Greetings to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Holy Angels and saints in Christ. A few days ago I was surfing the scriptures when I came across 1 Cor 14: 33 – 35. Oops! I had missed that one. I felt that some reader would query it, but I did not feel ready to explore it until this morning. This is what the text says:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church”.

Wow! It seems as if Paul is really being hard on women here. However, just as in 1 Tim 2, he is speaking within a particular context. The context in which he speaks relates to the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in speaking and praying in tongues and prophesying publicly. The preceding verses to the text which I just cited, relate to guidelines that prophetic presbyteries should follow. A presbytery is the term given to a group of prophets or prophetesses who are prophesying at the same event OR prophesying jointly to individuals. One example of the prophetic presbytery is found in Acts 13. I will quote the preceding text in order to help us to fully understand the context (NIV from blueletterbible.com):

“Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said and if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace as in all the congregations of the saints.”
This is a very helpful and practical teaching which I implemented years ago while prophesying with other people. There are practical points to follow which I will not discuss here, but confusion will really ensue if all the prophets speak together. Now what does all this have to do with the women in the Corinthian church and why did Paul refer to them “out of the blue?”. It seems to me that the women must have been disorderly during the prophetic utterances, perhaps speaking and asking others for the meanings of the prophetic words being uttered by the prophets. I surmise this because Paul ended the chapter with the words, “Let all things be done decently and in order”. Therefore, the issue is for the women to maintain order during the services by keeping quiet. Paul is not saying that they are not to speak at all in the church.

COMPARISONS BETWEEN SILENCE IN 1 TIM 2: 11 AND 1 CORINTHIANS 14: 34

Paul used TWO different Greek words to convey the meaning of the word “silence”. In 1 Tim 2: 11 and 12, “silence” is found in 2271 and comes from the word which means “quietness, description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others”. The root word in the Greek (Strongs 2272 in blueletterbible.com) means “quiet, tranquil”. Since Paul is speaking in the context of order during the manifestation of the prophetic gift, I believe that he means that the women should be quiet and tranquil. The word “silence” in 1 Cor 14: 34 comes from the Greek word (Strongs 4601) meaning “hold one’s peace” which comes from the Greek word meaning “hush”. That is a very telling revelation and possibly the prophets may have had to repeatedly ask the women to “hush” during the prophetic ministry. Now wonder Paul ended 1 Cor 14 with the words “let all things be done decently and in order”. Blessings! More juice next time for the doubters…

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