Tag Archive: women in ministry


Ayla87 (Michael & Christa Richert) http://www.rgbstock.com

Ayla87 (Michael & Christa Richert) http://www.rgbstock.com

Did Paul, or for that matter God, teach “”Let your women keep silence in the churches”?

In writing to the Corinthian church, Paul writes, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Cor 14:34-35).

That seems plain as day, right? Yes, if these verses are looked at in isolation, it does seem very plain that Paul was restricting women from speaking in church meetings. However, let’s consider the text, in its context.

Immediate Context:

Firstly, consider that the very next verse says, “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (1 Cor 14:36), which, if read immediately after verses 34-35, shows Paul to be reacting to the idea of restricting women and not advocating it.

Extra Biblical Context:

Now, someone may rightly ask, surely Paul would not advocate following God’s law only to immediately refuse the idea. But, was it God’s “law” that Paul was referring to that says women ought to keep silent? No! A careful search will reveal no such law in the Bible.

So what “law” was Paul referring to then? Paul was quoting the Jewish oral law (Talmud) in vs 34-35 that some in the church apparently still wanted to embrace. And, in vs 36, we see Paul reasoning against this restriction on women. Firstly, he is clearly flabbergasted by such a notion. Then, through rhetorical questions, he refutes their logic to keep such a custom.

Paul points out that the word did not come from men, but, by implication, that it is from God. And, that it also did not only go to men, but, by implication women too. The logic being that there was no reason to restrict women from speaking because they “learn” just fine directly from God and His word and don’t need to be instructed by their husbands at home in order to learn. This explains the grammar and obvious tone in verse 36.

TALMUDIC QUOTES:

Only men could speak in public (Beraktoth 4,36; Mishnah Aboth 1,5)

No woman could give a testimony or conduct business. (Mishnah Shabbath 4,1).

For a glimpse into the prevailing mindsets around that era, here is Adam Clarkes comment on Verse 34:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches] This was a Jewish ordinance; women were not permitted to teach in the assemblies, or even to ask questions. The rabbins taught that “a woman should know nothing but the use of her distaff.” And the sayings of Rabbi Eliezer, as delivered, Bammidbar Rabba, sec. 9, fol. 204, are both worthy of remark and of execration; they are ….”Let the words of the law be burned, rather than that they should be delivered to women.” Adam Clarke

Further Context:

Paul would be contradicting himself in the very same letter if he taught that women were to keep silent. Consider that he says 1 Cor 14:26, “…when ye come together, EVERY ONE of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation…” This would be impossible for women if they were to keep silent.

Furthermore, Paul clearly knew, taught and practiced the New Covenant where no restriction on women exists. In Galatians 3:28, Paul captures the equality that is found in Christ. It reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul Was Rejecting Male Patriarchy and Not Women Speaking

So, contrary to the teachings and traditions of Judaism (and a whole lot of Christianity today), PAUL WAS OPPOSING THOSE WHO WOULD SILENCE WOMEN. He was correcting those who were wanting to bring certain wrong teachings and traditions from Judaism into the church. Clearly, if we are to isolate verses to capture Paul’s thinking then surely his view is seen in vs. 36 and not vs. 34-35.

He then refutes opposition to this by saying, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Cor 14:37-38).

Recommended Reading:

For an excellent and more complete explanation of these verses, I would like to suggest another’s post: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: Should Women be Silent in Church?

Here is another interesting article too: Paul’s Missing “Double Bunk” in 1 Corinthians 14:36

Perhaps you are asking, “What of:

1 Tim 2:11-15

1 Cor 11:3

1 Tim 3:1

Eph 5:22?

Rob Morley

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Excellent! This is a reblog from a reblog! It’s about being female and in the image of God. Loved it!!!
Rob Morley

Everyday Encounters With the Creator

biblegirl

If you give a girl a Bible, she’s going to ask her Father what it means.  When he begins to explain it to her in the quiet of her soul, she’s going to know she has a gift and know she’s made for more.  When the gift becomes his glory, she’s going to use it all the time.  So she will sing or plan or teach or write.  When she’s done she’ll share those gifts with you and she’ll want to read some more.

She might do something unrefined or something strange indeed, but she is more than mommy, sister, wife, and matcher of the socks.  She is the very image of a God who lives outside the box.

If you give a girl a label, though, and strip away her clothes, Her Almighty Father will run right back to her and tell you where to keep your nose.  The…

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Picture by Adrian van Leen http://www.rgbstock.com/user/TACLUDA

Picture by Adrian van Leen
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/TACLUDA

It is often said that one reason we cannot have women as elders in the church is because Jesus did not select any women as one of the twelve apostles. But is this a fair argument?

Jesus, Radical and Wise

While Jesus was radical is His approach, He was wise too. He did not have a lot of time and women were restricted in ways that would take generations to change. In His day, the males were trained in the Scriptures far more than the females and men were culturally accepted to be listened to much more than women were. Also, it would have appeared very inappropriate in His day to have a team that comprised of both genders living together as He and His apostles needed to.

Unfair Argument

As a basis for the selection of church elders, the argument that Jesus never chose a female apostle to be among the twelve is clearly biased too, because He also never chose a Gentile and yet we are happy to have Gentile elders. Just as Gentile elders are not disproved by Jesus choice of 12 Jews as His apostles, neither are women. The basis for Gentile selection as elders is found elsewhere in God’s word and so is the basis for female selection as elders.

Clearly, having Gentiles or women as the main apostolic witnesses to all that He said and did would have been untimely and would have frustrated more than helped the cause. In short, He chose Jewish men simply because they had the cultural access needed to speak in the Temple and synagogues that neither women nor Gentiles had.

Jesus Empowered Women

Jesus’ approach toward women was very radical and would help pave the way for their eventual full emancipation and participation. He began ringing changes by teaching women both publically and privately and commissioning them with messages to share to men and women, none more profound than the announcement of the resurrection which He gave to Mary Magdalene to share with the apostles.

The full outworking of God’s principles toward women has its foundation in Christ. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Rob Morley

Other related posts:

A Road to Egalitarianism

Let Women Teach with Authority

Naming of Eve and Adam’s Authority

Husbands, Submit to Your Wives

A Road to Egalitarianism

Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

Recognizing Equality

“Between the privileges of men and women there was a great disparity among the Jews. A man might shave his head, and rend his clothes in the time of mourning; a woman was not permitted to do so. A man might impose the vow of nasirate upon his son; a woman could not do this on her daughter. A man might be shorn on account of the nasirate of his father; a woman could not. A man might betroth his daughter; a woman had no such power. A man might sell his daughter; a woman could not. In many cases they were treated more like children than adults; and to this day are not permitted to assemble with the men in the synagogues, but are put up in galleries, where they can scarcely see, nor can they be seen. Under the blessed spirit of Christianity, they have equal rights, equal privileges, and equal blessings; and, let me add, they are equally useful.” Taken from Adam Clarke’s commentary on Gal 3:28.

Equality Hindered

Reading Adam Clarkes commentary on Gal 3:28, especially the last sentence, made me wonder about who he was and what his views were toward women in ministry. I discovered that he, along with other Methodists, gave as much room as their understanding of Scripture allowed, but that they, like many Complementarians today, could not see it right from Scripture to ordain women as elders.

Equality Found

However, aware that the Methodist church has since allowed for women ordination, I was interested to read how this came about. I came across The Free Methodist Church website and their Statement on Women in Ministry and it made for a worthwhile read. It explains how they came to their belief that women can be ordained and I recommend it as a useful resource to understanding their egalitarian view in the light of Scripture.

Here’s an extract:

To both man and woman, God gave the order to be fruitful and to take dominion over the world (Genesis 1:28). There is no hint of woman’s subjection before the fall. Roberts notes that when Jesus was asked about divorce in Matthew 19:3, he based his response on Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Why did Jesus refer back to the time before the fall? “To re-enact the law enacted then. Thus Christ restored the primitive law. He said nothing about the subjection of women — not one word. … Christ came to repair the ruin wrought by the fall” (Roberts, pp. 35-36). Christ calls redeemed humanity to live out the creation design.

Extract is taken from The Free Methodist Church website and their Statement on Women in Ministry.

Rob Morley

Man and Woman

When it comes to issues, life experience often tells the truth best, mocks our false religious notions and is more compatible to good Biblical exegesis.

The post, Women in the Church: An Anecdote on Submission by Tim Day from his blog Synerchomai, has a good example of this. Enjoy!

Rob

 It wasn’t so long ago that people believed only men should be allowed to vote. It wasn’t so long ago that women received less pay than their male counterparts for the same amount of completed work. Today, most would agree that these beliefs were wrong. But it was not easy to persuade people to think differently. Some beliefs are harder to change than others.

I do not believe in watering down the Bible. I believe the Word of God is God-breathed and true. I believe most truths are clear and that Christians from across the denominations would agree on them. However, some truths are not as clear and are open for discussion and upon these truths we have established denominational divides.

It wasn’t so long ago that people used Bible Scripture to condone slavery. Today, we would agree that this was a gross misuse of what the Scriptures say. So, how do we get past the muddle? How do we know when something was written for a specific period of time, but was not meant to be a governing law for today? How do we know if our interpretations have taken the context properly into account? Or, how do we know when we are not importing our own views onto a text?

Scriptures that are clear and easy to understand should be the deciding factor when compared with unclear Scriptures. Anyone who is dogmatic about what is unclear and creates a law with it makes the same error that some converted Jews did by telling the Gentiles that, in order to be a part of Christ’s Church, they must be circumcised. When Christ has set us free, we should not go back to a yoke of slavery brought on by self-inflicted laws.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28 NIV).

By Tina Morley

In my experiences from a number of different churches and denominations, I have found that women have very little room when it comes to adding their voices in spiritual matters. This stems from the fact that many churches are dogmatic about unclear Scriptures regarding women in ministry.

I have been in churches where women were expected to wear head-coverings, not because of the culture, but because of the desire to be biblically correct. All churches want to be biblically correct, so where do we draw the line when making the decisions that we make when interpreting and applying Scriptures to us today?

My husband and I were visiting a non-denominational church a few years back. We were invited to join a Bible study for married couples. We all sat in a circle with the wives seated next to their husbands. Our Bibles were open, and one gentleman read from a portion of Scripture. He then asked questions from the text.

The women remained silent. They wore polite faces, but kept their eyes averted. It was as if they had checked out long ago and no one had helped them find their way back. I knew that I had permission to speak, so I joined in the conversation along with the men. The women looked startled when I spoke up and the men looked surprised.

I don’t think this small congregation meant to do their women in, but the church’s stand on these unclear texts that I mentioned above did not help the women to feel that their opinion would be respected. I even think the women didn’t realize that they were not being obedient to God’s voice or His Word by taking a “back seat.”

By Tina Morley

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