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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Martin's 9th

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: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 15:25:36 -0700
From: "Don Martin" <>
To: <>

Don Martin to Jeff Smelser, Mark Ward, and the list:

While we continue to wait on Mark to post, Jeff has asked me some
questions regarding my comments on his question one.

Jeff wrote:

I asked if Don supposed that in the assembly a woman might read
from the inspired scriptures themselves, aloud, without making any
additional comment.

Don declined to give an answer, supposing that none was required because of
his answer to a related question.

That leaves me wondering, Don, and speculating. In view of the fact
that there is some confusion about whose turn it is to ask a question (at
least I'm confused) I'll submit this as speculation and leave it to Mark to
pose a question for your response.

Don comments:

Mark has said that I did not answer Jeff's question and now Jeff refers to
my response to his question one. As I understood it, Jeff had a two part
question. If I answered, it is wrong to part one, then I did not need to
answer part two. Since I answered, she could not do that to part one, I
ignored part two.

Jeff asked:

Is it wrong (I'm not asking if it is merely inadvisable, nor if it is merely
poor judgment - I'm asking if it is sinful) 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?....

And if you say yes, she may do that, may she also announce the song numbers
for the day (I said she could not do that based on "learn in silence" in 1
Timothy 2: 11, 12).

Jeff now asks:

Speculation: Don would not object to a woman reading the scriptures aloud in
the assembly. Might she do so from the pulpit? What ~scriptural~ distinction
can we make between the pulpit and the pew? After all, neither is known in

Alternate speculation: Don would object to a woman reading the scriptures
aloud in the assembly. This would be interesting, for she would not be doing
anything qualitatively different than what Don supposes the prophetess was
permitted to do in the 1st century assembly. She is making no editorial
comment. She is communicating only God's word. Now it is true that
she gets the word by a different means. The prophetess in the first century
would have gotten it by direct revelation whereas the woman today gets it
from the printed page. But I don't see how that makes a difference as far
as 1 Cor. 14:33b-35 is concerned. So Don objects to a woman doing
essentially what he says the prophetess could do?

I think the problem is not in the objection to the woman reading aloud in
the assembly today, but in the supposition that the prophetess was permitted
to speak in the 1st century assembly. Understanding that 1 Cor. 14:33b-35
applies to all women solves the problem.

Don comments:

This exchange is sure developing an element of confusion. I have said that
based on I Timothy 2: 11, 12 ("learn in silence"), the woman in the assemble
today has no business doing any of the things concerning which Mark and Jeff
have inquired. I have also said many times that the prophetess was the
exception to the rule. The Holy Spirit imparted to her the gift of prophecy
(I Cor. 12: 8-11, I Cor. 11: 4, 5). This miraculous gift was meant to be
used to edify, which included the assembly (I Cor. 14). This is the reason
the prophetesses were to have their heads covered in climates that
understood the covering as symbolic of subjugation (I Cor. 11: 4-16).

Again, the problem Jeff and Mark are facing is trying to lessen the
indigenous nature of the prophetess and the covering. Lets face it, the
prophetess posed a special and exceptional situation. The prophetess
circumstance cannot be duplicated today (I Cor. 13: 8-10). Hence, the head
covering is irrelevant. As I have contended, to attempt to force the
prophetess into the "women" if I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 and also bind the
head coving on all women today is to present an anachronism (taking subjects
and actions inapplicable to the present time and binding them today). The
prophetess was obviously the exception because of the gift she possessed (I
Cor. 11: 4-16). Since we do not have prophetesses and prophecy today,
women, all women are under the restriction of I Timothy 2: 12. Women today
have no place helping with the Lord's table, making announcements publicly
or from their seat, regardless of a male providing her with the list or not
providing the list. For a women to mention some sick members in a class
circumstance or at a dinner at a member's house are different matters.

Jeff, thanks for the clarification. I do not know how to answer more
concisely than I just did. I shall continue to watch for Mark's question

Don Martin

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(from MARS-List Digest 4052, March 31, 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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