May 31, 2022
“And the prophets’ spirits are under the control of the prophets, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should be silent...”
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1 Corinthians 14
“And the prophets’ spirits are under the control of the prophets, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church meeting.” 1 Corinthians 14:32-35
FYI: I consulted my wife before deciding to broach this potentially volatile passage. It’s in the Bible for a reason, so we shouldn’t ignore it simply because it’s controversial.
Let’s begin by observing what the Scripture does NOT say. It does NOT say women are inferior.
This passage is less a commentary on women’s conduct than an exhortation of men’s natural bent towards passivity. Look at Paul’s advice to women:
“And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home…”
I am convinced that women are generally more spiritually sensitive than men. If you want to start a Bible study or prayer group, call some women. Men? Not so much.
Men don’t generally gravitate towards spiritual things, yet God calls them to be the spiritual leaders in their homes. This idea is considered, by many, to be arcane and a slap in the face of women’s rights. When people decry the Bible for being out-of-step with our culture, we must fall back on one foundational truth: God knows best. Consider God’s directive to fathers in Deuteronomy.
“Impress these words of mine on your hearts and souls, bind them as signs on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19
When Paul addressed the women at Corinth, he was telling them they were disgracing their husbands (thus themselves and the church) by exposing their husbands’ lack of spiritual leadership at home. Less about putting women in their place, Paul’s exhortation was also intended for certain men of the church to step up, fulfilling their responsibilities to be priests in their own homes. A woman should ask her husband spiritual questions, and he should be prepared to answer her correctly.
When a man fails to lead correctly, those under his authority are tempted to step outside God’s order and take control. God is the epitome of order and control. So, men do your jobs, and your women won’t be justifiably tempted to usurp the authority the Lord has designed. Women, honor the Lord and the role He has given your husband by respecting and honoring him, especially in public.