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Sunday, July 17, 2016 pm

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH? (2)

     Last Sunday night we began a study addressing the title question.   We established some principles including a need to respect God’s word, approach this (and any) study with an open mind, a discussion of the roles of men and women as God has ordained, a brief study of what submission involves and the Bible standard of male leadership in the church.

     As noted, while this subject is politically incorrect, and the Biblical view is villainized, that does not change what God has taught in His word.  We notice again 1 Corinthians 11:3. 

     With that in mind, tonight we want to address 2 passages of scripture that address the role of women in spiritual matters and notice what women can do related to these circumstances. 

 I.                     1 Timothy 2:11-14

a.       In this context, Paul is dealing with women understanding submission and proper conduct in circumstances dealing with God’s word.  In this context, Paul QUALIFIES the circumstances:

b.       Learn in silence – a word that can mean absolute silence or to maintain an attitude of respect that involves quietness.  (The ASV, NASB and ESV all use quietly or quietness) 
Notice several examples of this word: The actual word (ἡσυχία, hēsychia) is found 4 times in the NT

                                                   i.      Acts 22:2, where Paul identifies himself as a Hebrew and as a result, the crowds “kept all the more silent” (they quieted down)

                                                 ii.      2 Thessalonians 3:12 – we are commanded to “work in quietness and eat their own bread”

                                                iii.      And twice in our text (vs. 11-12)

                                                iv.      The root word gives us more insight with texts like Luke 14:4 where Jesus asks if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath.  They kept silent (they could not answer Him)

Luke 23:56, after burying Jesus we are told “they rested on the Sabbath.’
Acts 11:18 where Peter explains why he went to Cornelius, “When they heard these things they became silent, and glorified God…”
1 Peter 3:4 also speaks of women with a beauty reflected by “the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

                                                  v.      From these texts we can see that silence can mean saying nothing OR it can mean be a quiet and respectful manner that might involve being completely quiet in certain circumstances.  It has to do as much with attitude as it does action (as opposed to being loud and boisterous). 

c.        With all submission – last week we addressed what this means.  In this, whatever the circumstance – it must be observed recognizing the place God has given us.   
2 reasons are given in vs. 13-14 – 1) created from Adam and 2) she sinned (first).

                                                   i.      And she is not to teach or have authority OVER A MAN
The NKJV begins this phrase with “and.”   The KJV and NASB use the word “but”.  The Greek conjunction here (δὲ, de) is a word that expresses either contrast or simple continuation (BDAG), hence this is an important qualifier to the previous phrase. 

                                                 ii.      She is not to teach or have authority OVER a man is the situation.   The teaching would have to do with any circumstance where a man is present and God’s word is being taught.

                                                iii.      That it does not apply to all teaching is seen in passages that instruct the woman to teach:
1) Titus 2:3-4 – older women are to teach younger women
2) 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15 –Lois and Eunice that taught Timothy – hence we have mothers teaching their children, including their sons
3) Colossians 3:16 – we are to teach and admonish one another in songs
4) Acts 18:26 – Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and taught him – notice she taught Apollos ALONG with her husband.  You might also notice they took him aside privately, which means they left whatever assembling was happening as he taught.
5) Acts 21:9, 1 Corinthians 11:5, 10, etc. – back then women prophesied, when and where we are not told, (i.e. no passage demands that this was done in an assembly) but they did – and 1 Corinthians 11 shows that as they did this they maintained their submission in their teaching.

                                                iv.      Nor does it mean women never have authority:
1) Children are to honor their parents – Ephesians 6:1-2
2) Older women are to teach younger women – Titus 2:4

                                                  v.      Their limitation is to teach or have authority OVER A MAN.

d.       Her salvation depends upon her keeping her place (as with everyone) 2 Timothy 2:15.
NOTE that this does not mean a woman cannot be saved if she does not have children.  She honors God as she fulfills whatever role she is in.  Notice in the text the qualities she continues in -faith, love, holiness and self-control.

e.       Where does this apply? 

                                                   i.      Not just in the assembly (see the context – 1 Timothy 2:1ff, 2:1-2, 8 – men pray EVERYWHERE, 2:9-10 – women to adorn modest apparel [is this only in the assembly?], etc.), but wherever matters of God’s word are involved. 

                                                 ii.      This would include personal studies where Christian men are present (such as in a home), Bible classes – such as we do on Sunday mornings and Wednesdays, etc. must all be conducted with these limitations in mind. 

                                                iii.      There are plenty of examples in scripture of women interacting with men and telling them spiritual things:
1) The Samaritan woman – she went back into the city and told men and woman about Jesus – John 4:28-30, 39-42
2) Luke 2:36-39 – Anna the prophetess spoke in the temple
3) John 11:20-27 – Jesus and Martha were engaged in a spiritual discussion after the death of Lazarus
4) Matthew 28:7-8 – Mary and others were told to go tell the disciples that Jesus had arisen.
5) Acts 18:26 – again Aquila and Priscilla & Acts 21:8-9 – Philip’s daughters prophesied (in fulfillment of Acts 2:17), etc.
6) 1 Corinthians 14:35, the fact that women are to ask their own husbands at home implies discussion of spiritual matters.
IN each of these examples (some which preceded the church) we find examples of women speaking, however there is NO usurping authority over a man, just simple discussion about God’s word and spiritual matters.

 II.                   1 Corinthians 14:34-35

a.       In a context where Paul is dealing with proper conduct in the worship assembly, he gives instructions that apply to women and men.

b.       Let your women keep silent in the churches (ekklesia)

                                                   i.      The word “silent” here is a different word that 1 Timothy 2:11. The word is σιγάω, (sigaō).  It means to hold one’s tongue.  Usages include:
1) Luke 9:36, after the transfiguration, the apostles who saw this “kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.”
2) Acts 15:12-13 – all the multitude kept silent and listened as Barnabas and Paul declared what God had done, and as James spoke.
3) Paul’s benediction, speaking of the gospel, “according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.”  Romans 16:25
4) 3 times in 1 Corinthians 14 – 14:28 – when there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church;  14:30 – if anything is revealed to another, “let the first keep silent”; NOTE that BOTH of these passages are prohibitions dealing with publicly addressing the assembly.
THEN there is our text!

                                                 ii.      This silence is addressed “in the churches” – a term which in this text implies the assembling together to worship God (also “in church” in vs. 35)

                                                iii.      Thus the word silent is not necessarily total silence, but to say nothing about something in particular, or to hold one’s peace in a defined setting – in this case publicly addressing the assembly.

c.        They are not permitted to speak, but are to be submissive

                                                   i.      We have addressed the silence as well as the submission already.  Here it is specified to exist when we come together as the church.   This is the WHY they are to be silent! 

                                                 ii.      The word “speak” here can mean to utter a sound or communicate, or it can be to publicly proclaim something – context dictates this.  Consider how in 1 Corinthians 14, the word speak is found some 30+ times.  A reading of the text shows that it is ALWAYS dealing with speaking up in the assembly in a teaching capacity. 

                                                iii.      Understanding this, we learn that the silence of this text is not total silence.
This is further seen in actions that require speaking (while in submission) such as singing – Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16; confessing Christ – Matthew 10:32-33, and even confessing one’s sins to one another – James 5:16. 

                                                iv.      The entire context of 1 Corinthians 14 is men speaking up in the assembly of the church to teach others – thus dealing with actions where a leadership role is taken – whether speaking in tongues, prophesying, or other things that lead to the edification (spiritual building up) of the church.  And in particular, Paul is addressing ORDER in the assemblies in our context – 1 Cor. 14:26-40.  This is where he presents these instructions for women not even to speak in the assembly. 

d.       If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home – in the assembly involved in this text, they don’t even ask (or answer) questions.  Such clarifications need to be made outside of this assembly.

e.       It is shameful for women to speak in church – the point is one of overstepping God’s boundaries.   ANYONE who rejects God’s boundaries is acting shamefully.  Let us never be guilty of this.

 

And thus we learn the limitations of women when it comes to the assembly of the church AND when they are in situations where men are present discussing God’s word.  Our reasons for calling upon men to lead the worship service AND other mixed gatherings is based upon what God has instructed us to do.  May we respect His boundaries in this as we do in all things.  Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  Think about it!