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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Ward's 6th

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, 31 Mar 2003 20:24:20 -0500

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

Don wants me to shorten my posts. I labor under at least <g> two problems. One,   I normally write in order NOT to be misunderstood (thus repetition and   clarification are in my posts for teaching purposes). Two, sometimes such a   mess is made by someone in advocating a particular position that I understand   to be incorrect, that it takes many more words to address it and rebutt it than   it did for the advocate of the incorrect position to teach it in the first   place. Since the purpose of this discussion is to teach ~ the truth~, test and   expose weaknesses in various positions, expose error, and attempt to reach   agreement, we will continue to try to accommodate our good brethren (like Don   who asks for shorter posts), but defer to what my conscience and my manner of   dealing with the argumentation dictates. Brother Don, take all the time and all   the room you need. If this forum is not big enough, then we need to find a   forum that is <g>. TRUTH is too important NOT to take the time and the space   necessary to deal with ALL the issues. Don't dodge 'em brother Don. I'll just   have to keep bringing them up <G>.

I will, confess, to being "work in progress" in the writing arena. I believe   that I can be a much better writer, and am working on taking some writing   courses to that end. But, please consider, in the final analysis, it's  the "content" that is critical in these discussions (and all others)...not  the "presentation" ~per se~. Some orators/writers are very eloquent, but teach   error. Some old fashioned country preachers may not get all the grammar right,   but teach God's truth (nothing against you/us city slickers, mind you <g>).

Don teaches two ideas that seem to conflict, namely, that prophetesses ~ARE NOT   INCLUDED~ in the instruction in I Cor. 14:34,35 (note: I mentioned BOTH verses,   brother Don) AND that prophetesses, if they were to ask questions in the   assembly in a certain fashion ~ARE INCLUDED~ in the instruction in I Cor.   14:34,35! Is this correct, brother Don? IF SO, please unravel the   spaghetti/conflict, don't just say you have been falsely accused by others   before, deal with harmonizing the two. Thanks.

I wrote concerning ~the assembly of the local church~, ~the simultaneous Bible  class arrangement~ and ~the home~ on the ~same topic of women being disruptive  and insubordinate~, brother Don. Three settings, all different, but on the  ~same topic~ of what women are allowed by scripture to do in those settings. In  fact, I was asking concerning the "same activity" in those three settings.  Maybe that helps? Hope so. (NOTE: I agree that I Cor. 14: 34,35 regulates the  assembly of the local church, but in your answer to Jeff, YOU took us to I Tim.  2:11,12, which I do NOT accept is an assembly ONLY regulatory passage.).

Don is stuck on the fact that the position I hold demands that a prophetess  would have to be silent in the assembly of the local church (I Cor. 14:33b- 35b). Given Don's assumptive view on the instruction being given only???  to "prophets' wives" in I Cor. 14:34,35, Don maintains that Jeff and I must  believe that a prophetess would have to ask a question of her uninspired  husband at home (as tho this would be very bad, and even demean or diminish the  prophetess). In answer and rebuttal to Don's false argumentation on that  matter, I offered several answers. Don either explained that he didn't  understand some of my rebuttal info or, in other cases, he simply repeated his  earlier assertions in the matter without answering my counter points. I will proceed to try to summarize the previous rebuttal in efforts to bring about  clarity and understanding. I appreciate the patience of those who already "got  it". No offense intended Don. The goal here is unity on God's truth. I know  that is your desire, as well as everyone's (including Jeff and myself).

Don hasn't answered the following, or I missed it:
- For Don to argue that consistency would demand that the position I hold would  deem the prophetess "inferior" like unto Don's position on UNinspired   women...are they inferior OR, is there something amiss in Don's argument <g>?   The answer lies in the fact that when God makes a rule to forbid all women from   speaking in a particular setting, namely the church assembled into one   place...that such is NOT necessarily demeaning, or makes them "inferior".
- Don needs to understand the truth that ONE SCENARIO given in an inspired text  on a topic (14:33b-35b),, does not ~necessarily mean~ that such is the ONLY  scenario under which the teaching of the passage is applicable. Consider: JUST  AS the scenario wherein a wife, IN NOT SPEAKING IN THE CHURCH, might ask her  husband at home could be the case...such is NOT the ONLY SCENARIO the  instruction would apply to (namely to "wives" only ). The prohibition for women  not to speak still stands, even in the absence of the specific scenario Paul  used! WHY? Cause the passage goes on to give the inspired reason, "for it is a  shame for women to speak in the church".
- A PARALLEL idea to try to help teach this (to someone who cannot simply read the passage and follow what it says) would be to look at the instruction  concerning the proper observance of the Lord's Supper...Paul taught ~if any man  is hungry let him eat AT HOME~...this is ONE SCENARIO of NOT eating a social  meal when the whole church is come together..but NOT the ONLY is  also not the only scenario which would PRECLUDE such a meal from taking  place...the teaching is much more broad than the narrow band defined by ~a scenario~ ( the one among many) that is given. So, even in the absence of the  specific scenario Paul used, common social meals are NOT to be eaten in the  church! Similarly, even in the absence of not having a husband, for example, in  I Cor. 14:34,35, non-married women are to keep silence in the church cause the  broad instruction is "for it is a shame for women to speak in church". See the point now, brother Don?
- I Timothy 2:1-12's context is such that the applicability of the instruction   therein IS NOT LIMITED ~to assembly only activity~. Don misses this and did not  touch it (unless I missed it) in his last. Such being the case, I bring up   other settings (that would STILL be under the instruction of I Tim. 2), like   the simultaneous Bible class arrangement (even if Don ~thinks~ I Tim. 2 is  ~assembly only instruction~, please correct me if I misunderstand you, brother Don).
- Error does NOT have to be consistent. That is a fact <g>. Don, Jeff and I are trying hard to always be consistent, as well we should. We all highly respect the scriptures and each other. We KNOW that truth is in harmony, not conflict, with truth. Don shouldn't argue that prophetesses are NOT included in the   instruction (specifically) and then argue they ARE included in the instruction GENERICALLY. Don't forget to straighten out that spaghetti, brother Don. NOTE: If they are INCLUDED at all in the instruction, then the prohibition applies to   them...If not, why not?
- Don, did you argue that the women to whom the passage in I Cor. 14:34,35  applies ~had to meet~ two criteria? (1. Be a non-prophetess wife of a prophet  and, 2. Ask a question in an insubordinate, disorderly way AND/OR exercise dominion over men by speaking...since you exclude prophetesses from this text  so you can have them doing so in the assembly) I think you argued as much, but  don't really believe that in all applications you would make using that scripture reference.

Don injects humor into the discussion, which I greatly appreciate. I really do.  As we study these serious matters, we are miles apart (geographically <g>, and pun intended, as well) and have only the words on the screen to go by. This MAY be partly the cause of some of the confusion. Another reason might be that we   need to spend MORE TIME studying with those who DISAGREE with us on these   subjects, rather than with those who AGREE with us, which we are doing and are to be commended for. But, we ARE studying together now...and,we are learning   more about how each other thinks and what causes us to reach difference conclusions. Keep an open mind and heart in case we be wrong! Let us continue   to work together in the proper spirit toward the testing of arguments in light of God's Word.

I don't believe that my argumentation is zig zag..but if Don does, I want him  to say so and to point out wherein he believes such. Don, Jeff, and I (all 3  <G>) are ALL above average intelligence. Anything over 120 on an IQ test is  considered a "genius", unless they changed the point system since the 'late  70's. Don, take the tests and you will find out that you are probably there as well. <g> But, even a "genius" can be in error on the application of scripture.  Thus, we are right back to looking at God's Word <G>. Thanks for the compliment  though!

Don is confused as to why I would bring up the Bible class arrangement, when   instruction is different (in some places <g>) in the new testament AND such IS  a different "setting" than the church assembled. I read Don's view on NOT using  I Cor. 14 (but in using I Tim. 2:11,12) in dealing with the question one that  Jeff gave, and then in the "home" example Don pointed out what he believed. I  simply "wondered" what Don's position was in a third setting concerning what women can do according to his understanding of scripture: the simultaneous  Bible class arrangement. Dear Don, if your objection to a woman reading a list  of the sick prepared by a man in the assembly of the local church was NOT based  on the instruction in I Cor. 14:34,35, but was on your understanding and   explanation (as given) on I Tim. 2:11,12...the natural approach would be to follow up and see ~where you draw the line~..."at home" or in a third setting "the simultaneous Bible class arrangement".

I believe Don (correct me if I am wrong) believes that a woman CAN teach a man  the Bible??? in an authoritative manner (over him) "at home" and lead/teach a  class (like a math class at high school or college) of ALL MEN, with God's   blessings. Is that correct? Also, I don't believe you believe that a woman   could teach a Bible class (in the simultaneous Bible class arrangement at church services) of ALL MEN on religious material. Is that correct? And, I am not sure what you believe about a woman teaching a Home Bible Study class of ALL MEN "at home". What say ye?

Don wrote (note the assumptive writing):
"... 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."

Mark here:
So, brother Don, does God, in this teaching in I Cor. 14:34,35 EXCLUDE ONLY  those women ~who lacked knowledge~ from asking a question? <G> You mean the prophetesses wouldn't have a question, but she could ask one if she wanted to? Is that your position? I am serious. You are, in my estimation, placing way too much emphasis on this ONE SCENARIO among many possibles in this regard.

Think about the converse of what you are saying: IF, as your position seems to  be advocating: the "prophets' wives" (uninspired ladies, the one's ~needing the   knowledge~, as tho the prophetesses don't??? <g>) cannot ask a question in the  assembly, but the prophetesses CAN? You can't have it both ways...prophetesses really can't ask a question, or speak either in the assembly of the church,   good brother, for the BIBLE teaches: "for it is a shame for women to speak in   church".

Don accused me (again) of not noting the context and "to whom" the writer was speaking. Don knows so much about the Greek he should be ashamed that he keeps SUBSTITUTING "prophetess" for "woman" in I Cor. 11 ("every woman" is "every  prophetess" to Don) and he seems to be SUBSTITUTING "prophets' wives"  for "women/woman" in I Cor. 14: 34,35 (for it is a shame for "women" to speak  in church is "prophets' wives only", to Don, in vs 35b).

Don wrote ( in part):
"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."

Mark here:
Don's position on I Cor. 11 (the "spiritual gifts theory") simply will not   allow him to use I Cor. 14:34,35 "as written"! Don's position will crumble as we have noted again and again, if all "women can't speak in church". We AGREE  that such is not absolute, since we have a PASSAGE that teaches women may sing.  But Don is ~missing the passage~ that allows prophetesses to teach over men in  the assembly of the church. In fact, he dodges the import of a direct  prohibition against all women in I Cor. 14:34,35!

Please note that Don will NOT use I Cor. 14:34,35 today. Is that right, Don?  You won't use it today, since you believe it is "prophets' wives only" and prophecy ceased? But, you do use I Tim. 2:11,12 as ~an assembly ONLY   instructional passage~ that applies today. Is that right? Please clarify. In   other words (and I just read your response very quickly to Jeff prior to   posting this), you WILL NOT use I Tim. 2:11,12 to EITHER "the Bible class arrangement of the church" OR to the "at home" setting? We will go ahead with  question one, just to see the details. Please answer it all. Thanks.

Don repeats himself and concludes with:
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.

Mark here:
We have continually asked Don for Bible support of his understanding of  prophetesses teaching over men. We wait patiently for the scriptural proof of such. Where is the passgage? It's NOT in I Cor. 11, and Don has NOT proved such  from his sillygism.

Mark's Question One (background):
The purpose of my question one is to better understand brother Don's (and  Jeff's) application and belief about I Cor. 14:34,35 AND I Timothy 2:11,12 and  ~just what~ the prohibitions are really forbidding (according to their present  understanding of Scripture). Brother Don has already asked me in a previous  discussion a multi-part question with A-K, so I will be just as nice to him at  this time <G>. It's all in the interest of truth and in properly understanding  each others' positions. Please note that when you proceed to answer parts G-K  you MAY have to differentiate in two separate settings IF your answer would  differ in application to these 2 "away from the assembly" settings, namely, the  simultaneous Bible class arrangment AND the home (IF your answers were  different). Thanks.

Brother Don (and Jeff, if you like), are the following activities WRONG?

IF NO, please give a scripture if you can. Please note that the "setting"   changes in G-K, but I have a particular reason for asking those questions.   Thanks. ALSO, G-K may require TWO answers, if you make a distinction  between "at home" and "the simultaneous Bible class arrangement" with regards   to "away from the assembly of the local church" to the degree that you have  different answers in that regard. THANKS <G>.

NOTE: IF your answer is YES that it is wrong, PLEASE BE SURE TO IDENTIFY  whether one or both (or a different) passage(s) applies: namely, the teachings  of I Cor. 14:34,35, (those verses specifically, now) and I Tim. 2:11,12 to the   situations/scenarios below:

A. A PROPHETESS MARRIED TO A PROPHET, innocent in heart, raising her hand,  waiting to be called upon (thus non-disruptive like the simultaneous Bible  class arrangement), and asking a question in the assembly of the local church?
B. A PROPHETESS NOT MARRIED TO A PROPHET, BUT MARRIED TO A SAINT WHO IS  UNINSPIRED, innocent in heart, raising her hand, waiting to be called upon  (thus non-disruptive like the simultaneous Bible class arrangement), and asking  a question in the assembly of the local church?
C. A PROPHETESS NOT MARRIED TO A PROPHET, BUT MARRIED TO AN ALIEN, innocent in   heart, raising her hand, waiting to be called upon (thus non-disruptive like   the simultaneous Bible class arrangement), and asking a question in the   assembly of the local church?
D. An PROPHET'S WIFE WHO IS UNINSPIRED, innocent in heart, raising her hand,  waiting to be called upon (thus non-disruptive like the simultaneous Bible  class arrangement) and asking a question in the assembly of the local church?
(NOTE: Don please understand why I am asking this...when you already have  indicated that you believe that the women who are not to ask question ~are  these women~...its because I THINK you are contending that they are wrong ONLY  BECAUSE they are being disorderly and/or insubordinate in the WAY in which they  are asking/speaking (your assumption on the I Cor. 14:34,35 text). Is that the  key that unlocks your unusual position on this set of verses?)
E. An UNMARRIED UNINSPIRED WOMAN (virgin, non-virgin or widow), innocent in  heart, raising her hand, waiting to be called upon (thus non-disruptive like  the simultaneous Bible class arrangement) and asking a question in the assembly  of the local church?
F. An UNMARRIED INSPIRED WOMAN (virgin, non-virgin or widow), innocent in  heart, raising her hand, waiting to be called upon (thus non-disruptive like  the simultaneous Bible class arrangement) and asking a question in the assembly of the local church?
G. A PROPHETESS WHO IS MARRIED TO AN UNINSPIRED MAN asking him a question "at home"?
H. A PROPHETESS WHO IS MARRIED TO AN UNINSPIRED MAN asking ANOTHER MAN (other  than her husband, like a man more knowledgeable in the scriptures whether  inspired or not) a question away from the assembly of the local church?
I. A PROPHETESS WHO IS MARRIED TO AN UNINSPIRED MAN asking ANOTHER WOMAN (like  a woman who had great knowledge of the scriptures, whether she had the gift of   knowledge or no inspiration at all) a question away from the assembly of the   local church?
J. AN UNINSPIRED WOMAN WHO IS MARRIED TO AN UNINSPIRED MAN asking ANOTHER MAN  (other than her husband, like a man more knowledgeable in the scriptures  whether inspired or not) a question away from the assembly of the local church?
K. AN UNINSPIRED WOMAN WHO IS NOT MARRIED ASKING A MAN (like a man more   knowledgeable in the scriptures whether inspired or not) a question away from   the assembly of the local church?

So, for AN EXAMPLE ONLY (NOT necessarily MY position <G>):
Question One A, above, might be answered:

1A. YES such would be wrong. But I would use I Tim. 2:11,12 and WOULD NOT USE  I Cor. 14:34,35 (those 2 verses specifically) since I Cor. 14:34,35 would ONLY  deal with prophetesses IF they were disruptive and the question indicates such  was NOT the case.

Hope this helps <g>.

Thanks for reading,
Mark J. Ward
The Religious Instructor
The Golden Isles church of Christ

(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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