Should the woman be silent in the assembly?
A study of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
By Andy Zoppelt
I have struggled with these verses in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 35, off and on for over fifty years. My very first sermon was on the silencing of women in the assembly.
This whole argument is hanging on three points, a supposed law that would be in agreement and supportive of silencing women in the assembly, the immediate context in which we find these two verses and the wording in the Greek itself.
There are only two verses that are silencing women in the assembly in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, that would not be a problem if Paul did not speak so absolutely and so clearly of all, both men and women, speaking in the assembly where all saints participate. Why would Paul speak volumes on all participating in the meetings and then slip in two verses silencing the women, fifty percent of the assembly?
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he speaks of circumcision, the Lord’s supper, saints following certain men, sexual immorality, taking a brother to court, food offered to an idols, etc., all these teachings are expressed in detail and given scriptures to back them up when necessary and then we come to the subject of silencing women, a subject having a greater impact on the function of the assembly than all the others, and we are given two verses clouded in suspicion that don’t even fit the context?
Most scholars would agree that if you have 20 texts that say one thing and two texts that disagree with the 20, it is wise to examine those two carefully. It is not acceptable to throw out the 20 opposing texts and accept the teaching on the basis of the two texts only. We must look to the preponderance of the evidence.If it is Paul’s intent, or should I say God’s intent, to silence women, should there not be a context for it and then define its outworking and limits?
In all of Paul’s letters, Paul goes into detail explaining the working within the kingdom of God and ministry within the body of Christ; Paul says nothing of silencing women, but rather the opposite with all participating in the meetings. Paul and others give us plenty of reasons to point to a full participation of the body in our assembly meetings. So to connect the silencing of women with the general teachings of body ministry is a leap out of nothing.
Paul, all the way through his letters, makes it clear, point for point, that every member is crucial in the body of Christ and one part of the body cannot say to the other part “I do not need you in the meetings.” We are thus all needed and thus none should forsake its assembly.
In reading Paul’s letters it is absolutely clear and laid out that he has in view a full body participation in the meetings, and that is easy to support with scriptures. We will look at some of them in Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians and others.
Let’s first look at the verses that come just before our two verses in 34 and 35 and then the verses that following them for context.
31-33, “For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion [certainly not to say all when He means men only] but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints.”
So how are we to obey these three verses in light of 34 and 35? We can’t do both.
39-40, “Therefore, brethren [both male and female], desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid [well didn’t 34 and 35 forbid women to speak?] to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” NKJV
So what are we to obey, the two verses that are out of context or the whole of Paul’s writings that establish a full participation within the assembly? There is another problem here, in verse 35 it says, “And if they [the women or wives] want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home;”
But in verse 31 Paul says “that all may learn [is this a reference to men only?] and all may be encouraged.”
So are we to assume that women must wait till they get home and step in the door to ask their husbands if they are to learn something? So can the women learn in the meetings or not? It is interesting that the one that states they must ask their husbands at home is our controversial verse, adding to the idea that these are not the words of Paul. If the words are not consistent with Paul’s teachings, we must accept that they are from someone else and he is quoting them in his letter, we will look more fully in this matter to establish this point.
1 Corinthians 14:26, clearly says, “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you [that is about as clear as it gets] has a psalm, has a teaching [both men and women], has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done [through each one] for edification.”
If silencing women was part of Paul’s context, wouldn’t Paul say, “each of you men…” to maintain consistency, something Paul always does in order that we would not miss his point?
When Paul gave the Romans his gospel, why didn’t he present a material head covering and the silencing-of-women doctrine? In Romans 12:3-8, he lays down his principles of body ministry and what he does say contradicts the silencing of women as in Corinthians,
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think [men seem to do this], but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one [no sign of male only] a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body [men and women], but all the members do not have the same function [but all the members function], 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ [male and female], and individually members of one another. Having then gifts [who is having these gifts?] differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them [no silence of women, but an understanding of their participation]: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:3-8, NKJV
So are we to believe that Paul is sending out this letter to the Romans and then later on he is going to tell them that the gifts that he mentioned for everyone are for men only in the assembly…I don’t think Paul is that short sighted. I think they understood what he said about being one body and “us” being that body made up of males and females.
Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” NKJV
So are we to infer that the “one another”, the encouraging is male only? Scripturally, there is a consistency in the use of “one another”, “all”, “each one”, “everyone”, “us”, throughout scriptures, this is the standard and there is no consistent use of males only or women being silent. The bells should be going off at this point.
Then we have Ephesians 4:7-16, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift…And He Himself gave some to be sent, some prophets, some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers [those who personally watch over and feed the sheep, not some man behind the pulpit], for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry [by all saints], for the edifying of the body of Christ [as we learned in 1 Corinthians], till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…speaking the truth in love, [that we] may [all] grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body [like 1 Cor 12], joined and knit together by what every joint supplies [is Paul referring to men joints only?], according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Being a believer is about assembling together and functioning as a physical body functions. We get no indication from Paul stating the opposite. That of itself should cause us to rethink our position on women.
1 Corinthians 1:4-8, “I thank my God always concerning you [male only?] for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance [prophesies and tongues etc.] and all knowledge [not male only], even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you [Corinthians, male and female] come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Again, the reference is to all the members of the body and not to men only.
Let us be clear, Paul intends all to participate, so we need to understand verses 34 and 35 from that point and that we will show.
We have 1 Corinthians 11 where the women are praying and prophesying in the assembly, so how are they to be silent?
We come to 1 Corinthians 12, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all [no exclusion of women]: for to one [no distinction] is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” NKJV
So are women along with men to receive these gifts of the Holy Spirit and if they do receive them are they forbidden to use them in the meetings? So are the words from the Holy Spirit, who is not a male or female or are they male and female words? Or are we to assume Paul is saying “to another male…”? At some point we must say verses 34 and 35 are not a part or in harmony with Paul’s teaching, otherwise Paul is demonstrating a poor way of building a context for silencing women. Paul never gives us even a hint of the silencing of women anywhere when he speaks of body ministry and that is crucial to this debate. So when the women are anointed or gifted, where do they exercise their gifts? During breakfast while the man exercises their gifts in the meetings… nothing is even hinted of such a separate practice. So if it is not hinted, why do we believe it?
To make the point even clearer, Paul demonstrates that we believers are one body.
“12 For as the body is one and has many members [male and female], but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ [we are one in ministry in Christ not showing sexual distinction]. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — [whether male or female Gal 3:28] and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one [male only] member but many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?”
Paul is crystal clear here, we all have gifts, even in the opening of 1 Corinthians in chapter one, we all function together for the common good and we are all one body, that is the consistent of Paul’s doctrine and traditions.
1 Corinthians 13:9-10, “For we [all] know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come [Jesus], then that which is in part will be done away.” NKJV
1 Corinthians 14 opens up with “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you [plural all] may prophesy.”
1 Corinthians 14:5, “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you [all] prophesied;”
1 Corinthians 14:23-26, “Therefore if the whole assembly comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you [all] are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you [all]. 26 How is it then, brethren [male and female]? Whenever you come together [assuming women come], each of you [male and female] has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
1 Corinthians 14:31 “For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.”
So are we to believe that all these preceding verses speaking of a full participation in the body is Paul leading us to silence all the women, fifty percent of the body? Can women evangelize, do apostolic work in foreign fields and prophesy? They are doing it worldwide.
Unless the women are not in the meetings, “all” means both male and female present in the meetings.
All of these verses presented are not the words for preparation or the laying a foundation of silencing women; these are words demonstrating that Paul has laid a clear foundation of body ministry and principles for the assembly and body ministry including all. We simply cannot have two verses overriding all of Paul’s teaching and we need to find out why they are there.
No one doubts that these two verses speak to silence women or wives, even that point of wives verses women is not clear, the question is who said it or who made the statement? If it comes down to the point that these two verses clearly do not harmonize with Paul’s teachings and further they cannot be backed up by any biblical law, only Jewish oral law, then we need to find out whose words they are. It is without a doubt Paul is quoting from the letter sent to him which he does do. And the quote is by those using Jewish oral law is as clear also.
Our two controversial verses
Now in the midst of Paul’s teaching concerning the body of Christ, with all participating, all being gifted by the Holy Spirit, all learning from one another, we then come to our two controversial verses of 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35,
“Let your women keep silent in the assemblies, for they are not permitted to speak [Says who?]; but they are to be submissive [under whose authority?], AS the law also says [what law?]. 35 And if they want to learn something [is a women’s learning in question?], let them ask their own husbands [is this wives only] at home; for it is shameful [pretty strong statement that needs to be explained] for women to speak in assembly [the very place where men and women gather].”
The early assembly didn’t have functioning and non-functioning members in the meetings void of the anointing…they together comprised the “anointed ones and holy ones.” In our human bodies ever part has a function and Paul compares us to a living body. So if a part doesn’t function in a body it is because it is dead, not because it is female.
When the assembly came together it was not based on a place or the amount attending the meeting. Whether it was two or three or two or three hundred, Jesus was in their midst pouring Himself through the person of the Holy Spirit through each member of His body…both male and female… this is what we see and read about in all of Paul’s letters, otherwise we are left with Paul being confused, one moment all women to be silent, the next, all speaking. I am sure Paul is aware of this and would not make a statement that contradicts his whole teaching and then refer to a law that would not be crystal clear to his readers so we could understand his point, this is not Paul and certainly this is not scriptural.
Within the body of Christ God is preparing for the harvest, the latter rain, the last outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh…including women prophesying.
The letter sent to Paul
Another major problem is that we don’t have the letter that was sent to Paul in the first place, so if verses 34 and 35 are a quote, it would be there in the letter sent to him and that would end the argument or vice versa. This idea of silencing women must be proven from context since we don’t have the letters sent to him.
The Jewish oral law
If there is a law that clearly silences women, which law or whose law can we identify having such a law? There is only one law that silences women and that is the Jewish oral law and it is not found in any of the laws of Moses or in any of the other commands coming from God Himself.
Suspicions runs even deeper in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians when we read within a few chapters two portions of Jewish oral law: head covering and women being silent, both in the same letter, both originating from Jewish oral traditions. It is clear that there are forces in Corinth and in other assemblies that are trying to bring in Jewish oral law.
Titus 1:14-15, “not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.” NKJV
Josephus, “the woman, says the law, is in all things inferior to a man. Let her accordingly be submissive.”
“…let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of the sex.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. IV. Ch. Vlll. 15)
“Women are sexually seductive, mentally inferior, socially embarrassing, and spiritually separated from the law of Moses; therefore, let them be silent” (summary of Talmudic sayings).
“May the words of Torah be burned, than that they should be handed over to women” (Sota, 10a) — Mishnah
“It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men” (Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin)
“A woman's voice is prohibited because it is sexually provocative” (Talmud, Berachot 24a) “
”The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness” (Talmud, Berachot Kiddushin)
So we may not find in scripture a law specifically for silencing women, but we do in Judaism.
So where is Paul’s defense backed up in the law? “but they [wives or women] are to be submissive, AS the law also says”
That word “as” is a big word, so where is the agreement between the law and silencing women? What law and whose law?
Where is the law that supposedly backs up the silencing of women specifically in the assembly? It’s not in Genesis, it is not in the law of Moses, it is in none of the historic writings, not in any of the Psalms or Solomon’s writings, not in Job, not in any of the prophets, not in the gospels, not in any other of Paul’s letters and Jesus never gave it and none of His apostles established it, we only find such a law specifically stated in one place and that is in the Jewish Oral law stated above, that is the “only” law that could have been referred to.
So if the law is the premise to his conclusion of silencing women then Paul has no argument because we find no law. We are to search the scriptures to see if these things are true. Personally in searching the scriptures for the past fifty years I have not found a single biblical law to support these verses.
Some say the law is the whole Old Testament… that is a bit farfetched, where? Such a general statement could justify any argument without evidence.
This argument against women speaking in the assembly is so out of touch with what God is doing throughout the world. I have talked to many who have left these gatherings frustrated with the only freedom that they were permitted was to just sit there in the meeting with a doyly on their head like statues…this whole idea is found in the writings of the Talmud, but not in heaven.
The Greek particle
To further complicate this whole matter all the more is that these two verses are followed immediately with two rhetorical questions demanding a “no” using the little Greek particle h or e in English.
“e (ay); a primary particle of distinction between two connected terms; disjunctive, or; comparative.” Strong's Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.
Let me give a couple of examples out of Corinthians only, but first let us look at the ones following verses 34 and 35 where we have not just one “e” but two, something highly unusual:
“36 (e) What? Came the word of God out from you [who is the “you” here? Jewish believers?] (e) what! or came it unto you [Jewish believers?] only? 37 If any man [could that be male and female?] think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you [not what you write to me] are the commandments of the Lord. [not the oral law of the Jews]”
Some tell us that Paul’s use of the particle “e” is him calling into question anyone that would challenge his silencing on women, but why would he do that when he hasn’t established it, nor has he verified it by giving us the law? Surely he understood that there was no clear law silencing women in the assembly, which at this point would be crucial and essential to the establishing his point of silencing women. But if he was quoting this from the letter sent to him and then putting it down, than the whole thing makes sense.
If it was based on some vague law that needed reinterpreted than he should have given it and explained how it was to be used in silencing women in the assembly, Paul doesn’t even give the law the dignity to be quoted. But if the particle “e” was calling into question a group of Judaizers using the Jewish oral law to silence women in the assembly, then the whole of what Paul has been saying is strongly enforcing his teaching of the whole of the body of Christ functioning as a body even stronger excluding no one.
What Paul was basically saying was “What are you telling me, silencing the women by some law? Did that word come from you Corinthians men only? Are you nuts!” I know that is a little brash, but I think the point is made.
Paul was so in flamed by this gesture that he brought it up in the middle of his discourse of establishing the whole of the function of the body of Christ under the anointing of the Holy Spirit so it could not be mistaken. Paul says all, they say men only!
Paul would never use Jewish oral law when he knows that in heaven and in the kingdom of God there is neither male nor female. The idea of extending some different roles distinct within male and female in the assembly would make no sense. In the ministry one only needs faith, maturity, ability to speak, a brain, a heart and the anointing and women have all of these... sometimes I think with more discretion than us males.
Paul gave no further discussion, which we would expect, quoted their ridicules statement and then calling into question those that would try to enforce such a law on the body of Christ and then went right back to his teaching of the body. His point would have been made clear once they received the letter. The use of the word law would have identified the group trying to silence women immediately.
Let’s look at some other places where Paul uses the little “e” in Greek.
1 Corinthians 6:8-9, “No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! [e] What do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” NKJV
The second statement refutes the first following the particle e.
1 Corinthians 6:15-16, “Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 [e] What do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh [quoting the law].’” NKJV
A point here is that Paul not only refutes the first idea of fornication with a harlot, but then refutes it and then he makes a statement by quoting the law or scripture to back it up. Some must have been teaching that fornication with a harlot only exposes their sin in their own bodies.
Corinthians 6:18-19, “Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 [e] What do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? NKJV
What Paul is saying is “Are you so ignorant that you don’t know this?”
1 Corinthians 10:21-22, “You cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. [e] What! Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” NKJV
The second statement refutes the first after the “e”. Each of these with the single particle e.
Zodhiates Complete Word Study Dictionary shows that the “or” [h e] can introduce a negation of something preceding: (B) Generally, and in a direct question where the interrogation implies a negation of something preceding.”
Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament
We have used the word “What!” to make the point, both are right: “what!” or “or”
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament shows that the “e” not only shows mutually exclusive statements but it also introduces rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected and it includes 1 Cor. 14:36 as a double set of rhetorical questions.
a) either-or, coordinate two or more mutually exclusive terms or statements…
c) (Greek “e”) is used frequently to introduce rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected (Matt 7:9: “Or is there one among you … ?”; 12:5: “Or have you not read … ?”; cf. 20:15; 26:53; Luke 13:4; Rom 3:29; 6:5; 7:1; 9:21; 11:2; 1 Cor 6:9, 16,19; 9:8; 10:22; 2 Cor 11:7; 13:5; Jas 4:5; a double question in 1 Cor 14:36)” Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Balz, H. R., & Schneider
The BDAG again shows that “e” separates opposites which are mutually exclusive
1. marker of an alternative, or, disjunctive particle
a. opposites, which are mutually exclusive
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature.
Paul quotes from the letter sent to Him
Paul often quotes from the letters sent to him or just answers their questions:
1 Corinthians 3:4, “Or when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?”
1 Corinthians 5:1, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you…[the quote:] that a man has his father's wife.” NKJV
1 Corinthians 7:1, “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:” NKJV
11:18-19, “For first of all, when you come together as an assembly, I hear [from the letter?] that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.” NKJV
1 Corinthians 12:1, Now concerning spiritual gifts…”
In this whole chapter of gifts and body ministry we don’t find any trace in the whole of chapter 12 of leaving out women or the women being silent…something we cannot overlook in terms of context
When Paul means to back up his statement with the law or scriptures he backs it up, 9:8-9, “Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’” NKJV
Yet we find Paul makes other short statements and no one jumps on these short statements. It is because we clearly understand that they are not a part of Paul’s teaching: one is the baptizing for the dead (15:29) and the other is with circumcision in Galatians 5:11-12, where Paul states “I could wish that those who trouble you [with circumcision] would even cut themselves off! [is Paul advocating suicide, should we accept that statement?]”
1 Corinthians 7:21, “Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it.” so is Paul advocating slavery?
And we have in the gospel of Mark where it says the believers will take up serpents and not be harmed. All of these are short statements and none of us use them to establish some tradition by the writer. Even the command to greet one another with a holy kiss and the washing of one another’s feet are not universally accepted and practiced. Some say this is too long of a quote…need I answer that. It is more convincing that the establishing of silencing women is too short to establish a doctrine within the assembly.
The idea of church
Much of this has come about from the establishing the idea of church replacing body ministry, meeting in homes for close relationships. Yet if we look at the “idea” of church with its separation of clergy and laity, its buildings robbing God of the money to the poor and needy, its silent audience, its names on each church, each church bringing division in each city, competing for the attendance of the saints and the stopping of body ministry, there is not a single bible verse to support this idea, not a single context is demonstrating this idea, yet we have accepted it as though the bible was full of the idea of church. Even the word church is not a translation of any Greek word in our bibles. It has been this idea that has destroyed us from functioning as a body when we come together. So if silencing women seems important, it is because we have silenced every one and the idea of the clergy behind the pulpit sees only the professional clergy functioning.
Some tell us that it is in Genesis that we establish such a belief, well let’s look.
Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man [mankind, both male and female] in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them [plural, man and woman] have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ 27 So God created man [singular = mankind] in His own image; in the image of God He created him [mankind]; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them [not just him], and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion [both male and female] over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." NKJV
Nothing here demonstrates that the male has a higher position over the female. The plural “them” was specifically used in defining the singular “man” or man-kind. Originally they shared the same body; later the woman was taken out of man. They were one flesh and they were one with God spiritually connected as Jesus prayed in John 17.
It is the same with the word God, a single noun defining the essence of His being, but with plural persons.
Even after the fall man is never considered in God’s eyes over the women in terms of authority, with that said we need to understand the word “head” from a different understanding as source not authority. We will deal with this in another article.
They both had dominion because they were “one flesh,” something we’ve lost in our creation of the unbiblical “idea” of church as we threw out repentance and the kingdom of God. They lived as one person in harmony with one another as we see that unity within the triune God.
Void of the element of pride before the fall there was no element of competition for superiority or rule and any physical advantage would not have affected that union.
Silencing women degrades God’s nature in His creation by assuming inequality…how can silencing women be a heavenly principal or even a principle of biblical law?
If Adam was originally responsible over Eve as her head, as we are told by the silencing crowd, then why didn’t he have to give an account for his irresponsibility for Eve to God…God never challenged him on this issue but dealt with each to give an account for their “own” individual response.
In Gen 3:13 the woman is not blamed for disobeying Adam but the Lord. God never confronts Eve for disobeying Adam. At this point there was not a superior or leadership role, they were both like God …equals within mankind like the triune person within the Godhead.
They were two equals made as one in the flesh. We cannot and must not draw from the marriage and install a principle into the assembly...none is there. Women are not silent in the home and they are not silent in our meetings. At least not in my home, my wife is crucial to my maturing
The fact that God created men and women equal at creation and gave them both dominion over creation according to the image of God (a triune God being one) makes it even more difficult to isolate women as having some quirk in nature.
Man being first born means nothing when we know that the woman was in him from his creation. The fact is that Adam, a Hebrew word as well as a name means mankind which includes both male and female. There’s an old Jewish saying: “If man is tempted to think too much of himself, then he should remember that the gnats were created before him.”
Women sinned first
Another issue is that since the woman was deceived first that she had some proclivity to sin or to be easily deceived. In reality within the carnal nature this is the exact opposite, through man’s pride and desire to rule over the woman, it has carried over to rule over all of mankind.
Men tell us that women are still under the fallen nature of pain in child birth, so we are still under the physical power to rule?
The fact that the women sinned or was deceived first means nothing, men are still sinning in greater numbers and degrees than women could ever. It was the consequence, not the curse of sin that man began to rule over women, man was not commanded by God to rule over the woman, it was the consequence of sin and man by his very carnal, fleshly power and pride has ruled and it is that root that we see that has and is corrupting the world.
Let me ask a few questions: where did the word “church” come from? It is not a translation of any Greek word in our bibles. Where did the idea of clergy come from? Who divided the clergy from the laity? Where did the idea of hierarchy and titles come from, titles like bishop, pastor, pope, deacon and Dr.? Where did the idea of needing a commercial building for the specific purpose of accommodating a business for the operation of the hierarchy? Where did all these divisions in our cities come from? Where did the destruction of body ministry come from that not only silences women but men sitting in pews? Where did the sinner’s prayer that replaced repentance come from? Where did the subverting of the money to the poor for the building come from? Where did the naming of buildings and ministries come from? Who removed fellowship and first love for a passive, indifferent and lethargic audience in some auditorium come from? Who are the ones most noted for crimes, war, greed, slavery, corruption, scandal and immorality at every level? The answer to all of the above is men, not women…so maybe we should silence the men because of their pride and their desire to rule and their proclivity to sin. All of these sins are rooted in man’s innate carnal desire to be first, to rule and be in control. So if you are looking at Genesis, look at the fall and man’s rule.
What is strange is that we are seeing women making new inroads into our society, in politics, in business and in our universities and who knows maybe even president. Women are even scoring higher scholastically. Women show fewer proclivities for corruption and sexual crimes than men…that is obvious. It is mainly the women who stand by the children while the men run off.
Didn’t God create men first? Primogenitor or first born, but first born has nothing to do with rule but inheritance. The first born had nothing to do with “to rule over” the rest of the family; he only had the right of inheritance and let’s not listen to those who try to develop and impose a principle where there is none. By man being the first born had nothing to do with the woman having some secondary nature or position in God’s creation, they both shared in the inheritance and rule before the fall.
It is true that Eve was deceived first, but what God spoke to her in terms of the consequence of “their” sin had led to man ruling over her. This was the beginning of the rule of the carnal nature blinding the soul of mankind through pride.
Since the fall man physically was able to take advantage of his wife in the marriage and to rule over her. Look at Islam and throughout history and the rape and the brutality on women from men and the church. Men in the flesh took advantage of the woman’s physical weakness, something that was not a part of creation.
So in Genesis did we see anything stating man’s authority over the woman or did we see anything revealing the woman being silenced? The answer is no, the scholars that silence women add words into the text, they see what they want to believe, something that we are warned against by Jesus Himself. “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”
The heart not the sexual plumbing
Our relationships are established in heaven, not our physiology on earth. What sex we are has absolutely nothing to do with the condition of our heart or God’s anointing. God gave no one authority over anyone, the word authority is never used in the marriage except for mutual consent.
1 Corinthians 7:4-5, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” NKJV
That is the only place in scripture where authority is mentioned in the marriage. We are all under God’s authority, He has all authority.
While women like Priscilla, Phoebe, Mary and Junia, who was noted among the apostles, all listed in Rom 16, they present some difficulty in silencing women. Of course in the context these women are profoundly affecting the called out assembly throughout many areas and cities. Paul, who is suspected of silencing the women, commends them and tells others to support them.
The last days
I am amazed when people leave the institutional church that silences both men and women by its very structure and then they go to a house assembly and find that they are “specifically” targeted and isolated in being silent. This boggles the mind. We have a house assembly in our home and the women participate and add greatly to the meetings and it doesn’t seem to bother the angels or God and we are all encouraged by them.
The fact that God through the prophets states very clearly that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, that are sons and daughters and the menservant and maid servants will prophecy does not leave much room for silencing women. In fact the bible tells us that this is the way it would be and shall be. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit doesn’t make the women silent, that makes the Holy Spirit silent from those silencing women.
Women in ministry around the world
I doubt that anyone could deny that women are being used around the world today; you would either have to live in denial or live in a shell. Next, I am sure we will all have to admit that the use of women within the body of Christ is not are decision or ruling, it is God’s decision. So regardless of what we think in this debate, God is not going to bow to our belief. It is His body so we must ask, is God using women in all the ministries we see in the scriptures today and around the world? The answer is an unequivocal Yes!!! Where God is moving in places like China and India and others places we find women being used in all ministries, even apostolic ministries. In China and elsewhere they are meeting in homes, in fields, in caves and both males and females are anointed to spread the gospel of the kingdom of God, they raise up assemblies, lead assemblies, prophesy, heal the sick, cast out devils and speak in tongues.
So let’s debate, but let’s remember who has all authority…no man has authority in the body of Christ…no man has a title, it is Christ and He alone has all authority, He is the teacher. Matthew 23:8-12,
The China syndrome
I was watching on YouTube the move of God in China and couldn’t help but notice a group of young girls in China who went around China spreading the gospel of the kingdom of God, God was with them in signs and wonders and they raised up over ten thousand house assemblies…more than I can say for some of our scholars. The joy that was seen on their faces was evident. I guess someone forgot to tell them to be silent by some law.
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one [male and female believers] individually as He wills [not man wills].” 1 Corinthians 12:11, NKJV
This is without a doubt a contradiction to verses 34 and 35.
God is using and will continue to use women in all facets of ministry and gifts; at some point we must all bow to what God is doing. A house divided cannot stand. We need all!!!
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