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 1 Corinthians 14:33
But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, 1 Corinthians 11:5
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Ephesians 5:22-24
Yikes. If all you did was pull out these verses from the Bible, this looks pretty bad for God. He seems to have a thing against women. They must be submissive to men, cover their heads and be quiet in church. Does God favor men over women? Let's explore further.
As I stated in my post last week, anyone can pull any verse out of the Bible, point their finger at it, and make all sorts of incorrect claims about God. The only way to discover the truth of God's Word is to read the verse
- In the context of the verses around it
- As it relates to other verses within the Bible on the same subject
- In the historical context of the time period in which it was written
Here are the verses in the same chapter as the ones I listed above.
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
Hmm, that sounds like God considers men and women equals
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ Ephesians 5:21
Hmm. That sounds like men are also supposed to submit to their wives
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:19
Hmm. that sounds like even though the wives should submit to their husbands, the husbands must love their wives.... in another verse later in Ephesians 5 we find
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her In other words, love your wives to the point of dying for them.
Now, let's address women being silent. We must look at the entire chapter to understand what Paul is saying. If you read over 1 Corinthians 14, it's mostly about speaking in tongues at church and about keeping order in the service. In fact, Paul's letters to the Corinthians in general are full of reprimands! These were a riotous, sinful bunch! Their church services were even worse. Full of chaos, everyone was speaking out at once, offering prophecies and speaking in tongues without concern for interpretation. Paul actually tells many people to "remain silent", not just the women.. see verse 28 and verse 30.
It's quite apparent from the context that Paul was commanding them ALL to bring order back to the service. Because he mentions women prophesying and praying in other verses, he can't possibly mean they are to be silent all the time. It's apparent that some of the women were speaking out of turn and in a way that went against the authority of their husbands and the church. It is to these women, Paul was speaking.
But let me prove that with other verses from Scripture
Other verses about women
We can see even in the verse we used above, 1 Corinthians 11:5, that Paul is saying women can pray and prophesy in church. So Paul's directive in Chapter 14 for women to remain silent cannot mean all the time.
- Women, who were considered second class citizens at the time, are the first ones who God chose to reveal the risen Jesus to
- Women who followed Jesus around Mark 15:41 If He didn't like women, why were so many willing to give up everything to minister to His needs?
- Deborah was a judge and prophet of Israel Judges 4:4
- Esther - a woman God used to save the entire race of Jewish people
- Ruth - From this gentile woman, God brought forth the Messiah, Jesus
- Haggar - God cared about this Egyptian slave woman so much that he saved her from starving in the dessert after Abraham cast her out and then made her descendants a mighty nation
- Lydia ran a house church in the city of Thyatira. Acts 16
These are just a few examples from Scripture where God honors women. We also have the Woman at the Well, Mary Magdalene, the prostitute caught in adultery, the woman who touched his cloak, the gentile woman pleading for her daughter...etc...
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
The weaker vessel here means just what it says. Women are physically weaker than men. But notice both are heirs TOGETHER.
Is there a hierarchy in authority here on earth? Yes. God put man in authority over women. There has to be authority or all will fall into chaos. He gave man and woman very distinct roles. (contrary to what popular culture says). But none of that means one gender is better than another in God's eyes. He loves all His children!
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:3
In the first century a head covering for a women was a sign of being a chaste, respectful woman. In some cases, it was an indication that the woman was married, much like our wedding ring is today. For a woman to come into church and start speaking without her head covered would be akin to a married woman today taking off her wedding ring and wearing an outfit a prostitute might wear and then speaking out in church out of turn.
Women at this time did not have the social status of men. That wasn't right, but that was the culture of the time. Their status had nothing to do with the way God viewed them, which was as equals with men, which we can see from the verses above.
Hence, you can plainly see that God does not honor one gender over another. In fact, he considers both male and female to be the same in His eyes and to receive all the blessings and salvation and inheritance He offers then both equally.