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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Ward's 3rd

The following is brother Mark J. Ward's next in the exchange on the proper meaning and application of I Corinthians 14:34,35 for folks today.

Subject: Re: I Corinthians 14:34,35
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 20:53:33 -0500
From: "Mark J. Ward" <>

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

Don wrote, asking his Question One on I Corinthians 14:34,35:

My question one asked of both Jeff (first) and Mark:

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)?

Mark here:
There are two parts to brother Don's question above: Part one asks if "prophetesses" were included in the meaning/sense of the word "women" as used in verse 34. Part two asks if the prohibition of verses 34,35 instruct us that is not right for such a woman to prophesy in the public assembly of the local church, as did the prophets. (IF I miss something brother Don, please bring it to my attention. Thanks.)

In the sense in which these words are being used in chapter 14, I answer both parts of the question "yes"; that ~prophetesses~ were included in the meaning/sense of the word "women" in verse 34 (& "woman" in verse 35 <g>) AND, that they would not be permitted to address the mixed assembly of the local church (but the prophets sure were). NOTE: This type of prophesying was not to occur simultaneously, but was one prophet at a time, to be
pleasing to God.

NOTE: EVEN IF verse 34 ~were~ referencing "prophets' wives only" or "wives only", we must not forget the "b" part of verse 35's instruction! I could be wrong about verse 34 "technically speaking" and still have latter part of verse 35 teaching us "why" it would be wrong for ~those women in verse 34~ (for the sake of argumentation only, mind you) to speak in the church (i.e. when the whole church be come together into one place) namely, "for it is a shame for a woman to speak in church".

Furthermore, please note that many translations have in verse 35b that it is a shame for ~A WOMAN~ to speak in the church...a few have "WOMEN". Jeff did a good job on noting this in his last post. Don't forget to read that post again...two points (among others) were made: (1) points about the word ~your~ in verse 34 and, (2) points about verse 35 reading "a woman" in many translations. Thanks. A quick read of Jeff's last post might not have taken in the full import of what I understand his argumentation to be. I certainly don't think that we have to know Greek to be saved, but such sure helps us in many ways (one of which is to refute any false arguments which might be made from the Greek <g>). No offense Don (and Jeff)<g>. Just an observation for all studies. I would say that any man who lives of the gospel would do well to learn as much as possible about the languages of the Old and New Testament.

Verses 34,35 read (Updated NASB), "The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church."

I look forward to the continuation of this good study.

All the best,
Mark J. Ward
The Religious Instructor
The Golden Isles church of Christ

(from MARS-List Digest 4032, March 24, 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]

Email the Editor at