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In 1 Corinthians 14:34 it says, "Let your women keep silence in the churches:.."  Does this mean that women shouldn't speak?  Was Paul prejudice toward women?

There are two questions here. The first is very clear and needs little or no explanation. The word "silence" is used eighteen times in this chapter and refers to "speech." They were not to speak in the gathering of the saints at a New Testament assembly. The reason for this was not because they were inferior in knowledge or wisdom, it was God's order in creation that man was to be the leader and not the woman.  She was to be in subjection. 1 Corinthians 14:34 also says, "...as also saith the law." This goes back to Genesis 3:16 as well as Genesis 2:18.

The old argument that this was only something confined to Corinth does not hold water. It says, "in the churches." It goes beyond the city of Corinth and was the standard in all the New Testament churches. "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection; But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." 1 Timothy 2:11-12. This verse is saying the same thing. It states in the next verse, the reason, "For Adam was first formed..."

As for the second question, Paul was not prejudice toward woman. He had some of them as "helpers in the gospel." (Philippians 4:3). He highly commends a sister named Phebe to the Romans. (Romans 16:1-2). There are roughly 25 or more people commended in this chapter and a large portion of them were women.

Dear reader, whether a woman should speak in church or not is not the important thing to you. The most important thing to you is: "Where will you be in eternity?" "Do you know Christ as your personal Saviour?"

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated March 9th, 2014 by Sandra Felix