to live according to the World's paradigm. Now let me quickly address your question about it being dangerous to be an Early Christian if you were female. YES, it was dangerous, but not in that way you may mean. Christian women were arrested, tortured, banished, and executed along with Christian men. The extra-biblical story of Perpetua tells of a Roman woman and her slave girl Felicity who were martyred soon after Perpetua was delivered of a child. Christian women faced the same dangers as Christian men. But, back to the primary passage: This is an area that scholars have debated. Even some of the words involved here are open to different interpretations. Yet an unbiased reading shows that women did NOT usually tend to be in positions of authority in the early church. What exactly they DID DO during worship is one of the questions we research and ponder. Some claim that this teaching was meant only for the 1st Century, when respectable women (whether in Jewish or Roman society) tended to be retiring & shun the public gaze. Christians were expected to conform to the mores of their culture as long as those mores did not violate God’s law. There is another HUGE worldview difference of which you need to be aware. If you read the New Testament you’ll see a lot about submission to established hierarchy. Paul is very clear that, while ALL are equal spiritually (there is no male, female, etc.),there are still divinely-mandated distinctions: masters & servants, parents & children, husbands & wives, leaders & followers. Paul even points out that Christ was under the authority of the Father. For women in the New Testament to be under authority was not being unfair or singling women out; men were also under authority. Angels were under authority. In fact EVERYONE but God the Father Himself was seen to be under authority. Again, some would say that this focus on authority-structure was a 1st Century more and that we’re not under it today. Paul DID connect it to Creation, however, so we can argue that it is a universal principal. God created man first and woman second, even though both were of equal spiritual value. Paul also mentions the fact that woman was the one deceived by Satan (Adam let himself be led along by Eve, but he KNEW what he was doing.) Along with authority-structure, order during worship was another topic in the Epistles. That was a very important point to Paul because apparently some of the early churches were complete zoos. If men and women were sitting in separate sections, and a woman was yelling to her husband, then that would be disruptive. 1 Cor 14:34 Another really sticky related point is Paul’s comment that women were to “be in submission, as the Law says.” While no clear verse about women being in submission can be found in the Old Testament (that I know of, perhaps it came from the Septuagint translation or the oral tradition), certainly this was part of Jewish 1st Century culture. Why was it brought into the church, then? Once again, this is a point that many people have questioned. 1 Cor 11:5 makes our question even more confusing. WERE women “praying and prophesying” in the assembly? We know from early documents that Christian women spread the Gospel in places where men couldn’t go, such as harems, but were women “speaking” (preaching/teaching) during official church services? And what was the nature of this “speaking?" Even the meaning of “prophesying” is disputed. Because of these issues, modern churches differ greatly with their application of these verses. No matter what, we should primarily seek to please God rather than the World or our own desires.
Role Of Women In The Church The Bible speaks of how women are to conduct themselves in worship. In 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 we read, "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church, for Adam was formed first, then Eve." This command of God is not hard to understand. But some want to ignore it and do what seems right in their own eyes. The Bible explains why women are to keep silent and why they are not permitted to speak in church. It was because "Adam was formed first, then Eve." This is the way God has specified that it will be. God speaking to Eve in Genesis 3:16 says, "Unto the woman He said...your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you." The reason women are to be submissive and not speak in the worship of the church is God has specified that the man is to rule over the woman. Many people do not approve of what God has done, but this is still God's business. As we read in Romans 9:20, "But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this?" Who are we to question God? Also in 1 Timothy 2:11-13 God's word to us says, "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence For Adam was first formed, then Eve." God's word is very clear. It says it is not to be permitted. In other words it is forbidden. When we do things that are forbidden by God it is sin. It is sin which separates us from God and sin will cause us to be lost eternally. When a woman gets up before the church to teach, preach, lead prayer, or lead singing, she is in violation of what God has commanded. She is perverting the worship of God. As a result of this rebellion, God is not worshipped in spirit and in truth. As we have already seen, worship becomes vain or useless when we follow the desires of men instead of what God wants. To ignore what God has said has horrible consequences.
An earthly difference in roles or a willing subjection to authority does not mean a difference in worth (Phil2:6-8, 1 Pet 4:10-11, Gal 4:1-7, Gal 3:28, 1 Cor 15:28). 1 Cor 14:34-35, both on its own and in its larger context of 1 Cor 14 and with other scriptures, is not saying that women cannot contribute to the church or cannot ever speak in the assembly. (Luke 2:36-38, Acts 21:8-9, 1 Cor 11:5). Paul equates the labor of many women for Christ as equal to his (Rom 16:1-16). "The women should keep silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 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." 1 Cor 14:34-36 Silence here (sigaó) is the silence of 1 Cor 14:26-28, where the person who has a message in tongues to offer, but no interpretation, is told to keep silent. It does not mean the person must never speak, but that if their opinion or contribution is not orderly or beneficial to the church, they are to 'keep it secret'. The quietness of 1 Tim2:11 is tranquility and calm. The women here were wives. [(1 Cor 14:35)]. Widows and daughters did not have a husband to be submissive to, being submissive only to God and their own fathers. (1 Tim 2:11-15, 1 Pet 3:1-7) "Permitted to talk" can refer to chattering and prattling, as that is it's usage in classical greek. In scripture the usage varies quite a lot from literal utterance to more abstract forms, such as declaring one's thoughts or commanding speech. For laleo in this verse to stand in for any form of utterance would be contradictory, as 1 Cor 14:29-33 speaks of prophesying, and 1 Cor 11:3-6 makes it clear (among other passages) that women also prophesied and prayed in the assembly. The opposite concept here would be "Holding one's peace". These wives would not refrain from speaking their minds, no matter the appropriateness. As such, if a wife was constantly asking questions, even in a Bible study, it would undermine the authority and respect of her husband. Furthermore, if these questions actually contradicted her husband's comments or were disruptive, then her husband would not be viewed as managing his own family well. Together with 1 Cor 14:33, 1 Cor 14:40, and 1 Tim 2:11-15 we see a pattern emerging. Women were not to disrupt the assembly by talking to each other, or by usurping the authority of their husbands by interrupting them to make comments, etc. Rather, wives were to use their gifts in the church while still respecting their husbands. Scripture implies Priscilla had a strong gift of teaching, even moreso than that of her husband - yet Priscilla did not go over her husband's head to teach without his permission, and she did not undermine the teachings of her husband. Furthermore, she joined alongside her husband to work in his trade. (Acts 18:24-26, Acts 18:1-3, 1 Cor 16:19, etc). Priscilla is a fine example of how to correctly use one's gifts to edify the church, without dishonoring your husband. Also, Andronicus and Junia were likely a husband-wife team of apostles. (Rom 16:7) Just as Jesus said that you cannot love Him while hating your brother (1 John 4:20) or dishonoring your parents (Matt 15:3-11), and that we still must be subject to the rulers of our time (Matt 22:15-22, Titus 3:1, Rom 13:1-7), so wives willingly submit to their husbands to reflect Christ's submission to God. [And contrariwise, men love their wives even to the point of death, to reflect Christ's love for the church!]. Willing subjection to authority (hupotasso) is not a bad thing. Christ Himself was subject to God the Father (1 Cor 15:28), and we all are subject to the governing authorities (Rom 13:1). This is not forced subjection (such as a master to slave), but the willing placement of ourselves under authority, as if we were bondservants. (1 Cor 7:22).
This question is a question that has unnecessarily divided the church down the middle. Some denominations have maintained the "conservative" view that women should not be ordained into ministry because of the interpretation of the universal implication of Paul's teaching. Others have given this scripture a local application to the circumstances in Corinth in Paul's time and refuse to recognize its timeless application. The answer must be found in proper interpretation of Scripture. Both sides are in my view right and wrong. My view is that women may serve in church ministry but the church should be ruled by ordained male ministers in line with Pauline teaching. This is certainly implicit in 1 Corinthians, Titus and 1 Timothy. I Corinthians 11:3-7 which says "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man." I find no better interpretation. I believe that women can preach and even be ordained if they have the gifting to minister in church but they cannot exercise ultimate authority over the church. In the same way men will rule over the home even though both male and female will equally share in the heavenly heritage in Christ. Women cannot therefore occupy the office of Bishop or overseer of the church. 1 Timothy 3:1-13 is explicit in the male requirement of church leadership and I do not believe the this teaching should be relegated to local application. I am aware that some will disagree with this view but I am glad that I have the backing of Scripture. Scripture does not forbid women to serve or preach but they will certainly not rule over the church. It is God's way of creating structures and God certainly knew why the man should rule over the woman both at home and in the church. This does not imply that the woman is inferior to the man because Scripture does not state this. It simply means that God in his infinite wisdom set structures over the home as he did over the church ministry and these should be honored by all.
A rather tricky question, but I'll approach it with an open mind, assuming that Anonymous really needs an answer. The statement begins at verse 1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV: "...As in ALL the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says." See 1 Corinthians 14:37-38. Let me digress: Why did God create Adam first then Eve? Why did He form Eve out of Adam instead of the dust as He did with Adam? Genesis 2:7, 22. Why does He appoint some to be prophets (very high rank) while others are gifted with tongues (last in that list)? 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 Why did God select the tribe of Levi to be priests, to minister before Him, when anyone COULD do it? Deuteronomy 18:1-2. Even punishing Uzziah for being assuming. 2 Chronicles 26:19-20. Why did God choose Abram (Genesis 12:1-3) and not Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24)? At the centre of all these scenarios is God's SOVEREIGNTY. He does what He pleases because He is NOT accountable to men or anyone - spirit or flesh. He is the Potter, and we are the clay. He forms out of the same lump of clay what He pleases. Romans 9:21. I have heard some shallow arguments trying to confine the application of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 to Corinth. They turn a blind eye to "As in ALL THE CONGREGATIONS OF THE SAINTS" verse 33b. They also play down the instructions to Timothy, who was at Ephesus, to apply the same Law there. 1 Timothy 1:3 & 1 Timothy 2:11-14. I also know that some argue that this is for married women. Unfortunately for them, this is not correct. Further, an unmarried lady is subject to her father as a married one is subject to her husband. Num 30:3-5,10-15. God decides what He wants us - His children - to do. Some of that we can easily understand, but others we may not. Yet in the end, if we obey Him, it'll turn out to be for our own good. Rom 8:28 For the record, I was born of a woman, & I'd wish she could preach. I have several sisters. I've a wife, and two awesome daughters. Yet for the love of OUR God, they won't exercise authority in the Church. Bless
One must read this passage of Scripture from the KJV BECAUSE verse 36 of 1 Corithians 14 asks a question. What. Came the Word of God out from you or came it unto u only. Offices in the Church they r appointed. The Corithians was a very young church with many issues. Christians they were just baby's. To must trying to happen at one time. Leaders didn't no how to be leaders. Women have and always will have an important role in the church and keeping silent is not one of them. The Church Who Is Preaching The Gospel will not be hushed in this hour. If the ass spoke and man speak why not a women. The battle should be outside the church not inside. My opinion and I think u r entitled to it. Moving Forward
1 Corinthians 14 :34-35 LET YOUR WOMEN KEEP SILENCE IN THE CHURCH. Obviously this must be interpreted in the light of 1 Corinthians 11:3,5. The concept of headship does not denote essential difference. It denotes responsibility and accountability. The prototype is seen in the persons of the Trinity yet they fulfill different functions. Paul is NOT a CHAUVINIST. Here he argues for equality of the sexes in personal worth but distinction in function and responsibility. V.5 The covering is symbolic, indicating the authority that exists above the woman yet still under Christ.Here it is clear that Paul understood that women were permitted to prophesy and to pray in public. The expression possibly has reference to verse to verse 35-----they were not allowed to to interrupt the service by speaking or questioning their husband or speaking loudly in tongues.
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