Just to share with everyone, i've been struggling with this verse for a long time.
1 Corinthians 14:34 (KJV)
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.
I've been asking myself how can this be true? I do not believe for one second that God is partial to any sex. This was absolutely troubling for me because our Church obviously has women pastors. And they are of course super anointed!
Last Sunday, while in the que at Church, i somehow chanced upon this verse again. I asked God to help me with this. I came up with a conjecture that possibly this verse could relate to the circumstances that the Corinthian church was going through then. During that time, there were many women who were involved in divination work, goddess worship priestesses and possibly spiritual oracles of the dead or something. I felt that within the context of the Corinthian church, Paul was advising these women against coming into church to teach and preach something they have not understood yet.
To my surprise, what i assumed was pretty accurate. My lovely wife bought me this awesome bible called the Archaeological Study Bible (NIV) about a month ago and on that very Sunday evening, i dived into this particular bible.
On the Cultural & Historical notes for 1 Corinthians 14, it states that: " The religious activities of women in the Greco-Roman world spanned a wide range and exhibited enormous diversity. Some mystery cults included ecstatic, orgiastic worship in which women played a prominent role, and pirestesses were common in the worship of Greek godesses. Some religious festivals in Greece were exclusively for women..."
So taking within the context of the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul was actually addressing the present problems that the church was facing in Corinth which he founded. Corinth was the chief city of Greece, both commercially and politically. It was a bustling trading port of 100,000. Paul was addressing issues dealing with elitism within the church and conflicts over spiritual gifts among other things.
Now, as we use the word church, we have to remember that church would mean the body of Christ, NOT a building. And the body of Christ, the Church, is male and female. So, Paul knew that the body of Christ in Corinth needed his special attention. Therefore, he started writing his letters to the Church leaders in Corinth in response to their letters to him. Let's also now try and understand some words in Greek in relation to scripture. In the verse below,
1 Corinthians 14:2
For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto mEn, but unto God: for no mAn understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
The word MEN is anthrōpos, which just means human being, male & female.
And the word MAN is oudeis, which means, not even one(man, woman, thing).
As we can see now, in the context of the chapters; Chapters 12, 13 & 14 are all about Spiritual Gifts, the Greatest gift that is Love, speaking in tounges & prophecy. As noted above, women during that time, possibly, were in high positions of occult or pagan practices which allowed them to speak in 'foreign' or 'strange' tongues too. They were usually induced with some kind of drugs to get into a trance like state or through other demonic means. This was Paul's concern.
But of course, in specific text reference to verse 34, it still sounds like a law to prevent women from speaking in church. What Paul was doing, he was reiterating what his leaders in Corinth was telling him before he gave his answer. And he knew it was absurd for them to say such a thing because the women WERE the church too. Paul knew the situation of all the clairvoyant women etc. but he also knew the importance of women in the church. Let's take a look at the context.
1 Corinthians 14:36
What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
Paul was shocked of course. He said, "What?! Did this word come from God? Or it came out from you?" Paul then later goes on to say that his leaders are to understand what he's saying first but if so happens that they do not understand, disregard them for now.
1 Corinthians 14:37-38
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.
1 Corinthians 14:39-40 (Amplified Bible)
39 So [to conclude], my brethren, earnestly desire and set your hearts on prophesying (on being inspired to preach and teach and to interpret God's will and purpose), and do not forbid or hinder speaking in [unknown] tongues.
40 But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion.
And Paul goes on to say that the church as a whole should continue and earnestly desire to prophecy and speak in tounges. The last verse, verse 40, gives us what Paul wants to be done at the end of the day. For the Church to do things with regards to decency and in established good and proper behaviour.
Yo! Ladies out there, anointed with the oil of gladness from the Lord, teach us and preach to us please! Maintain your fervent prayer language in the Spirit, receive visions and prophecy from God but not forgetting the greatest gift of all... LOVE. All glory to our Lord Jesus Christ! It is His Love for us first that gives us all supernatural blessings and gifts.
Rock on Ladies! Blow us away with your awesome insights of our Lord!
Hallelujah & Be Blessed!