2Our traditional Christadelphian approach to understanding a Bible passage is to: Look at what the text is saying, Place it in the CONTEXT of where it’s found, Then in the broader context of the rest of the Bible, Then take into account what is known of the period when it was written. Then apply the principle today. I believe this approach is correct.
3We have always applied this approach to the verses which seem, at face value, to support the Trinity, or a personal devil. But we don’t apply this method when studying the apparent command for the silence of women in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2.
4SAMPLE OF VERSES WE DON’T TAKE AT FACE VALUE TRINITY DEVIL/SATAN John 3:13 He that came down from heaven... John 6:33 The bread which came down from heaven... John 6:62 Ascend up where He was before... John 8:23 I am from above... John 8:58 Before Abraham was, I am John 10:30 I and my Father are one John 20:28 (spoken to Jesus) My Lord and my God. Romans 9:5 The human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all... Hebrews 1:2 He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds... Hebrews 1:10-12 To the Son He says... “ You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth.” 180 examples in Wrested Scriptures covering about 30 topics of confusing verses. Job 1:6 Satan also came among them... Isaiah 14:12 Lucifer fallen from heaven... Matt. 4:1-11 Jesus tempted of the devil Luke 10:18 Satan as lightning fall from heaven... Luke 22:3 Satan entered Judas Luke 22:31 Satan has desired to have you John 12:31 The prince of this world... John 13:2 The devil put into the heart of Judas John 13:27 Satan entered him 2 Cor. 11:14 Satan transformed into an angel of light... James 2:19 Demons believe and tremble... 1 Peter 5:8 Your adversary the devil... Jude 9 Michael contending with the devil Rev. 12:7-9 There was war in heaven...
5VERSES WHICH APPEAR TO COMMAND FOUR VERSES IN TWO PASSAGES BY PAUL THE SILENCE OF WOMEN1 Tim. 2:11-121 Cor. 14:34-35FOUR VERSES IN TWO PASSAGES BY PAUL
6Yet there are the equivalent of a couple of chapters which contradict this idea and teach that women DID and SHOULD, speak, pray and teach.Both common sense and Christadelphian tradition say go with the majority of passages and doubt the face value of the minority. This principle has been applied to other issues but ignored for this one.
7Old Testament - WOMEN WHO SPOKE Not as many as men, but enough to show that they had God’s approval MiriamDeborahAbigailThe first prophetess mentioned and she had a leadership role.Gave wise instruction to David. She opposed her husband’s orders. David“I sent Moses to LEAD you, also Aaron and Miriam.”said to her, “The God of Israel has sent you...I have hearkened to your voice.” 1 Samuel 25:35Micah 6:4Words of WomenDeborah judged Israel and was a prophetess and leader. She did not defer to her husband Lapidoth in silence, she gave orders to the commander of the army. She gave judgement – obviously spoken – to the people. She had God’s approval. Judges 4:5The prayer of Hannah (1 Sam. 2) is recorded for our learning. It pointed to Jesus and was picked up by Mary a millennium later and quoted in her song of praise (Luke 1:46-55). God made sure their words were heard ever after.HuldahAnother prophetess. The most influential men in the land came to her to enquire of God. She told them God’s message. 2 Kings 22:14
8RUTH ESTHER The words and actions of Esther organised a fast and GAVE Ruth have spoken through the ages INSTRUCTION for all the Jews living inas part of scripture - and not only was Susa “Don’t eat or drink for three days.”she a woman but a Moabitess! It was because Esther DIDN’T KEEPGod caused the words of many women SILENT that she is an example to us.to be recorded for our learning and “If you remain silent at this time reliefto be read out loud in synagogues and and deliverance for the Jews willchurches, but woe betide the woman arise from another place.” Esther 4:15-16who reads them out Esther put her life on the line by speaking out.“Where you go I will go, and where you stay Iwill stay. Your people will be my people andyour God my God. Where you die I will die,and there I will be buried. May the LORD dealwith me, be it ever so severely, if even deathseparates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
9The Perfect Woman of Proverbs 31 The description of the woman in Proverbs 31 is another chapter of the Bible which came from a woman.Verse 1 “The sayings of King Lemuel — an inspired utterance his mother taught him.”The woman in this chapter mixes with the household, servants, traders, the poor and needy and in verse 26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”She imparts both wisdom and kindness in her teaching, to all she meets.
10WHY NOT MORE WOMEN? Apart from women having the care of the children – Under the Law regulations to do with having children madewomen unclean for long periods.If she had a son she was unclean for forty days.If she had a daughter she was unclean for eighty days.Every month she was unclean for 7 days and then had to wait another 7 days to be ceremonially clean. Anyone who touched her was unclean until evening. No wonder women weren’t priests. No wonder Jesus didn’t send women out in a culture where people wouldn't have accepted them.But this whole way of thinking was changed. Peter was told by God“What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Acts 11:9Not only animals were cleansed, so were women. In Christ women were given a new freedom. Their blood had made them unclean for so long, but the blood of Jesus cleansed them. Jesus was born of a woman and His death gave life and cleansing to them. His first miracle turned the water in the purification jars into wine – symbol of His death cleansing us from sin. The water would no longer be needed for purification.
11MISHNAH/TALMUD SAYINGS By the time of Jesus, it was the oral laws of the Jews, not theOld Testament teaching, which demanded women to be silent.It was traditions of men which silenced women, not commands from God.MISHNAH/TALMUD SAYINGS“Out of respect to the congregation, a woman should not herself read in the law.”“It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men.”“The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness.”These are some, out of many, of the Jewishsayings.Josephus summed them up:“Thus says the scripture, a woman is inferiorto her husband in all things.”No such verses exist in the Old Testament. In theory a woman could read in thesynagogue, but in practice it was considereda disgrace.
12JESUS and WOMENJesus didn’t tell women they must be silent – He surprised his disciples by going against the traditions of men where women were concerned. According to the law the woman caught in adultery should be stoned. Jesus set her free. According to the law the woman with the flow of blood for twelve years was unclean, also anyone she touched – Jesus healed her, not bothered by her ‘unclean’ touch. If there were a law that women should have their hair covered, then surely being in the presence of Jesus would be the time for it – but Jesus let a sinful woman wipe his feet with her hair. Some Rabbis regarded women as unworthy of spiritual instruction – Jesus taught men and women. When Jesus said to the Syro-Phonecian woman, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs” – I don’t believe Jesus was calling her a dog I believe he was voicing the hidden prejudices of the disciples – saying out loud what they were thinking – Jesus regarded her as a faithful woman. In John 4 Jesus not only taught spiritual truths to a Samaritan woman at the well, but many came to believe because of the words she spoke (John 4:39). In Luke 8 he was accompanied by women as He preached the gospel. “The Twelve accompanied him, and also some women.” It was women who stood at the cross when others had fled. It was a woman who anointed Jesus for His death. According to tradition women weren’t accepted as witnesses. But it was women who were chosen as the first to witness the resurrection (the men didn’t believe them). “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven ... he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those (women) who had seen him after he had risen” ( Mark 16:14).
13FREEDOM IN CHRISTThe New Testament demonstrates and supports women’s active participation in spoken ecclesial activities – alongside the men.Acts 2 states “All received the holy spirit, all spokein tongues”.Peter explained that this was a fulfilment of Joel 2“your sons and DAUGHTERS shall prophesy”.Other women are mentioned in passing inactive roles.Phoebe was a servant/deacon of the church in Cenchrea in Romans 16:1-2. Priscilla and her husband taught others and opened their home to them. “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”Acts 18:26, 1 Cor. 16:9
14in Corinthians and Timothy the silence of women in the church? But what of the two passagesin Corinthians and Timothywhich seem to supportthe silence of women in the church?
151 Corinthians 14“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.” This is very strong language –but is Paul giving this as a command?Or could there be another explanation?
16LETS KEEP IN MIND WHAT the text is saying IT WAS WRITTEN The CONTEXT of where it’s foundThe BROADER CONTEXTof the rest of the BibleWhat is known of the PERIOD WHENIT WAS WRITTEN
17CONTEXT within 1 Corinthians Paul is answering questions and dealing with problems.He doesn’t expect women to be silent because –1 Cor. 11 discusses what men and WOMEN will wear when PRAYING AND PROPHESYING– both spoken activities.1 Cor – discusses prophesying further and addresses both men and WOMEN.1 Cor. 12:1 – addresses all the ecclesia: “brothers and sisters (adelphoi, NIV 2010)”1 Cor. 12:27 – “you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”1 Cor. 14:1 – they are to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy”1 Cor. 14:5 – “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy”.1 Cor. 14:26 – “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction,a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.” – Each of these is a spoken activity.Where did they get this practice from? – Paul had started the ecclesia in Corinth(Acts 18) and stayed over a year. – The IMMEDIATE CONTEXT is that Paulapproved and encouraged both men and women speaking in the ecclesial meetings.WIDER CONTEXT – Women spoke, judged, prophesied, led.
18MAKING SENSE OF IT QUOTATION 1 Cor. 14: can’t be saying the opposite of what is established bythe immediate and broader context of the Bible.SO HOW DO WE EXPLAIN IT? – There are several possible answers.QUOTATION1 Cor. 7:1 – "Now for the matters you wrote about”.We know that the "difficult passage" (1Cor.14:34,35) is in reply to the report Paul has received of disorder during worship. The disadvantage is that we have Paul's answers but we don't have the questions. It’s not always clear when Paul is quoting what has been sent to him, and when he is replying to it.It would be clearer if quotation marks were added.To give an example – 1 Cor. 10:22-23The NIV inserts quotation marks to make what is being quoted clearer –“Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are westronger than he? ‘I have the right to do anything,’you say – but not everything is beneficial.‘I have the right to do anything’ – but not everythingis constructive.”Other versions don’t have the quotation marks.
19QUOTATIONIf we understand that in 1 Cor. 14 Paul is QUOTING ideas thatare causing trouble... then saying “What rubbish!”, followed by a very definite dismissal of such ideas which are so opposed to his teaching and practice, it all makes sense. The KJV and RSV use the word “What” as an exclamation. It's the point at which the quote ends and Paul gives his opinion. Note: Quoted part (RSV) in red – to which Paul is replying – Paul’s words in blue. 32”And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. (Wives may be subject to husbands, but those who prophesy – male or female – are subject to the other prophets and have to wait their orderly turn to speak) 33For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (Change of pace as Paul quotes the idea causing trouble) As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 35If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for women to speak in church”. 36What? (What nonsense!) Did the word of God originate with you? (the men saying a woman’s voice shouldn’t be heard) or are you the only ones it has reached? (the men thinking the word of God can only be spoken by them – Paul is saying it’s for all – men and women alike).Q
20“sisters, be eager to prophesy” (v39) CONTRADICTS 37If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.” (the things Paul writes about prophets being subject to prophets and doing things in an orderly manner).In verses Paul again says that both men and WOMEN are to speak in church:“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”When Paul says “in a fitting and orderly way”, he means that both brothers and sisters should speak in the meeting, but one at a time and in a way which shows respect for one another. So 1 Cor. 14:35-35 can’t be saying that women shouldn’t speak or he contradicts himself“sisters, be eager to prophesy” (v39)CONTRADICTS“they are not permitted to speak” (v34)-
21“your desire will be to your husband, and he will rule over you” “For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says” 1Cor 14:34If you try and take these words at face value then where in the law can you find them? The traditional view is that Paul is referring to Gen. 3:16“your desire will be to your husband, and he will rule over you”I don’t believe Paul was quoting this verse but was quoting the teaching of the Rabbis who misunderstood it and had made their own laws surrounding it.I believe that Gen. 3:16 is a statement that men would dominate women. It doesn’t mean it was right – nowhere in the Bible is this verse quoted with approval.Another example from Eden – the serpent struck the seed of the woman.“He will crush your head and you will strike His Heel”. We don’t say itwas right that the serpent struck the heel of Jesus - we say it was aprophecy of the future. It was NOT right or just – therefore the gravecould not hold Him. Statements of future events don’t necessarilyendorse them - they state what is going to happen.FACT – Women have been dominated by men.
22IN CHRIST WE ARE SET FREE Why would Paul refer back to the law to keep women silent (if there were such a law) when he consistently says thatIN CHRIST WE ARE SET FREEand we areNO LONGER UNDER THE LAW?Romans 6:14“For sin shall no longer be your master,because you are not under the law, butunder grace.”Galatians 4:5“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born underthe law, to redeem those under the law.”
23SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE FROM HUSBAND OR GOD SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE FROM HUSBAND OR GOD? I refer here to the research of Lisa Thatcher – ‘Katherine C. Bushnell says that a more accurate translation of Gen. 3:16 would be, “Thou art turning away to thy husband, and he will rule over thee.” She notes that the word teshuqah is the same one found in Genesis 4:7 and Song of Solomon 7:10. The word does not connote sexual attraction or lust as so many have interpreted it; she cites numerous ancient sources to show that it was understood to mean that Eve turned away from God to form an alliance with her husband. Thus God warned Eve that if she turned from God to her husband, she would not find the companionship she sought but one who would dominate her.’ In other words, God’s message was a warning to Eve that if she turned to her husband instead of turning to God, her husband would dominate and control her. She was not to turn from God to her husband ever again. It is interesting that this is how the LXX (Septuagint, the Greek version of the OT regularly quoted by writers in the NT) translates it: “Your turning shall be to your husband and he will rule over you.” It is never cited in the Bible as something good!It doesn’t make sense that women shouldn’t speak but must ask their husbands at home. What if he is less knowing than she is? What about Abigail married to Nabal? We know the consequences for Saphira when she turned to her husband. If women don’t have to think for themselves but ask their husbands then it takes away their responsibility – and their relationship with God. It’s an imperfect world. What if a woman has several husbands who divorce her? You can’t count on a husband being your source of spiritual guidance. That was the message to the Samaritan woman, she would find guidance in Jesus.
24– Written by Paul in a completely Other possibilities have been put forward to explain the inconsistent verses of 1 Cor. 14BUT WHETHER– Quotation– Interpolation– Wives ChatteringOR– Written by Paul in a completelydifferent contextTHE CONTEXT – both immediate and after– and of the Bible message as a whole– prevents us from simply taking these verses at face valueand out of their context.
25What of the verses in 1 Timothy 2:11-15? “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.”Consider the CONTEXT of 1 Timothy. Paul was giving advice for BEHAVIOUR andwarning against FALSE TEACHING (1Tim.1:3). “Silence” in verse 12 does not necessarily mean ‘without sound’. It is the Greek work hesychia, carrying the idea of quietness – as in a “quiet and peaceable life” (1 Tim 2:2).
26LOCAL PROBLEMSPaul told Timothy “stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths.” (1 Tim. 1:3)1 Tim. 5: gives a clue that false doctrines were being spread by women, and their behaviour was not right.“But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.”So it seems that there was a problem with the younger widowsbeing deceived by Satan, or wrong teachings and wrong behaviour.Paul’s reference to “Satan” is another link to Eve being deceived bythe serpent (Satan) and the younger widows being led astray.Paul’s advice was for a specific group. Not all young widowshave these character flaws. It was advice for those particular widows.Anna had been a young widow – she wasn’t silenced or told to re-marry. She spent her life in worship in the temple. She was a prophetess and spoke to “ALL (men and women) who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem”. The instructions in 1 Timothy are another example of Paul’s advice for a local situation not applying in a broader context....cont
27BOSSY WOMENWhen Paul speaks of not permitting a woman to exercise “authority” over a man in 1 Tim.2:12, the word he uses only occurs once in the Bible. There is debate whether it means “exercise authority”, “assume authority” or “exercise a dominating authority”.The idea in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 seems to be that Paul was speaking about women who had gone too far. They were dominating the men and were in doctrinal error, going after Satan, being deceived and not behaving as Christians.Paul’s point here seems to be that women with wrong doctrine are not to take control and dominate the men.POINTSWe need to understand the CONTEXT of Paul’s advice.Women who still needed to learn and had been deceivedby false teaching were trying to teach men.We can’t deduce from this that women are more easilydeceived than men – it was advice for the local context,not a rule for all time.
28PAUL’S REAL POINTIn Eden, Eve was deceived by the serpent and transgressed. In Ephesus some womenwere deceived by false teachers, and for this reason they transgressed.In 1 Timothy 2:14 the emphasis is on thefact that Eve was deceived not Adam.It reveals the context in which the letter was written.i.e. women are the ones who were causing the troubleby being taken in by false doctrine and by being vocal.In l Timothy, as in many other places, Paul is addressinga specific situation.In Timothy Paul compares the WOMEN being deceived to Eve being deceived, but in2 Cor. 11:3 he addresses both MEN AND WOMEN and says the same thing.“I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”– same argument, but this time applies it to men as well, to ALL in the church at Corinth.
29ORDER OF CREATIONMuch has been made of Eve’s creation, made second. Even more has been made of her being the first to sin (though Paul never said that).Paul’s reference to Eve being deceived was in the context of women in Ephesus being led to wrong doctrine – not a statement of her sin being greater than Adam’s.Paul’s reference to Adam being made first was to counter the women trying to dominate the men. It was not a statement that men should dominate women.The order of creation isn’t the point! Man was made after the animals yet had authority over them. Jesus was made after Adam yet is greater. Jesus turned the order of everything around. He washed the disciples feet and explained the least is the greatest.Man being the head of woman is not an excuse to dominate her, but is in the context of cherishing and loving her as his own flesh and applies to husbands and wives. It is not stated in this context that she should be silent. Christ is the head of man but that does not mean that men should be silent.
30LOGIC Paul wasn’t saying women were not to When we consider the message of the Bible as a whole, andaren’t misled by the face value of two passages –then it’s apparent that in 1 Timothy Paul was not tellingwomen for all time that they could not speak, but was givingadvice to Timothy as to how to deal with a specific local problem.Likewise 1 Cor. 14 can’t contradict the advice Paul has alreadygiven to the contrary.Paul wasn’t saying women were not tospeak, rather he gave advice aboutthe manner in which they should.
31MODERN DAY EXAMPLESSister Ludmila C in Ukraine preached to everyone she knew through her pet food kiosk. Many of her clients and their families were baptised, both men and women. Ludmila taught them in her home, and eventually about fifty people were baptised in her town due to her work. All were happy being taught by her before and after their baptisms.Sister Ludmila K in Kazakhstan and Russia did the same - but on an even bigger scale. She taught and baptized over three hundred people in the small towns where she had worked as a factory manageress. In her retirement, she went to all the people who had ever worked under her and told them the good news of the Kingdom. She used to run three breaking of bread meetings per Sunday in her home, as there wasn't enough room to fit everyone. To quote Brother Duncan Heaster“she was one of the most dynamic preachers of the Gospel we have known in this generation”.
33We should follow the biblical doctrine and practice of "all one in Christ"not traditions of men.“To all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1Robin JonesThanks to Ted Russell, Lisa Thatcher, Peter Baylisand Ian & Averil McHaffie for their ideas and research, and to those who have offered helpful comments on my previous versions of this PowerPoint.