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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Ward's 5th

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.

Re: I Corinthians 14:34,35
Thu, 27 Mar 2003 16:21:09 -0500
"Mark J. Ward" <>

Mark J. Ward here to brother Don Martin and brother Jeff

I am enjoying this good study. I will briefly mention a few
things and then turn attention to Jeff's question one. I
will leave some of the repetitive material that brother Don
continues to advance that has already been answered, in my
estimation, to the readership (and hopefully Don, as he
reflects over time, will change). IF there is any point,
however, that Don feels is being left untouched, by all
means, bring it up.

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. 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! Another problem
exists here with Don actually adding a "little" word to the
sense of the text, the little word "not". We have already
exposed Don's problem with regards to the little words "or"
in I Corinthians 11 (regarding praying ~OR~ prophesying) and
the "or" in the definitions DON quoted from in defining
katakalupto (regarding to veil ~OR~ to cover).

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. Such is the case in I Cor.
14:34,35 when the matter is raised, "let them ask their
husbands at home" (for ~those who had such~) when the REASON
that such is the case includes "…for it is a shame for women
to speak in church." (14:35b). Wouldn't this passage (I Cor.
14:34,35) also teach, by inference, that uninspired virgins
(they are non-prophetesses who are NOT married, brother Don)
COULD ask questions of prophets OUTSIDE the assembly of the
church, but NOT in the church? Sure it would. What does Don

Don has actually now advanced the position in his writing in
his last post that even a prophetess, in asking a question,
would be prohibited from doing such by I Cor. 14:34,35's
instruction, under the "can't be disruptive" clause <G>!!!
Did you mean to write that brother Don? (Please note his
writing from his last post directed to me.)

Don first wrote:
I have no problem applying I Corinthians 14: 34, 35. Anytime
a woman asks a disruptive question in an assembly and does
so in a way to not only cause confusion but also be
disrespective of her husband, she in violation of Paul's
teaching (see vs. 33, 40). However, I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
does not have any relationship to I Corinthians 11: 4-16.
These are two different texts, addressing two different sets
of women, and circumstances. The respective context in each
case shows this to be the case. Mark, in my view, is under
pressure and feels compelled to maintain that 14: 34, 35 is
telling the prophetess of chapter 11 to remain silent in the
assembly and ask her husband questions at home. Imagine the
inspired prophetess having to ask her uninspired husband
questions at home. Such is the consequence of Mark's "yes"

Mark here:
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 also wrote:
Mark, the point is that you have the inspired prophetess (I
Cor. 11) being told to remain silent in the assembly and ask
her husband questions at home. As I have pointed out, I
Corinthians was among the first books written that comprise
the canon of the New Testament. Knowledge was limited and
sparse, except for inspired people such as prophets and
prophetesses. To understand Paul's teaching as instructing a
prophetess who is ignorant to ask her uninspired husband
questions is to, indeed, deprecate the prophetess. I am
truly sorry that you cannot see this.

Mark here:
Don, in my estimation, believes that a person with the gift
of prophecy had "all knowledge" according to his writing.
Maybe that is not the case with Don's view and I
misunderstand him? But the SCRIPTURES indicate that
"something" could be "revealed" to one person who had the
gift of prophecy and ANOTHER prophet was to then hold his
peace and let the revelation of the OTHER PROPHET be heard!
Now, the "gift of knowledge" might be what brother Don MEANT
to write/say/advance, but I don't think so (due to my belief
that Don unnecessarily ELEVATES the roles of prophets and
especially prophetesses in the age of the miraculous. Please
read on…)

Don wrote:
I cannot imagine a question being thus asked in the assembly
that is not disruptive. When I am preaching, I do not allow
male or female to interrupt with questions or comments. I
have, however, allowed a special time following a service
for questions, both from females and males. Mark is still
ignoring the context of I Corinthians 14: 34, 35, especially
verses 33 and 40.

Mark here:
Is an adult Bible class ~disruptive~ when folks ask
questions who are in the audience in that class? Not
normally, at least such CAN BE DONE without being
disruptive. And, what about the prophets mentioned in I Cor.
14 who are in the same assembly…how do you think one was to
keep quiet/hold his peace and let the other talk, without
some form of notice being given that the second prophet
wanted to speak. Was THAT disruptive? Not in the sense of
NOT being orderly and decent, for God says "let all things
be done decently and in order" and has just told the saints
at Corinth HOW (in part) to accomplish that!

Just because our good brother Don "cannot imagine" a
question being thus asked "that is not disruptive", doesn't
make it so, does it??? <g> I have had a man "raise his hand"
while I was speaking/preaching when the whole church was
together in one place. I finished my immediate thot and then
asked him to ask his question. Such a question was for the
purpose of learning more, a clarification, it was for his
edification! No disruption at all! Don really even admits
that such CAN TAKE PLACE ~at least during his special time~
he takes questions from females and males that he wrote
about. Don reverses himself in that regard; I am not trying
to pick at you brother Don, but you shouldn't argue both
sides of the coin on this. Please unravel the spaghetti.

Dear Don, Jeff and readers: Please read all of chapter 14
and see if you think ~one person~ did all the prophesying
and no other man in that assembly, in essence, ever raised
his hand (so to speak <g> pun intended here) in a
non-disruptive way and was then allowed to proceed to either
prophesy or speak in a tongue (or ask a question for
clarification)! I AGREE that such is WRONG when disruptive
(during the age of the miraculous OR now), but what about
when NOT disruptive, brother Don? Thus, I believe that DON
is (in his writing noted in the para quoted above) using I
Cor. 14 AGAIN in application to include the prophetesses
(for he cannot imagine them/anyone asking a question that
would NOT be disruptive!).

Can you see the mixup that Don now has? HE is actually
~including prophetesses~ in the prohibition of I Cor. 14 on
the basis of asking a question (Don has the prophetesses in
the context of I Cor. 14, don't you Don?). He doesn't want
them in vss 34,35, but he agrees they are included in the
context. Read Don's words again, "Anytime a woman asks a
disruptive question in an assembly and does so in a way to
not only cause confusion but also be disrespective of her
husband, she in violation of Paul's teaching (see vs. 33,
40)." Brother Don, according to your position, do BOTH
COMPONENTS ~have to be present in the situation~ for a
prophetess to be wrong if she does ask a question??? IF a
prophetess, for example, asks a disruptive question in the
assembly [1st cokmponent], but doesn't have a husband [part
of the 2nd component], does she violate I Cor. 14:34,35?
Deal with those two verses now, brother Don. Don't run off
to the last verse of the chapter <g> and dodge my question
specific to whether or not you are of the belief that she
violates vss 34,35. Thanks. Please deal with YOUR WRITING
most previous. Thanks. I need you to clear this confusion up
for me that you have created.

Mark reflects:
The Bible does NOT LIMIT the ~question asking prohibition ~
(or ~speaking~ in another manner, for that matter) in I
Corinthians 14:34,35 to having to include (1) a woman who is
married and, (2) her asking a disruptive question in such a
way as to show insubordination/disrespect to her husband.
Now, such would clearly be a sin, but such is not the
~limitation of the prohibition~! We look forward to seeing
how Don clarifies his way out of the confusion he has caused
in his writing above. Don must now work to get the
prophetesses back OUT of the prohibition that he has worked
so hard to EXCLUDE from the prohibition.

How can Don believe that a prophetess can exercise dominion
over ALL THE MEN of a congregation while prophesying in the
assembly (by exception) and her BE RIGHT, and believe that
any question asked by her of her husband in the assembly
(whether hubby is inspired or uninspired) could be out of
line in the sense of being insubordinate (not disrespectful
~per se~, but insubordinate)???

Mark continues:
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
(especially ~prophecy~ and the ~gift of knowledge~and ~his
made up inspired only prayer gift~, that we will ask about
now that we are in our study of chapter 14, Lord willing, as
the questions unfold). Did a person with the gift of
prophecy have "all knowledge" OR was it just the case that a
person with the gift of prophecy would be right on EVERY
POINT upon which they prophesied? (NOTE: don't forget that
there was a DIFFERENT gift than prophecy, called the gift of
knowledge, as well.)

I pointed out in my last post that all prophetesses don't
even have to have husbands! The prohibition simply includes
the basic fundamental truth, "for it is a shame for a woman
to speak in church". Don comes at it from the opposite
direction altogether. Don has no point here. He strains at
ONE SCENARIO among many that is an example of a woman
speaking in the assembly of the local church and ARGUES???
as if such would have to apply to "ALL WOMEN"! I pointed out
in my last that such is not a ONE SIZE FITS ALL scenario and
used a "jacket" as illustrative of that point. Such is like
unto a person saying, for example, that as long as people
aren't necessarily "hungry" they could eat a social meal in
the assembly per the teachings of I Cor. 11…thus, taking the
SCENARIO GIVEN and making it ~overshadow the teaching or
reason~ that the scenario would be wrong! I believe this is
one of Don's many problems in his
understanding/interpretation/application of these texts.

Mark here:
Note that brother Don started off with the emphasis that
Jeff noted on the "confusion and disorder" theme. Where does
the passage indicate Paul rebukes the folks? He DOES
instruct them to do all things decently and in order. He
does give a lot of rules. Don assumes that disruptive
activity was actually occurring in the church at Corinth. It
MAY have been that way. How does Don KNOW and can he really
BE SURE such WAS THE CASE? Maybe he will just say that there
was a potential problem <G>. At any rate, Don reasons FROM
his confusion and disorder theory, mixes it with his guess
that the women were uninspired wives whose (yes another
assertion coming right up) husbands were prophets (which the
text does NOT teach by specific language nor by unavoidable
conclusion) and concludes that prophetesses could speak in
the church! <g> Now, dear Don and readers, please read vss
30 end of chapter and put yourselves in the church of God
at Corinth in your mind and see if that's what you come up
with. No way!

Don has made a circle that brings us back around again. I
believe this has happened now, upon reflection and
examination, in BOTH discussions (I Cor. 11 and I Cor. 14).
Each building block Don uses is based on assumptive
reasoning, yet brother Don, as capable as he is on many
subjects, just won't let go. Here's an example of what I
contend is circular reasoning by Don. Please carefully note:

- Prophets/prophetesses are equal in the sense of teaching
over men (he asserts),
- Prophets/prophetesses were doing the exact same thing in
the exact same circumstances (he guesses, but firmly
advocates such),
- These prophetesses were to show subjection/respect by
wearing a covering that covered the head and face (not in
the text, but Don so asserts) while in the presence of men
who had the same gift only (Don asserts this, has no proof
that such was so limited, why not show subjection to
uninspired men, as well???),
- The women in chapter 14 were a completely different class
of women than those in chapter 11(Don assumes…and he
believes I/we make the prophetesses "inferior", but the
uninspired women had to keep silent…Don are they inferior???
- The reason for the covering was due to the prophetesses
being equal to the prophets. etc etc
- Prophets/prophetesses are equal in the sense of teaching
over men (he asserts again and completes the circular

- Don starts by assuming that the ladies in the passage are
ONLY non-prophetesses who are married to prophets!
- Don then asserts that the men were ONLY husbands, who were
ALSO prophets!
- Then, Don proceeds to build on unwarranted foundational
reasoning by adding the assumption that there was confusion
and insubordinate questions that were being asked that could
be answered at home specifically TO THE EXCLUSION of other
scenarios and possibilities, like Paul was just giving
instruction that "in the church" women were not to speak,
not even in a non-authoritative way (which Don seems to
agree with on his understanding of I Tim. 2 <g>) by asking a
- Don argues that the role of prophetesses must have
included teaching over men in the assembly (but gives no
passages from God's word to prove such)
- Don assumes that I Cor. 11 cannot be talking to the same
women as I Cor. 14 (yet Paul said "every woman" in chapter
11 and mentions that "it is a shame for a woman [any woman
mjw] to speak in church" in chapter 14:35b)
- Don then contends that the ladies in the passage are ONLY
non-prophetesses who are married to prophets!!! (see the
first leap in this listing above, completes the circle)

Such circular reasoning makes us dizzy, brother Don.

Jeff asks:
My Question to Don:
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? I stipulate that she
sits in her seat lest you say by standing up front she
assumes a position of authority. For the same reason, I
stipulate that the list is prepared by a man and given to
her. So, do you believe God's word forbids this? I say yes,
based on 1 Cor. 14:33b-35. What say you? Please provide a
scriptural basis for your response.

And if you say yes, she may do that, may she also announce
the song numbers for the day, the list having been prepared
for her by a man? And if you say yes, she may do that, may
she also serve as translator for a man, who does not speak
English, as he reads a passage from the Bible without
further comment? And if you say yes, she may do that, then
in the assembly may she also read from the inspired
scriptures herself, aloud, without making any additional
comment? And if not, why not? How is she doing anything
different than what you believe a prophetess of the 1st
century was permitted to do?

Mark here:
Don answered "yes" to the first question, would not apply I
Corinthians 14:33b-35 (it seems) but uses I Tim. 2:11-12 and
asserts that such is an "assembly only" passage? (Is this
right Don. I never want to misunderstand or misrepresent
another's position Thanks).

Don failed to answer the following questions, since he
answered "yes" to the first question and 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." (Since I answered "yes" to the first
question, the following questions do not apply)."

Mark here:
I believe that the following questions DID apply, but that
our good brother Don did not pay close attention to Jeff's
writing wherein JEFF used I Cor. 14 in HIS answer, but Don
would not. Don probably believes all the other questions
would be answered YES, as well, but use I Tim. 2 as his
"proof text" in so answering? Is that right brother Don?

Further, Don misses the truth that I Tim. 2 is not
exclusively assembly activity. Men praying "every where"
would include OUTSIDE assembly activity. Opps! Don again
misunderstands and misapplies a passage wherein ONE
necessarily exclude the other scenarios wherein the teaching
would be applicable. Don really is "exclusive" in some of
his applications of scripture! I hope this is becoming more
and more evident to all the readers following this study. I
hope Don will realize this, in time. I really do.

Women are to dress modestly IN or OUT of the assembly and
such is the proper application of I Tim. 2 and not just info
from OTHER passages! Opps! Don asserts such is not the case
and wants us to believe his assumptive position that limits
the passage to assembly only activity. IF Don doesn't do
this, he will have a BIG problem. For I do believe that Don
will allow women (then or now) if in the simultaneous Bible
class arrangement of the church to ask a question, to read a
list of the sick, with men present in that class arranged by
the church, but taught by a male. Is that right Don? See the

Don had written:
" In regard to 14: 34, 35, I have said many times that any
time a woman does what these women were doing, she also is

Mark here:
Don's statement above betrays him. Verse 35b says, "for it
is a shame for a woman to speak in church". Don's position
is that a woman would have to be disruptive and would be
wrong "for it is a shame for a woman TO SO SPEAK in church."
But that is not what the Bible teaches is it?

I answer question one from Jeff that it is wrong for a woman
to speak in the church (the assembly) due to I Corinthians
14:34,35, even if she asks a question with the most INNOCENT
of heart and delivery (non-disruptive). So, all the
instances Jeff gave, in the assembly, would be prohibited
for women (then and now).

Don wrote, "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."

Mark here:
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?

Further, Don writes above that I Cor. 14:34,35 has some
specificity. Don asserts more than the passage gives and
then EXCLUDES certain women (a grave fallacy in his
reasoning) from the prohibition! The specificity in the
passage includes "for it is a shame for a woman to speak in
church". Get that and down goes much of Don's incorrect
views! Don seems to INTERPRET the "b" part of verse 35 by
what he guesses the situation to be in the earlier verses,
rather than getting God's REASON nailed down first (given to
us in "35b") and THEN proceed to understand the verses. See
the difference. Yes, there is some ~specificity~ in these
verses, even a specific SCENARIO that is not exclusive to
other scenarios (as all non-prophetesses were not married,
and even if they were would they all be married to
uninspired husbands???) along with the prohibition for all
women to be silent in the church.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to another round of
discussion from brethren Don and Jeff and I will ask
Question ONE next time I am up (somehow those guys got two
posts ahead of me <G>). I am enjoying the discussion as we
continue to try to test and reach agreement on God's truth
of the matter. Please give careful attention to Don and
Jeff's posts forthcoming.

All the best,
Mark J. Ward

(from MARS-List Digest 4041, 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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