Lucia's Blog: August 2019
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, August 29, 2019

CAN A WOMAN TEACH THE WORD OF GOD?

"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."
1 Timothy 2:11-14


Our decaying culture suffers from the extreme disregard of the roles of men and women that God has declared and clearly defined in Sacred Scripture. The absurdities of modern “gender dysphoria” tend to drive us to other extremes. The screaming “banshees” tempt us to twist the Scriptures to extremely silence innocent women to silence the madness of the guilty. We all feel the discomfort when a woman has crossed the lines of decency in public, the answer is not to invent laws where God has not spoken. Let’s take a moment to calmly consider what the Bible says about these issues.

Recently, a brother in Christ rebuked me in one of my Facebook posts for usurping a man’s authority, for according to him, women are forbidden from teaching any man and must keep silent.  Now, this is not the first time I have been accused of usurping the authority of men by interacting on Facebook and publishing my studies on various Bible issues on Lucia's Blog. According to these brothers, a woman is not even allowed to post a Bible Scripture or say anything spiritual or edifying on her wall, for she is forbidden.  As I said earlier in my public defense 3 years ago, I have no sympathy for women who usurp the authority of men. I honestly and humbly wish to please God and obey His Word. When I post on Facebook and  Lucia's Blog, I try to be cautious with my words to remain within the confines of propriety and accuracy. That way, I can present my thoughts as a resource which men and women may use or ignore at their discretion. So if any of my friends feel that these studies are inappropriate for a man as written by a woman, with all urgency, I ask you to ignore them or disregard them. My words are not intended for you! If you wish to read them and use them for God’s glory, please be my guest, but they are not written to teach or usurp the authority of any man. My only “sin” is to love reading and studying the Bible in-depth for my own good and to share my thoughts with my friends.   Now, I’m forced to do a thorough study in my own defense and for some other sisters who have asked me to do it for them, since many brothers have accused them of usurping the authority of men.  May the Lord bless each of you!

So, can a woman teach the Word of God without usurping the authority of men?  May women be Bible teachers?  Indeed, this is a very critical question and one that demands a correct answer according to God’s Word.  It demands a detailed and in-depth studyThe purpose of my study is to carefully examine the Bible teaching concerning the role of women and the leadership roles of men, to prove all things and hold fast that which is good (1 Thess. 5:21).  I will be examining 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:26-35 and the question of the silence of women or the opposition to women teachersAs with all my studies, I must push myself beyond my knowledge, in an effort to understand and express the Truth with clarity. This question is exhausting! The love of Truth is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man finds. He goes and sells all that he has to buy that field and rejoices to take possession of that treasure. That is how I feel every time I am compelled to dig deeper into the Scriptures seeking God's treasures. I pray that you may feel the same joy.

So the question at stake is, What does it mean for women to keep silent?  What is the meaning of silence, “Let a woman learn in silence?”  Does this mean complete silence in every place besides the assembly? What does the word silence refer to in our context?  What is the real  context of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35?  I will be analyzing each of these questions in their historical background and the spiritual role of women in general.


I.   THE SILENCE OF WOMEN:

  • Women Teachers?
Evidently, women throughout history have played an essential role in the New Testament church.  Women were present and added to the church when the church began (Acts 1:14; 5:14; 8:12; 16:15; 17, 4, 12).  Women labored in the church in various ways, and that included teaching (Philippians 4:3; Acts 18:26; Titus 2:3-4).  In Romans 16, we read of several women who were commended as faithful servants in the church.  Some women had spiritual gifts that allowed them to prophesy and even speak in tongues (Acts 21:8-9).  But it is very obvious that these women had been given limitations in their work.  Why?  Because God did not give them positions of authority and leadership in the church, because leadership is reserved for men.

  1. Jesus, the Head of the church, was a man, Ephesians 1:22-23.  
  2. The chosen apostles were all men, Acts 1:13.  
  3. The elders or overseers of the local church must be men, Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:5-6
  4. All deacons must be men, 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:3-6.  
  5. Men were given the role of speaking in all the New Testament examples of preaching to church assemblies and also leading Bible studies in the church, Acts 2:14-40; 11:25-26; 13:14-41; 20:7, etc. 

We have not been given a single example in which a woman stood before men and preached the Word of God.  Women must be subject to men! They are forbidden from taking a leading role over men in the church.  In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the apostle Paul describes the limitation or restrictions that must be applied to women in the work or worship of the church.
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”  

Women were to learn in quietness and submission. They were not to teach over men, for in doing this, they were usurping authority over men.  These limitations were observed for many centuries.  But as women began to gain momentum in many places, with the coming of the Restoration Movement, the question of the woman’s role in the church became a critical matter of serious study.  As churches relied more on  Bible classes to teach and edify, it was evident that women were more capable of teaching children than men.  Women began to also teach other women, especially at college lectureships and many Bible classes.  As a result of all this, some began speaking in opposition to women teachers, using women to teach publicly at all.  This became a controversial issue with Bible classes since this is where women were often used.  Those who were opposed to Bible classes usually were also opposed to women teachers.


  • Opposition to Women Teachers:
"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."  (1 Timothy 2:11-14)


    • A Closer Examination of 1 Timothy 2:11-14:

 There are few Scriptures in the Bible that address specifically the subject of women teaching or exercising authority over men in teaching or church activities.  We will be using these verses to confirm the pattern we see in the examples of the New Testament, and then we will draw some conclusions and make applications to this critical issue of women’s subjection to men. So let us start our study with 1 Timothy 2:8-14.

Let us first begin with verse 8,
“I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing.”  

The word “men” does not come from the word “anthropos” (mankind) but from “aner” (male); that is, men (males) must pray in every place.  This certainly includes public praying.  Our text 1 Timothy 2:11-12,
“Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. 12 But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.”  

Here the woman must be in subjection without exercising any authority over a man.  When Paul stated, “But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man,” he was teaching about the silence of womenWhen we examine any context in the Bible, it is critical that we carefully study the context as well as other Scriptures related to the subject that is under consideration.  Some quote 1 Timothy 2:11-15, to confirm that Paul said, “I permit not a woman to teach.”  Also that a woman must also learn in “quietness” or “silence.”  They claim that a woman must not, under any circumstance teach or speak. Not even a children’s class arranged by the church.  But that is not what Paul is saying!  Paul never said that a woman is forbidden to teach anybody nor that she must be silent during a Bible class.  When Paul stated in verse 11, “Let a woman learn in silence,” does that demand complete or absolute silence? Is the context speaking of absolute silence in every place?  Of course not!  The word for “silence” from the Greek word “hesuchia” means “quietness, not meddling.”  The NASB, NIV, and ASV translate this word this way.  I must stress that Paul never taught that women were to learn in absolute silence, rather he said that women must learn in quietness.  The word “silence” is used to point out the disposition of the person in 1 Peter 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:12 and 1 Timothy 2:2 It is not total absence of words but a submissive, undisturbing disposition.  This is in harmony with 1 Timothy 2:12 that states, “with all submission.”  Some argue that a woman can’t even sing songs of praise in the assembly, confess her sins, confess Jesus Christ as Lord, or even say amen at the end of a prayer.  It is absurd, for that is not the case here!  Have they forgotten the command given to all Christians to sing songs of praise, confess their sins to God and one another?  Again, I must stress that Paul is not saying that women must be absolutely silent!

A woman’s role, as commanded by God, is “submission.”  Although our text states that a woman must learn with all submission and is not permitted to “have authority over a man,” it does not demand that a woman not speak to or teach a man.  We’re given an example of a woman teaching a man in Acts 18:24-28.  Her name was Priscilla, and she taught a man named ApollosA woman can teach as long as she is under subjection without taking authority over a man.  Again, although the word “silence” means “quietness” and "submissiveness," it does not refer to not speaking at all.  A woman is not to be in authority but in submission, whether she is learning or teaching.  From the very beginning, these admonitions have been established (verses 13-14).  The Old Testament Law taught this as ordained by God, and no one is authorized to change this principle.  Again, our text, 1 Timothy 2:12-14 does not forbid a woman to speak in any assembly or any Bible class, for she is admonished to sing songs of praise, confess Christ and her sins.  But she is commanded to speak in a submissive, non-dominant way, taking a leading role in teaching or authority.  And though our text forbids a woman to have authority over a man, having some Scriptural restrictions and limitations, she definitely has a place in teaching God’s Word.  Aged women are commanded to teach younger women in Titus 2:4.  She can also teach like Priscilla, according to Acts 18:26If it was out of an assembly, it was obviously a Bible class!  Wherever there is a student and a lesson in progress, there is always a class, call it whatever you will!  In the New Testament, a woman can teach as long as she respects the restrictions given in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, without exercising dominion over a man.  Teaching over a man implies usurpation of authority and power.  When a woman usurps the authority she is wrong!  A woman can usurp authority in the church when she teaches without the approval of the men or the elders.  Also, when she refuses to submit to the headship of her husband and be in subjection.  But she may Scripturally teach as long as she is not usurping the authority.  Consider the following.
  1. All women are commanded to teach their children.  Timothy was taught the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother, 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15.  
  2. All Christians, women, and men are commanded to teach the Gospel to all men, Acts 8:4Priscilla and Aquilas taught Apollos, Acts 18:26.  
  3. In 2 Timothy 2:2 we read, “And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”  Here the word “men” (anthropos) is generic and means “persons.”  So it includes both men and women.  All faithful men and women must be taught that they may teach others also.  
  4. In 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear.”  This passage does not address only men (males) but also women, for each must give a defense to every man of their hope with meekness and fear.  
  5. Hebrews 5:12, “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.”  Our text includes women also.  
  6. Jude 3, “Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.”  This passage also includes women.  
  7. As I said earlier in my study, women must sing songs of praise, Ephesians 5:19; Col. 3:16When she is singing, she is not silent.  When she is singing, she is also exhorting or teaching according to Col. 3:16Is she in absolute silence when she is singing?  What do you think?  Can she teach when she is singing?  Of course!  And though she is not allowed to lead in singing, for she would be exercising authority over men, she still can teach and exhort as she sings and is submissive.  
  8. A woman can speak, write articles in a blog or a wall in Facebook, express her faith to encourage others to be more faithful according to 1 Peter 3:15 as long as she is not violating or usurping the authority of men as ordained by our Lord in 1 Timothy 2:13-14.  She must do it with a submissive spirit. Timothy 2:13-14, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression.”  Here Paul is pointing out two things to show the need for a woman’s subjection.  A woman must not exercise any authority over a man in the church or any other place.  

    • A Closer Examination of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:

Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law. 35 And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.”  (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

In 1 Timothy 2, we studied the principle of a woman’s subjection, whether in the assembly of the church or any other place1 Corinthians 14 deals with the kind of violation that takes place in an assembly in which the church came together.  This is evident in verse 26, when Paul said, “When you come together.”  This is an instruction given to the assembly when we come together on Sunday morning, where everyone who is speaking before the congregation is either leading or teaching.  In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is talking about specific problems regarding spiritual gifts in congregational assemblies.  He rebukes their division, confusion, and competition over who was the greatest or had the greatest gifts.  Thus he urges them to have order in the assembly, giving them the instructions necessary to that end.  So do these principles apply to only spiritual gifts?  Since they have ceased, do they no longer apply to us?  In verses 1-19 of our text, the church was to do all things to edify others and to edify they had to be understandable.  Verses 12, 19 we have a general principle which Paul applied to tongues and prophecy, pointing out why prophecy was more useful than tongues (verses 2, 5, 9, 12, 13, 15, 19).  But we must stress that this principle also was to be applied to prayer and singing, verses 14-15The church needed mature understanding, verse 20.  So they were to be understandable when the whole church came together in one place, verse 23.  This will convict unbelievers also. Is this still a general principle for us today?  In verses 26-36, Paul urges them saying, “Whenever you come together… let all things be done to edify.”  Here Paul is giving specific instructions to achieve edificationThose who spoke different languages were to be silent unless there was an interpreter.  Speakers were limited and spoke “in turn” verse 29Whenever someone spoke, the rest were to keep silent and listen to whoever was speaking, verse 30.  The purpose was to encourage everyone, verse 31.  As a result, there was peace instead of confusion, for God is not the author of confusion or chaos.  This applied to all churches, verse 33Paul applied all these principles to spiritual giftsBut have these principles ceased today or must we still apply them in churches?

Now in verses 34-35, women were commanded to keep silent “in the churches,” for they were not permitted to speak but to be in submission.  When they had a question, they were to ask it at home, outside the assemblyWhy?  Because "it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church."  The purpose was for order and edification in the assemblies instead of confusion and division.  There must be proper authority to maintain order, for someone must be in chargeSo the men should lead in the church.  So if it was shameful for women in congregational assemblies then, does that not mean that it is still shameful today or was this applied only to spiritual gifts?  In verses 37-40, Paul concludes saying, that these are commands from the Lord, and everything must be done “decently and in order.”  So do these commands still apply today in the church?  May we apply them to verses 34-35 to our assemblies today?  The only thing that has ceased is the application of these instructions or principles to spiritual gifts, for they have ceased, but these principles have not ceased and continue to be binding.  The silence of women in congregational assemblies is based on the principle of the subjection of women toward men.  God demands male leadership in the church.  In 1 Timothy 2:11-14, the principle of male leadership is applied more broadly than just in church assemblies, for the argument is that the principle of women’s subjection is a lasting and universal principle.  So to limit this principle only to the era of spiritual gifts is a misapplication of the Scriptures.

Women are told to keep silent.  Does that mean that they cannot sing in the assembly?  Confess Christ?  Confess sins?  No, they can do all those things and must do them!  So if “keep silent” is conditional, what are the conditions?  The conditions are the same as 1 Timothy 2, for the tongue speaker and the prophetShe must keep silent in terms of leading the church, the assembly, teaching or usurping authority over a man, interrupting or disrespecting the man or men who are supposed to be leading.  Verses 34-35 are similar to 1 Timothy 2.
  1. “Let your woman keep silent.”  
  2. “It is not permitted for them to speak.”  
  3. “They are to be submissive.”  
  4. “As the law also says.”  

Sadly, many brethren teach that a woman must be silent, in absolute terms, not allowing her to make a comment when asked by a man,  or read or even ask questions during informal Bible classes.  There is a difference between the assembly of the church and the Bible classes.  The purpose and order is different by common agreement of the brethren. So if there is no difference between the two, would it be okay to partake of the Lord’s Supper and collect the contribution while we’re having a Bible class?  What do you think?  If you say no, then you’re acknowledging that there is a distinction between the assembly and Bible class.  Thus, 1 Corinthians 14 does not apply to Bible classes.  If your answer is yes, then you’re acknowledging that the method of teaching Bible classes is the same as the divine pattern of coming together as a church in one place.  The Bible class is not the assembly of the church!  Yes, the woman must be in subjection while she is in Bible class.  I don’t deny that often the participation of many women, sisters, during Bible class does not edify but cases more harm.  Why?  Because there are some women who want to dominate and rule over men, rejecting the divine order of submission, thus usurping over the authority of the men.  Some think of themselves as superior, believing that they know more than the one who is teaching, thus taking over the class while they’re seated.  Amazing!  A woman must not take control or dominate during a Bible class!  Period!

Can a woman speak to a man taking authority and control?  Is she submissive?  No!  What about Sunday morning, can she stand up and rebuke the teacher publicly for what he’s teaching and proceed to teach her view?  No!  She is not in submission.  You see that is precisely what was happening at Corinth!  The prophets’ wives were asking questions, thus interrupting the instruction of the assembly.  In doing this, they were taking the lead and authority.   She was to keep silent and not have authority over a man.  A woman is submissive as she keeps silent, quiet.  This silence is not only regarding the assembly but also as a wife with her husband.  She must not take the lead or assert her will or authority over a man!  Taking the lead in the assembly, having authority over, and teaching over men is what 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 condemn.

We have other examples of women speaking in an assembly without usurping and taking authority over a man as in the case of the daughters of Zelophad when they addressed the whole assembly, Numbers 27:1-11 and Joshua 17:3-4.  In 2 Chronicles 34:22-28, the prophetess Huldah spoke as the mouthpiece of the Lord.  So what is the rule?  That a woman cannot speak or teach in any assembly where she is exercising authority over a man, for this is her restriction.  But as long as she doesn’t violate this, she can speak, or write, whether it is a blog or Facebook, ask questions and make comments but she must do it with submission and a meek and quiet spirit.  Again, a woman can ask and answer questions in Bible classes as long as the whole church is not together to worship.  The rule forbidding women to speak applies only “in church” when the whole church is together, functioning as a church.  Period!  I’m not sinning or usurping or ruling over a man’s authority when I write on my Facebook wall or write for my blog as long as I’m doing it with a submissive and quiet spirit!  All Christians are commanded to share their knowledge of the Gospel of Christ in obedience to the great commission to others.  So sharing my knowledge of the Truth in my Facebook wall and my blog is not usurping or having authority over men.   Edifying others and "making disciples of every nation" is not usurping authority over a man either, for it is my right and responsibility based on the great commission as ordained by God in Matthew 28:18-20.   In Acts 8:1-4, "the disciples went everywhere preaching the word." Facebook and the internet are not considered a local congregation.  Again, 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14 apply only to a woman's role within the local congregation.  Remember, that we have other Scriptures that show that a woman may discuss the Bible with men in places other than just their private homes and with men other than their husbands.  We must stress again, 1 Timothy 2 applies to spiritual teaching and leadership roles between men and women in general which says that women must act and speak quietly in submission.  On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 14 applies explicitly when the church comes together to assemble, to worship, forbidding women to speak.  It is specific regarding the circumstances and restrictions on women’s conduct in congregational meetings for worship.


CONCLUSION:

This study of the Word of God has been very rewarding as it deepens my understanding in the light of God’s Word.  As with all my studies, I push myself beyond my knowledge to find the answers and wisdom that flourish from God's precious Word.  I learn by writing my thoughts down when I’m in doubt and need to grow in Grace.  At the same time, I long to share those thoughts and of course, my faith with others that they may grow in knowledge, wisdom, and faith that they might be edified as I am when I dig deeper into God’s everlasting Word.  I hope and pray that my studies might benefit you and strengthen your faith to God’s glory.  All these charges against me about usurping the authority of a man, I take a little bit hard because of my tender conscience. I’m very sensitive to the perception that I might be out of place because I write on a wide variety of Bible subjects, many of which are controversial. After further study and prayer, I have decided to keep on doing what I love the most, which is writing to the glory of my God.  The support I have received from my brethren has encouraged me and given me more confidence, but at the same time, it has made me more aware and careful about the manner and approach of my writings.

Over the past number of years, a large movement has affected churches, and even the Lord’s faithful churches, causing conflicts within, arguing that it is sinful for women to teach the Bible even to children in the class arrangement when the church comes together.  They also argue that a woman must keep silent, for if she doesn't, she will violate Paul’s instructions for women to “keep silence” in the churches (1 Cor. 14:34).  Some of these old debaters responded to this argument in this way.  Their contention was over the Greek word “sigao,” which is “keep silence,” demanding absolute silence, not a sound at all.   So they reasoned that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 did not pertain to normal church meeting because of their inconsistent prohibitions regarding regular church meeting, e.g., singing, etc.  So, they reasoned that this context must not be applicable in our time. In creating this argument, they thought they would avoid a conflict between women teaching children’s Bible classes and 1 Corinthians 14:34.  Sadly, some today are making this same argument, but with a different purpose. They want an expanded role for the woman in the church assembly. They also see 1 Corinthians 14:34 as an obstacle to their desired practice of women worship leaders. So, again, the context is dismissed as irrelevant to today.  Such an argument is not sound and is erroneous today.  So what kind of silence does 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 demand?  The answer to this question rests on the meaning of the Greek verb “sigao,” which does not demand absolute and unqualified silence.  Rather, the nature of such silence must be determined by the context.  A careful examination of the word reveals that the context describes or determines the nature of the silence under consideration.

Take for instance, how terrified the Israelites were when the Egyptians were pursuing them, arriving at the Red Sea.  They complained to Moses of their plight.  But Moses told them that Jehovah would fight for them.  So they were to “hold [their] peace” (i.e., be silent; Ex. 14:14).  Obviously, that didn’t mean that they were forbidden to speak at all. Rather, the kind of silence commanded was that they must cease their faithless whimpering and whining.  Another example was David when he described certain hardships associated with his transgressions, he “kept silence” as his bones wasted away (Psa. 32:3).  But David was not speaking of general or absolute silence but of keeping silence regarding his sin.  Moreover, after the disciples witnessed the transfiguration scene, they “held their peace” (i.e., remained silent; Lk. 9:36). That doesn’t mean they didn’t talk at all, absolute silence. Rather, they did not speak or discuss with others what they had seen on the mountain.

In the context of 1 Corinthians 14, the verb “sigao” occurs three times.  One who has the gift of tongues is to keep silence, if he had no interpreter for his audience, 1 Corinthians 14:28.  If a brother is speaking and another receives immediate revelation, the former is to keep silence, 1 Corinthians 14:30.  And finally, women are to keep silence (1 Cor. 14:34). The first two prohibitions demanded silence only in the matters being discussed. They do not forbid these men to otherwise speak consistently with their divine obligationsThe same was the case with Paul’s instructions to women.  His instructions did not command that they must absolutely be silent.  Rather, the woman was not to speak or teach in such a way as to violate her gender role.  This harmonizes with what Paul taught in 1 Timothy 2:12-14Why?  Because a woman must not occupy the position of leadership as a public teacher, to stand before the church and function as one where there are adult men.  In doing so, she has stepped beyond her authorized sphere, thus violating the Scriptures.

“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.” (I Cor. 14:34,35).  

This passage is usually linked with 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and must not be kept separate in their application We must stress that it is critical that we examine the context of any Bible passage to understand it correctly.  To fail to understand what the apostle Paul is teaching by regulating men and women speaking under special conditions, i.e., during the exercise of spiritual gifts in the assembly of “the whole church,” is to miss the point and give it an improper application. To apply the passage to all women under all conditions leads to several complications that are too important to be ignored. For example, if we were to apply this concept the incorrect way, it would be that no woman could sing (Col. 3:16) or confess since the passage prohibits vocal utterances and imposes utter silence.

“Let the women keep silence in the churches” (v.34).  

It is essential to understand that not only the women but also the men were commanded to remain silent under certain conditions. Note verse 27,28, “let him keep silence” and verse 30, “let the first keep silence.” Only two or at the most three were to speak at any one assembly. The others were to remain in silence and “discern” (v.29). Obviously, God did not command all men everywhere under all circumstances to remain in silence! Likewise, the women (perhaps wives of the prophets and inspired men) who were contributing to this confusion while the spiritual gifts were being exercised in the assembly of the whole church were to remain silent under the conditions stated.  If they wanted to learn more, they were to ask their husbands at home and to be in subjection to their husbands as the Law commanded (Gen. 3:16, I Pet 3:6-7, I Tim. 2:11) When they caused conflict or confusion they were bringing shame on their husbands.  They were bringing shame upon their husbands by causing confusion, trouble. So to make such a command general and applicable to all men and women under other conditions is to bind where God did not.  Take heed!

In 1 Timothy 2:11, the word “silence” comes from the Greek “hesuchia” and “denotes quietness” (W. E. Vine). It is like Paul is saying shut up and stop causing confusion. The American Standard Version makes a distinction by using “quietness” in 1 Timothy 2:11 and “silence” in 1 Corinthians 14:34“sige,” meaning total muteness. “For it is not permitted unto them to speak” (v.34).  The word “speak” is from “laleo” and means “to make vocal utterance to babble, to talk, in the New Testament, absolutely to exercise the faculty of speech.” (Vine, p. 243) Thus, the women commanded to be silent in this passage were not to utter a sound. If Paul meant all women in every situation, then all women in every situation must remain mute. But God commanded women to sing (Col. 3:16) and to teach (2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:3-5). They did teach (Luke 2:36-38; Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:16; Acts 18:26; 21:9, 1 Cor. 11:5), and they can teach now as long as they do not violate 1 Timothy 2:11, 12. The kind of speaking prohibited is that which creates confusion and violates God’s principle of headship, for she must be in subjection.  In the churches; “Church” is from the Greek “ekklesia” meaning “called out” (Vine). Not as one called out, but when the “whole church, the assembly of the church.” It does not specify any particular assembly but does specify “when the whole church be assembled.” Unlike 1 Timothy 2:12, this passage is limited in it’s application to the assembly. The woman can speak at home or in other situations. 1 Timothy 2:12 does not specify any condition but regulates the woman under every situation. As Paul says of the men in 1 Timothy 2:8, “I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands.” When Paul says in verse 9, “likewise in the same way I want women everywhere to dress proper.” Then through verse 10, Paul is commanding them to dress properly to show respect to men, verses 11 and 12“Let them be in subjection, as also saith the law (v. 34).  Paul is giving us the reason why God imposed silence on certain women under the mentioned conditions. Their speaking was to be in subjection to men.  God’s intent has always been for a woman to be in subjection to a man (Gen. 3:15; 1 Tim. 2:12) and be ruled by him.  And though a woman may teach men (Anna, Luke 2:36-38; daughters, Joel 2:28; Priscilla, Acts 18:24-26; Phillip’s daughters, Acts 21:8,9) and speak in an assembly of men and women (Acts 5:1-11; 12:12-16), she must never do it usurping the authority over a man, for that would be violating her subjection to men (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

The question at stake here is, “Does 1 Timothy 2:11-12 teach that any woman today must remain silent under the stated conditions when speaking violates the principles of subjection to man and when it causes confusion in the assembly?  Does this verse prohibit a woman asking a question or making comments in Bible classes, writing on her Facebook wall or page and a blog?  Not at all, if she does it in the spirit of quietness and subjection (1 Tim. 2:11,12).  The silence that was commanded in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, does not apply to Bible class arrangements, writing on a Facebook Page or wall, a blog since the whole church is not assembled together.   Therefore, the silence imposed on women in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is only binding “when the whole church be assembled together.”  For she must refrain from speaking in such a way as to violate the two stated principles: Headship of man, “let them be in subjection as also saith the law.” Orderliness, “God is not the God of confusion but of peace.” “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  The focal point of both 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is submission, not that women cannot speak or be mute.  We must be careful not to make 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 say too much, or more than what God has said.  When we say, “silence is silence!”  Then we are adding to God’s Word.

Writing on my wall and my blog is not usurping authority over a man. A woman is not allowed to teach in the assembly or during worship, but she can teach her children (Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 5:14; 2 Tim. 1:5).  She can teach other women (Titus 2:3-5).  She can even teach her husband (1 Cor. 7:14-16; 1 Peter 3:1-3).  She can teach everybody within the restrictions established in 1 Timothy 2:11-12).  She can teach the Gospel to the lost (Acts 8:4).  She can be like Priscilla and her husband, who taught Apollos without violating the command given in 1 Timothy 2:12She can defend her faith, the Gospel, her hope to anyone (Phil. 1:27).   All faithful men, women, must be taught, that they may teach others also.  In 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear.”  This passage does not apply only to men (males) but also to women, for each must give a defense to every man of their hope with meekness and fear.  Hebrews 5:12, “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.”  Our text includes women also.  Jude 3, “Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the which was once for all delivered unto the saints.”  This passage also includes women as well.

God highly honors and values women for their work, even as He does men.  Women are joint heirs of eternal life with men.  Women in the Bible have been used for important spiritual workMary was honored to be Jesus’ mother, Luke 1:26-56.  Mary and Martha were Jesus’ closest disciples, Luke 10:38-42 Other women followed and provided for Jesus, Matt. 27:55-56; Lk. 8:2-3.  Women like Dorcas, Lydia, Phoebe, and other godly women are commended for their good works, Acts 9:36-42; 16:11-15; Rom. 16:1-2.  We have other passages that mention women who were disciples, naming them sometimes, Acts 2:42; 5:14; 8:12; 12:12-17; 17:4, 12, 34; 2 Tim. 1:5.  Several godly women are considered godly examples from the Old Testament:  Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, etc., 1 Peter 3:5-6; Heb. 11:11, 31.  We have many other passages that explicitly make mention of the many good works that women can do, 1 Tim. 5; Titus 2God values us for our service, not our authority, Matt. 20:25-28Women who serve in harmony with God’s Word and will are considered equally valuable as men, regardless of the difference in authority.  A woman can teach children and other women without violating God’s Word, Exo. 15:20-21; Prov. 31:1; 1:8; Lk. 1:39-56; 2 Tim. 1:5; Titus 2:3-5We must stress that women are not only allowed to teach but are commanded to do so!  But God’s Word does limit their role.

And though God limits their role, that does not deny that they have an important role in teaching God’s Word.  To restrict women in fulfilling their God-given role, would be to utterly contradict the Word of God!  Women can discuss and impart Truth in small group discussions with men as long as they do not exercise authority over men, Luke 2:36-39; 10:40-42; John 4:19-26; 4:28-30; 39, 42; John 11:20-27; Lk. 10:38-42; Matt. 28:1-8; Lk. 24:9-10; John 20:16-18; Acts 18:26; 2:17; 21:8-9.  All of these Scriptures show women in spiritual discussions with men.  They asked and answered spiritual questions and even imparted spiritual Truth to men in some cases.  But the Bible nowhere teaches that a woman can impart God’s Word in the congregational assemblies, when the church comes together, the synagogue assemblies or any situation in which they were exercising authority over men.  The leadership roles in the church were only given to men.  A woman must not preach or take a leading role in church worship assemblies!  A woman must not lead any Bible study or act of worship in which men are participating.  Women are forbidden to speak out in any meeting when the whole church comes together or assembles as a church.

May we women love and honor God as we follow His pattern for the worship of the church.  May God be glorified as we observe both the opportunities and the limitations or restrictions established in God’s Word in connection with our role as women in the work of the church.  May we women obey the restrictions, commanded us as teachers, as listed in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.  May we never teach in such a way as to exercise dominion or authority over a man.  May we teach the Gospel to others with all of our heart and strength without usurping authority.

Luci