SPECIAL TOPIC: THEORIES RELATED TO "WOMEN KEEP SILENT"

I. This is not a statement from Paul, but a later addition (cf. Gordon Fee, New International Commentary, "I Corinthians," pp. 699-708), usually based on some Greek manuscripts (i.e., MSS D, F, G; one MS of the Vulgate; Latin church Father Ambrosiaster, after a.d. 384) which put 1 Cor. 14:33-34 after v. 40.

 

II. Paul is quoting the letter from the Church, which states the false views of the factious group.  Paul quotes it to deny it.  However, this protracted discussion (i.e., 1 Cor.14:33-35 or 36) does not fit Paul's earlier "slogans."  It is not a simple statement modified by Paul, but a sustained argument.

 

III. Paul is referring to a problem group of women who are disrupting the worship service either by tongues, prophecy, or questions.  Their exuberance in their new freedom in Christ was causing cultural difficulties in evangelism and worship.

 

IV. Paul is limiting women, not in public prophesying, but in evaluating other prophets' (i.e., male prophets) messages, thereby implying an authority over them (James  Hurley, Men and Women in Biblical Perspective, pp. 185-194 and Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in I Corinthians, pp. 239-255).

 

V. Paul is dealing with different situations in 1 Cor. 11:5 and 14:34.

A. One is a house church (i.e., 11:5) and one is the gathered church (i.e., 14:34)

B. 11:5 is addressed to single women and 14:34 to married women

C. Some women were unruly or too outspoken

 

The variety and number of interpretations shows the uncertainty of modern interpreters related to the worship practices of Corinth (see Bruce W. Winter, After Paul Left Corinth) and for that matter, first century Christian congregations. Was the problem

1. local (i.e., uniquely Corinth) ,

2. first century Roman culture, 

3. abuse of giftedness, 

4. attempt to dominate by women,

5. attempt to impose a Jewish structure,

6. false view of a factious group at Corinth?

 

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