Bible Q&A

What about women speaking in the church assemblies. Is that Ok?

Thanks for the question.

 First we need to make sure of the definitions that we use. Most of the misunderstanding of this topic has come from projecting our modern definitions on Paul's words.

(1Cor.14)          "Speak" = to orate in public. Greek lalein.
(1Tim.2:11-12)  "Teach" = to lecture in public. Greek didasko
(1Cor.14:35)      "Question" = to put forward an argument publicly.
(1Cor.14)           "in the assembly" (v.19) That is the place where women are not to speak; when "the whole church is come together into one place" (v.23), "when you come together" (v.26). So this was obviously the main meeting of their assembly.

   As for a woman orating (Paul's use of "speak" in 1Cor.14 ) or lecturing (Paul's use of "teach" in 1Tim.2:12 ) in the public assembly or when a man is present in a class, in Paul’s words, she is “not allowed.”

   To speak in public is an act of authority exercised over the congregation who listens, and an attitude of authority over the man is contrary to the position in which God has placed her. Paul calls it shameful, (misbecoming, inappropriate).
    To be subject, relates to the whole life of the woman, and not orating from her seat or giving a lecture in the assemblies is an application of that general condition of subjection. Putting questions forward as an argument publicly (Paul's "if she will learn anything") would rank with putting her on the public stage contrary to the modesty and subjection she should be under, so should be done in private with her husband or father.
   Now the Greek word sigao (silence) means "Quietness and peace coming from the absence of sound" / or "The absence of speech born of quietness and subjection." The quietness and subjection has to do with
putting forth doctrines and ideas in the public assembly. It does not mean (phimo-oh) muzzled or put to silence (1Pet.2:15). It doesn't mean she is not to say a word, like women not even being able to refuse to read because that would require they say something. That goes well beyond Paul's intention.

   You might want to consider CONTENT in how women are not to "speak". Asking a woman for confirmation that a word is an Adverb or not in a Bible class, would not put any woman in a position of authority over a man or qualify her as orating or lecturing. A Bible class needs to be a free flow of ideas and conversation with the teacher. As long as the women are not lecturing from their seats or calling down a teacher through argumentation, she should be able to participate in the discussion. I have visited a congregation that had a man stand before the class and ask a woman what she thought and for the next hour, she lectured the class from her seat. When she was finished, the man at the lectern dismissed the class. After the class I found out that she was in charge of the whole congregation.
   "Let the women learn in silence with all subjection." (1Tim.2:11) I take this to be a general rule when women are "learning". That's the Greek hesuchia, or "quietly". Quietly here does not mean necessarily without a word. You may disagree with this, but I suspect most women have a hard time understanding how much they can speak because they don't understand or have never been in subjection.
    I understand "learn in silence" in this passage to mean, without public argument.

Larry White