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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Martin's 7th

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: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 16:26:56 -0700
From: "Don Martin" <>
To: <>

Don Martin to Jeff Smelser, Mark Ward, and the list (third post for today):

I also am enjoying the study, Jeff. I think a lot can be accomplished even
by those who disagree if they will focus on the issue, press their points,
and be considerate one of another, as I think we are doing. Jeff, you asked
if you can have another question at this point. As I understand the rules
as submitted by Mark and agreed on by the three of us, Mark is supposed to
now ask his question one. However, since your below question is a follow
up, I shall go ahead and attempt to answer it. By the way, you are asking
good, hard questions that test my position. Thank you.

Jeff first quotes me and then asks:

Don, you wrote:

In view of I Timothy 2: 11, "Let the woman learn in silence with all
subjection," I would have to say it is a sin "for a woman to sit in her
seat during the assembly and read aloud a list of those who are
ill, the list having been prepared by a man and given to her."

What in 1 Tim. 2:11 prohibits a woman from reading aloud a list of those who
are sick? Is she teaching? Having dominion over a man? I don't see how.

Don answers:

Jeff, the prohibition, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp
authority over the man..." negatively shows what the woman is not to do. To
the converse, she is to "...learn in silence..." (I Tim. 2: 12, 11).
Therefore, I do not see the woman in the assembly doing anything in
connection with the male but learning in silence. It is not her role to
lead singing, wait on the table, or lead in prayer. One could ask is a
woman teaching or "exercising dominion over the man" by waiting on the
Lord's table. Such is simply not her role, I repeat.

Jeff continues:

But the real kicker is this - I think we all agree that the instruction in
1 Tim. 2 is not limited to the assembly. Therefore, if 1 Tim. 2:11 precludes
a woman reading a list of the sick in the assembly (a list prepared by a
man), it also precludes a woman reading a list of the sick in some other
places. If some of the saints were gathered at your home for dinner Friday
evening, would you feel your wife was violating 1 Tim. 2:11 if she read
aloud a list of the brethren who were sick? And to maintain the parallel,
let's stipulate what we stipulated in the assembly scenario. Let's say the
list was prepared by a man for her to read. In fact, inasmuch as it's your
wife in your home, let's stipulate that you prepare the list and hand it to
her and ask her to read it. You would object to that as being a violation of
1 TIm. 2:11? I have considerable difficulty seeing how you get that out of 1
Tim. 2:11.

Don answers:

Jeff, I believe I Timothy 2: 8-15 is an assembly passage just as much so as
the setting for our study verses, I Corinthians 14: 34, 35. I,
therefore, fail to see your perceived correlation between the assembly in
which Christians render public worship to God and in "If some of the saints
were gathered at your home for dinner Friday evening." Allow me to defer
further comments until after I insert your next statement:

Jeff wrote:

But if you would not object to your wife doing this in that setting, then
neither could you object to her doing the same in the assembly on the basis
of 1 Tim. 2:11, for that passage makes no distinction between being in the
assembly or out of the assembly. Of course, I would object to her doing this
in the assembly on the basis of 1 Cor. 14:34-35, but you, apparently, do

Don comments:

Jeff, I may be missing something in your line of reasoning. In the first
place, I believe I Timothy 2: 8ff is a text that pertains to the assembly.
Paul wrote, "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy
hands..." (I Tim. 2: 8). Men is from the Greek andras and andras or andros
is the usual word for man as opposed to woman (see vs. 12). Paul is not
saying that women cannot pray in general, but in the assembly, men are to
lead the public prayers. Hence, the idea of "lifting up holy hands...."
The prohibition against teaching or being the teacher pertains to the
assembly and religious matters. I do not think it is necessarily wrong for
a woman to teach a secular college class including men, do you?

Jeff, I would have no problem with my wife reading a list of sick people
during a dinner party at my house. Again, both I Timothy 2: 8ff and I
Corinthians 14 are assembly texts. The point that I make, though, is that
in view of verse 33, 40, and 34 of I Corinthians 14 the questions being
considered are a specific type questions. Whereas, I do not see any
limiting or special circumstance in I Timothy 2: 11 ("learn in silence").
As said, I believe the "learn in silence" would prohibit women doing the
things that you mentioned in the assembly because their role is simply
learning in silence. One of us is missing something, you may be
assuming something in setting up your question.

You and Mark want to apply "keep silence" in I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 to the
point of excluding the prophetess situation I believe discussed in chapter
11. What I am saying is that 14: 34, 35 has specificity.

Don Martin

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(from MARS-List Digest 4038, March 26, 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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