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Women in the Body 05 – Must Women Keep Silent? Q & A

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February 17th, 2013 | Filed Under: Author, Ayo Fabiyi, Mitch Kuhn, Q and A, Topical Studies, Women, Women2 Comments | Author:

Discussions and letters about the question: Must Women be Silent in the Church?

Click HERE to see all the studies in this series

Hi J___,

I’ll respond to your questions below in order. They have caused me to dig deeper into the word on this matter.

Question #1.

The first question is:

This is a good point J___. We do need to address the verses you have bought up. I will do so below.

I want to start by showing that women are permitted to speak in the Church because we have an example in Acts Chapters 1 & 2.

Act 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Clearly women are a part of this group being discussed in Acts 1 and 2.

Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Act 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Act 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded,because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Act 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Act 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

The word for “man” above is not referring to just males, it is a general term. Here is the NKJV.

Act 2:8 NKJV And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
Act 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Act 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Act 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Act 2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
Act 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Again, the word for “men” does not mean males. Here is the Concordant Literal Version.

Act 2:13 CLV and others mocking said, –`They are full of sweet wine;
Act 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Act 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

Here is the verses in Joel that were quoted.

Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

So now let’s take a closer look at 1 Cor 14

1Co 14:34 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.
1Co 14:35 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.

Here is the Greek word for “speak” in the verses above.

This word shows up 297 times in my KJC concordance. However, there are four times that it is translated at “preached”.

Mar 2:2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

Act 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Act 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Act 14:25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:

It is much more accurate to translate “speak” as “preach” in 1 Cor 14:34, because then it agrees with the sum of God’s word.
We already saw the example above of women prophesying at a church gathering in Acts, and we have references to Philips daughters prophesying.

Act 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
Act 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

We know that God’s word does not contradict itself, so Paul is not telling women to be silent and never speak in 1 Cor 14; he is saying the same thing that he tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:12. Women need to be meek and quiet in the Church.

1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (quietness) .

Question #2.

This is a very good point. We all need to respect those that are leading us and not speak evil of them, whether it be leaders of the world or in the fellowship. There is a proper way to bring a fault or mistake to a leader with respect. In addition to the verse that you listed, I’ll include a few others.

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

2Pe 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Jud 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

1Ti 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren

1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Question #3.

It seems that it really is no different than the woman at the well and Mary at the tomb in the sense in that she may only be speaking things that she has heard her husband teach and not making any of her own interpretations or comments such as I believe or it seems to me which would demonstrate her teaching and not what she has learned of her husband.

There is a distinct difference between prophesy and teaching. I’m just going to focus on the word “edification” for now to contrast the difference.

1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Here is the Greek for “edification” and some other uses.

oikodomē oy-kod-om-ay’

1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to theedifying of the church.

Here Paul says that “every one of you”, talking to the whole Corinthian Church, has something to share that will edify the Church.

1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Clearly women are a part of the Church because Paul references a woman in the first chapter of Corinthians.

1Co 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

God gives different roles in the Church, and clearly women are qualified to prophesy because of what we saw earlier in Acts and Joel 2.

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

So edifying is different than teaching. Women can prophesy, which includes edification, but not to teach men.

1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Older women are to teach the younger women.

Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
Tit 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Here are examples of teaching, which is what women are NOT to do towards men.

Mat 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
Mat 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Christ was speaking to a group of males and females and proceeds to deliver a lengthy teaching. He is certainly not being quiet, he is in charge and doing all of the talking.

Mat 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Teachers speak with authority, and women are not to have authority over men.

1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (quietness) .

Teaching is often public with a mixed audience of men and women. Paul taught like Christ did, publicly to groups.

Act 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,

Teachers often write studies, just as Paul wrote epistles. These letters were then given to the entire Church, men and women. I do realize today that our studies are not scripture.

2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Paul commands Timothy, and Elder, to command and TEACH. This is about teaching doctrine.

1Ti 4:11 These things command and teach.
1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Even among the MEN there should not be many teachers.
It is the elders that labor in the word and doctrine. All of the body certainly edifies one another, but this is different than leading and teaching the whole Church.

1Ti 5:17 NKJV Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

Being apt to teach is a qualification of an elder

1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

I’m pointing out that elders are to be teachers, because it demonstrates the difference between edification and teaching. You can share one verse with someone, or a story of encouragement and edify them in their walk with Christ. This is very different from getting up and delivering a message like Christ in Matthew 5, or Paul writing a letter to the Corinthians. Everyone has an important role in the body, and God will reveal that to each of us in time.

Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

I hope this helps to answer your questions J___. Please let me know what you think.

Your Brother in Christ,

Letter by Ayo Fabiyi

Good day all,

Much has been said and written over this topic already that is worthy of our revision to be even clearer on the subject. I will cover a few issues on this big subject.

G____ just asked;

Unfortunately the word silence and quiet has been used interchangeably which has distorted the intent of the verse/thought being conveyed. This has been covered already but I’ll just quickly bring to a few things our remembrance:

As men and women, the primary intent of those verses in 1Cor 14:34 has nothing to do with being literally MUTE or DUMB, but biblical “quiet” “silence” HAS to do with being in subjection to the authority, government, whether in the church or those without like the law of the land that does not violate God’s law.

The means anyone will become silent and quiet according to the mind of Christ is:

1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study….. to be…. quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, [ nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Not a woman to teach is NOT the sum of God’s word. The sum is “not to usurp authority over the man of God”….when ye come together, in the church of God.
It has nothing once again to do with being a literal mute or dumb!
The order is clearly stated for us in 1Cor 11. We ought to do things decently and in that order.

The spirit of Christ is our teacher. And the spirit of Christ is very mindful that He is operating in an “earthen vessel”, in down payment work and is very careful to keep the order of not usurping power/authority the man to teach us the Godhead, NOT to negate and confuse us with the order of the Godhead, as God the Father is as the man, and Christ as the woman through whom all things come by. If the nature of man and woman is distorted and confused, then Romans 1:20 becomes an issue of guesswork…and nature cannot really teach us anything!

1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even NATURE itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

NATURE teaches us also and is made abundantly clear by teachers as Paul:

1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. [..Men AND I delivered them to YOU.]

2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

We, men and women, are to be a teacher of the Gentiles, not contradicting when we come together for a man to lead the church of God. I certainly expect a woman of God to accept this and “teach” it also..

1 Timothy 4:9-11
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach.

“Not to teach” must always be qualified with teaching women, Gentiles that knows not God without the body, and in the church of the living God, the pillar of truth that reflects the invisible things of God, the woman to not be usurping authority over the man. Teach/prophesy can be interchangeable words to the hear of the hearer. For example:

There are spiritual things and very sound advice I did not know before that women such as Georgie, Ursula, Gale…Sandi..Bettie etc spoke in my ears…was I prophesied to or was I taught..? Which is it?
Is my natural perception the deciding factor whether I was being taught or being edified/exalted/comforted that is a woman prophesying?
Or am I just playing about with words not understanding how the word “teach” is qualified in scripture?
I do not like playing with words in such a way…

Acts 18:15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

Those women believe…therefore they spoke to me and still speaking to me in subjection to God’s word. That is the spirit of faith we all have with it’s corresponding work of being subjected as written..

2 Corinthians 4:13 We […men and women..] having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;[….and obey as it is written to be subjected in the church. ]

I have never felt in the church of the living God, any of those women are wrestling or jostling for positions to be “leaders of men”, ‘bishop of the house’ etc. This is not a question of words for women to “teach..prophesy…silence…be quiet” rather it is a matter of being subjected to the man of God appointed, their husband, for all to learn and be comforted, for a woman to know her role in the church/body/family and for a man likewise to know his part in the church of the living God. Paul makes as clear as clear can be for “nature itself”, to teach us this. We are NOT in the fullness, 100% redeemed possession of the spirit of God with spiritual bodies…yet! We ought not to jump ahead of the time and confuse that order and do away with it, most especially in the body of Christ.
I hope my two pounds..? cents has slightly increased our riches in this subject. The conclusion is order.

1 Corinthians 14:39-40
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. [..with corresponding scriptural interpretations otherwise learn “in silence” …”Study to be quiet..”…”Study to show yourself approved unto God”]
Let all things be done decently and in order.

Your brother still studying to be quiet..

We Welcome Your Comments

  • JCC

    thank you Ayo for discerning the spirit of the letters.

  • MitchellKuhn

    You’re quite welcome.