All of us hate confusion.  Ask any parents if they prefer confusion and openly promote chaos in their homes.  Ask a librarian if the best way to run a library is to just throw all the books in a warehouse and look through the entire jumble every time a book is needed.  What would our fellowship meetings be like if everybody spoke at once and if there were three teachings going on at the same time?  What would our highways look like without lights, signs, an understood agreement that we all drive on the right side of the road, speed limits, and so on?  The world in which we live could not function without order.
The questions is, whose order will we follow . . . man’s or God’s?  This is the question we face in every decision we make as we allow the Holy Spirit to form Himself in us.  Certainly we all know the Scriptures that teach us to deny self and to put others first and esteem others more highly than ourselves.  We remember with joy that we are being conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus the Christ. Yet still try to order our worlds according to the latest wisdom of man.
T. Austin-Sparks wisely observed: “To those who have a knowledge of the Bible it is evident that the whole of the Scriptures open up along the four lines that we have indicated; namely that
1.  God is a God of order;
2.  Satan is the prince of a world under divine judgment, and the nature of that judgment is confusion;
3.  Christ, in Person and work, is the embodiment of divine order;
4.  The church is the elect vessel in which, and through which, that divine order is to be manifested and administered in the ages to come.”1
There is a discernible pattern of divine order in all that the Lord does.  Starting in eternity past, we can discern divine order in the Trinity.  As the Lord created the world and His institutions, we can observe this divine order being duplicated in the family, in government, and in the church. For instance, Holy Writ declares that “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1Co 11:3), and that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1Co 14:33).

 

The Trinity

Consider the Trinity and, in particular, the relationship between the Father and the Son.  The Father and the Son are equal in attributes and essence.  A quick review of the names of Christ (God, Son of God, Lord, King of Kings and Lord of Lords), His attributes (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, life and truth) and His works (creates, sustains, forgives sins, raises the dead, judges, sends the Holy Spirit) all convince us that Jesus is God.  In addition, the direct statements of Jesus in John 10:30, 14:9, 17:21ff, and Matthew 28:19 all convince us of the deity of our Savior.  But is it possible to be equal and submitted?  What does 1 Corinthians 11:3 mean where it is declared that “the head of Christ is God”?  Here is divine order in its purest form and practice.  While fully God, Jesus “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being  made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phlp 2:6-8).
Listen to the confession of Christ as He explains His submission to His Father:
John 6:38 — “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent Me.”
John 4:34 — “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
John 5:30 — “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
Matthew 6:10 — “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 26:39 — “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Equal but submitted!  That is how divine order works in the Trinity.  It is this divine order that is stamped on all of His creation.  The family, government and the church all have explicit instructions as to their function and practice.  All of these commands are grounded in the demonstrated order that exists within the workings of the Trinity.  They are not arbitrary commands of a capricious God nor are they limited by culture or time.  God created the family, government and the church to look like and to work like the Trinity and to enjoy the blessings of divine order in all that we do.

 

The Family

Next in the order of creation is the family.  There is no other institution on earth that more closely resembles the Trinity in its order and function.  Make no mistake, all of the comparisons between the covenant of marriage and God’s covenant of salvation found in Ephesians and Colossians are a reflection of His love and His desire to share that love with us.  But we must order our marriages according to His plan, not ours.  In the same way that the Trinity operates in divine order, the Lord expects us to live our marriages the same way.
A husband and wife are equal in attributes and essence. Galatians 3:28 reveals that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Like the Father and the Son, a husband and wife are equal in attributes and essence.  But in order for the family to function biblically, God has clearly and unequivocally stated the divine plan.  The husband is definitely the head of the wife:  “the head of the woman is man” (1Co 11:3).   As the head, he is commanded to love his wife just like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.  He is to love her like he loves his own body and to nourish and care for her.  The wife is to submit to her husband in everything (just like within the Trinity:  equal, but submitted).  And, the children are to obey.  Simply stated, the plan for divine order in the family is:  Husbands love, wives submit, children obey.
Notice how closely this resembles the order that exists between the Father and the Son.  Since we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, see how divine order works to our benefit, how much better the Lord’s plans are than men’s.  Consider the utter chaos and confusion that exists in all those who choose to order their family life according to man’s wisdom instead of God’s wisdom.  Some chafe under God’s order, arguing from a cultural point of view that these directives are out of date or were only for the time in which it is written and that we live in a more enlightened time or culture.  How superfluous!  God’s plan for the family is nothing more than what He and His Son have enjoyed for time eternity, and it works!
Notice the order in the divine order.  The Son submits to the Father.  Man submits to the Son. The wife submits to the husband.  The children obey the parents.  Not under compulsion but willingly, humbly, and with joy as we walk out God’s plans for us.

 

The Government

Next in order of creation in time is government.  The main passages stating the divine order in government are Romans 13:1ff, Titus 3:1ff, and 1 Peter 2:14ff.  From these, three principles can be discerned:
Principle #1 — “For there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Ro 13:1).
Principle #2 — “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities” (Ro 13:1).
Principle #3 — “Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Ro 13:2).
It takes faith to submit to God; it takes faith for a wife to submit to her husband; it takes faith to submit to governing authorities.  We sometimes forget that history is “His” “story” and that the Lord is working His will at all times.  Peter, in 1 Peter 2:13, urged: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”
In order to build faith, we need to remember that the Lord:
•“Takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist” (Job 12:18).
•“Judges:  He brings one down, He exalts another” (Ps 75:6-7).
•“Changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning“ (Da 2:21).
•“Is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men” (Dan 4:17, 32).
Government is the minister or servant of God.  He established governing authorities to be ministers of wrath, to punish those who do unrighteousness.  Our submission includes obeying the laws (Titus 3:1) and the financing of those laws through the payment of taxes (Ro 13:7).  It is the same pattern in the Trinity and in the family . . . divine order!

 

The Church

The Word is full of commands concerning our gathering together to worship.  Emphasis is placed on the public demonstration of divine order as we join together to celebrate the Lord’s supper, to pray, to exhort, to sing and to enjoy fellowship.  But do our assemblies reflect the divine order or do they reflect the best man can do?
Who is the head of the church?  Paul writes “He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy” (Col 1:18);  “God placed all things under his feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church” (Ep 1:22); “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ep 4:15); and “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3).  Not a pastor or elder, not a denomination nor a general superintendent, not a bishop or an apostle but Christ, is the head of His church.
In the same way that Jesus submitted to His Father, in the same way that the wife is to submit to the husband, in the same way that children are to obey their parents, in the same way that we are to submit to the governing authorities, the church is to submit to Him in all things.  The public expression of our fellowship is to be an example of this submission in all that we do.
How do elders factor into this equation?  Elders are supposed to be examples of the divine order at work.  Notice the qualifications for elders and their job descriptions. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and  Titus 1:7-9 describe these men as men who are the heads of their houses, who have their houses in order (divine), whose wives and children are functioning in that order. 1 Peter 5:1-5 states that these elders are to lead by example, not by compulsion, providing oversight by their own faithful example of submission as well as their family’s example of faithful submission.  They are not to lord it over the fellowship, but following the example of the Lord, they are to lead exemplary lives of submission.
All of the commands of 1 Corinthians are the how to’s of expressing divine order publicly:  Don’t get drunk, don’t eat all of the food before others arrive, head coverings, women be silent, male leadership, the instructions concerning the gifts, and most importantly the instructions concerning the Lord’s supper.  All are for the purpose of expressing the divine order.  Like all of the Lord’s commands, they are not subject to cultural or time considerations but are the continuing expressions of His own submission.

 

Equal But Submitted

The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost from eternity past lived in perfect society.  We were created to fellowship with the Father.  Sin broke that fellowship and instead of perfection our world became filled with chaos and death.  In submission to His Father, the Son died so that we might again have fellowship with His Father.  We are predestined to be conformed to His image.  As a result, the Father created the family to work just like the Trinity.  One head, the husband.  God then created governing authorities and calls us again to submit to them.  On the day of Pentecost, His church was born.  The church is to operate just like the family and just like the Trinity.  Divine order:  In the Trinity, in the family, in government and in the church.

— Mike Indest

 

Part Two:  An Example of Divine Order In The Church

Correctly applying 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 is a challenge, especially for those involved with a church that has participatory meetings.  The text reads:  “As in all the congregations of the saints, 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” (1Co 14:33-35).
Since this passage must be applied on a weekly basis, it is something that needs to be dealt with seriously and honestly.  Before attempting to explain what this passage means, a few general, preliminary observations about the text should first be made.
First, it was intended for all congregations everywhere. Specifically with regard to women’s silence, Paul made an appeal in 1 Corinthians 14:33b to a condition that was already true in “all the congregations of the saints.”  This suggests that, whatever Paul wanted of the women, it was a universal practice.  Further, he stated that the women should be silent in the “churches” (plural, 14:34).  Since the Bible generally speaks philosophically of there being only one church per city, the use of the word “churches” in the plural arguably referred to all other city-churches in existence at that time.
Second, this passage is not simply Paul’s uninspired opinion.  Perhaps in anticipation of opposition to this instruction about the role of women during the participatory phase of the church gathering, Paul buttressed his command with the reminder:  “If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command” (14:37).  Then he warned, “If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored” (14:38).  Thus, whatever this passage means, it is not merely Paul’s opinion.  It is the Lord’s command.  We dare not ignore it.
Third, the word silent is from sigao and means the absence of all noise, whether made by speaking or by anything else.  It is insightful to note how sigao is used other places in 1 Corinthians 14.  Tongue speakers were instructed to keep quiet (sigao, 14:28) if there was no interpreter present, and prophets were to stop (sigao, 14:30) if a revelation came to someone else.  No statement to the church was to be made by either a tongues speaker or a prophet under certain circumstances.  Thus, whatever the correct application for women, there are times when a sister is not to address the gathered church.  The core command is that women remain silent (14:34) during participatory church meetings.
Fourth, the context surrounding this passage concerns order during the participatory phase of the weekly Lord’s Day church gathering (1Co 14:40).  The main reason the church gathers weekly is in order to be edified (1Co 14:4-5, 12, 26, Heb 10:24-25).  The primary method to achieve this edification is through the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper as an actual meal (see 1 Corinthians 11b).  Like any large dinner event, it is a time when many conversations take place simultaneously and where no one person is singled out.  Both men and women talk freely, relax, and fellowship at the same time over the meal.  In the early church, as the fellowship feast finally drew to a close, the second phase of the meeting began.  This second phase is described in 1 Corinthians 14.  This is the time for teaching, singing, testimony, etc.  The over-arching rule for this part of the meeting is that only one person at a time should address the congregation.  All others are to listen quietly.  Speaking is to be “one at a time” (14:27) and “in turn” (14:31).  Thus, whatever this passage about silence means, it specifically concerns silence with respect to being the only one publicly speaking to the assembly.  Logically, it would therefore not apply to congregational singing, corporate responses, or whispered private conversations, and certainly not to fellowship during the Lord’s Supper (1Co 11:17-35).
Fifth, the requirement for women to be silent with respect to speaking publicly to the gathered congregation is not a matter of ability, gifting, or spirituality.  Rather, it is a matter of divine order, obedience, and of putting others first for the sake of the advancement of the kingdom.  For instance, a brother coming to the meeting prepared to speak in a tongue is required to hold back on the use his gift if no interpreter is present.  A prophet may have a burning word that is genuinely from the Lord, but if another revelation comes to someone else, that first brother is to end his prophetic utterance.  Similarly, Christian sisters are called upon to be silent in certain limited settings.

 

Two Views

Among NTRF associates, two views prevail as to the exact meaning of the words in this passage. One is the silent in judgment view, which holds that a woman may indeed speak to the gathered church, except to verbally judge a prophecy that has been given.  According to this view, a woman is to be silent only with respect to judging prophecy during the interactive phase of the church gathering.  The other view is the silent in public speaking view, which understands the Bible to teach that there is never a time when a sister should address the 1 Corinthians 14 plenary assembly.
The silent in judgment view is quite popular with the church at large today.  Historically, however, the silent in public speaking view has been the most commonly held position.  What all the authors of this book do agree upon is that God created men and women with divinely designed differences.  Each gender is uniquely suited to the Lord’s respective ministry and calling.  We stand as one in support of God ordained roles for both men and women.

 

The Silent in Judgment View

With those favoring the silent in judgment view, 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 (remain silent) is taken to apply to the judging of the various prophecies mentioned in 14:29-33a.  In 14:29a, Paul commanded that two or three prophets should speak; he then regulated the prophecy in 14:30-33a.  Then, in 14:29b, Paul ordered that the prophecies be carefully judged.  He next regulated the judgment in 14:30b-35.  Thus, just as tongue speakers were to be silent under certain circumstances (14:28 – i.e., only with regard to speaking in tongues when there was no interpreter present), and just as the prophets were to be silent under certain circumstances (14:30 – i.e., only with regard to prophecy when another prophet received a revelation), so women were to remain silent under certain circumstances (14:33b-35 – i.e., only with regard to the judging of prophecies).
For women to judge prophecy in the church would be to assume an authoritative posture and, hence, would be to violate the requirement to be in submission found elsewhere in the Scriptures (1Ti 2:11-13).  Notice how Paul links the silence of women in this passage to submission (14:34), indicating that this silence is in regard to exercising authority.  Accordingly, women are not authorized to quiz, question, or interrogate the prophets as to their orthodoxy.  To do so would place them in a position of authority over the prophets. Instead, they should ask their own husbands at home, after the meeting, as to why certain prophecies might have gone unchallenged (14:35).
Also, those holding to the silent in judgment view regard 1 Corinthians 11 (about women prophesying) as occurring in a plenary, interactive church meeting.  This is because the instructions immediately following this passage, 11:17-34 (concerning the Lord’s Supper), clearly do deal with a corporate church meeting.  Thus, in 1 Corinthians 11:2, the Corinthians were praised for what they did rightly in their meetings, and in 1 Corinthians 11:7 they were chided for what they did wrongly in their meetings. The seeming contradiction that is thus created between 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (women praying and prophesying) and 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 (women not speaking) is resolved by understanding the silence in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 to be conditional.  Women may speak if their statements are “in submission” (14:34).  If, however, their utterances would entail passing judgment upon prophecies spoken in the meeting, then under this condition the women must be silent.  Thus the sisters only have to be silent sometimes, but not always.

 

The Silent in Public Speaking View

In support of the silent in public speaking view, notice the seeming absoluteness of 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35.  The injunction seems crystal clear.  As has already been shown, the Greek behind silent (sigao) genuinely means mute.  This is in contrast to another word Paul could have used (hesuchia) which usually means “silent” in the sense of tranquil, calm, or settled down, but not necessarily mute (see its use in 2Th 3:12; 1Ti 2:2, 11-12).  Moreover, as if to anticipate that someone might misunderstand the meaning of “women should remain silent in the churches,” Paul added the clarification that women “are not allowed to speak” (14:34).  He did not limit it by specifying that they are not allowed to speak in tongues nor speak a prophecy nor speak in judgment nor speak a teaching.  No qualifier was added.  Evidently, the women are not to speak anything to the gathered assembly.  In fact, they are not even to ask a question in church (14:35), because “it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”  The original footnotes in the Geneva Bible of 1599 put it this way:  “Women are commanded to be silent in public assemblies, and they are commanded to ask of their husbands at home.”
Gordon Fee, in the New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The First Epistle To The Corinthians, observed that:  “Despite protests to the contrary, the ‘rule’ itself is expressed absolutely.  That is, it is given without any form of qualification.  Given the unqualified nature of the further prohibition that ‘the women’ are not permitted to speak, it is very difficult to interpret this as meaning anything else than all forms of speaking out in public . . . the plain sense of the sentence is an absolute prohibition of all speaking in the assembly.”2
According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, “women were not to speak in public worship (33b-36) . . . The command seems absolute: Women are not to do any public speaking in the church.”3  Further, B.B. Warfield wrote that “precisely what the apostle is doing is forbidding women to speak at all in the church . . . It would be impossible for the apostle to speak more directly or more emphatically than he has done here. He requires women to be silent at the church meetings; for that is what “in the churches” means, there were no church buildings then.”4
Southern Baptist theologian John Broadus, commenting on 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15,  stated, “Now it does not need to be urged that these two passages from the Apostle Paul do definitely and strongly forbid that women shall speak in mixed public assemblies.  No one can afford to question that such is the most obvious meaning of the apostle’s commands.”5
An examination of first-century cultural norms would also suggest that Paul truly intended for women to be silent in public speaking.  In Jewish synagogues, women were not allowed to speak publicly.  Also, the secular Greek biographer, Plutarch, wrote that the voice of modest women ought to be kept from the public, and that they should feel as much shame over being heard as over being stripped.6  Plutarch’s comments seem to reflect the common Greek/Roman sentiment of the day.  Thus, if Paul had intended for women to be allowed to speak in church, would he then not have had to write extensively to convince his readers of such a counter-cultural practice?  However, no such argument can be found in the New Testament.  Instead, there is the command for silence; a command not based on the culture of Paul’s day, but upon the universal practice of all the churches and upon the Hebrew Scriptures (“as the Law says”, 14:34).  Paul certainly did assert the equality of the sexes in Galatians 3:28 (in contrast with first-century culture), but he still maintained the subordination of wives to their husbands (1Co 11, 14:34, Ep 5:22ff, Co 3:18) and that leadership in the church should be male (1Ti 2:11-13, 1Ti 3, Tit 1).
What is the purpose for women being silent during 1 Corinthians 14 participatory meetings?  According to the text, their silence is a form of submission:  “They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.”  Old Testament Law obviously does not deal with women being silent in church meetings, but it does teach the submission of women to their husbands and it models male leadership in both religion and society.  In a church situation where the whole church has come together in one place to be edified through teaching, praise, worship, testimony, etc., the men are called upon to be the primary servant leaders.  The women are to practice a dynamic silence that encourages the men to speak out and practice their leadership.
The silence in public speaking view harmonizes the statements about women prophesying in 1 Corinthians 11 with 1 Corinthians 14 by noting that nowhere does the text specifically state that the prophesying of 1 Corinthians 11 has a plenary meeting of the church in view.  The prayer and prophecy of 1 Corinthians 11 is thus understood to occur at a setting other than that of the plenary church assembly.  The presence of the word churches in 11:16 is taken to refer not to church meetings, but to the consensus of the totality of Christians living in various geographic locations.
What of the clear statements in 1 Corinthians 14:26 that everyone can speak in the meeting or that all can prophesy?  In many contexts the word brothers refers to both men and women. Other times, it refers only to believing men (as in 1Co 7:29, 9:5). It is a fluid term. Some argue that throughout the letter to the Corinthians, brothers refers to both men and women.  Is this the case also in 1 Corinthians 14?  Sailing into chapter 14, having begun in chapter 1, the flow would seem to indicate so.  The readers, throughout 1 Corinthians 14, are addressed as either brothers or you (second person pronoun).  However, there is a significant and unexpected pronoun shift from you to they (third person pronoun) in the paragraph concerning women (14:33b-35).  Rather than writing, “women . . .you”, the text states, “women . . . they.”  Why did Paul not write directly to the sisters, if they were included in the term brothers?
This pronoun shift can be easily accounted for if the word brothers throughout 1 Corinthians 14 actually refers primarily to the men. The women would thus be referred to in 3rd person, since they are written about, rather than directly addressed. So, when it is stated that all, anyone, or each one of the brothers can participate in the interactive meeting (14:26), it may be specifically the men who are referred to.  The women (“they”) are not to make comments designed for the whole church to hear.  Interestingly, the Textus Receptus adds the word your before women in 14:34, further evidence that the term brothers throughout 1 Corinthians 14 specifically referred to the men and not the women.  Since Paul had no hesitation about addressing women directly in other of his letters (for instance Euodia and Syntyche in Php 4:2), the fact that he did not here, in 1 Corinthians 14, makes the case above all the more compelling.  Gordon Fee, in his commentary on this passage, observed, “all the previous directions given by the apostle, including the inclusive ‘each one’ of v. 26 and the ‘all’ of v. 31, were not to be understood as including women.” (p. 706).

 

Conclusion

The women’s silence is both an object lesson and an application of the order that is to exist in the home and the church.  It encourages the men to take the lead in the meeting, to be responsible for what goes on, to verbally participate, to improve in the articulation of their thoughts, to learn to be leaders, etc.  One wife joyously observed that the quieter she was in the participatory church meeting, the more her passive husband spoke up and took the lead (compare 1Pe 3:1-2).
Sometimes those who explain away those passages of Scripture that limit women’s roles in ministry fail to see the overall picture of God’s family order, set at creation, that encompasses both the Old Covenant and the New.  The church is primarily made up of families.  For church order to contradict the order of the family (Ep 5) would be disorder and chaos.  The Lord created and gifted men and women with complimentary ministry roles.  Truly understanding God’s order in both the family and the church causes us to realize that these limiting passages are not so much restrictive as protective. They protect women from the burden of leadership and of having to function as men.  They also encourage men to be servant leaders.  And, He is presenting to us a picture of Christ and His bride, the church, which is submissive to Christ as Head.
This is a serious issue with far reaching consequences regardless of how it is applied.  We all have to do something about this passage at least on a weekly basis.  My purpose in writing has been to offer a biblical alternative to the prevailing approaches that are common today, and not to attack those who hold views contrary to mine.  For those reading this who have not made a decision on how to apply 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35, please realize that we cannot simply stick our heads in the sand and pretend it does not exist.  As Paul warned, “If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored” (14:38).

— Steve Atkerson

 

Notes

1 T. Austin Sparks, The Collected Writings of T. Austin Sparks, Vol. 2, (www.austin-sparks.net), 70.
2 Gordon Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The First Epistle to The Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI:  W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987), 706-707.
3 Frank E. Gaebelein, editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 ( Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), 275-276.
4 B.B. Warfield, “Women Speaking in the Church” (The Presbyterian, Oct. 30, 1919), 8-9.
5 John Broadus, “Should Women Speak In Mixed Public Assemblies?” (Louisville, KY:  Baptist Book Concern pamphlet, 1880).
6 Fritz Reinecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1980), 438.

(For fuller treatments of this challenging subject, see the other articles on our web site)

Discussion Questions

1.  Why is order so important?
2.  What did T. Austin Sparks say about order and chaos?
3.  How does the Trinity illustrate divine order?
4.  What is the biblical order for the family, and how is it similar to that of the Trinity?
5.  What is God’s order as it relates to government?
6.  What are the various out workings of divine order for the church?
7.  Why is the divine order expressed in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 particularly relevant to churches with participatory meetings?
8.  What evidence is there that 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 is applicable to all churches everywhere?
9.  Why should 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 not be viewed as merely Paul’s opinion?
10. What does the Greek word sigao (“silent”) mean?
11. How does the context dictate that the silence is only with respect to being the only one speaking to the gathered assembly?
12. What other speakers are told to hold back and be silent in the gathering?
13. Explain the silent in judgment view.
14. Explain the silent in church view.
15. What did Gordon Fee say about the unqualified nature of 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35?
16. Does the “Law” (1Co 14:34) teach silence, submission, or both?  See Genesis 2:20-24, 3:16.
17. What would be the purpose for women not addressing the 1 Corinthians 14 participatory meeting?
18. What of the statement in 1 Corinthians 14:26 that everyone can speak in the meeting or that all can prophesy?
19.  Explain the significance of the use of the pronoun “they” (rather than “you”) in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35.
20. How would 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 apply to the Lord’s Supper portion of a church gathering (1 Co 11:17ff)?
21. How should 1 Corinthians 14:38 motivate each church to take the time to honestly deal with 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35?

Revised 10/17/2016