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Women In The Church

1 Corinthians 14:34
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

See I Corinthians and other Pastoral Epistles. Paul states that a woman is to keep silent in the Church (I Corinthians 14:34). In 1 Corinthians 11:5, a woman is praying in the assembly. Examine closely the context of 1 Corinthians 14 and determine if Paul meant for the woman to keep silent only in regard to the tongue issue. Did he apply this only to the Corinthian Church or the culture of the Middle East? Scripturally, can a woman pray, sing, or give a testimony in a church service? Can she teach men? Research, discuss, and come to a conclusion.

1 Corinthians 11:5 (KJV)
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

An interesting lead into this question is to reflect upon the proper punctuation of verse 33.

1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

It is clear that God is the author of peace. Peace is the absence of confusion or disorder. There should be little disagreement on this part of 14:33. But, to what does the second half of the verse relate? Obviously, God is the author of peace in “all the churches of the saints.” Little sense is derived, however, from attempting to relate the “as” leading to the first half of the verse.  God is the author of peace every where. This would include the churches of the saints and they would not be the good example for this point.

Relating 14:33b to verse 34 gives us a setting for the area in which women are to be silent in the churches. They are to be silent in Corinth “as in all the churches of the saints.” In other words, Paul is telling the women of Corinth they should act like women in the other churches! While this does not address some of the other theological issues raised by this verse, it does establish that the teachings of this verse apply universally and are not dependant upon either the social setting nor to be unique circumstances in the church at Corinth. Paul is speaking to women in all churches at all times.

A command of this nature, for the women to be silent, is a command that goes to the issue of authority within the church. In particular, the setting of the Corinth chapters (11-12-13-14) appear to address the public worship service. Paul is not addressing issues concerning informal studies or women only or small group settings. It is perfectly correct for a trained women to teach in these situations. What Paul teaches is that women are not to lead or have authority over men in the public worship services (nor, presumably, Sunday school classes conducted at the same general time as the worship services). 


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