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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Martin's 8th

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: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 22:08:37 -0700
From: "Don Martin" <>
To: <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward, Jeff Smelser, and the list (post one of two):

Let me say at the onset that I would love to reply word to word and point to
point to Mark's post. However, my friend Mark has a rather long post that
prohibits a detailed reply on my part. As I have said, I shall try to
reduce my posts and, Mark, I would count it a great favor if you could also
shorten your posts.

Mark has now had a responsive post to my reply to the answer that he
provided for my question one. My question one was:

In view of the language, "Let your women keep silence in the churches" is
Paul including the prophetess and precluding her from any public prophesying
in the assembly (prophesying as did the prophets)?

Jeff and Mark both answered, "yes."

Jeff has submitted his question one and he and I and now Mark have responded
to Jeff's question and my answer. I continue to believe that the primary
reason that they and I have such an extremely different view, in some ways,
of I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 is because of the different position we take
relative to the head covering teaching resident in I Corinthians 11 and the
work and role of the biblical prophetesses (both in the Hebrew scriptures
and in the New Testament). I understand that prophetesses were to have on a
head covering because of the public work that they did, work that was the
same as their male counter-part, the prophets. Mark it seems in order to
try to make the head covering binding on all women today has had to
deprecate the work of the prophetess.

I often have trouble following Mark's reasoning (I am sure Mark will say the
same about me). Mark tends, I do not say this to be unkind, to lump things
together, apples and oranges, and then fires away. We had all three
agreed, I thought, that there is a difference between the assembly
discussed in I Corinthians 14 and in the typical Bible class arrangement.
However, Mark wrote:

Don has several inconsistencies. I wonder how he would
answer Jeff's question one of ladies in the simultaneous
Bible class arrangement??? Don has no problem with his wife
participating "at home" in the activities in Jeff's question
one. On what basis would Don's position preclude a woman
doing such in the simultaneious Bible class arrangement of
the local church?

Don comments:

I totally fail to see any correlation between the worship assembly, a Bible
class arrangement, and in a dinner event at a private house in which a woman
mentions some members who are sick. Such reasoning I have called zig zag.
Mark has used, however, such reasoning regarding trying to extract from a
text in which instructions pertaining to the head covering are given to the
Spirit prompted prophetess and make it binding on all women today and now he
attempts to use I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 in such a way as to preclude the
prophetess from having prophesied in the assembly. I cannot follow zig zag
reasoning, perhaps I am too linear. I understand that zig zag people are
usually highly intelligent and linear people are low on the IQ scale. If
this is the case, Mark is a genius and I am an idiot (Mark, it will not make
me mad if you agree). Mark has said that I am "circular" in my reasoning.
I suppose when you put zig zag and circular thinkers together, you should
expect to come up with different conclusions (a little humor).

Mark stated:

Don thinks that the manner in which I have answered his
question one on chapter 14 has me having to have a
prophetess being told to ask her husband who is uninspired a
question at home. Such is not demanded from the text, nor my
answer, nor is such my position on this text.

Don reflects:

Mark says it is not the case; however, I do not see how it is not. If
prophetesses are immediately included in, "...let them ask their husbands at
home," and the husbands are "uninspired" (I beg your pardon, Jeff), how
would it not "have a prophetess being told to ask her husband who is
uninspired a question at home?" (Another example of the difference in the
reasoning of Mark and me.)

Please see post two.

(from MARS-List Digest 4042, March 27, 2003)

Subject: Re: I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 22:34:27 -0700
From: "Don Martin" <>
To: <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward, Jeff Smelser, and the list (post two of two,

Mark wrote:

I have heretofor made an argument that ONE SITUATION GIVEN
(among many that are possible) does NOT exclude all other
situations as being applicable and used "if any be hungry,
let him eat at home" as a parallel illustration. I don't
recall Don touching that.

Don responds:

I am sorry, Mark, I did notice the argument when you originally made it but
I honestly did not know what you were saying and I still do not. The women
in I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 were married women who lacked knowledge in at
least some areas. Paul told them to ask them husbands at home rather than
ask their questions in the assembly. In view of vs. 33, 40 and teaching
pertaining to headship violation in vs. 34, 35 they were apparently asking
disruptive questions in such a way as to not be in subjection. With this,
you strongly have disagreed and accused me of perverting the passage by
making these comments. Again, Mark, you are not observing the context.
This was the ongoing problem in our exchange on I Corinthians 11: 4-16
and the reason you continue to bind the head covering on all women today.

Mark wrote:

Go back and read it again, more carefully this time please brother Don!
But I freely admit, that the prophetess is not to speak in
the church. for GOD SAYS, ".for it is a shame for women to
speak in church." (I Cor. 14:35b). Don teaches that IT IS
~NOT~ A SHAME for prophetesses to speak in the church, but
can give no verse to support his assertion!

Don comments:

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 is allowed to audibly sing (Eph. 5: 19). I
have contended that the "speaking" under review in the passage was specific
(vs. 33, 40, 34, 35). Nonetheless, I have said that I think the teaching,
"learn in silence" would preclude the female from taking a public role or
publicly teaching in the assembly (I Tim. 2: 11, 12). In fact, I might be
in agreement in general with Jeff and Mark about many of these matters, but
I am saying that I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 is not the verse to use. Jeff had
reprimanded me for using the word "inspired" in connection with prophetess.
In the exact sense, what Jeff said is correct. I wish that Jeff and Mark
would exercise the same precision in the case of I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
and not try to use it to discount or preclude I Corinthians 11: 4-16 (the
prophetess exercising or gift in public and in the assembly).

Another example seen in our thinking and application (Mark wrote):

Don says "Anytime a woman asks a disruptive question in an
assembly." So, this instruction WOULD APPLY to prophetesses
according to Don's writing above. Read it again.. and again.
Did I misunderstand you brother Don?

Don answers:

Again, we are seeing the difference between specificity and generality.
Mark uses I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 to argue that all women, including the
prophetesses of chapter 11, were to be without sound when the text
obviously (it is obvious to me) has specificity. He then chides me
with refusing to so use the passage. Yes, Mark, if a
prophetess in the church at Corinth was doing what these women were doing
(asking disruptive questions and violating headship acquiescence), the
prophetess would be included. Mark, I am confident you will not relate to
what I just said, but will further falsely charge me (I am used to such).

Mark just cannot begin to understand or appreciate why I think the
prophetess was not precluded in I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 from doing her
work. I have tried to show in the simplest way I can why I believe the
prophetess is not so included and the quandary of the position of both Jeff
and Mark. Mark just cannot imagine where I ever dreamed up such a view
that the women were probably the wives of the prophets just mentioned in the
context and has, again, accused me of perverting the scriptures.

I wrote:

I maintain that the evidence and influence of the context shows that Paul is
not addressing or including in his address the prophetesses of chapter
eleven. Moreover, I continue to stress that the "women" were in all
probability the uninspired wives of the prophets. I Corinthians is one of
the earliest written books comprising the New Testament canon. Hence,
knowledge outside of miraculous inspiration was sparse. Prophecy was one
of the main sources of the infusion of knowledge at the time of I
Corinthians. I believe "let them ask their husbands at home" certainly
implies some capability on the part of these husbands and more capability
than the inquiring wives. This is one reason I have insisted that the
circumstances of I Corinthians 11 and chapter 14: 34, 35 are unrelated.
Therefore, it does harm to try to use chapter 14: 34, 35 to regulate chapter
11: 4-16. These prophetesses were doing exactly the same work and in the
same places as their male counter-parts the prophets. They, I repeat, were
the exception to I Timothy 2: 12. Jeff and Mark appear to be unable to
acknowledge the unique, indigenous, and peculiar nature of the covering
circumstance of chapter 11. Therefore, they seem to be not properly
relating these two texts (chapter 11 and 14).

Mark said:

But what about this matter of the person with a gift of
prophecy and Don's view of the extent of that person's
ability to "know" God's Will? I don't think Don has studied
enough about the difference in the spiritual gifts....

Don comments:

Mark is doing a good job in driving home his points. I think, though, it is
Mark who does not appreciate the spiritual gifts of the first century,
especially prophecy.

Under "prophet" (prophetess), Vine says, "a proclaimer of a divine message,
denoted among the Greeks an interpreter of the oracles of gods." The verb
propheteuo is used to describe or indicate the work of a prophet, simply
put. Thayer says of the prophet (propheteia, noun), "...discourse emanating
from divine inspiration...." (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, pg. 552).
Thayer continued by saying of the verb propheteuo and alludes to I
Corinthians 11: 4, 5 as follows: " break forth under sudden impulse in
lofty discourse or in praise of the divine counsels...or, under the like
prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others...I Cor. 11:
4, 5....." (Ibid.). Both Jeff and Mark have attempted to escape the
quandary of having a Holy Spirit led prophetesses being told to ask
religious questions of their "uninspired" husbands at home by deprecating
and belittling, in my humble judgement, the work and role of the
prophet/prophetess. I have said repeatedly that the prophetess would
certainly have advantage over the "normal" person who lacked such miraculous
ability. If nothing else, they should have known more just in view of their
proximity to the inspired message that they would repeatedly deliver.

I again thank Mark for his efforts to justify his position that I
Corinthians 14: 34, 35 is telling in general the prophetess to "keep
silence" in the assembly. As I have said, I believe it is evident from a
study of Bible prophetesses that they were the exception to the general
teaching of I Timothy 2: 12.

(from MARS-List Digest 4042, March 27, 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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