Vol.I No.VI Pg.7
June 1964

"Women Keep Silence"

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Please discuss "women keep silence" of 1 Cor. 14:34 1 Tim. 2:11-12. VA


Women may teach: Acts 2:18 18:26 21:9 Titus 2:3-4 etc., hence the "silence" must be qualified. Nor may we say she must be "silent" in the "assembly"; for she teaches and admonishes when she sings: (Co1. 3:16), and 1 Tim. 2:11-12 certainly is not limited to "the assembly" (Note "modest apparel," vs.9, and "faith, charity, holiness, vs15; showing that vs.11-f. are of more general application.)

Notice the italics in 1 Cor.14:34? That indicates words supplied. "Not to speak, but to be in subjection"-- this is the core of the text, and the "but" qualifies the "not." Women are not to speak beyond the point of being in subjection. Particularly the wives of the prophets needed this admonition, for confusion over prophets "showing off' their gifts occasioned this section of the epistle.

Other "Not-But" Passages

Read 1 Cor. 1:17, 1 Pet. 3:3 Jn. 6:27, etc. Labor NOT for meat that perisheth, BUT for everlasting life. The "not" is qualified, otherwise it would be wrong to work for food. Such passages may be greatly multiplied. We are not at liberty to put a period in the middle of a thought-- to declare a full negative what God has given as a qualified negative. Ignore qualifications, and 1 Cor. 14:28 forbids a man to speak also. Womens "silence" must be qualified (see first paragraph) and the context does it. Application of a Principle

God is over Christ, Christ is over man, and man is over woman. This basic truth is applied in 1 Cor.11:3-f. with reference to custom of covering; and is applied in 1 Cor. 14: with reference to prophecy meetings; and In 1 Tim. 2:11-12 with reference to women's demeanor in general teaching and learning situations.

The word translated "silence" in 1 Tim. 2:11-12 K.J., is "quietness" in A.R.V., and is indicative of spirit or disposition. In keeping with the "headship" of man, woman is to "learn in quietness with all subjection."

Teaching Children, Other Women

The principle (above) and examples of its application would forbid women to preach (didactic proclamation) to men, or to dominate or control a class where men were present. (This has not to do with intelligence---who is "smarter", but with a God-given order clearly stated.) Women are free to teach children, or other women---or to participate in studies with men as long as they observe and function within the sphere God assigned them.

Their Sphere Begets Glory

Christ was under God-- remember! (1 Cor. 11:3) He rejoiced to pray, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (Jn. 17:4) And women, under men, may likewise give glory to God by serving faithfully as appointed. (1 Tim. 2:15) May God help us all to do likewise.