Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Silent Church Women? Part 3

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

The Quotation Reading

The words found in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 are so problematic that many doubt their authorship even belongs to the Apostle Paul. The external and internal problems of these verses have even led some to believe that these verses were added MUCH later by a scribe, since if these seemingly contradicting verses are removed, the text reads much more smoothly. Here are the issues: these verses seem to contradict, not only the rest of the bible, but Paul himself, in multiple places, and in the very same letter (1 Corinthians 11:5, 12:4-11)! The style employed in these verses is utterly foreign to Paul's writing style . The appeal to the "Law" to justify silencing women frankly does not exist anywhere in the Old Testament. No where in the Old Testament does any law or command require that women "subject themselves" by being "silent" in an assembly or while in public.

Walter C. Kaiser, author of Correcting Caricatures: The Biblical Teaching on Women notes:

"The problem simply put is this: nowhere in the whole Old Testament does it teach or even imply what is claimed here. Now law in the entire old testament, much less the Torah, can be cited to teach that a women 'must be in submission' and 'remain silent' and if she wants to know or ask about anything, she 'should ask [her own] husband at home.' Women spoke freely in both testaments."

When Paul actually does cite the Law or scripture to support his points, he immediately follows it by quoting the law he is referring to, as he does in 1 Corinthians 9:8-9, 14:21, 1:19, 1:31, 2:9, 3:19, 10:7, 15:45. For more in depth analysis of Paul's consistent writing style and the "mystery law," see the very thorough article by Dennis J. Preato at God's Word To Women.

A growing number of scholars insist that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is not the words of Paul at all, but that Paul is quoting the letter written to him from the church at Corinth and then promptly rebuking this degrading, legalistic notion in verses 36-38. Besides the fact that these verses contradict everything Paul has instructed the Corinthians up until this point AND there is NO SUCH LAW in the Torah or the entire Old Testament that requires women to be silent, there are other clues in the original manuscripts that support the quotation reading.

We must remember that ancient Greek did not have punctuation marks, so there is no such symbol that we can equate with how our quotation marks surround a quoted sentence. However, in many of the earliest manuscripts, there appears this greek symbol: η with a grave accent at the beginning of verse 36 to signal to the reader that the above statement is quoted.

Paul already informs the reader that he begins addressing "the things you wrote" back in chapter 7, verse 1. After Paul gives very thorough instructions on how to maintain order during worship gatherings, this bizarre verse appears and contradicts everything he has just instructed, followed by a peculiar, sharp rebuke in verses 36-38.

But if one reads verses 34-35 as a quote from the Corinthians and verses 36-38 as Paul's response, suddenly the meaning becomes crystal clear and totally conducive to the rest of Paul's letter: all members of the body participating in worship assemblies in peace and order. So Paul repeats this appeal from Corinth for the purpose of rebuking it, not to command a universal ruling that silences women in church.

It's imperative to note that while there IS NO law in the OT that silences women, rabbinical "law" strictly forbade women to vocally participate in religious assemblies. Women were seen as obscene, deceitful, immoral, untrustworthy seductresses, whose only purpose was to make babies and serve men. Paul NEVER appeals to rabbinical law to establish universal mandates. Jesus spent most of his ministry openly defying and challenging such legalistic "laws" and "traditions" of the rabbinical Judaism. The early church experienced its fair share of Judaizers (Jews who converted to Christianity, but still believed it necessary to observe the purity codes and rabbinical laws/traditions). Judaizers insisted that converted Gentiles be circumcised, abandon eating idol-offered meat, observe Jewish Sabbaths, etc. Paul refutes all of these assertions made by Judaizers clinging to rabbinical tradition. Such is the case here; Paul quotes Judaizers in Corinth to reveal the hypocrisy in such a statement and then flatly contradicts it, even mocks it. Ironically, these verses used to silence women are actually part of Paul's defense of a woman's right to participate as full member of the body.

Bible Scholar Dennis J. Preato concurs that the "mystery law" cited here is from the irrelevant rabbinical laws:

These verses are best understood as a slogan or rabbinic saying based on the Jewish "oral law," not the written word of God. Therefore, these verses cannot be used to prohibit women from pulpit ministry within the church.

Below is the entire passage from verses 26-40. Remember that the the word brethren (Greek word: adelphoi) is gender plural or gender inclusive, including both men and women. Read verses 34-35 as a quoted statement. This blew my mind the first time I did this.

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.

But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.


Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.

The King James Version translates verse 36 as: "What? Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only?"

The phrase "Did the word of God come to you only.." is believed to be a reference to Jesus' first appearance to the women at the tomb, the first entrusted with the good news of His resurrection and the first commissioned to tell the male apostles about it! Basically, Paul's point is that the word of God has come to all believers, so how dare they deprive the church body by silencing half its members.

J. Lee Grady points out:

"This strange response makes no sense if we believe that Paul penned verses 34 and 35. But if he is contradicting the statements made by the Judiazers at Corinth, then we can understand the definat tone of verse 36."

Deciphering quotations seems to be a tricky task for bible translators. For instance, 1 Corinthians 6:12, 6:13 and 10:23 are marked as quotations in the NCV, NIV, NLT, and NRSV; but they are not shown with quotation marks in the ASV, KJV, NASB, and NKJV. These kind of discrepancies occur because of the lack of punctuation signals available in ancient Greek.

However, all the available evidence seems to point to these verses and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 being quotations that Paul is rebuking.

Theologian Kenneth S. Kantzer wrote:

"In 1 Corinthians 14, we are caught in an intricate interplay between quotations from a missing letter form the Corinthians and Paul's solutions to the problems the letter had raised. The verse is clearly not repeating a law of Scripture and cannot be taken as a universal command for women to be silent in church. That interpretation would flatly contradict what the apostle had just said three chapters earlier."

I believe this reading is the strongest and most logical choice for interpreting 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I apologize for the lengthiness of this post, but it's difficult to present the sound-bite version of a biblical interpretation most people are unfamiliar with and do it justice! When there are only 2 obscure and highly controversial verses in the entire new testament that seem to bar women from ministry and church participation, we must dig into the scriptures and examine all available evidence to clarify their true meanings.


Tonya said...

Tia, this is a GREAT theory. If I were going to choose something to support the E POV, this would be it. The first time I heard of it, I said "wow". But I found it was weak. I'll talk about that in a sec.

What I need to know is, how do we know that 1 Cor. 11: 1-16 is adressing public worship. The header in my Bible says it is, but that's not inspired. Can anyone help me out here because my position hangs in the balance and this post does too since Tia cited vs 11:5 in "the very same letter" as being contradictory. I need to know if someone knows how and why 1 Cor 11 is assumed to be talking about public worship, because if it isn't, there is no contradiction between Ch 11 and Ch 14.

Okay. The problems with this interpretation start with the fact that Paul uses the greek word "nomos" here in vs. 34. He does not use this word in the vss. you cited. (14:21, 1:19, 1:31, 2:9, 3:19, 15:45, or 10:7). In fact, all but 10:7 are not even quotes from the Law (Torah). 10:7 is from Exodus, and 9:8-9 (in which he does use the word "nomos") is from Duet.

He does, however, use the word "nomos" other places in 1 Cor. 7:39, 9:20 (twice), 14:21, 14:34 and 15:36. In every instance it refers to the Torah, which is the Law. He does not quote OT in the verses I referenced though. He just refers to the "nomos" which is often translated "Law of Moses" (Torah).

I find it very easy to take these passages this way simply because Paul also makes reference to the order of creation in Chapter 11 and also in 1 Tim 2 when he is addressing male and female roles and relationships. In essence, vs. 34 seems to be saying "for Adam was created first, then Eve" in not so many words. A more literal translation would be "as the Law of Moses 'lays forth', or 'describes' or 'means' or 'gives out". Anyway, if you go back and check the greek here, you will find that every time Paul uses this word "nomos" in this letter, he is refering to the Law of Moses.

Since the quotation theory is speculation based at least partly on Ch 11 adressing public worship, I think this needs to be adressed. And I would like to know why the words "as the Law says" could not be referring to Gen 2, like Paul does in 11:8-9 and 1 Tim 2:13.

Christy Fritz said...

okay, it's starting again, LOL!
the article you cite 'correcting caricatures...' is the one that my pastor has in the waiting area of our church, and says it is his "favorite paper" about women's leadership roles in the church. I was trying to find it online yesterday to send to you via email.:) i should have known you'd already done your research :)
he mentioned it a year ago in the series he did on biblical femininity and masculinity, but i never grabbed it. he did graduate from gordon-cromwell, so maybe he's biased.:)
i got it this past sunday, and read over it...michelle and i laughed when we saw it was published by CBE :) and both said, "I guess we know where mike stands on the issue"

i must say, it was a hard read for me, but I felt like quoting all of it in reference to your last post, to represent i guess what would be the strong E view. he takes it all the way back to creation too, but you have to accept his premise/interpretation there, to get to what he interprets paul to be referencing in all the NT passages... i think that will be next to impossible for committed C's. i am more open to these possiblities now, but it is not comfortable for me still,for some reason. very difficult to swallow.
my spirit really resonates with this idea of more freedom in christ(actually in literal practice in the body, not positionally or spiritually speaking-that cannot be added to) than less though, when it comes to relationships whether in the assembly or in marriage. it seems to jive with paul's overall theme and message, and also jesus' treatment of women that was so out of character for a man in that culture.
I think Tonya is very right is recognizing that our view of God is very influential in how we interpret the scriptures. i don't know if that makes sense.

i really like what the intro of the article had to say about objectivily looking at scripture, if you are going to it as your source of all truth. i would really recommend the read.

thanks again for your sharing your study here.

Terry said...

First off, Tia Lynn, creepy picture! Looks like something a villain in those horror movies might think up!

Now to the issue at hand: I am not as passionate about this particular topic because I simply cannot find enough Biblical evidence to support the idea of women being totally silent in public worship. At this point, I'm here more as an observer and learner than one with a staunch position. But I will say this: if we take the position that a portion of Scripture that seems illogical or contradictory to us must therefore be something added in by rogue scribes with ulterior motives, then just about anyone can rip the Bible to shreds based on the fact that what is written in a particular passage or in a particular way doesn't make sense or isn't indicative of the usual writing style of the author.

Not saying that you're right or wrong, just that we must tread carefully. Looking forward to other views and I'll check in later.

Michelle said...

well... :)

1) I find Tonya's question interesting, as well.

2) yeah, Christy and I were a bit surprised (but not really) and I have found myself reading that document in a more detailed manner since you're blog study, thanks :)

3) Terry, I don't think Tia is doing that. There are many mysteries of faith that our human minds cannot reconcile - for example, sovereignty and freedom. But in this case, its not a matter of "God's ways are higher than our ways", it's a matter of, "Either this says what it says or it doesn't". I don't know if I'm being clear...

4) My son is 100% completely FREAKED OUT by that picture! eeww! His desk sits alongside mine and he peeked over from his copywork to see what I was up to - yikes!!! Little empathetic thing, "Mommy, if someone ever did that to you it would hurt!" I told him it was only pretend and trying to make a point. Not sure that helped him feel better or not.

5) I have learned a LOT, and while I'm still not settled in any one place with any one label, I see this entire issue differently and have been given MUCH to "chew on". :) :) Like Christy, I feel a bit slow on this point but I do seem to lean toward freedom in Christ for ALL and restoration and such thoughts ... in addition, I tend to lean more toward grace than toward law; I wish I could remember who once said to me, "If you ever feel yourself teetering as if on a balance beam, unsure of your steps, with law on one side and grace on the other... always fall into grace". I realize that is not inspired word but I think it is wise and I try to keep it in mind.

Tia Lynn said...

Ok Tonya, now this is the kind of challenge I like!

1 Corinthians 11 is most likely talking about public worship, otherwise one would have to adopt the strange belief that women must wear head coverings in the privacy of their own homes while praying! Prophecy is a necessary public act, but we must remember that early church �assemblies� were not a Sunday morning meeting and a midweek bible study as we know it today. The early church lived communally, and met regularly over meals and �did� church. There was no �ladies� bible study, retreats, or separate church meeting from them. But, say this passage is NOT referring to public worship, this is not the only contradictory passage to the notion of women being silent. Up until 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul uses gender inclusive language, exhorting ALL to prophecy for the sake of the church, so all may learn and be edified. He encourages ALL to use their gifts for the benefit of the entire church. Plus, when the Holy Spirit fell at Pentacost, Peter uses Joel 1:28 to describe what had happened, this included WOMEN prophesying, and if I am not mistaken, this was in the presence of men.

Now as for the �Law� counterpoint, I am not sure what you mean. My point was not whether or not Paul is citing THE LAW in the other passages. I said when he cites the Law OR scripture in general, he ALWAYS follows it by quoting verbatim what he has cited. Is that not the case in all the examples I provided? And that�s just from one letter. This is a consistent style in all of Paul�s letters. So it does not matter if in those instances he uses the word nomos (for the Law of Moses), what matters is that whenever Paul refers to ANYTHING (even pagan prophets) he provides the specific quotes, and does not leave it ambiguous.

To top it all off there is no such law in the Law of Moses that silences women in such a way! The order of creation had never been used as �law� to silence women. Now the belief that women were inferior, deceitful, and inherently immoral did, but this did not come from any law or the Genesis account of pre-fall creation. But as I pointed out rabbinical law forbade women to speak, but Paul NEVER appeals to rabbinical law to establish universal mandates.

The verses you provided to show that Paul often refers to the law without quoting it are flimsy and here�s why:

1 Cor. 7:39 neither cites the Law of Moses nor claims to be a quote of any kind, these are paul�s words.

1 Cor. 9:20 is NOT referring to a specific law to support Paul�s instructions AT ALL. He is referring to THE LAW as a whole, how he caters to those still bound by the LAW so he can win them to Christ, he is NOT citing a law to back up an instruction, but acknowledging that Jews still live under the Law, so to effectively minister to them he must not disrespect them by disregarding THE LAW while in their presence. No quotation appears because he is not citing the Law in such a way.

1 Corinthians 14:21 supports what I have already pointed out. Paul references a law/scripture and then quotes it verbatim, Isaiah 28:11-12. The only versions of the bible that do no put quotation marks around the words after �in the law it is written� are the KJV (but NKJV corrects this) Darby, and Wycliffe. But even these verses end with some variation of �thus says the Lord,� so we know Paul is making a direct quotation.

1 Corinthians 15:36 does not make an explicit mention of �The Law� and does not need to be followed by a quote. What part of the Old Testament is Paul referring to in this passage?

Even if one believes in gender hierarchy based on Adam being created first, how does THAT translate into all women being silent in public? Can a woman not pray, prophecy, or �share� without usurping �male authority?� Even people who believe in this type of male authority can hardly make a �biblical� leap to silence women in public.

Terry! Hey sister friend!
You realize that I DO NOT believe in the least that these verses were added by a scribe, right? I was pointing out that these verses have been so problematic (since they appear in completely different places in about two-thirds of the manuscripts) that some have come to that conclusion because they could not reconcile these passages logically and consistently with Paul�s other writings. And I agree with them that Paul did NOT pen these verses, but where they are mistaken is believing that some scribes added these in later. If Paul is quoting the Corinthians with the intent to correct them, there is no issue at all. The strange language of these verses is easily reconciled and Paul is not a contradicting nut. :) The words �read� as they should, but we need to understand them as a rabbinical saying that Paul quotes for the purpose of rebuking in verses 36-38.

Tia Lynn said...

Michelle, yes that picture is grotesque, but I love it because it perfectly showed what the legalistic "judaizers" were (and still are)trying to do to women.

Tonya said...

Tia, I have another question. This is not baiting either, but an honest question.

Where did you find that the greek word for bretheren was gender plural? I am finding that it means "brother", as in male person, whether literal or figurative. Every time the word brother or bretheren is used, it is this same word. There is no indication in the greek that it means both male and female. I know that this has dire implications, but I am wondering where you got your information on this word. I want to check it out.

Michelle said...

oh, I understand why you use the picture! It is thought provoking.

My husband and I continue to read with interest - he wonders if you plan to address the passages that state a pastor is to be the husband of one wife? He admits he has not done the language study, etc, that you have. Just wondering.

Thanks Tia.

Tonya said...

Sorry, I posted that last comment before I read the comments here. I could have saved it for this comment, but oh well.

First of all. The point I was making was that the GREEK WORD used in vs 34 refers to the law of Moses, which is the Torah. It doesn't matter if he quotes anything or not. He refers to it like he does in the other verses I cited. (BTW, it was 15:56 -typo). And 7:39 does cite the law if you check the greek.

Torah (which is the law) is used in 1 Tim 2 as support for Paul's point so I was asking why this couldn't be a similar case. The phrase "as the Law says" does not mean "as the law implicitly states verbatim". It means "as the law describes, puts forth , means or lays forth".

Anyway, Here is the verse where Paul uses Torah as support for his "quiet women", interlinear style, word order from the greek. You can work with the word meanings and I know the word "formed" is translated as "educated" by E's but the point is that he cites Gen 2 in order to make his point about women being quiet.

"a woman in quietness let learn in all subjection but a woman to teach I do not allow not to excercise authority over man but to be in quietness for Adam first was formed then Eve and Adam was not decieved but the woman being decieved in transgression has become"

There is a Torah support for quiet women. And to say that Paul was just making a random statement about the order of things doesn't really work. Paul cites creation in 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2 as support for male/female relationships and roles. And it appears to me that it is a very resonable guess that he is citing creation again in 1 Cor 14. Can't make a theology out of it, but can't make one out of the quotation theory either so we have to look for what has the most biblical support.

Please know that I am in total agreement with men and women all receiving equal portions of the HOly Spirit and being gifted equally. I also believe all are asked to use their gifts. I am not sure about the idea that there was no formal assembly during the early believer's lives together. I am pretty sure that during certain times, assembling together became formal and there was order and method. While they ate and hung out together all the time, it appears that there were times when things probably settled down for the actual scheduled meeting. This would be when (if the silent scriptures are in effect) the women would "hold peace" in order to signify the order of creation and honor God as their creator. At all other times, they would minister to the body according to their gifts. And possibly pray and prophesy in the formal meeting (but I am re- working that to make sure my ducks are in a row since I have a strict complementarian freind who has pointed out some problems).

So, what do you think.

Tonya said...

OH! I almost forgot. As long as you aren't bald, it appears that you might not need a head covering to pray in your house:):):).

Here is the greek to english:

"for the long hair instead of a covering is given to her"

Tia Lynn said...

Yes Tonya, the word for brethren can be used for brother, usually when referring to a familial brother. But in its masculine plural form, it is used to refer to both men and women. Even strict complementarians concede to the word brethren includes both men and women. They say it is sex-specific (because it derives from the masculine word brother), but is gender-inclusive in its plural form, especially when addressing the church. The letters of Paul are for the entire church (except some of the personal ones). The brethren of the church have always included all members of the body, both male and female.

Prior to “the church” the word was primarily used to mean brothers, but the meaning changed with the new situation of the church and understanding of the body of Christ. Much like the word we know today as minister, used to mean servant, but took on new meaning in the church.

Adelphos is the singular form that always refers to a male and is translated as brother. But Adelphoi is the masculine plural form used when addressing a group of all men or a group of men and women. Because the letters of Paul are addressed to the church, were read to the entire church, which we know included women, adelphoi is almost always rendered as gender inclusive. When Paul wants to address only men, he uses the word “aner” which means man/men/male.

It would be ridiculous to conclude that adelphoi is only referring to the men when addressing the church, just as ridiculous if one concluded “ekklesia” (the church/true believers/called out ones) is only addressing the females because it’s a female noun. Brethren, in the context of the church, is referring to all believers in Christ.

There are many passages using the term adelphoi that clearly address both men and women. An example of this is Philippians 4:1-2 where Paul, after addressing the Philippian congregation as adelphoi (v. 1), encourages two women to live in harmony with each other."

Here are some other examples where complementarians even concede to the word applying to both men and women: http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=siblings

It would be like saying the verse that uses the term “sonship” to describe our status with God in Christ, does not apply to women believers because the word is masculine. Those kind of references are always addressing the entire body of believers.

Tia Lynn said...

Oh there were indeed occasions of “formal gatherings,” maybe large gatherings would be a better description, but the fact remains that most “churches” met in homes and were very small. And peace and order should be part of any gathering of believers, not just large gatherings.

If 1 Corinthians 7:39 does appeal to the law, why is it not in the English versions? Are you saying a word is left out? A mistranslation perhaps? And which Law is he referring to here?

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 most certainly provides the EXACT quotation to support Paul’s exegesis. You only referenced verse 56, but 55 provides the quote, so this verse seems to support that when Paul refers to a specific Law (not the Law as a whole) he QUOTES IT.

Also, just because nomos is used BY PAUL to refer to the Law of Moses, this does not rule out Judaizers using the same word to refer to a rabbinical law, which many put on par with the Law of Moses, as is confirmed by the rebukes of Jesus and Paul in other places. I don’t disagree that PAUL uses Nomos to refer to the law of Moses, but that doesn’t exclude the word from being used by others to refer to something else. Also, if Paul is referring to the Law of Moses here, there is still NOTHING that can conclude a woman’s silence. Eve was not commanded to be in silence ever, let alone in assemblies, for it was just Adam and Eve, there was no such thing and therefore no such law in creation account that would require her silence in that setting anyway. Throughout the Torah we see women speaking, we know Miriam lead, sang, danced, and prophesied to the people of Israel, which would require a woman speaking in the “assemblies.”

I have no argument against Paul using the creation order in several places, all of which we will get to, we obviously might disagree on what he means by it. But we shall see.

You seem to forget that BESIDES the Law aspect to this verse, there is OTHER evidence, such as the very CLEAR law in the rabbinical tradition that silenced women, the quotation device found at the beginning of verse 36, the rebuke tone of verses 36-38 which makes no sense if we believe Paul penned verses 34-35, and the other inconsistencies of quote translations in the very same letter.

Tonya said...

Thanks for clearing up the "bretheren" for me. I looked it up and said "OH GREAT!":):):). I am using nothing but an exhaustive concordance and a greek interlinear (with the occasional internet search) so I am at a loss on how some of these things are interpreted by the "pro's" and I really don't have the time to dig around right now, although it makes perfect sense that it would be gender inclusive. I just expected that to be clear in the greek translations. It's not.

As for 7:39. The KJV translates this verse, " The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth". And my guess would be that this refers to the creation account, again. Specifically, Gen. 2:24 which says "for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh". Jesus teaches in Matt 19:5 "Haven't you read [the Torah] that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh? So they are nor longer two but one Therefore hat God has joined together let no man separate." Then in 1 Cor 6:16, Paul makes reference to the same passage in the Torah.

I see your point about the rabbinical law though. They may have very well equated their own law with the Torah. However, you still have a whole lot of speculation going on and I still think that Paul could have been refering to the descrption of creation, because it makes perfectly good sense in light of ch 11 and Tim, but that is speculation too.

I will say, the quotation theory reads very nicely in english. And this is VERY strong language here in vs. 34-37. So either Paul was upset that women WERE talking, or that they WEREN'T. I'll tell you, though. QT is a really good theory. I like the way it reads and it would make sense in light of the fact that Paul is addressing prophecy in the preceeding verses. It would also make sense the other way, though. I am going to have to read the entire NT again with all this in mind and see what happens:):):).

Oh, If you conclude woman's silence based on the creation account, might it not be symbolic of God's act of creation? Adam first and then Eve. Therefore, Adam leads in the formal assembly and Eve comes after to bring glory to God by pointing to Him as creator? Just a guess.

What do you do with it?

Tia Lynn said...


Your concerns about Paul’s appeals to creation are so completely valid. I want to get into that, but not in the comment section. The next couple of posts will deal with all the “head” passages and Paul’s specific appeals to creation. Obviously C’s and E’s have very different understandings of these passages, so we’ll get there.

Also, let me ask you, if speaking is synonymous with leading, and women leading is a “shameful” act in the midst of men, then how do you account for the many women in the bible that do just that do just that? We have seen that God uses women to relay His message to MEN..Deborah’s message was for Barak, Miriam gave prophesies FOR Israel, Huldah spoke God’s message to Hilkiah. So, if we admit that God can speak through a woman, not just for the purpose of relaying information to other women, then how can we say it is shameful for a woman to even ask a question in the midst of men or pray aloud in their presence, or read a psalm? Is that really the heart of God?

Again, even if one takes the position that men are to lead in the public assemblies, how would a woman speaking (asking a question) overthrow that leadership? Can women speak without leading? Most certainly. Just as men can speak in various church settings and not be “leading.” By commanding complete silence in the assembly, Paul is not just forbidding women to lead, but to pray aloud, read scripture aloud, sing, and ask questions! I don’t see how christianity would be so revolutionary if it relegated women to the same meager background status that is found in most pagan religions, as well as Islam and orthodox judaism. We’d have to concede that they are more on track, atleast on this topic.

Tonya said...

Is speaking synonomous with leading?

Does Christianity's revolutionary status depend on women being able to do everything a man is allowed to do?

I read an interesting idea on this passage but I am too tired to put it up. And besides, I haven't gone through it on my own yet. I babysat all day and now, I am falling asleep at the keyboard so this is all you are going to get out of me. No epistle tonight:):):)

Oh. An interesting note. My friend Thomas, native Italian speaker and brand new believer, translated 1 Cor. 14:34-37 for me from his Italian translation. The word 'law' is translated "law of Moses" verbatim. I was curious how other languages translated this word from the Greek.

Eyelids closing. Sleep good. I know I will.

Comicbookguy said...

After lurking on your blog for a while and discussing these things with Michelle for some time, I thought I might throw my perspective out there. I can tell you that as a man, there is a certain element of this discussion that incites a visceral reaction, or offense, particularly when it's first raised. However, I think it's important to note, that a reaction in that manner is, in my mind, a reaction of the flesh and not of the Spirit. It is a reaction borne out of a percieved threat or challenge. For most men, the perception of threat and challenge garner similar response - and I believe thus, this type of scenario ensues. That threat of course is to our "authority".

There is an old saying that I believe is appropriate here in this context:

"All those in power, fear losing it."

All that said, I appreciate the research you have done on the language and interpretations of these passages. I have read Kaiser's paper as well and have found it to be very insightful and I am very supportive of his comments and his interpretations. I believe that read as a whole, there is a common theme throughout the Scriptures, in particular in the NT that treats believers (both men and women) with a level of equality that is unheard of in the time in which it was written.

For me personally - my Grandmother was the primary spiritual influence in my life, and well after I was 7 yrs old. (Some have made the assertion that it is okay for a woman to "teach" a man as long as he's under that age). She was a woman who walked with God in such a way that I could only aspire to one day. Her relationship with the Lord was so profound, people from all over sought her out on a regular basis - men and women both. And even on her deathbed, as she went to be with the Lord in glory - the hospital pastor who walked in the room at the moment of her death was stunned in awe at the peace and radiance that filled the room. She was a wonderful teacher, but she was not boastful and proud, but humble and gentle. And people flocked to her during her life. Am I to think, based on these few select passages, that she was outside God's will and that she should have sat there silently and not "taught" me once I got older? What a foolish thing that would have been!

I realize this has gone on longer than I expected so I'll wrap this with a few thoughts. First - many men percieve this type of dialouge as not a discussion around Biblical equality, but rather a veiled agenda promoting a "radical feminist agenda". Particularly when it is a woman (no offense Tia)who is raising the question and challenging the status quo. I think it is clear that if you read your analysis and arguments that is not what is happening here, but there are some who cannot or will not see past their personal biases and will interpret this discussion inappropriately. This type of "knee jerk" reaction will typically come from those men (and maybe some women as well) who feel threatened and so respond in kind.

Finally, I am personally glad to have married a "strong" woman like Michelle. I dated around quite a bit before we met and I realized something very quickly. I did not want to share my life with someone who would "serve" me. I wanted to marry someone I could look in the eye (ironically we are both the same height - HA) as an equal. I find great appeal in thinking of the two of us standing side by side, not her a step behind. I love her strength, but also her tenderness and mercy.

She demonstrates certain qualities of the Lord naturally that I struggle with, and I believe the opposite is true - so we balance and complement each other. There is no "I have the final say in matters" in our house, but we approach things as equals. There are times when she prefers I take lead on certain matters, and the opposite is also true. I believe this is the way it was "meant" to be.

Michelle said...

I love you sweetie!! so well said. mwah! :)

Tia Lynn said...


Thank you so much for sharing your own story and feelings on the subject. It was beautiful. :)

You bring up an excellent point that these kind of status-quo- challenging posts automatically get lumped into “a radical feminist agenda” category. I think if we can give something a label that sounds scary enough, it can be dismissed wtihout weighing any of the arguments. :) But it’s good to note that this issue of “biblical equality” was alive and well long before the feminist movement was born, so it is much more than that. :)

But for the record, incase there is any doubt out there, I have no desire to “overthrow” male authority. I want both men and women to walk in the authority of the gospel, and NOT mirror the model of secular authority. The church has seemed to get the two confused on a myriad of issues throughout history.

Come back again! :)

Terry said...

Tia Lynn,
No, I don't really think that you believe these verses were added in by a scribe! Like I said earlier, this is one topic I feel like a true student on. I was simply making the point that although I do not personally believe that women have a divine order to be silent in worship, I also am uneasy with taking a portion of Scripture and invalidating it in any way. I'd much rather focus on all the other verses that, without question, make it clear that there is a piece of this puzzle we cannot see and we must take that into account. That's all I was saying. I hope that makes sense. Looking forward to the next post.

Tonya said...


I think the Bible makes it clear that your grandmother was biblical so if anyone says she wasn't you can direct them to Timothy, who was taught by his grandmother too. And Priscilla, along with her hubby, who instructed Appolos. Great illustration.

Tia, I have been busy all day and still have a ton of stuff to get done before I am able to sit down here and type but I have a few other objections for you to tackle.

Okay. Untill then... (and I don't know when that will be).

Tia Lynn said...

Looking forward to it! But so help me Tonya, if you win this debate, you sure as heck better keep your trap shut during church!! :)

Tia Lynn said...

Also, I think CBG might be implying that if HE can learn from his grandmother as an adult, why can't men in general learn from wise women in the assembly? And vice versa of course. :)

Terry said...

CBG, it's very interesting to me how complementarianism in marriage is interpreted by people sometimes. While my husband is unquestionably the leader of our home, I don't feel as if I "walk a step behind" him. I look him in the eye and say what I think, even if my POV isn't the same as his. And while its true that I serve him, he serves me as well. I think the Scripture makes it clear (sorry for jumping ahead Tia Lynn, but CBG brought this up): marriage is to mirror the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ humbled himself, gave Himself for us and demonstrated unconditional love. We in turn serve Him passionately and lovingly. It is sad that there are men who take Ephesians 5 as an opportunity to lord over their wives and as such have made the entire idea os submission distateful to many, men and women alike. It doesn't, however, invalidate the explicit command of Scripture concerning family order in marriage.

Comicbookguy said...

Terry, I'm sorry if you interpreted my comments as being complementarian in nature. If anything they were meant to be much more egalitarian based on the terms in use here. While I'm not a fan of labels at all, if I had to take one on, I'd say that the more I consider these things, the more I consider how prominently the Scriptures speak of God in both masculine and feminine terms, the more I find myself in transition from a historically complementarian view to an egalitarian view.

Yes, Tia - that's exactly what I was getting at - if my grandmother could teach both me as well as a number of other, as adults - why can't men learn something from a wise woman in church? I have learned much from many women over the years.

Tonya said...

I can't say anything about learning from wise women in the formal assembly yet. The jury is still out on that one:). But I do agree that wise older women teaching younger men is biblical. Just maybe not in the formal assembly. And I have a feeling there will be no "winner" in this debate (but I will shut my trap if the Hard Core C position prevails:):):)). I have seen enough E and C literature to observe that this subject is all tied up in knots. It would take two people who were willing to sit down together for weeks and sort information, words and grammatical structure to get anywhere. I notice that there is a lot of talking past each other going on in the debates out there. Trying to study both sides is utterly confusing!

Anyway, on to my question. I haven't found an answer for this one yet because the website where Belleville might have given an answer on this is down.

The word "or" is used in the greek at the beginning of vs. 36. This gramatical structure indicates that the statement preceeding the word "or" is a truth being contrasted with a falsehood.

Sort of like this:

Statement A (vs. 34-35)


is statment B (vs 36) true?

(no. Then statement A is true)

Apparantly, this is common gramatical structure for this type of statement/query. I am no greek scholar and I have no idea about this personally. I am just repeating what I read here and wondering if you have heard about this.

Okay. Here is the other view I read (entirely seperate from my question up there). Of course, Paul is addressing the Corinthian's questions from their letter to him. I'm going to paraphrase this in order to make it apparant what I am getting at. I think this is the easiest way to explain Paul's addressing of the topics of tounges and interpretation, prophecy, and either singing or reciting psalms (I don't know which because the word can refer to either). teaching. If lightning strikes my house, you'll know I was way off course. Start with 14:26.

"Okay guys. When you all get together for a meeting, it's pandemonium. Everybody is teaching, prophesying, speaking in tounges and interpreting, singing/reciting [ he lays out the categories he will discuss there]...It's got to be done for the strengthening of the body, not just because you have the gift. Tounges speakers, keep it to two or three and make sure somebody interprets. Got it? If there is no one to interpret, speak to yourself and God. Prophets, keep the prophecies down to two or three as well. Weigh and evaluate what has been said. Don't yell over each other. Take turns so that this doesn't get confusing. God is not a God of disorder, but of peace, so keep the noise and confusion down by controling yourselves. Ladies, you aren't allowed to speak up during the meeting. You need to be quiet and submissive as the Torah** describes. If you have questions, ask them at home. It's not appropriate for you to speak in the meeting. [**my guess is the creation account, similar to 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2]

Or are you people the only ones who have the gospel since you think it is just fine to conduct your meetings in this disorderly and unseemly fashion. If anybody thinks he knows the Truth, he had better acknowledge that this is the Lord's command. Otherwise, he is ignoring something important. Now don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Your meetings just need to be conducted in a fitting and orderly way".

Go back and read the passage with that in mind. What do you think. Does it make sense?

Tia Lynn said...

HAHA! Comic book guy, Terry IS a complementarian, atleast in the marriage relationship, although her definition is very close to egalitarianism! :)

Hey Terry, since you live in an a very good complementarian marriage, would you mind sharing the HOW of your husband's leadersip? How exactly does he lead in a way that you do not?

Terry said...

Tia Lynn, I'll try to make this short, but I doubt I can.
First off, my marriage is far from perfect. After all, I'm in it! And my husband isn't perfect either. What he is, however, is secure in who he is which makes it very easy for him to yield to me in some cases and hold the line if he feels the need to. We have been together a long time, since we were both very young (he, 19 me, 21, 15 years now) so we have grown in our faith together and there are very few instances where we deeply disagree. To answer your question:

In order for the husband to lead in a marriage, the wife has to submit freely and voluntarily. The husband's ability to lead is more about the wife's willingness to obey Scripture than it is about his ability to force his own way. In the early years I'd pretend to submit while simply doing what I wanted without the hubby's knowledge. After the Lord convicted me, I confessed and committed to submit to my husband's authority. Things got better almost immediately.

How this looks in our house: My husband doesn't make any major decisions without consulting me. In fact, he doesn't even make what might be considered moderate decisions (buying a power tool, for instance, his passion!) without asking if I think its a wise investment at the time. A common question he might ask is: "On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you list this as a priority right now?" (compared to XYZ, or some other thing we may need to purchase). We talk about it and more often than not, we find that we agree. However, there are areas where our wires get crossed. One area used to be in how strict we are with the kids. He is and always has been more overprotective than I am. But because I trust him as a father and a man who follows God, I allow him to lead in that area, and it isn't always easy. Once I express my POV, and we talk it out, more often than not we do it his way (he's resolute about these things), and that's that. Ironically, the kids were fine with it, and if you read my latest post, I talk about how, now that they are in their teens, I am SOOOO thankful to God that I chose to submit and not fight that battle. It turns out he was right!

I personally believe that in a marriage where a husband is truly committed to loving his wife as Christ loves the church, the marriage will look egalitarian on the surface. Submission (as is love) is a heart issue. My husband knows that if we are at an impasse, I will submit to his authority, as unto the Lord. There isn't this daily struggle on every little issue. His heart safely trusts in me and he realizes that it would be foolish to discount the gifts, talents, and wisdom God has provided through me for the sake of ego and "being the man." That doesn't mean we have an egalitarian marriage- it means we are trying desperately to have a Biblical marriage. And that means he loves me as himself and I submit to him as unto the Lord.

We are flawed humans and I would be remiss if I didn't say that a few times (VERY few) over the years he has "pulled rank" on me when I have been particularly stubborn about an issue. And likewise, I have used my emotions to manipulate him to get my own way. It has been a while since that has happened but it has happened. This is a process, just like our becoming more like Christ is a process. I have found that the more I seek the Lord, the easier submission becomes for me, and as his faith grows, the easier it's becoming for him to be a servant leader and not just a leader for the sake of being one.

I know this was rather long, but you had to know your question was rather complex, hard to answer succinctly. I hope my ramblings made sense.

Tia Lynn said...

Thank you Terry. That was beautiful and made all the sense in the world. :)

Tonya, I just realized you posted, I'm working on my response, but it might be a little while, I gotta run to the store! But I'll get to it! :)

Tonya said...

Terry just described my marriage.

Tia, no rush. I have been busy all day and this is the first time I have taken a seat at the 'puter so don't hurry.

I thought I might add another thought here that might help understanding my POV a little. I don't think the argument for quiet, submissive women is made out of the idea that women are inferior in any way. It is there to show us how we can honor Christ as creator and as bridegroom. Our formal assemblies point to one act , our marriages point to the other. If women chose to submit to their husbands then we model the churches submission to Christ. If men love their wives and give themselves up for them, then they model Christ's love for the Church. If women are quiet and men lead in the assembly, it points to the created order of mankind, God's crowing acheivement during creation. Adam first and then Eve. There are also other facts in the creation account that would indicate male headship, such as Adam naming Eve (twice), Eve being created for Adam and Adam being held responsible for the Fall. If you look at it that way, it seems perfectly logical that Paul would cite creation as his reason for male headship. It is not insulting to women, it just points to Christ- which should be the goal of the Church.

Melody Joy said...

Terry, in regards to your comment above about invalidating scripture, I think it's important to note that interpreting this passage as a quotation does not invalidate the Scripture by any means. It simply challenges the perspective with which you read it. The passage is still Scripture, which is all the more reason to make sure we handle it rightly, and don't interpret it one way just because that's how it is being interpreted (which is pretty circular).

Tia Lynn said...

Ok, I am back!!

Tonya, the “or” POV as many implications and debate surrounding it. I would like to expound upon it myself, but it is far too long for the comment section. So instead I would like to direct your to this site: http://www.mbforum.ca/topic/841.html, which succinctly explains the “or” controversy. Basically it comes down to where “or” is placed in a sentence structure to determine which meaning the symbol for OR has...whether it’s contradicting a quote/idea or supporting a quote/idea.

I am astonished that completely silencing women in a church setting does not connotate inferiority to you or that you can find support for SILENCE in the creation account. Even if you believe Eve is to be under Adam’s authority (thus all women under men’s authority in the church), this does not equate with utter silence. It is quite the stretch to conclude that mirroring the relationship between Christ and the Church requires the silence of women. If Christ and the Church are in a RELATIONSHIP similar to that between men and women, utter silence from the church is not a mark of this. Jesus did not require utter silence from his followers (his church), but had a dialogue with them, even though he was obviously the leader. And then he empowered them (the church) to teach others and do “greater” works. So silencing half of the church does not mirror any aspect of the creation account or Jesus’ ministry. It’s a futile attempt to FORCE this verse to make sense, when it does not. It is “inferring” something upon the creation account that simply does not exist. Even if we are to believe that men MUST lead the church alone, how does this exclude women from singing, praying aloud, and asking questions? When students ask questions in class, does this mean that they have usurped the teacher’s authority? Of course not. This verse is a harsh and dehumanizing command (if taken at face value), that makes women silent spectators instead of active co-participants in the gatherings of the body.

But I do believe Paul rightly calls upon the creation account in other passages, as we will examine in upcoming posts. There is some very interesting thoughts on those passages.

Tia Lynn said...

Oh I also wanted to add that while there is no CLEAR law that prohibits women from speaking or making a sound in the midst of men, there are very clear laws throughout the Law of Moses that forbid UNBELIEVERS from vocally participating with believers. So, this could support the alternate original language translation as presented in the previous post. My objection to that reading was the “mystery law,” but if the issue is unbelievers speaking up during services (who happened to be women), than there are plenty of scriptures in the OT to be cited to support such a command. I still find the quotation reading to make the most sense, but it’s something to consider.

Tonya said...

I don't have time for a full answer right now, gotta make dinner. But I will say that the ASSEMBLY is not to mirror Christ and the Church, the MARRIAGE is. Your argument for women in the formal assembly not being silent because of the relationship of Christ and the Church doesn't work for that reason. No one is asking women not to talk to their husbands. Quite the contrary. They are to "ask their husbands at home". And I absolutely do not find this verse, taken at face value, to be de-humanizing in the least. ESPECIALLY if it in place to point to the creation account and bring honor to God. If the Church service is to bring glory to God as creator by pointing to His act of creating Adam and Eve, then it is an honor for women to submit to that as descendents of Eve, God's first woman.

It depends on your starting position though. If you think equality pivots on a foundation of being allowed to do everything a man can do, then this won't work for you. If you think equality is founded on our position in Christ and that different roles mean nothing but that woman was created distinct from man with a special purpose that couldn't be fulfilled by him alone, then you don't have a problem with this.

And if this section is speaking to unbelievers, why wouldn't Paul have mentioned that and included men too?. I don't think this second position is as strong as your regular quotation theory.

When I get some time tonight, I will read that link you sent me and get back to you:).

Tia Lynn said...

Tonya, I am sorry. I think I misread one of your comments. I thought YOU were saying that women’s silence in the assembly could reflect the relationship of Christ and the church, so I was refuting that. I did not realize you thought a woman’s silence in the assembly mirrored the creation order. Regardless, silence is not the mark of submission for the church or the wife. Eve is never commanded to remain silent. In fact, pre-fall, she commissioned to RULE along with Adam. I don’t think woman have to do all that men do, or vice versa. I don’t think different roles necessarily denote inferiority, but when men’s “roles” are always empowering and women’s “roles” are always restricting, then yes, that is dehumanizing.

I wondered why Paul would not include men, if the alternate original language interpretation was correct. But if Paul is addressing a SPECIFIC situation within the Corinthian church, and unbelieving women were the ones disrupting, then there would be no need to include men in this scenario.

Tonya said...

Yes, if Paul was adressing a specific situation in the Corinthian church, maybe. But it still seems like he would have referenced "unbelieving women" instead of just women in general since his letters were copied and read in every congregation that could get ahold of his letters and he knew this. I would think he would take some pains to be clear so that there would not be confusion in the groups that had not been privy to the original letter from the Corinthians to Paul. It just seems like he would have been more specific if he were talking about unbelievers or those who were uneducated. But instead, he just mentions women in general.

I agree with you that there is no time that Eve was told to be silent but the same argument is used in Timothy so I think it works here just as well. If Paul was pointing to God as Creator during the formal assembly of the Church, having women be silent would be as good a way as any to indicate the creation order. Adam was created first, Adam named the animals, Adam named Eve, Adam was given the instruction from God not to eat of the tree, Adam was held responsible even though Eve sinned first. Eve was created second, Eve was made from Adam and for Adam and brought to Adam after Adam had already named the animals, Eve was named by Adam (not by God), Eve was not held responsible for the Fall even though she was the one deceived. If someone was to be silent in the formal assembly in order to point to the creative order, I would think Eve would be the best choice. And if Paul is indeed referring to the Torah here, I think the creation account is our best bet to the part of the Torah he is referring to. It's just another way to look at this passage besides the one you put out here in the quotation theory. I think it works just as well.

And Eve ruling with Adam doesn't imply co-headship IMO, it implies oneness. THEY ruled as one, not as two. They functioned as one, not as two. They completed each other. They were equal in every way but given different positions and different roles to fulfill in their relationship to one another and to God. Neither one was inferior to the other, just specially designed.

Okay, I'm off to read that link you left for me. I'll be back in a little while.:)

Tonya said...

The guy who wrote the article you cited is using examples with the same word, but not the same gramatical structure. It makes a huge difference.

I am quoting from, and referencing this article here. http://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Articles/An-Open-Letter-to-Egalitarians-Revised-2003

"when we look at other examples of greek 'e' (the word or) used in constructions like 1 Corinthians 14:36, where the following material is clearly false (that is, Paul and the Corinthians know that the word of God did not come from them), then "or" functions to show that the preceding material has to be true. This would mean that verses 34-35 are affirmed by Paul.

To put it another way, Paul is arguing:

You must do A.
Or: Is B true?
Then you must do A."

Some egalitarians claim that Paul uses "or" to deny A (verses 34- 35). In fact, we can find no parallel examples where it is used to deny both what precedes and what follows. THIS IS ALSO WHAT ALL THE GREEK LEXICONS TELL US AS WELL.

Linda Belleville agrees with this. She says "I know of very few evangelicals who argue that the Greek particle ē in 1 Corinthians 14:36 is Paul's signal that he is responding to the Corinthian position ("Let the women in the churches be silent").15 "

She then says that the standard Greek lexicon lists only two examples where this particle shows disapproval of what precedes (a standard egalitarian claim), and both of those are different from 1 Corinthians 14:36 in that they have the particle twice, ē ē .16 "

End quoting and referencing.

I have not read the book where Belleville adresses this so I don't know what else she says about this. I can't find ANYTHING about this on line from an egalitarian VP other than what you sent and that was obviously a different gramatical structure. Have you read Belleville's chapter in "Two views on Women in Ministry"? I would love to know what else she says in answer to this objection to the quotation theory.

Tia Lynn said...

Well, I certainly agree about Adam’s and Eve’s oneness, both were told to rule, be fruitful, and subdue the earth, God did not tell them how EACH one was suppose to go about this, he simply commissions both to do it. I’ll address more about Paul’s citing of the creation order in 1 Tim 2:8-15 (as well as in other places) in future posts, since this seems to support the idea that somehow the creation story can be cited to justify women’s silence.

And yes, I have read Linda Bellville’s chapter in Two Views of Women in Ministry, as well as the rest of the book. It’s a great book. If my memory is correct, I believe she holds to the original language reading (more in depth than I could relay in a blog post), but did not completely discredit the quotation reading. BTW, if you hold to the alternate meanings of the words in the original language, it does not read like a universal command, it reads as “those women” and “the woman” speaking “among the called out ones,” which implies an unbelieving person speaking up among believers. So, it’s not THAT unclear. I’ll have to go back and reread that part in her book. I may have to lend you that one, as she does a very in depth analysis of the creation accounting addressing how Adam named Eve and so forth.

Adam is the only one held responsible for the fall? Not quite. He’s held more responsible, not because “he’s the leader,” but because he willfully and KNOWLINGLY disobeyed God’s instructions. Eve was deceived into thinking something other than God’s instructions, but not so with Adam. Nonetheless, they are BOTH punished. If Adam was to be held solely responsible, then Eve would still be alive, free from pain in childbirth and not under the curse. God calls both of them individually and holds them accountable for their own sin. Never once does God condemn eve for rebelling “against her husband’s divine authority over her.” Likewise, Adam doesn’t say, “The women I am in charge of disobeyed me!” He says “The women you put to be here WITH me gave me the fruit...” Don’t you think if Adam could have played the “my wife doesn’t submit card,” he would have? :) But instead He blames God for putting her in the garden in the first place.

Anyway, I will reread that part and get back to ya!

catrina said...

Tia and Tonya,
You have a very good discussion going on here, some very insightful information has come up.

I don't agree with this statement:
men’s “roles” are always empowering and women’s “roles” are always restricting, then yes, that is dehumanizing.

The words empowering, restricting, and dehumanizing are all words that we use today to try and make the world "fair." Until very recently men were always empowered to go to war and women were restricted to stay home. (not dehumanizing to me) "Fairness" and "rights" are words that draw up powerful emotional responses in us, but that doesn't always validate the position. For example the concept of hell can stir up alot of the same feelings, but just because we don't understand how God could ever use hell for people doesn't mean it is not a reality. I don't want to start another thread about hell, I just brought it up because it is another controversial and often confusing concept for our modern world to grasp.

I'm not yet decided on my position, but if I knew for a fact that the Lord wanted women to be completely silent for a reason that seemed clouded or fuzzy too me, I would be able to do it, because my trust in who God is, is very concrete and I no longer feel the need to ask "why" as often. Ten years ago I would have totally bucked it.

Tia Lynn said...

Good thoughts, Catrina. And no worries. I have no desire to start a hell debate....yet. :)

When I was speaking of roles, I was not talking about our country’s policies on war, but what are considered to be biblical roles (particularly in the church). If this strict complementarian position is adhered to, then men are empowered to speak, teach, pray, prophesy, lead, evangelize, share, read scripture, usher, ask questions and any other act they wish to do to participate in the body, where women would have be silent spectators. They might as well watch a preacher on TV. It would be a one-way experience.

Also, it is important to note that in the strict interpretation of this verse, a woman’s silence carries over in bible studies and other smaller gatherings of christians, not just the assemblies, since the literal interpretation of ekklesia is not ASSEMBLIES, but the called out ones. So, even small groups are considered “church.” And most assemblies back then were at most 30-50 people meeting in houses. Larger assemblies were not a regularity, but held sporadically and on special occasions.

Hey Tonya, I went back and read that chapter. Linda Bellville adheres to the original language and cultural reading, believing that Paul is instructing MARRIED women (whether believing or not) from interrupting the service. She points out that married women in particular stopped being taught at age 12, so they were particularly uneducated and the services were most likely conducted in a dialect they were unfamiliar with. So, when Paul says “if they wish to learn anything at home, let them ask their own husbands...” he is specifically addressing a type of speech, one of asking questions to learn. To keep order he wants them to hold off and then instructs the husbands to let them ask their question to them so they may learn. But not because the husband is the only one that is allowed to teach them, but because they were culturally uneducated, playing “catch up” She also points out that the “law” could easily be roman law which prohibited women from PUBLIC speaking, and frowned upon even conversational speech out in public. So, Paul could be telling them to obey the law of the land as in other places. I’m sure I did not do her position justice, since hers is way more in depth and cited. However, she doesn’t completely dismiss the quotation reading. I think sometime ago she might have, but there has been some recent evidence that made her more open to it. The other egalitarian author that appears in that same book elaborates on it a bit. Anyway, I hope that answered your question.

Tonya said...

I agree with what you said about Adam and Eve, mostly anyway. I do think that the NT refers to Adam as the entrance of sin though, thereby putting the blame on him. In fact, just a few verses down here in 15:22, Paul says "as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive". Also, you have sin being passed to us through Adam, not through Eve which is why Christ was able to be born sinless when the rest of us were born with sin already imputed to us. Jesus' father was not of this earth so he didn't inherit Adam's sin, making him the second Adam and the one who would do things right where Adam failed. This is very interesting if you think about it and makes you wonder... what would have happened if Adam had refused the fruit when Eve offered it??? (BTW, I don't want to debate this, it's just something to think about.)

Anyway, sin entered the world through one man (the word here means human being but I don't know of any scholars who think this refers to Eve)and Adam gets blamed for it even though both men and women reap the consequenses of sin. See Romans 5.

And it seems, from the creation account, that Adam was right there when Eve took the fruit and ate it. It doesn't sound like he told her not to eat so it may have been his fault for not stopping her from taking the fruit when he could have. It's all speculation, baby. This is fine, but we need to keep speculation seperate from proper hermenutics.

We have to evaluate the facts and then fill in the blanks accordingly. I think we are both agreed that we can't build a theology on speculation or personal opinion about how things should look (as Cat noted up there), but speculating is fine as long as our speculating fits with the facts.

Right now, we have a greek sentence structure that completely disproves the quotation theory 100% of the time with no exceptions. If this is out,then we have admit that vs 34-35 are an instruction to the church, go back to the original language reading and take that apart.

Tonya said...

Tia, we posted at the same time. I would love to know about the new evidence (if there can be any new evidence in a book translated from old manuscripts). I will try to find the book at the Library.

Anyway, Linda B's stuff sounds like it is all based on speculation based on historical and cultural context, which as we know, can be shaky considering all the different veiws of history we can find to support our favorite positions. She thinks this might have been the case since this might have been the historical context of the letter. Even if the history is right, it is still speculation and I am not comfortable with building doctrine on speculation.

I'll get the book and check it out but so far, it doesn't look good. You've got a word that refers to the OT the vast majority of the times it is used, a word that points to verses 34-35 as being truth, and a perfectly logical explaination of why this all fits together nicely. I know it's not your favorite interpretation of these verses, but what I would like to know is; does it work? Are there problems with the interpretation as I have laid it out in the comments to this post, and if so, what are they. I need to know if this is full of holes because it looks like it works to me. I need another opinion.


Tia Lynn said...

Oh I definitely believe sin came THROUGH Adam, but not because he was above eve, but because she was deceived and Adam knowingly and willfully sinned.

I do not think the grammatical structure has to disprove the quotation reading at all. There are other instances outside of N.T. writings of the same period that use the device differently. It also (apparently) makes a difference how the device is used depending on whether the author HIMSELF is making a sarcastic or extreme remark that he means to contradict or he is quoting another source he means to contradict. I’ll have to back and reread the supporting and contradicting evidence again. The other egalitarian author in Two Views on Women in Ministry does a wonderful section on this topic.

So here’s a question. Say these verses are Paul words, they are translated correctly, and women are told to be utterly silent in all church meetings. You don’t think this is contradictory with other parts of the bible where women are speaking in front of the entire “body” or God’s people and it’s a good thing? Think of Peter at Pentecost reciting Joel 1:28 as partly being fulfilled because DAUGHTERS and MAIDSERVANTS prophesied. Both men and women were present, women were speaking out loud. Surely men could see and hear them, since peter recognizes this act as a partial fulfillment of Joel 1:28. This is just one instance. So even if this is not a “rights” issue for you, is it not one of the bible contradicting itself, as to what it does and does not approve of?

Tia Lynn said...

I think Linda B. actually relies heavily on the original language and the cultural/historical aspects just enhance that.

Tia Lynn said...

Me again, sorry.

And is not also speculation to make "The Law" reference about creation, when there is no clear law that would silence women? This also is trying to make the verse fit, when it does not.

Tonya said...

Saying "the Law" references creation IS speculation. I said that earlier in this conversation. Saying that the quotation theory is correct is also speculation. What we have to decide is whether or not either, or both positions work. Can the peices be put together to support them using proper hemenutics. I think the answer is yes to "the Law" meaning Torah since the word "nomos" is frequently translated that way. It doesn't require anything difficult to translate it this way and since 1 Timothy says basically the same thing, I think we find support for this speculation elsewhere in the Bible. As for the quotation theory, there is no support elsewhere in the Bible for vs 34-35 being translated as a quote. In fact, there is no other place where this gramatical structure is used to connect a false statement to a false statement. Greek scholars have said this and apparantly all lexicons agree.

As for Pentecost, you have the initial movement of the Holy Spirit here, falling on and gifting all believers. They were all together in the house, praying together when this happened.
We know that they were all speaking in tounges at the same time (something Paul told them to stop doing later on in Ch 14 of 1 Cor.) but we do not know that anyone was prophesying or that there was any sort of preaching or teaching going on. To assume that would not be sticking to the facts presented. Peter's quote from Joel says that the
Spirit has been poured out on all flesh. That's all. It does not say that women were prophesying at that time, or that they would prophesy in public meetings. It simply says that they would prophesy. When and how this was to be done was apparantly something Paul needed to address in his letters to the Church.

Remember, I totally believe that women have been gifted. I just think the Bible makes it clear that there are certain parameters for how we employ our giftings. All is to be done for the glory of God, whatever that encompasses.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death." "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways, aknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs). Whether things make sense to our culture and personal sensibilities is not the issue here. And scripture must support itself and I want to be willing to let go of ideas that don't.

I need other NT instances where women spoke out in the services and were commended for it. I can't think of any. Please list them for me so I can study them. Thanks:).

Tonya said...

Tia, I've said about a half dozen times that 1 timothy 2 makes reference to the Torah (Law) right after saying "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." It says, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve."

Why is 1 Corinthians 14 not allowed to refer to the same account in the Torah when it says "Women should remain silent in the churches, They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says." (referring to the same account). You keep saying "there is no law saying that women must be silent" but the Law is the Torah. And there is CLEAR reference in 1 Tim to the creation account in a passage addressing the EXACT SAME THING.

What is the problem? Is this going to mess up another one of your arguments? because I can't see any other reason why you won't conceed that this is a very strong possibility. We have passages addressing the exact same thing, with strong support that they are using the exact same reason for quiet women and you seem to be clinging to the fact that there is no direct quote in the Torah to say that women should be silent.

We have an instance in 1 Cor 7:39 where Torah is referenced without a direct, verbatim quote also so we know that Paul does this on occasion. Paul references the creation account when saying "A woman is bound by Law to her husband as long as he lives", just as Jesus did in Matt 19:25 with a direct quote. Just because Paul didn't give "chapter and verse" does not mean that he was not referencing Torah. And since the greek word used there actually MEANS Torah so frequently, I can't see why this interpretation is causing you so many problems.

Make sure you give me those other NT references where women are speaking up. I am really trying to understand where the support for women preaching and teaching the bretheren in the Assembly comes from.

Tia Lynn said...

Tonya, when Peter quotes Joel 1:28 it is in DEFENSE to what is happening right then and there. The crowd mocking them is saying that they all must be drunk and Peter counters this with Joel’s prophecy to prove to them what IS happening IS from the Lord. And the text does not say all believers were speaking in tongues over each other. They spoke in a tongue of the language of their listeners. There was no interpreter needed, because the tongues being spoken were in the language of the people. Since there was a large crowd of various types of people, believers could have been speaking in tongues to different people listening at the same time. I doubt they were all standing on a platform speaking over each other, for then no one would be able to understand what was going on. Also the women gave themselves to prayer with the 12, traditionally an out loud ritual, not silent like we do today.

The entire passage in acts is telling how the Spirit fell on all believers and they all were speaking to the crowds that gathered. Do you think the random crowd that approached segregated themselves by gender? You don’t think the crowd heard women speaking, filled with the Holy Spirit.

Just the fact that you are assuming 1 corinthians 14:34-35 is speaking or large assemblies or formal assemblies is speculation. The church was the people, whenever the people gathered together, whether in small groups at home (which was the most frequent gathering) or at meals (where communion was traditionally celebrated, a very ‘churchy’ ritual), or during special occasions when larger assemblies were held. But Paul makes no such distiction between “large/formal” gatherings and “smaller/infomral” gatherings. It seems to be a silent in ALL gatherings of the church, if these are in fact his words.

You asked in an earlier comment how we could be sure 1 Corinthians 11 was pertaining to church. Verse 2 thanks the corinthians for keeping the traditions he passed down to them. “traditions” was a common term used by Paul to refer to the acts done in the gatherings of the body. He then addresses the issues of men and women covering their heads while PRAYING AND PROPHESYING. He closes THIS ISSUE in verse sixteen saying, “But if one is inclined to be contentious [about head coverings], we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.” Then he CONTINUES instructing them on how to behave when gathered together. The entire controversy about head coverings was a public matter, because the church has written to him about this problem. Jews and Greeks had very different practices when it came to headcoverings. If this is not dealing with public church gatherings, would Paul expect women to wear headcoverings while praying in their beds and in their homes? Headcoverings are public garments.

Philip had four daughters who prophesiesed. Of course, there is no record of who their audience was. But again, we find in 1 corinthians that prophecy is given so ALL may learn, and for the building up of the entire church. If God gives a woman a message, is it only for other women to hear when scripture points to new testament prophecy being for the entire church?

There are other interesting women throughout the new testament that I am going to do separate posts on So I don’t to start discussing them now. But there are plenty of Old Testament women who spoke in the presence of God’s people about spiritual matters. If the “law” demanded a woman’s silence, surely we would not find women who spoke in the presence of God’s people in the OT. Miriam LEAD Israel and prophesied to Israel, Deborah was THE judge in Israel and also prophesied to God’s people, not just women. Psalm 68:11 praises women who proclaim God’s good tidings. The word translated as woman here is actually the feminine form of preachers. So it should read the women preachers.

I make no dispute that when Paul normally references the law that is the law of moses, but the problem still remains that there is no such law. And if paul is referencing the creation account, would he not explain what he means as he does in 1 timothy 2:8-15, since the creation account was never used to silence women before?? It is way too ambiguous for a “law” that does not explicitly silence women.1 timothy 2:8-15 is a highly debated passage which can be taken many different ways. I’ll expound on that in that post.

But even the way it is understood by complementarians is completely different even from what 1 corinthians 14:33-35 is suggesting. One “suggests” women should not lead men, the other completely silences women. Paul explains his reasoning in 1 timothy, where he does not in 1 Corinthians 14.The way complementarians understand the creation order can be supported in paul’s reasoning in 1 timothy 8-15, but not so in 1 corinthians 14. The wording of 1 corinthians 14 implies that a “silent woman” law is so clear and well known that no further explanation is needed. Any reader of the OT knows that no such law exists, let alone an example of women having to be silent. So, would not Paul need to explain his reference to the creation account when it is not clear in the least?

The only reason nomos is translated as “torah” or “law of moses” so frequently is because the CONTEXT points to that meaning, because 95 percent of time Paul is making a direct quote from the Law of Moses. The word itself has NO inherent meaning of Torah or Law of Moses. It’s usually translated that way when it is clear what Paul is referring to. The word alone cannot be used to surmise the Law of Moses is automatically referenced. Plus, 1 timothy does not connect nomos with the creation account. Paul does not use “nomos” in this passage nor does he say the law does not allow women to teach, he says “I do not permitt...” and then goes on to talk about the creation story. He doesn’t say, just as the nomos says....

Terry said...

Tia Lynn nad Tonya,
I have found this conversation fascinating and have felt wholly uneducated to add anything to it. Being 36 weeks pregnant, it's all I can do to get dinner on the table and do my daily devotions. I don't have the mental energy for the kind of in-depth study you guys are engaged in. I am impressed.

However,one part of the discussion has piqued my interest. While I have always interpreted Genesis 1:28 as a directive of co-dominion and equality before the fall, in light of Tim 2: 13-14, is it possible that Adam was always the head in their marriage relationship? After all, God, being God, could have created them at the same time rather than creating Adam first, then Eve, and reiterating the point later in the new testament. If this is the case (and I'm asking a question, not stating an opinion), that would take away all confusion and worries about contradictions, wouldn't it?

Michelle said...

wow, I had some catching up to do!

I have nothing to add but I am listening and learning. Waiting for some of these other passages to be covered before I jump back in. :)

Tia Lynn said...

Terry, you bring up an excellent point. Part of the problem with this particular discussion, is that the passage in 1 timothy is being used to justify the apparent reasoning in 1 corinthians 14:33-35. But as we shall see when I finally get some time to post on 1 timothy 8-15, that the verses found there are no where near as cut and dry as is commonly assumed. Paul’s appeal to creation does not have to point to a hierarchal structure in the garden OR in the church. So, it’s probably best we put a hold this conversation on hold until we examine those verses. Otherwise, we’ll go round and round. :) Tonya is a formidable opponent though, isn’t she? :)

But even if one believes Adam was originally made the leader pre-fall and this justifies male-only leadership (Adam created first = Men’s right to solely lead and hold authority), it does not logically carry over with what is suggested in 1 Corinthians 14. Adam being created first does not logically correlate with women being silent in their presence. And while male-only authority is a much more reasonable correlation, Paul still needs to explain it (I’m speaking from the complementarian understanding of 1 Timothy). So are we to believe the new silence command that requires quite a bit of finagling and extrapolating needs no explanation in 1 Corinthians 14? It is the only command in the entire bible that completely silences women and it needs no explanation other than “the law says so” even though the law does not say so. One has to dig through “the law” and extrapolate a far-fetched and extreme meaning that is not evident from the text itself. This is the precise reason moderate complementarians do not appeal to the creation account to interpret this tricky passage. Appealing to the creation account to establish male-only authority in the church is one thing, but it is quite another thing to cite the creation account to command women to be utterly silent.

Tonya said...

Michelle, you've been mentally occupied elsewhere:):):).

Terry, I think so, but Tia has another explaination of 1 Tim 2. I think that Adam and Eve were created to function as a unit with one head, not two:). And I think that there are many indications of this, which I have already mentioned. We all have to do the study and decide for ourselves. You're off the hook for at least the next 6 months, though, so just get dinner on the table and brush your teeth. I feel quite accomplished when I can do those things at your stage of the game:):):).

That said, this debate can go in circles and loops with both sides pulling out all the stops. I am exhausted from reading everyone and doing my own research (as much as possible) to see if what they say is biblical.

I will say that I have a much better understanding of the Egalitarian POV now. That's a good thing. I also know, after seeing the "pro's" go at it, that Tia and I are not going to solve this problem. We could beat this horse until it's dead but that's not my intention. I doubt I'll change anyone's mind, but at least, when all is said and done, I'll know my own:):):).

Tia, I am not going to answer the parts of your comment that we have already talked about (OT prophetesses) in the interest of time. But I do want to answer some of the others because you made some really good points.

I DO think that Ch 11 must be referring to public worship since that seems to be the general consensus of the scholars (I actually e-mailed some to find out why- lol!). I HOPE this is the case. I don't think your explaination "because you would have to wear a head covering at home when you pray" is the reason though. I am pretty sure that the head covering is long hair and you don't take ever that off:). This interpretation fits every part of the head covering passage perfectly when you go to the greek so women praying and prophesying anywhere would have been "covered" if they had long hair. And if they were still shorn or shaven from their promiscuous BC days (signs of prostitution or promiscuity), then they were to be "let be" and accepted as they were while they grew their hair out:).

As for Pentecost, I see what you are saying (and agree) and I just read Acts 2 in a new light.

When reading back through this passage, it suddenly dawned on me that this was, very probably, a miraculous instance where everyone was speaking at the SAME TIME, but not in chaos! Every Jew who was drawn to the sound in utter bewilderment heard the message in his own tounge. "Each of us hears THEM in his own native language". That is pretty cool. I never noticed that before. Maybe the "noise" was interpreted by the Holy Spirit for each individual who was listening! Who knows. Either way, it looks like they were prophesying in tounges! That would make sense according to what Peter said and be a wonderful sign and reason for the hearers to believe on Christ!!!! We already know that women were expected to do this so there is no difficulty in fitting this verse with the veiw that women were asked to keep quiet in the assembly (not including prophesy and prayer if 1 Cor 11 is talking about public worship). If Peter is using Joel to explain what was going on here, then everyone was prophesying, not teaching. The actual teaching was done by Peter when he stood up with the Eleven to preach Christ and explain things from the Scriptures.

What think you?

I'm curious, do you (personally)differentiate between the gifts of prophecy and teaching? I know some E's don't. just wondering. It might explain why we are having trouble coming to a consensus in certain areas.

Tonya said...

Tia, I just saw your comment to Terry.

If Paul was instructing the Church that women should be quiet sometimes, it would NOT, NOT, NOT have been because there was a direct command in the Law. The people had been RELEASED from the Law and Paul was always harping on that point!

This command (or "suggestion") would have been in place to HONOR CHRIST AS CREATOR or something of the like, not to put the people back under Levitical law! It would simply be a "tradition" to show how Christ had created Adam first and then Eve and also to remind the people of the fall and of their need for Christ.

Symbolism, an acting out of the foundation, a reminder of our needy state...call it what you will.

Paul could have picked another way to show this. He could have had the men stand up during the service while the women took the chairs. He could have had women cover their heads and the men not cover their heads (oh wait, he did). He could have had the women come into the service after to men to show how God brought Eve to Adam. And they could have been carrying a fruit to give to their husbands to remind them of the fall. Who knows why he picked silence. Maybe it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Hmm.

Why does this not work for you? You say, "there is no direct command to silence women". Why is that so important? No one in the NT church was under the Law. Why would Paul have tried to put them there? If the quotation theory has as many problems as it appears too, we've got to go to the original language theory and assume that vs 34-35 are commands. If this is so, then the Law is something important. Why would Paul be slapping an law from jewish tradition, not even present in the Torah, on the people!? He wouldn't. So what is our next step. Find out what he is talking about. It has to be something important, and it's not part of the law that Christians have been freed from. Right? So that leaves the good stuff. The creation account makes sense. To me at least. It won't help your position on 1 Tim 2, I know. But if it makes sense, and you don't have any contradictions, then it needs to be considered!

Anyone else? Or am I only making sense to myself.???

Greg Anderson said...


You still haven't shown us where this elusive law in Torah is. To say as Wayne Grudem and CBMW says, that Paul is referring to the OT as a whole, is special pleading.

In other words, the burden of proof is on the complementarians to come up with the goods (an actual statute silencing women) without reading an ideological bias back into the text.

Tia Lynn said...

Good thoughts Tonya. You are so funny! That’s great that you emailed them! And I think you’re right about head coverings. It doesn’t point to public worship only because otherwise women would need head coverings in the privacy of their own homes. That’s just a funny thought, though. That is a very difficult passage for a number of reasons, and definitely deserves its own post.

Yes, I do believe there is a difference between prophecy and teaching, but they do share many similarities. According to Paul, prophecy can be done edification, exhortation, encouraging the body, and is done so “all may learn.” So, when one prophesies, it’s not necessarily telling the future, it can also be lifting up the body with a word of encouragement, word of wisdom, or word knowledge, which is not quite the same as OT “thus saith the lord” type prophecy. So, prophecy takes on new aspects in the New Testament age. Interestingly enough, according to Paul, prophecy is the greater gift, apparently the more authoratative position. He ranks apostles first, prophets second, and then teaching third. However, Acts 2 does not necessarily equate with women “teaching” men, but it definitely refutes the notion that they must be silent while in their presence. I was more going for that angle. :)

Phew! Im pooped! You must be too!

Tia Lynn said...

Oh we just can’t stop ourselves!

Wait, I thought you just said a woman’s hair was her covering? So, then both men and women would both be bear-headed.

If symbolism is Paul’s intent behind silencing women, he sucks at it. If eve had been silent or mute, then yes, great job Paul. But this does not mirror Adam and Eve’s relationship or God’s original design for them.

Of course we are free from the purity laws, but it’s still a sin to murder, lie, fornicate, commit adultery and such and Paul would not advocate a deviation from that. I don’t think Paul is suggesting the church adhere to rabbinical law (if these are his words), he may be referring to Roman Law, since he instructs believers to obey earthly authorities. If this is the case, then women’s silence is irrelevant, since that is not the law of the land anymore.

“Why does this not work for you? You say, "there is no direct command to silence women". Why is that so important?”

Umm. Because Paul phrases this command by saying there is such a law. That’s why it is important. If he would have said, “women be in total silence because you will bare witness to the creation order as recorded in the law moses,” that may be different, even though silence is not symbolic of this situation in the least. But Paul says women are to silent JUST AS THE LAW SAYS. The law does not say this, imply this, describe this, or allude to this. It is an utterly foreign concept to the entirety of scripture. So it is a false statement if we believe the literal interpretation.

Does or does not God speak through women? Does or does not the rest of Paul’s instructions on gifts being used in the midst of the church contain gender inclusive language?

So, God can speak through a woman, but she must be silent because this will somehow symbolize the original creation?

Tonya said...

Tia and Greg, I don't know how to put this any clearer but I will try it by being concise.

"The Law" is also known as "the Torah", which is the first five books of the Bible.

The phrase, "as the law says" does not mean that there must be a direct quote from the OT. It simply means "as the law lays forth, means, describes..".

The sentence structure here can NOT support a falsehood connected to a falsehood. Therefore vs. 34-35 must be true becasue we know that the following verses are false.

If vs 34-35 are true, then Paul is referencing the Torah (not levitical or rabbinical law which the people had been set free from). My SPECULATION is the creation account because of support found elsewhere in scripture, i.e., 1 Tim 2 and 1 cor 11.

Tia, as for head coverings, if you use the verse that says "a woman's long hair is given to her as a covering" as a key, and plug in the words "long hair" every time you see the word "cover", you will see what I mean. Therefore, there would be a differentiating between men and women by the length of the hair, not by the fact that they have it. Although this is probably why monks shaved a tonsure into their pate.

Okay, gotta run. I won't be in much today. We all need a break. My eyes are bugging out from all the reading I'm doing. My kitchen countertop looks like a biblical studies classroom. The neighbor kids walk in and say "how many bibles do you need???"

Tonya said...

Okay, so I lied. I'm back. My house is clean and quiet (kids are either asleep or at friends house), my chores are all done, we are eating out tonight and I have nothing else to do so I am studying.

I have two things for you.

#1. There appears to be no evidence that 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is talking about public worship. This is an assumption based on Chapter 10:16-17 mentioning communion. That's it. So it appears that my question was a valid one.

#2. 1 Corinthians 14, however, is definitely addressing worship in the public assembly. The words used in the greek (interlinnear style) in 14:23 are "If therefore come together the assembly whole in one place....". It appears that is referring to a large public gathering of believers. In fact, I would say that is rather obvious.

So chapter 11 can't be used to debunk the "silence" verses in Chapter 14 because it is likely (since vs. 17 begins to discuss public worship for sure) that they address two different sets of circumstances. It appears (according to Paul)that women can pray and prophesy as long as they have long hair or are in the process of growing it out, that men should NOT have long hair when they are praying or prophesying and that women should be silent in the large public assemblies where everyone is together in one place.

All things considered, I think it's pretty clear:

~ that 1 Cor 14:34-35 are NOT a falsehood, but a truth (because of the gramatical structure which indicates this 100% of the time).

~that they refer to "the law" (which has to be something true) in support of the command for women to be silent.

~that they can not be debunked or changed by the verses in chapter 11 without assuming something.

~and that there are other verses that address women being quiet and refer to early Genesis (the Torah, or Law) as their reason for this teaching.

Do I have a case? And be honest!:):):). Poke all the holes you can find, but tell me if this works at all. I am going for as much fact and as little assumption as I can manage, and one always needs help when doing that. I feel like I am excavating to find the foundation on this topic.

Tia Lynn said...


1.) 1 Corinthians 11:5 is clearly concerning public worship, the entire topic addressed in these verses is summed up in verse 16 and 17 saying, “But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God. But in giving THIS instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better, but for the worse.”

These verses are not independent from the subject of prayer and prophesy and how it’s to be done in the church. These verses do not pertain to taking communion, that is addressed in the next topic that begins in verse 18. 16-17 are clearly summing up the head covering passage. These passages conclude that particular topic and serve as a transition for the next order of business, a continuation of orderly behavior when the church gathers. The praying and prophesying instructions are obviously intended to establish order in public church gatherings.

The entire context points to church gatherings: The first section talks about prayer and prophecy, the next part The Lord’s Supper, then false prophecy, then the various spiritual gifts given to believers (in gender inclusive language BTW) to be used in church gatherings, comparing the different gifts to the parts of the human body, and so forth. 1Cor. 13:12 says all spiritual gifts should be sought after for the edification of THE CHURCH. I can’t imagine that women with this gift would be barred from edifying the entire church with it.

2. Verse 26 says “when you assemble...” this does not necessarily mean a HUGE assembly, it just means when a church gathers, which was usually in homes and very rarely in larger venues like Solomon’s porch. The tone of Paul’s letter would suggest that meetings are frequent and he is not giving guidelines for special occasions, but the regular meetings of the church. Again the language from verse 26 on is gender inclusive (“you can all prophesy one by one...”) until we get to the bizarre silencing of women verses in 34-35.

1 Cor. 14:23 cannot be used to began the topic of public assembly or to differentiate from the rest of Paul’s instructions. In context, Paul uses this as a for instance to what will happen if unbelievers come into a meeting and EVERYONE is speaking in tongues, they will think Christians are insane. But in the next verse he says if ALL are prophesying (in order of course), then the unbelievers will be convicted and praise God. So, the reference “if the whole church gathers together in one place,” used in this very specific, hypothetical supporting-point cannot be applied to the next part of Paul’s instructions. His instructions on order are not contingent on the size of the meetings, whether is the larger, rarer meetings, or the regular smaller house meetings. Order is to be part of all services. Besides, verse 26 immediately switches back to the more general “when you assemble,” which can mean anything, in small groups, the regular house churches, AND the larger assemblies.

When you say the grammatical structure proves against the quotation reading 100 percent of the time, you have to take into account that the 100 percent of the time is only two, maybe three examples! This is hardly enough examples to give a concrete assurance that the grammar does not vary, especially when WHAT is being contradicted can change the grammar: whether one is contradicting one’s OWN sarcastic or hyperbolic statement OR contradicting a quote from another source.

IF v. 34-35 are Paul’s words, AND they are translated correctly, AND they ONLY pertain to large PUBLIC gatherings (when nonbelievers could easily be aware of), the only law he can logically be referring to is the law of the land. He tells believers in other places to obey earthly authorities. It is possible with all the other restrictions places on women during this time, particularly in CORINTH (a gentile city that was Greek by culture) that women also prohibited from publicly speaking. But there is not way I will ever be convinced that Paul is referring to biblical law (since one does not exist, nor does ANY situation or story exist where one can even INFER that all women must be in total silence in religious meetings). This is the only verse that COMPLETELY silences women in the entire Bible and Paul feels no need to elaborate? Not buying it. So, if Paul is referring to the law of land, then these verse are irrelevant anyway because this is no longer the law of the land.

I’d address the 1 timothy passage you are using to support the fact that Paul could be referring to creation to support his universal mandate of women being silent in public church meetings, but since there will be a few posts on those verses, I am going to hold off.

Now, let me ask you. IF you believe Paul is speaking of “the whole church” being gathered together in one place, do you think women being silent applies to modern church services or is more akin to what we would know as arena church gatherings, like crusades, concerts, and the like? Or do you think the kinds of churches we have now are under this mandate for women to be completely silent during their meetings?


What do you think about the alternate original language reading? If that one is correct, then the “law” could be a number of OT laws that prohibit nonbelievers from speaking or leading in religious gatherings. Paul says this in other places throughout the N.T., when he says the church is not to FELLOWSHIP with nonbelievers, which does not mean we should not associate with them, but that we should not allow them to participate in our services the way a believer would.

For instance, I could bring a non-believing Buddhist to church to learn and observe, but we wouldn’t let them get up and pray to their god or perform their religious ceremonies. Do you think this is a possible interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35?

Tonya said...

Honestly Tia, I am not even thinking of how this applies yet. If I start doing that, I immediately become un-neutral-ish.

Right now I am just looking for the bare facts. Things that are certain and don't rely on speculation in any way. When I find that, I will start building something to apply to my own life. I will NOT be pushing it on anyone else because this topic, touchy one that it is, is one that every woman needs to study for herself. Otherwise, any application won't be lived out from the heart, only in the flesh.

Everything you said up there is a prime example of how all of this can go in loops and circles. Like I said, I don't think we will be in total agreement on this subject when we get to the end of this:):):). It's okay though, because we agree on the important stuff!

1 Cor 11:2-16 is not "clearly" addressing public worship, otherwise there wouldn't be theologins who say it isn't:). 1 Cor 14 contains blatant reference to all coming together in one place. You can separate it into topics if you want to, but it seems pretty clear to me that this large, corparate gathering is what is being addressed in ch 14. And the 100% of the time I am talking about includes all greek literature of the period, both biblical and unbiblical. That's pretty conclusive. The only people who say "sarcasm" has anything to do with it are not scholars, just regular people with an opinion, like me and you:). The lexicons disagree.

And I think you addressed 14:34-35 being about unbeleivers in the post before this one. I think we agree that this is weak, but I will look at it and see if I see any real evidence for this position. Of course, we can speculate, but I for one am not willing to build personal life affecting doctrine on speculation.

Okay, I'm outta here until the next scripture post. We've hashed this one as far as it can be hashed and I've got a few busy days ahead of me:):):). Thanks for giving me so much feedback, sister friend. I really appreciate it! I'll go back and check out everything you talked about. Hugs!

vicki said...

First let me freely admit that I only read half of these comments, but I felt compelled to state a few things.

Paul was addressing a specific problem at a specific church. Corinth was a very pagan place. Many women, who had no previous knowledge of the One True God, had just found Christ and were exited about this new and profound change in their lives. They were sharing information(as women do easily),about things in which they had no direct instruction. They were trying to glean as much information as possible which made them easy targets for false teachers. Paul was probably trying to avoid the spread of uninformed teaching by nipping it in the bud, in Corinth. The same problem existed in Ephesus, so he gave Timothy the same advice as a way to handle a difficult situation. For us to take it out of its historical context and shove it into the 21st century is kind of silly. We need to interpret scripture in light of what was going on at the time it was written and to whom it was written and why they wrote it in the first place. The purpose was to prevent people from giving misinformation. This purpose still holds true today. We want those in teaching/prophesying positions to teach truth not spread rumors or take advantage of people's ingnorance. It is imperative that they realize the responsibility they possess.

These verses do not say that it's wrong for all women everwhere to teach, they just need to be knowledgeable speakers. The women Paul is refering to are the uninformed women of Corinth, who were sharing information that wasn't correct.

Tia Lynn said...

Well said, vicki! Come back soon. :)