Potential clarity to 1 Corinthians 14

Still here. Still writing the other post, just delayed.

Came across some research on this topic which was interesting. Since there’s no punctuation in Koine Greek, you usually see v33-35 written as:

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

Or:

32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

34 The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

According to some Roman history, in the battles with Carthage many men died. Thus, their wives started accumulating a lot of money. Oppian law was passed where both men and women had to give money to Rome to fund the war efforts. After the war was over, the men started getting their money back but the women did. The women in Rome stormed the senate to try to get the senate to veto the law which ended up happening.

Livy (a Roman historian) records a debate between Cato and Lucius in the tribunal where they were deciding to veto the law or not. Part of this is Cato’s speech:

“If each man of us, fellow citizens, had established that the rights and authority of the husband should be held over the mother of his own family, we should have less difficulty with women in general; now, at home our freedom is conquered by female fury, here in the Forum it is bruised and trampled upon, and because we have not contained the individuals, we fear the lot…

Indeed, I blushed when, a short while ago, I walked through the midst of a band of women. I should have said, ‘What kind of behavior is this? Running around in public, blocking streets, and speaking to other women’s husbands! Could you not have asked our own husbands the same thing at home? Are you more charming in public with others’ husbands than at home with your own? And yet, it is not fitting even at home for you to concern yourselves with what laws are passed or repealed here.’

Our ancestors did not want women to conduct any – not even private – business without a guardian; they wanted them to be under the authority of parents, brothers, or husbands; we (the gods help us!) even now let them snatch at the government and meddle in the Forum and our assemblies. What are they doing now on the streets and crossroads, if they are not persuading the tribunes to vote for repeal? Give the reins to their unbridled nature and this unmastered creature, and hope that they will put limits on their own freedom. They want freedom, nay license, in all things.

If they are victorious now, what will they not attempt? As soon as they begin to be your equals, they will have become your superiors… What honest excuse is offered, pray, for this womanish rebellion? ‘That we might shine with gold and purple,’ says one of them, ‘that we might ride through the city in coaches on holidays as though triumphant over the conquered law and the votes which we captured by tearing them from you…’

Pity that husband – the one who gives in and the one who stands firm! What he refuses, he will see given by another man. Now they publicly solicit other women’s husbands, and, what is worse, they ask for a law and votes, and certain men give them what they want…

I vote that the Oppian Law should not, in the smallest measure, be repealed; whatever course you take, may all the gods make you happy with it.”

Taking the passage in this context, it appears that the passage which is mainly talking about tongues and prophecy that perhaps the Corinthians Church was denying women participation in this by imputing Roman law into Church meetings.

Thus, the correct parsing of the Scriptures in this case would be:

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Quoting Roman law: 34 “The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the law (Roman) also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.”

Repudiating Roman law within the meetings of the body: 36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongue (the context of the passage!). 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

Doing some further research, apparently this particular interpretation which seems correct has also been latched onto by egalitarians and taken out of context to mean that women can do anything that men can do. However, that still conflicts with 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Timothy 2, and other passages so it cannot be correct.

Specifically, they ignore the context in which the passage which is specifically what I bolded above for prophesy and speaking in tongues. We already know that women could prophesy (e.g. Acts 21, Deborah, etc.) and likely speak in tongues as well so women had the ability to do these things in the Church. I’ve already covered some of that in previous posts.

It’s similar to how egalitarians try to twist other passages like Galatians on “[there is no male or female but one in Christ]” when it’s specifically talking about salvation not roles in the Church. Likewise, they try to warp the Ephesians 5 with the ‘mutual submission” out of context when there’s also Colossians 3, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, and so on which they refuse to touch since it doesn’t fit their narrative.

They think they’ve found that one “gotcha” moment where they can make their culturally relevant position be right and deny the other multiple contexts of Scripture.

If they are victorious now, what will they not attempt? As soon as they begin to be your equals, they will have become your superiors… What honest excuse is offered, pray, for this womanish rebellion? ‘That we might shine with gold and purple,’ says one of them, ‘that we might ride through the city in coaches on holidays as though triumphant over the conquered law and the votes which we captured by tearing them from you…’

Pity that husband – the one who gives in and the one who stands firm! What he refuses, he will see given by another man. Now they publicly solicit other women’s husbands, and, what is worse, they ask for a law and votes, and certain men give them what they want…

Ironically, given the feminist rebellion against God, Cato was indeed right about the consequences of such actions, even if the Corinthians were applying what he said wrongly in Church.

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1 Response to Potential clarity to 1 Corinthians 14

  1. Anonymous Reader says:

    Female contentiousness and solipsism is a given, it is “baked in the cake”. Combine those female traits with prosperity and some kind of feminism will result, sooner or later.

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