More On Corinthians

In our study of Corinthians we found that Paul answered a number of questions the Church asked him.  Some of the questions are seemingly irrelevant to us.  “Do we eat meat sacrificed to idols?”.  We will likely never faced this situation.  However the answer that Paul gives is relevant to us.  “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  This is excellent truth!  We must do everything we do for the glory of God.
The second irrelevant section is on the wearing of head coverings for women.  Someone asks about proper attire at church.  In those days, women were expected to cover their heads whenever they prayed or prophesied. Today we do expect our men to “uncover” their heads when praying, we do not expect women to cover their heads.  The eternal truth is found in Paul’s answer.  The husband is responsible for the physical and spiritual welfare of his wife.  She is to be submissive to his leadership, his “headship”.   This is not a universal submission of all women to all men, this is the call to leadership for the husband and the submission of the wife to her husbands leadership. 
This brings us to the question of what Paul means by his statement in 1 Corinthians 14: 34,35-“Women should be silent during the church meetings.  It is not proper for them to speak.  They should be submissive, just as the law says.  If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.”  Is this cultural or a universal truth?  I believe that this is a cultural statement.  Let me point out three inconsistencies.   First in chapter 11 gives women instructions on how to properly pray or prophesy in church.  Why give such instructions if all speaking were to be disallowed?  Secondly Paul made two great partners in ministry in Corinth.  They were Priscilla and Aquila.  These were a husband and wife teaching team.  Paul calls them, and I emphasize them. as co-workers and tells us that a church meets in their home (Romans 16:3-5)  I don’t believe that Priscilla was silent in her church or in any church.  Much less Phobe who was a deacon (or minister) in the church in Cenchera, which was near Corinth.  Thirdly though this may be a cultural, and necessary command in Corinth, it cannot be an eternal command because it violate the very important principle of Pentecost. “I will pour out my Spirit… “Your sons and daughters will prophesy!….even on servants-men and women alike” (Joel 2:28-29).  The Holy Spirit is promised to everyone, young and old, male and female, slave or free.  If I can make a universal truth out of Paul statement it would be this.  “All people should be silent during the church meetings unless inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak.  It is not proper for anyone to speak without the guidance of the Spirit.  Everyone should surrender to the will of the Spirit and if they have any questions let them talk it over at home.”  (1 Corinthians 14:34,35 JKP paraphrase). 

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