Tag Archives: 1 corinthians 14

“For it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church”: Reexamining 1 Corinthians 14

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been studying the issue of women in the church for a number of weeks now. Below is part 1 of a presentation on women in the assembly dealing with a difficult text from 1 Corinthians 14:

1 Corinthians 14:33b-35
33b   As in all the congregations of the saints,
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.
(NIV)

One of the things that complicates this passage is the fact that three chapters previous women were given Paul’s blessing to pray and prophesy in the assembly as long as it was done respectfully. Regardless, this scripture coupled with 1 Timothy 2 has for years been used as a proof-text to justify the nearly full ban of women participating in the worship assemblies of conservative churches.

How could Paul give a blessing to women praying and prophesying in the assembly, then turn around and tell them it’s not okay after all? Either Paul is fickle on this issue, or we’ve missed something in this letter. I propose the latter.

Here’s the lesson:

Feedback is welcomed.

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