women being silent and its debunking

{This is a Geneva’s paraphrased version from 1 Corinthians, followed by background information and more in depth review of  the scriptures on “women be silent” in church} 

You good people of Corinth wrote me a letter some time ago, listing some questions concerning issues in your midst and also questions concerning your public worship services. I, Paul, am now writing this letter to you in return, to address those questions and issues. {greetings of 1 Corinthians}

Because of the culture there in Corinth, I have addressed the dress guidelines the women need to follow if they pray or proclaim a message from God in your public assemblies. I also addressed the fact that women are not independent of men and men are not independent of women. We need each other. {from Chapter 11}

I also addressed spiritual gifts and the fact that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to whomever He wills. These gifts are not gender based and the women qualify as well as men. They are for the good of the body, regardless who God chooses to use. The eye can’t tell the hand, [for any reason, including if the hand happens to be a woman], “I don’t need you!”. We are all parts of one body, both men and women, and Christ is our head. {from Chapter 12}

I discussed love and how it is be the basis for everything and the way of Christ. {based on Chapter 13}

Now, I am exhorting you to strive for love in your midst. Also pursue and set your hearts on spiritual gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God’s message. All of you need to do this, both men and women. I’m talking to everybody, go for it! {Chapter 14:1}

Next, I will now address your questions concerning what a public Christian worship service should look like, and how it should function in an orderly fashion. {prefacing Chapter 14:26}

When you meet for worship, one of you may have a hymn to share with the body, another a teaching, another a fresh revelation from God on a subject, yet another a message in a strange tongue and still another the interpretation of the message given in a strange tongue.  Everything that is contributed by various people in the meeting must be of help in some way and benefit the folks that are present. {Chapter 14: 26}

If some are gifted to bring a message in a strange tongue, it should be two or three speakers at the most, and they need to speak one at a time. There also needs to be an interpretation of the messages spoken or given in strange tongues. {Chapter 14: 27}

If there is no one present with the gift to interpret these messages then they shouldn’t be spoken and in that situation, those gifted with speaking in a strange tongue should just speak quietly to the Lord. {Chapter 14: 28}

Those who have been given the gift of proclaiming God’s message for the hour [prophecy], may go ahead and speak those messages. Again, it should be two or three of you and, again, one at a time. The rest of you good people are to use your discernment and judge the messages that are brought forth. {Chapter 14: 29}

If there is a person sitting in your midst who is given a message on the spot, he needs to be given the floor. {Chapter 14: 30}

Let me be clear and reiterate this again, ALL of you may proclaim God’s message one at a time, so that ALL of you may learn and ALL of you may be encouraged. {Chapter 14: 31}

The desire and unction to speak God’s message is not uncontrollable. You need to control yourselves and keep order in the meetings. {Chapter 14: 32}

God is a God of order. However, do not mistake conformity for order, there is a huge difference! {Chapter 14: 33}

Next, “The women are to be silent in the churches, they are not permitted to speak. They are to be under obedience as the law says.” Wait a minute! What “law” are you referring to? There is no law of God stating a woman can’t speak in the church. You must be talking about a local Jewish or Corinthian law. {Chapter 14: 34}

But then you Corinthians actually go on to quote again, “If a women has a question she needs to ask her husband at home, for it is a shameful thing for a woman to speak in church!” {Chapter 14: 34}

WHAT?! What are you talking about? Are you saying only the men can speak and bring messages from the Lord to the assembly? What utter nonsense! Did the commands of God originate with you? Are you claiming you are the only ones that speak for God and hear from Him? {Chapter 14: 36}

If you speak for God and hear from him then you will have no problem acknowledging the commands I wrote earlier when I was addressing the order of your public assemblies in verses 26-33. You will acknowledge those instructions as the commands of the Lord! {Chapter 14: 37}

[Read those former parts of my letter again. Especially where I wrote, ALL may prophecy, including the women, so that ALL may learn and ALL may be encouraged.]

All I can say is, if you are ignorant on this matter and choose to stay that way, your choice. The rest of us have chosen to obey God and will move on. {Chapter 14: 38}

So, my exhortation for you, brothers and sisters in the Lord, is that you pursue the ability and gift to prophecy, thus speaking for God, and do not forbid anyone to speak for God with the gift of tongues either. {Chapter 14: 39}

However, let all these gifts and abilities be exercised in an orderly fashion when you meet together to worship the Lord in your public assemblies. {Chapter 14: 40}

{End of Geneva’s paraphrase}

I double dog dare you to read my “Geneva’s paraphrase” and the King James version of these scriptures side by side.

Now, for those of you who think I’ve taken too much liberty with the above Scriptures, let me give you a little evidence my paraphrase could be correct.

The Jewish Talmud is a gathering of quotes and sayings by Rabbis that do not always agree with each other. Scholars who have studied early Jewish thought believe the quote below and others like it represent the opinions of Rabbis in the first century.

One example: Mishna Sotah 3.4; B. Sotah 20a. “Out of respect for the congregation, a women should not herself read the law. It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men. The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness.” From the Jewish Talmud.

There is no scripture from Genesis to Malachi that prohibits women from speaking in church or to literally keep silent in the church. There is not a single scripture verse in the entire law of Moses that deals with this subject.

Let’s read the verses again in the KJV. 1Cor 14: 34-35 “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 anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

Once again, let me remind you what Paul said in verse 31, ALL may prophecy and ALL may learn in the public worship assemblies. No mention of anyone having to wait until they got home to learn.

I believe Paul was referring to a law from an external source, perhaps the Jewish Talmud. I do not believe verses 34 and 35 originated with Paul or from the law of Moses or any other scripture.

There have been many commentators who have linked verses 34 and 35 to Genesis 3:16, “…thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over you.”

That seems to me to be a huge stretch. Genesis 3:16 does not mention anything concerning women being silent in the church, nor does it forbid women to speak. It also is not Paul’s pattern of writing.

In every other instance in this letter to the Corinthians, when Paul refers to Scripture to prove his point, he writes, “it is written”. He follows that particular pattern in 1 Cor. 1:19, 1:31, 2:9, 3:19, 10:7, 15:45 and also continues then to quote the Old Testament verse he is referring to.

Paul does not follow that same pattern for verses 34-35. He does not say “it is written” nor does he quote “the law” he mentions there. “The law” that has silenced multitudes of women!

There is ample evidence to suggest the very verse used for centuries to silence the Holy Spirit in women was actually used in this letter by Paul to declare the opposite!

There is ample evidence this “law” was used by Paul to debunk the entire notion and belief of the Corinthians that women were to be silent in public worship assemblies!

How sad! How very, very sad indeed!


About Geneva

The road in my rear view mirror is marked by hard places. My Guide has been faithful. He came into my life and I was branded. Marked. Labeled. Ridiculed. Judged. Stoned. But the road ahead always looks grand and full of light! The furnaces from the past have only caused the fire of His Spirit to burn hotter. The edicts of man have tried many times to make me bend in worship to him, yet I have met the true Flame who delivers me in every furnace!
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