View Full Version : Did Paul Forbid Women to Speak in Church? (1 Cor 14:34-36)

Richard Amiel McGough
02-09-2011, 09:27 PM
I was surfing around the net and I found this interpretation (http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/general-discussion/1-cor-14-34-36-%28women-in-church/msg757545/#msg757545) of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 which is of extreme significance if correct. It turns the traditional interpretation on its head!

I have spent a number of years studying gender, including 1 Cor 14. Here is probably the most accurate translation available. It is supported by numerous greek scholars from numerous denominations and non-denominations.

From a NT translation called The Source

29-33 Let two or three or so prophets speak, and let the other prophets discern. 30 Whenever something is revealed to someone sitting nearby, let the first keep quiet. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all can learn and all can be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are supported by the prophets. 33 God is not a God of disorder, but of peace

Paul now quotes from the letter sent to him by the Corinthian assembly.

34-38 “The women must be silent in the assemblies: for they are not allowed to speak, but to be supportive, just as indeed the law states. 35 And if they want to learn something, they are to ask their own husbands at home; for it is a disgrace for women to speak in the assembly.”
36 Utter rubbish! Did the Word of God come originally from you! Utter rubbish! Were you the only ones that it reached! 37 If anyone thinks they’re a prophet or spiritual, they are to realize that what I’m writing to you is the Lord’s commandment! 38 But if anyone is mistaken about this, then they are certainly mistaken!
39-40 Consequently, fellow believers, strive after prophesying, and don’t prevent anyone from speaking in supernaturally given languages. 40 Everything is to be done decently and in an orderly manner.
here is the translator's supporting Greek translation commentary to go with the translation above:

These words are a quotation from the letter sent to Paul by the church in Corinth. He quotes from this letter in 7:1, refers to it in 7:25, 36, 39; 8:1; 9:3. The language in the quotation resembles known Jewish oral law, cf. S. Aalen, “A Rabbinic Formula in 1 Cor. 14,34”, in F. Cross (ed.) Studia Evangelica, II-III. Papers, Berlin, 1964, pp. 513-25; Holmes, op.cit., p. 235.
This passage has been terribly mistranslated. It has been put in as Paul’s words, instead of a quote, and the following 2 instances of the disjunctive particle “Utter rubbish!” have been deleted. See the following for evidence that this passage is quoted by Paul, followed by his vehement disagreement with it: D.W. Odell-Scott, “Let the Women Speak in Church. An Egalitarian Interpretation of 1 Cor. 14:33b –36”, Biblical Theology Bulletin Vol. XIII (1983), pp. 90-93; N.M. Flanagan and E.H. Snyder, “Did Paul Put Women Down in 1 Cor. 14:34-36?” Biblical Theology Bulletin Vol. XI, January 1981, pp.10-12; W.C. Kaiser, Jnr., “Paul, Women and the Church,” Worldwide Challenge, September, 1976, pp. 9-12; J. Harper, Women and the Gospel, (G.B.: Pinner, 1974), pp. 14-15; J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987); J.A. Anderson, Women’s Warfare and Ministry: What Saith the Scriptures? (Stonehaven: David Waldie, 1933), pp. 20-26; K.C. Bushnell, God’s Word to Women, (Mossville, IL: God’s Word to Women Publishers, n.d.): G. Bilezikian, op.cit., pp. 144-153, 284-5. For a survey of current scholarship see J.M. Holmes, op.cit., pp. 229-238. The Classical scholar J.M. Holmes ( ibid., p. 237) (speaking of Paul) states, “He quotes the factional view (which he knows is not generally held), angrily rebukes its proponents, states his own authority, exhorts everyone to be eager to prophesy, and commands that no one forbid anyone to speak in tongues.”
Disjunctive particle.
Masculine pronoun.
Disjunctive particle.
a0gnoe/w, agnoeo, in this sentence, the first instance in the active, the second in the passive. The Textus Receptus substitutes the imperative for the passive, followed by KJV. “Ignorant” which appeared in the KJV was based on the Latin ignorare, the Vulgate translators’ rendering. The verb used absolutely, as here, means to mistake, to go wrong, to be wrong, not to know what is right. Note also Hebrews 5:2.
Cf. the decree for Athanadas of Rhegion (Delphi, c. 150/49), Galates no. 70. One of the grounds for honouring Athanadas of Rhegion is that during his stay in Delphi he “behaved well and decently”. The adverb also occurs in Rom. 13:13 and 1 Thess. 4:12.
ta/cij, taxis, to draw up in battle order.
Whether one wishes to admit it or not, there is a considerable amount of mistranslation in the English NT from the oldest Greek manuscripts. This doesn't just occure in the area of gender, but gender is a huge glaring problem! Much of the mistranslation is because of man's traditions being mixed ito the translation of the original Greek by fallible men who are influenced in how they view ancient Greek by traditions, guess work, and prejustices. These days, when NT versions are published that are more gender inclusive and translated more correctly than the older versions such as the KJV and the NIV, then the ultra conservative side of Christianity which is male controlled comes out publically against that translation, no matter how correct it actually is. Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Conference are just two examples that have been in the news recently that support a male controlled church and are determined to keep it that way, even if it means having flawed translations!

I have never found any objections to the translation Galations 3:26-29. Greek scholars and theologians seem to be in just about 100% agreement that this is absolutely correct translation and nothing is controversial in the translation. It is correctly translated in every version I have ever read. However, when talking about 1 Cor 14, there is alot of opinion, the proper translation is questioned, and many scholars are in favor of changing how it is translated. The same holds true for 1 Tim 2 & 3. There are problems in the the present translations and scholars who have studied these verses in recent years in light of new evidence have said the translation needs to be changed. Both 1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2/3 are in conflict with the simple, straight forward reading of Gal 3:26-29. That means either we need to retranslate 1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2/3, which are questionable, to agree with Gal 3:26-29, which says there is no male or female in Christ, or we need to retranslate Gal 3:26-29, which is not a contested translation, so that it agrees with the idea that there IS a difference between male and female who are in Christ so that it agrees with the questionable translations of 1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2/3. My choice is for better translation of 1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2/3 and removing gender restrictions that are in conflict with Gal 3:26-29.

I think it also is very important for anyone who claims to believe the Bible to take note of this observation from the last paragraph:

Much of the mistranslation is because of man's traditions being mixed ito the translation of the original Greek by fallible men who are influenced in how they view ancient Greek by traditions, guess work, and prejustices.

That thar's the truth! :thumb:

Richard Amiel McGough
02-09-2011, 10:21 PM
Here's another article explaining the new interpretation of 1 Cor 14:34-36.


And for "fun" here is an example of the standard interpretation as found in A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments:
34. (1Ti 2:11, 12). For women to speak in public would be an act of independence, as if they were not subject to their husbands (compare 1Co 11:3; Eph 5:22; Tit 2:5; 1Pe 3:1). For “under obedience,” translate, “in subjection” or “submission,” as the Greek is translated (Eph 5:21, 22, 24).
:eek: HORRORS! :eek:

Run for the hills! An independent woman? Perish the thought! It must be the "end times" after all!

02-10-2011, 09:07 AM
In relationship to 1 Timothy 2, My thoughts were that Paul were telling Timothy about false teachers.To reduce the confusion that women should lean in silence and Paul said, that he suffer (allowed) not a woman to teach. In context yes, the context is false teachers.

3As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

The Spirit of God empowers of gives power to both men and women to proclaim his good news and Gospel (Acts 2:14. Women’s participation in the edifying presentation of the gospel and vocal prayer in the congregation were a normal part of early church life (1 Cor 11).

So if you look at vs. 13, you will find that the problem may have been that some women were teaching that Adam came from Eve, a "Mother Earth" heresy. There was a gnostic cult in the area of Ephesus that taught the same. Paul is apparently putting the quietus on the teaching of this false order of creation, a rather localized problem in the church at Ephesus.