"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Free Speech Ekklesia for All Brothers and Sisters

34 "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. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church." é What! (Nonsense) 36 Did the word of God only come to you (Judaizers)? é What! (Nonsense) Or are you (Judaizers) the only people it (God's Word) has reached? (I Corinthians 14:34-36).
          37 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy..." (I Corinthians 14:39). 

In the first two verses above (v. 34 and v. 35), Paul is giving the false belief of Judiaziers who have infiltrated the church at Corinth and other early Christian churches.

These two verses (v. 34 and v. 35) articulate the Judaizers' attempt to bring 1st Century synagogue traditions into the Christian assembly.

These Judaizers were "zealous for the Law," or the teachings of the Talmud (Acts 21:21). They caused all kinds of problems in the early church.

Paul is blunt about them in II Corinthians 11, calling them "false apostles" and "deceitful workers" (II Cor. 11:13).

Paul tells the Christians at Corinth to resist the false practices of the Judaizers and stand firm to the New Covenant "traditions" that Paul had taught them (see  I Corinthians 11:2).

Paul is consistent throughout all his writings that all the members of the assembly, both male and female, could participate in congregational worship (see I Corinthians. 14:31 and I Corinthians 11:5-15).

In fact, Paul expects that women in the church will publicly pray and teach just as men publicly pray and teach (see I Corinthians 11:5).

The entire discourse of the New Covenant Scriptures is that God's priesthood is composed of males and females, slave and free, Jews and Gentiles. There is no separation of race, nationality, gender or color in the God's New Covenant priesthood. Each of us has been made a priest (Revelation 1:5) and we all form a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

So, the startling prohibition of I Corinthians 14:34-36 "Let the women keep silent in the churches" seems discordant and unconnected to the rest of the New Covenant Scriptures.

There's a reason for this -- it is.

Paul is quoting the views of the Judaizers regarding women in I Corinthians 14:34-35, false views about women that the Judaizers are attempting to bring into the Christian assemblies.

Paul quotes what they were teaching in order to refute it.

The Judaizers had been taught four things about the role of women in the synagogues when they were Jews, and they wished to make "the church" conform to these restrictions.
1). The Jews believed women were not qualified to be learners in the synagogue because the talmudic literature forbad them from learning. Their presence in the synagogue was tolerated, but they were to be unobtrusive and silent, never interferring with the work of the men. The Judaizers wished this tradition to be carried over into all the churches. But Paul argues throughout I Corinthians for full participation of women within the assembly (see I Corinthians 14:31 and 39).
2). The Jews recognized that a woman in the synagogue might at some point wish to move from passive attendance to actually learning something in the synagogue, but this was viewed as an exceptional occurance and not the norm. Therefore, on the rare occasion a woman desired to ask a question in order to learn, she was instructed to maintain her silence in the assembly and wait to ask her husband after leaving the synagogue and returning home. The Judaizers wished to keep the same passivity of women in the earkt Christian churches. But Paul expects women to pray and prophesy, the two acts of worship in the assembly, in the same manner that men pray and prophesy. Women compose half the priesthood (see I Corinthians 11:5).
3). There is the assumption in the synagogue that all Jewish women would be married; it was even expected by leaders in the synagogue that Jewish women would marry. The Judaizers believed the same thing should be true about all women in the early church. But Paul argues his preference that Christian women remain single for the purpose of ministry (see I Corinthians 7:34).
4). The Jews believed, and it was reinforced by the Talmud, that only the males should receive religious instruction. Jewish husbands were the source of their wives learning. Women should remain silent within the context of the synagogue. The Judaizers carried this tradition into the early churches and taught just as firmly that all Christian women should be silent in the churches. But Paul has taught that the priesthood of God is composed of both males and females, and there is an equality within the priesthood in both role and function (see I Corinthians 11:11 and Galations 3:28-29)
Paul states the Judaizers beliefs about women in I Corinthians 14:34-35, and then he begins to refute it. 

Gilbert Bilezikian writes:
"It is worth noting that in 1 Corinthians more than in any of his other Epistles, Paul uses the é particle to introduce rebuttals to statements preceding it. As a conjunction, é appears in Paul's Epistles in a variety of uses. But the list below points to a predilection for a particular use of é which is characteristic mainly of 1 Corinthians."
Bilezikian points out Paul used the é particle throughout I Corinthians, and in each case translates it as "What! or (Nonsense) to give the é (eta) contextual meaning. I Corinthians 6:1-2 is an example:
1 Corinthians 6:1-2--"If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? (é What! Nonsense) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?"
Loren Cunningham and David Hamilton wrote a book entitled Why Not Women? That book listed 14 places in the book of 1 Corinthians alone where that little é (eta) particle is found. 1 Cor. 1:13; 1 Cor. 6:2; 1 Cor.6:9; 1 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; 1 Cor. 7:16; 1 Cor. 9:6; 1 Cor. 9:7; 1 Cor. 9:8; 1 Cor. 9:10; 1 Cor. 10:22; 1 Cor. 11:22; and 1 Cor. 14:36.

One of this blog's regular commenters, Victorious, pointed this book out to me and writes in the comment section of this post:
"The authors call that little word an "expletive of disassociation" and compares it to (as you do, Wade) to "What?" "Nonsense" or "No Way" in today's vernacular. Most translations have unfortunately eliminated this é which makes verses appear to as "commands to be followed"  and garner agreement by Paul.... but this is not so."
For the belief that "women should be silent" in the church, a belief that Judaizers were attempting to force on the early churches, Paul uses the é to dispute such a notion in I Corinthians 14.
I Corinthians 14:34-36 -  Paul states the Judaizers' belief in the beginning of v. 34, a belief that that he intends to refute, and so he uses the Greek uses the eta é like he does in I Corinthians 6:1-2.
Corinthians 14:34-35  - "34 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. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church" é What! (Nonsense)"
I Corinthians 14:36"Or did the word of God come only to you (Judaizers)?  é What! (Nonsense) Or are you (Judaizers) the only people it has reached?"
After refuting the false belief, Paul writes:

"Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy..." (I Corinthians 14:39). 

So the "What" (the Greek eta), is used by Paul throughout Corinthians to refute false teaching. 

There are actually two of these eta particles in I Corinthians 14:34-36. Paul is expressing his disbelief (a compounded disbelief) that anyone would think that men only are the mouthpieces of God and that women should be silent in their presence. 

Paul states his objection to that kind of thinking very clearly.
"What! Did the word of God come only to you? What! (Note: this "What!" is the second eta in the text) Are you the only people it has reached?"
Paul is refuting the Jewish Old Covenant belief that men only can hear from God and speak in the assembly (synagogue), which Christian Judaizers wished to carry over into the ekklesia (churches).

In other words, the "women keep silent" passage is not God's commandment to obey, but it is a Judaizers corrupt teaching to avoid.

The internal evidence that "women should be silent in the assemblies" is false Judaizer teaching is clear:
1.  The two Greek é particles used in at end of v. 35 and the middle of v. 36.
2. The absence of quotations to "set off" the false teaching in the original Greek, but the "woman should be silent in the assemblies" is directly opposite the abundant and clear teaching of the Apostle Paul in the rest of this letter and all of his other epistles.
3. The context of I Corinthians 14 shows that Paul is correcting Judaizers' false beliefs that were creeping into the early churches. 
I once spoke on this topic during a Wednesday night Bible study. I spent time reviewing the overwhelming number of verses, including those from Paul's own letters, which are diametrically opposed to the principles taught by the Judaizers. If you think I Corinthians 14:34-36 is from God and not the Judaizers, then you will have a hard time explaining why the rest of Bible directly contradicts the prohibitions in  I Corinthians 14:34-36.

We always have a question and answer time at the end of Bible study and a new member of our church, a woman about seventy years of age who was life long member of a traditional SBC church in Nevada, desired to comment about what I had taught. She was seated next to her husband, and she raised her hand to be recognized and was called upon, she spoke and disagreed quite strongly with my interpretation. She believed I Corinthians 14:33-35 was a commandment from God and after explaining her reasoning, she concluded emphatically that God wanted women to be silent "in church."

When she was finished I gently suggested that if she believed my interpretation of I Corinthians 11:34-35 was wrong and her's was right, then she should have never raised her hand to be recognized, she should have never voiced her beliefs in the assembly, and she should have waited until she and her husband arrived  home before she asked a question of HIM or made a comment to HIM about what I had taught.

That is what the text says!

So either she must believe that what I'm teaching is right and then she is FREE to ask questions of her pastor, at any time, any place, for any reason the assembly is gathered, or she must be true to and consistent with her beliefs and remain absolutely silent in church.

Her response?

She said she was not "in church," so she could speak. Mind you, we were in our Fellowship Hall on Wednesday night with a couple of hundred believers present. There were numerous other small groups from our church meeting throughout our facility and around the city that night. But, in our new member's mind, we were not "in the church" that night because we weren't in the "auditorium" and having a typical Sunday morning "church" service.

Her comment led me to think many Southern Baptists don't have a working, biblical understanding of what the church is. Traditional Southern Baptists often seem more Jewish or Roman Catholic in their views of the assembly (church) and authority (clerics) than the writers of the New Testament. I believe that the Bible teaches that where two or three are gathered in the name of the Jesus Christ, the assembly is gathered and Christ is at the center of His people.

So Wednesday night is as much church as Sunday morning. Tuesday night small group is as much church as Wednesday night Bible study. Tuesday morning's gathering for fellowship, service, and worship is as much church as Sunday night's discipleship classes.

We, the people, are His church, and when or where we assemble, as few as two or three, His church is convened.

So move over Judaizers; all the people of God are free to function.

43 comments:

Alaskan in Texas said...

Brother Wade -- With respect to women being silent and subservient in church, I think traditional practice and interpretation of 1 Cor 14:34-35 has caused great harm in and among churches throughout history. Thank you for all your efforts to exposit the whole Bible in a way that brings equality to men and women.

However, I do not see how 1 Cor 14:39 helps the cause ("Therefore, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy...") Without getting too much into the weeds, I have looked through all the Greek texts on Biblehub associated with that verse (https://biblehub.com/text/1_corinthians/14-39.htm) and cannot find a single Greek source that contains anything but "adelphoi/brother" in that verse. I understand that, of course, there are no "verses" in the original Greek, but I would still like to know what Greek sources you have used that support adding the words "and sisters" to 1 Cor 14:39?

Wade Burleson said...

Alaskan,

Love your spirit! Thanks for being such a student of the word, showing civility and respect even with those with whom you disagree.

I would be in agreement with your assessment of I Cor. 14:39 in the grammar.

However, contextually he has already spoken to women about how they should prophesy in the church (I Corinthians 11) and linguistically, "adelphoi" does not automatically exclude females just as the Greek feminine word νύφη (bride - as in Bride of Christ which in Greek is νύφη του Χριστο) and does not automatically exclude males.

We do the same thing in English when we say "Mankind" and include women in the masculine word.

So both linguistically and grammatically and contextually I could argue "brothers and sisters" in verse 39 is a proper translation.

Victorious said...

So the "What" (the Greek eta), is used by Paul throughout Corinthians to refute false teaching.

Loren Cunninggham and David Hamilton wrote a book entitled "Why Not Women?" - copyright 2000. That book listed 14 places in the book of 1 Corinthians alone where that little "eta" word is found.

It was a real eye-opener for me and answered many questions regarding Paul's words to the Judaizer converts in Corinth.

Here's the list I have: 1 Cor. 1:13; 1 Cor. 6:2; 1 Cor.6:9; 1 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; 1 Cor. 7:16; 1 Cor. 9:6; 1 Cor. 9:7; 1 Cor. 9:8; 1 Cor. 9:10; 1 Cor. 10:22; 1 Cor. 11:22; and 1 Cor. 14:36

The authors call that little word an "expletive of disassociation" and compares it to (as you did, Wade) to "What?" "Nonsense" or "No Way" in today's venacular.

Most translations have unfortunately eliminated this word which makes verses appear to be commands and garner agreement by Paul....not so.

Thanks for another wonderful post, Wade!

Wade Burleson said...

Thank you for a wonderful comment Victorious!

Victorious said...

Also of importance is understanding that many of Paul's challenges/refutes came as the result of questions he received from the church in Corinth.

1 Cor. 7:1 "Now concerning the things about which you wrote..."

1 Cor. 5:9 "I wrote to you in my letter"

2 Thess: 3:14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter...

2 Cor. 2:9 For to this end also I wrote...

Apparently these topics were conveyed via letters to and from Paul and the Corinthians:

1 Cor. 1:11 Informed by Chloe
1 Cor. 5:1 Immorality
1 Cor. 5:11 Association with immoral persons (brothers?)
1 Cor. 7:1 Marriage
1 Cor. 8:1 Sacrifices to Idols
1 Cor. 12:1 Spiritual Gifts
1 Cor. 16:1 Collection for the Saints
1 Cor. 16:12 Apollos' Visit

Wade Burleson said...

Victorious,

Really good stuff. Thank you (I edited a portion of your comment back into the original). Thank you.

Steve Bezner said...

Wade, the argument here sounds a lot like that made by Lucy Peppiatt in her excellent book, *Women and Worship in Corinth.* Good stuff, if you haven't already read it. BTW, I'll be in Birmingham and would love to buy you a cup of coffee to talk a little more on this topic, if you're interested. If so, follow me on Twitter (@Bezner), and we can connect.

Wade Burleson said...

Will do Steve! Have not read the book but thanks for the recommendation.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Well, old friend, we disagree again. :)

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! (Walter Scott)

That’s what I thought with your explanation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36. (Why do you NEVER reference what translation you use?)

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

With this verse you start the tangled web by planting the seed that Paul is talking to Judiaziers and not Corinthians.

In quoting verses, I’ve been taught it was important to read verses BEFORE and AFTER the verse quoted.

If you had not ignored the verse AFTER verse 36, you would not have claimed “Paul is giving the false belief of Judiaziers” but is giving what he believes because verse 37 states:

“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.” (NLT)

Rex Ray said...

P.S.

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that these things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:37 KJ)

Christiane said...

Man-made Leadership:
given to a Paige Patterson, he glorifies himself in stained glass

God-ordained leadership:
and Lottie Moon gives away her own food to starving people


The contrast IS of biblical proportions.

Christiane said...

continued

From the Holy Gospel of St. Luke:

"He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty."

Christiane said...

continued ....

and the name of the prophetess who spoke those words in the Holy Gospel of St. Luke?

Mary, Mother
(Mariam Matrem)

https://youtu.be/lMydR6G0U4o

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Rex, what Paul is saying, which is a COMMAND (your emphasis, not mine) from the Lord is every believer gifted to prophecy should be eager to do so and never restricted by Judaizer requirements that women be silent.

Wade Burleson said...

Steve,

I have not read the book. Look forward to a cup of coffee.

Andrew said...

Thanks for the post Wade. Could you give any online references/links to a Greek version that contains the expletive eta? I can't find any.

Anonymous said...

interesting, not surprising
https://sbcvoices.com/

Anonymous said...

time out
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B76tn3xIAAEqfo8.jpg

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Thanks for the reply. (nothing worse than being ignored)

You wrote, “Rex, what Paul is saying, which is a COMMAND (your emphasis, not mine) from the Lord is every believer gifted to prophecy should be eager to do so and never restricted by Judaizer requirements that women be silent.”

Let’s back up. What verse was I quoting?

I referenced verse 37, but you switched to verse 39 by writing: “Rex, what Paul is saying from the Lord is every believer gifted to prophecy should be eager to do so and never restricted by Judaizer requirements that women be silent.”

Verse 39 (1 Corinthians 14:39 NLT) states: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.”

Wade, there’s nothing in verse 39 about Judaizer requirements that women be silent except in your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Wade, any comments or thoughts about the two very recent SWBTS hires from SBTS right after the Seminary let go nearly 2 dozen faculty members because of debt? The Seminaries Facebook page has also been actively deleting comments about this very fact on posts about the new hires. Do you still think that the firings were motivated entirely by a financial crises related to enrollment and the previous administration spendthrift ways?

Victorious said...

Rex, Wade will speak for himself, but if I may offer my understanding of the verses in question.

First, the entire chapter is focusing on the proper manifestation of spiritual gifts in the church to ensure an orderly assembly rather than one of confusion. He continues by assuring there is an opportunity for each member to participate in the assembly but again cautions the participation be edifying.

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1Cor. 14:26

And continuing a bit further about the exercise of gifts, he again emphasizes the expression in an orderly fashion.

In the midst of that, strangely out of context, comes verse 34!! After just assuring the participation of each member (v.26), comes a comment about women being silent in church!

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. 1Cor. 14:34

To my knowledge, there is no such law in scripture that forbids women to speak. It's most reasonable and probable, however, that just as the Pharisees embellish the law of Moses, they enforced this type of oppression in the synagogues. Women were separated from the men and not allowed participation IIRC.

Since Paul was was a Pharisee, he was well aware of their teachings and when he began refuting their practices, there was a possibility of Paul being killed. (Acts. 22 & 23).

Fast forward to 1 Cor. 14:34 restricting women from speaking and requiring silence, Paul exclaims, "What?....(v. 36) It appears that one who was trying to enforce that non-existent law, claimed to be a prophet. Paul's retort is that if one was really a true prophet, he would recognize the things prescribed by the Lord Himself as to the gifts of the Holy Spirit as opposed to the laws of the Pharisees. The bottom line is that if someone in the church does not recognize this fact, then he is not to be recognized (as a prophet?)

Wade was correct is recognizing and associating this verse to the Judaizers who Paul was continually having to correct and refute their efforts to enforce Oral Laws in the church.

That's my understanding. The verse about women being silent and not speaking is totally out of context with the gospel and therefore was most likely a quote Paul refuted.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Victorious said it far better than I!. Her opinion is my opinion.

Rex Ray said...

Victorious (also Wade since he agrees with you),

You wrote: 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. 1 Cor. 14:34

You said, “To my knowledge, there is no such law in scripture that forbids women to speak.”

Paul did not say Scripture forbids women to speak. He said: “…They should be submissive, just as the law says. (1 Corinthians 14:34 NLT)

What law was Paul referring to? How about Genesis 3:16 NLT? “Then he [God] said to the woman…you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 NLT and see if Paul is ‘fighting Judaizers or if their name is even mentioned.

“Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands [Genesis 3:16?] at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings. Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given? 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.”

Victorious, you wrote: “The verse about women being silent and not speaking is totally out of context with the gospel…” (I agree with all my heart) and therefore was most likely a quote Paul refuted.” (HUH)

P.S. I’m not expecting any reply.

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

Hope you are feeling better. I am concerned for what is happening to Christian people among all 'denominations' because what happened to my poor Ukrainian-related godmother is happening to many now, this:

https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-47675301

Eleanor gave every extra penny to televangelists, male and female. She collected bottles and turned them in for a little money to send. One time, she was parked along the side of a high way and was picking up bottles when she was struck by another vehicle. She never was able to walk again. While in hospital, I called the 700 Club and asked if they could send someone to pray with her in hospital (no money from them was requested) but they would not do even this for my godmother. Not even this, and her hospital was within 20 minutes drive of the 700 Club facility in Virginia. Added to that, the phone contact person WAS quite rude. A firm 'no'. I never told Eleanor about this, as I didn't want her hurt by the rejection. I protected her from the mean-spiritedness. She was, as Wade puts it 'RC' by marriage, having been Catholic of a Ukrainian branch of 'the family', but she served the 'larger Church' generously and without thought of self.

I wonder about 'labels' when it comes to 'the ekklesia' and I decided along time ago, that God calls some to serve in the way that they can. I used to think my dear godmother was a 'patsy' for charlatans, but then I realized something: she was of course, an innocent, but she did what she could with a generous heart, not seeing 'differences' but hopeful of helping those in need. She didn't judge. She didn't hold back or spare herself the work she did and what little she was able to give, I have to hope the Good Lord blessed, even if a big portion of it ended up in the pockets of charlatans. And what is blessed? What was given out of love. Freely.

If nothing more, God used my godmother to teach me about humility and generosity. In some great 'court' of God's justice, the charlatans will stand some day. So my dear Eleanor will receive justice although I know she would forgive them, as long as 'something' she sent got 'through' to help the ones who needed it.

Women and the Church. You have to deeply into the Holy Gospels of Our Lord to understand someone like Eleanor. I had a front-row seat to her story, and she was for me a shining witness, not of some 'smuck' used by charlatans, but a witness in the belief that God would take what she gave and make even some small portion of it to help towards good in this world. I choose to believe He did.

How do we label what we cannot understand? I wouldn't even try. I just know someone lived and died trying to do good without worrying or being afraid or judging. Used? yes, but by who? by Who? There are lessons in Eleanor's example that I am still fathoming.

well, anyway, thanks for listening . . . if anyone understands what I wrote, I thought it might be you :)

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

"Apart from the uncertainty as to what sort of speech is being prohibited, another significant problem with understanding the intent of 14:34-35 is knowing what is meant by the “law” (nomos) mentioned in verse 34. Nowhere in the Hebrew Bible, referred to in the New Testament as “the Law” (nomos), does it command or instruct women to be silent, or to be in submission.

(Some)theologians suggest that Paul is referring to a Rabbinical Law. Still others suggest that Paul is referring to a Roman Law. There were many Roman laws that governed various religious observances in the Roman world. Richard and Catherine Kroeger (1978:9) believe that Paul is referring to laws passed by the Roman Senate that were designed to curb women from engaging in wild, orgiastic Bacchanal worship. The Kroegers believe the Christian women in Corinth may have imitated Bacchanalian worship styles in church meetings, and so Paul instructs them in 14:34-35 to be silent, control themselves, and stop acting disgracefully.[21] Grudem (1988:223), however, writes that “in the 119 occurrences of the word “law” (nomos) in Paul’s letters it never unambiguously refers to either Rabbinic law or Roman Law.” Cynthia Long Westfall (2016:237, fn85), on the other hand, states that nomos is used here with “its most common meaning ‘rule, principle, norm.'” According to this understanding, women were to be quiet and behave according to the cultural norms of the day.

As already noted, the Hebrew Bible contains no instructions, or even encouragements, for women to be silent or submissive.

The ambiguous reference to “the law” is a hindrance to understanding the real meaning of 14:34-35. The verb “be subject” (or “be submissive”) is less ambiguous.[23] Nevertheless, some people mistakenly assume that the submission called for in verse 34 is the submission of wives to husbands. Some apply it even more widely and believe that the women as a group were being commanded to be subordinate to the men. Importantly, however, the same verb is also used two verses earlier, in verse 32, where it literally says, “The spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets.” The Kroegers (1978), and others, believe that Paul is using the word “subject” to mean “control,” and that Paul is instructing the prophets to control their spiritual gift of prophecy and not get carried away like some pagan prophets. The NIV conveys this meaning in its translation of verse 32: “The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of the prophets.” (My italics.) Similarly, the use of the word “subject/submission” in verse 34 may simply be an injunction to the women to exercise control in the manner they prophecy (or restraint in asking questions) and not get carried away.

One thing is certain, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 cannot be used to completely silence women from speaking in church meetings, as Paul condones the verbal ministries of prayer and prophecy from women. Taking into account that Paul condones women who prophecy, it is difficult to see how 14:34-35 can be used to exclude women from other equally influential and authoritative speaking ministries in the church."

From Marg Mowczko at https://margmowczko.com/interpretations-applications-1-cor-14_34-35/.

So, Rex, it is NOT any LAW in the Old Testament Scriptures.

If you are unsatisfied with the response, I suggest you tell US which law it is that Paul is referring to in I Cor. 14:34

Victorious said...

What law was Paul referring to? How about Genesis 3:16 NLT? “Then he [God] said to the woman…you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Rex, that verse has been used as proof for anything and everything regarding women and what they can and cannot do. If it wasn't so sad/serious, it would be laughable.

Hopefully, this chart will clarify the meaning and the timeframe for it's insidious, erroneous mistranslation. Suffice it to say, in the interest of time (for me), if you must insist the NLT rendering women to a forever desire to control, then you must do the same for the verses pertaining to Adam. Men must only work in the field of agriculture; eat plants; sweat during their work (no air-conditioned offices); and must allow thorns and thistles to grow (no Round-Up to kill weeds), etc.

Paul did not say Scripture forbids women to speak. He said: “…They should be submissive, just as the law says. (1 Corinthians 14:34 NLT)

But the NLT version of 1 Cor. 14:34 does mention speaking just as you've posted it.

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 NLT and see if Paul is ‘fighting Judaizers or if their name is even mentioned.

An understanding of the Corinthian community helps to see the confusion in the church there as it encompasses converted Jews, pagans, and those of the Greek culture. Paul is continually being confronted by those who are trying to infuse their beliefs into the growing Christian movement. Throughout Corinthians, Paul is responding to questions sent via letters and correcting/refuting false teachers, erroneous doctrine, and pagan influence. Sometimes he includes a quote from one of their letters prior to exclaiming "What???" Then refutes it. Sometimes he presents an analogy or popular saying that will make understanding easier; i.e.

- 1Cor. 15:33  Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." This is a quote from a Greek poet, Menander.

- 1Cor. 9:24  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. This is a reference to Grecian games.

- 1Cor. 9:26  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air... is an allusion to combat practices of kind of shadow boxing.

To summarize, because of Paul's heritage/background/credentials, he is very knowledgeable in the areas of the Talmud, Oral law, the law of Moses, Roman culture, Greek culture, pagan practices, etc. and speaks in a way so as to bring understanding of the errors and skillfully present the Gospel.

We come away with an erroneous understanding of Paul's teachings when we base truth on a single word or even a single verse without factoring in the context, those who were spoken to, and how it would be understood by them.

Victorious said...

Oops...forgot to give the link to the chart I mentioned showing the change in the meaning of the words in Gen.3:16 to Eve. :

godswordtowomen.org/chart_of_teshuqa.htm

It's available in pdf format and color as well.

Wade Burleson said...

Victorious,

Very good comments and material. Thank you.

Victorious said...

Wade,

I appreciate the encouraging words. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wade, there is no eta in verse 35. It occurs twice in v36. The problem I have with understanding your interpretation, however, is not the verse numbering, but the problem of three principles you want to refute with only two refuting devices.

3 principles:

[1] 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
[2] 36 [eta: or…/what?] was it from you that the word of God came?
[3] [eta]: or…/what?] are you the only ones it has reached?

If eta refutes the preceding statement, why are you suggesting the last is refuted? If, as it makes more sense to interpreters, the last two are refuted, how does the middle eta then apply to both the first and second statement?

Rex Ray said...

Victorious,

Your wrote quoted me saying: “What law was Paul referring to? How about Genesis 3:16 NLT? “Then he [God] said to the woman…you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Then your said,” Rex, that verse has been used as proof for anything and everything regarding women and what they can and cannot do. If it wasn't so sad/serious, it would be laughable.”

It’s too bad you didn’t teach that to Paul as he used Genesis to back up:

“Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.” (1 Timothy 2:11-14 NLT)

Rex Ray said...

Anonymous,

I didn’t see your comment before I placed mine. I think we may be on the same side, but if Wade can answer your concerns, he is a much smarter and knowledgeable man than me.

Ken F said...

Hi Rex,
If I can weigh in, citing the curses in Genesis 3 as prescriptive creates problems. For instance, it would also mean no painkillers for childbirth (pain should in fact be increased rather than eased), men can only work in the fields (not in air-conditioned buildings), men can only eat from what they physically grow with their own hands and the labor must be painful, no weedkillers are allowed because the ground is commanded to produce thorns and thistles, men must eat bread while sweating from the face, etc. Whatever the role of gender is supposed to play in church and life, that one verse you cited cannot be used in the discussion as what should be normative. If we pick that verse as a proof text we also have to accept as normative all the other things that chapter says about the consequences of the fall.

Victorious said...

It’s too bad you didn’t teach that to Paul as he used Genesis to back up:

“Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.” (1 Timothy 2:11-14 NLT)


Rex, the principle Paul is referencing is "learning." Women should learn first. Women were not allowed to learn. They were even isolated in the synagogue. Paul is encouraging the learning process and uses Adam as the example of having learned first (as a male) and now it's time for Eve (females) to learn.

Of course he reiterates the principle of orderly worship when he speaks of the women learning "quietly." (G2227) That's the same "quietly" (G2227) he enjoins to those in the church of Thessalonica. (2 Thess. 3:12)

And Paul also teaches that all believers should submit to one another. Eph. 5:21

And on May 30, 1:36 a.m., you said In quoting verses, I’ve been taught it was important to read verses BEFORE and AFTER the verse quoted.

In keeping with that teaching, do you think women should never braid their hair or wear gold, or even expensive wedding rings? 1 Tim. 2:9 And do the men in your church pray with their hands up? 1 Tim. 2:8

These types of rules/laws are completely contrary to the gospel. But taken in context and understanding the reason for them, they begin to make sense.

Rex Ray said...

Victorious,

You said, “…These types of rules/laws are completely contrary to the gospel. But taken in context and understanding the reason for them, they begin to make sense.”

Would you explain in context what makes sense in these words of Paul? “…The head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is man.” (1 Corinthians:11:3 NLT)

“…man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory. For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man…for this reason, …a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.” (1 Corinthians11:7-10 NLT)

Do you think Wade might say these are words from Judiaziers? (“What a tangle web we weave…”)

Ken F said...

Rex,
This comment from TWW about how "head" should be understood could help answer your question: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2019/05/13/wade-burleson-would-allow-beth-moore-to-preach-from-the-pulpit-with-no-restrictions-at-emmanuel-enid-sbc/#comment-402722.

Victorious said...

Hi Rex Ray,

Would you explain in context what makes sense in these words of Paul? “…The head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is man.” (1 Corinthians:11:3 NLT)

That's easy...unless of course you believe in a hierarchy in the Trinity....

Paul himself summarizes the passage showing the origin of male and female is mutual and interdependent.

However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.   For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. 1Cor. 11:11-12

Paul was fluent in Hebrew and Greek and surely knew the word for "authority" but did not use that word (exousia) (G1849) That word is used 93 times in the NT but not in 1 Cor. 11 because he was not speaking of power or authority over one another.

Jesus also refuted the idea of power/authority over each other.

And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority (exousia/G1849)over them are called 'Benefactors.'  "But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. Luke 22:25-26

Anonymous said...


"36 Did the word of God only come to you? What! Or are you the only people it has reached?"

In case you didn't understand the implication of the comment above, the translation you posit above to support your interpretation has 3 etas, while the Greek text has 2. You have inserted an extra one not included in any Greek text in existence. The 3rd helps to bolster your interpretation; removing it removes a significant function provided by the last "or" you, assuming you know and worked through the Greek text, chose to leave in the translation.

Gary Sweeten said...

In Genesis 3:16 Females will desire to "Overthrow their husbands" and 3:18 men are tempted to "Rule with flared nostrils; Anger". The conflict cycle is built in.

As retired family therapist I see this played out many times. He tries to rule as a fallen man with anger and she reacts as a fallen woman with rebellion. Of course we do not teach believers that they are supposed to live in their fallen state but are supposed to relate with love and respect.

I would not teach a man to lead with anger, and crush a wife, but it is a common problem. It is also common for a wife to rebel/overthrow her husband. Mutual submission of reborn, converted, adopted, forgiven believers is the goal we often fail to achieve. I have done a lot of pro Bono work with ministers and see a similar pattern in leadership. Perhaps Paul has that correction for the church in mind in I Corinthians.

A great discussion here with just a few "Flared Nostrils".

Victorious said...

Gary Sweeten posted:

In Genesis 3:16 Females will desire to "Overthrow their husbands" and 3:18 men are tempted to "Rule with flared nostrils; Anger"

May I ask what version/translation you found this?

The NASB reads:

Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you. Gen. 3:16

Strong's and the NASEC Concordances define "desire" as:

H8669
תְּteshûqâh

From H7783 in the original sense of stretching out after; a longing: - desire.

The word desire has changed, apparently in the Babylon Talmud as noted in the chart by Katherine Bushnell who was fluent in both Hebrew and Greek. You can find the chart here if you are interested and it's available from that site in color and in the pdf format.

http://godswordtowomen.org/chart_of_teshuqa.htm

Never have I heard the word teshqua rendered "overthrow" so I'm interested in knowing what version you are using to imply that understanding.

Unknown said...

Pastor Burleson, in an article entitled "Silent in the Churches: On the Role of Women in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 D.A. Carson addresses Bilezekian's assertions regarding the disjunctive particle. I'll paste the link below. In it he writes:

(d) Although it is true that the first word in verse 36 is probably a disjunctive particle, nevertheless the proffered explanation does not follow. Odell-Scott and Manus understand verses 33b-35 as the proposition against which the disjunctive “What!” responds. In other words, Paul allegedly cites the Corinthian view that women must be silent, and then replies with some exasperation, “What! Did the word of God originate with you?” He thereby dismisses the content of verses 34-35. Bilezikian wants to render the word by “Nonsense!”34 Kaiser specifically appeals to Thayer’s Lexicon, which lists 1 Corinthians 14:36 as an instance of the principle that this disjunctive particle may appear (in Kaiser’s citation of Thayer) “before a sentence contrary to the one preceding [it]… .”35 However, Kaiser has not quoted enough of Thayer’s context to convey his meaning accurately. To quote in full, Thayer says that the disjunctive may appear “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand: Mt. xx.15 (i.e., or, if thou wilt not grant this, is thine eye etc.).” In other words, Thayer does not say that the disjunctive particle in question is here used to contradict the preceding clause, and thus dismiss it, but that it is used to introduce a “sentence contrary to the one just preceding,” not in order to dismiss the preceding, but in order “to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand.” To put the matter another way, he is saying that the construction is a form of logical argument that is used to reinforce the preceding clause, as Thayer’s example from Matthew 20:15 shows. There, the first part finds the landowner saying to the grumbling workers, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” As Jesus proceeds, He certainly does not want to overturn the principle articulated by this rhetorical question; of course the landowner has that right. But since the workers have not accepted this principle, Jesus introduces a “sentence contrary to [this one]” to force the workers to see the preposterous nature of their criticism. To use the language of Thayer (who is quoting the King James Version in italics and inserting ordinary lettering to show the true force of the disjunctive particle), and filling in the words hidden behind his “etc.”: “or, if thou wilt not grant this, is thine eye evil, because I am good?” In the NIV, using the same change of typefaces to make the point, we obtain “Or, if you are not willing to admit the truth I am affirming, are you envious because I am generous?” In other words, if the workers “deny or refute” the first clause (which both the landowner and Jesus affirm), then at least they had better face up to the second (to use Thayer’s expression, “to indicate that if [the first] one be denied or refuted the other must stand”).

Thayer then goes on to list several other exemplary passages: Romans 3:29; 1 Corinthians 9:6; 10:22; 11:14 (he points out that there is a textual variant there); 14:36 (the passage at hand). Consider Romans 3:29. In the preceding verse, Paul insists, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” The next word, at the beginning of verse 29, is the disjunctive particle in question: “Or [is] God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God… .” Certainly neither Paul nor Thayer (and presumably not Kaiser) wants to overturn what Paul wrote in verse 28. Rather, using a rhetorical device, Paul goes on to say, in effect, “If you want to deny or refute this truth, then at least face up to this: monotheism itself demands that God is not the God of Jews only, but of all.”

More in a moment ...

Unknown said...

Exactly the same sort of reasoning occurs in the other passages Thayer quotes. He then adds, as part of the same article in his lexicon, two extrapolations of this usage of the disjunctive particle : (a) e agnoiete, “or don’t you know,” citing Romans 6:3; 7:1 [cf. 6:14]; (b) e ouk oidate, “or don’t you know,” citing Romans 11:2; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 16, 19. In each case the flow of the argument demands that the words that succeed the expression are used to enforce, rather emphatically, what some among the readers are in danger of trying to deny or refute: the clause that precedes it. In short, Kaiser has not understood Thayer’s point.

Worse yet is Bilezikian’s discussion of some of the relevant passages in Paul. For example, he writes: “In [1 Corinthians] 6:1-2, Paul challenges the Corinthians for their propensity to go into litigations against each other before pagan courts, rather than to submit their contentions to fellow believers. He counters this situation with ‘(nonsense!) do you not know that the saints will judge the world?’”36 Again, however, it is important to listen to the text itself. In verse 1, Paul writes, “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?” The verb dare in this rhetorical question proves beyond contradiction that in this context the assumed answer is “No!” In other words, the question itself is a rhetorical device for forbidding such litigation. Verse 2 then begins with the disjunctive particle: “Or [do] you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Thus, using exactly the same reasoning that Thayer employs, we conclude that verse 2 reinforces the truth of verse 1, the truth that Christians should not enter into the litigation in question. Bilezikian has simply not understood what is being affirmed under the force of the rhetorical question.

There is even less excuse for this failure in understanding when he turns to 1 Corinthians 6:15-16, for Paul himself inserts, after the rhetorical question but before the disjunctive particle, the words me genoito: “Never” (NIV), “God forbid” (KJV). Once again, verse 16 emphatically reinforces the truth of verse 15, if the rhetorical question is read in any sort of responsible way.

Bilezikian does not even have a rhetorical question to fall back on when he treats 1 Corinthians 6:8-9. To quote him again: “In 6:9, having exposed the misbehavior of brethren who wrong and defraud each other, [Paul] counters with ‘(nonsense!) do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?’”37 Again, let Paul speak. In verses 7-8, as part of his denunciation of the same Corinthian practices, he writes: “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.” Paul does not now want to turn around and say that they have not been acting this way: clearly, they have been, and the burden of his remark is that they should not be. Equally clearly, however, some Corinthians are slow to accept his denunciation. They would prefer to “deny or refute” (Thayer’s terms) Paul’s contention. So Paul goes on: “Or [do] you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?” In other words, if you want to buck at what I am writing in verses 7-8, at least you had better swallow what I say now in verse 9—and of course the effect is to reinforce, emphatically so, the burden of verses 7-8.

In every passage he treats on this matter, Bilezikian demonstrates, quite remarkably, that he does not understand what he has cited. In one instance (1 Corinthians 11:13), he refers to the particle e even though no Greek edition known to me includes that particle.38

One more coming ...

Unknown said...

All scholars make mistakes, I no less than others. But the sheer vehemence that has surrounded the treatment of this particle in recent years attests that we are facing more than an occasional lapse of exegetical judgment. We are facing an ideology that is so certain of itself that in the hands of some, at least, the text is not allowed to speak for itself.39 The brute fact is this: in every instance in the New Testament where the disjunctive particle in question is used in a construction analogous to the passage at hand, its effect is to reinforce the truth of the clause or verse that precedes it. Paul’s point in 14:36 is that some Corinthians want to “deny or refute” what Paul has been saying in verses 34-35. So he continues, “Or [if you find it so hard to grant this, then consider:] did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” This is part and parcel of Paul’s frequent insistence in this letter that the Corinthian church return to the common practice and perspective of the other churches (1:2; 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33) and to wholehearted submission to apostolic authority (14:37-38).40

Is Carson (and Thayer before him) wrong in his understanding of the particle, and about Bilezikian's self-contradiction?

Just trying to get it right here.

Thanks for caring!

https://bible.org/seriespage/6-silent-churches-role-women-1-corinthians-1433b-36