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Women in the First Century Church

To remember

  • response to some recent discussion on the role of women in the first-century church in light of 1 Timothy 2:11–14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34–35.
  • all women in all ages to maintain a literal silence in church meetings and to submit to all men.
  • many Christadelphian community members, men & women questioned this interpretation + believe it to be detrimental to God’s design for the body of Christ + source of disillusionment for current & potential members.
  • Both 1 Tim 2:11–14 and 1Cor 14:34–35 use terms gyne (woman, wife) and aner (man, husband).
  • more general term for “man” = anthropos, which can also mean “human being” of either/both sexes.
  • Gyne = any adult woman – incl. wife + virgin
  • 1 Timothy 2 = speaking of husbands + wives
  • Christ = head of the ekklesia (Eph 4:15–16; Col 1:18) +  head over everything (Eph 1:10, 22; Col 2:10).
  • 1 Timothy 2:12 the wife instructed not to govern or have authority over her husband > order in marriage relationship
  • usual word for authority > exousia =/=  authentein
  • state of “decency and order” in assembly => no one shouting anyone else down (in tongues or otherwise) + everyone takes turns => doesn’t preclude the wife saying anything, nor from praying or prophesying.
  • Hypotage is a state of submissiveness, subjection or subordination
  • women to be subject > to same people as men; the governing authorities (Rom 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13) to fellow-labourers in the gospel (1 Cor 16:14) the Father of spirits (Heb 12:7) to our masters, if we are house servants (1 Pet 2:18) and to our elders (1 Peter 5:5).
  • word for “speak” =  lalein, which means regular speaking > does not necessarily mean prophecy or tongues
  • in Corinth women were permitted to pray + prophesy
  • “complete silence” interpretation of Corinth’s special restrictions cannot be considered normative & applicable to all ekklesias in every age.
  • eldership + episcopacy NT ekklesia were male -> women played role as hosts of house churches + their associated communities, in organisational & service roles (Rom 16:1; 1 Cor 1:11; Col 4:15). Women prayed + prophesied (1 Cor 11:5) + ministered (Rom 16:1, 6, 12, 13, 15; Phil 4:2–3; 2 Tim 4:21) + taught & evangelised (Acts 18:26).

 

+

Preceding

  1. Is Your Church a Patriarchy?
  2. Time for the church to wake up and smell the coffee

++

Additional reading

  1. First Century Church?
  2. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  3. Silencing Women – Of God or Men ?
  4. Commitment to Christian unity
  5. United people under Christ
  6. Small churches of the few Christadelphians

+++

Related

  1. We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby
  2. Can women teach men?
  3. Junia(s) in Romans 16:7
  4. Women in Ministry – my struggles with the scripture
  5. You’re a Girl, so You can’t do This
  6. The Completely Un-Theological Goulablogger Position on Females in Authority….
  7. Women in Ministry
  8. Women in the Church
  9. The Woman Debate
  10. Historian Bettany Hughes charts the role of women in the early church
  11. Ladies, be quiet and do not teach……really?
  12. Women in the Body Pt.1
  13. Women in the Body Pt. 2
  14. The egalitarian implications of Galatians 3:28
  15. Woman Bishops Again.
  16. “Speaking” in Church
  17. Gender Roles dum dum dum
  18. Twenty. Gifts
  19. What it means for a Woman to “keep silence”
  20. “I didn’t know girls could be ministers”
  21. Jesus Feminist – Review
  22. Making Pathways for Women in the Church
  23. Brothers (In Christ) With No Game….
  24. A Woman’s Voice
  25. Protestant vs. Catholic and Women
  26. A Critique of J.D. Greear’s View of Women in Ministry (Part One)
  27. Brimming with Power: A Look Inside Women’s Ministry
  28. Captivity
  29. This is why understanding the context, history, and language of the Bible is important.
  30. Storytime: Why I won’t do a lot of “women’s only” things in church.
  31. Is God Sexist?

R Sutcliffe Theologistics

This blog has been provided in response to some recent discussion on the role of women in the first century church in light of 1 Timothy 2:11–14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34–35. The original essay provided a detailed exegesis of the Greek text, which I have translated for this forum. The traditional Christadelphian interpretation of these passages (and that of many mainstream churches as well) has been that God, writing through Paul, requires all women in all ages to maintain a literal silence in church meetings and to submit to all men. This precludes them from praying, reading scripture aloud, open discussion, “leadership” roles, leading Bible studies or speaking “from the platform” in any context. Recently, many members of the Christadelphian community, men as well as women, have questioned this interpretation and believe it to be detrimental to God’s design for the body of Christ and a source of disillusionment for…

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Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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