The Don Martin - Jeff Smelser - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Martin's 13th

The following is brother Don Martin's next in the exchange on the proper understanding and application today of I Corinthians 14:34,35.

Subject: Re: I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 09:18:11 -0600
From: "Don Martin" <>
To: <>

Don Martin to Jeff Smelser and the list:

Regarding the ending of our exchange on I Corinthians 14: 34, 35, Jeff has
brought up a point that deserves a brief comment. Jeff, Mark, and I have
tried not to misrepresent one another. The more that are involved in an
exchange, the more of a challenge this becomes (statements can be confused
and attributed to another). Jeff wrote:

I don't think that I discussed "singing" at any time in this discussion. I
do ~not~ regard singing as "the exception" to 1 Cor. 14:33bff.

Don comments:

I appreciate Jeff's correcting me. I do not have the exchange in its
totality on my hard drive. However, I did carefully go back over all I have
and I did find numerous references that I make throughout the exchange in
which I said with growing certainty that I thought Jeff made singing (Eph.
5: 19) the exception to "...keep silence in the churches" (I Cor. 14: 34,

Here is my first reference made toward the inception of the exchange:

"I have also said that qualification must be understood relative to "keep
silence in the churches" (sigatosan ai gunaikes en tais ekklesiais). The
example that I have provided is the command to sing (Eph. 5: 19). Both Mark
and Jeff appear to agree."

At the end of this post, there are other quotations from the exchange. In
view of Jeff's lack of denial throughout the exchange, I concluded that this
was, in deed, the case. However, I do apologize to Jeff if in fact he did
not concede Ephesians 5: 19 as being an exception to women speaking in the

I do find Jeff's rationale for not including Ephesians 5: 19 as an exception
of interest. Jeff wrote:

Congregational singing wherein one voice is joined with a chorus of others
is simply not addressed in a context where the topic is speaking one at a
time, that is, in such a fashion as to have the floor. Singing is not an
exception. It simply isn't the kind of thing that is being discussed. And if
I were to try to make singing an exception, I certainly would ~not~ do so
based on Ephesians 5:19. But in fact, I don't see the need to squeeze any
exceptions into 1 Cor. 14:33bff. I take the passage to mean what it says,
taking care to make it mean nothing more than what it says.

Don comments:

Jeff employs in the above the exact same logic that I have used to show that
I believe I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 is specific and is not even in general
discussing women making a noise in the assembly. I have used I Timothy 2:
11, 12 to show that women today are to, "...learn in silence." I have shown
from I Corinthians 14: 33, 40 that questions that are disruptive are not to
be asked of a husband (probably the prophets in the context), but the wife
is to wait until they are at home. The sound made by these women was
specific and the result was specific. I do believe I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
is a contextually abused passage. I say this with the understanding that in
most cases I would agree overall with statements made about women not
"speaking in the assembly" but unless they were causing confusion, etc. with
their speaking, I would use other verses and not I Corinthians 14: 33-40.

Jeff, I notice you shall be travelling and I trust you will have a safe
journey. Thanks again for the exchange.

Here are some additional statements that I made at different time intervals
in the exchange that were never denied (unless I missed the denials):

"Having said this, it must be remembered that both Jeff and Mark have agreed
that the woman in the assembly is allowed to audibly sing (Eph. 5: 19)."

"Both Mark and Jeff have agreed that 'keep silence' is qualified and
modified; hence, not absolute. I say this because they both have conceded
that the women in the assembly are allowed to audibly sing (Eph. 5: 19)."

"However, they both have admitted to at least one exception: The female
audibly singing in the assembly (Eph. 5: 19)."

Don Martin

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(from Mars-List Digest 4071, April 8, 2003)



[Editor’s Note: This is one of the most in-depth, comprehensive studies between brethren on the issue of whether the women in the "b" part of verse 35 of I Corinthians 14:34,35 is "all women", including women today, or whether those women were only the "prophets' wives". We hope all readers will continue to study all Bible topics with open minds, willing to conform to God's Truth. Thanks for reading! - Mark J. Ward]

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