Archive for January, 2010

Are women to remain silent in church?

January 7, 2010 Leave a comment

This past Sunday a student asked a question in the class I teach at the Hope Intercultural Mission Center. He asked if women are to remain silent in the church as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:33-34. In answering, I recalled an article I read by Frank Viola, Reimagining a Woman’s Role in the Church: An Open Letter. In this article, Viola concludes that the apostle Paul was most likely writing to a specific situation, and he did not mean this to apply in every church and situation. In recalling this to my students, I made another statement that I had forgotten Viola made in his article. He wrote, “If our interpretation of the Bible smacks square in the face of what our human spirit is telling us…this should force us to seriously re-examine our interpretation of certain Biblical passages” (Viola, n.d., p. 6). In this case, it does not ring true that all women should remain silent in church.

This evening I decided to consult another source. I found an article dealing with this very question in the book, Hard Sayings of the Bible. The author, Kaiser, makes the case that reading this statement in the context of the entire letter leads one to the conclusion that Paul is addressing a specific problem in the church at Corinth. The author wrote,

If Paul believed that women should be silent in the churches in a comprehensive, universal sense, he would not have spent so much time instructing women what to do with their heads; he would have simply forbidden their practice of praying and prophesying in the assembled congregation.

He goes on to write, “The injunction must be understood within its own context as addressing a problem in Corinth which needed correcting (Kaiser, 1997, p. 615).

I know there may be some out there that do not agree with this. Nevertheless, as I said to my students, we may not all agree with every detail of Christianity, but as long as we agree on the main thing we can still be in fellowship. And that main thing is Jesus is Lord. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9 (ESV).


Kaiser, W. C. (1997). Hard sayings of the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity.

Viola, F. (n.d.) Reimagining a Woman’s Role in the Church: An Open Letter. Present Testimony Ministry. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from

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Question of the day:

January 4, 2010 Leave a comment

“Why should God reveal new truth to you when you don’t embrace the truth he gives you?” (Dr. Johnny Hunt in his sermon dated January 3rd, 2010