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CONTEXT is key

CONTEXT is key

Context is key on WIM by Cheryl Schatz

Below is a snippet of my new blog post on my new Women in Ministry blog address. For direct access to the new blog site and the entire article, go to http://www.mmoutreach.org/wim/2016/09/17/context-is-key/ Make sure that you subscribe to the new blog address to receive any new posts.

CONTEXT is Key

Recently, I listened to a pastor describe the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I was very interested to hear what he had to say since I had never heard anyone explain the context of 1 Corinthians to show how there is support for the silencing of women. I was quite surprised when he claimed the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was 1 Timothy 2.  I had heard him emphasize the importance of context, context, context many times. However, his explanation of what qualifies as context was always the same as mine. The context of a disputed verse are the verses and chapters that surround it. It is never a passage in another book. While another passage in another book can be related, it isn’t the context. So I asked him again. Could he please give the direct context from the book of 1 Corinthians that supports the silencing of women. I have not yet heard back from him, but I thought it would be a good idea to go back through the entire book of 1 Corinthians to gather all of the evidence that Paul documents for why the two verses of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 were added to his letter. I found so much more than I expected from looking at a wider context! There is way more material than I could put into one article, so I am going to try to distil the evidence into categories and then I will give a conclusion of Paul’s reasoning. I will challenge anyone who thinks I have not considered the entire context. I welcome you to bring me correction and show me the supporting context from the book of First Corinthians that defines and upholds the silencing of women in the church.

CONTEXT: The Corinthian’s Letter to Paul – Questions and Claims

  • 1 Cor. 1:11 Paul reveals there are quarrels among the Corinthians – information passed on to him from Cloe’s people. The key purpose of the book is to deal with these conflicts and quarrels. Watch carefully throughout the book of 1 Corinthians how Paul ties in his correction with the source of the conflicts.
  • 1 Cor. 7:1 Paul mentions a letter that the Corinthians had written to Paul. The letter from the Corinthians to Paul plus the report from Cloe’s people bring to Paul information about the quarrels.
  • 1 Cor. 7:25 Paul moves on to another area of concern; “Now concerning” virgins.
  • 1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning” things sacrificed to idols.
  • 1 Cor 16:1 “Now concerning” the collection for the saints. All of the “now concerning” references are Paul answering what had been sent to him in writing.

Other comments that Paul makes do not directly reference the letter from the Corinthians, but they appear to answer challenges, claims or arguments. For example, 1 Cor. 6:12 says:

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Are “all things” lawful for Paul? The negation that follows appears to be Paul’s answer to the writer of the letter who claims not to be under any law. “All things are lawful for me,” the letter says, but Paul answers “BUT NOT all things are profitable.” Again, “All things are lawful for me,” the writer concludes, but Paul answers, “BUT I will NOT be mastered by anything.” Paul’s testimony in all the churches is that we are under the “law of Christ.” We can fulfill the duty to Christ through love and service to our brother (Gal. 6:2.) Anytime a statement is made in 1 Corinthians that appears contradictory to Paul’s known position we can suspect that Paul is dealing with issues that were presented to him, for Paul does not contradict himself. The fact that Paul consistently speaks about setting aside what is good for oneself and aiming for what is helpful for others as the “common good” should tip us off that the arrogant claim that “all things are lawful” is part of the quarrel among the Corinthians.

Click here to read the full article.

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

WIM digital

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? will soon be available online!

I am working on a new video project at the moment, but I am also working to convert each of the 4 DVDs of Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to a lower quality online downloadable product. We are working hard so that those with computers around the world may also have access to the DVDs.  The entire set will be available for purchase online or each DVD in the 4 DVD set will be available individually as a video download.  We have upgraded the security on our website and we are presently working through all of the logistics to make this all possible.  it is a huge step forward for our ministry.  If all goes well, we will start offering the downloadable version this fall (2012).  Please watch this blog for further information for the launch of the downloadable version.

The DVDs also include audio bytes from those who disagree with women in ministry and we break down the arguments and compare the arguments to the Scriptures.

The 4 DVDs are broken up into scriptural passages as follows: 

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Two gifts or one? Pastors and Teachers

Two gifts or one? Pastors and Teachers

Two gifts pastor and teach on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

The bride of Christ has been given gifts but are teacher and pastor two gifts or one?

God has given many gifts to the church and the main purpose of the gifts is to edify the body of Christ so that God will ultimately be glorified.  Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that we are to strive to excel in the gifts that will build up the church.

1 Cor 14:12  So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. ESV

While Paul encourages Christians to excel in building up the church, most complementarians do not believe that women are allowed to build up the church by being gifted as teachers.  How can they disallow the Holy Spirit’s ability to Sovereignly decide who receives the gifts?

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Do the genders have different functions?

Do the genders have different functions?

I am creating a new post to continue the great discussion that we have been having on a previous post while I am out of the country.  The original discussion is on this post http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2009/07/05/wayne-grudem-part-2/ and since we have grown to over 240 comments, I would ask that we continue our discussions with Mark the complementarian here.

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

 

On July 27th, 2009 Mike Seaver and I started a 10 session debate on Women in Ministry where I was able to ask Mike questions on his position, he answered my questions and then we each had one response.  Mike is still considering whether he will continue with another 10 sessions where Mike will ask me questions and I get the privilege to answer his questions on women in ministry.

Today I would like to summarize the 10 sessions that I had with Mike.

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Aussie debate on women in ministry

Aussie debate on women in ministry

 

fight3 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

There is a good natured debate going on over at the Women in Ministry blog conference at the Presbyterian church in Ryde blog between myself and Peter Barnes.  Those who would like to watch an Aussie and a Canadian duke it out over the issue of whether there is a “law” that forbids women to teach the bible to men can see the “brawl” (tooth and nail fight!) happening on this post linked here.

In the meantime I am visiting with my elderly folks for the next few days and will be in and out of my own blog as I have time as I also try to make time to help an Aussie realize that all of his arguments are invalid 🙂

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Whose commands are women to obey? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #5

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her fifth set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #5 and Mike’s rejoinder.  Mike’s matching blog post is here

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Does God Contradict Himself?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry

This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.

Question #5 by Cheryl Schatz:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Freedom or Restriction? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #4

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

What authority do men have to restrict women's gifts? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.  Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.

#4 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Who's the boss? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry 6

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her third set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #3 and Mike’s rejoinder.

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Cheryl’s response:

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Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

John Piper picture on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

On John Piper’s web site is posted a question that someone asked of him about the application of complementarianism that affects women.  The question is:

Do you think complementarianism is so important to some people that they deny women more opportunities than the Bible denies them?

I was shocked at John Piper’s response.  You really need to listen to it for yourself.  Click on the link above to hear an audio version or see the video clip. 

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New blog conference on women in eldership

New blog conference on women in eldership

I have been invited by Pastor Dave Woolcott to participate in a new blog conference on women’s eldership in the church put on by the Ryde Presbyterian Church in Ryde, Sidney, Australia.   The blog address for the conference set for September 1 – 15, 2009 is http://www.achurchinryde.com/blog/ The blog is on line now and active and I invite you to participate by commenting on Dave’s blog.

There is a thought-provoking article on “Should a Pastor Rule Over You?”  It is very appropriate to the issue of women in ministry and what the real issues are.

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Witnesses and repetition needed?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her second set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #2 and Mike’s rejoinder.

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Regarding Mike’s denial that there is a need for a law to have a second witness:

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 2

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 2

Judge on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Last post Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz started a discussion/debate on women in ministry.  Here is a link to Cheryl’s Question #1 given to Mike.  This post will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers and Mike’s response to Cheryl’s response.  Mike’s corresponding post on his Role Calling blog is here.

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Cheryl responds to Mike’s answers:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 1

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 1

building-bridges on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Today is the first post of a discussion between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  The format will be as follows:

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Wayne Grudem – answering part 3 of his “Open letter to Egalitarians”

Wayne Grudem – answering part 3 of his “Open letter to Egalitarians”

grudem4 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

This is the part 3 of answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” and his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”.  Today I am posting his third question and my own answer.

Wayne Grudem’s question #3:

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Women in ministry issue causes distrust

Women in ministry issue causes distrust

Distrust

This post is from an inspiration I got from Katie Cole’s blog and a two-part segment on YouTube on the issue of women in ministry from the series “Designing Women”.  Katie writes:

One Bible verse, quoted to me out of context on its own, is no longer sufficient for me.

I think you will find the two YouTube clips inspiring.  They show that women can speak up and women can make a difference.

Clip 1:  Charlene loses faith in her minister

Clip 2:  Charlene speaks to minister and Julia sings

Semigalitariansim, undercover enemy and "feminist air"

Semigalitariansim, undercover enemy and "feminist air"

fight-7-cheryl-schatz

 

Semigalitarianism, Undercover Enemy and “feminist air”

When does explaining God’s Word make one an enemy of the church?  According to Mike Seaver, a woman who is allowed to teach the Word of God to men, even if she is under the authority of her husband and even if she has received authority from her pastor to teach the Bible (and assuming her pastor is monitoring her teaching), is like a drunken adulterer ministering to God’s people.  [Mike Seaver has written a blog post at CBMW identifying the issue of women teaching the bible to men as the undercover enemy of the church.  Mike is a pastor at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and regularly posts at Role Calling see his original article here.]

According to Seaver the church has been breathing “feminist air” and this has caused many churches to become “semigalitarian”.  [According to Seaver, semigalitarianism is defined as those people (both men and women) who say that a woman should not be allowed to preach in a church on her own authority, but if she claims to be under the authority of her senior pastor (who is a man) and under the authority of her husband (who is obviously a man) then it is okay for her to teach men in the church.]  But while Seaver is complaining of “feminist air”, he has unwittingly become infected with a “disease” that allows Christians to see passages of scripture as “clear” (1 Timothy 2:12-13) instead of as a complex passage in its complete context (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

The attitude of identifying godly women as enemies of the church is clearly an aggressive stand equating a woman explaining the meaning of the scriptures with a drunken adulterer.  It reminds me of the prejudiced view of the Orthodox Jews who believe that only men are allowed to touch the Torah.

torah7-Cheryl-Schatz on Women in Ministry

 

Apparently touching the Bible by giving an explanation of the meaning of a passage now makes one an “undercover enemy.”  How far has the church fallen that some feel free to attack our sisters in Christ identifying them as enemies?  Notice that Seaver says nothing about whether the woman’s teaching is correct or not.  He is lumping true Bible teaching in with error because it is the vessel which is the enemy, not the words that she speaks.  It is the mere fact that she would touch the Word of God in public that makes her an enemy.  This is the same tradition of the Pharisees who added a restriction on the teaching of God’s Word.

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Round 9 Interview with the Apostle Paul – God does just as He pleases

Round 9 Interview with the Apostle Paul – God does just as He pleases

hands

This is the ninth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.

Doug, a strong complementarian will be questioning Paul on 1 Corinthians 14.  Paul will be speaking to him about the Sovereignty of God and whether there are restrictions on women in the church.  Let’s listen in.  (Links to the previous interviews are at the bottom of this post.)

 

Doug: Paul, I am anxious to talk about 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 today.  This is the final passage that convinced me that you did not allow women to teach the bible to the entire congregation.  This is also one of the clearest passages there is.

Paul: I am very happy to be able to help you out with this passage.  We do need to remember the complete context of this passage so that you will know how to interpret it in line with all that I taught.  We are going to work with another box today.  Today the box will be the filter that we need to read 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 through.

Doug: Why do we need a filter?

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The all new 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 Church

The all new 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 Church

Cheryl_Schatz_men_are_better

I don’t do “humor” too much on this blog, although I love humor and I love to laugh.  The issue of women in ministry is normally a serious one but I couldn’t resist this funny cover that comes from my friend Pastor Jon Zens.  Pastor Jon’s web site is here and he has written a good article on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 here called Are the sister free to function? There is also an answer to whether a woman is to be silent in the church here called A discussion on silent women.  Pastor Jon has been very support of the function of women in the church using their God-given gifts.  He has been a personal encouragement to me and he recommends my DVD set to many people.

Jon also has a new video clip on the front page of his web site revealing his views that the church should not have a clergy class but that elders and pastors are a part of the body of Christ and not a special “class” of believers.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

We have been going through 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, the passage that appears to silence women in the church to see how carefully Paul has constructed his words in 1 Corinthians 14:36 to contradict the silencing in verses 34 & 35.  (For past articles on this topic, please see the 1 Corinthians 14 section).

Now we come to Paul’s conclusions and in keeping with the force of the commands that Paul has given throughout chapter 14, Paul ends with two commands that completely blow away any misunderstanding that verses 34 & 35 are Paul’s words to the church instead of a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul.

What is “therefore” there for?

Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:39 “therefore” my brethren…  The word “therefore” is a conjuction that joins together Paul’s words in verses 36-38 with the commands in verses 39 and 40.  All of this directly contradicts the injunction found in verses 34 and 35.  Let’s see how Paul concludes his contradiction of the silencing of women.

1 Corinthians 14:39  Therefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy…

The first command of Paul’s in his summary is a repeat of what Paul had already commanded in verse 1.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:1 that repetition is for our safety.  The body of Christ is to desire earnestly to prophesy and this repetition at the end of the chapter is to make sure that we “get it”.  Remember that Paul gave the reason why they were to desire earnestly to prophesy and the reason is for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:3, 4)

Speaking forth and keeping silent

Now let’s have another look at the entire chapter of 1 Cor. 14 to see what pattern is set forth regarding speaking and not speaking so that we can completely understand Paul’s summary.

“Speaking forth” allowed:

  • All commanded to seek spiritual gifts especially prophesying in the assembly  (verse 1)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies, exhorts and consoles  (verse 3)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies all  (verse 4)
  • Gifts for use for the common good are greater than a gift that only edifies one’s self (verse 5)

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Let her learn….or not?

Let her learn….or not?

In our continuing discussion of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, we come to the problematic area of learning.

1 Corinthians 14:35 And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home…

What can we pull out regarding “learning” in this verse?  We can see that if a woman has a desire to learn, she isn’t encouraged to do it in church.  Where is she supposed to learn?  Her learning is to be done under her husband’s permission and it is to be done at home.

The requirement that a woman is not to learn in public is not a Christian regulation but a part of the “law” of the Jews.  Women were not to be taught the scriptures according to the oral tradition of the Jews.  Why?  Because she was not allowed to touch the scriptures and so she didn’t need to be a rabbinical student and publicly learn.  She also would have no one to teach the scriptures to since the men were considered to be the ones who had the responsibility to handle and teach the Torah.  Women need not learn.  They were not qualified to learn.

In previous posts we have been listing the markers in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 that prove that Paul was quoting from the Corinthians and then refuting their claims in verse 36.  The wording about women learning at home (v. 35) instead of in the assembly once again ties these verses into man-made tradition.

But this isn’t Paul’s way nor is it God’s way.  Paul had just told us in verse 31:

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted

Not only were all allowed to prophesy in the assembly, but the public prophesying was so that all may learn in that public assembly.  The learning was done by all just as the prophesying was done by all.  All may learn publicly.  Paul does not relegate women to learning at home.  He allows them to learn in the assembly since it is the body of Christ (not just a woman’s husband) who are responsible for helping her to learn.

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Forbid not

Forbid not

Forbid not….

Paul said something profound in 1 Corinthians 14:39 that goes against the grain of the hierarchical mindset.  Paul said “forbid not to speak…”

This is not an issue of whether tongues is valid today or not.  What is the issue is the command to “forbid not” to speak in the assembly.  Let’s walk through this passage to see how it is all connected together.

In 1 Cor. 14:34 it says women are “not permitted to speak” in the churches.  The Greek word is “epitrepetai” and it means to give liberty to, allow, give permission, entrust to.  So according to verses 34 & 35, speaking in the assembly is forbidden because there is no permission given to allow women to speak and a “law” is appealed to that takes away the ability for women to speak in the assembly.  Verse 36 is set up as a contradiction of verses 34 & 35.   Paul answers by stating “n” which is a disjunctive conjunction which is used “to distinguish things or thoughts which either mutually exclude each other, or one of which can take the place of the other” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon.  Thayer’s lists 1 Cor. 14:36 as an example of “n” used “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand”

What then is being denied by the “n” in verse 36?  It is the command in verse in verse 34 & 35 that women are to be silent.  How does Paul deny this command and the appeal to the law of men? (see The Elusive Law and Is a Woman’s Voice Filthy? for further information on why these two verses are to be considered a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul and not the actual words of Paul himself.)

Paul demands to know if the word of God comes only through them (the men demanding the silencing of women) and he demands to know if only they are to receive God’s word.  In other words, Paul is demanding to know if God only speaks through men and God only gives his word to men and does not speak through women and to women.  Remember that the command to silence women also denied their learning in the assembly.  If they wanted to learn anything, they were commanded to learn at home.  Paul in essence asks where is this God’s word?  Where are women forbidden to speak God’s words and where are women forbidden to learn God’s words?  It is certainly true that in the oral law of the Jews women were forbidden to speak in the assembly and women were forbidden to be taught God’s word.  For a father to teach his daughter the Torah was considered immoral by the Jews because women were forbidden to handle God’s word and so there was no need to learn it.

Paul then goes on to say:

if anyone is thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write you are the Lord’s commandment.

Obviously those who wrote to Paul about the silencing of women believed that they were spiritual conveyors of God’s “laws”.  Paul says that if they presume to be spiritual guides and prophets giving out God’s words, then they must recognize that the things that Paul has written are the commands of the Lord Jesus.

What are the commands that Paul is referring to?  Let’s look back in the chapter to find Paul’s commands.  “Commands” here is in the plural, so we should expect to find several commands.

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Who dared to contradict Paul?

Who dared to contradict Paul?

Many people have a big problem with Paul because they think that he was sexist.  I would like to change that point of view by looking carefully at the text so that we can fully appreciate Paul for who he was, not the false impression that we have of Paul.  Under God’s inspiration Paul refuted faulty tradition and that faulty tradition included sexism that was prevalent during his day.  Let’s have a look how Paul did that.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul responded to a letter written to him by the Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians 7:1, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 7:1  Now concerning the things about which you wrote….

Paul then quotes from the letter written to him and every time he quotes the letter, Paul contradicts the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 7:1….(Corinthians) it is good for a man not to touch a woman

1 Corinthians 7:2 (Paul) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.

1 Corinthians 10:23 (Corinthians) All things are lawful  (Paul) but not all things are profitable.  (Corinthians) All things are lawful (Paul) but not all things edify.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 (Corinthians) 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 they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper (filthy) for a woman to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 14:36 (Paul) (What!?!) was it from you that the word of God went forth? (What!?!) has it come to you only?

In verse 36 Paul starts each statement with the Greek word “n” which isn’t always evident in the translations as some completely ignore this word.  It is a term used to show that the question implies a negative answer – a negation of something that has just proceeded it.  It would be the equivalent of stating a false statement and then saying “Bunk!” or “Horse feathers!” or “You have got to be kidding!”  So what Paul is doing here is negating what was just quoted.  Since Paul cannot negate himself, it is evident that the quote from verses 34 & 35 is a quote from the Corinthian letter to Paul.

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1 Corinthians 14, is a woman's voice filthy?

1 Corinthians 14, is a woman's voice filthy?

In the last post we talked about how there is no “law” in the Old Testament scriptures that forced women to be silent in the assembly so the reference in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 had to be some other “law” that forced silence on women.  The “law” that silences women is found not in God’s law, but in the oral tradition of the Jews, now written down in the Talmud.

The next red flag that points to another source other than God’s law, for the saying in verses 34 & 35 is the charge that a woman’s voice is filthy.  Verse 35 says:

1 Corinthians 14:35  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.

The word translated as “improper” is shameful or filthy.  Is a woman’s voice shameful?  Is a woman’s voice filthy?  The oral law of the Jews said her voice was indecent, filthy and shameful.  A woman was not allowed to speak in their congregations for the sake of the men.  Her voice was considered a sexual enticement thus a woman was not to speak publicly.

Did God’s word also say anywhere that a woman’s voice is filthy, shameful or indecent as the Jewish oral tradition taught?  No, it doesn’t.  In fact Paul earlier on in chapter 14 said that everyone was allowed to prophesy in the assembly.  If everyone could prophesy, then certainly Paul would not turn around in just a few verses and say that women’s voices were to be silenced because they were filthy.

Tradition is a very strong force in people’s lives.  Prejudice follows such tradition and causes many of us not to want to hear a woman’s voice speaking the truth of God’s word.  Instead of following tradition, we should see what God’s word says about women publishing the truth.

Psalms 68:11  The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host.

The word “proclaim” means to publish or make public.  God says that there is a great host of women who will take the gospel to the public.

How about you?  Have you had any prejudice against women’s speaking forth the Bible?  Have you considered their words to be inferior in some way or their preaching to be invalid merely because they are women?

The elusive law

The elusive law

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 has been a problem passage because of two issues that stick out like a sore thumb.  The first issue is the elusive law.

The elusive law

The problem that occurs in this passage is that the “law” is the key reference for the required silence.  Many have tried to ignore this “elusive” law making their interpretation around it.  This has resulted in the silencing of women from asking their husbands questions in the assembly.  But where is this “elusive” law found that silences only women from asking questions in the assembly?  Paul doesn’t say that it is disruptive to talk in the assembly.  The wording is a direct prohibition attached to an existing “law”.

Some have tried to “shoe horn” Genesis 3:16 as a “law” that silences women.  This connection is not possible.  For women like myself who have very supportive husbands who encourage me to use my gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ (including benefiting men), I am not being silenced at all by Genesis 3:16 no matter how the “he will rule over you” is taken.

So where is the “law” that silences women in the assembly?  One cannot interpret this passage without finding the elusive law.

I will let my readers answer this one before we continue on with 1 Corinthians 14.  What do you think?  Why is there a “law” quoted in 1 Cor. 14:34 that cannot be found in the Old Testament?   Have you heard of any other reference to a “law” from the Old Testament?  Is it possible that verse 34 is a new law that Paul has just created?  Why or why not?

Scriptural fences

Scriptural fences

One of the helpful things in interpreting scripture is to identify what I call “scriptural fences”. These special verses force us to interpret the passage within the limits set up by the “fence” line. When we can identify a “fence” in scripture, we are well on our way to understanding the apparent contradictions within scripture. In this post I am going to give three examples of scripture “fences”.

The first fence line is found in Revelation chapter 21.

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Now to some, this may not seem like a “fence” but when we read in Acts 1 that the apostles picked Matthias to replace Judas, we have a contradiction that needs to be dealt with:

Act 1:20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’

Act 1:21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–

Act 1:22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Act 1:23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.

Act 1:24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen

Act 1:25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Act 1:26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

How could Matthias be an apostle who replaces Judas when Paul claimed to be an apostle picked by the risen Christ? Some may claim that there are actually 13 foundational apostles, but that is impossible. Why? It is because of the scriptural “fence”. The book of Revelation states that they are 12 apostles who form the foundation stones, not 13. If we interpret scripture with the understanding that Revelation 21:14 forms a boundary or a “fence” that places a boundary for our understanding, then we need to make a decision; was Paul the 12th apostle or was Matthias? Did you ever wonder why Paul had to try so hard to prove his apostleship? It is because Psalms 109:8 says that another is to take his (Judas) place and the 11 disciples had already picked the 12th before Paul even came on the scene.

Psalm 109:8 Let his days be few; Let another take his office.

The word for “office” is supervision. It is a place of supervising or overseeing the foundation of the church. For some reason the 11 disciples thought that it was their job to appoint a replacement for Judas, but neither scripture nor revelation from God told them to do this. Because they took authority over something that they were not give authority over, the dice (or lot see verse 26) was cast and this was what determined that Matthias was ordained into ministry with the eleven. However it wasn’t their responsibility. Just as Jesus’ chose the eleven disciples, so he alone was the one who had the authority and responsibility to choose the twelfth apostle to replace Judas. Jesus chose Paul (Romans 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1).  Paul was constantly having to affirm that he was chosen by Christ as an apostle because Matthias already had Paul’s place.  Paul specifically says that he was not ordained by man in Galatians 1:1, yet Matthias WAS the one ordained by man.

Galatians 1:1 PAUL, AN apostle–[special messenger appointed and commissioned and sent out] not from [any body of] men nor by or through any man, but by and through Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and God the Father, Who raised Him from among the dead–

So our understanding that Matthias was not a true foundational apostle is made clear by the scriptural “fence” verse found in Revelation 21:14 and Paul’s claim to be ordained not by man but by Jesus himself.

Another scriptural “fence” is found in 1 Corinthians 14:36. The interpretation of verses 34 & 35 are hemmed in by the “fence” of verse 36. Some don’t know what to do with the “silencing” of women in verses 34 & 35 so they have taken a position of either disregarding these two verses or claiming that these verses are not in the original manuscripts. Yet there is no manuscript where these two verses are not in the text. This means that there is no evidence whatsoever there these verses are not in the original inspired text. While I appreciate Gordon Fee and his scholarly work on other verses, he is one that has taken the position that verses 34 & 35 are an interpolation into the text by some unknown people. The problem that Mr. Fee has in taking this position is that the “fence” of verse 36 will not allow theses verse to be removed or we are left with a “refutation” of nothing. There is also a problem in that if we do this to other texts we don’t like, then any verse we don’t like could likewise be removed from the scriptures with no textual evidence for its removal. We cannot do this and be faithful to God’s inspired word. But if we understand the “fence” that hedges verse 34 & 35 in, we will not have any problem with these verses. Verse 36 starts with the Greek word “n” or English word “what!”

The Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament says “n” is used frequently to introduce rhetorical questions to which a negative answer is expected. 1 Cor. 14:36 is then included as an example of something that we are expected to answer “NO!” to. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon also agrees. It lists the “n” as a disjunctive conjunction before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand, and Thayer’s also lists 1 Cor. 14:36 as an example of a grammatical structure that stands as denial of verses 34 and 35 where the alternative position of verse 36 must stand.

So Paul is saying “What! The word of God has come only to you (men and not women)?” (No women learning in the church and no women speaking in the church?) and we are to answer this rhetorical question with a “NO!” Verses 34 & 35 are then a quote from the Corinthian letter to Paul and Paul promptly refutes this demand about silencing women by using a disjunctive conjunction that produces a rhetorical question that must be answered in the negative. If verses 34 & 35 are removed as Gordon Fee would like, what would Paul be refuting by the precise grammar of verse 36? There would be nothing to refute! Some say that Paul is refuting what he thinks the Corinthians might say to his own commands in verses 34 & 35 but the precise grammar (the “fence”) of verse 36 refutes this view. The grammar demands that the preceding sentences are refuted by verse 36. Verse 36 is a scriptural “fence” that logically proves that Paul was quoting from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul (1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote…) and Paul’s grammar has set the refutation solidly within a scriptural “fence”.

The last fence that I would like to look at is the scriptural “fence” in 1 Timothy 2:15. We have talked a lot about this very precise verse in previous posts, but I would like you to see it today as a solid “fence” that sets up the boundaries of the prohibition passage. What this “fence” does is set up the farthest that we can go in interpreting 1 Timothy 2:12. We cannot know who Paul is prohibiting in verse 12 from teaching without limiting the application to knowing who the “she” and who the “they” are in verse 15.

There are those who have tried hard to ignore the “fence” of verse 15. Some have even gone so far as to claim that Paul’s grammar was in error. They claim that while he said “she” AND “they”, what he really meant was “they” or “all women”. This is not correct. The grammar of the verse is precise and we cannot ignore the inspired grammar without doing violence to the text. The problem with the typical hierarchical interpretation of verse 12 is that it does not fall within the boundaries of verse 15. The typical interpretation of verse 12 ignores verse 15 treating it as if part of the inspired grammar is to be ignored and also it is treated as if Paul is introducing a topic that is foreign to the context of the prohibition in verse 12. This too is wrong. For more information on what verse 15 means in context, see my post on the rest of the story.

Tektonics on 1 Corinthians 14

Tektonics on 1 Corinthians 14

I received an excellent link to a post on the subject of Paul silencing women in 1 Corinthians 14 and I wanted to pass it on for all to see.  It is called “Shut Her Bug” and is an excellent piece by James Patrick Holding.  The link is here and I especially liked it because it is exactly what I could clearly see in the Corinthian passage that previously had seemed to completely silence women in the church.  It looks like there are more and more people having their eyes opened to the “elusive law” as I call it from 1 Corinthians 14.  Enjoy.  Thanks to Pastor “D” for the link.

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