Articles

First Corinthians - Part 35

Introduction:

Last time we looked at the rules for speaking in tongues and mentioned the last portion of chapter 14 relating to women and their place within the church administration. 

Today we will take this a little further starting from the gift of prophecy.

Chapter 14: 29-40

KJV  1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34 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. 35 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. 36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order. (1Co 14:29 KJV)

TBT  1 Corinthians 14:29 προφῆται δὲ δύο ἢ τρεῖς λαλείτωσαν, καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι διακρινέτωσαν. 30  ἐὰν δὲ ἄλλῳ ἀποκαλυφθῇ καθημένῳ, ὁ πρῶτος σιγάτω. 31  δύνασθε γὰρ καθ᾽ ἕνα πάντες προφητεύειν, ἵνα πάντες μανθάνωσι, καὶ πάντες παρακαλῶνται· 32  καὶ πνεύματα προφητῶν προφήταις ὑποτάσσεται. 33  οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀκαταστασίας ὁ Θεός, ἀλλ᾽ εἰρήνης, ὡς ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῶν ἁγίων. 34  Αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν· οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν, ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει. 35  εἰ δέ τι μαθεῖν θέλουσιν, ἐν οἴκῳ τοὺς ἰδίους ἄνδρας ἐπερωτάτωσαν· αἰσχρὸν γάρ ἐστι γυναιξὶν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ λαλεῖν. 36  ἢ ἀφ᾽ ὑμῶν ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐξῆλθεν; ἢ εἰς ὑμᾶς μόνους κατήντησεν; 37  Εἴ τις δοκεῖ προφήτης εἶναι ἢ πνευματικός, ἐπιγινωσκέτω ἃ γράφω ὑμῖν, ὅτι τοῦ Κυρίου εἰσὶν ἐντολαί. 38  εἰ δέ τις ἀγνοεῖ, ἀγνοείτω. 39  Ὥστε, ἀδελφοί, ζηλοῦτε τὸ προφητεύειν, καὶ τὸ λαλεῖν γλώσσαις μὴ κωλύετε. 40  πάντα εὐσχημόνως καὶ κατὰ τάξιν γινέσθω.
 (1Co 14:29 TBT)

In verse 29 Paul gives the imperatives "let them speak" and "let them judge" -- the Greek says that the "others" ( οἱ ἄλλοι) should judge - "let the others judge" -- there was not to be too many prophets speaking in a service - 2 or 3 and when one prophet speaks the others would make judgment on it -- that is there was not to be a simple blind acceptance of whatever a prophet said. It appears that the holy Spirit might reveal a matter during the service and if that would happen those that sat by waiting their turn to speak should give way to the new revelation "let the first hold his peace". The service was to be conducted orderly and "one by one -  καθ᾽ ἕνα " . This was in order "  ἵνα πάντες μανθάνωσι, καὶ πάντες παρακαλῶνται·" that all learn and all be comforted. The idea of comforting is expressed in greek as "calling alongside" as in the name given to the Holy Spirit -- the paraclete. The prophet was an educator and a comforter, and in this way parallels the teacher in this age.

In verse 32 Paul says that the spirits of the prophets were subject "ὑποτάσσεται" to the prophets -- their gift was not something outside their control - but rather they could bring to bear their own will and self control on their gift. They were not taken by the Spirit and made to perform un-orderly manifestations. They could for this reason be judged for incorrect use of the God given part they played in the outworking of the "body" metaphor discussed with detail in chapter 12. Paul says in verse 33 "for God is not the author of confusion" -- that is by controlling -- or more accurately "subjugating" their own spirit they would not produce confusion but rather peace. We need to study subordination found in scripture because it brings with it important doctrinal teaching relating to the current passage and ideas related to our own age. For now we will look at three examples of subjection (Jesus to God the Father, wives to husbands and women to men in the church )

Subjection

The verb "to subjugate, arrange under" is the basic meaning of hupotassw.

Thayer's lexicon gives the following definition:


The lemma of this verb is found in the following places:

Notice the concordance has highest frequency of usage in first Corinthians. In 1 Cor 15: 27 we have the following threefold usage

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:27 Πάντα γὰρ ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ. ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ ὅτι Πάντα ὑποτέτακται, δῆλον ὅτι ἐκτὸς τοῦ ὑποτάξαντος αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα.

God the father has placed "all things" under Christ's feet -- and naturally He is excepted that did this -- meaning that God the Father is not subjected to this. Do you think that this implies that the Lord is of less importance to God? Is this an expression of inferiority or is this a "functional" placement of the Son? That is this is an expression of the outworking of God's plan and purpose of His will and NOT a demonstration of the underlying nature of the "word".  It is not the nature of the word to be subordinate but rather to take on this functional role by being a Son: 

KJV  Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
TBT  Hebrews 1:5 τίνι γὰρ εἶπέ ποτε τῶν ἀγγέλων, Υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε; καὶ πάλιν, Ἐγὼ ἔσομαι αὐτῷ εἰς πατέρα, καὶ αὐτὸς ἔσται μοι εἰς υἱόν;

He shall be to me a Son. 

In the very next verse, 1 Corinthians 15:28 says:

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:28 ὅταν δὲ ὑποταγῇ αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, τότε καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ υἱὸς ὑποταγήσεται τῷ ὑποτάξαντι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, ἵνα ᾖ ὁ Θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν.

After this subjugation process, the Son shall be subject to the Father and then God will be all things in all. It does not say that the Father will be all things in all -- the Trinity will be all in all. The Son will have accomplished His purpose. Subjection did not mean "less importance" or "inferiority" -- functional differences within the Trinity can of course be seen but the substance of the personalities are all the same. 

Women

In 1 Cor 14:34 we read:

KJV  1 Corinthians 14:34 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.
TBT  1 Corinthians 14:34 Αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν· οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν, ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει.

The women were to be "under obedience - ὑποτάσσεσθαι" which the Law also says. Does this mean that the woman is of lesser importance or does it mean that women in general are relegated to an inferior position? We will investigate this by looking further at the contexts of this and more statements made by Paul. It is a sad fact that we are all influenced by the "world" in ways that can bring harmful and unnecessary effects.

Paul discusses the relationship between husbands and wives:

KJV  Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
TBT  Ephesians 5:21 ὑποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Θεοῦ.

Before proceeding to wives he starts with mutual subjugation -- "submitting to each other in the fear of God" -- the husbands would therefore need to be in subjection to the wives and wives to their husbands:

KJV  Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
TBT  Ephesians 5:22 Αἱ γυναῖκες, τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ὑποτάσσεσθε, ὡς τῷ Κυρίῳ.

KJV  Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
TBT  Ephesians 5:24 ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ ἡ ἐκκλησία ὑποτάσσεται τῷ Χριστῷ, οὕτω καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ἐν παντί.

Does the subjection of the wives to their own husbands therefore imply that they are of less importance? Male and Female are of different forms they are made to function differently (we recognize this in gerunds and participles such as "mothering" and "fathering" ) -- our physical and psychological makeup point us to our roles within the family and church. Why, given the nature of gender should God not have a design for family and church that takes into consideration these differences and uses them in such a way that causes the church and family to function productively and with health so that all benefit?

KJV  Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
TBT  Titus 2:5 σώφρονας, ἁγνάς, οἰκουρούς, ἀγαθάς, ὑποτασσομένας τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν, ἵνα μὴ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ βλασφημῆται·

Keepers at home "οἰκουρούς" and obedient to their own husbands "ὑποτασσομένας τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν", this is not exactly current political correctness on display here -- but we need to ask some questions - is this what God wants? That is do you believe that God who made male and female wants to preserve a difference in function between the sexes? And if you agree that He does then we shouldn't wonder that society is in the current state of degeneration and collapse where children come home to a motherless and fatherless house and where the family is fractured and disintegrated because "function" is subsumed into a derided old fashioned sexism and equality of the sexes is made to do war against functional complementarity of  gender. The christian God is made to be the construct of a male mind and hence is the object of disdain and continued attack from those who espouse the unisex agenda. 

If God made us Male and Female with different morphological and psychological differences then should it not be reasonable to suppose that He has the best possible functions in mind for us for how we should live both inside and outside the assembly?

A Commonality

There is broad agreement in biblical teaching on the issue of women teachers. 1 Tim 2:12 for example links the subjugation of women to the disobedience of Eve in the garden and hence this is not a doctrine that fids different expression through the ages. Rather there is a commonality see 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Cor. 14:34,35. Those who reject ideas of separation of function concerning gender should ponder the following questions:

It should be pointed out that these are questions concerning the population and not a specific example or subset -- for there could very well be specific cases where there simply is no other choice but to take second choice -- example where a mother dies and the father fills in as best he can.

Suppose that we did not have God's revelation on this issue. Think how much you would need to know in order to give a definitive answer to the above -- we would need to have a knowledge attribute of God. This is what many in the women's liberation movement are attempting to foist on society.  Most importantly would God achieve for himself a fulfillment of His objectives if we tampered with His functional distribution through the sexes? The answer to the last question would reasonably be answered "No!".

Ignorant

What Paul wrote to the Corinthians were the commandments of the Lord and if any would ignorantly argue against this then let him be ignorant. There comes a time in our lives when we have to take sides. The side we take is not from ignorance - our faith is not "blind" and we take no "leap of faith" but build on knowledge and reason. Those who wish to do otherwise and continue in their ignorance -- "let them be ignorant". 

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order. (1Co 14:29 KJV)

Paul ends with the the better gift of prophecy and reminds the Corinthians that though it is better tongues was NOT to be forbidden. Honesty and order were to be how the service should run - the order "taxis" was given by Paul and amounted to commandments of the Lord.