There was a time that all the religious world accepted Paul’s prohibition of women speaking in the church. In fact, one commentary said that women’s silence in the churches is “Positive, explicit, and universal. There is no ambiguity in the expressions; and there can be no difference of opinion, one would suppose, in regard to their meaning.” (Barnes).
So, let us examine this subject one more time to see how every denomination and the churches of Christ have erred from what Paul actually said to the Corinthians. Could they all be wrong? Could they all be right? Here is what the bible actually said:
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Cor 14:34-35).
The apostle Paul instructs silence on women in public assemblies, and that they must not ask questions for their own information in the church, but rather must ask their husband at home. They are to learn in silence with all subjection. Paul also said that he didn’t allow women to teach or to take authority over men, 1 Tim 2:11,12. They are not permitted to speak (v. 34) in the church, and to do so doesn’t place women under the subjection of man.
Some argue that Paul was writing only to the Corinth church but this is not so. Paul strictly said that women were to “keep silence in the churches”. This meant all churches, and not just the Corinth church. Paul also said, “ For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church” (1 Cor 4:17). Therefore, proof that what Paul taught to the Corinth church was to be preached to every church, including all churches today.
Some say that because the subject matter in chapter 14 was about prophesying, and prophesying is no longer an issue, that all of Paul’s restrictions about women are null and void. This too is not so. Paul’s restrictions were not just about prophesying but also about the authority of men over women. Notice that Paul said women were to be silent in the churches as also said the law (of Moses). Paul immediately placed women back in the authority of their own husband. If women were to learn anything, they were to ask their husband at home.
Others say that Paul was not an inspired writer. This is the most weakest argument against women remaining silent in the churches. The beloved apostle Paul stated that all scripture was given by the inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16). The apostle Peter said that Paul’s writings were scripture (2 Pet 3:16).
Paul made it clear that is was shameful for women to speak in the church. Yet, today most all churches say women can teach other women in the assembly. Most all teach women can teach little children up to the age of 18 in the assembly. Paul instructed Titus that only aged women could teach younger women to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed (Titus 2:4-5). No where did the scripture instruct us that this was an exception to women to be silent in the churches. Only parents are to teach their own children. Children are to obey their parents in the Lord, not a woman teacher in the assembly (Eph 6:1). Eunice and Lois were teachers of a young Timothy but this was never done in the synagogue. It was at home (2 Tim 1:5 f; 2 Tim 3:15).
Thus, it is required that women be silent in the churches, and if they do have questions they must ask their husband at home. Thus it is required that men not remain silent in the churches and that they learn of God’s Word enough to answer any question their wife might ask of him at home.
Yes, women can sing in the assembly. How can this be so and women are to remain silent? Take note that Paul prohibited women from speaking in the assembly and not to usurp man’s authority. Thus, women are not to be speakers such as preachers, teachers, leading prayer, waiting on the Lord’s table and leading singing. Singing does not contradict this commandment.
Let it be known that women and men obey the gospel the same, but their roles in the family and church are quite different. Man is the head of women in both the church and the home, but this doesn’t mean women have a inferior position. Without the woman being in subjection to her husband, no man could qualify to be an elder or deacon (1 Tim 3:4,5,12).
I understand why denominations have subverted the commandments of God in regards to women. They compromise the truth in order to gain membership and obtain more tithes. However, the church of Christ is suppose to be the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). It is high time the church stop using the same books written by denominations in order to circumvent the truth of God. Remember this, Paul also drew a line in the sand concerning women’s silence in the churches. He said, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor 14:37).