What are we to make of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 where Paul says, “Women should remain silent in the churches.”?
Did he mean it the way we hear it?
The first question we need to answer is: Was this a regulation for all of Christ's churches everywhere and for all time? The clear answer from scripture is, "No." At the end of the gospels God chose women to be the first evangelists and to preach to the disciples that Jesus was alive. In Acts 2 we are told the Spirit of God fell on "men and women....sons and daughters" and that both genders would prophesy. To prophesy means to preach and proclaim God's will with authority. In Romans 16:7 we learn that there is a female apostle (yes you read that correctly) named, Junia (a Greek feminine name for which there is no masculine equivalent). Apostle was the highest office of authority in the early church. The evidence from God’s word is clear, woman have God’s permission to preach in church.
The second question we should answer is: Was the prohibition against women speaking in church applied only to the Corinthian church? Again the clear answer from Paul's own letter to the Corinthian church is, "No." At the end of chapter 14 in verse 39 Paul encourages both men and women to be eager to prophesy. In 1 Corinthians 11:5 Paul explains that women should cover their heads when praying and prophesying in a worship service (I believe the issue here is the beauty/glory of a women distracting from the glory of God). In First Corinthians Paul actually encourages women to prophesy in church. He wants them to speak.
Now the obvious question is: What did Paul really mean in 14:34-35? The key to understanding is to recognize that Paul was condemning a particular kind of speech, namely, inquiry. In verse 35 we learn the women were disruptively asking questions and it was interfering with the worship service. We don't know what their questions were or why they were disruptive, but we do know they were distracting people from worshipping and hearing God's word. We have a clue to the nature of these questions in verse 37. They had something to do with assuming the authority of a prophet. One possible explanation is that these women were once prophetesses in a pagan religion and were questioning Christ's prophets or had questions that were better addressed in the privacy of their own homes (v. 35).
Here is what we can be sure of from Scripture: Both men and women have been gifted and authorized to preach and teach and must do so orderly and in be in agreement with God’s word (1 Timothy 1:3-4).
Hope this helps you understand the Bible.
A Revealing Assumption
Those Christians who assume God will guide them, be with them or even transform them, yet are unwilling to practice the discipline of carefully reading and applying His word in community are like people who leave their house in the morning assuming they are dressed, but refusing to practice the discipline of putting on their clothes. Their foolishness is apparent to others first and, unfortunately, to them second.
Are you a naked Christ-follower? Get dressed and practice the discipline of carefully reading and applying God's word in community. You will be amazed at what He reveals to you through His word and at the work His word does in you.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. - 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV)
The church is currently in the season of Lent – that time of the year when Christians go around asking each other, “What did you give up?" But rather than a time to give something up, Lent is the period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter where the followers of Christ seek to be closer to Him. That doesn't happen by just giving something up. Rather, we practice replacing something natural with something spiritual. We replace a natural practice that brings its own reward with a spiritual discipline that brings the blessing of deeper intimacy with God.
Jesus did this. He replaced daily bread with the bread of heaven, God's word (see Matthew 4:4). He replaced lunchtime with the food of doing God's will (see John 4:34). We need to practice Lent like Jesus. Are you giving up lunch? Then replace your lunchtime with time in God's word, in prayer or serving others. Are you giving up chocolate? Replace that sweetness with the sweet presence of Jesus in worship, memorizing scripture, etc. The question we should be asking for Lent is, "What are you replacing in order to practice growing closer to your Lord?"
This year our church (San Dimas Wesleyan) is practicing Lent by replacing our time with God time:
It's not too late for you to start practicing Lent.
What's your answer to the Lenten Question: What are you replacing in order to practice growing closer to your Lord?
Before you continue reading quickly write the words, "my part" on a sticky note or small piece of paper and leave it within reach.
Consider this question: Who is responsible for a Christ-Follower's spiritual growth. When Jesus called you to Himself, when you put your trust in Him and became a Christian, you began as an infant. Our heavenly Father's expectation and desire is that you would grow up and become more like His Son. So again, who is responsible to make this happen? Who is responsible for Christian discipleship? The answer is threefold: God, the church and you.
Now I want you to pick up the piece of paper. The responsibility to obey Jesus, to grow spiritually and become more like Him is in your hands. You have the power to decide whether you will remain a spiritual infant or submit to your Father's will and grow up.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. - 1 Peter 2:2 (NIV)
Community Bible Experience groups....never too late....
I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.
- William Carey
My name is Tim Kirkes. I am honored to be the a child of my heavenly Father, the husband of Lisa, the father of two boys and the pastor of San Dimas Wesleyan church.