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Women Should Be Silent in Church…

Should women be silent in the church?

Should women be silent in the church?

4/1/2013:

We all have seen these words from Paul, but what are the meanings?  Did it really mean that ALL women are to be quiet?  That they are only to speak to their husband outside of church?  Did this actually mean that a woman was well… beneath a man to the level of not being permitted to talk about God… Jesus?

While the New Testament does not tell us specifically what pastors did, we do know that both men and women provided spiritual leadership for churches which met in their homes.  In the early church, almost all Christian meetings were held in private homes.  Among these house-church pastors was Mary, the mother of John Mark, who later became a missionary with the apostles Paul and Barnabas.  It was to her house church that Peter came in Acts 12:12 after an angelic visitor set him free from prison.  The Bible says that many had assembled there and were praying, no doubt petitioning God for Peter’s release.  Their prayers were answered!

Women really did play a big role in the history of churches.  Mary, mother of Jesus, continued to house and preach to people who searched for answers on her son and his preachings.

Now, we then take a look at 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35

34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (1 Cor.14:34-35 NIV84)

Wow, such strong words.  I often, beings that I am a woman, looked at that and thought; “I must no longer sing in the band.”  I did not want to be a disgrace.  However, my husband showed me more…

Most of the “women should remain silent” in the church, were actually letters from Paul.  These were not what Jesus himself taught.  These were letters to Pastors who had issues with their churches.  Corinth Christians were struggling due to their environment.  They were pressured to adapt and their hearts wanted them to follow Christ.  One of the biggest issues they had as well as Timothy is that women were uneducated.  While church service was going on, these women would ask their husbands questions and then the husband would miss the service.  Or, which was really bad, the women would begin to talk amongst themselves, enjoying their company, and disturb the men who were trying to learn.  Therefore, women must be silent in the church.  It is disgraceful for women to chat while a preacher (they called them teacher, Shepard or rabbi) was trying to get the message of God out there.  Even today, this is a disgraceful thing.  I was once separated from my husband and son, and forced to sit in the back for a demonstration.  Well, I quickly saw that getting all the women together was not a good thing at all.  They were talking amongst themselves and completely ignoring the preacher, and show.  A few women grew angry and stormed out of church complaining that the service made no sense.  Sadly, if they were paying attention to the words of the show, it would have been more then easy to understand.

One thing we must also focus on, is Jesus’s preachings.  He was not one to show partiality. In fact many women followed Jesus… including prostitutes. There is mention of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the “other Mary”, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and of course Mary and Martha. Jesus was very concerned with the treatment of women and in fact a great portion of His ministry was in direct relationship with women. One of the first people that Jesus healed was Peter’s mother (Mark 1). Jesus also healed the woman with the hemorrhage (Luke 8), He raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead (Luke 7), He healed the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter (Mark 7), and when Mary and Martha pleaded with Him He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11).

In Jesus’ teachings He focused on women quite often and used women as illustrations of spiritual truths in His teachings. One woman loses a coin (Luke 15), two women are grinding at the mill just before His return in glory (Luke 17). On his journey to Galilee He passed through Samaria and comes to Jacob’s well at Sychar and ministers to a woman of questionable reputation (John 4). Jesus also ministered to the woman caught in adultery (John 7). Notice also that many women followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem.

To read more on women in the temples, you can find more information here.

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