1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 (Are the verses from the hand of Paul?)

spiritual gifts

At last, we can turn our attention to —

(1Co 14:33-36 ESV)  33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,  34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.  35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.  36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 

Now, having carefully worked our way through the earlier portions of 1 Cor 14, it’s obvious that Paul changes the subject here. The topic has been the use of tongues and prophecy in the assembly, and now he starts talking about whether women should be silent in the assembly, only to return to the topic of tongues and prophecy in v. 37. Therefore, the NRSV translators place this portion of the chapter in parentheses. It’s plainly an interruption in the flow of Paul’s thought.

The manuscript evidence is interesting. The Western texts (D F G ar b vgms Ambst) place these verses after v. 40, that is, at the end of the chapter, whereas the oldest texts (א, A, B) place the verses here, where most English translations place them.

Gordon Fee, in his New International Commentary on 1 Corinthians, argues that the best explanation for the verses appearing in two different places is that the verses were not in the original manuscript. The NET Bible translators summarize his argument —

Fee points out that “Those who wish to maintain the authenticity of these verses must at least offer an adequate answer as to how this arrangement came into existence if Paul wrote them originally as our vv. 1Co 14:34-35”(First Corinthians [NICNT], 700). In a footnote he adds,“The point is that if it were already in the text after v. 1Co 14:33there is no reason for a copyist to make such a radical transposition.”

Many consider Fee’s commentary on 1 Cor the premier commentary on that epistle. Richard Hays, one of the world’s premier Paul scholars, agrees with this argument.

The NET Bible translators argue that the text is in fact a marginal insertion — explaining why the location in the text is unclear — but that the insertion was made by Paul himself — explaining why every single manuscript we have includes the text, although in differing locations.

N. T. Wright explains,

Verses 34 and 35—the command to women to ‘keep silence in the assemblies’—don’t occur here in some of the manuscripts. Instead, they are added on at the end of chapter 14, seemingly as a kind of appendix. Since the verses are in any case very odd—Paul clearly assumes in 11:2–16 that women are going to speak during worship—many serious scholars have concluded that the verses were not by Paul, and were added by a scribe who was anxious to keep public worship a matter of male leadership only.
This could be the case, although equally wise and learned people have concluded that Paul really did write the passage. 

Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians, (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 198.

Wright ultimately says he is inclined to consider the verses authentic.

On the other hand, as noted in the Pillar commentary series —

With thirty-six words it would be an extraordinarily long “marginal note”! One wonders how it could fit in the margin of an epistolary papyrus.

Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians (Pillar NTC; Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 719.

It’s a good question! Ciampa and Rosner suggest that the Western texts relocated the verses to the end of the chapter because they appeared out of place following v. 33 — as is indeed true. That is, they say the verses are original and not even a marginal addition by Paul.

On the other hand, Sampley rejects the text —

This harsh passage, urging women’s silence in church and subordination to their husbands, with an unspecified reference to “the law” as support, is probably an insertion by an editor who subsequently took this Pauline letter and brought it into conformity with the practices regarding women in his own subsequent-to-Paul time. …

If Paul’s letters were collected around the turn of the first and second centuries, as is a reasonable assumption, a time sometimes also argued for the writing of the Pastoral Epistles, then the redactor could readily have inserted 1 Cor 14:34–36 to bring the picture of Corinth’s worship practices in line with what he thought appropriate in his own time. The result: Women should be silent in church and submissive to their husbands, despite the fact that neither of these positions is sustained by the rest of 1 Corinthians nor by the six other undisputed Pauline letters that we can be sure came from the hand of Paul.

J. Paul Sampley, “The First Letter to the Corinthians,” in The Acts of the Apostles-The First Letter to the Corinthians (vol. 10 of New Interpreters Bible, Accordance electronic ed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 968-970.

Fee and other commentators who reject the passage are not “liberals” who doubt the inspiration of scripture. Rather, they can’t see how to reconcile Paul’s instructions for the women to be silent in light of 1 Cor 11’s description of women praying and prophesying and the preceding portions of 1 Cor 14 that urge all members to participate in the worship by contributing a lesson, hymn, etc. In fact, there’s no hint of a rule limiting the role of women in earlier portions of 1 Cor 14.

Imagine you come from an egalitarian culture. You read 1 Cor 11, which speaks of women praying and prophesying in the presence of men and only requires that the women be veiled when so doing. You then read about the Lord’s Supper, gifts of the Spirit in the assembly, and chapter 13 on faith, hope, and love. You have therefore just read —

(1Co 12:7 NET)  7 To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. 

(1Co 12:11 NET)  11 It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things. 

(1Co 12:18 NET)  18 But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided. 

(1Co 12:21 NET)  21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you.” 

(1Co 12:22-25 NET)  22 On the contrary, those members that seem to be weaker are essential,  23 and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity,  24 but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member,  25 so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. 

And so far, you’ve not encountered the least hint that women must be silent in the assembly. In fact, your reading would be that women are and should be very actively engaged in the assembly. In particular, you’d conclude that women should exercise their spiritual gifts because they were given to them by the Spirit. In fact, the less dignity or importance a person has in a given society, the more likely it is that the Spirit would gift that person, with the expectation that the gift would demonstrate how essential that person is to the church.

Then you read chapter 14:1-33a, and again, there’s not a hint of gender restrictions. Paul repeatedly speaks of “all” or “everyone” exercising spiritual gifts in the assembly, including tongues and prophecy, which plainly involving speaking in the assembly. And he does not limit any of his arguments to men.

When you get to 14:34-35, you are surprised and confused. Not only has Paul changed the subject, he seems to have changed positions. You go back and re-read the earlier portion of chapter 14 to see if you missed something suggesting that only men may speak in the assembly, but the language is uniformly gender neutral.

The English translations often uses “himself” or “he” to refer to a hypothetical prophet or tongue speaker, but the Greek is gender neutral until we get to vv. 34-35. For example,

(1Co 14:23 ESV)  If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?

The Greek for “all” (pantes)  and “you” is not limited to men.

Just so, in —

(1Co 14:24-25 ESV)  24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all,  25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

— the several masculine pronouns are added by the translators. There are no gendered pronouns in the Greek in these verses. But if vv. 34-35 are from Paul, we have take “all” in v. 24 to mean “all men” — although no Greek reader would see the Greek there as referring only to men.

Hence, many recent translations use gender-neutral language to more accurately reflect the Greek. For example,

(1Co 14:24-25 NRSV) 24 But if all prophesy, an unbeliever or outsider who enters is reproved by all and called to account by all.  25 After the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are disclosed, that person will bow down before God and worship him, declaring, “God is really among you.” 

As a result, our hypothetical reader from an egalitarian culture would be shocked when he gets to vv. 34-35, since up to that point Paul has been using gender-neutral language to refer only to men. Such an odd way to write! Why make it appear that Paul is addressing both men and women, only to impose this restriction at the end of all these chapters on the assembly and gifts?

Indeed, to be consistent with verses 34-35, you’d have to modify the text quite a lot, something like this —

(1Co 14:1-33a NET) Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy [if you are male].  2 For the one [who is a male] speaking in a tongue does not speak to people but to God, for no one understands; he is speaking mysteries by the Spirit.  3 But the one who [is a male and] prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation.  4 The one [who is a male] who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one [who is a male and] who prophesies builds up the church.  5 I wish you all [who are male] spoke in tongues, but even more that you [who are males] would prophesy. The one who [is male and] prophesies is greater than the one who [is male and] speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be strengthened.  

… 12 It is the same with you. Since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, seek to abound in order to strengthen the church [but only men should seek gifts that require speaking in the assembly].  …

23 So if the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues [but just the men], and unbelievers or uninformed people enter, will they not say that you have lost your minds?  24 But if all prophesy [really, just the men], and an unbeliever or uninformed person enters, he will be convicted by all, he will be called to account by all.  25 The secrets of his heart are disclosed, and in this way he will fall down with his face to the ground and worship God, declaring [if he is a man], “God is really among you.”  

26 What should you do then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one [who is a man] has a song, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all these things be done for the strengthening of the church.  27 If someone [a man, that is] speaks in a tongue, it should be two, or at the most three, one after the other, and someone [also a man] must interpret.  28 But if there is no interpreter, he should be silent in the church. Let him speak to himself and to God.  29 Two or three prophets [but men only] should speak and the others [who must be men] should evaluate what is said.  30 And if someone sitting down receives a revelation [and that person is a man], the person who is speaking should conclude.  31 For you can all [if you are men] prophesy one after another, so all can learn and be encouraged.

It’s considerations such as these that cause many conservative scholars to question the authenticity of vv. 34-35. It’s just really hard to reconcile these verses with the first half of chapter 11 and the gender neutrality of all that’s in between (often concealed in the English).

My own position is, well, that the question ultimately doesn’t matter because you get to the same result either way — although it takes some serious study to see that. And so we’ll take up these verses in the next few posts assuming them to be authentic, to see where that assumption takes us.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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93 Responses to 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 (Are the verses from the hand of Paul?)

  1. Price says:

    Randy Elliott, a CoC preacher out in California will be presenting a teaching class at the Pepperdine Lectures upcoming.. It is his contention, which he demonstrates, that the use of “eta” in the sentence structure indicates a quote from another source. He actually demonstrates this in several areas of I Corinthians… Regarding the passage under discussion, it is his contention that verses 34 and 35 are part of the questions or statements that the Leadership in Corinth had written to Paul about to see what his instructions would be or to clarify their understand.. See chapter 7:1 (a) Now concerning the matters about which you wrote……”

    The Corinthian leadership asks this question because there is apparently some local ordinance that prohibits the women from speaking in public gatherings… (there is no such Jewish law in the Torah) and they want to know if the this local ordinance should be respected within the assembly.. After all, the women are gifted with prophesy and tongues and words of knowledge as the men are.. (Joel 2)…

    Paul responds to their question with two questions of his own in verse 36… 1) Was God revealed only BY men… (NO)… 2) was God revealed only FOR men… (NO)…

    This is far more consistent an understanding of the Pauline instructions regarding women praying in the assembly and the prophetic writings of Joel and the actual examples given of female prophets…

    There is no way for a woman to silently pray… silently sing… silently prophesy…silently interpret tongues.. silently give words of knowledge…. God never intended to squash the gifts that He Himself had given the women. We’ve missed this to the detriment of the church.

  2. Dwight says:

    Price, this is interesting, but I don’t buy it. I Cor.14:34-35 is in regards to saints assembling and the women within that context, not women in general. When Paul mentions “as the law also speaks”, this is not in reference to “keeping silent”, but rather “submissive”, which would include keeping silent within the assembly. This also matches I Timothy 2:11-12.
    Vs. 36 connects with vs.37 “Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.”
    Paul never uses the word men, but “you” to refer to those who had spiritual gifts.
    It is interesting that Paul is speaking to those who have gifts, some prophetic, but tells them that he is giving them commandments, implying that they are not giving commandments. The word of God did not originally come from them. And this word has reached others as well.

  3. Price says:

    Dwight.. I’m not the expert here for sure… I just know that what Mr. Elliott, CoC preacher has presented… We KNOW that Paul is responding to several questions and concerns that the Corinthian leadership have raised.. 7:1 makes that clear. Grammatically, it is possible that it was indeed a question which is presented.

    Now regarding the “men”… Joel’s prophesy says that God will empower women with spiritual gifts which must be spoken.. it’s not much of a prophesy if one can’t speak it.. Nor is tongues or words of knowledge to exhort, edify and encourage the local assembly if they can’t be spoken to the assembly.. The instructions for women to pray in public is also curious if Paul’s intent was to prohibit them for praying in public… Nor does it seem plausible that Paul would speak of singing as speaking and teaching one another and then not prohibit women from singing.. Doesn’t add up…

    What Mr. Elliott has presented makes sense to me.. It may not to you and that’s OK.. Not my intent to try and convince you one way or the other. But, your implication of submission doesn’t seem consistent. Is every woman to be submissive to every man ? Doubtful. That submission is for husband/wife IMO.

    This explanation seems consistent with the prophesy’s of old, the current state of spiritual gifts within the local assembly and the examples given us that women were indeed empowered by these gifts. But, each one must make their own judgement I suppose.

  4. John F says:

    1 Cor 4:17. . . just as I teach everywhere in every church NASB
    1 Cor 7:17 . . . And thus I direct in all the churches. . .NASB
    1 Cor 14:33 . . .as in all the churches of the saints. NASU

    Without punctuation in the Greek, translators choose where to end or begin a new sentence ESV, ASV, NKJV, NRSV, NIV, HCSB, NCV, NET, others all begin a new sentence. In the Greek NA27 and Tischendorf begin a new sentence while Westcott-Hort never include punctuation.

    I echo Dwight’s thoughts above. What seems to be generally true is that if someone does not like what the Bible simply says, just write enough words and claim clarity from complexity. Voila, the simple words are wrong.

    And yes, I have read “Buried Talents”. And yes, I have read Bob Rowland (knew him and his family personally) and others as well. I still prefer the simple words. Have we as a cofC fellowship sometimes had trouble understanding how to apply some of these teaching? Yes, but pointing out the problematic application does not cancel the desire to appropriately apply scriptural teaching.

  5. Dwight says:

    Price, You say, “Now regarding the “men”… Joel’s prophesy says that God will empower women with spiritual gifts which must be spoken..”, which I don’t argue against. There are examples of women prophesying in the NT and I Cor.11:1-16 give credence to this, but I Cor.14 is addressing “if the whole church comes together…”, which is an assembly situation. This why even the men are told to keep silent if they cannot edify the assembly without an interpreter.
    Ch.7:1 is far off from Ch.11-14 and many changes of context happen. Paul is addressing problems, but different problems among the saints in general and then he gets specific to gifts in in general and then in the assembly in I Cor.12-14.
    And then there is I Timothy 2:11-12, which seems to echo the same sentiment.
    Mind you this is a women in submission or keeping silent and not made to be silent and this might only when men are in the role of teaching or speaking out over a man or taking the chair and doesn’t mean total complete silence. But it surely was meant to be applied.

  6. Alan says:

    I’m quite tired of hearing the argument about 1 Cor 11:1-16. That passage is definitively not talking about the assembly, as verse 17 (contrasted to verse 2) makes abundantly clear. I am and will remain completely unpersuaded that women were permitted to prophesy in the assembly on the basis of 1 Cor 11.

    God only has to say something once for it to be authoritative. But he’s also spoken on the subject in 1 Tim 2:12. And it’s clear that the post-apostolic writers (Tertulian, Cyprian, Constitutions of the Holy Apostles) understood him that way, in both passages. It takes a lot of hubris to say that we know more about the original manuscripts than those men did.

    These passages are quite inconvenient in modern western culture. But they are not the only ones. I don’t think that’s justification for removing them from the canon. That’s pretty risky business, and I’m not willing to go there.

    Sorry to be a little blunt here but I think someone needs to say these things, in language that can’t be misunderstood.

    Jas 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

  7. Alabama John says:

    if what some think about women being silent is true, then its easy to understand Paul being single.

  8. John F says:

    “I’m quite tired of hearing the argument about 1 Cor 11:1-16. That passage is definitively not talking about the assembly, as verse 17 (contrasted to verse 2) makes abundantly clear. I am and will remain completely unpersuaded that women were permitted to prophesy in the assembly on the basis of 1 Cor 11.” Well said, Alan

    It is an assumption that women were prophesying in the assembly; the same is true of Phillip’s daughters. NOWHERE in the NT is there an unambiguous example of a woman speaking in the assembly. They MAY have been , but direct evidence is lacking.

    Alan is correct to point out the hubris of OUR becoming judges of the canon. This has nothing to do with justifiable efforts of textual criticism. Forever true is that 36 (or even 2) words of scripture outweigh 3600 pages of modern critique and remodeling of doctrine. What has made this possible to consider is considering “scripture as a narrative story”.

    1John speaks clearly of those who claim to have a higher knowledge, but do not know the truth.

    It could well be that Corinth was alone in having “problems” with the women, but I would not be dogmatic about that statement.

  9. Price says:

    Alabama John… LOL

    Dwight.. You said it “wasn’t total and complete silence..” Huh ? Either you argue for silence which seems easy to define, or you don’t.. Partial silence isn’t silence… and in I Cor 14 I don’t see any limitation to prophesying or using any of the empowering gifts to just men… That’s not in the text from what I can tell… Especially since we have examples of women and the prophesy of Joel.

    Alan.. so you believe that when men and women are present that a woman was instructed to cover her head if she prayed publicly in their presence.. but, this was restricted to outside of a building instead of inside one… That’s odd. And, if anything is “westernized” it is this concept of worship only happens inside a church building between 10-noon.. It seems more like Temple activities than the regular gatherings of people in their homes.. Not sure I agree with your I Tim assertion either.. singing is described by Paul as a form of teaching and admonishment.. How could a woman sing without therefore teaching ? Were women to not sing ? Silly. Most feel that this passage was a corrective measure as well… God used Deborah as a Judge, not her husband. God used Huldah as a prophetess, not her husband. Anna served in the Temple as a prophetess.. There were women in the NT who were prophetesses… OK to prophesy outside the building but not inside one ? What if it was raining ? Again, silly. God has ALWAYS used women.. Even Miriam was listed as one of the leaders along with Moses and Aaron by God.. You are right.. when God does something and gives us an example…we should pay attention.. It seems unlikely that He would give women spiritual gifts and then tell them not to use them.. in a building.

  10. alanrouse says:

    Price, you characterize my sincere, deeply held and textually based convictions as “silly.” I’m not going to give you a point by point rebuttal. But to me your arguments are “silly.”

    God can use whomever he wishes in whatever way he wishes. He used a donkey to talk to Balaam. It doesn’t follow that we should have donkeys braying in our services. In the case of women speaking, God has told us what he wants, in very clear language. People today who don’t like what he said are going to breathtaking lengths to explain it away.

  11. John F says:

    Just a quick expansion on the authenticity of the text

    1 Cor 14:3
    Indeed, since all the witnesses have the words, the evidence points to them as having been inserted into the original document. Who would have done such a thing? And, further, why would scribes have regarded it as original since it was obviously added in the margin? This leads to our second point. (2) Following a suggestion made by E. E. Ellis (“The Silenced Wives of Corinth (1 Cor 14:34-35),” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 213-20 [the suggestion comes at the end of the article, almost as an afterthought]), it is likely that Paul himself added the words in the margin. Since it was so much material to add, Paul could have squelched any suspicions by indicating that the words were his (e.g., by adding his name or some other means [cf. 2 Thess 3:17]). This way no scribe would think that the material was inauthentic

    There are apparently no mss that have an asterisk or obelisk in the margin. Yet in other places in the NT where scribes doubted the authenticity of the clauses before them, they often noted their protest with an asterisk or obelisk. We are thus compelled to regard the words as original, and as belonging where they are in the text above.
    (from The NET Bible®, Copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., Dallas, Texas, http://www.bible.org. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

    Also, does not verse 37 deserve consideration in this subject matter? Acknowledgement of apostolic authority is problematic for some believers. I’ve been told, “It’s just about JESUS, the rest doesn’t matter.” A sad commentary on the shallowness of some spiritual thinking.

  12. Dwight says:

    I must have missed something. Did some one suggest I Cor.11;1-16 is talking about the assembly? I would suggest that Paul did not talk about the assembly, until he mentioned “if the whole church come together…” in I Cor.14 and then he is making an “if” statement on the predication it could or might happen, then it would be an assembly.

  13. Dwight says:

    Price, The ones who were speaking in tongeus were told to be silent if no one was ther eto interpret so that others could speak or interpret, so it doen’st indicate that they make noise or talk in any way. The silence was a self-imposed thing that they did in submission to other who had the right of way. This is what I meant. And while the context is spritual gifts, Paul kind of veers a bit from spiritual gifts to just women. “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the congregation. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in congregation.”
    Now I have to admit I am not solid on exactly what this means, because it also seems to argue against a woman asking questions aloud, so she can ask her husband at home. The submission must them be pretty deep within the confines of an assembly.
    And the assembly isn’t the building, but when the saints are gathered.

  14. alanrouse says:

    Dwight,
    Jay introduced 1 Cor 11:1-16 into the discussion with this:

    Rather, they can’t see how to reconcile Paul’s instructions for the women to be silent in light of 1 Cor 11’s description of women praying and prophesying

    The discussion of the assembly began with 1 Cor 11:17 and continues through chapter 14, as Paul enumerates a series of problems with how they conducted their assemblies.

  15. alan says:

    Dwight, Jay introduced 1 Cor 11:1-16 into the discussion with this:

    >> Rather, they can’t see how to reconcile Paul’s
    >> instructions for the women to be silent in light
    >> of 1 Cor 11’s description of women praying and
    >> prophesying

    Paul began speaking of the assembly in 1 Cor 11:17 and continued through the end of chapter 14. He was enumerating a series of problems with how they conducted their assemblies, with some extended explanation of a couple of points in chapters 12-13.

  16. Price says:

    Dwight I guess we have to differ on the prophesy.. I see it very plainly indicated that they were talking over each other and that Paul said that they needed to each wait their turn.. I don’t see anything close to a submissive silence commanded.

  17. Price says:

    John… I find your exclusion of women prophesying based on lack of direct example to be questionable. The FACT that Joel prophesied that He would speak through women and the FACT that Phillip’s daughters were in FACT known to be prophetesses would support that they indeed were in existence. I would find it strange that the Bible would denote them as such when in fact it was a known error…. Then we also have Priscilla who is described as having taught alongside her husband when she corrected the preacher. Now, I will admit that it might have been in the front yard instead of the living room but I find that exception to be a distinction not made within the scriptures.

  18. Price says:

    John, the authority of the scripture isn’t being questioned… it is the interpretation of it by man that is being questioned… What Paul actually taught in all the churches is what is being questioned not the consistency and application of eternal truths. I suggest that Paul taught that women were full participants in the assembly as they were gifted to do so and as those that would teach and admonish through singing. I assume your position is that they can’t pass a communion tray standing up. We just disagree.

  19. Dwight’s last post reminds us of an interpretive problem that arises when we make the passage as traditionally read a “hill to die on”. The fact is that we do NOT, in any CoC congregation of which I am aware, bar women from asking questions of men other than their husbands, nor do we require them to limit their questions to marital conversation at home. If we must believe the entire passage as we read part of it, then we are universally in rebellion to this clear instruction, for reasons we are unwilling or unable to articulate. If, however, our own variant observance of this passage is viable, then the least measure of humility requires that we admit that others might also vary from the passage without incurring the displeasure of the Almighty.

  20. alan says:

    Charles, I like the sound of that. We are fallible and we might be wrong. That’s “we” on both sides of the issue. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that both sides are wrong in some way. We certainly need grace, and we need to be generous in giving grace to others.

    OTOH, each of us must obey what we believe the scriptures say. We can’t willfully do otherwise, whether due to inconvenience or to keep the peace. There is really only one person’s displeasure that matters. We need to regard the differing convictions of others with respect. That’s hard to do… and I know I don’t always do that as well as I ought.

    I think 1 Cor 14:34 is in our Bibles for a reason. There is something in it for us to obey. It could hardly be expressed in clearer and more emphatic language. I can understand someone coming to a conviction about what it means and obeying that. I have a much harder time accepting someone’s decision to reject the authority of the passage. That’s not justified by the evidence.

  21. Dwight says:

    Allan, I see, but don’t agree that it is all about assembly. It starts where Paul says it does in ch.14.
    Price, They were talking over each other, but if you are told to not speak and to let the other speak you are placing the other in front of you, which to me is submitting yourself to another, but still they were told to supress thier gift of tongues in place of another who could express it who had an interpreter. Rom. 12 talks of gifts and humility, which was a problem in Corinth, I Cor.12.
    Charles, It is possible we might be wrong on the the intepretaion, but then again if that is possibly true then we might be wrong in the application as well. While I don’t see it done, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. I would rather have a woman follow this passage even if it means being silent and asking her husband at home, then not, if that is her understanding.
    I believe 2 Tim.3:16. I would rather try to apply it and maybe do it wrong, then not apply it and shelf it as not applicable or doable. We do this with too many other scriptures that we think aren’t meant for us, but was meant for them, even when we are like them in the same exact way.

  22. Price says:

    Dwight, I’m confused about what correlation you wish to achieve relative to the restriction some place on women being engaged in the assembly by pointing out that each person is capable of being respectful toward others relative to the exercise of their gifts, doing so in an orderly fashion and following Paul’P is admonition to avoid speaking publicly in tongues without someone being present with the capability of interpretation… ?? It appears to me that they have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

  23. John F says:

    “I assume your position is that they can’t pass a communion tray standing up. We just disagree.”
    I do not deny the “prophetess” passages in any way. My point is about “when you come together”
    which clearly indicates the assembly of the believers. Where is the CLEAR example of female prophets speaking in the “when you come together time such as: 1 Cor 5:4 When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, (NET) the congregation was to exercise church discipline. Do we have a comparable passage that “when you come together” that identifies the prophetess speaking to the congregation?

    Yes, indeed, we have too often limited our understanding of worship; but we ignore DIRECT statements of the word at great peril.

    In IM, many wish to say that silence of scripture gives consent; yet here, where scripture speaks — the scripture cannot be held to its’ clearest and most specific message. Look at my earlier post re: ambiguous application, but still the direct intent to honor the clear words of scripture.

    This discussion has just begun, I’m sure, as Jay points us to Buried Talents theology again.

    Jay: “My own position is, well, that the question [about authenticity of the passage] ultimately doesn’t matter because you get to the same result either way — although it takes some serious study to see that. And so we’ll take up these verses in the next few posts assuming them to be authentic, to see where that assumption takes us.”

    We know where Jay seeks to “take us” in Buried Talents

  24. John F says:

    Price, Women already pass communion trays up and down the aisles; sometimes they even stand to reach the adjacent aisle. I really have no negative to say regarding such. The passing of communion is a historically recent happening.

    I think it was James Harding some 100 years ago who said, “It is about purpose, not place.” Certain things are appropriate in certain places and other things are not. Can this become confusing in application? Of course. But the intent to honor the distinction need not be.

    I am sure there is more to come . . . . .

  25. Price says:

    John F.. In order to agree with you I would have to accept the premise that a woman can provide exhortation, edification and admonition to the local assembly with words given to her by God Himself only if it is not in a group assembled for the sole purpose of praising God and being encouraged by the Holy Spirit with the very words you apparently believe are now prohibited. Brother, I am beyond able to accept that as a correct understanding. How many must be in an “assembly” for women to be restricted : Two ? Was a woman restricted to communicate information given to her by God with other women only ? I honestly don’t see that picture being painted by Paul or any other writer in the NT…

  26. Price says:

    John F.. Regarding your comments on “passing the tray.” Once again in order to agree with you (and Mr. Hardin) I would have to agree that it would be OK for a woman to pass a communion try to at least one other person or she couldn’t by definition pass it… By “place” do you mean that a “woman’s place is in the home” or “location.” Is she limited by the size of the group ? Is two Ok but not three ? Or is it limited by being in a “church building ? Or perhaps women can only pass to other women ? And, since Communion is one of the Five Acts of Worship.. are the restrictions on women the same on the other Four ? If not, why not ? Admittedly, it would be difficult for me to attempt to find comfort in these answers as a result of reading Paul’s instructions.

  27. Johnny says:

    Can someone explain why you think this scripture is binding on all Christians of all times and John 13:14-17 is not? Explain your method of scriptural interpretation and how it views one as binding and the other as not. Also could you greet each other with the Holy Kiss each week, on the cheek or lips? Or if you do not please explain how you determine that Paul’s instruction in that matter is not binding on us and these verses in I Corintians are. You see I don’t understand when and how you discard some verses as cultural and timely and others as all encompassing and timeless. Is there a formula I should use? I may disagree with you and that’s ok, but I seek to understand your method of determining this. There has to be a consistent way of dealing with scripture otherwise we are left with inconsistencies that the world picks to pieces.

  28. John F says:

    Johnny, there may well be things we have wrongly applied to “cultural understanding” that we should not have. I have been “guilty” of a “holy kiss” (on the cheek) from time to time (always in a public setting where there is no room for misinterpretation). The practice is still fairly common in the mid east. We in the west have fallen prey to English Victorianism. We have an often confusing and in recent decades a changing and confusing means of interpreting scripture. An excellent on views toward scripture in the Restoration Movement is “Attitudes and Consequences” by Home Hailey. It should be required reading for all who wish to understand Biblical interpretation among Restoration Movement churches.

    Price, I do not care about agreeing with James Harding; my only point is that there is something special about coming together “as a church (body of believers). The pragmatic approach that says, as Jay had implied if not stated, “Anything that edifies is okay” fails to properly give honor – consideration – respect to apostolic authority as expressed in the worship of the early church.

  29. Johnny says:

    John but what of the verses in John I referenced? I know of no CoC that practices foot washing, but Jesus seems to clearly say this is something that should be done. We ignore it, possibly correctly saying it was not meant for us, but how do we define which things are binding on all Christians for all times and which are not. Unless we have a consistent rational well thought out method we end up with constituent fights over these issues, and our proofs for what we believe are built on a foundation of shifting sand

  30. John F says:

    Price, look at the earlier post. Inconsistencies in application do not negate the principle involved. Use your best judgment, which may be expressed differently in different areas.

  31. Price says:

    John F.. I have no doubt that you love the Lord will all your heart soul and mind. Just because we disagree makes neither one of an abomination to the Lord.. we are doing our best to do what He wants.. Agreed ? That being said.. Inconsistencies in application ?? Really ?? The only two lessons EVER preached or taught in a CoC gathering from I Cor 12-14 is women should remain silent and that gifts have passed away.. Neither is accurate but Lord knows you won’t hear about desiring earnestly to prophesy.. It’s like the long ending of Mark 16… everybody that is a water sacrament person uses verse 16 but refuses to acknowledge the verses about drinking poison or handling snakes as a sign of a true believer.. LOL.. It’s definitely an inconsistency of application alright.. Pick and choose theology.

  32. Pingback: 1 Corinthians 14:33b-37 (the rhetorical η (ēta)) | One In Jesus

  33. Alabama John says:

    Johnny,

    Its all about obeying what you believe is right. How the Bible is torn apart by all the denominations cannot ever be understood perfectly by any of us.

    Understanding we too may be doing something wrong and chances are great we are wrong on many things as well as others leaves all of us humans subject equally to the grace and mercy of God.

    Thank God He will be doing the judging of our hearts instead of we humans judging how we think you did what the human judges thought was right.

    With human judges, it would be a roll of the dice to get a judge that interpreted what was right in or out of your favor even among those of us in the church of Christ.

  34. Dwight says:

    Price, your run on sentence confounded me as I am not sure the point you were making to my point. So I am going to leave it alone. Actually, I have heard countless lessons on love from I Cor.12-14. “Handling snakes and drinking poison is a sign of a true believer”? Scripture please. I wasn’t aware of a direct statement where this is argued for. This means that everyone in Acts 2, 3000 people, had to drink poison or handle a snake. I don’t recall Peter saying, “Repent and be baptized and oh yes, drink this poison, if you survive, then you truly believe.”
    Mark 16:18 is a sign that would follow the saved, but wasn’t a sign they were saved. Not all of the saints had the same gifts. It was a general statement about the whole of the saved or those who believed. But Mark 16:16 is directed to “he who believes and is baptized”.
    Everyone, we make decisions based on our observations, not on application, although there should be some level of application if the argument is direct and strong enough.

  35. Dwight says:

    The “holy kiss” has yet to be defined by a hard type just as the ground that Moses stood on is hard to define by a hard type, so it must be defined by approach. The kiss (or even handshake) is holy because of our approach to the other person. Holy doesn’t change what it looks like, but what it is as seen by us. When we become a saint, we become holy, set apart, not because we look different, but because of how we are to see ourselves in relation to the world, which is unholy.
    We should probably try washing one another’s feet from time to time. It couldn’t hurt, but I am not sure it is a command of action, but rather a command of submission and service.
    I Cor.11:1-16 gets passed over all of the time, despite the fact it is clear and direct.

  36. John F says:

    BTW, I washed an elder’s feet just a few months ago. When I had a screen print business, I annually would print large towels for a congregation that went to another congregation to wash their feet — a sign of service

    Price “The only two lessons EVER preached or taught in a CoC gathering from I Cor 12-14 is women should remain silent and that gifts have passed away.” Really? Certainly here is a statement without substantiation. I know we may not agree; knowledge should lead to humility ( Rom 1:22-23 . . Professing to be wise, they became fools,. . ) neither hubris nor pride.

  37. Randy Elliott says:

    The gift of prophecy is for the edification of the church.

  38. Randy Elliott says:

    Gordon Fee in his commentary on 1 Corinthians has no doubt that Paul is addressing the assembly. For those who think it CLEARLY isn’t, well, you are arguing with what is widely considered the best scholarship on the letter extant.

  39. Randy Elliott says:

    It would be quite strange to argue that a woman needs to wear a SIGN that acknowledges male headship when no males are present. Why would the men in Corinth make a case for this? How would they even know the covering rule was being violated?

    What is happening in that passage is that some men in Corinth are demanding that women wear a covering as a sign that they are under subjection.

    Paul responds by saying “fine, they already have one, their hair.”

  40. Dwight says:

    Randy, these are excuses against application. Assembly in the way of the Lord’s Supper is only broached in I Cor.11:17-34 and then later in I Cor.14, but not before that. I have never heard it argued that I Cor.11:1-16 argues for assembly, especially since it being applied to “every man” and “every women” equally. The man is supposed to have a sign of headship as well. And it doesn’t have to do with the headship between woman and man, but vs.3 God and man and man and woman. And this was to be applied when doing vs.4-5 “prayer or prophecy”, of which prayer could happen anywhere, assembly or not. If by some men you mean Paul, then you are right, but Paul never argues that it is a social thing and that men are pressing for it. If it is also headship between God and man, then what has man to do with it. I will send you or anybody a study I did that argues for application and you can critique it if you want and send it back to me. mail me at [email protected] if you want it. When people say you are wrong, but can’t find why the study is wrong, then you are probably on to something.

  41. Randy Elliott says:

    As I said, the best commentary on the letter sees this plainly.

  42. Randy Elliott says:

    Also, Dwight, one must understand they dialogical nature of this passage and the entire letter in order to understand what it teaches and what it teaches against. I have found very little understanding of this fact. I intend to address it in my class at Pepperdine next week.

  43. Randy Elliott says:

    *the

  44. Randy Elliott says:

    One must understand “the” dialogical nature. (oops)

  45. Johnny says:

    I really wish at least one of you would at least attempt to answer my question. I really want to know how you make the determination on application of verses.

  46. Randy Elliott says:

    Johnny, it seems to me that the application of scripture for any individual will be dependent upon his approach to the scriptures. Those who approach Matthew – Revelation as a new law for the church that replaces the old law for Israel will have one approach (one which I have never seen any consistency in) while others who approach the text trying to know Jesus and who he calls us to be in Him will have another approach. I am not certain there is much consistency in that either, though I am not as well versed in the inconsistency of the latter as I am the former.

    So, I really do not know how to answer your question.

    In regards to 1 Corinthians, I have compiled a list of “slogans” that are becoming more and more recognized as such in the newer translations. There are some yet to be identified in those, but I believe that I can show that they exist by the contradictions that occur in the flow of the arguments made. My goal in understanding 1 Corinthians has nothing to do with how the church APPLIES what I wish to present. My goal is simply to present what I believe is the flow of Paul’s arguments. My purpose is to help the church ensure that we are not teaching AS Paul, the very ideas that HE was teaching AGAINST.

    Blessings.

  47. Alan says:

    Randy, do you think Tertullian understood the “dialogical nature” of this pasage? Or did he lack the understanding of ancient Greek idioms that you have achieved?

  48. Dwight says:

    Johnny, I say read it, if you can apply it, then you should apply it. It is simplistic I know. But if 2 Tim. 3:16-17 means anything, then it means this.
    Randy, why can’t it be both. Isn’t what Jesus and the apostles brought called the “perfect law of liberty” and doesn’t the fact that if we comitt adultyer it sinful demand that it is not just words, but law. Living by the fruits of the Spirit keeps us from doing the works of the flesh, but still the works of the flesh will damn us if it is what we follow. Christ, instead of the law, is the focus though.
    Also, the whole of all of the letters is dialogue as they are letters. Paul, John, etc. are dialogueing by letter to those they are writing to about things that are happening and problems that will happen and things they should be doing. In I Cor.11:17-34 Paul is in dialogue over them not partaking of the Lord’s Supper in the right spirit and condemns them for it and tells them not to do it again. But I suppose anybody other than a Coritnthian would not apply this? Or would they?

  49. Alabama John says:

    Johnny,

    The answer is by quoting Tradition.

    Bottom line, most believe as they were taught as children and hang on to the belief of their parents.

    For any of us its hard to start teaching those we loved and taught us in Sunday classes and in sermons were wrong and for some, that means that are in hell.

    Might as well quote as they did as you would be just as right percentage wise as those coming along now.

    The differences in opinions and beliefs on here and other church of Christ blogs proves that.

  50. Price says:

    Alan. Please indicate your u freestanding of the infallible status of tertullian especially his position on celibacy although he was himself married.

  51. Alan says:

    Price wrote:
    >> … indicate your u freestanding of the infallible status …

    Before we start debating ancient Greek idioms, some of us need to improve our communication in English.

    Tertullian was an expert in one thing that nobody alive today is: ancient Greek language. Argue with him on that topic if you wish, but you’d be foolish to do so.

    Remember too, there’s also Cyprian and the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles to deal with — both of which clearly support the traditional understanding of this passage. Where are your ancient counter-examples?

  52. Price says:

    Give me a break Alan.. on my phone… no need to be a jerk to try and make your point.

  53. Price says:

    Why are ancient examples from infallible men equated to scripture when the men support your conclusions ? Many of the early church fathers and leadership spoke of an active Holy Spirit and miracles into the 600’s which would complete destroy the I Cor 13:10 assertion that many make claiming cessation… Many of the early church fathers condemned instrumental music and claimed David was wrong.. How strange is that ? These men were not Apostles.. they were men.. Their example merely reflects their current thought.. And we fully understand that often times they got it wrong.. Arguing ECF’s is hardly profitable over scripture itself.. And, it is scripture that contradicts imposing silence on women.. too many examples to the contrary.

  54. Alan says:

    Price,
    How does anyone know how to translate ancient Greek text today? And then, how does anyone know how to interpret what they have translated? Ultimately it is based on studying how the language was used in ancient times. Now suppose someone believes that we’ve been translating something wrong for many centuries. How would they prove it? They would have to show from ancient sources how the language was used, and to demonstrate that their theory fits how the language was used in ancient text.

    The original native speakers of ancient Greek are the best sources to understand what the words and phrases meant. Fortunately we have a few examples where such people have commented on 1 Cor 14:34. Their understanding of what those words and phrases meant is valuable to us today, because they understood the language in a way that nobody alive today does.

    That doesn’t mean these people came to the correct doctrinal positions based on their reading. But if we’re trying to understand what a word or phrase meant, their testimony is valuable. It is all the more valuable when multiple sources represent the same interpretation. And it is even more powerful testimony when their commentary doesn’t suggest that some of their contemporaries had a different opinion. In the case of 1 Cor 14:34, the commentary is stated in a matter-of-fact way, without any hint of controversy about the interpretation – in all the available examples. That was apparently how ancient Greek speakers understood that text. Modern theories to the contrary have no standing in comparison to the testimony of ancient readers of the inspired text.

  55. Randy Elliott says:

    By “Dialogue” I mean that the letter is full of either quotations FROM the Corinthians, or is is full of contradiction. I choose to believe that Paul is not a moron, so, I’m going with “dialogue.” This is more easily seen in the newest translations because they are beginning to put quotation marks and add words like “you say–” to set off what should have been understood as a citation of Corinthian belief all along. There are a few segments that are yet to be identified by the translators. I intend to show these in my class next week.

  56. Randy Elliott says:

    Also, my perspective is not based upon Greek nuances. It is based upon the logical flow of the arguments made in the text and the obvious contradictions that set apart what Paul is quoting from what Paul is teaching.

  57. Randy Elliott says:

    Alan, the “ancient source” that I intend to show my perspective from is the letter to Corinth.

  58. Randy Elliott says:

    Here is an example of what I am referring to:

    1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 (KJV 2000)

    1 Now concerning things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if any man thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.

    Because there are no quotation marks, this material is taught as coming from Paul. But a close examination of it reveals that it is not all from Paul. Someone is boasting in their “knowledge.” Paul is confronting that boast. After the statement “we know that we all have knowledge” we might expect some supporting material for that claim. But we don’t receive it. Instead we get a sort of backlash from that statement. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” And again “if anyone THINKS HE KNOWS anything, he knows NOTHING…”

    Finally recognizing this, translators are now rendering this passage like this:

    We know that “We all possess knowledge.”
    But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.

    This “dialogical dynamic” exists throughout the letter.

  59. Randy Elliott says:

    (The 1″b” part is a type-o) Blogs are not as forgiving as Facebook. 🙂

  60. alan says:

    Randy wrote:
    >> Also, my perspective is not based upon Greek nuances.
    >> It is based upon the logical flow of the arguments made
    >> in the text and the obvious contradictions that set apart
    >> what Paul is quoting from what Paul is teaching.

    Ok that is helpful. So your new perspective on 1 Cor 14:34 isn’t based on better evidence but on your own different interpretation of the same evidence that everyone has seen for almost 2000 years. Someone else might have a different interpretation about what is an “obvious contradiction” in that passage.

  61. Randy Elliott says:

    Other examples:

    1 Corinthians 6:12-13 KJV 2000

    12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:
    all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

    13 Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

    NOTICE the difference in the most recent NIV

    12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—
    but not everything is beneficial.

    “I have the right to do anything”—
    but I will not be mastered by anything.

    13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

    There is significant change in the message of 6:13 when read with the quotes. In the KJV the colon sets off “but God shall destroy them both” as responsive to the “food for the stomach…” statement. But translators have noticed that the statement should be extended to include the “God will destroy” comment as well BECAUSE the passage argues for God’s PURPOSE for our bodies and NOT that he will destroy them.

    The entire letter needs to be read with this dynamic in mind to sort out what are the ISSUES Paul is dealing with FROM the CORRECTIVES he is offering. Everything that I am trying to present on this letter looks at the text in this same way. My only goal is to find the most accurate way to follow the argument of the text. I make no applications to what people are doing in their church gatherings. Exposition. That’s all.

    Unfortunately, it is my experience that so many of us are so caught up in the defense of what we have been taught that we have difficulty with objective evaluation of the material.

  62. Randy Elliott says:

    Alan, my READING of the passage in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is COLORED by my understanding of the entire letter and a dynamic that is only recently being recognized. The evidence for the dynamic itself is the letter itself. Either there is contradictory argumentation occurring, which we Bible believers don’t believe can be true, or there is a point counterpoint style (Socratic, I believe) that Paul employs.

  63. Randy Elliott says:

    Alan wrote “So your new perspective on 1 Cor 14:34 isn’t based on better evidence but on your own different interpretation of the same evidence that everyone has seen for almost 2000 years.”

    Alan, These verses have been the subject of controversy since the early church fathers. The placement of them in the chapter after v.33 or after v.40, whether they are an interpolation from a marginal note, and more. I am not sure what you think “everyone has seen for 2000 years.”

    Gordon Fee admits that there exists considerable doubt about the authenticity of these verses. Is that what YOU have seen?

    Fee also says “very little of the two verses fits into the present argument.” (p.701)

    Is this what YOU have seen?

    Perhaps I misunderstood your meaning? But it sounded to me like you were suggesting that there is some WAY EVERYONE has viewed this material for 2000 years. This text is FRAUGHT with difficulty. I believe that I can help unravel some of its mystery (at least the mystery acknowledged by the best scholarship of our day on the matter, if by no one else
    ).

  64. Alabama John says:

    Hundreds or even thousands of years from now, those writing on here may be viewed as scholars and quoted.

    Before we get to deep in Greek interpretation, think how many of those quoted Greeks or those existing today agree with us and have become members of the church of Christ.

    If we believe that Greeks understand scripture better than we do, we should all become Greek Orthodox or Catholic.

    Don’t just pick out a word, thought, or phrase or two, go all the way, whole hog!

  65. Alan says:

    Randy wrote:
    >> Alan, These verses have been the subject of controversy
    >> since the early church fathers.

    Early church fathers? Names and quotes, please. I’m not aware of any “early church fathers” calling these verses into question.

    Gordon Fee is the hero of those who wish to eliminate the traditional constraints on the role of women. He is not my hero however. He is a modern scholar, not a source of evidence. His name adds no weight to the argument.

    I’m still waiting for any source older than 100 years claiming that 1 Cor 14:34 actually means that women should be allowed to speak in the assembly.

  66. Randy Elliott says:

    Alan, you will never see anything but what you have seen. You are already committed to defend a position. Furthermore, you appear to have no understanding of the textual evidence regarding these verses. It is not my task or desire to move you off of your rock. Blessings.

  67. Dwight says:

    All of scripture is fraught with difficulty when we make it difficult and question it and don’t want to apply it, even the statements of Jesus and Jesus often restated other OT scriptures, but this didn’t make them less true and relevant. If Paul states something of others and goes against it that is one thing, but if Paul states something of others and propels it as truth, then it is truth. Paul is so consceince of this that he makes a great effort to separate what he thinks as a matter of judgment from what God says and he only does this a couple of times. Jesus himself often said, “you have heard it said…”, but I say, to mark the difference between what was to be followed and not. So to think that the apostles would say one thing, but believe another or not be moved by the HS when they said they were makes all of scripture suspect. God is not vague concerning His will and would not state this, but not mean it, especially when a similar thing is stated in I Tim. 2:11-12 “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” Let us not isolate scripture to its detriment.

  68. Randy Elliott says:

    I am certain that others here are likely aware that the entire Western tradition had these verses occurring in the chapter after verse 40 for three hundred years.

    They are found after v. 40 in D F G 88* a b d f g Ambrosiaster Sedulius-Scotus, thus the entire Western tradition”

  69. Alan says:

    Randy, a new and contrary interpretation of a doctrine that has stood for 2000 years deserves to be challenged. You are on dangerous ground. I wish you the best.

  70. Dwight says:

    I can envision this conversation. Jesus goes up to a man and says, “Follow me!” To which the man replies, “Are you talking to me? Is that just a statement or do you want me to do something? And are you speaking from the Jewish perspective or perhaps the Hellenistic Jewish perspetive? When you say “me”, do you mean “I” or “my”, because the Hebrew word can be used in all three of those ways…just what are you getting at? And what if in following you I accidently walk in front of you? Now when you say follow, do you mean just to walk behind you or do want me to actually do what you want me to do as a disciple? Where are we going? When will we get there? Why? What if I trip and fall? I am not a very good walker…more of a runner. Y’know Jesus this is all too complicated and I don’t know if I can do it so I am going to have to pass on this. Next time make it a little more clearer and direct. Bye!” Now this might sound like I am mocking and I am, but we all do this to some extent when we find that one or two scriptures where we become contentious and want to work around it with excuses so at not do it at all. It is better to apply it, then deny it.

  71. Randy Elliott says:

    “a new and contrary interpretation of a doctrine that has stood for 2000 years deserves to be challenged.”

    Absolutely. Challenge is great. The truth does not fear examination. However, the truth cannot be examined when we have a vested interest in maintaining a position. The scripture says what it has always said.

    To Dwight,

    I ask, Was Paul teaching the following as a spiritual way of thinking:

    6:13 “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them.”

    Is that Paul? And yet the argument flows from there NOT to speak of the destruction of the body at all, but rather God’s value and purpose of it.

    So, it is understood to be a quote from some faction in Corinth that Paul addresses.

    Is Paul teaching in Chapter 7:1 that it is not good for a man NOT to have sex with a woman only to go on in the very next sentence and say that each one of them should get marry and fulfill their sexual needs in that institution? Or, it there a faction in Corinth that is CLAIMING that it is GOOD not to have sexual relations with a woman?

    Is Paul teaching in four different places that everything is permissible for us, only to challenge EACH one with a correction about why EVERYTHING is NOT permissible for us? (Chs. 6 and 10)

    Is Paul teaching in Ch.8 something about the KNOWLEDGE we possess when it says “We know that we all possess knowledge” only to follow it with a REBUTTAL saying “knowledge puffs up…”?

    Should we just accept that Paul is the one teaching these things? Or should we read the flow of the argument and realize that Paul is employing a common enough point counterpoint way of teaching?

    There is far more of this in this letter, but this dynamic needs to be recognized or we end up teaching AS Paul the very things he was teaching against.

    Am I on dangerous ground here. Not a chance. The arguments made in the text are the ground I am on.

    Regarding the idea of a “new” understanding.
    The religious leaders thought they knew the scriptures too. Yet, somehow, after all those years, they had missed them entirely.

  72. Dwight says:

    Randy, if what you say is true about these verses being placed after vs.40, then wouldn’t this place these verses behind vs. 36″Or did the word of God come originally from you?” making vs.36 more about gifts and speaking in tongues and not women speaking in assembly? And yet the scripture is still there as well, not left out and probably why women were not allowed to speak for those three hundred years. It still doesn’t change what it say and its eery almost word for word verbage and concept to I Tim.2:11-12. The scripture remained and is there for a reason.

  73. Randy Elliott says:

    Dwight, you have misunderstood something that I wrote. I apologize for not being clear.

    I am not defending the 300 years of Western tradition. I was simply trying to illustrate that these two verses have been the subject of controversy from the beginning. Though I respect the scholarship that sees them as an interpolation of a marginal note, I deal with the passage in my teaching as it is in v.34-35. In my view, if it is determined to be a marginal note interpolated into the text, it is simply an addition to other thoughts Paul was intending to correct in Corinth placed in the margin by him and added into the text by the earliest copyists.

  74. Randy Elliott says:

    And Dwight, each passage of scripture must be understood for what it teaches first. It would be fruitless to start an examination of another passage when we cannot even discuss this one. If we had been discussing Timothy and I corrected some common misunderstandings, you might be inclined to cite 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in support of your position. Can you see how much would be involved in my going over to 1 Cor. 14:34-35 to address what it says there and how reluctant you would be to hear any challenge to a traditional understanding of it? We might as well just stay here and try to sort this one out, if we can, or just leave it be in regard to one another. It seems to me.

  75. Alabama John says:

    Alan, Proverbs 31, the virtuous woman did many what we perceive as manly things back then.
    I bet she spoke in church.

    Interesting that the only colors I remember being mentioned women wearing while worshiping and praying that must of been approved by the apostles was purple, like Lydia.. Can we make a case out of that for our women to be required to wear today.

  76. Dwight says:

    Price, I am a champion for thinking that doesn’t follow the establishment as long as the thinking follows scripture. It is obvious that Paul is addressing issues in 1 Cor. and even 2 Cor., but what is not so obvious is where Paul says one thing that is not his to say. Or maybe there is. When Paul argued for his judgment he made it clear it was his judgment. Now in I Cor.14: 36-38 “Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.”
    Paul makes it clear that what he wrote wasn’t his to write, but the Lord’s, even in light of their prophesies and spiritual gifts. Since Paul tells those speaking tongues to keep silent without an interpreter it is not out of the question that he would address others that he would also have be silent during the assembly….women. Paul doesn’t argue for silence of either groups when not in assembly so there is continuity of thought. And we can see where women spoke prophesies in the streets and at home, so this also is not a contradiction as it is not the assembly.
    But if vs.34-35 is a footnote, then why not vs.26-33, which also argues for silence and then why not vs.3-17 which argues for an interpreter. IT is clear that Paul is following a progression of thought with related thoughts. And it is clear that these questioned thoughts aren’t put forward in the form of a question as you might expect a footnote to be, but of a statement.
    And again we are faced with a similar statement in I Tim.2:11-12 by the same writer who is telling Timothy a similar thing while addressing other similar issues.

  77. Price says:

    Dwight Where we agree is that Paul claims he is speaking by divine inspiration and essentially challenges any other gifted person to refute what he is saying. Where we disagree is on what Paul is saying versus what the Corinthian leadership has asked. I see the question or statement being testated by Paul and then he provides an answer. I can appreciate the effort you make to maintain the integrity of the original language and meaning. That is another thing we share. No one, at least not me, is trying to radicalize the church. But, the eta understanding isn’t an invention it isn’t inconsistent with Greek grammar and in my opinion it conveys a message that is consistent with previous instructions by Paul and the examples we’ve been given. Each person is responsible for their own conclusions. I am quite comfortable with mine and I can appreciate you being comfortable with yours. My guess is that God knows both our hearts and effort to fully understand. Perhaps I will change my mind. Perhaps you will change yours. I doubt seriously if either of us risks salvation based upon whether or not we sit through a prayer lead by a woman.

  78. Dwight says:

    Price, put it this way. I am pro-application, but not pro-condemnation, meaning that I will push for application where it argues for it, even when there might be a question of how it got there, because it is there. I would rather us, us personally try to approach from the side of application of that which we read, instead of trying out hardest to get around it. But having said that I also will not try to force this on anyone as it is “as I Cor.14 says a matter of being “submissive”. We should all be submissive to one another and we don’t do this very well.
    If as you say Paul did place v.34 as a footnote, then how can we be sure that most if not all of I Cor.14 is not a footnote as well, or basically everything after the point of the “eta” as vs.36-38 is arguing for everything before it as coming from Him?
    How do you know what is a footnote and what isn’t?
    From what I can see it becomes a matter of what we think and not a surety. It becomes a guessing game. Now I am a great supporter of using word meanings instead of transliterations, as I think it would be much better to use immersion instead of baptism and congregation instead of church, but those words are there and are not a matter of guesswork or grammar or structure. It is strange that even the most literal of translations don’t see what you are seeing grammatically.
    Even NT Wright who makes the suggestion says, “With thirty-six words it would be an extraordinarily long “marginal note”! One wonders how it could fit in the margin of an epistolary papyrus.” and ultimately as authentic. And when Sampley questions it he uses the word “probably an insertion” and yet doesn’t have proof one way or the other.
    And it is strange that if this is a footnote, then Paul doesn’t answer the proposition in the negative, but allows it to stand or not be answered at all.
    God Bless, Dwight

  79. Ray Downen says:

    I hope that Randy’s presentation at Malibu will be made available at an affordable price for all to read and ponder. I agree with those who put the “As in all the churches” with the verse preceding it rather than with the statement following. I early learned that women needed to respect men, especially the one they married, but all men.

    In the church where I was a teenager there was a woman who taught with skill and was forbidden by our elders to teach any Sunday School class except the ancient ladies. She graciously started a “class” in her home (hers and her husband who was in Europe fighting a war) for teens which attracted all the church youth and many others of a similar age.

    She taught by coaching one of the young men of the church who did the actual teaching of the group, and by private conversation with any who had a question or comment. Until she began this group, the church young people had little obvious interest in church matters. Following her encouraging, four young men went to Bible College and have served the church well in following years. She blessed us all.

    I don’t want to brag about being one who was taught by a woman. She taught almost everything that I later was taught again as a Freshman in Bible College.

  80. Price says:

    Dwight. For me, one of the things I look for when something like this is suggested is whether or not it is consistent The traditional view of this “silence” passage has never added up for me. It isn’t at all consistent with the OT or NT examples of women participating in all areas of “the body.” Not, does it seem to be consistent with Paul’s instructions elsewhere so era for me brings clarity and consistency to our understanding of participation by women. For me it’s crystal clear Obviously for others it is not. I know one thing. The women in the coc are one tough group to be able to love God and respect the men who exclude them at every turn. It would not be a satisfying experience for me to be placed in that position

  81. John F says:

    Randy: “If we had been discussing Timothy and I corrected some common misunderstandings, you might be inclined to cite 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in support of your position. Can you see how much would be involved in my going over to 1 Cor. 14:34-35 to address what it says there and how reluctant you would be to hear any challenge to a traditional understanding of it?”

    Since Paul introduces these comments with “As in all the churches”, why is it not proper to see how he had instructed other churches, i.e Ephesus /Timothy?

    You have gone to some length to establish eta as a Pauline rhetoric. Do you see another passage of similar length and construction?

  82. Randy says:

    Jon, I have gone to NO lengths to establish the “eta” for any reason. The “eta” as translated in the KJV appears as “WHAT?” and I accept that rendering for that passage. OTHER than that, I have made no case upon the use of the “eta.” That seems to have been a misunderstanding of what Price had depicted that my work in the letter focused upon.

    Jay has posted my class podcast with the PPT slideshow. These reveal the work I have done. The packed class that I taught at the Pepperdine lectures followed this material and received it well. What I was pointing out FROM THE TEXT ITSELF was obvious to all and they appreciated what what presented. I stand by my work. I believe it is the proper way to read the letter of 1 Corinthians.

  83. Randy says:

    Also, John, 14:33b should not be regarded as an introduction to 14:34-35. It is a conclusion of the preceding material on orderliness. This is obvious from the fact that 14:34-35 are a unit that MOVED in the chapter. For THREE HUNDRED YEARS the Western church read 14:34-35 at the end of the chapter (after verse 40). Those two verses are NOT connected to 14:33b.

  84. Dwight says:

    The fact though is even if it came after 14:40 it is still part of the flow in that he did talk of silence earlier, to men, and Paul did talk of the church coming together. The fact also is we don’t know why it was done for 300 years this way by the Western church and why wasn’t it done by other churches? And why wasn’t this theory suggested by the early church and not accepted at all? You would think that they would have excluded it all together instead of just moving it.
    One interesting thing is that the NET which is used as a reference point is not any more literal than many other translations and often oscures using reorganized wording or gender changes. Example: In Psalm 1:1 האיש “the man” is inaccurately translated “the one.” A note here rightly points out that the word איש does mean “man,” and it explains that Scripture “often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society.” So why not obscure I Cor.14 as well in spite of all of the other translations. I know it is argued that the NET was created using many scholars, but they mostly all hail from the same Dallas Theological Seminary. Spooky.

  85. John F says:

    From above: “The manuscript evidence is interesting. The Western texts (D F G ar b vgms Ambst) place these verses after v. 40, that is, at the end of the chapter, whereas the oldest texts (א, A, B) place the verses here, where most English translations place them.”

    A larger principle of textual criticism is the the more difficult exegetical placement argues “FOR” the originality of the more difficult reading, which is the case here. Also, the principle of the OLDEST texts as the better textual authority.

    Randy, your comment about the Western Text fails exegetical principles, and fails the the textual basis of our oldest texts. Deal with the text as it has the better authority, rather than run from it. You may may not want to attach 33b to 34-35, but the best textual evidence attaches them.

    Again, I asked earlier if you had found a comparable chiastic or rhetorical passage in Paul’s writings. If not, that would make this proposed reading most exceptional.

    As I have to finish a funeral lesson, I’ve not had time to listen to your presentation, but I will.

    Best regards. . .

  86. Alan says:

    How well a theory is received by a packed room at a seminar is irrelevant to the question of whether the theory is correct. Sampling bias, you know.

    This conversation has been stimulating to say the least. I am hopeful that most of the readers of these comments over time will resist the popular pressure to remove the verses from the canon.

  87. Randy says:

    Alan, listen to the podcast, follow along with the slides. Let me know what you would have challenged.

  88. Randy says:

    And, these verses, though likely an interpolation from the margin, should NOT be removed from the canon (as the interpolation of 1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”) rightly was.

    They are most likely written by Paul just as EVERY OTHER slogan in the letter was.

  89. Alan says:

    Randy, my comment wasn’t directed specifically at you. The topic of this thread is “1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 (Are the verses from the hand of Paul?)”. It seems that you and I would answer that question the same way.

  90. Randy says:

    Alan, oops. Sorry. I think I was reading John’s comments and replied to yours. 🙂

    John, listen to the podcast, follow the slides, and then tell me what part I got wrong.

  91. Randy says:

    If all I have wrong is my conclusion of how to interpret the effect of the mobile location of this material…I can live with that.

  92. John F says:

    Listened to your podcast: the premise of the dialogue is not consistent in your application: NIV adds the quotes you prefer, but “You say” (humas) is NOT there in 6:12 or 6:13, (7:1 no you say in NIV, but also nothing to indicate a quote), 10:23, 11:5 nor 11:6.

    So at least six of your examples fail. And that is in the shortest passages; you would then apply the supposition (not the direct text) to a longer passage. I have a difficult time going there with you.

    You may have noticed my posting about Numbers 30 and how the LAW there provides Biblical commentary (yes, indirect, but to the point) support to a more traditional interpretation.

  93. Randy Wayne Elliott says:

    There are no quotes in the Greek. My examples stand. The arguments are turned on there heads. Show that they are not.

    Every citation of “what is writtin” or what the “law says” in 1 Corinthians is recognizable. 1 Cor. 14:33-35 are nowhere in the scriptures.

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