MUST WOMEN BE SILENT DURING WORSHIP: A STUDY OF 1 CORINTHIANS 14:34

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MUST WOMEN BE SILENT DURING WORSHIP: A STUDY OF 1 CORINTHIANS 14:34

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

1st Corinthians 14:34, 35 reads; 34 ?Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. 35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.?
There is little doubt that the role of women in the church is one of the major issues of the 21st century. Some conservative groups have been resistant to any change. But the cultural and social pressures are growing. The pressures are not only external, but internal.
Internally, Paul seemed to be facing the same difficulties with the churches he planted, in particular the Corinthian church. His letter to them is a critical text in the discussion of the role of women in the New Testament Church. 1 Corinthians 14: 34, 35 is a major restrictive text in the New Testament regarding the public leadership of women and was part of a letter of correspondence written approximately in A.D. 55 by the apostle Paul to the members of the church he founded in the city of Corinth. Ben Witherington III suggests that the date is more likely to be around ?early in 53 or 54."
The entire letter was a reply to the situations attested to by the leaders of the Corinthian church. It seems that the church members were in a quandary as to what was considered ?right living and proper social interaction both within the Christian community and with the larger world.? Denial of Christ?s resurrection, disorderly conduct during worship, and the pride of speaking in tongues were just the tip of the iceberg the apostle Paul was attempting to correct. Amid this church chaos we have Paul?s admonition in First Corinthians 14: 34, 35 that ?women be silent in the churches? and that it is ?shameful for women to speak in church.
. Could it be that Paul was attempting to limit the leadership roles of women by instructing them to keep silent in church? If not, then why did Paul instruct the Corinthian women to be silent during church worship?


SCOPE AND DELIMITATION
While the passage in question to be studied will be 1st Corinthians 14:34 it will be necessary to limit the investigation to within the immediate context of Chapter 14. Due to page constraints it will not be possible to provide a detailed exegesis of the entire chapter, yet the analysis should yield a tentative conclusion regarding the intended meaning of the silence of women in the church.

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Ideally, the exegetical conclusions of this paper will be of benefit to both pastorate and lay members in search of a correct understanding to Paul?s counsel for women to be silent in church as found in 1 Corinthians 14:34.

METHODOLOGY
This study will be exegetical in nature and shall begin with an introduction in chapter 1 where the selection, the reason for choosing the passage, and any contentions by various authors shall be dealt with. Further, the problem statement and the significance of the study will be revealed along with the methodology to be used.
Next, chapter 2 will be a survey of the current literature related to the geographic location, culture, and prevailing religions of the city of Corinth, as this may have a bearing on the issues in the Corinthian church.
Additionally in chapter 3 an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 14:34 will be done by locating the best possible established Greek text. If that is not possible, then reference to various formal translations of the Bible will be used for the translation.
Finally, chapter 4 will summarize the results of the analysis and come to a conclusion as to why Paul wants women to be silent in the church.






CHAPTER 2
Review of Literature

There are variant views as to why Paul includes this statement in his letter. Kevin Quast states, ?either Paul was absurdly inconsistent; or he did not write one of the
passages; or the two texts address different situations.? D.A. Carson mentions ?women were exploiting their emancipation, refusing the ruling of verse 29, and falling into various heresies.? Another author, Nigel Watson, suggests, ?The very abruptness of this transition is enough to justify the suspicion that these two verses are not the work of

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