Continuing his very controversial statements about women keeping silent in the church, Paul explains, “And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:35).
In yesterday’s blog post I shared about Paul’s value of keeping peace in the church in light of the culture. A couple of observations can be made from verse 35. First, the role of spiritual leader is clearly upon the husband in a marriage relationship. In today’s society, many men have abdicated this to the wives and eroded the spiritual impact God intended. Men have not given their wives spiritual security or covering. And many wives will not trust their husbands to lead. Guys, be the leader!
But, what does this say to single women or widows who have no husband at home? At first reading this doesn’t seem to make sense to me or fit into the context.
Then he makes this statement about it being “a shame for women to speak in the church.” Sorry, but understanding grace as Paul described in Romans, and the teaching that Paul has given us about all being a part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12), I cannot see the scriptural support behind this shame concept.
This leads me to conclude that Paul is clearing referring to a cultural norm of it being shameful for women to take any place in the church. And I do not see a scriptural mandate for church leadership to be “only male”. Wives do, however, still fit under the spiritual principle of being in subjection to their own husbands. If a woman won’t be in submission at home, she’ll never be in submission to spiritual authorities in the church, either.
Agree or disagree?