Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quoting Pagans and Pharisees: I Corinthians 14:34-35

Rachelle and I have recently returned from a trip to Greece and Turkey with forty people from Emmanuel Enid. We visited Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Berea, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Sardis, Laodicea, Thyratira, Thessalonica and almost every other city or island where Paul traveled during his three missionary journeys. In the photo to the left, Rachelle and I are in front of the ruins of the city of Corinth. In the background of the photo is the very bema where Paul stood before the Roman pro-consul Gallio after Paul was accused by the Jews in the city of Corinth of "persuading people to worship God contrary to the law of God."  The Roman pro-consul Gallio refused to make a judgment against Paul saying, "I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters" (Acts 18:15). Gallio recognized the conflict in Corinth to be a Hebrew religious matter, not a Roman political problem. However, Gallio did nothing as Sosthenes, a convert to Christ and leader of the synagogue, was beaten by the Hebrew mob before the bema (see Acts 18:17). Paul was hurried out of the Corinthian market-place while Sosthenes was being beaten by the Jews. Paul was eventually secreted out of the city by fellow believers because of the Jewish threats against him (see Acts 18:18).

Most Bible-believing Christians have paid little attention to the problems Paul faced during his 18 month stay in Corinth (50 to 51 AD). The Jews sought to imprison him because of his influence among the people. When they failed to have him arrested, the Corinthian Jews beat Sosthenes, the leader of their synagogue for believing what Paul taught. The Roman pro-consul Gallio did not prosecute Paul under Roman law as the Jews wanted, but he was "unconcerned" with the Jews beating those who believed Paul's message (Acts 18:17). Notice, again, the reason the Corinthian Jews gave to the Roman pro-consul Gallio for their anger against Paul - "he is persuading people to worship God contrary to the Law of God."  The Law of God is what we now call the Old Testament and all the Old Covenant traditions of Hebrew worship. A simple principle regarding our worship of Christ can be derived from reading Acts 18 and Paul's time in Corinth:
The more our corporate worship looks like Old Testament Jewish worship (i.w. "a holy building in which to gather, authoritative male priests who rule over others, and a sacrificial system of actions designed to please God, etc...), the more our corporate worship is unlike Paul's and early believers' worship of Christ. (Wade Burleson)
Allow me to give just one example which illustrates the dichotomy between the Law of Old Covenant worship as practiced by the Jews in Corinth and the freedom of New Covenant worship as practiced by Paul. In one of Paul's earliest epistles, he clearly teaches that there should be no difference between males and females in the ekklesia (Galatians 3:28), and he later writes to the Corinthian Christians and says all believers should serve one another as they have been gifted (I Cor. 12:4-11). Paul teaches the Corinthians that members of the assembly, both male and female, should participate in congregational worship (see I Cor. 14:31 and 14:39), and that women should publicly pray and gifted women should teach others in the ekklesia just as men should publicly pray and gifted men should teach others in the ekklesia (see I Cor.  11:5). The entire discourse of Paul's writings to the early churches in Greece and Asia Minor is saturated with the new instruction that God's new priesthood is composed of males and females, slaves and free, Jews and Gentiles. In the ekklesia (assembly) of Christ there is to be no separation of people by race, nationality, gender or color. Each of us has been made a priest (Revelation 1:5) and we all form a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).
The Jews who were worshipping in the syngagogue of Corinth, however, were greatly offended by Paul's teachings. They heard it with their own ears! Paul was "persuading people to worship God contrary to the Law."  This could not be allowed! After the Corinthian Jews dragged Paul before the bema to charge him with a crime and then beat Sosthenes in the public square, Paul escaped to Cenchrea and later Ephesus (see Acts 18:18). He later wrote to the Corinthians and was quite blunt about those Corinthian Jews who caused him trouble and their zeolousness for the Law. He calls them "false apostles" and "deceitful workers" (II Cor. 11:13), and he tells the Christians in Corinth to resist their false practices and to stand firm to the new "traditions" that Paul had taught them (see I Corinthians 11:2). Paul's practice of empowering followers of Christ to serve God as the Spirit gifts them--regardless of one's gender, economic status, or ethnicity--was precisely why the Jews in Corinth dragged Paul before Gallio and why Paul had to escape the city. This is the context one should always have in mind when reading the letters of I and II Corinthians.

So, the startling prohibition of I Corinthians 14:34-35 seems discordant and unconnected to Paul's stay in Corinth and the entire first letter of encouragement he writes to the Corinthians.  Paul writes:
"The women are to keep silent in the assembly; 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 even speak in the assembly." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)  
There's a reason these text above seems discordant and unconnected to Paul's stay in Corinth-- it is. I will show below how these two verses are a quotation of what the Corinthian Jews taught about women in the assembly, not what Apostle Paul taught. In the very next verse (v. 36), Paul powerfully refutes what the Jews in Corinth were teaching about women. How do we know I Corinthians 14:34-35 is a quotation of the Jews that Paul refutes and is not Paul's own views about women in the ekklesia? There are at least five solid, hermeneutical reasons:

(1). As already mentioned, these two verses are antithetical to everything Paul writes about women throughout the New Testament, especially his teaching regarding women in I Corinthians. These two verses (vs. 34-35) are almost jarring because they represent a position that Paul has already torn apart in his previous writings.

(2). These verses are very consistent with the Law of God in the Jewish Scriptures and traditions. The Jews in Corinth accused Paul of persuading people "to worship God contrary to the Law" (Acts 18:13). If the above two verses actually represented Paul's beliefs, the Corinthian Jews would have hugged and kissed Sosthenes and Paul, not dragged them before the bema in Corinth in order to imprison them and/or beat them.

(3). Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians in Greek. The written Greek language does not use "italics" like we do in our English to identify a quote. To know that something is a quotation: (a). The author must identify that what he is writing is a quotation (something Paul does elsewhere), or (b). the quotation must be so familiar to the audience that no indentification of the quote is necessary, or (c). the author uses a Greek eta after the quotation to then refute it.  I believe the latter two ways are precisely how the Apostle Paul identifies he is quoting someone else in I Corinthians 14:34-35.

(4).  The Jews in Corinth, like all orthodox Jews in Paul's day, believed women were not qualified to be learners in the synagogue, much less teachers, because the Law and the talmudic literature forbad them from learning. A woman's presence in the synagogue was tolerated, but women were to be unobtrusive and silent, never interferring with the work of the men. The Jews believed when a woman desired to ask a question in order to learn, she was to maintain her silence in the assembly and wait to ask her husband after leaving the synagogue and returning home. The Jews believed the husbands were to be the source of their wives' learning. The Corinthian Jews were "zeolous for the Law" and constantly opposed Paul's promotion of women as equal to men, including Priscilla and Acquilla, the couple with whom Paul stayed in Corinth and who both later teach Apollo "the way of God more accurately" in Ephesus (see Acts 18:26).  The quotation in I Corinthians 14:34-35 is consistent to the law of the Jews in Corinth, but it is absolutely contrary to the teaching and the practice of the Apostle Paul.

(5). Paul REFUTES the Jewish quotation in I Corinthians 14:34-35 twice in the very next verse (v. 36) by using the Greek letter eta. Go look in your interlinear Greek/English Bible and find the stand alone Greek letter eta in v. 36. You will see the eta twice in that one verse. It looks like this: η    The Greek eta has two possible markings that cause it to be translated with either the English word "or," or with the English equilavent of what we mean when we make a sound with our mouths  like "PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!" This means "That's ridiculous!" or "Are you kidding me?" or "Nonsense!"   This latter meaning, in my opinion, is precisely what Paul is saying (twice) in I Corinthians 14:36 in response to the Jewish quotation he has just given I Corinthians 14:35-36. The original Greek text has no markings, so the translation of η must be made by translators based on other facts than the markings of the Greek letter. I believe the context, the culture of Corinth, and the radical nature of New Covenant worship taught by Paul (and resisted by the Corinthian Jews zealous for the Law) demands the η be translated with a "PFFFFFFFFFFFT!" instead of "or" (as is done in the NAS).  So, let me translate I Corinthians 14:33-36 using the proper translation of η:
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the ekklessia of the saints. (Would you like an example?) "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 women desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in the church." PFFFFFFT! Such nonsense! Do you Jews who practice this believe the Word of God comes from you only? PFFFFFFFT! Do you believe the Word of God comes to you only? If anyone wishes to think himself a prophet or spiritual, let that person recognize that the things I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU (not what the Jews zealous for the Law are teaching) are the Lord's commandment. 
The Apostle Paul quotes the pharisaical Jews in Corinth the same way he quotes the pagan poets when he was in Athens. In Paul's famous message on Mars Hill, he says:
God is not far from each one of us; for in him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, "For we His offspring." Being the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. (Acts 17:27-29). 
 Are you familiar with the pagan poet Paul quotes from as he addressed the Athenians? Probably not. His name was Disoemeia, and he was a native of Paul's hometown of Tarsus. He was a Greek poet the Athenians loved to quote. He was also a worshipper of Zeus. I give you Robert Browning's English translation of Cicero's Latin version of Disoemeia's ancient Greek poem Divine Signs from which Paul quotes.

"From Zeus we lead the strain; he whom mankind
Ne'er leave unhymned: of Zeus all public ways,
All haunts of men, are full; and full the sea,
And harbours; and of Zeus all stand in need.
For we are His offspring: and he, ever good and mild
Gives favouring signs, and rouses us to toil.
Calling to mind life's wants: when clods are best
For plough and mattock: when time is ripe
For planting vines and sowig seeds, he tells
Since he himself hath fixed in heaven these signs."
Paul quotes both pagan poets and proud Pharisees in Scripture. Just because you are quoting a passage from the Bible does not necessarily mean you are revealing the mind of God. Serious, Bible-believing Christians recognize that no individual verse or passage of Scripture can be correctly interpreted outside of the textual context and an understanding of the cultural climate of those to whom the letter was initially written.

As my father has written:
"Someone is going to say 'The Bible means what it says." But that may be the problem. I don't think the Bible means what it says as much as it means what it means and some interpretation must go into understanding its meaning. This would certainly indicate that we need to recognize the possible fallibility of our understanding of Scripture to stay away from the heat that sometimes happens in discussing it."

The issue of womens' function and roles in the church generates much heat in the evangelical church. Those of us who believe in the infallibility of the sacred text should be very careful before using one's views on this issue as the standard for Christian orthodoxy. Truth is, those who urge women to be silent in the church may have more in common with pagan poets and proud Pharisees than Paul and the principles of sacred writ.


Johnny D. said...

Very interesting take, Wade. I did indeed get out my interlinear and look at the words you made note of. My NAS uses "Was" to lead off verse 36 and "Or" when starting the second sentence, but the interlinear translates both as "Or."

So, your contention is that 34 & 35 are a quote. Fascinating stuff.

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny D,

It's not just my take. :)

It's the take of many linguists and scholars throughout the centuries.

For the past 30 years the "Battle for the Bible" has produced evangelicals who "quote the Bible" in defence of inerrancy without ever actually taking time to see what the Bible says.

Tom Parker said...


You said:"Truth is, those who urge women to be silent in the church may have more in common with pagan poets and proud Pharisees than Paul and the principles of sacred writ."

I agree. It is incredible IMO what those in charge of the SBC have done to reduce or eliminate the ways that God could use women in his service, especially the creation of the 2000 BF&M to use as the document to forbid their service. But the twisting and misuse of the holy scriptures to try to justify their positions on women is beyond sad and tragic.

Wade Burleson said...


For years I had been told that the Bible teaches that men lead and women follow. Then, I began studying the issue for myself.

Now, I am utterly convinced that the Spirit leads and both men and women follow.

Sallie @ A Woman's Freedom in Christ said...


Excellent post. I've read this argument a number of other places and I think it is the correct one. The PFFFFFFFFFT was new to me. :-)

I had also not seen the "For we are his offspring" in the original context. Thank you for sharing that.

The thing that is truly ironic is that some of the very groups/denominations that pour over the Scriptures in great detail down to the very jot and tittle to come up with complex explanations of the end times or detailed theologies of secondary matters (headcoverings, etc.) will not do the same thing with this issue. And if you try to bring any depth to it, they cut you off and call you all sorts of names.

I did not start out with this view, but the more I studied it the more obvious it became. Not because I wanted it to be true, but simply because it IS true. These passages are not complicated if one approaches them honestly. My personal opinion is what makes them complicated for many people is fear of being wrong, fear of being cast aside by friends if they change their minds, fear of the changes it would mean in their lives, etc. I know this because fear of others was the biggest obstacle for me to overcome in wrestling with these passages.

And if poor Paul can in any way see what is being preached in his name... It must take everything in heaven to restrain him. Seriously. Can you imagine how he would feel if he could see what is being done in churches today based on the interpretations of his writings?

May God help us all to see our blind spots and prejudices when it comes to approaching the Scriptures.

Off The Cuff said...

Bro. Wade,
This is excellent. Thank you for your scholarly approach to scripture and your personal insights.It is amazing what we can find in scripture when we lay aside our biases and genuinely wrestle with the text. In your response to Johnny D. you stated that "this is the take of many linguists and scholars throughout the centuries." Would you be willing to site a couple resources that you used to research this text? (only if you have them handy. I know how busy you must be this close to Easter.)

Anonymous said...


Wade Burleson said...

Off the Cuff,

A few of the ancients to whom I refer believed 34-35 to be an interpolation, not a quotation, but the point is they did not believe these words to be Paul's. I firmly believe them to be a quotation of what the Corinthian Christians were being told the law said. Of course, one could find more ancient scholars who believed that these were Paul's words. Don Johnson has written an excellent article on I Corinthians 14:34-35 Man and Woman: One in Christ. In this book you will find the original sources you desires. For a blog that comes as close to a scholarly approach to this issue as you will find, and gives both the interpolation and the quotation views, I would direct you to Marge at New Life. Hope that helps!

Donald Johnson said...

I am egalitarian and agree with much of what you wrote. I teach that 1 Cor 14:34-35 is (most likely) a quote from Corinthian legalists using the arguments you used.

However, I think your argument could be improved by clearly distinguishing between what the OT/Tanakh actually teaches and what the oral tradition of the Pharisees added to this.

The basic insight is that the Greek word nomos means law but was used for many different things, (1)civil law, (2) the Torah of Moses (Pentateuch), (3) the Written Torah or Tanakh (OT), and (4) the so-called Oral Torah of the Pharisees and one needs to do one's best to figure out which is meant. Jesus and Paul opposed the Oral Torah when it negated (their) Scripture (Tanakh/OT) and this is a theme running thru the gospels and indeed the NT.

It is important to identify whether something from the "law" is from OT/Tanakh (where it would have God's authority) or from civil law or oral Torah (where it would have human authority). The idea is that human authority is not always necessarily opposed to God's authority (human traditions can be good things), but when it is opposed, then God's authority trumps.

Another factor to see is that Paul referred to himself as a Jew and even a Pharisee after seeing the light and becoming a believer. In Acts 21 he at least plans to pay money to show that he is a faithful Jew to prove wrong those that claim he is not. The point is that being Jewish and following the stipulations of being a Jew as found in Tanakh/OT or even being a Pharisee is not necessarily opposed to being a believer in Jesus.

The so-called Oral Torah was later written down about 200AD and was called the Mishnah, this is an invaluable resource to use to understand the cultural context of the NT better. And it is there that we find a quote that closely matches 1 Cor 14:34-35, but NOT in the Tanakh/OT.

Mishnah sotah 3.4; B sotah 20a.
Out of respect to the congregation, a woman should not herself read in the law. It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men. The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness.

Wade Burleson said...


Excellent comment! I agree wholeheartedly that nomos could mean a variety of things in context.

I recently read (twice) through the entire book of Acts. Acts 21 is a fascinating chapter, one that I will address in the future.

The reason I still hold to the orthodox Jews in Corinth arguing before Gallio that Paul was violating "The LAW of God," and not some Roman civil law, or a Jewish oral tradition is because:

(1). Gallio would have addressed the issue if it were a Roman law

(2). This trial before the bema was at the END of Paul's stay in Corinth. He had been EXCLUSIVELY with the Gentiles for the previous YEAR and had not even gone into the synagogue of the Jews because of a vow he made that he was "done" speaking to the Jews in Corinth and would only focus on the Gentiles. The ONLY thing that would rile the Jews enough to take Paul before the bema was a violation of the LAW of God.

(3). The argument before the Jerusalem council was precisely what the Jews in Corinth were arguing. Paul was leading Gentiles to the worship of God CONTRARY to the LAW of God. Paul's message was radical. A NEW Temple. A NEW priesthood. NO more sacrifices. NO more rituals. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the LAW of God and now all worship revolves around HIM.

(4). No Sabbath. Worship led by the Spirit, freedom of women to worship and lead as gifted by the Spirit, and the freedom of LIFE in Christ was radical - and a violation of the LAW of God.

(5). Having been in Turkey and Greece where everybody in the orthodox church seeks to replicate Temple worship of the Jews in a Christianized fashion, I am emphasizing the radical departure of Paul from the LAW of God (the Torah) - for the Sabbath, the sacrifices, the male priesthood, the ethnicity of God's chosen people being Hebrew, etc.... are all part of the LAW of God in the Old Covenant.

Conclusion: I realize that the interpretation of the law can be any one of the five things you mentioned, and I realize I could be wrong with my view, but I stick by the Law of God as an interpretation of nomos. :)

Thanks, Don, for your love for Christ and His church!

Donald Johnson said...

Thank YOU for doing your part to lead others out of the bondage of gender roles.

My understandings:
1) Yes, I agree.

2) The believing congregation at Corinth was composed of both Jews and gentiles. (Acts 18:4,7-8)

3) I see that the law that Paul opposed was the so-called Oral Torah of the Pharisees, which those people would CALL the law of God, as that is how they saw it.

4) The Sabbath is for Jews, it is the sign of being in the Mosaic covenants; it is not required for gentiles to keep Sabbath, altho they can choose to keep it. Paul had his hands full trying to maintain fellowship between Jews ad gentiles, hence Col 2:16, neither group should look down on the other for what they do or do not do in this.

5) When you get into Acts 21, the thing to see is that Paul was going to pay for Nazirite vows, which include animal sacrifices per Numbers 6; this is not as explicit as it could be, but can be figured out if you ask what kind of vow is there inside the Mosaic covenant that anyone can make. The point is that Paul had no problem with animal sacrifices after becoming a believer. I realize this is not taught much in non-Messianic groups.

Wade Burleson said...


I am reminded of the verse "I become all things to all people in order that I might win some."

Donald Johnson said...

Act 21:39a Paul replied, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city."

Act 22:3 (Paul speaking) "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.

Paul did act "like" or "as" (Greek hos) various groups in order to better witness to them, but he used the present tense "am" (Greek eimi) to say what he was at that time.

Act 21:23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow;
Act 21:24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.

In other words, Paul lived as a faithful Jew in observance of the Torah while he was a believer.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, this was an interesting post. Though I don't come to the same conclusion as you, this is a passage that I haven't been satisfied with whether what it seems to say is what it means. I like to push you toward further comment on a couple of points.

(1). As already mentioned, these two verses are antithetical to everything Paul writes about women throughout the New Testament...
Certainly this is confusing in light of his mention of women praying and prophesying in chapter 11, but it seems quite similar to 1 Timothy 2:11-12 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. I didn't find the use of the "eta" there, and nothing that to my limited knowledge to make it seems like a quote in its context. What about the similarity of these two passages?

(3). To know that something is a quotation...(b). the quotation must be so familiar to the audience that no indentification of the quote is necessary, or (c). the author uses a Greek eta after the quotation to then refute it. I believe the latter two ways are precisely how the Apostle Paul identifies he is quoting someone else in I Corinthians 14:34-35.
Here you mention both "b" and "c", but unless I missed it you didn't follow up with anything that indicates that was a notable quotation recognizable to its audience. I'm not sure that we could support or disprove that the Corinthians would have been familiar with it, beyond assumption. Any more thoughts on that?

Also, why do you think such a quotation would use "ekklesia" instead of "sunagoge"?

(I love your father's quote: "I don't think the Bible means what it says as much as it means what it means..." Good point.)


Anonymous said...

Wade, I came to the same conclusion years ago, in an article I wrote but for different reasons and the "law" to which Paul is referring to is not the OT but oral teachings. Paul is quite specific when he refers to the Law and always immediately quotes exactly from the OT. Upon reading the comment section I have found what might be an error. Wade you said: "Don Johnson has written an excellent article on I Corinthians 14:34-35 Man and Woman: One in Christ." If you are referring to the book: Man and Woman:One in Christ, that book was written by Philip B. Payne. If I misunderstood your reference then please clarify. Thanks, Dennis Preato

Anonymous said...

Wade, I should have said, I came to a similar conclusion: Here is part of what I concluded: Verses 34-35 do not prohibit women from speaking in the church in either pulpit ministry, teaching, preaching, praying, prophesying, or any other speaking function. These verses represent a quotation, which is the most plausible and correct interpretation. Paul is quoting a saying from the Oral Law of the Jews which is not intended to be understood as the writer's original declaration. The evidence is compelling, diverse, and objective. This view also allows for the natural flow of thought to remain uninterrupted with verses "34-35" noted as a quotation and a rebuke beginning in verse 36. Paul also has no need to specifically address women as the only cause of "interrupting the service" as some scholars suggest. Paul's conclusion in verse 40 is more than adequate to tell the Corinthians that both men and women must be careful to minister in the gifts of the Spirit in an orderly fashion.

Donald Johnson said...

I do have a short teaching on 1 Cor 14 and that may be what Wade is referring to, but Phil Payne wrote "Man and Woman: One in Christ".

Wade Burleson said...


Superb questions. Thanks for taking the time to write.

(1). I have written about the I Timothy passage. I agree it is the ONLY passage consistent with this one. I would encourage you to read what I have written about Artemis and the Enid of Us" and I think you your question will be answered.

(2). I believe the word "ekklesia" was used in the quote because leaders of the synagogue were constantly telling the people in the ekklesia in Corinth, many of whom CAME FROM the synagogue (Demosthenes is one and other are mentioned by name in Acts and I Corinthians), "Paul has led you astray by allowing women like Priscilla to participate in your meetings. They should be quiet and learn in submission and only ask their husbands questions." So, Paul writes to the men and women in the ekklesia and tells them not to listen to what they are being told by the Jews and follow the new traditions he has given them (see the article I've written again for the corresponding verses that support what I am saying).

Thanks again for your comment.


Wade Burleson said...


I found Philip Payne's book because of your short teaching. Thanks.


Wade Burleson said...

Dennis Preato,

Please see my quote above. Sorry for the confusion in references. Thanks for wanting clarification.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous 2:36 a.m. March 30,


Rex Ray said...

Glad you’re back.
You wrote, “The Corinthian Jews were “zealous for the Law”…”

I believe all Jews, even Christian Jews, believed that since the leaders of the Jerusalem Church said, “…You see, brother, [Paul] how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law.” (Acts 21:20 Holman)

Wade, you mention Paul was troubled by “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” in II Cor. 11:13) How about verse 26 (Living): “I have faced grave dangers from…men who claim to be brothers in Christ…” Hmmmm

The question arises; were these leaders bragging or complaining? I mean in Acts 21: 21 were they not the ones teaching the congregation? Were they not the ones who “TOLD”?

“But they have been TOLD about you that you teach all the Jews…to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs. So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you’ve come. Therefore do what we tell you…”

I believe if their congregation killed Paul, they’d loose control of Gentile churches.

After taking their advice, Paul wrote later: “No man stood for me.” (II Timothy 4:16)

OK, I’ll get on the main subject. Does not I Cor. 14:34-35 say much the same as II Timothy 2:11-12?

"A woman should learn in silence with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.”

I know that was explained in another post, but I believe we should look at Paul as a man called by God---but not God, and not every one of his words has to be perfect.

For example, Paul wrote: “…if I preached…Jewish laws are necessary for the plan of salvation, I’d be persecuted no more.” But in Acts 23: 6, Paul said, “…I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead.” HUH?

Paul became upset over the conduct of speaking in tongues during church services to the point that visitors might think them crazy.

One might wonder if women were the main cause since their role in life was usually dominated by men.

With the ability to speak in tongues, they may have gone overboard to the point that Paul told them to be silent.

Just a guess.

Victorious said...

Regarding #5 above - the Greek letter eta.

In their book, “Why Not Women,” LorenCunningham and David Joel Hamilton list the passages in scripture where that little “eta” appears and its evidently used 49 times in 1 Corinthians. According to the book, Greek scholars call it an “expletive of disassociation.”

While some translations have left it untranslated, here are some of the scriptures where, if we insert the expletive “What?” or “Nonsense!” or (as Wade put it, PFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!), it becomes clearer what Paul meant.

1 Cor. 1:13 (No way!) Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

1 Cor. 6:2 (What?) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?

1 Cor. 6:16 (No way!) Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?

1 Cor. 7:16 (What?) how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

1 Cor. 9:6 (Nonsense!) is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

1 Cor. 9:7 (No way!) Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk?

1 Cor. 14:36a (Nonsense!) Did the word of God originate with you?

1 Cor. 14:36b (What?) are you the only people it has reached?

The elimination of this tiny expletive has made Paul's intended rebuttal difficult to see, but with it's use, it becomes clear that he doesn't agree with them when they said, “For it's disgraceful for a women to speak in the church.”

Mary Ann

Wade Burleson said...

Mary Ann,

Excellent! Thank you for contributing.


Anonymous said...

To my mind,it is highly feasible to regard verses 34-35 as a quotation from the list of written question put to the Apostle, and was therefore well known to the readers. The unnecessary and discriminatory restrictions placed on new covenant Christian women was (is) offensive and unacceptable. The Apostle saw that this denial of women's gifts would lead to the spiritual impoverishment of the congregation, because at least half the congregation would be excluded from communicating their God-given gifts. Also, one could not expect to maintain good order and peace in the congregation without justice and sharing taking place. For this reason, Paul says that when the church gathers, each one ( men and women, by implication)should come prepared and be free to make some verbal contribution for the edification of others. (1 Cor 14:26-33). He then dismisses the man-made restrictions placed on all women in the church at Corinth as being based on obsolete Jewish culture. These men at Corinth could not claim unique,original and infallible revelation for themselves in the matter(vs 36), and so overturn the Apostle's teaching that we are all one in Christ Jesus.
Sad to say,things have got worse since those early days because now both women and men are mostly silenced when we come together in church. The show is run by a few professional clergy, and the laity are expected to be inactive spectators within a tightly regulated and choreographed situation. We seem to have completely lost the freedom of spontaneous participation , and the new covenant Biblical principle of the priesthood and prophet-hood of ALL believers. Men have been slow to work for changes , but we would do well to follow the example of the women.


Wade Burleson said...


Well stated! Thank you.

Rex Ray said...

You Guys, you guys,
Remind me of the hunter that was going to kill a bear by glancing his bullet off a rock but missed the rock.

Unlike the hunter, instead of aiming at the bear you’ve hit the rock dead center.

The ‘bear’ is the theme of (Cor. 14: 26-35, 39-40) that KJ Bible list as “Order in worship”

Some of the ‘bear’ or order in worship starts in (Cor. 11:5 NLT)

“…a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.”

Wonder how many unwilling women got their heads shaved for punishment as Paul said to do in the next verse?

The ‘rock’ in chapter 11 is just like the ‘rock’ in chapter 14.

(Verse 16 NLT) “But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.”

The ‘rock’ in chapter 14 is verses 36-38 (which Victorious said Paul expressed “Nonsense!”).

(36 NLT) “Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? [Nonsense!] Are you the only ones to whom it was given?” [Nonsense!]

(37 NLT) “If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that WHAT I AM SAYING IS A COMMAND FROM THE LORD HIMSELF.”

(38 KJ) “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

Kristen said...

Rex, this verse in the NLT:

(Cor. 11:5 NLT)“…a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.”

Is mistranslated. There is no "to show she is" at all in the original text. What the original text actually says is, "A woman ought to have authority on (over) her own head."

I agree that wearing a covering was part of church order. I disagree that Paul was saying this was to show she was under authority. Rather, the ideal ("ought to") was that she would have authority over her own head to decide for herself whether to cover or not. However, for modesty/propriety's sake (NOT as a sign of being under male authority), she should cover.

Rex Ray said...

Thanks for replying. My Scripture reference should have been (1 Cor. 11:10 NLT). What do you mean by “original text”? I think everyone agrees there are no original manuscripts.

Paul ignored/unfulfilled God’s earliest help: “It’s not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:18 KJ)

I don’t believe Paul ever ‘fell in love’, or he wouldn’t have written: “If they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” (1 Cor. 7:9)

I believe if Paul had married for the right reason, his outlook on women would have changed. He missed getting a “helper” in that department. He might have changed his outlook:

“A woman should learn in silence with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead she is to be silent. For Adam was created first…” yada yada (I Timothy 2:11-13 Holman)

Kristen, are these verses lop-sided as recorded by Holman?

“…Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman.” (1 Cor. 11:3)

“A man…is God’s image and glory, but woman is man’s glory.” Verse 7

“For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man;” Verse 8

“and man was not created for woman, but woman for man.” Verse 9

1 Cor. 14:34-35 is NOT a quote from the people, but just as these verses show; it’s a quote from Paul saying the same-O-same-O.

Victorious said...


1Co 11:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

1Co 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Kinda levels the playing field doesn't it? :)

Matt Richard said...

You handle the Scriptures in a way that obviously communicates your high view of inspiration. That is what I appreciate most about this post. Thanks!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, thanks for referring me to your post about "Artemis and the End of Us" and the I Timothy passage. You do address the question well from your point of view, but I didn't find it particularly helpful for the way I approach the Bible. Your discussion here is textual and contextual. There it is outside information imposed on the context. How is the person with only a Bible to ever understand it if it is only interpreted by certain contemporary information outside of it that we can lay our hands on?

Wade Burleson said...


Paul's letter was to Timothy, in response to questions Timothy had asked Paul. It was a personal and practical letter, not a pastoral and principled letter.

If you were to discover a letter written by your great-grandfather to a friend of his, you would not assume you knew exactly what your great-grandfather was saying unless (1). You knew a little bit about your great-grandfather, (2). You had information about his friend, and (3). You knew the extent of their relationship. I make no apology saying somebody needs to study the context of a biblical letter, know the author and recipient of the letter, and not assume you know what the biblical letter is saying until you take time to understand the context. That seems to me to be consistent with the principles of hermeneutics.

Rex Ray said...

Thanks for ‘smiling’ about the “playing field”. Personally, I think it’s a little bumpy. :)

I noticed the verses you mentioned but they didn’t back my point as you brought out.

Allow me to see if ALL that is said in these verses are true.

Jesus said not to swear by anything but to let you yes be yes and your no be no. So why did Paul say, “…in the Lord…”? I mean it looks like Paul got God on his side in saying, “…neither is woman independent of man…”

Does Paul contradict himself in saying? “…woman originates from man…” vs. “…all things originate from God.”

Does “all” include sin?

Matt Richard would probably think I have a low view of inspiration. Does he know those with the highest view produced THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY that the SBC has accepted. On page six is this:

“Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.”

“Illusions” Duh?

I maintain all words in the Bible that are true are from God and untruth is not.

I think many of us can say along with Muhammad Ali: “I don't always know what I'm talking about but I know I'm right.” :)

Lamar Wadsworth said...

You are absolutely right, and this is the approach I have taken to this passage for many years. You know your Greek NT as well as its historical backgrounds, and your argument is precisely the same interpretation argued for by Catherine Bushnell in her book God's Word to Women (1919). Either you and Bushnell (and I) are right, or Paul changed his mind not only about what he said in chapter 11 but everything he said about law and grace. I don't think Paul changed his mind. v. 36-40 make no sense at all except as a rebuttal of the quotation in v. 34-35. From the beginning of chapter 7 to the greetings at the end of the letter, Paul is answering a letter or letters he received from Corinth. The folks in Corinth clearly recognized their own words as Paul ripped their position to shreds.

Kristen said...

Rex, by "original text" I mean the text in the original Greek language.

For the rest of your questions-- have you noticed how the whole rest of that chapter that begins by using the word "head" goes on to talk about origins, who comes from whom, who originates where? That is why the common Greek understanding of the word "head" as meaning "source" is the most likely interpretation here. It's all in the context.

As far as "woman is the glory of man" -- you have to read that in light of 2 Cor. 5:18: "We, with unveiled faces, ALL reflect the Lord's glory." Paul is not talking about Christian women somehow not reflecting God's glory as men do. The word translated "glory" in 1 Cor 11 is "doxa," which also means "good reputation" -- and in fact the whole chapter talks about reputation, honor and shame. The context is that a good wife gives her husband a good reputation, and a good man gives God a good reputation. But in that culture, a good woman was not seen as giving God a good reputation, but only her husband, as she was considered his property.

Context-- including original understandings between the original writer and his original intended audience-- is so important. Without it, we end up telling women they just aren't as human as men are. That's what "man is the glory of God, but woman is the glory of man" read without context, does. Is that what Jesus would have wanted?

Kristen said...

For more on these verses, I have a post on my blog called The Bible and the Nature of Woman, if anyone's interested.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, I neither ask for an apology nor expect one concerning how you view this letter. I am merely explaining why your article "Artemis and the End of Us" did not satisfy any of my longings about this passage. We agree on studying the context of a biblical letter, but not on exactly what makes up that context. I am not assuming I know what the passage means, and do not have a predetermined outcome I am rooting for. There are lots of ideas across the spectrum of women being silent in the assembly or not that I have never been satisfied with. Your view on 1 Timothy 2:9-15 becomes one more of them. I say this not to insult you but rather to try to give an honest assessment of the view you recommended to me.

I would note a couple of things further. No letters written by great-grandfather were inspired by God and preserved to thoroughly equip us for every good work. So we are talking about apples and oranges. If I learn there was an "Artemis cult" in the community where my great-grandfather lived, it does not mean I can assume that knowledge somehow explains a letter he wrote when he did not mention it. But, ultimately, I have difficulty envisioning the Bible as a book inaccessible without indeterminable amounts of historical information about and that occurred in every time and every locale when and where the Bible was written.

In attempting to close the divide between male and female, you seem to inadvertently widen it between the scholars and the students, the rich and the poor, rendering unable to interpret this passage the thousands upon thousands of Bible believers past and present who have had and now have neither knowledge of nor access to the details of the worship of the Artemis cult.

Kristen said...

To R. L. Vaughn: In terms of reading the passage just for what it says without regard to historical context, the issue still arises of why "I do not permit a woman" is read as if it said "God says no woman must ever." Stating that it is "grounded" in the Adam and Eve story doesn't actually resolve the problem, as Paul generally (see 2 Cor. 10:6) considered Old Testament narratives to be examples, not some form of "grounding" of a text in the permanent will of God.

In short, the passage is problematic even if read just for what it says, and I've never been sure what the justification is for reading a passage as restrictively as possible whenever it's a passage about women.

Victorious said...

you seem to inadvertently widen it between the scholars and the students, the rich and the poor, rendering unable to interpret this passage the thousands upon thousands of Bible believers past and present who have had and now have neither knowledge of nor access to the details of the worship of the Artemis cult.

That's why the gift of teaching is so important in the body of Christ. Those details are surely available to anyone who cares enough to do the research.

When one scripture contradicts another; when Paul appears to erase the distinctions in one passage and appears to emphasize the distinctions in another, context will normally resolve the reason.

Paul was not establishing a hierarchy nor was he marginalizing women's position in the home or church nor did Jesus.

But the Pharisees were....

Mandy said...


I have no idea if the following is true so please feel free to correct me. When I took my New Testament class in college (a secular institution), my professor spent an entire lecture on the "headcovering" passage in Corinthians. As he explained it, Corinth was one of three major ports known for "excessive" lifestyles. Corinth was known for its lively prostitution scene. The prostitutes were required to keep their heads shaved to prevent the spread of lice. So another way of looking at the passage was that women needed to keep their heads covered to differentiate themselves from the prostitutes. I don't know how correct that explanation is but I have not forgotten that lecture even though its been 8 years.

Rex Ray said...

In reference to “A man…is God’s image and glory, but woman is man’s glory” (1 Cor. 11:7), you wrote:

“As far as "woman is the glory of man"…The word translated "glory" in 1 Cor. 11 is "doxa," which also means "good reputation"… The context is that a good wife gives her husband a good reputation, and a good man gives God a good reputation. But in that culture, a good woman was not seen as giving God a good reputation, but only her husband, as she was considered his property.”

Do you realize you proved Paul wrote exactly as the culture context viewed women?

He went one step farther by saying:

“A man…is in God’s image”, but failed to bestow that honor on a woman.

Kristen said...

Rex, the reason Paul wrote in terms of how the culture viewed women is that he was at that point talking about the church interfacing with cultural expectations, in terms of head coverings. But when he's talking about the kingdom of God, that's when he says things like "from now on we view no one according to the flesh" (2 Cor. 5) and "in Christ there is not male and female" (Gal. 3).

Would you really relegate women to first-century Middle-Eastern cultural expectations for all time? Do you really think that's what Paul was doing-- was he claiming that the way that culture viewed women was how God views them? Honestly?

Kristen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen said...

Rex, I think that even if you believe Paul was just being sexist and wrong-- even if you don't think Paul's words are inspired by God-- there remains the fact that Paul was a student of Torah and a scholar. I think it's possible to give him a little more credit than to just decide that he wildly contradicted himself from one passage to the next.

It's impossible for me to believe Paul never read, or just forgot, Genesis 1:25-26, that women are indeed made in God's image. I think it's much more likely that Paul talking about something else-- not how God views women, but how the culture viewed them, and how the church had to tread a fine line between the freedom that was in Christ and the expectations of the surrounding culture, in order to avoid getting a bad reputation.

Rex Ray said...

When Paul was inspired by to write, did God hold his hand?

If so, did God have a bad memory when Paul wrote: (I Cor. 1:14)?

“I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.”

“Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.” (Verse 16)

(Acts 25:11) Paul said, “I appeal to Caesar!”

Several days later, there were no Jews present when Paul spoke to King Agrippa.

“As they went out, they talked it over and agreed…And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:31-32)
Paul may have learned Agrippa’s decision by way of the ‘grapevine’.

Years later, Paul said, “The Romans tried me and wanted to release me…But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar.” (Acts 18-19)

HUH? Was his memory bad or did it hurt Paul so much if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar he would be free, so he put the blame on the Jews? Either way, God wasn’t holding his hand.

No, I’m not saying women are to be as the first-century…I’m saying, Paul was WRONG in the verses we’ve been discussion.

He was very Right in MOST of his writings. I don’t know why he was wrong…maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. :)

Wade Burleson said...


Obviously, I appreciate you and your independent spirit and love for the Lord.

You write: "No, I’m not saying women are to be as the first-century…I’m saying, Paul was WRONG in the verses we’ve been discussion."

This is the focal point at which you and I disagree. No big deal, but it is a disagreement.

I do not believe Paul was wrong in the verses we are discussing.

I believe YOU are wrong in your interpretation of what Paul said.


Wade Burleson said...


I have never heard the professors argument before. Could it be true that lice was the reason for the headcoverings? Maybe.

I do know that the Temple of Aphrodite - a Temple known for its Temple prostitutes - sat very high above Corinth on what is called the acropolis of Corinth. I also know, however, that by the time of Paul, the Corinthians were known for their beautiful architectural buildings, public works systems (latrines, running water in homes, etc...) and emphasis on the human figure (both male and female). It would seem to me that they, above all ancient peoples, would know how to deal with lice. Again, I haven't heard the interpretation before, but there could be some legitimacy to it.

Victorious said...

But weren't there both male and female temple prostitutes?

Wade Burleson said...


Mostly female, particularly at the Temple of Aphrodite in Corinth.

Rex Ray said...

You write about as fast as I can read…I had to give up last night.

When I read a comment to me, I look for questions and try to answer them. But how many questions have I asked that no one has come within ten feet of answering? Why do you think that is?


Regardless how educated and smart Pau was, I cannot twist his words around to make them sound as they ought to.

Long ago, do you remember me telling you that you were wrong in saying that Jesus was a Southern Baptist? You denied you said that and everyone else jumped on me to the extent you had to caution some not to use such ‘strong’ criticism against me. My wife who majored in English agreed with me. The closest you came to changing your mind was you saying something like, “Sometimes words do not convey their meaning.”

You see, I’ve done what Paul did after his Christian brothers disagreed with HIS “Women should be silent...” (1 Cor. 14:34-35) Paul tells them HOW RIGHT HE WAS: “Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before.” (I Cor. 15:1)

Kristen said...

Rex, I believe the Bible is inerrant in its teachings, but not necessarily in every individual fact. Nor do I believe everything in it is to be taken as literal history; I try to use literary context clues to determine the genre of each section.

So to some extent I disagree with the Chicago statement. But neither do I agree with your way of reading the texts; it has too much in common with hyper-fundamentalists' readings. I was not taught in my secular college to read a text without regard to historical and literary context, literary conventions of the time of writing, and shared cultural understandings (I majored in English)-- so why should I read the Bible that way just to decide that Paul was not only wrong, but a terrible writer who couldn't express a consistent position even if he actually held one? Even if I didn't believe the Bible to be inspired, I'd have more respect for him than that.

Rex Ray said...

“The Bible is inerrant in its teaching, but not necessarily in every individual fact.”

Truth: “But the Lord said to Mosses and Aaron because you did not trust me…you will not lead them into the land I am giving them.” (Numbers 20:12)
“The time has come for Aaron to join his ancestors in death…because the two of you rebelled against my instructions…” (Numbers 20:24)
“…you will die…you failed to demonstrate my holiness…” (Numbers 27:14)

Mosses did not strike the rock out of a moment of angry because Aaron and him had decided to strike the rock instead of speaking to the rock as God and told them.

Lie: “The Lord was also angry with me because of you…you will not enter the Promise Land.” (Deu. 1:37)
“But the Lord was angry with me because of you…you may not cross the Jordan River.” (Deu. 3:26-27)
“But the Lord was angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River.” (Deu. 4:21)

“Nor do I believe everything is it is to be taken as literal history.”

“The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5) [Sun travels around the earth.]
“…storehouses of the snow…hail…weapons for…war.” (Job 38:22-23)

“I’d have more respect for him [Paul] than that.”

Besides Jesus, Paul is my biggest hero in the Bible. The devil’s greatest victory was confusing his greatest defeat—Calvary.

Many have been called by God, but Paul was chosen. I believe he was chosen to teach the meaning of Calvary…that Jesus was EVERYTHING.

Paul had an uphill battle against his Christian brothers that added ‘works’ for salvation.

“…some men from Judea [friends of James—see Galatians 2:12] arrived and began to teach the believers: Unless you are circumcised as required by the Law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1)

Paul even had to straighten Peter and Barnabus out.

“But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face…when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the [Christian] Gentiles anymore…he was afraid of criticism from those who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. (Galatians 2:12)

“If anyone even an angel from heaven preaches any other way to be saved than the one we told you, let him forever be cursed.” (Galatians 1:8) Halleluiah

Kristen said...

Rex-- precisely. With regards to the Numbers passage, I believe that the original Hebrew authors and readers were simply not interested in newspaper-style reporting, nor would they have understood that as a necessity. I believe that expecting that of the Bible is imposing modern categories on an ancient mindset, and that it's better to try to understand the way they thought and why they wrote as they did.

With regards to the passages in Ecclesiastes and Job, those are wisdom and poetry writings, and the use of metaphor is to be expected.

With regards to Paul-- it's because of his writings elsewhere, such as in Galatians, that I cannot believe he intended to communicate "women be silent!" in 1 Corinthians 14-- not to mention other sections of that same letter that make it clear that silencing women wasn't on his mind at all. The quote theory makes a lot of sense, IMO, since there are other places in that letter where he is certainly quoting from the Corinthians themselves.

Rex Ray said...

“With regards to the Numbers passage…newspaper-style reporting…”

What does “newspaper-style reporting” mean? Are you implying what God said was not the truth?

“…metaphor is to be expected.”

Are you implying that a “metaphor” does not portray truth?

“…silencing women wasn’t on his mid at all.”

Where was Paul’s mind when he wrote, “A woman should learn in silence…she is to be silent.” (I Timothy 2:11-13)

Peter said, “…some of his [Paul] comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different…” (2 Peter 3:16 NLT)

I believe I’m reading in English exactly what Paul said. So who is doing the twisting?

Wade Burleson said...


"Long ago, do you remember me telling you that you were wrong in saying that Jesus was a Southern Baptist?"

Laughing. No, I don't remember. For you to ask me if I remember ever apologizing for saying Jesus was a Southern Baptist is like me asking you if you remember apologizing to me for saying your wife was fat, ugly, and mean as a witch. Both are preposterous.


Kristen said...

Rex, I must confess I don't understand you at all. You seem to change your own position towards the texts every time you respond to me.

You claim you are "reading in English exactly what Paul said," but you are only reading a few of his words, lifted out of context. You then imply that I, reading the passages in context, am "twisting" them.

You show how certain passages in the Old Testament differ in the account of Moses and Aaron and the striking of the rock-- and then when I respond that strict newspaper-style factual accuracy was not the aim of the writers, you accuse me of not believing that "what God said" was "truth." And yet you, not I, was the one who claimed Paul was just plain wrong and ought to be disregarded!

You show how certain poetic metaphors in Job & Ecclesiastes do not present factual details about the earth's revolution around the sun, then when I agree that they are metaphors, you ask me whether the metaphors "portray truth." What point are you trying to make? That we ought to take the metaphors literally and believe the earth revolves around the sun? Or that we should deny the writers of Scripture any right to use metaphor? Or what?

I can only think you're trying to entrap me in some way, which isn't fair. I see no reason to answer any of your other questions, or even to continue this discussion.

Kristen said...

Sorry-- I meant "believe the sun revolves around the earth." You have upset me and I wrote too fast.

Rex Ray said...

You made a smart reply about me asking if you remembered the Southern Baptists thing.

I should have said, Long ago, you wrote a long sentence that had the name of “Jesus” and “Southern Baptists.” I know you didn’t mean it, but English wise your words said Jesus was a Southern Baptist. After much criticism of me by commenters, I felt like you agreed with me by your saying, “Sometimes words do not convey their meaning.”

The reason I brought up such an old discussion was for an example of what I think Paul did in the next Scripture of Paul telling the Corinthians how right he was on bringing the Gospel to them. I think by this he wanted them to believe what he wrote in 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

Rex Ray said...

Our problem is CONTEXT. If we don’t agree on the context, then we’re bound to disagree on what Paul wrote.

Would you give an example or quote how I change my position towards the texts?

Are you referring to me saying Paul was wrong in telling women to be silent and then agreeing with him how we are saved?

I think Paul was wrong in not giving John Mark a second chance, but that doesn’t mean I’m changing my position towards the texts.

Many people argue that Moses didn’t lie to the people. I didn’t know what you believed, and when your only response was: “strict newspaper-style accuracy was not the aim of the writers”, I asked you: “What does “newspaper-style reporting” mean? Are you implying what God said was not the truth?”

Asking you the two questions was NOT accusing you of not believing God. I really didn’t know what you meant. I first had written, “Are you implying what Moses said was true?”, but I changed it.

My point on “metaphor” is this. A metaphor tells the truth, but the two I mentioned did not tell the truth.

Kristen, I spent several hours in vain of reviewing six years of comments trying to find the quote from Wade about Southern Baptists and Jesus.

One thing I notice though; was how long you’ve been writing on Wade’s blog. I’m not trying to entrap you—I like you too much for that.

Kristen said...

Rex, I appreciate the clarification. It would be helpful if you would tell me more about how you read the OT passages you referred to. We seem to be conversing at cross-purposes.

For instance, when you say a metaphor "tells the truth," what do you mean by "truth"? Factual accuracy? In that case I must disagree. When Jesus said "Fear not, little flock," he was not saying his listeners were factually sheep. Metaphors are not intended to convey facts, but rather to broaden our understanding of one thing by equating it to another.

Given the latter definition, how is it not true that the sun moves across the sky, from the point of view of us here on the ground? Why is it "untrue" to envision God keeping snow in a storehouse? It's not factually accurate, but God is the creator of snow and has it under His control, which is what the metaphor envisions.

What is your take on the difference between what is said in one passage about God blaming Moses alone, and later Moses saying God blamed both him and Aaron? I think it's that Moses saw the leadership of himself and Aaron as one unit-- that whatever was true of one was held to be true of the other. Not factually accurate according to our modern (newspaper-style) ways of thinking, but apparently true in the much-less-individualistic Middle-Eastern mindset from which Moses spoke.

Do you believe instead that Moses was lying? Deliberately including Aaron in the blame for his own mistake? Since I didn't know that was where you were coming from and have actually never heard that view, it's not surprising that I had no idea what you were talking about.

When you asked me whether I believed "what God said was truth," I thought you were saying "The whole Bible is 'what God said,' and therefore true, despite the disparities in the text" -- which was the opposite of what you were saying when you claimed Paul was wrong in one place and right in another. It looked to me like you had changed from a "not-inerrant" position to an "inerrant" one in between your two comments!

My own position is pretty much in agreement with that of Peter Enns in his book "Inspiration and Incarnation." I believe the Bible is inspired by God, conveying His truths, but within the mindsets of the people and cultures into which He spoke. That He accommodated His revelation to human limitation, and that we have to understand both their mindsets and limitations and our own, in order to properly understand the text.

Rex Ray said...

I wrote this 19 years ago, but do not have it in my computer. So I will type it to you.

The Bible is an account of what man has said and done and is inspired by God.

Moses wrote Numbers and Deuteronomy, yet Numbers says Moses could not enter he Promised Land because he struck the rock (showing lack of faith in God), and Deuteronomy says Moses could not enter because God was angry with the people.


Moses: Lord you know Numbers is true. Why do you want me to write differently in Deuteronomy?
God: Because that’s what you told the people.
Moses: Yes, I told them it was their fault, because I needed to keep their respect. My I leave my lies out?
God: No.
Moses: One more thought Lord, what if in years to come, some people won’t believe the Bible because it states opposing accounts, or ideas?
God: I will not change the truth to suit man. Even my Son will say in John 16:32 that I will never leave him when He is on the cross. I had not revealed I could not comfort him while He bore my penalty of sin, so him saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” will be a true question.

Kristen, why did God have Arron to die first? Maybe Arron gave some more advice: ‘You’re going to look like a fool if you speak to the rock and water doesn’t come out. You’d better stay with what has worked in the past and hit the rock.’

However striking the rock was decided, I believe they both agreed on what to do.

Kristen, I believe Bible writers may have changed their minds as they grew older. Many argue Peter believed baptism was necessary for salvation when he said, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to god, and be BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. THEN you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NLT)
“Those who believed what Peter said were BAPTIZED and added to the church THAT DAY---about 3,000 in all.” (Verse 41)

But Peter surely DID NOT believe the Holy Spirit wouldn’t come until AFTER baptism after he experienced (Acts 10:44)

“Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.”

I’ll discuss “metaphors” later.

Rex Ray said...

I agree with you saying: “Metaphors are not intended to convey facts, but rather to broaden our understanding of one thing by equating it to another.”

Do you agree that metaphors are to teach truth?

I also agree: “Fear not, little flock," he was not saying his listeners were factually sheep.”

Although some preachers are so ‘high and mighty’ they treat the congregation like dumb sheep. :)

All the people in Bible times thought the world was flat with four corners and on some kind of foundation, so anything (Ecclesiastes 1:5) teaching that is not a true metaphor but an untruth that does not broaden our understanding

Kristen said...

Rex, I think metaphors are to communicate and express word pictures that make it easier for us to understand what is being expressed.

Because I believe the purpose of the Bible is to teach spiritual truth, I can therefore agree that the purpose of metaphors in the Bible is to help us understand spiritual truth using word pictures. So in that sense they do "teach truth."

I agree that people in Bible times thought the world was literally flat and sitting on a foundation. So when they use that imagery, it isn't metaphor, but what they actually thought. God was communicating to them within their own mindset, to convey spiritual truth. We are not required to agree with them on what they thought the world looked like-- that's not a spiritual truth.

But an image of the sun moving across the sky, occurring within the poetry/wisdom literature, is different. I think it is a metaphor, in that passage, for the observable order of the world around us, as a reflection of the ordered nature of the Creation as a whole. So perhaps that was not the best example of what you're talking about.

As for your thoughts about Peter and baptism, and Moses and the rock, they are interesting speculations, but they are essentially arguments from silence, and the texts are just as open to other interpretations, such as the one I proposed for Moses and the rock. Perhaps Peter felt it was necessary on that particular occasion to require that the new converts make an immediate, outward show of their faith as a sign that they were serious about it. They needed to be baptized in water that day as part of their salvation experience, that day, to strengthen them for an uncertain future. That doesn't necessarily mean that no one can be ever be saved unless they are baptized in water.

Rex Ray said...

I can see the sun moving across the sky as a metaphor, but not “then hurries around to rise again.”

On the other stuff, I think we’re close enough. Been good talking with you.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Kristen, sorry to be so long in responding, but I want to reply to one thing in your comments to me.
I do not believe that my method resolves all problems of interpretation in this passage, which are manifold. My "method of interpretation" is not designed, however, "for reading a passage as restrictively as possible whenever it's a passage about women." I try to apply it, however consistently I accomplish it, to any passage about anything.


Kristen said...


Ok. I wrote that when I was still very confused as to what your position actually was. No worries. :)

Andrew Chapman said...

ἤ is not an expletive - it just means 'or' (try looking it up in a lexicon).

Paul has just said that it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. He expects them to follow his apostolic instruction.

But alternatively ('or'), if the word of God came only to them (it seems that they may be giving Paul the impression that they have become haughty in that way) then they will no doubt prefer to follow their own tradition which apparently may have been allowing women to speak in the assembly of the saints.