“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak…” ~ 1Cor 14:34 / “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” ~ 1Timothy 2:12
I am not a golfer-really my slice or splice is rather dangerous-and when I walked onto the National course, all I thought was that the grass sure looked nicer than my yard. Still, there is one thing I enjoy about the Master’s Tournament. A few years ago women’s groups tried to force the National to allow ladies membership, and out of fear, the tournament sponsors dropped out. But the men of the National were not phased; they simply bought the television rights, and the tournament aired without commercials. I love their refusal to bow to pressure and commitment to their principals. It is their club and it is their rules!
Throughout church history the place behind the pulpit has often been designated men only. But of course the church is not our club, it is God’s. He defines the rules. And when people try to find the will of God the first step is to check scripture-to find what the Spirit reveals in the Word of God. Two passages people often refer to-listed above-call for silence (the only verses which call women to be silent in church). But scripture must be weighed, so lets dig deeper:
1 Corinth 14:34 (29-40) ~ This passage on prophecy must be held in balance with Paul’s earlier thought, “But every woman who prays or prophecies with her head uncovered…” 1Cor 11:5. To prophecy a woman must be allowed to speak. As a prophet she will literally become the voice of God delievering His word to the church! As Paul writes, “those who prophesy edify the church” (1 Cor 14:4). So in one moment Paul allows women to speak and in the next it is disallowed! Why? It seems to have everything to do with context, with life situation.
1 Tim 2:12 (11-15) ~ This passage concludes with a verse I would call heresy: “women will be saved through childbearing”. Amazing! Rather than Jesus as the only way, women have an alternate path through childbearing. Or am I misinterpreting? The Greek is the same word used for our salvation, so it is not a bad translation. But why am I concerned? Why does it matter if we can not understand one portion, the issue is women speaking. But every verse must be read in context. We need to understand the full passage or paragraph before we create theology. We can not define theology off a verse when we do not understand one part of the passage-especially when a portion seems to be heresy! Since we can not understand salvation through childbearing, we can not fully understand the silence verse.
If both verses commanding women to be silent are suspicious how can we define the role of women in the ministry. We can not bow to the pressure of either tradition or women’s groups; instead, we must stay committed to the principle of following Christ. Next week we will look at specific women in scripture. We read one narrative last week-possibly the most important-but there are many more to examine!
Note to reader: When I first posted this article I wrote under 1Corinthians 14:34, while comparing it to 11:5, “The root word in Greek, for speak and prophecy are the same!” I wrote this while visiting family in Tulsa and my memory was confused. Though prophecy requires speaking, the words are no more related than the English equvialents. Of course my memory is often jumbled, but I did remember a greek connection: the word refering to women prophecying in 11:5 is the same greek word used when Paul refers to the gift of prophecy in chapter 12 and 14. The gift he will declare “greater” is given to woman! And if God has given who are we to make rules!
Jeniffer Dake-as you have already heard-is our camp speaker this summer. We choose her because of her messages on lifestyle evangelism-which is the subject God had put on my and Andy’s heart! It may seem strange to have girl as our camp speaker, but God gives messages to whom He pleases! Check out her website or listen to one of her messages in our video vault!