Listen:  106.5

This is a very controversial question these days, but like everything else, the Bible has the answer.  First, let’s read 1 Corinthians 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 any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”  The Word is extremely clear about this, although it may not be very popular.  Notice how the instruction is given to the women to keep silence ‘in the churches.’  While some have tried to teach that this instruction was only for women in the Corinthian church; the Word is clear in stating that it is for women in all the churches.

Some have taught that the meaning here is that the women should not chatter or gossip among themselves during the church meeting.  The Greek word for ‘speak’ is ‘laleo’ which literally means to speak authoritatively.  The same word, ‘laleo’, is used concerning the Lord speaking in 1 Corinthians 14:21 which says, “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.”  While women are so important to the body of Christ and are all gifted in some respect, the Lord does not permit them to have a public ministry in the church gatherings.

Why has the Lord excluded women from speaking in the churches?  Let’s read 1 Timothy 2:11-14, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”  Two reasons are given here: first, because of the order of creation; and secondly, because Eve was deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  Notice here that the woman is not merely told to be in silence, but she is to ‘learn in silence.’  While her lips are still, the woman’s mind and heart should be very active in taking in the Word of God as it is ministered by those who are being led of the Lord to minister His Word.

The instruction regarding women in the church is given to Timothy by the Apostle Paul.  The words of Paul to Timothy were also words to us.  Timothy was instructed to pass on what he had learned from Paul in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”  The pure, unchanged teachings of God’s Word need to be faithfully passed on to each generation.

Many have attacked the Apostle Paul, insisting that his words show that he is a chauvinist that likes to degrade women.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   What Paul writes in his epistles, he writes by the inspiration of God.  After teaching of the correctness of the women keeping silent in the church meetings, Paul goes on to write in  1 Corinthians 14:37-38, “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.”

There are several women pointed out in Paul’s epistles as being faithful laborers in the Lord’s work.  Priscilla, Lydia, Phebe, Lois and Eunice are just a few of those mentioned.  I’ll leave it up to you to learn about these faithful women mentioned in the Bible.  However, as vital as the roles of these women were, we can see they did not use their gifts in the church meetings.  (106.5)