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Women Shall Not Speak

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by beastmaster, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. beastmaster

    beastmaster Newbie

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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][/FONT]
    "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." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)


    In his letter to the Corinthians Paul makes clear and delineates the importance of woman recognizing her place. However, I've visited several churches of different denominations which allow women to orate despite this passage. How do Christians reconcile this?
     
  2. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Because its out of context. In the very same letter Paul talks about how women praying or prophesizing in church must have her head covered.

    Paul's letters are full of women in leadership.
    Jesus approves Mary of Bethany in the role of apprentice Rabbi. God chooses Mary of Magdala to be the first witness and first announcer to the most important event in the history of the world. Acts describes Saul as off to Damascus to arrest men and women - absurd unless women were prominent leaders in the movement and widely known as such. The first evangelist in John's gospel is "Photini" (the Samaritan woman at the well).

    Paul's letters are not collections of context-free isolated absolute instructions but occasional letters to specific issues in specific congregations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  3. Cuddles222

    Cuddles222 Newbie

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    Many churches let women speak in the assembly, become teachers, and become Pastors, because they find that the 2 passages of scripture (1Cor.14:34-35) & (1Tim.2:11-12) are culture based. They are not intended to be applied today.
     
  4. beastmaster

    beastmaster Newbie

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    Some Christians will object to this and say it's out of context, but I disagree. There is nothing in the context that changes the meaning of the excerpt. In order to take something "out of context," portions of the excerpt must be removed to change the meaning. If it means the same thing no matter how much "context" one has, it's not out of context. Ergo, not out-of-context. What does the letter go on to say that nullifies (not only contradicts) this specific passage? Why is it included in the first place? The verse is clear and self-contained.

    Btw, several churches do require women to cover their heads during service
     
  5. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Paul's letters (ephesians excepted) are written to contexts that we don't know (except for what we can infer from the letter and what we know about the city in question).

    We do know this can't be the absolute statement it might appear to be divorced from what he says in this letter elsewhere, his other letters, the gospels and Acts.

    This one is hard to know exactly what is going on, but the one similar passage in the letter to Timothy is easier - Timothy is overseeing Ephesus, home of the Artimus cult. What Paul is speaking against there is not women leaders but women taking over to the exclusion of men, which would be a real danger in that city.


    But the passage is about coving their heads when they pray or prophesize. Ie when they speak/lead in church. so they must be legitimately doing that. What Paul must be doing in the passage you quote is not forbidding all speaking by women in church or he'd be contradicting what he said earlier! He must be addressing some particular inappropriate talking in church. (quite believable from my experience of many congregations).
     
  6. Radagast

    Radagast has left CF

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    For that reason, there are a number of different interpretations of the passage.
     
  7. Publius

    Publius Guest

    What's to reconcile? Just because the Bible says something doesn't mean everybody's going to follow it.
     
  8. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran CF Ambassador

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    In this case I think the context is fairly clear. From Paul's recommendation -- that they ask their questions at home -- it sure looks like they were asking their husbands questions in church. This would be disruptive. There's no reason to think that this was about women speaking in an authorized way as part of the service.

    What I find weird is that literalists don't take it literally. Few people actually say that women have to remain absolutely quiet. As far as I know, all churches allow them to talk to their husbands. So they ignore the literal meaning, but instead make it about women being ordained leaders, which the passage says nothing about. This is literal interpretation? Huh?
     
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