1 Corinthians 14
“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Oh, Paul. As a woman, what are we to do with this? As a lover of God and the church and truth, what are we to do with this? What do we do when we read things that make us uncomfortable?
I read many commentaries, blog posts, and sermon transcripts on this passage. Some with interpretations suppressing all women involvement in teaching. On the other end, some cite context, cultural, and translation nuances to dismiss its current relevance entirely. And many fall in between.
Context matters for sure. Words and truth matter too. I do believe this is God’s inspired Word and He knew all of the cultures and times it would be read in. I want to always be careful not to dismiss or alter the meaning of something just because it makes me uncomfortable. If I desire truth, I want all of it, not just the easy parts. The Bible is full of warnings about false teaching, submitting to the whims of cultural pressures, and teaching what our itching ears want to hear...all at the expense of truth.
I’m no theologian, but here’s where I am with this... Without a doubt I believe that God will give each of us wisdom and discernment when we need it and ask for it. This particular cause isn’t one I currently struggle with. I don’t have a desire or calling to speak, lead, or teach in church. I’m blessed to sit under great Biblical teaching. At the same time, I love and admire many Godly, spirit-filled women teachers who have greatly impacted my faith journey and flamed an intense desire to know more about God. And I also know Jesus deeply valued women during His ministry, as did Paul. And in God’s eyes we are ALL - men and women alike - so loved and valued; ALL created in His image on purpose for purpose.
I believe God’s wisdom and ways and plans are so much greater than my own, and I am okay with not fully understanding all things when I don’t need to yet (it took me a long time to get there). It’s not my current bridge to cross. At the same time I respect the platform of others to fight for issues God may have given them a passion to fight for. After all, this part of Paul’s letter follows his teaching that we are all members of one body with different functions that all work together for the whole. I never want to assume I know more that what the Holy Spirit has led someone to. The Jewish leaders knew an awful lot and they missed Jesus by digging in their heels and staying in their comfort zones.
It may seem non-committal, but it’s all I’ve got now...on this and a few other things. God knows my heart and desire. I pray for wisdom, discernment, and revelation of truth ALL the time. And I trust the Spirit will give me what I need to know and say and do when I need it. So, how do you wrestle with things you don’t quite fully understand?
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