Should Women Be Silent In Church?

In recent months I’ve seen teaching online telling the people of God that Paul wanted women silent in church, and were not permitted to teach. Today, I want to reexamine scripture, dig a little deeper, and together discern what it really means in relation to this controversial subject.

In truth, some versions of the Bible make it appear this is actually Paul’s mandate. However, my challenge to everyone reading is this: those who would teach the word of God need to be smarter than to simply trust one version of the Bible without going any further.

Teachers must 1) have access to original languages and, 2) have at least basic knowledge of how to research those languages in order to more fully comprehend the meaning of passages in Scripture.

I’m going to demonstrate for you today how two passages in the New Testament have been used to silence women in the church erroneously.

First, a wee bit of Biblical history.

In ancient Israel, there were two female prophets to the nation of Israel: Deborah (wife of Lapidoth, Judges 4:4) and Anna (daughter of Phanuel, tribe of Asher, according to Luke 2:36). As did the male prophets to God’s nation, they spoke God’s direct word to His people.

In the New Testament, Peter records in Acts 21:9 that Phillip of Caesarea, a member of Paul’s missionary team, had four daughters with the gift of prophecy. Wow!

Between you and me, I’m not sure I would want to live in a household with not just one, but four insightful and outspoken women, but God bless Phillip of Caesarea for raising and nurturing such godly women in early church leadership!

Let’s get to the heart of it. If God gave a woman the gift of prophecy, and by Biblical record we know He did, is she to use it differently than a man? Perhaps only for her personal edification, while men are permitted to speak it everywhere?

According to Paul, the purpose of prophecy given by the Holy Spirit is for proclamation, for teaching, comfort, and edification, to name a few.

1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But he that prophesies speaks for edification, and exhortation…” But what about, she?

1 Corinthians 14:29-38
29-30 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other discern their words. If anything be revealed to another nearby, let the first hold his peace.
31 For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32-33 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36 What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come to you only?
37-38 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

In the 1 Corinthians 14 passage above, Paul laid out the rules for prophecy in the church, and declared blatantly in verse 31, “ALL may prophesy, that ALL may learn, and ALL may be comforted.”

You can then practically hear his air quotes around verses 34-35, “let a woman keep silent, it is a shame for a woman to speak,” because in the verse immediately following, he challenges, “What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come to you only?”

The obvious answer to these rhetorical questions was, “No!”

Think for a minute. How did gospel writer, John, identify “the word” from the very start of his book? “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

Readers, the word of God is Jesus! So, when Paul was asking his audience, “Did the word of God come out from you?”, he was reminding them a woman literally ushered the word into the world when Mary birthed Jesus. And, the gift of Jesus, i.e., the Word, was given for all people, not just men! And all who receive Him/the Word are called to proclaim it!

Therefore, ALL prophets may speak, so long as it is done in an orderly fashion. In other words, be gentlemen and ladies… no shouting down everyone else around you just to be heard.

To recap, all prophets, male and female, are to speak what the Holy Spirit reveals to them for the benefit of the family of God.

We’ve just been reminded of at least six women in the Bible who had the gift of prophecy. Six women who SPOKE what the Spirit told them in order to edify the people of God.

These two verses, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which some have erroneously used to silence women in church, are within the context of a passage where Paul is saying the opposite! He is actually saying this thinking is preposterous…

Note that when Paul spoke in verse 34, “Let a women keep silent…” he also reminded his audience this thinking was connected to old law: “as also says the law.”

The very thing Paul hit so hard in Galatians, Hebrews, and more, is the fact we are no longer under the law. See verses here on this very subject which hit the ball out of the park!

The Law
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13)

If you are led of the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:18)

The law is weak, useless and makes nothing perfect. (Hebrews 7:18-19)

God has found fault with (the law) and created a better covenant, enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:7-8)

(The law) is obsolete. (Hebrews 8:13)

So, again, did Paul contradict himself in basically saying, we are not under the law and all can prophesy, however women given the gift of prophecy cannot prophesy and are under the law?

No, of course not, to even suggest it sounds crazy. He does not contradict himself. Therefore, it is those misunderstood verses which are the contradiction to the rest of Scriptural teaching on prophecy and speaking, and we must correct our interpretation of them.

Paul was quoting the old thinking about women in silence in order to challenge it with the truth that ALL may prophesy! Men. Women. Children! Whoever receives the word of the Lord is expected to proclaim it!

Sadly, this teaching will continue to be used erroneously by a few, and Paul ends in verse 38 by saying, “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

But, we do not have to continue in ignorance, so I pray all reading today who have previously used or taught this passage wrongly will receive the truth.

1 Timothy 2:11-12

In 1 Timothy 2, we find another controversial passage many have used to prevent women from ever teaching in church. But, with closer examination, the real truth of the passage comes out.

First, let’s read the King James, since that is one of the main versions causing confusion:

1 Timothy 2:11-12 “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.”

The King James Version clouds this Pauline address heavily, but a closer review and deep dive into original language reveals Paul was actually addressing wives and husbands and their home relationship. And it isn’t quite as harsh as the KJV makes it sound. Let’s take a look.

Read with me the same passage in a more literal version (Young’s):

1 Timothy 2:11-12 “Let a woman in quietness learn in all subjection, and a woman I do not suffer to teach, nor to rule a husband, but to be in quietness.”

When you study the original language (Strong’s Bible dictionaries allow easy deep-diving into nearly every word of Scripture), Paul was literally saying, the wife is not to take a posture of issuing orders to her husband and take away his God-given authority in the home. Rather, she is to have a spirit of gentleness and respect in her marriage, the kind of behavior that does not bustle about, meddle with everything he (or anyone else) does and boss people around.

Paul admonishes in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

When a wife steals her husband’s ‘headship’, she is symbolically and spiritually cutting off the head of Christ over her home! Wives, spouses, must learn to live together with respect, and take comfort, we are in the best company: Christ demonstrated this very attitude in relationship with His Father!

Wives, it is our calling to live in peace within the God-designed structure of our marriage, neither as a bossy tyrant nor as an obedient doormat. But rather as a mature woman of God who tenderly nurtures respect in her marriage.

And a wise husband will lean on his wife’s wisdom, her prayers and counsel, and not ‘lord it over her’ in a spirit of harshness either.

Ephesians 5:21 instructs that all in the family of God are to be ‘subject to one another in the fear of God’. This is not exempt in the home. Husbands and wives are also to subject themselves one to another. It is a position of respect and gentleness.

However, reading further in the Ephesians 5 passage, there is a special respect required of wives in the home to their husbands, and an extra charge to the husbands to love their wives sacrificially.

I am admittedly reading between the lines in saying that perhaps the Ephesian women were extra strong-minded (aka, bossy and controlling), and Paul felt the need to call this out in his letter. As we all understand, in the presence of controlling people, we often find ourselves struggling to love instead of react. So, the Ephesian men would have needed that extra push to remember to love sacrificially, as Christ did for all of us!

The bottom line for the home, in proper authority (him under Christ and her under her husband AND Christ), showing gentleness and respect to each other, husbands and wives make a formidable team to raise healthy and stable children and impact their world for the kingdom of God.

To wrap, and returning to women in the church once more, women were clearly given the gift of prophecy in the Bible, and per Paul, all prophets are to speak! Even in the old covenant, they still had female prophets who were anointed, entrusted with great spiritual authority in God’s family!

No need to silence or shun ladies from teaching, just do things in order as expected of everyone, and ladies, take care not to ‘lord’ it over your husbands. Respect and humility are always the best path to a healthy and loving relationship. And, in truth, that goes both ways.

May God bless and transform His people with truth.

The Bridegroom

Before the time of Christ, the leaders of Jerusalem and Israel were expecting a conquering King to rise up for the nation, to make it great again. They did not get what they expected.

Those who know Old Testament prophecy may remember the prophet, Isaiah, had centuries before the time of Christ proclaimed that the people of God, after the sacrificial work of a wonderful Redeemer, would be called Bride! 

ISA 49.18 …[As] I live, says the LORD, you shall surely clothe yourself with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them [on you], as a bride.

ISA 62.5 …[as] the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, [so] shall your God rejoice over you.

Several centuries later, John the Baptist and prophet, preached the coming of Jesus just before He began His earthly ministry. John also identified Jesus as the Bridegroom, and himself as the friend who rejoices with the Bridegroom.

JOH 3.28-29 …I am not the Christ, but I am sent before Him. He that has the bride is the Bridegroom: but the friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice: by this my joy is fulfilled.

When Jesus the Messiah came to earth as flesh and blood, He came not to govern one nation, but to love and win hearts of all on earth who would love Him in return. He came as a Bridegroom to restore the heart and family of God – Israel of God – to Himself. 

It is worth a mention, however, that the protective blessing of national greatness, by lesson of history, is a byproduct of purity and faithfulness of the people to God.

Friends, our Bridegroom has arisen and His heart is on His sleeve. He gave His life to know, love and be loved. Jesus calls all who will listen to His voice, “Trust Me, will you place your hand in mine, and become part of my beloved family, Israel?”

Trust the Bridegroom… and know the rewards of being the bride are eternal!

Day of the Cross

Good Friday. It is the day of the cross. Those who celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ remember this day as the day He hung on the cross for our sins nearly 2000 years ago.

For Jesus, it was the worst day of His human life. A day of torment, utter agony and humiliation. He could have stopped it with a word, but He chose to give His life out of love for us.

Sacrifice to end all sacrifices, atonement purchased for humans with God. If they would only trust Him.

He identified Himself as one with God and as the only way to God. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

His life, every word and deed, proved this to be true. He was the culmination of every Old Testament prophecy.

The prophets centuries before all foretold a myriad of details about the One who would come, His life, what His death would be like, what it would accomplish. He fulfilled them all, 100%.

For just a taste of Biblical prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, check out this article on cbn.com. There are many additional articles available with a quick search online.

Once you believe Christ was the prophesied One, God Himself come to earth to give His life for us, the next step is to admit you need Him, and to trust His sacrifice was enough. It does not matter how bad your life has been, if you believe Christ and trust His death on the cross covers you, God says you belong to Him.

There have been some teachers who have said all anyone has to do is “believe” to be God’s child. They quote John 3:16 in the most popular English translations of the Bible, “whoever believes on Him will not perish…”

But the Greek from which the English translations came reveals more than simple belief. The definition of the word English translators changed to believe is actually “have faith in, or trust”. It is more than head knowledge, it is a giving of mind and heart.

For those who have struggled their entire lives to trust another, this is a big step of faith, isn’t it? On the testimony of many humans who lived thousands of years ago, to trust a man claiming to be God. Believing that faith in Him, that His death was for you, is enough to earn you God’s forever forgiveness.

And yet, that is the true story. This day in history changed the world. It is the single most important and pivotal event. God came down to reach us, to prove His love and restore us to Himself. He had to do it all for us, that we might be forever secure in Him.

For anyone needing help, wanting evidence, to believe, I recommend you search out this book or movie: The Case For Christ. It is the personal story of Lee Strobel. He was an award-winning legal journalist for the Chicago Tribune, an atheist, when his wife came to faith in Christ. Lee set out to disprove Christianity, but ended up coming to faith, based on the mountain of overwhelming evidence.

The culmination of his journey reminds me of a favorite line in Star Wars, episode VII, when an aged Hans Solo tells the young Rey and her companion something to the effect, “Everything you’ve heard is true, the force is real.”

The story of Jesus Christ is real. The evidence is undeniable. He loves you so much, He gave His life for you. Will you trust Him?

‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so it is good the Son of Man to be lifted up, that every one who is trusting in Him may not perish, but may have life eternal, for God did so love the world, that His Son – the only born – He gave, that every one who is trusting in Him may not perish, but may have life eternal.

For God did not send His Son to the world that He may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through Him; he who is trusting in Him is not judged, but he who is not trusting has been judged already, because he hath not trusted in the name of the only born Son of God.

John 3:14-18 YLT (slightly modernized) Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible (Revised Edition, with one-touch navigation) (Kindle Locations 52684-52688). Kindle Edition.

A Study on Healing in the New Testament

Healing… before the Cross/Resurrection:

In the Gospels, before the Cross, healing was apparently used mainly as a tool of evangelism, to draw the people and convince them of the power in Christ, His divinity. Christ, Himself, healed ALL who came to Him. In addition, He gave each of the twelve disciples the gift of healing as part of their evangelical mission.

Christ healed everyone (Matt 4):

And Jesus was going about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the reign, and healing every disease, and every malady among the people,

and his fame went forth to all Syria, and they brought to him all having ailments, pressed with manifold sicknesses and pains, and demoniacs, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed themMatthew 4:23-24 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Disciples were all given healing gift (Matt 10):

And having called to him his twelve disciples, he gave to them power over unclean spirits, so as to be casting them out, and to be healing every sickness, and every malady.

`And, going on, proclaim saying that, the reign of the heavens hath come nigh;

infirm ones be healing, lepers be cleansing, dead be raising, demons be casting out — freely ye did receive, freely give. Matthew 10:1,8 (YLT)

Healing… after the Cross/Resurrection:

After the Resurrection, in the new, growing church, it is apparent the gift of healing was given to select, but not all believers, as demonstrated below in 1 Corinthians 12.

for to one through the Spirit hath been given a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

and to another faith in the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healings in the same Spirit;

and to another in-workings of mighty deeds; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; and to another [divers] kinds of tongues; and to another interpretation of tongues:

[are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all powers?

have all gifts of healings? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

and desire earnestly the better gifts; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 29-31 (YLT)

In modern day, whether in person or through the testimony of documentaries such as those made by filmmaker, Darren Wilson [Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights, etc], we can see evangelical teams witnessing on the streets around the world and healing the sick and lame. There are times not everyone is healed, however. It seems to be determined by the will of the Spirit for His purposes.

Yet, it also seems there are some unique individuals who are able to heal every person they lay hands on. This would indicate they have the gift of healing, specifically.

Perfectly in line with Scripture, we might conclude God can use anyone to heal when He wishes to reach the lost. However, some in the body of Christ possess the gift of healing to benefit both the body of Christ and non-believers.

How Do We Save America?

Long before this blog began over a year ago, and many times since, I have found myself mourning, weeping, crying out to God for America. For some reason, He has pressed into my soul an urgent passion on behalf of what was (and in His eyes, I believe, still is) His country.

As a nation, we reflect Him less now than we did a century and a half ago, when writers like Herman Melville and Alexis de Tocqueville were declaring America distinctly and almost universally “Christian”.

But we still house the majority of God’s people, having the densest population of the followers of Christ/Messiah, Yeshua. So, the influx of non-believers, and the secularization of our culture and laws has still not changed the fact the most Christians in the world live in the U.S.! This land is God’s land, it was founded upon Biblical principles and the hope of religious freedom.

The blessings of being God’s land are obvious. Richest nation in the world, abundant resources, country that has most reached a helping hand to those in need and taken in the majority of the world’s refugees…

But we are slipping, are we not? Many ask why, and in my experience, many believers want to continually point fingers at non-believers. ‘It must be their fault, they come with their pagan ideas and worldly values and are voting out our laws which were based upon God’s Word.’

Maybe that is a little of it. But the greater truth we do not want to face is, churches and people who also call themselves Christian have allowed their teaching and values to become severely diluted with the world’s values. Christian pastors and priests, and parishioners have allowed their churches’ teachings to stray far from the Word of God!

This past Sunday, I attended a service where the speaker did little more than give a speech worthy of a social/political rally instead of a message for God’s people in His house. To be honest, it smacked of rebellion, and I did not hear the name of Jesus except at the end of one prayer. I was more than appalled, and found myself doing spiritual warfare praying during the service, going so far as to rebuke a spirit of revolution that is spreading in our land like a wildfire from hell!

My precious friends and co-believers in Christ, remember the words of Jesus when He said in Matthew: “If your enemy compels you to go with him one mile (carrying his load), go with him two.” (Matt 5:41)

The message of Christ in the New Testament is peace and humble service, not rebellion and revolution! The people of God do not need to ‘rise up’, they need to fall upon their knees in repentance to the Lord, fasting and prayer!

When ministers stand up and teach the whole truth in the Word of God, and we as believers respond and become clean, surrendered to the Lord and filled with His Holy Spirit… then we will be ready to move forward as a mighty army, NOT to war, but to LOVE the non-believing world as Christ loved us. And then, maybe then, who knows what God might do in our land?

JOEL 2:12 “Therefore also now, says the LORD, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And tear your heart, and not your clothing, and turn to the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and may change His mind on judgment. 14 Who knows if He will change His course, and leave a blessing instead?

15 Blow the trumpet in the land of God’s people, observe a holy fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, call out the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and babies; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and let them say, Spare Your people, O LORD, and give not Your heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: saying in the midst of the people, ‘Where is their God’?

18 Then will the LORD be jealous for His land, and pity His people.”

Scripture from: Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible (with blogger edits to modernize and clarify), Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 83503-83529). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.