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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Smelser's 4th

The following is brother Jeff Smelser's next in the exchange on the true meaning and application of I Corinthians 14:34,35 today.

Subject: Re: I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 21:03:09 -0500
From: "Jeff Smelser" <>
To: <>
CC: "Mark J. Ward" <>, "Don Martin" <>

Jeff Smelser to Mark Ward and Don Martin, and responding to Don's most recent post on this thread, which was a nice try...

I doubt you really suppose I undervalue the prophecy of the woman, or in some way regard it as inferior to the prophecy of the man. I think instead you aim to point out what you see as an inconsistency.

If I understand you correctly, your point is that if I allow that prophetesses are included in the command, "and if any would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home," then I am making the prophecies of the prophetesses take a back seat to the instruction of their husbands. Accordingly, I think your point is that prophetesses must have been excluded from the command else their prophecies would be considered inferior to their husband's wisdom and subject to their husband's instruction. Then, having concluded that prophetesses must have been excluded from the command, you reason that they were permitted to speak in the assembly.

In short, yes, prophetesses are included in the prohibition of 1 Cor. 14:34-35; but no, prophetesses ~functioning in their prophetic capacity~ are not specifically in view when Paul says, "if they would learn anything..."

Don, when a prophetess, functioning in her prophetic capacity, desired to learn something, should she ask her husband, or should she listen to the Holy Spirit? The latter of course. And therefore, clearly, when Paul speaks of a woman desiring to learn something and tells her to ask her husband (vs. 35), he must not be talking about a prophetess functioning in her prophetic capacity.

No, that doesn't mean I agree with you in thinking prophetesses are not included in the prohibition. I have stated that I believe this section is tangential, or even an aside. But it does not come out of the blue. Paul has been talking about the proper use of spiritual gifts, and in that context, turns his attention to the question of women speaking in the assembly. Unless this new topic is occasioned by the fact that some women had spiritual gifts, it would seem to be utterly unconnected to the context. But it is connected. Some women were prophetesses. With that in view, Paul reminds them that, notwithstanding his detailed instructions about a revelation being made to one sitting by and that one being allowed to speak, etc, the women were to keep silent in the assembly. Why? Because it is a shame for a woman to speak in the assembly. In other words, not even the prophetic gift was to set aside this principle.

No, there is no inferiority in the prophecy of the woman, and there is no inconsistency in my saying so. The prophetesses are included in the prohibition of 1 Cor. 14:34f, but not exclusively so. They are included because they are women; they are to be silent in the assembly because it is a shame for a woman to speak, any woman. And Paul does not leave it at that, but sees fit to drive home the point about just how extensive this injunction is - they shouldn't even ask questions!

Jeff Smelser

(from MARS-List Digest 4035, March 25, 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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