The silence of women: 1Corinthians 14: 34


Stephen Gola, teacher of biblical subjects and preacher in the United States (Grace Centered Magazine), asserts:

When I realized what was the Bible clear on women in ministry, I was terribly and frighteningly hit. I thought "As we could not understand this truth?"I began to realize how easy it was not seize it: When we are taught to accept a "non-truth" by passing it for the truth of God, we become blind to the truth.

Stephen Gola
Stephen Gola

From the Bible there is always more to learn.

One of the verses that are used as evidence of women's silence is the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 14, verses 34 e 35:

As it is done in all churches of the saints, the women keep silence in the assemblies, because it is not permitted to speak; are submissive, as also saith the law.
If you want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.


We must understand the reason why Paul wrote this letter. This is essential to understand the meaning and context. to section 1 until the 4, the apostle writes on his ministry. from 5 al 6 He speaks of the things he had heard about the church in Corinth. But from chapter 7 al 14, Paul responds to the questions and statements that the Corinthians made in the letter that they sent him a moment before. Just take a look at the verses:

young couple conflict on isolated backgroundPaolo, a step at a time, He is responding to what the Corinthians had asked him about their concerns as concerned their church. In 1 Corinthians 12:1 Paul speaks of the spiritual gifts and says “Now concerning spiritual gifts…” and he states that "the manifestations of the Spirit are given to all men (male and female)” (to 7). Mentions various events including the Word of Wisdom, of knowledge, languages ​​and their interpretations. It gives greater emphasis to the word "all men, every man, each, all members of the church ", etc. In these cases, the Greek word for man or man means "the people", human, not only males, but both genders. The word all in greek means ALL, not half, not a number, not only males, but ALL!

Before going further we must make further clarifications:

  • First, the church is not made up of a building, but by the people of God as individuals, two or more, who meet to talk and pray, It does not matter where, this means "church" (ekklesia. "Congregation") see Colossesi 1:24 e 2 Corinthians 6:16.
  • Second thing, "There is neither male nor female (in the church): for you are all ONE in Jesus Christ (Galati 3:28).

The ironic fact is that Paul, who wrote these truths above, it seems to contradict 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, just a few verses above. The reason is that these statements 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 they did not come from Paul, he only quoted part of the letter that the Corinthians had written to him, and the listing of the Corinthians is what today we read as scripture. Paul says to the Corinthians saying how absurd their finding on the silence of women, In fact, after the listing of their letter, he says as reproach:

The word of God is perhaps PRECEDED BY YOU? Or is it to you just RECEIVED? (1Corinthians 14:36)

It is obvious that Paul was scolding the Corinthians for their claims, more so for the fact that the apostle would have cited the Law (... are submissive, as also saith the law) and a little’ unusual, as confirmation of its identification, and those who read the Word of God knows the story of Paul and how preach Grace. The women then, are the church with men, how he could say a moment ago, who can speak (prophesying and speaking in tongues) and then contradict himself after saying that they must be silent? So Paul says that the findings of the Corinthian church were not the Word of the Lord (1Corinthians 14:36) but only the result of their ignorance that they were preaching to people.


1Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote ... (He speaks of marriage for the whole chapter). Paul referred to a letter previously received by the Corinthians.
1Corinthians 8:1 As to meat sacrificed to idols Talk of the Christian freedom limits (1 Cor. 8:1-13) Reference to what they had said about the sacrifices.
1Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. (Also here it is obvious that it refers to something that had previously said).
to section 12 until the 14 He explains to the Corinthians spiritual gifts
Reference to what they had said about the spiritual gifts and admonition.
1Corinthians 14:34 As it is done in all churches of the saints, the women keep silence in the assemblies, because it is not permitted to speak; are submissive, as also saith the law.
1Corinthians 14:35 If you want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.
Listing of what they had said in their letter to the Corinthians.
1Corinthians 14:36The word of God out from you? Or is it unto you only?1Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1Corinthians 14:38 And if anyone is ignorant, ignore it.
Rebuke of Paul to the Corinthians about the earlier statement made by the Corinthians, they probably did not want their women speak in tongues. For Paul, previously, He tells them not to prevent anyone speaking in tongues (1Corinthians 14:39)

We know that 1 Corinthians 11 It has to do with men and women and their heads uncovered or covered, But it's not just this. Paul was laying the foundation for the conduct of the Corinthian church to show them how stupid they were to say that God wants "the women keep silence in the assemblies".

In 1 Corinthians 11:4 we note that Paul comes right to the head cover and says "Every man (literally greek male) who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head ". But in verse 5 says, "but EVERY WOMAN (literally female) who prays or prophesies without having his head covered dishonors his head ". To notice, then, that women prophesying and praying! The entire section of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 states that women (in their culture) when they pray or prophesy in church, They must have his head covered, NOT that should not pray or prophesy about nothing.

Jesus and the Samaritan woman
Jesus and the Samaritan woman

The apostle then speaks of spiritual gifts 1 Corinthians 12. Note that "the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, speaking in tongues and interpretation "all require TALK, speak in church, and talk is for all, both men and women. "But all these worketh that one and the same Spirit, dividing to EACH severally as he will "both male and female. (v11)

This, then, It can be a possible translation of 1 Corinthians 12:15-27:

I say to the male member who teaches, He speaks in tongues, It gives the word of wisdom and knowledge, He can not tell the female member "You can not do the same thing I'm doing".

As soon as Paul ends by saying that the body of Christ is ONE (which means that no one is excluded give gifts of the spirit, calls and the ministries of God) then he says that "God distributes the gifts to each one individually as he wills" someone who? men? No, members of the body of Christ, because "there is neither male nor female" (Galati 3:28) when it comes to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers, receive the gifts of the Spirit, work miracles, conversioni, or anything else in Christ (v. Corinthians 12:28-31).

then in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul explains how to understand the gifts of the Spirit. Just get to 1 Corinthians 14 It focuses on "speaking in tongues" and "speaking in tongues" (they are different). in verse 4 He says that "He who speaks in a tongue BUILDS THE CHURCH; but he who prophesies edifies the church ". Now, Also a woman who prophesies then the gift to build the church, made by males and females. An important role. in verse 23 says, "If therefore the whole church gathers, all speak with other languages ​​and there come in unlearned or unbelievers, will they not say that you are crazy?"And continues in the verses 24-26 "But if ALL prophesy ..." (males and females) "... You do everything for the building".

It is therefore the undisputed fact that the woman also, as the man, the church can build up other believers, both male and female.

In 1 Corinthians 14:27-31 Paul sets the rules for the "speak in the church":

  • If anyone speaks in a tongue (both male and female)…
  • If there is no interpreter (Boys or girls)
  • silent in the assembly and speak to themselves and to God.
  • Even the prophets (males and females) speak two or three and the other (males and females) judge.
  • If a revelation is made to another that sitteth (male or female)
  • the previous accusation.
  • In fact ALL (males and females) You can prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be.

We must therefore realize that it does not matter if you are male or female in the church of Christ with regard to work the things which concern the Lord.

The rebuke of Paul to the Corinthians

Paul establishes, in his letter to section 11 al 14, that there are no differences between men and women in the church of Christ. Indeed, before rebuke, his preface was:

For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. 1Corinthians 14:33

Then in verse 34-35 He repeats what he wrote the Corinthians:

As it is done in all churches of the saints, the women keep silence in the assemblies, because it is not permitted to speak; are submissive, as also saith the law.
If you want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church. 1Corinthians 14:34-35

Immediately after writing this, It follows the rebuke:

The word of God out from you? Or is it unto you only? 1Corinthians 14:36

As we would say today, "What? You are crazy? Think you know the Word of God? Do come to you?”

Wanting to understand that the fact that they thought that women should keep silent in church star is not from God but from their doctrines.

It continues the reproach:

If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. And if anyone is ignorant (the person who wrote these things in the letter), ignore it. 1Corinthians 14:37-38

Paul ends the letter urging again the Corinthians not to prevent (to women) speaking in tongues and prophesying:

Therefore, brothers, the desired profetare, and do not forbid speaking in tongues 1Corinthians 14:39

What we understand from this reproach? Is it possible that no one has ever paid attention to the words of Paul? Too taken by prejudice against women, as were the Corinthians at the time, who he had assumed the content, too machismo that has been put in the mouth of Paul's words that he had said and that are not from God.

Besides Paul can not contradict and say, before, that women can prophesy and speak, and the next moment you have to be silent.


Because the apostles were men?

Is simple. Because the Lord always based something beginning with man (on the one hand it has to start!):

  • The creation of the human race, with raw person, a man.
  • The founding of the nation of Israel, i 12 sons of Jacob.
  • The foundation of the Church, i 12 male apostles.
  • The first marriage, Adamo (and then he created Eve)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ (groom) at the head of the Church (the bride).

God uses ALWAYS males first when establishing a new foundation, POI women and children are added as he wants:

  • God said to the human race, after the first man, a woman, then the children.
  • to 12 sons of Jacob, their wives, and then their children, males and females.
  • After the founding of the church with 12 apostoli, God said and continues to add both male and female.
  • He created Adam first, then Eve.
  • And finally, the Lord Jesus Christ the groom first, and then the bride, the church.

There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female:; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galati 3:28

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