Summary Question 17 Why Were Women Told To Keep Silent In Church Were They Allowed To Speak In Tongues
There is controversy among believers as to whether the gift of tongues was given to both men and women or merely limited to men. Paul said that women were forbidden to speak in church. The question is, In what sense were they forbidden to speak? There are those who believe that women were forbidden to speak in tongues.
Those who argue against women speaking in tongues give the following reasons as to why they hold this position.
First, they say there are no clear examples in Scripture of women speaking in tongues. Every time we find tongue-speaking occurring in an historical situation, it is always the men who are doing the speaking.
There is no record of women speaking in tongues on the Day of Pentecost. In fact, we are told specifically that after the believers spoke in tongues Peter stood up with the other eleven disciples of Jesus to address the crowd. This indicates that only Jesus Twelve Disciples exercised the sign of tongues on that day.
Neither is there any evidence of women speaking in tongues in Caesarea when Peter spoke the Word of God to the Gentiles. It seems only men were gathered to hear Peters message about the Lord Jesus.
We are told specifically that it was only men who spoke in tongue in Ephesus when Paul preached Jesus to them.
Thus, each historical situation finds only men speaking in tongues, never women.
However there are others who believe that women were indeed given the gift of tongues.
The Practical Implications Of Submission To Headship In The Church
What are the practical ramifications of the woman carrying out her role under the headship and leadership of men in the church? Clearly, a woman is not to take any position of leadership and authority in the church meeting. Again, it seems obvious that a woman should never allow herself to be in a position of leadership or authority over men. The Headship of Jesus Christ, His leadership over the church, is to be carried out by men.
I must say that this might very well mean that leadership and teaching might not be as good under the leadership of men. In some churches I am certain that there are godly women who could do a better job of preaching than the pastor. But the church of Jesus Christ is to operate on the basis of principle, not pragmatism.
I would understand that women are not to speak in the church meeting whenever in so doing they have the floor. Surely we would not forbid women from participating in congregational singing. Personally I would not hesitate to allow a woman to sing in a duet or ensemble in which a man is participating, but I would be reluctant to ask a woman to sing a solo in the church meeting, since to sing is to teach .
Women And Ministry In The Old Testament
Turning to the Hebrew Scriptures for a moment, not a small number of women are praised throughout the Tanakh. During a time when the world belonged to men as much as it ever has, the Book of Genesis mentions five different women who are given burials of honor: Sarah , Deborah , Rachel , Rebekah , and Leah . Most of these women are also mentioned on multiple occasions throughout both the Old and New Testaments. There are of course many other Hebrew women who are given significant attention like Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, and Esther.
Many women actually spoke and/or wrote words that became Scripture. Such women include Miriam , another Deborah , and Hannah .
Deborah was herself a judge of Israel . God spoke prophetically to David through Abigail , and Huldah was a prophetess in Jerusalem who spoke the words of God , as was the wife of Isaiah .
Read Also: What To Read In The Bible
The Past Is A Foreign Land
The past is a foreign land, and writings from the past are messages from a world that is often very different from our own. Nobody wants to be the tourist who gets off the plane in Paris and complains about how few McDonalds there are in France. Yet, we do the same thing when we open up the Bible and level our easy judgments against it.
Just like a foreign culture, the Bible is hard to understand. This is not to say that the message of Jesus is too sophisticated for a simple understanding of the gospel, nor is it to say that the Spirit cant use simple words or a plain understanding of Scripture to grow his church.
Im only saying that it is not natural for everyone to assume the best of literature they do not immediately understand. It takes time to learn where our personal and cultural blind spots are when it comes to literature, especially ancient literature like the Bible.
So when you come to a problematic passage in the Bible, do what good tourists do: slow down, remain humble, reserve judgment, and get to know the new land youve come to.
Can Women Take The Lead In Corporate Worship Services
We believe it is desirable for men to take the lead in public worship. This pictures the divinely instituted order . There are not many examples of women leading in worship in Scripture : Exod. 15:20, 21 Judges 5 Ps. 68:11 Luke 2:36-38 Acts 21:9 1 Cor. 11:5 14:26, 34 Eph. 5:19 Col. 3:16. We encourage women to participate in worship services as long as they are not usurping authority or behaving in a domineering manner. We also see no violation of Scripture to have a woman planning the order of worship as long as she is submissive to male leadership and doesnt plan anything that violates the biblical emphasis.
Since our worship style requires some musical ability, if there is no man with such ability to provide leadership, we recommend finding a man who can at least lead in vocals and give verbal direction to the overall process, even if he cant play the instruments. This models male leadership, which seems to be clearly the biblical picture.
You May Like: What Does The Bible Say About Your Purpose In Life
Does The Bible Really Prohibit Women From Speaking In Church
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 is one of those passages in the Bible that you sometimes wish wasn’t there, but it is. The scripture, which gives specific commands to women to be silent in church gatherings, has been misinterpreted as a misogynistic appeal that only “proves that God doesn’t value women as much as men.”
This of course is not true. Galatians 3:28 affirms God’s equal value for everyone. It says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 says, “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 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.”
One might automatically think of this scripture as an absolute command with no need for context and background. But just like any given law, there is indeed a proper context and background that makes this command a scenario-based one. In this text, Paul speaks to an unorganised Corinthian church that has a circus for a church gathering. You have people speaking in tongues, prophesying, asking questions and preaching all simultaneously as one.
But today, that’s no longer the case. It’s now safe and beneficial for women to lead. That gives all women just as much right to spiritually and strategically lead as men.
A Woman Of Noble Character
Proverbs 11:16A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.
Proverbs 11:22Like a gold ring in a pigs snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.
Proverbs 31:1012Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:29There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!
Proverbs 31:3031Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
1 Timothy 2:10For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
1 Peter 3:34Dont let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart,the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Gods sight.
Titus 2:35Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Also Check: Why Is Marriage Important In The Bible
Women In The Church: What Can They Do Or Not Do
This article is the affirmation of the pastor and elders of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, Flagstaff Arizona as related to women’s roles in the church. It concludes with the Danvers statement by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood .
Steven J. Cole and FCF Elders
The issue of womens roles in the church is complicated and emotionally charged. These comments are only a brief synopsis of some of the issues. As elders, we affirm the rationale, purposes and affirmations of The Danvers Statement . Below are some specific questions and our understanding of how Scripture applies to each. Our goal is to honor God and His Word, while avoiding both a legalistic approach and compromise with the worldly influences threatening to undermine Gods unchanging truth.
How God Has Used Women
One way to answer our question is to see how God has used women in the past, and we will see that God has not required women to be silent, even in a religious setting, and that he has sometimes allowed even appointed women to have authority over men.
An illustration of that is Deborah. Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment . She had political authority, and the people respected her decisions.
Deborah had religious authority, too in verses 6-9 she gave the Israelite general an authoritative message from God. Chapter 5 is her victory song her words have become part of the Bible, and men have been learning from Deborah ever since .
Some have suggested that God used Deborah because all the men were incompetent or unwilling. The Bible does not say that it just says that God was working through Deborah as a civil judge, as a spokesperson for God, and as a worship leader for his people.
Most leaders of Israel were men, but it takes only one example to show that it is not a universal principle. The Bible never says that Deborah is an exception to what would otherwise be a rule it just says that God worked through her. He is willing to put women in positions of authority.
Read Also: Can You Give Me The Bible
The Old Testament And Women
In the creation account of Genesis 1, Gods first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God . Neither received more of the image of God than the other. So the Bible begins with the equality of the sexes. As persons, as spiritual beings standing before God, men and women are absolutely equal.
Despite this equality, there is in Genesis 2 a more detailed account of the creation of the two human beings that reveals differences in their God-given functions and responsibilities. God did not create the man and the woman at the same time, but rather He created Adam first and Eve later for the specific purpose of being Adams helper. Eve was equal to Adam, but she was given the role and duty of submitting to him. Although the word helper carries very positive connotationseven being used of God Himself as the helper of Israel it still describes someone in a relationship of service to another. The responsibility of wives to submit to their husbands, then, was part of the plan from creation, even before the curse. The first books of the Bible establish both the equality of men and women and also the support role of the wife .
First To See The Resurrected Christ
Matthew 28:110Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee there you will see him. See, I have told you. So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, Greetings! And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.
Don’t Miss: What Does The Bible Say About Self Image
Women In Ministry: Does The Bible Allow Women To Be Pastors
Many Christians think that the Bible does not allow women to be pastors. For many people, the key verse is 1 Timothy 2:12: I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man rather, she is to remain quiet . Lets start by looking at this verse in more detail.
If we look at only this one verse, we might see that it would forbid much more than being a pastor:
- A woman cannot teach a man. This means that women cannot be doctors, professors, or high-school teachers. The verse does not say that it is restricted to the church.
- A woman cannot have authority over a man. This means that a woman cannot be elected to political office, or to be a manager in a store that has male employees, or to be a principal of a school that has male teachers. The verse makes no exceptions.
- Women are to remain quiet. They cannot be entertainers, news reporters or have any role in mass media.
However, almost no one understands the verse in this way. Conservative Bible scholars, theologians and church leaders all say that the verse should not be understood in such a literal way. We need to understand why. This will involve a lesson about how we should read and apply the Bible.
The Role Of Women In The Church: Are We Missing The Mark
In the last couple of weeks, there has been much debate regarding the created order and the Fall in Genesis 1-3, and how they relate to women preaching, teaching, and leading in the church according to the apostle Paul. What has really taken center stage are not Pauls words themselves, but rather a position being articulated by some that comes from a singular interpretation of one particular passage.
The truth is, there are literally hundreds of other Scriptures that speak into the discussion on the roles of women in the church and its leadership. As a result, I would argue it is impossible to form a comprehensive view based solely on one text, or even a handful of texts. Hopefully even those who might differ from my position on this issue would agree that we are not practicing solid exegesis if we form rigid views without addressing each of the texts that inform the issue. So lets do this right by applying a more comprehensive hermeneutic.
Recommended Reading: Why Do People Read The Bible
Build Up Train Up Send Out
Are we quite sure that all of these women Paul mentioned were completely restricted from preaching and teaching men and seen by him as disqualified as such by the created order? Are we really sure? Did Paul view these women as more corrupted by sin than their male counterparts? Is it possible that Paul was referring primarily to a few specific women from Ephesus in his letters to Timothy? Were the roles of pastor and preacher in the first century the same as we understand them today?
The topic is not nice and neat, and yet it need not be nearly so divisive. It is not a matter of if we are going to err we will err. We are erring. So why should we not choose to be less dogmatic about our views, and more committed to building up, training up, and sending out in the freedom that only Christ can give?
We can do this together, as brothers and sisters, leading and serving in the humility and generosity required for all who seek first his Kingdom and righteousness.
See BDAG , 890, which defines prophteu as in Acts 2:17 and 21:8-9 as meaning, to proclaim an inspired revelation.
Ibid., 543-44. Though this word is most often associated with “preaching” in a public setting, the NT does not always apply divine inspiration or even speaking by the Holy Spirit to kruss. On a few occasions this is used for making an official announcement or making a public declaration.
Source: Holman Bible Dictionary