In 1 Cor. 14:34 the Apostle Paul’s letter states: “…the women should keep silent in the assemblies. For they are not permitted to speak but should be in submission, as the Law also says.” There are several major problems with this statement.

First, nowhere does the Jewish Law forbid women to speak in public gatherings. Paul, being a well-educated Jew, certainly would have known this. In fact, there was a law on the books that did forbid women to speak, vote and exercise authority over men by holding public office. It was not a Jewish, but a Roman law. These words would sound far more credible if someone else, other than the Jewish Apostle Paul, had written them.

Second, on numerous occasions throughout his travels and letters, the Apostle Paul affirmed the ministry of women (Rom 16:3-4; 1 Cor. 16:19; cf. Acts 16:11-40; 18:26). The centrality of the Shemah – the Oneness of Israel’s God, informed Paul’s theology when he wrote that in Christ-following assemblies there was no place for segregation or discrimination: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

In 1 Corinthians 11:5, he wrote that a woman’s head must be covered while she is engaged in speaking in tongues or prophesying in a public assembly. The question was not, therefore, if a woman could speak and teach, but how it should be done in a way that would be right before God, angels and the people of Corinth.

When we read Paul’s letters we need to keep in mind that 1 Corinthians was not the beginning of this correspondence. Paul wrote at least one letter to the Corinthians prior to this (1 Cor. 5:9) and the Corinthian leadership had also written to him (1 Cor. 7:1). It is therefore highly probable that the statement in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is a quotation from a letter that the Corinthian male leadership had addressed to Paul. It was their proposal on how to bring order into the disruptive practice of some women in the congregation as they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Paul, however, disagreed.

If this text is viewed as a quotation, then the challenge in 1 Cor. 14:36 that Paul brings to the male leadership makes perfect sense:

“Was it from you (masculine) that the word of God first went forth?! Or has it come to you (masculine) only?!”

The all-male leadership of the Corinthian congregation was not to forbid (women) to speak in tongues and themselves were to be encouraged to prophesy just as the women among them already were doing:

“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.” (1 Cor. 14:39-40)

Paul’s solution, therefore, was not to exclude half of the congregation from exercising the gifts of the Spirit, but rather to make sure that it was done in a respectful, proper and orderly fashion.

Was Paul right about women? Absolutely! His Corinthian opponents were not.

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404 COMMENTS

  1. Last time when I mentioned that I am expecting a lot of hate mail to come in, I had a lot of comments begin “This is not a hate mail, but… “. Don’t worry, its ok to disagree!!!! We Jews (whether we follow Jesus or not) prefer clarity to agreement :-). So, let’s get this exciting conversation going. Does this article make any sense and deserve further examination?

    • At the time of Paul’s writings the Jews were under Roman law as you stated. The Bible also tells us to obey the laws of the land. It is also fact that culturally at the time females were not acknowledged as equals to males. Therefore Paul’s instructions certainly make sense at the time both contextually and culturally.

      • Why bring customs and culture into the worship of God? Why should traditions, customs influence our conduct during worship, and during holy gatherings?

          • With 1Cor. 14:37, Paul put a stamp of God’s authority on the issue of women being silent in churches.

            Women covering head during prayers/prophesying, I can’t find any direct instruction from God in His book, the Bible. Has anyone?

        • This, like head covering, and many other teachings/practices can only be correctly understood in the context of culture. Like it or not we live in the culture of the day, and of the land.

          • Somehow, cultural accommodation does not seem to be included here: 1 Corinthians 14:37  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.

    • v34b “..but should be in submission, as the Law also says” means submission to the Spirit of God, I think, as everyone should be. and v35 “if THEY desire to LEARN anything let them ask their husbands at home.”So obviously the women in question were asking something, not prophesying or praying and that was disrupting the service. Also, 1Cor 11:16 re: women covering their heads.. “we have no other practice nor have the churches of God” in Greek is actually “we have no such practice…” Am I right? I haven’t taken Greek yet.Seems like a cultural practice to me

    • Hi Dr. Eli, First, women were kept separate and not permitted to take part in any Jewish Congregations, so they talked amongst themselves,and this same habit continued in the Cornithian churches. Second: SOME women wanted to know what was being said and to understand and thus used to interrupt the men …given that the women were generally relegated to the “balcony” whereas the men were “on the floor” of the “house”….that behaviour was quite a distraction. Some habits die hard and it still happens today. Thirdly, men are usually the literalists rather than women.

      • Who said that women were kept separate in Jewish congregations in the time of Jesus? What evidence do we have for it?

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        • Dr. Eli, I have a serious question. Is it also possible that the arguments as to why women must be covered when praying or prophesying are also those reasonings of men in Corinth that Paul is countering? For it would seem Paul explains away the arguments why women should be covered- i.e., that ‘the man came before the woman’, for he argues “yet neither is the man without the woman.” In other words, is he arguing against the notion of the woman’s inferiority just because she was created second? I hope you understand my point, thanks.

        • I didn’t think church services were held in large buildings because of persecution. We’re there large church buildings in the first century??

          • They frequently met in public places, synagogues, public squares, etc. as well as house to house. This was, not because of persecution, that was still a few years in the future, but because they lived in relationship with one another. (See Acts 4 for starters).

          • 🙂 I wouldn’t trust everything rabbis say. No one should be trusted, all of us should be checked.

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        • Shalom brother, The early church, and even earlier Jewish synagogues also had this practice. Many Orthodox Jews still do today, as seen at the wailing even today. Women unfortunately we’re not as educated in the scriptures as their male counterparts so asking questions across the aisle per say would be very distracting. I’ve shown a link to help. Thanks! https://johnbelovedhabib.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/the-early-church-tradition-of-separate-seating-ancient-practice-not-a-cultural-anomaly/

        • John Habib’s article on the Early Church Tradition of Separate Seating seems well-researched and has lots of examples about separate seating. ( from johnbeloved at wordpress)

          • In those times women were considered lesser persons and even in the modern era until the suffragets movement women had no place in the working world and in administrative capacity. Two world wars were fought by men and initiated by men. are we any safer gender equality is great but

        • Re 1Cor11:15 says every woman prays or prophesieth no mention of speaking in tongues. for either men or women. I thought that vs 15 was that covering was long hair while men’s were short. Most think of Jesus with long Hair..So that version is wrong

      • The first synagogue with a separate “women’s gallery” that has been located by archaeologists was actually from the eighth century in Persia. This obviously was adopted from the Muslim influence, and not from the Jewish tradition.

        • Dr. Safrai’s article includes women and children in synagogue service. The Midrash to Deut. 29: 10-11 informs us that women went to bet midrash (house of study), and the Targum adds: “She [Jael] will be blessed like one of the women who serve [i.e., study] in the study halls.”

    • Let’s not read something into what is clear. Eve was deceived, Adam was not. Adam came first, it’s about headship. The qualifications for eldership are clearly mentioned in ITimothy and Titus.

      • Adam and Eve both knew what the fruit looked like, that it had been forbidden, and that God himself had told them if they are they would die. Eve may have allowed herself to be talked into something she had to have been considering for some time (in that she had already considered food value, giving knowledge, etc. as good arguements for eating) but Adam just took and ate because she hadn’t dropped dead! Why? Was he just “dumb as dirt”? 😉

        • Could it be that Adam saw what Eve does, and fully aware of the consequence of her act, and he “choose” to eat it, because he is aware of the eternal damnation and separation, if he does not eat it too. This is the woman he called “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”, as saying, I give my life to receive you as my wife. Even God said “Man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife”! Isn’t that a hint to Adam how to choose? He choose to become sin for her!

          • David, I almost yelled, Yes, he got it!!! This is the first Adam, a type of the suffering Christ Who would become sin on the Cross for our sake. He was right there w/ Eve, his beloved. He should have spoken up, but then, he was her equal– we just can’t understand what was going through his head. I’m sure he was conflicted.

            Kat, all guys are dumb as dirt. You know that. Give us a meal & a pat on the head, sit us in front of a TV or compubeastie, & we’re in bliss. As for Adam, yes, it was a bit of irresponsibility on his part, but like I said, who knows what was going on in his mind? It isn’t like he had much experience to go on, no?

          • Your comment was beautiful, Adam loved Eve so much that he chose to sin and die for her. What then do we do with the fact that when God questioned him about his actions,
            Adam pointed the finger at Eve and accused God of being responsible for he’s actions ? “. The woman YOU gave me made me do it “.

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          • Adam never was immortal. And Eva was of his own flesh – some kind of incest. God’s saying about “father and mother” had no sense for them – they had no human father or mother… And so on…

          • God is love. To love God and our neighbor is holy and right, but to sin against God and claim we did so to love our neighbor is perverting love. Adam sinned. Christ didn’t. Adam blamed Eve for his transgression. Christ was pierced for our transgressions.

        • Adam was also wrong in allowing Eve to eat the fruit in the first place.
          The bible clearly says “… so she took some of its fruit and ate it, and also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
          SO apparently he was there with her and did NOT rebuke the serpent to protect Eve or the garden, as God had charged him to do.

        • GOD told Adam not to eat of the fruit . He didn’t tell Eve. Adam should be told Eve. She knew but God didn’t tell her Adam did.

        • ON POINT ! ADAM also strikes me to be a wimp and a wuss in not taking responsibility for his own actions but blaming Eve and also God

          • In just one sentence you have convinced us all that you would have done a much better job in Adam’s place. Thankfully, your orbit of influence is able to benefit from your constancy in obedience that Adam was not.

      • Oh, please! “Eve was deceived, Adam was not.” Are you serious? Doesn’t that make Adam all the more culpable? I mean, there was poor, ignorant Eve … standing there all deceived … with apple juice all over her … ah … never mind that one. And there stands Adam, the un-deceived smart one of the two. And what does he do? He goes right along with it! And when God confronts him, it’s almost comical. “Oh, not me Lord … it was HER … that woman … that YOU gave me!” Sorry. Adam was in charge … not Eve.

        • Adam wasn’t in charge of Eve. The only authority ascribed to anyone in the creation in Genesis was for all humanity to rule the other creatures and subdue earth. No distinction was given to how males and females can exercise any authority differently than the other.

          • Eric Breaux, you nailed it brother! Adam AND eve were given joint authority over everything in creation. NOT each other. That domineering spirit came into the world when they sinned. ?

          • There was a standard though, through which the two were supposed to relate. Not to rule each other neither was it an equal responsibility. It is true sin modified what was a beautiful set up to bring about the confusion we have today

      • Actually I listened to Catholic priest Father Ripperger explain that Adam’s sin was the greater because it was his duty to protect Eve and he failed BIG TIME! In Catholic theology the man is responsible for the spiritual well being of the family. Adam was quite aware he was being disobedient.

          • God sinned by planting the tree to begin with? Against whom did He sin?
            The availability of a free choice (to obey God or not) is the only situation that allows for love, even if it permits rebellion at the same time.
            Without free choice, we would all be robots.

          • OMG! Are you serious? Our God who does not sin, “sinned by planting such a tree in the first place?” Dr. Eli, your response to this is spot on. I praise God for free will.

          • i would not say God was wrong in olanting the tree. He explained the consequencies. Was God wrong to create men and women? today you can choose to sleep with a married person. who is to blame? you or God. you have a choice you know

        • Instead of arguing about who’s sin was greater. Think 1 sin or 1000 sins is still sin. Why Romans says to sin more is not the way for Grace to abound. As to who is most important remember they were to be one.. it’s not the why. Both sinned.

      • I think the comment that Adam didnt sin when participating in eating the apple as not sin?
        So today if someone sins and another does the same the second does not sin??

        • I don’t know of when and why the apple was chosen when all translations I have say Fruit. And Faith you are correct as both knew not to eat. Note Eve added or touch to what God said.

      • Precisely the point. Adam was NOT deceived yet went along with the sin, right? WHO is more at fault??? The one deceived or the one who knew better? Why didn’t Adam warn his wife? Why didn’t he stop all of it? If woman is inferior to man WHY didn’t Adam ovverride her decision or words? WHY didn’t he take the lead as head and ruler over woman? Because the Bible says that became a curse AFTER the sin.

      • God told Adam not to eat of that tree. Who told Eve? Adam? And why did she add”Nor touch it” God didn’t say that, did Adam when he told her? And where was Adam when Eve was talking to the serpent. He must have been close by maybe listening to the conversation. Why didn’t he speak up??

      • It was literal fruit. It is symbolic. There were two trees the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words the choice was to rely on God (the tree of Life) or our own wisdom and knowledge it still brings us undone

        • “It was literal fruit. It was symbolic.” Yes, just as Adam and Eve are symbolic, not literal. Many comments seem to interpret Adam and Eve as having had literal existence, apparently ignoring the fact of two creation accounts. It is only in the second creation story (essentially chapter 2 of Genesis) that Adam and Eve are described as being created separately, whereas Gen 1, 26-27 (so often politely ignored) simply refers to the simultaneous creation of both, without naming them. Taking the creation stories as literally so leads to inevitable conflict. It’s only by seeing these and many other Genesis passages as being conceptually figurative, “mythical*” and purposeful stories, that any real sense may be derived from from many parts of the book of Genesis. So great care must be exercised in applying concepts from Genesis to later parts of the bible, particularly the New Testament.
          *”Mythical” ─ can’t think of a better word but not meant in the sense of being “fairy tales”, which is why I describe parts of Genesis as “purposeful stories”.

          • As an alternative to reading Genesis 1-2 with 21st-century spectacles, Bryan, and immediately allegorizing, you may notice that Genesis is likely repeating the same story three times in subsequently greater detail. Gen 1:1 is a general overview, Gen 1:2-2:3 zooms into the creation week particularly of Earth, and Gen 2:4-25 is the telling that focuses on the sixth day, particularly on the Garden of Eden. Thoughts?

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        • The sin was not about the eating of the fruit of the tree. Or whose fault it was. The sin was, they wanted to be like God, to know what He knew, that was the temptation they gave into.

      • Adam was deceived too, if not by the serpernt, then by the woman! Otherwise, he would have used his authority over the woman. Hence, Adam was responsible, regardless of who was to blame.

        • Actually, Billy, God had not yet given Adam “authority” over Eve, before the Fall. At that time, they likely had equal roles. Anyways, some also argue that Adam actually did realize that his lovely wife had eaten the fruit (1Tim 2:14) and would now die, and he just could not bear to live without her, so he willing ate of it too; a real Romeo/Juliette story. Interesting to think about, but yes, both were responsible.

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      • Albert, I submit that 1 Timothy 2:12 is about restraining a woman from preaching wrong doctrine and acting according to it toward her husband, not about headship or women’s ministerial roles. The correct doctrine is given in vv. 13-14. There are verses concerning headship, but this isn’t one.

      • People confuse time and do not understand the text in genesis. It would take too long to go through all the theology. But it is obvious women are subject to men. Equality is conditional and futuristic not present time.

      • I would agree mostly with this post. Men are considered leaders in their household on religious matter, and I believe it’s true today. If man abdicates this role however, it leaves it to the women. Some women are true leaders but it was meant for the man to do it.

    • The topic you are dealing with is highly controversial. It seems that the more people talk, the more confusion arises. Paul is in no way forbidding women from speaking or exercising a ministry in the church. There are great exemplary women in the Bible, like Deborah. There are women in the church who are extremely capable to give advice, they can even teach at different levels. But what Paul teaches is that women should not exercise authority over men publicly; she must remain outside the leadership of authority in the church, exercising the position of pastor. The work of a

      • Nice explanation. Unfortunately this is not what the text says :-). If that was the case it would be much simpler.

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        • Dear Eli, I really do like your explanation of this passage. Once upon a time I believed what I had been taught ‘women should know their place’. It did not go down well with my intelligent competent wife [she does have loads of other great attributes!] As I learnt more about the Lord Jesus Christ, His Father and Holy Spirit I just knew that He does not marginalise women and arrogant controlling men simply loved to dominate women and that they have been subjugated by them for thousands of years no wonder there came rebellion about this behaviour.

          • Thank you, Ian. It is good to hear. May God continue to elevate our appreciation of our wives!

          • Thank you, Ian Pomeroy! It is so easy to feel oppressed as a woman. The real shame is to think that half of the army of God (the female half) is rendered useless to do battle — can’t think, talk, teach, or lead lest she lead some poor gullible man into error. Crazy! Aren’t we all one now? The same Spirit in us all? Will that Spirit mislead a woman so that she will teach error? Can’t we rely on the Spirit to teach through a man or a woman? The woman being oppressed by a man was a consequence of sin (Gen 3:16). Is that consequence removed once redeemed? Eph 5:21 says we are to be subject to one another — we are one flesh (v 31). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Let’s treat each other as one and stop oppressing women with these badly interpreted scriptures.

          • To avoid caricaturing the issue, please understand, the Bible does explicitly call women to teach other women. This passage has a very limited scope. God forbid anyone say “women are useless”.

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          • Dr. Eli, if women are called to teach other women, how is it then possible to interpret the scripture that women should be silent? I think we can see that incorrect interpretations of scripture always lead us down a dead end.

          • LaPierre’s article does make interesting observations, but I think he errs in considering Devorah “the judge” of Israel. She behaves more as a prophet, and he more as the Judge. That role is one of national military leadership. Consider the lists in 1 Sam 12:9-11 and Hebrews 9:32 .

    • What about, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” And how can we say that Scripture is wrong, but that we are right, because we think, and that’s all we can do, that this is just cultural and not divine ? Is not this the divine word of God ? I am not intending hate, which is often thrown at anyone who disagrees with someone else’s points of view, but wanting clarity, for I sometimes think that culture, is ever being used as ‘decisive’ arguments, when it

      • Shalom, Howard. There is no issue we take with Scriptures, but with whether or not we (or you) understood it correctly.

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        • Shalom, Dr. Eli. What did John mean about sin to death? (“Se alguém vir pecar seu irmão, pecado que não é para morte, orará, e Deus dará a vida àqueles que não pecarem para morte. Há pecado para morte, e por esse não digo que ore. Toda a iniqüidade é pecado, e há pecado que não é para morte” (1 João 5:16 e 17). What kind of death was this physical or spiritual?

          • Andrioano, shalom. I need to study this much more carefully myself before giving my opinion. Blessings and much peace.

      • It certainly is a hard one, Howard. Context is crucial to biblical understanding, even the theology of the speaker is important.

        As a woman who is a Christ-follower, it is vital that I clarify this for me.

        After 6 yrs. of research, 3 in an academic setting, and I’m almost finished; the definition of “man” by Thayer’s Greek lexicon in the 1 Tim. 2:11 is one’s husband.
        ??

      • Thank you for your thoughts Howard. It is crucial to take all scripture and context. To that end, the word “man” (Strong’s #435), in the verse you referenced, 1 Tim. 2:12 is defined by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as “husband”. Does that clear the waters a bit?

        • While “andros” certainly can mean husband (less than a quarter of its appearances do), Thayer’s definition as “husband” is not the primary meaning.

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    • This may sound shocking to many but the concept of denominationalism (many different churches, teaching many different doctrines) is not taught or sanctioned in the New Testament. Jesus promised and did build “one body” or church (Matt. 16: 18, Eph. 1: 22, 23, cp. Eph. 4: 4). The concept of many different churches was absent in the First Century. Paul, therefore, taught “everywhere in every church” (I Cor. 4: 17). Denominationalism is division personified. The closest that we can come to denominationalism in the New Testament is the divided state of the church at Corinth. What are your thoughts?

        • Dr. Eli is absolutely correct, the concept of the “church” was absent in the first century. In fact, the King James Bible Renders the Greek word “ekklēsia” as church, however, it is my understanding that ekklēsia actually means a religious assembly or congregation (Jewish or Christian). It is actually about the people not a place.
          Also, if I am not mistaken, the English word “church” comes from the Old English word circe. Of further Interest, there was a Greek goddess of magic with the same name Circe (/ˈsɜːrsiː/; Greek: Κίρκη Kírkē pronounced [kírkɛː])

          • Ekklesia did not have to be a religious assembly. It could mean any assembly. Context would give it meaning. And those saying there was no church in the first century are correct. The idea of a church in Christian terms was a later development, and in the writings of the church fathers themselves was intentionally a completely different thing from Judaism or especially the Nazarines. These Notsarim (Hebrew) were considered just another sect of Judaism at the time.

      • Doesn’t there have to be division? Haven’t the denominations arisen as a result of lost truth being rediscovered and those wanting to follow it being ousted from the ‘Church’. Luther’s intention was to reform not divide but he wasn’t given the option

    • Interesting points. However I think we need to be careful that we do not allow modern feminist dogmas and myths to unduly influence our understanding of Scripture. It seems to me that in our Western culture man bashing and disrespect of men has become fashionable even among Christians. Previous generations of men did not subjugate women as a matter of course, as is commonly taught, but rather died in their millions to protect them. (E.g. which supposedly oppressed gender got into the Titanics lifeboats and which supposedly privileged gender drowned in their hundreds?)

      • Women were not allowed to hold an office and to vote/speak in public assembly under the Roman law. I know it sounds like I am caving to the pressures of feminist dogmas :-), but I respectfully disagree. I think it has nothing to do with it. The letter says “as the law also says” (Jewish Law does not do that, only Roman law does).

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        • The speech of women was regulated in the Old Law. Start at Numbers 30 — was silence commanded here? No, but restricted to male spiritual oversight. You should know this, and to fail to mention this consideration is evidence of bias (IMHO).

          • Thanks for joining the discussion, John. I’ll be the first to admit that these free insights are just the tip of the iceberg, not comprehensive. So I am positive that I left out many pertinent passages, including Numbers 30. Thank you for including it in your comment. Many blessings!

    • Paul said he didn’t permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man. Paul didn’t say God doesn’t permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man.

    • I have been taught that when reading the bible, you take it literally. When a literal interpretation is not possible you look for the literal truth involved. You intimated that Paul’s statement about women in the church may have been in response to an unpublished letter to the Corinthians. Women in ministry is not the same as a woman heading a church or having authority over men. It is said they are to teach younger women and children. Scripture even goes on to explain that it was Eve that was first deceived as a reason why women should not lead.

      • Lou, shalom. In this case literally vs. metaphorically as principle interpretation has nothing to do with it (unless I am missing something). If Paul’s letter is a response to the unpublished correspondence directed to him (which it clearly is!), then it is very possible that his letter contains many quotations that he is objecting to, not endorsing. But without this letter we would be led to believe that Paul is endorsing the ideas that he is criticizing actually.

        • I think that Paul is refusing the contrary. Paul is not teaching oppression of women who were created by God, but order within the body of Christ and gives his reasons.

          • Not sure if this is what you mean, but I think he is quoting and responding to the letter sent to him.

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        • All scripture is “God breathed” and fit for correction, reproof, etc. I understand that context is extremely important but to limit the authority of scripture by supposing it came from an unpublished letter, which is not included in the bible, is to interpret the scripture according to your own beliefs. We are cautioned not to add anything in the last verse in Revelation. As far as it being a cultural situation at the time, I would say God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

          • Lou, I think you are contradicting yourself :-). If entire Bible (including this letter) is fully true and it mentions a previous letter (lost letter) than why should we deny its previous existence!!!??? 🙂 In my previous letter I said, “Don’t mix with the immoral.” (1 Cor. 5:9)

          • Lou, to limit your understanding & interpretation to “taking the Word literally” automatically negates context (which you have now agreed is important.
            There is much, all through the bible which could be taken literally, but in fact must be taken in context, which often changes the meaning.
            “We are cautioned not to add anything in the last verse in Revelation.” Remember, this was referring only to Revelation, as “The Bible” was not in existence at that point. But, again, that does NOT negate interpretation, which is very necessary in a book full of metaphors and visions of the future.

          • Yes, all Scripture is exhaled by God, that which He allowed to be placed in the canon.
            With the exponential speed the ancient Church was developing at it doesn’t seem logical that the only epistles written were the canonical ones.
            But, what is in the Bible is inerrant due to its content/message. Certainly would’ve made it easier for us if there wasn’t any mystery…but what’s the fun in that? ???

    • This is truth! Unfortunately many of the ministers have taken this out of context, distorted the truth and used it to for their own gain to control women and the congregation. Many people are too lazy to read about and know their covenants with God. This has held many in bondage. We know who control comes from. It is not from the tree of life! Thank you for exposing the darkness. There are 3 different groups in the bible that have specific messages to each, Israel, a particular person or situation and the body of Christ. Shalom

    • Interesting research there. I have often considered this topic and came to conclude that Paul was addressing a problem in a certain group. That was obvious to me based on other scriptures. The solution Paul gave was to address a problem in one group. A person can conclude that a new rule was applied to a new problem. The problem could have been cultural or unique to certain women. Where there was a unique problem there was a unique rule applied to it. Not to all peoples in the future as some believe.

    • The adversary has been after the woman ever since the Garden and has continued to be after her. WHY??
      Education for all bible students about historical cultures and the ENTIRE context of the topic have to be included and that traditions in modern day churches that embrace these misunderstandings have to be undone. Women find themselves frustrated as they tend to be the spiritual ones in families that are the glue keeping them cohesive.There are Hebraic resources out there, authors who have written about the true role of Eve as Adam’s “helpmeet”.

    • As a follower of Jesus Christ we recognise His relationship with His Father which set the model. It comes down to who God is going to speak to and through. God spoke through 40 men for that contained in the canon of scripture. Jesus 12 disciples. Older to the younger.

    • Good day Dr. Eli and all, Before I make my contributions to any of the topics raised in this blog, I would like to confirm if whether the discussions undertaken here are to educate us about Jewish Context of the Bible as applied to the Jewish Nation and/or Christians?

    • I believe your thoughts are correct and they are what I have been taught about this subject most of my life. One church I attended took this so literally that during a question- answer service, only the men could ask the questions!

      • Love the comments.
        One more. According to the video , “Sheep Among Wolves” – the largest and fastest growing congregation in the world today is in Iran. They are widely persecuted so it is often led by women and have no “church buildings”!! Comments?

    • You know too well that as far as the scripture( Bible) God did not speak to His people through woman. This alone has vindicated Apostle Paul. Women have their place but certainly i agree with what Apostle Paul wrote concerning the issue.

      • I have been taught that it’s possible that one of the male scholars that translated could have put that in about women being silent. A few teachers and Pastors have explained that the tone of that particular passage doesn’t support Paul’s messages.

        • No this is not a later addition by a scribe, but it is (I think) a quotation that Paul is reacting too, not endorsing it.

        • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I or The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

          • The difficulty with what you are saying is that your approach to the Bible is essentially “islamic” – every word in the God’s word is the Word of God ONLY. That is neither Christian nor Jewish view of inspiration. I refer you to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy a great document to familiarize yourself with to get some better grasp on this issue precisely.

  2. Paul was right about forbidding women from teachi g or having authority over men. You know this. Paul even gives a sound Biblical foundation. He states that Adam was created first, then Eve. This says it all. Worship services wouls be far less chaotic and noisy if women would keep silence. Let men lead. This is our calling.

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      • Paul was right Jesus put it right in ORDER God,man,woman don’t try and find ways to please your flesh. We are all one in God’s eyes. But women should listion to the word of God and not what some (” pasters”) want to please their congregations

      • His point being that the woman, Eve, was taken from Adam, man, to be his helper. Although man comes through the woman the order does not change. Genesis 3:16 states “…..Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” ….The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Jesus said “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you;..” A new covenant He gave us.

        • No, Yeshua “renewed” the old covenant. The Hebrew “chadsah” or “chadashah” can mean either. In fact, and I’ve argued this with pastors with Masters degrees: there is nothing “new” in the so called “New Testament.” I used to qualify this by saying that didn’t include Revelation, however after some of the courses here and further study I now say this absolutely includes Revelation. It was either stated or prophesied or discussed in the “Old Testament,” or in other writings or the Oral Traditon (later codified as the Mishna). The NT does however clarify many things.

      • Red … I like your snappy come-back question. I wish I had thought of it, but since I don’t see a copy right statement, I WILL remember it, and use it at the first opportunity. I don’t know if birds should have authority over men, but I DO believe that there are some birds that are most certainly smarter than some men. I invite your attention at our current congress.

      • I believe everything Paul wrote was actually the Holy Spirit talking through him. If Paul wrote in his own words and thoughts, wouldn’t it be considered blasphemy? Just carrying along

        • Who has more authority. Jesus or Paul. Jesus of course so if Jesus honoured women and made them front and centre from his conception to the start of his ministry, even during his ministry then maybe the meaning of Pauls statement needs study for the understanding of his meaning.

      • But Paul did not say “This is God’s Word on the matter”. What he SAID, was “I don’t allow women to speak … …”. And this letter was directed to the Corinthian church, where as already mentioned, the women had a habit of calling out questions to their husbands (who apparently didn’t sit with them – I wonder why!). So in my view, Paul was recommending to the elders of the Corinthian church that the women THERE be asked to keep quiet whilst in church and if they had questions they should ask their husbands AT HOME.

        • When Paul states “As in all the churches,” he removes the discussion from being limited to Corinth. Nice try, doesn’t fly!

    • OH NO YOU DIDN’T JUST GO THERE. Did you read the article before you responded? We are all ONE, the same, in Christ, no color, no gender… ONE.

      • You are using a text from Galatians totally out of context. The entire Galatian letter is concerned with salvation only and has nothing to do with gender roles in church!

        • I think you are making a typical evangelical mistake. Look… salvation is a restoration of the entire fallen world under God’s gracious rule, not only personal escape from fires of hell.

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          • A restoration of fallen man would lead us back to Genesis 2, where God establishes male spiritual leadership. He hold Adam to the greater responsibility as head of his home in Genesis 3. All three places the couplets occur: Gal 3, Col 3 and Acts 2 the context is access to salvation, not gender roles or behavior within the body of Christ.

    • The letters of Paul have been translated dishonestly. Quotations that were put in the margin of Paul’s writings were incorporated into the bodies of his letters by translators, making it look like they are quotes from Paul, himself. This is very sneaky and shameful. This is partly why Paul “makes no sense” half the time. We have been taught to have a high degree of cognitive dissonance in the church, making us skip right over confli ting statements that Paul supposedly made.

      • Mem, that’s interesting (and may be correct).
        But where can we see a copy of Paul’s original writings with such notes in the margins.
        (My apologies: I like the concept, but the “teacher” in me wants to see where your ideas came from.)

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        • A first attempt is to suggest that these verses are an interpolation, that they do not belong, or that they belong somewhere else. Some later manuscripts groups (the Western text, though significant differences occur) place the verses after verse 40, but indicate by markings that there is uncertainty for the location there. The main point is that essentially all manuscripts have the verses (two 10th century Latin manuscripts may be an exception).It is likely that if there were not a “theological axe” to grind, these verses would never be challenged as original. (from AS IN ALL THE CHURCHES).

    • You are ignorant of scripture. The only authority addressed in the creation in Genesis is that of all humanity to have dominion of all the other earthly creatures. No gender distinctions making men automatic leaders. Jesus specifically taught that none should lord it over with anyone.

    • There needs to be equal contribution from both spouses to benefit and please each other. That was the whole reason for the statement in the creation in Genesis, “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”.

    • The word translated as helper from the original hebrew text is ezer, meaning a necessary help for provision. This word is used in the old testament to refer to God, and twice for armies who came to rescue Israelites from danger. Wives are not subordinants, they are husbands rescue.

  3. yes it very much agreement, but the church fathers not wron’t to let women teach in church’s i been reading the church fathers they was too much in let wemon do a lot.

  4. Yes, this subject makes a lot of sense. If today, we exclude the women from speaking in the church and teaching (men) in the church most Baptist churches could shut their doors and not really be missed. Who teaches the growing child, who teaches the teenager? The man is out in the fields making a living for the family, while the woman is at home tending the children. More women are scholars of the bible more than what men know. If women do not speak up and be heard, it is time for the Lord to come.

      • The Church Fathers unfortunately did not always do women a justice, statements like ‘women are the devil’s gateway’ is to me shocking to hear from a male who is supposed to be Godly. These are men, they are not perfect, only God is perfect, and if looked into further Paul did respect women and had women followers of Christ surrounding him. Of course we have to look at culture too, many cultures totally degrade women we can see this still today, with female genital mutilation done under the religion banner. Women are still over the world largely the poorest population.

        • I agree. Although the church at large greatly helped the appropriate and godly women’s rights, there is clear much more to be done such as equal time off from work for men (after the birth of the baby) and unequal pay.

  5. Has it ever occurred to anyone that Paul was possibly trying to save the women of His day from persecution from the Roman’s and the Jewish leaders ????

    • Excellent observation Wendy. Given that Roman law subjugated women, it is definitely a valid consideration of Paul’s motivation. Great comment, thought-provoking!

      • It’s not Paul’s “motivation” we read in the bible – it is the word of God. If the bible is just some thoughts and pondering of men, you may as well flush it

        • Everything we do is fueled by motivation. Paul, being human, could have chosen not to write anything but was so inspired by revelation (to act) that he could not be silent. Nowhere in my comment did I imply that the entirety of the Bible was “thoughts and pondering” of men.

    • From my understanding, we need to consider the customs of the time. Women and children used to sit at the back of the church. They asked women to be respectful of the meetings by keeping quiet during the service and not talking amongst themselves causing a disruption. It doesn’t mean they could not participate in Service

  6. ABBA’S GIRLS is a short book that I wrote back a few years ago. ‘How are we to be, from a Biblical perspective?’ Still have it on email if someone wants to read it. PS. HE loves us girls.

  7. Eli, Why does a woman need to cover her head? That is what the Roman Catholics do/did. GOD has given me beautiful long naturally curly hair. I am Protestant. When GOD has used me in the gathering to prophesy, to speak a message in tongues or to give Interpretation of tongues , I have never had a scarf on my head/hair because people in the USA don’t wear them.. Why are women looked on as guilty of something in this regard as if she is lacking, in GOD’s Word?

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        • I like this rundown on Bruce Winter’s study.

          May I quote one passage that follows in the article:

          If Naselli, following Winter, is correct in the way he interprets this passage (and I believe he is), then we need not conclude that Paul is mandating for every culture in every century that women pray, prophesy, and worship with their heads covered. Needless to say, what the head-covering meant for women in first-century Corinth is not what it would mean or communicate today.

      • because of the angels, those fallen angels, (1 Cor.11:10) that is… they who failed to come through the woman’s womb physically Jn.3:5 and saw the women as fair (Gen.6:1- ).

        • Belinda Not possible for angels fallen or not to have intercourse with women as they/we are not the same kind. Adam & Eve were told go and multiply. Not 1 word to angels to fill the earth. or in “1Cor.11:10) that they are who failed to come through the womb

          • Alan, I recommend you read Michael Heiser on this topic. The Genesis 6 account has much to do with how evil was understood to have come into the world during Second Temple times. ( in addition to the fall of Adam and Eve)This passage plus the “medical” understandings of the time ( which admittedly sounds pretty weird to me) may well have been a factor in the instructions for women to have heads covered. Note that Genesis 6 refers to sons of Elohim, not angels. It has been interpreted as angels but Heiser has another take. You need the whole argument so I refer you to Unseen Realm and Reversing Hermon.

      • Covering the head was to distinguish them from the prostitutes in Corinth. Corinth was full of prostitutes. The prostitutes in Corinth did not cover their heads.

        • It is my understanding that prositutes had their heads shaved. So If you had short hair it appeared your shaven hair was growing out.

      • Paul’s comment about head coverings clearly relates to hair length only, not hats or scarves. 1 Cor 11:14-15 “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has LONG HAIR, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has LONG HAIR, it is her glory? For LONG HAIR is given to her AS A COVERING.” (emphasis added) 1 Cor 11:6 also equates the “covering” with hair length, not hats & scarves. Her short hair is as shameful as a shaven head.

        • This is something else I don’t understand…why does the very nature of things teach that a man with long hair is a disgrace to him, and long hair on a waman is her glory. The nature of things is that men’s and women’s hair both grow long naturally if left alone…so this passage has never made sense to me – unless it is a cultural thing?

          • Yes it is “natural,” in a cultural sense. The Corinthians were Greek and Paul was Jewish. Both Greeks and Jews cut men’s hair short. In these cultures, a man that grew out his hair as a woman exposed himself to ridicule or contempt.

          • Nature doesn’t really treat both sexes equally when it comes to hair. Have you ever heard of “male baldness pattern”? And normally only men grow beard: the female exceptions are circus freakshows. It’s no wonder that painters usually represent Paul as bald. They instinctively sense the connection to Paul’s-statement-that-hair-is-the-glory-of-women.

      • Dr. Eli Thank you for your post on 1 Cor 14. I agree with you completely. I have thought, “wait a minute, what law?” some refer me to Gen 3:16, but I don’t see that as saying women are to keep silent or mandating submission. Submission is something we choose to give. It seems they are reading into scripture something that is not there.

        So I kept wondering. I discovered Josephus refers to the Talmud when he claims, “The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive.” See William Whiston. The Works of Flavius Josephus Against Apion Book II .25 Does the Talmud teach this?

        Second, regarding the head covering. It seems to me Paul is writing to a diverse group of people, Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, etc. all of whom had differing ideas as to the propriety of dress. I think Paul’s argument was that the woman has authority over her own head – let her decide what is appropriate for her. If she is a Jew, let her cover her head. If she is Greek, isn’t her hair a natural covering? He said, This is what I teach all the churches. If you are a Jew, don’t throw away your heritage. And if you are Greek, don’t let others force you into their mold. Let everyone be convinced in their own mind.

        Does this make sense or am I totally missing the point?

        • Renee shalom, you should become our students you will so much more! Talmud: There was no Talmud until MUCH MUCH later after both Paul and Josephus. About head covering find everything that Michael Heiser says about it. This is the ONLY explanation that I think makes sense.

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      • Years ago I asked the Holy Spirit what is the reason for a woman to have a covering over her head when praying and prophecying. He answered by saying that it “Reverances God”.

        • Well who is anyone of us to argue with the Lord?! But if anyone of you are curious about this check out Michael Heiser’s Naked Bible Podcast on this topic. Fascinating study.

    • Before Jesus, in Roman habits, unmarried ladies used to keep head uncovered, while married ladies used to keep head vivere e with a “nube”, that is a tissue light ad a cloud. Still today in formal acts a woman that never got married is called “nubile” according to Italian civil Law. About female hair lenght, I remember Mary of Magdala drying Jesus feet with her hairs after washing and perfuming them. Hope this helps.

    • Not too important. Note :Paul’s statement… 1 Corinthians 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

    • Jewish custom required men to cover their heads while praying because they were in the presence of God. Women were (and are if Orthodox or Conservative) required to cover their heads at all times so as to not be a distraction to the men. Don’t know if other reason for the requirement. Hope this helps.

  8. Fascinating! I see something even bigger than women’s rights. I believe “speaking (in tongues)” is one of the many factors contributing to a type of replacement theology; one based on language. I have been leaning towards identifying the two-fold revelation of Christ as “speaking in tongues”. (Jesus revealed Himself in my secular language.) I have used many secular words for it like prayer, hope, justice & victory, secrets of the dark(light). Is this what speaking in tongues is? Is it strong? Can it begin with the Logos of God and repentance rather than the NT and evangelism?

    • Kat, I think you will never really understand about speaking in tongues until you do speak in tongues. And even then there is misunderstanding by many. There are TWO types of “tongues” talked about in the NT: one is your personal prayer language (Paul said “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you” – which may have just meant how much he prayed). The other is when that same language (the speaker’s personal gift) is used in church to bring a “Rhema” word from god to the church (or sometimes, in ministry, for one person)

  9. You certainly may be right, although this is a much longer quotation than in chapter 7. It may also be referring to disruptive speech. In light of 1 Cor. 11, it cannot mean all speech. In 14:27-28, Paul tells tongue speakers who have no one to interpret to keep silent and a prophet if another prophet begins to keep silent. Neither of those is a permanent ban on speaking. As for Rabbi David’s comment, referencing 1 Timothy 2, let me suggest Ben Witherington’s exposition (http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2006/02/literal-renderings-of-texts-of.html).

  10. I’m in total agreement. I’ve known this for a long time. In reading Paul’s letters, you also have to take into context to whom he is talking to, what the culture is, etc. People take Paul’s (and anyone else in the Scriptures) words as black and white, written specifically to today’s westernized culture. Keep up the good teachings.

    • Im in total agreement with you. We need sometimes to read the entire passage to get the total picture. These women were probably speaking in tongues all at once, or maybe interruption the message being preached by the men. As Paul also says God is not the author of confusion…and we should all learn to control the spirit…all should be done in decency and in order.

        • Yes, we have to look at the time and the place. God called MANY women throughout the Bible (e.g. Deborah was a judge over the people) so He is not against women speaking. But I was taught, some years ago, that in the Corinthian church the women were prone to calling out to their husbands, asking questions, and generally disrupting the service. So Paul said that (at least while he was there) the women were to keep quiet in church – e.g. … … “If you have questions, ask your husband(s) when you get home”.

  11. I love it when women teach women & chidren since they know what women & children react to much better than men (know). I’ve been working in the secular world so long, & no female boss, supervisor could ever deal with me as a man. So, this commandment that no female should have authority over a male makes sense. I always found it unfair that only women could get pregnant! But there’s no way around it, I don’t have a womb, I can’t get pregnant. But, I can lead, can’t females leave this to the males, please?

      • Kat – What was the context for Deborah’s appointment? Israel had back-slidden (badly), her appointment was to highlight THAT, not Deborah. It speaks to us now when we do the same and ignore God’s Word and His appointed arrangement of things. We miss a womens’ real gifts when we expect them to behave like men, in authority over men etc. God through His son appointed 12 apostles who were men, there is no support for “feminism.” If those men had all failed, He would have found an honest women to shame them, like Deborah, and yes, even a bird.

        • The twelve disciples are also referred to as the apostles, and Jesus had many more disciples besides them, and said to the people he revealed himself to after his resurrection to make disciples of all nations. The twelve were simply a representation of the twelve tribes of Israel.

  12. I will preach about soon and I think some people will hate but believe me Paul was right about women in the church, I’m with you all the way and thank you for bringing that up .

  13. I think it would be helpful to allow for the distinction between ministry in general and ministry as it specifically relates to the church service or offices in the church. One must also take into account the closed canon when utilizing tongues or prophesying as a proof text for one’s position. Of course, that would open a new conversation. Having said that, it is pretty difficult to dismiss Paul’s use of gender specific language.

  14. I find the whole topic very confusing…it’s something that can appear to be quite contradictory in Scripture. If I’m feeling somewhat down, it makes me think that I shouldn’t mention or get into a discussion with anyone, whether in or out of the church. I start thinking perhaps I shouldn’t talk about Jesus or the Bible or salvation or the Kingdom even if people ask me questions or bring it up. But then, of course, I can’t resist talking about what I know (insofar as I know anything). How can one not speak about Jesus?

    • Jean, it is a bit depressing. I am feeling the same way. Should I not speak at all? My natural tendency is to relate everything to the Bible as I am conversing with people. So many (men and women) have commented that they learn so much about the Bible after we speak. Should I stop doing this? Because I am a woman, am I going to lead people astray? I have a stomach ache now, after reading comments in this discussion. Is God against women? Does my Father think of me as a lower human being? I think I understand how black people might feel when they are called inferior by white men. I might also understand how the Jews feel when they are marginalized. This is all such non-sense. I just don’t believe we are interpreting scripture correctly when the resulting interpretation would shut up half the believers. If women are to be silent — not speak at all — when in church, then there must be no women teachers of children either. ALL MEN must volunteer to teach the children and conduct the entire service. Women, I guess we can hold hats and serve coffee while remaining mute.

      • In reference to my comments about the damage bad interpretation of scripture has done to both people of color and the Jewish people, I am referring to past (and present?) incorrect teaching/interpretation of scripture that led to replacement theology, and to justifying slavery. I think we need to tackle this whole teaching of women being subject to, must remain silent, etc. with as much gusto as we corrected replacement theology and the justification of slavery.

        • Scripture has not done harm to anyone. People have; people who twist scripture. In places around the globe where the Bible is revered and followed, women and minorities have the most human rights. If you don’t mind, please tell me what you think Paul was saying by this verse in 1Corin.14:34-35. Thanks!

          • I agree. Scripture does no one harm — but bad interpretation of scripture does do much harm. In answer to your question (and thank you for asking for my thoughts), I think that v 34 refers to a law that is not written in God’s law. Perhaps it was a civil law reflecting their backward culture and treatment of women to subject them and keep them silent. Paul continues to repeat their rhetoric in v 35 that women are to learn only from their husbands at home. (Pity the poor woman who is married to an unbeliever.) Both of these verses are statements the Corinthian church made in support of the local/civil law–not God’s law. Paul is repeating that rhetoric to correct it. If we back up to v 31, Paul is saying, “…you can ALL prophesy one by one…” correcting the silencing of women. If women are part of the human race, then certainly ALL applies to women as well, correct? How then can we interpret these scriptures (v 34 and v35) as anything but a correction of the Corinthian attitude toward women.

      • The Bible is not asking half of the body to be mute, God forbid. Don’t the younger women in the congregation need you to be teachers and role models (Titus 2:3-5)?

        • Ah yes, but if you read this as limiting women to only teaching women and children, then how do the other scriptures apply which state women are to remain silent? I think what we need to do is pull all of the scriptures together that speak of women’s role in ministry as well as all of the examples of women in leadership and ministry, and look at the whole picture. Piece-meal interpretation can lead one down a path of misinterpretation. We must look at the entire testimony about women. Then we can better understand the individual scriptures. They do not conflict one another, they all agree, if interpreted correctly.

          • And I welcome an in depth study on the matter. I am sure you will teach this subject brilliantly once thoroughly investigated.

          • Perfect! I would invite you to do that. Pull all the verses on the subject together in a post here, and teach what the Bible says holistically on the issue. I think that would help a lot of people, and it would be very meaningful coming from you.

  15. In your own words you have just clarified a topic that has dogged and been misinterpreted by various but not all Christian churches over the last 2000 years; so thank you. My point is great women like Deborah a prophetess the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel. “Why would have she been appointed by Yahweh if women were forbid to talk or have authority?” Also queen Esther; it was through her position that King Xerxes found favour, that prevented the slaughter. It was also Esther’s decree that the festival of Purim was established to commemorate this event. Once again, Thank you.

  16. Thankyou very much Eli for clarifying this subject. The article makes a lot of sense and come to confirm my hypothesis that Paul’s state about women keeping silent in public and beeing dumbly submissive to thier husbands was more on a human basis than spiritual. And I’d always thought it adressed specific random situations in order to install discipline rather than a generalised one. I just pray and hope many believers would read your article. God bless you real good! Doris Dokubo

  17. I would agree with Rabbi David. It is about women having authority and teaching over men – this would not be the right order of things. Paul was clear on this. Women, obviously can minister in the church and are equal to men. The Corinthian church in general seems unruly and in need of teaching order. There seems plenty of precedence in the bible for women ministering but none for having authority (i.e. apostles, pastors, elders) in the spiritual sense (not talking secular position). Thank you, Dr. Eli for your ministry to us.

    • Covering the head was to distinguish them from the prostitutes in Corinth. Corinth was full of prostitutes. The prostitutes in Corinth did not cover their heads.

    • Having said that, John Wesley’s mother was married to a minister. One time he had to go away for a protracted length of time, so the local men came to her and asked her to do Bible studies or instruction with them. At first she refused, saying it wasn’t her place, but they begged her to do so (she was an educated woman and no doubt understood Scripture very well). So in the end she relented although it was men she was, I suppose you could say, leading or teaching. Maybe it all depends on circumstances.

  18. It’s my understanding that some of the writings attributed to Paul were not written by him at all, though I can’t identify the source now. The author I’m thinking about labeled that material PseudoPauline, which makes sense to me. I used to be down on Paul about this until it came to my attention.

  19. Dr Eli, did Paul claim to speak for G-d, or is his work more comparable to a modern teacher such as a Billy Graham? Or is this question totally off the mark?

  20. I may be a little rusty on the details, but Professor Bart Ehrman in his studies of manuscripts makes the interesting point that Paul’s diatribe in Romans against women is not only uncharacteristic, but also is only found in one family of manuscripts, and among them this text is inserted in slightly different locations in the Epistle. This is consistent with the reference manuscript having has a comment placed in the margin, which was interpreted by some scribes as a correction without an exact location in the text rather than a reader’s comment.

  21. Question. Is there evidence in the bible of women preaching whether in a congregation or privately? Prophesying and teaching (with their head covered ie, by their husbands or an apostle, elder…)yes, eg Philips 4 daughters, Deborah, Miriam. However i have not read anything of women preaching.

      • I understand that Priscilla is not mentioned apart from her husband. Therefore she is covered by Aquila, her husband, as her “head”. I have read commentaries that may not have a full understanding of what the scriptures teach. As Christ followers we seek truth under His leadership and guidance.

        • Who was the female here Priscilla or Aquila I don’t really get it right? Most of the times in the bible males are mentioned first like Adam and Eve ,

          • Aha!!!! that’s right, Paul does not! This typical in Jewish tradition! Up until today female is mentioned FIRST in formal correspondence, not male.

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        • I have always thought to understand the meaning of scripture we have to compare it to other scriptures to look for consistency. So lets look at what The Father and Jesus related to women. Mary-first to know he was the Messiah, born of her, Elizabeth-first declare his coming.

          • Anna-first to prophecy, Jesus preformed His first miracle for Mary at her request, Woman at the well- she PREACHED the good news…the list goes on and on. What was God trying to tell us about the role of women in His ministry and His mission of salvation to the world.

    • The Woman at the well preached independently and Jesus did not stop her. He did not say you must be silent about because you are a women and you Must not PREACH this good news. Who first proclaimed the empty tomb. Women!!!!!

      • Thank you for the examples you provide, but the passage (1Cor.14:34-35) stipulates “in the congregation/church” whereas your examples are not taking place “in the congregation”. Let’s keep studying this.

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  22. Makes sense. However, we must be careful. Paul also said that women are not to usurp authority over a man. I think women can pray, prophesy, worship audibly, but must never assume a position of authority over a man or men.

      • The translators of Bauer (the German editor) insert “domineer” as the meaning for the German word used by Bauer – “herrschen” which connotes “rule, govern, have authority;” Bauer did not use “herrschen” in such a sense as domineer. More modern German dictionaries refer to herrschen as dominate only in a metaphorical sense. Usurp is not in the text: Look on Amazon for “As in All the Churches: A Close Look at the Call for Full Female Participation and Leadership in the Churches” by John A. Fewkes Dr. Eli is FLAT OUT wrong, and his claim is fully considered.

  23. I have seen many men who are not leading anyone anywhere. That in its self is so sad. If some woman don’t step up who will? The men seem to have lost their way in so much. To include leadership in the family as Christian men of the Lord.

  24. Perhaps Paul was wrong and a liar when he said. ” If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual let him acknowledge that the things I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” 1Cor 14:37 That must surely rule a lot of commentators out. Along with many others the tongue speakers love to state that the gifts mentioned in that chapter are valid and for today but somehow relegate to a past era vv 32-40 or being a problem that Paul had. Also to use Priscilla taught publicly in a church is plain error.

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  25. Paul Is a “Resoponder” Paul quotes a letter he received. It is a shock to him … Read his response at the end of the quote: A very Isreali response, a resounding… WHAT? When a matter is rejected. Some English translations actually omit it! It was a Roman law that forbade women, not a Jewish law. Recall a couple of Torah facts: God placed three persons to lead His people from Egypt: Moses, Aaron and Miriam Remember Deborah? God blessed them and many other women for their faithfuness and fearlessness to His Word. Maureen Harrison

  26. When I studied these passages re women’s silence in seminary it always seemed to me rhat it was an addition insertes by Roman or Greek translatora with an agenda – it just was to far from Sha’ul’s thinking. PerhPs I wasn’t too far off point! Thank you Dr. Eli.

  27. May be Paul was responding to a particular situation in that church only,right? When he insisted on women appear with modest clothing in church with the intention of message get more attention than the speaker..

  28. Interesting, but Paul doesn’t mention that it was an input coming from the Corinthians as he did previously in the same epistle (for example 1 Cor 7:1). Also the Torah states that the wife is under the authority of her husband although the Torah doesn’t forbid speaking publicly. So Paul may refer to the closest statement when he mentioned the Torah. Blessings to all. Let’s all of us keep digging.

      • Paul, chosen by Jesus, was both Jewish and a Roman citizen. Jesus chose wisely! The Spirit of God worked through Paul. Can the same be said of the Roman governance of the Holy Land. I’m sorry to have seen this forum give any footing to the discussion of the gift of tongues outside of Acts 2. I would enjoy an article by you on this specific topic.

  29. We are all equal before GOD.How can we grow spiritually if our other half cannot give their equally sound teaching about all necessary aspects of life.?!.Come on,this is 2017,stop being so legalistic. I am a man who needs both sides of all issues in life.I really get the(unhealthy) feeling that there are far too many men feeling inferior to women.?.Sadly true,hmm.!?.No wonder our secular and Christian world cannot function and prosper fully the way GOD intended it.?.Come on guys,change your soul destroying attitude towards your wife right now and experience the FULL life JEHOVA JIRAH intends for you to enjoy.!

  30. Thank you Dr. Eli. It would have been helpful to accept if one of the Apostles was a woman, if one of the deacons chosen by the apostles was a woman, if one of the bishops was a woman. I believe women have roles to play in the body of Christ, but when it comes to authority in the church, I strongly believe the men are to be in charge. One of the reasons I think, is that women are naturally emotional and church leadership should never be based on emotions. However, women are not exempted from spiritual gifts.

    • Thank you, Jerry. In early Church traditional there is strong current of thinking of Mary Magdalene as Apostle of the Apostles.

      • Dr. Eli. I personally do not accept it because there is no reference to it anywhere in the scriptures. There are so many documentaries out there which do not have any scriptural correlation. This is my conviction.

      • We can find many places outside the bible saying different ways ie women not speaking. but we must not make decisions without a foundation in the bible. We are to walk the walk in unison with other Christians not trying to add to God’s word or intent.

  31. Prophesying is to give testimony (to other believers) as different from making decisions. One needs to take other parameters into account, for instance the general structure of ancient society where slaves and women were owned (literally) by household heads, freemen who paid taxes. Not surprisingly anything relating to authoritative participation other than yielding testimony would be reserved to men, to ensure harmony with Roman law as a whole. Jewish society wasn’t too different either; we don’t see much of women in the councils leading to the condemnation of Jesus.

  32. I have a hard time believing Saul/Paul discriminate against talented women. We had both male and female teachers at schools I attended – and the best teacher of all was a woman who taught grades four through six in one room. No child failed and, to my knowledge, and no one received a “social pass,” as some do today. In the 1940’s school was school, not an indoctrination center, as are some today. Dr. Eli, you are likely correct in your evaluation!

  33. Maybe you missed the point – Paul is not talking about a law saying that women should not speak or teach. Context is the subject of ORDER in the congregation with goal of edification. He gives several examples on order. The Greek used is καταλαλέω, and the translation shown is rather limited. The more accurate meaning of καταλαλέω is to importune, to prattle, blurt out, push a point. Blurting out or being too aggressive would not be “in submission” to her husband, and this would not be good order. Done in order and the husband agrees, women can teach

  34. Re. women exercising “authority” over men, in _Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy_, Linda Belleville makes a strong case that this word ought to be translated something like “domination,” which is more to the point of Paul’s instruction. It is also hard to understand why Paul would elsewhere give instructions on _how_ women are to speak publicly, then here tell them that they can’t speak at all.

  35. I was taught that the Synagogue was a House of Worship, a House of Prayer and a House of Business. The “House” referred to in this scripture was the House of Business. To keep business orderly and timely, only the men discussed it at the House of Business and then discussed it at home with their wives. Later, the men could discuss their various ideas and decisions again with the men.

  36. When the women ministers unto Yeshua and the apostles, they were serving them. When it say ministering it doesn’t mean preaching or teaching. but mean serving them and keeping away from their conversations around the men. When Paul said women not to speak in the assemblies it means in the church service or Torah readings and etc. In other words not for the women to be like a pastor and go up and teach in front of the congregation. And of course to cover their heads in respect to their husband and Messiah if they are not married.

  37. This may or may not be related, but this bit from 1 Corinthians 14:35 I find confusing….if a woman doesn’t understand something she must ask her husband at home and not in church. But what if the husband doesn’t understand either? Or perhaps he has to go back and ask another man to explain and then return and explain to his wife? Perhaps part of my problem in not understanding how services were conducted then…cont in my next post

  38. Cont from my last post:- Nowadays we can go up to the vicar or pastor or other men and women and say ‘I didn’t quite get what was being said in the sermon’…or ‘That raises another question in my mind’ and one can discuss it and hopefully get answers. It would be no use my going home to my husband to ask him things…he knows far less than I do (about the Bible etc)

  39. That’s a tough subject. To say “may be” or “ I think “ doesn’t explain Paul’s real words. We know that in the church of Corint were many “disorders”. So , no doubt, there had been situations when the women were “jumping the fence “ and Paul had to intervene. That was a “particular” situation and not a general statement. Other way he would write this to all churches. What is important, for all of us, men and women to respect the rules given to us by Jesus thru His apostles and avoid any “ jump over the fence “

  40. Very interesting thank you Dr Eli.A very interesting book “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality in the middle ages” by John Boswell is an interesting read.From my embryology education all mammalian embryos start out as a female and if the Y chromosome is present then some sex organs are enlarged and some deleted.Just trying to bring more love and peace,health and respect among all peoples on earth.Sincerely, hugs and peace to all

  41. what is JEWISHNESS? are you referring to JUDAISM? please clarify, You tend to use the word JEWISH quite a lot, bear in mind that there are 12 tribes in Israel. Now are you teaching against Gospels of the ReNewed Testament or introducing JEWISHNESS AS A GOSPEL? The word Jewish Jesus? Yes He was from the tribe of Judah, But He was totally against JUDAISM, the PRUSHIMS (Pharisees) and the ZADOKIM (Sadducees), they enacted over 500 laws which they teach from the Talmud, there TAKANOT. JESUS deliberately broke many of the man made rules enacted by the religion sect.

  42. Very interesting thank you Dr Eli.The book “Christianity Social Tolerance and Homosexuality in the middle ages” by John Boswell also notes how women hadn’t any power in early Christianity.In my embryology education all mammalian embryos start out development as a female and if the Y chromosome is present the sex organs are either enlarged or deleted.I pray for more love and peace on earth.Hugs and love and peace to all

  43. Dr. Eli, I saw you repeatedly saying it is Romans but not Torah that forbid female roles. But I have a genuine doubt. Does Torah ask women to keep themselves away during their menstrual cycle, and in that case is it practical to be actively involved in church activities?

  44. It doesnt say excercise authority over men, it says a man. If it was in a church then it would be men. I think Paul is talking about a wife Exercising authority over her husband here. What do you think?

  45. Rev Anthony Bradshaw Very interesting topic, hear’s my thoughts, Deborah was a prophets in Judges 4,and the king had to go to her for advice from God, there was also Hilda,2Chr:34, and also the father of three daughters that prophecied. God used many women in the OT, I don’t understand what’s the problem now.

  46. Jean, you should ask another woman and she can ask her husband. Do this out of respect for your husband even though he is not there and for Messiah. And by all means if you cannot get an answer than do ask your pastor because you have no choice. At least you tried getting answer the way it suppose to be. Be strong!

    • Thank you. That makes sense….so I suppose in New Testament times, a woman would be able to do the same thing. I hadn’t thought of that. This also makes me wonder if a woman who was a believer but whose husband wasn’t would actually have been able to attend a church meeting? Perhaps it would depend on the husband.

  47. Ultimately we should be thankful for the Faithful Prophetesses mentioned in the Bible. Miriam, Deborah, Hanna, Abigail, Huldah, Esther, & Sarah. If it was not for the faithfulness of Sarah and the promise made to Abraham we would not be where we are today. The Heavenly clock is getting closer to the appointed time when G-d will send His Son back to establish the Kingdom of God based in Jerusalem.

  48. Dr. Eli. I’m curious as to why you say “while she is engaged in speaking in tongues” in your article you say “In 1 Corinthians 11:5, he wrote that a woman’s head must be covered while she is engaged in speaking in tongues or prophesying in a public assembly”. I’ve looked at a number of translations and can’t find one that mentions “tongues” in this verse. Of course, it is mentioned later in 1 Corinthians.

    • Shalom, Neil. Perhaps, I made a mistake there. My point is prophesying/speaking. Thank you for bringing this up. Eli

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      • Shalom to you also. Not trying to be smart 🙂 . The reason I was asking was because I have been a Christian most of my life with a large part of that in a ‘Pentecostal’ denomination. Woman sometimes prophesy and/or speak in tongues with the Interpretation in services, usually without a ‘covering’. The sad thing though is that it is quite possible to be an UnHoly Pentecostal which is I think what Paul was addressing with the Corinthians. Some people believe the woman’s covering is her hair.

  49. Wasn’t it Corinth where the cult of Diana tried to get Paul lynched by the mob? So if you had men who were married to Dianists, wouldn’t they try to do as much as possible to disrupt the services? But at the same time their husbands would want to see them in services so they would hear the word and get saved. Just.a thought.

  50. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church: Now how do you the word “shame” Again 1 Tim 2:12 confirms that women are not allowed to speak in the church. Twice the apostle Paul pointed on the same issue. What’s wrong with acknowledging the Word of God in literal sense?

    • What is wrong with realizing that Paul’s letters are correspondence between him and congregational leaders, where he is responding to the letters they wrote him (quoting him). It is not about believing God’s Word it is about believe the true meaning of God’s Word and not something we imposing on it.

      • I agree. Jesus words are spirit and they are life. His words struck the world like a gong, and it is still ringing. As He said Himself, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31) Even these timeless words are made clearer by understanding the culture and context in which they were spoken. Paul’s letters even more so. They are much more rooted in the struggles of the day as he wrote to the churches to give practical advice in the day to day problems they were facing. They are what they are.

  51. Gifts of the spirit Aren’t tongues supposed to be INTERPRETED by another spiritually informed member of the shule ONLY to EDIFY (encourage / build up) the other members of the congregation — these days it is used to confuse & distract people from understandin the true message of KING YESHUA — the BABBLE ON -IONS —- just saying rubbish silly words & noises & no-one can understand anything Thanks D.R. Eli

    • Thank you, Nicholas. I agree this is a significant issue that must be approached with discernment and humility.

    • Nicholas, great words! The gift of tongues expressed in Acts 2 was the true gift from God. Believers heard and understood the words of the apostles in their own many and varied native “tongues”. Also present were unbelievers; Acts 2:19. The words of John 8:47 come to mind. Later Paul was aware of the “babble on- ions” of which you speak of on a contemporary basis. He tried to shut it down requiring interpretation. Others, perhaps looking for recognition among the congregation, willingly stepped up. Paul later referred to the gibberish as a prayer language…a prayer to God. Interpreter: Message

    • “Tongues” has been a very controversial subject among many faiths. The sad fact is those who are not filled with the Holy Spirit (and enjoying the requisite gifts) are the very ones who try to explain these gifts. It simply cannot be done! Tongues are mentioned in three different ways in the NT. One is the “speaking in tongues” when one is initially filled with the Spirit (as on the Day of Pentecost/Shavuot. This involves speaking in a known language (which clearly could be understood by some) as the Holy Spirit gives utterance. The second is when someone exercises (at the unction of the Holy Spirit) the “gift of tongues” . Within the parameters Paul gave in his letter to the Corinthians, this “speaking in tongues” is to be interpreted by someone (for the edification of the Body) who has “the gift of interpreting tongues. If after the third utterance no one interprets the first person’s message then he is to keep silent and give no further message in tongues. This was Paul’s clear instruction to avoid confusion in the assembly. This gift had been misused by some. The third is when one is praying and the Holy Spirit utters through them words which are not understood by anyone “eavesdropping”, so to speak. This is for their edification and no one else’s. Interpretation is not required. Some have ignorantly misused this gift as well, allowing their flesh to be puffed up for vain-glory. The second and third instances of “speaking in tongues” have been much misunderstood by many. I hope this explanation helps.

  52. #1: Huldah the Prophetess (2 Kings 22), to whom King Josiah sent the current HIGH PRIEST so she could prophesy about the text found in the wall of the old temple. A woman taught a High Priest! #2, Deborah led MEN into battle!! #3, Jesus didn’t tell Mary to go help Martha; He told Martha that, like Mary, she ought to study that which couldn’t be taken from her. #4 Corinth was a seat of goddess worship. Some of the women attending Paul’s church would have been female gentiles fresh from pagan worship which was lewd and boisterous. Ahem!!

  53. Fascinating! You can’t tell Roman citizens to submit to all governing authorities and toss Roman law out the window. At the same time you can’t tell Christ followers to submit to both Christ and the power (mark/image) of the beast . Paul juggled both beautifully. The starting point is “women should be in submission, as the law says. The victory is that Jesus did not submit to Roman law. Women obviously were reached with or without their husbands! Look at how far we have come (unless you believe in Biblical law without the law of the land)!

  54. Apologetics describes speaking in tongues as “a phenomena where a person speaks in a language that is unknown to him”. Doesn’t this help make the case for replacement theology? Surely speaking in tongues is Jesus making known Himself in our language. “If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.” I need 1st century definitions for prophet, prophecy, and speaking in tongues. Our apologetics refutes doctrines but leaves us in the dark about original meanings.

  55. Doctor, I would love it if you’d explain the passages like Ephesians 5:22-23 concerning women submitting to their husbands. I have had discussions with other Christians who insist that women must be submissive, including when the husband is abusive or irresponsible. I tend to think this passage relates to that time and place. What do you think?

    • Larry, I suggest you take Jewish Apostle Paul I and II. Here it is very difficult to go in-depth with this discussion. Blessings!

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity or Leviticus and The New Testament. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  56. Bump: What was the context for Deborah’s appointment? Israel had back-slidden (badly), her appointment was to highlight THAT, not Deborah. It speaks to us now when we do the same and ignore God’s Word and His appointed arrangement of things. We miss a womens’ real gifts when we expect them to behave like men, in authority over men etc. God through His son appointed 12 apostles who were men, there is no support for “feminism.” If those men had all failed, He would have found an honest women to shame them, like Deborah, even a bird, (or a stone.)

  57. When Paul said women were not allowed to speak in church, and if they want to know anything they have to ask their husbands at home., what if the husband is an unbeliever and he is against the Faith of Christ? and another one is when Paul told Timothy that HE forbids a women to teach,,does that mean that me being a female born again believer is not allowed to share Christ with anyone ,am I to keep silent about what Christ did for ? I have male family members that ask me Biblical questions , do i ignore them?

  58. Wow, there is a lot of discussion. Paul is consistent between Corinthians and Timothy where he instructs Timothy about women. What is important here is that Paul is speaking for himself which he makes very clear. Many Bible believers say that the Bible makes this rule. Paul is not speaking for God in this particular case which is an important consideration.

    • Dale, perhaps you can reread the article and interact with it more. The point was not that he speaks for himself and not for God (unless I misunderstood you), but that he is refuting the comments are usually ascribed to him!

  59. Hi Eli, As far as I know there was no Greco-Roman law against women speaking in religious assemblies. As I understand it there were Greco-Roman priestesses who presumably spoke in assemblies. Doesn’t the reference to “the Law” refer to the Mosaic writings (e.g., Gen 3:16, 18:12, Ex 21:7-11, Num 30:1-8)? I think it is important to note that 1 Cor 11 does not limit the covering directions to “public assemblies,” so there is nothing here that implies that women spoke in public assemblies. I can’t see a reason to think “speak” in 1 Cor 14 is limited to tongues.

    • Roman Law did forbid woman to hold office or vote/speak in public assemblies. It all really starts and ends here :-).

  60. I think humbly that when a woman speaks in congregation many of man get excited, and in old times among the Jews, the reason the woman had to be modest in worship places is in order not to attract/disrupt and excite the man. Concentrating on prayer and service at the required times was very important. Husbands love your wives.

  61. Thank you Dr. Eli for your teaching. One of the things that jumped out was the passage concerning things being done in a proper way and in orderly manner. We need discernment in the area as followers of Messiah. There are too many churches where there have been manifestations of things not being done properly and in an orderly manner but where members appear to go wild. One example I saw in a video was a Christian in a congregation suddenly run across an aisle, jump on top of the pulpit, danced a little, then jump down to the back.

  62. Dr. Eli…..BY FAITH, I believe Gal:1-12, to be a TRUE statement…. If so?…all that Paul says, about EVERYTHING, is ALSO TRUE…. I have NO intelligence, nor knowledge, TO SECOND GUESS….. Go Figure…..

  63. Paul is not referring to the law speaking on women keeping silence, but he is referencing the law regarding women’s submission. Several times the law states that women are under ‘the authority’ of their husband or father, specifically in making vows, but also in the law of jealousy. I believe this is the ‘as also saith the Law’ Paul refers to. Paul referencing the law makes perfect sense to his argument. Whether it should be followed today or not is another arguments altogether.

  64. Dr. Eli, I have looked at this question quite closely, and would sharply disagree with your conclusion. In a book just published, ALL the relevant passages (including the Corinthian passages are considered), and places where the LAW (OT) does restrict the propriety of women’s speech. The book is on Amazon (link below) if you would like a discussion of the major passages.

    As in All the Churches
    A Close Look at the Call for Full Female
    Participation in Leadership in the Church
    CHAPTER SYNOPSIS

    1. What is Truth? – Reason, feelings, conscience, tradition, and revelation are considered as potential sources of truth.
    2. Faith and Opinion – There is a Biblical faith. How that faith relates to individual opinions of what is essential are considered and how we relate to one another in areas of opinion.
    3. Principles of Interpretation – What “tools” do we use in understanding the language and meaning of Biblical texts, and how do those tools shape our understanding and application of Scripture?
    4. Beginning at the Beginning – In Genesis 1-3 we find the first interactions between man and woman. What can we learn from the first pair?
    5. Galatians 3:28 – The Magna Carta of Equality? Most who seek a wider role for women in participation and leadership in the church view this passage as central to their argumentation. Does it really apply?
    6. Heads and Hair – 1 Corinthians 11 and 14. At first glance these passages seem at odds with each other; looking at them together, is there really a contradiction?
    7. Subjection, Submission, or Mutual Submission? – Ephesians 5. In what ways, if any, are women subject to men in the church? In what areas might there be mutual submission?
    8. Speaking, Shush, or Silence? – Timothy, Titus and Peter. Paul and Peter discuss specific activities for women. Where and how do any such restrictions apply?
    9. What About the Women? – Biblical Women in the Bible. Numerous women are given significant attention through the narrative of Scripture. What do we learn about their role in the religious life of their communities?
    10. Conclusions. – So what? How then should we live? Is this discussion one that benefits the church? Are we likely to see peace or dissension and division?
    https://www.amazon.com/As-All-Churches-Participation-Leadership/dp/1721072950/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534943184&sr=1-1&keywords=John++A.+Fewkes+%22As+in+All+the+Churches%22

  65. I agree that Paul was probably quoting, then answering the Corinthian’s question concerning women in leadership, showing he did not agree with their Patriarchal view. As for women’s head covering, perhaps their hair was suggested as a replacement for the tallit that men would wear.

  66. I like reading Paul’s writing they are interesting and makes one think and he has a tendecy to write in circles which make the reader think more. as for the women in the Bible not covering there heads that i just noticed is more to the fact that they should have long hair not short hair, the hair is their covering, I remember a time when growing up my one grandmother always wore a scarf in the house or outside. i never understood why. and my other grandmother never left the house for church or uptown without a hat on. I am wondering how much of this is a cultural thing since now many females do not wear scarfs on their head or hats unless they want to. as for women being silent in church with paul i think he was thinking that the women did not have a right to teach or even had the knowledge to speak up like the men where taught. I just read something a few minutes ago which made me think part of this was cultural more than anything else. because God Nor Jesus ever stop women from being in control as Deborah was leading an army of men. someone brought up Adam and Eve, my question is why did Adam not stop Eve from eating the fruit in the first place. so when you think of this why did he just take and eat the fruit which he could have said no i will not take and eat it. AS for Eve she should have thought that it would not be to her benefit to eat it so yes she was deceived but the fact she was looking at the fruit as being good and wondered in mind how it may taste is this possible. the may thing is that we learn from the mistakes that were made and that we listen and learn from the Lord through his word. thank you

  67. Thank you for your article. This part in I Cor 14:34 and the other Scripture verses you quoted are not the only ones dealing with the issue of male and female roles and functions in the church. Why didn’t you start from the beginning in Genesis 1 – 3 which gives us the original creation ordinances is foundational for this topic? To be noted as well is Genesis 3:16 where God said that she would want to control / manipulate the man.
    Very ignificant also is that Christ who overthrew some of the conventions of his time didn’t appoint even one woman as a disciple.
    Coming then to the next development relating the topic it is certainly unexpectable to be dealing selectively only with some verses covering a topic like the verses you quoted in your article but then omit other relevant verses and passages – in this case passasges like I Tim. 2:9-15, 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-11, etc.
    I understand that people usually use only ‘n limited or selected verses if they want to prove their preconceived position.

    The statement in I Tim 2 refering to the differentiation of the gender roles is backed up by the creation ordinances – something which cannot be overturned but being restored through the work of Christ.

    Your reference to Gal. 3:28 is not valid in this instance – the context over there is the validity and scope of Christ’s work for all people, not the place, roles and functions of male and female. We should be careful not to confuse our relationship with God with our relationship with each other.

    The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womenhood (CBMW) deals extensively with gender issues where they have numerous scholars who are going in depth into all the various aspects.

    • Sorry for my mistake – my sentence “Coming then to the next development relating the topic it is certainly unexpectable to be dealing selectively only with some verses covering …. ” Should read “Coming then to the next development relating the topic it is certainly unacceptable to be dealing selectively with some verses only covering ….”

    • Wolf — I think you would appreciate the book I wrote referenced above; after a discussion of source of truth, opinion, and interpretive principles, we BEGIN at the BEGINNING.

      • John, Jesus began at the beginning when He said, in the beginning it was not so….. with this, He proclaims marriage between one man and one woman as a covenant mitigating against divorce being so easily obtained and, by inference, speaks against marriage to multiple women which was practised in OT times. Showing that, although this system probably protected women economically in those days, it was not God’s original intention. Likewise, the original intention was for woman to be the “ezer “ to man , and only after the fall is that warped into something so much less. And, after all, Jesus/ Yeshua came to restore, transform and have us represent the original intent, not the fallen one, don’t you think?

        • Con’d…. and having read to the end of these comments ( wow! There are a lot of them!), I also address these considerations to Silvester, below.

  68. The issue Paul starts out with is about Prophesy/Tongues. Paul says at one point.For you may ALL prophesy one by one.that ALL may learn,and ALL may be comforted.And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not of confusion,but of peace,as in ALL churches (which would be called out) of the saints.Paul is having to addressing several issues.1.Possibly one up manship,speaking out of turn,over each other,and he is having to set organization with these men.Who are bringing up the issue. The Corinthians are a bit of a free for all. THEN Paul basically breaks into issue about women.
    The Corinthians seem to have been having a male moment as it was a corrupt quarrelsome region. Paul says What instead of his usual God forbid and then asked the Corinthians if the word he was bringing orginated with the Corinthians or with God?Then he reaffirms that Paul is passing on the commandments of God not the man law of that assemble or of the Corinthians. Paul then returns to talking about prophecy/tongues after his brief segway about women. Again about one upper men.Some people get it, some don’t!
    FromTorah/Tanach we know that Mariam was a Levitical prophetess.We know Debra,as well as several other women in the Tanach.We don’t see Debra asking for permission to prophesy. Paul was addressed by a lineal prophetess. Examples, from the Prophets shows us that prophesy can be a dangerous role for male prophets. They usually got physically attacked,hung in cisterns,killed, etc.
    The law in Torah that might vaguely apply: A woman could be overiden or have a vow nullify by a father or a husband.That does not appear to apply in this case.These were gentiles not the actual Temple. Paul states a woman’s hair is her covering.

  69. With authority comes responsiblity. Word was given to Adam not Eve. Adam was irresponsible. If you want authority then you have to accept responsibility.

  70. In Joel and Acts Scripture says “Your sons AND daughters shall prophecy”. In the NT some women prophets were mentioned including Junia. The 1st Evangelist to the gentiles was the Samaritan woman and the 1st to proclaim Yeshua had risen was Mary Magdelan. Priscilla taught the Apostle, Apollos.

  71. Paul may have forbade women to speak in churches he established AMONG THE GENTILES, to prevent a stumbling block to the men in these churches, who were pre-conditioned by the pagan culture they grew up in to be manipulated by women “ministers and prophetesses” who mixed their feminine charms with “spiritual ministry” to increase “religious devotion” (give money). As for the women that are mentioned in the new testament as ministers, there is no way for us to know if they ministered in front of a large group. There is a different dynamic at work in a large scale setting.

    • Hi Chris, I encourage you to reread the article if you missed my point. I was demonstrating that Paul was not forbidding women to speak in Jewish or Gentile congregations. In Messiah there are no men and women, Jews and Gentiles. All are one in Him.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Story of Our Hebrew Fathers: Abraham and Isaac and The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

      • The passage in Galatians, as well a similar couplets in Col 3:11 and Acts 2:17 all address ACCESS to salvation, not normative relationships between men and women, and not a s a practice “In All the CHURCHES.”

  72. I appreciate the insight here as a woman who’s not a feminist and grateful for a wonderful husband who I view as my partner/protector. But I also love to study scripture everyday and find myself drawn to bible scholars for their insight. I feel like I have a lot of great knowledge to contribute to conversations at Bible studies and I feel like I could deliver a pretty great sermon on certain topics, but I feel like this passage has caused me to doubt the abilities God has given me. This article settled my heart. Thank you.

  73. This has nothing to do with women speaking ,
    IT IS WOMENSLIB ,women are good men are bad,
    There is not one good men or women in the whole world .
    No person that thinks I am good will ever enter the Kingdom of God .
    Klaas Christchurch NZ

  74. Dr. Eli, as an Evangelical Christian in the Free Methodist Church in Canada, and as a teacher of God’s word, I am very pleased with your article. This is something I have believed for many years, but you have stated it very articulately. I have more to say about this, but this post is limited in the words that it will accept. Blessings in the Lord, Joe.

  75. That which was to be taught is described in the pastoral epistles as –
    1. doctrine(s) 1 Timothy 1:3; 6:3)
    2. trustworthy statement(s) (1 Timothy 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8)
    3. sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:6; Titus 2:1)
    4. words of the faith (1 Timothy 4:6)
    5. sound words (1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13)
    6. truth and faith (2 Timothy 2:18)
    7. faithful word (Titus 1:9)
    8. sound in the faith (Titus 1:13)

    Does this sound like merely cultural considerations?

  76. So what does the Law say? There is no direct quote, and all suggestions are informed (or uninformed) opinions. The more consistent view would point back to Genesis 2 and male headship, but perhaps as much so to the understanding of the head of the home having overruling authority regarding the speech of his wife or daughter, particularly with reference to a vow (Numbers 30). This allusion would seem in keeping with the role of male headship designed by God. It is to the practice of the Law that Paul affirms as a spiritual principle. However, we are not dependent on this allusion or inference for a Biblical doctrine

  77. When Paul states “as in all the churches” he is moving beyond any limited, local consideration and into the realm of universal principles and practices.

  78. Dr. Eli’s view (1Cr.7:1) and in verse 36 negates their question. In support, a tertiary meaning of the Greek disjunctive hvj. It can mean “or,” “either-or,” or “what” (1 Cr. 9:6-7). It is this last meaning that evangelical feminists seek to use. Therefore, Paul does not mean what he earlier said in vss. 33-34, and is now explaining his intent. If this were true, the long supposed questions “quoted” by Paul and his terse response would be unique in all of Paul’s writings of the entire NT. DR. Eli is WRONG on this. No hate, just sadness.

  79. The main point of these three verses is that the Corinthians have not (nor have evangelical feminists) arrived at some self-recognized superior spiritual understanding that gives permission or right to invent practices inconsistent with Apostolic authority or with the practices of their fellow believers.

  80. Dr. Eli, Great thread…!!! I totally agree that Paul is quoting a previous letter at 1 Co. 14:34 -35. He was a professional rhetorician (note Mars Hill). This is wonderful rhetoric, as is the question following! Combined they are a powerful answer in rhetorical form! The KJV is the most literal and easiest translation for a teacher to use here to make your (correct) point. My paraphrase of v. 38 pertains…, “If anyone can’t figure this out he must have a problem…!!!” This is good news for women… and the churches as well… Been teaching it this way 50 years!

  81. Hi should we as Gentiles only follow the teachings of Apostle Paul? The rest of the Bible God is speaking to the Jews..GOD gave Paul a message that was a secret hidden for ages that was tailor-made just for us Gentiles. And do we have the right to claim promises GOD made to the JEWS in the economy..

    Thanks

    • tPaul certainly wrote plenty to a Gentile audience, but he also wrote plenty to a Jewish audience. So, here’s the big picture: the momentum of the Gospel is that all families would be blessed through the seed of Abraham, Yeshua the Messiah. So believing Gentiles are invited to join (not replace or remain segregated from) Israel in being sons of God. If you read only Paul, you will miss even most of what Paul means to say because you’ll be missing the Jewish context.

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  82. Am going to weigh into this argument. Adam did not have the rule over Eve in the garden. They were both made in the image of God and only in Gen 3 when they fell into sin did God gave man the rule over women. Yeshua came to put us back into fellowship with ABBA and no where does Yeshua give man the dominion over women. The first person He delegates to take a message to His disciples is a woman. Paul is addressing the Jewish congregations where men and women were under the Old Testament

  83. If Paul is quoting a question from the Corinthians, the supposed questions quoted by Paul and his response would be unique in all of Paul’s writings, or anywhere else in the New Testament. Male spiritual leadership is established before Gen 3. If all were completely equal, why doe God approach Adam first? Likely because Adam failed as the spiritual head of his home. Paul’s argument is based on the Creation order: God -Christ – Man – Woman in 1 Cr 11, and from the Law in 1Cr 14 – likely referring to Dt. 30.

  84. Thank you for your explanation of this text. Would it be possible that another rendering of the text could be “Your women are being kept silent in the church. They are not being permitted to speak, but are being kept under the command of the law” (the Roman one). They did this as a way to keep order, as you said. But it was not something Paul encouraged or commanded. He believed the church should have order without exclusion, is that accurate?

    Thank you!

  85. some queries. 1. Are there any records of female leaders in the Temple and synagogues from the tribe of Levi in Israel from past or present even among the Hasidic? 2. Are there any records of female bishops from the early churches-Coptic, Catholic, Orthodox etc even the ones who were exterminated by persecution for being heretics? In general one would expect from your interpretation the first 200 years would have shown your” view” from the actions of the churches. Present day secular Israel did have a female leader as do/did other secular governments in Europe and Asia.

    • There were obviously female Levites, but Biblically God called males to be the priests; historically , no female priests or bishops. There were and are women active in Jewish religious circles including wise women and prophetesses, but childless or widowed women could be more active than mothers. As “operational officers” of the household, that was women’s primary desire and duty. But concerning salvation and status in Messiah, there is no male or female, Jew or Gentile, free or slave.

  86. Once again I will make the point: in Galatians (esp. 3:28) Paul is talking about access to salvation, NOT about gender roles! The passage is horribly misused by egalitarians. The passages where Paul DOES speak about now one should behave in the “household of God (1 Tim. 3:15) should control our understanding of other incidental references that may seem unclear. (“As In All the Churches”), available through Amazon.

  87. I have much to ask the Lord’s guidance on. I am new at this sort of bible study. So please bear with me. In the first paragraph; the statement ” These words would sound far more credible pf someone else, other than the Jewish Apostle Paul, had written them.” Who is more credible than the Apostle Paul. I believe there was disharmony among women causing disorder in the church of Corinth and the Apostle Paul addressed it.

  88. Brother Eli, I admire your courage in dealing with controversial issues. Some, unfortunately, refuse to even consider anything unless it is what they “have always been taught” or that they could learn anything for that implies they have had imperfect knowledge.

    I rejoice in the challenges you present. Thank you.

    • Thanks Jim, and I rejoice when people dare to step outside of the box and challenge themselves. God bless you!

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  89. Hi Dr. Gee I almost saw the Bible rewritten here, lol. That one topic leads to such a wide sircle of topics. Like to add experienced in my 20years as christian. Woman are more open for intrepertation of tongues than men. I have not see 1 man that intreperted

    • I get where you’re coming from, but remember that translating for someone is also a form of interpretation of tongues, and there are plenty of male translators among us.

  90. Eli, although no manuscript omits these verses, they appear in the Western tradition after v. 40. Perhaps they were added to the margin of the original document and perhaps vv. 34–35 were the intended location. If you are right, why was this statement added to the margin and not others?

    • It is hard to know why something was put in the margin. Maybe the scribe forgot to write it in, or maybe the scribe offered his own thoughts. The fact that these verses appear in different locations definitely makes it suspect, especially since it offers ideas that are not inline with Paul. The Codex Vaticanus includes symbols next to these verses evidencing that they were probably not original, but if it is original, then I think Paul might have been citing a previous letter.

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  91. Don’t get me wrong but I love everybody! It’s my gift from God! But when I think God is listening to this group I believe He is laughing His head off I know I am! You guys are so precious and I enjoy all the discussions that go on!

  92. I read and read and read these comments and was going to respond, but this is endless!!! As a believer in Yeshua, it is my duty and privilege to come under submission of godly men, but as far as the gospel and teaching, I am free and compelled!!!

    • It’s good to hear your side, Linda. Thank you for sharing with us, and for teaching the Gospel!

  93. In NT Greek, the word for woman is the same word for wife. Context dictates which word is intended. Could Paul have meant “wives” instead of “women?” My pastor believes that would change the meaning of the text to be more about how wives relate to their husbands in church.

    • Sure, I think the context of v.35 demands that. But the bigger issue is whether this passage represents Paul’s doctrine or not. It seems contrary to the rest of the New Testament (and the manuscript evidence hints that it came from someone else).

  94. Context is everything. Cherry picking scripture is an unacceptable way to learn the precepts, principles and statutes of God. If all Christians practiced the concept of humility there would little to no divisions in the Body of Christ.

  95. If there was to be full equality wouldn’t Jesus have selected 6 men and 6 women as the disciples? And to rule over the 12 tribes of Israel in the kingdom on earth

    • Jesus had hundreds of disciples, many of which were women, but indeed the inner 12 (explicitly commissioned with spreading His teachings) were men. Therefore, intrinsic equality, role equality, equality of output/results, etc. are not the same thing. Two intrinsically equal people can (and often do) have differing jobs/roles/capabilities/functions. But that doesn’t necessitate that women are to be silent when they have something edifying to share.

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  96. Precisely my point. There is neither Male nor female… in Christ… doesn’t mean that all roles are equal… and if Jesus wanted to instigate a full equality of roles then he would have made that example clear in selecting equal numbers of men and women to the central roles

  97. To continue: any women present could submit questions in writing to their husband or (if single) to a man to read aloud. No one objected and kept the order in this congregation. That is the point of this whole discussion, in my opinion.

  98. I am not a big fan of Paul, however he is not putting women down in Corinthians, it was a teaching moment for them. Many of the women who were new the church had come out of the world of ill repute, Corinth known for their temples prostitutes.

    • Maybe so, but the city’s ill repute does not necessitate that all or most of the women were ex-temple prostitutes. The Jesus movement drew many well-to-do and respected women.

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  99. I don’t think this is honest or accurate interpreting. Verse 35 reinforces verse 34, so unless you want to extend the remark, Paul is supposedly quoting, it doesn’t work. And even if you did guess that that is what Paul was doing, you’d still have Paul’s remarks to Timothy.

  100. I believe the answer has something to do with the fact that back then the raw Gospel was known only by a few select people. ie Jesus’s Disciples/close-group (who_were_actually_mostly_males) they then teach their families (e.g wives at home) and make_other_disciples.

    Hence ANYONE else especially women can’t claim to_have full authority_to_teach_anything_just_yet.

  101. Dr. Eli, thanks for this. It sounds plausible, but NRSV reads “(As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches” (1Co 14:33-34). Would the Corinthians say “as in all the churches?” It’s hard to tell when he quotes them and when he answers.

  102. Where it says, “What? came the word of God out from you? (14:36 KJV), that sounds a rebuttal. But my Greek lexicons say “Or,” not “What?” This is reflected in most modern translations. “Or did the word of God originate with you?” (1Co 14:36 NRS). Hoping you have an answer.

    • Literal translations have “or” but the less literal ones omit it since it doesn’t read well in English. The Greek word for “or” is in the text, but the idea behind its use is to sift gears, not to make a list of options.

  103. I think the passage reads more naturally if it is taken that there was a women’s liberation movement of sorts taking place in Corinth. This was seen by women teaching and not wearing the head covering in meetings. Paul was writing to subdue this.

  104. I think this is another (yet more skillful than most) attempt to run away from the obvious implications of the this text. The text itself makes it hard enough to do, but when you cross reference it with the passage in 1 Timothy, it becomes ridiculously so.

  105. what of the verse in Cor. where the women’s hair is a covering, is it for her head or a cloth covering her body.
    Maybe to hide her sex.
    Such was the definition of covering in the Strong’s Concordance.

  106. I would say Gal 3:28 in light of equality in all nations is that of salvation only and not in chosen as the Israelites were. Like God never married any other nation, nor will He ever. Nor did He ever marry the church. Hebrew 11:41 confirms the promise of immortality.

  107. My understanding of ‘speak’ here means to teach or preach (because women can prophesy in church, says Paul). The old testament priest is the new testament preacher as they all handle the fire of God. In the law there were no women priests but there were prophetess like Miriam.

  108. Sorry Eli, Gal 3 has got nothing to do with equality of people except salvation as nobody is equal . And because not one person is the same/equal to another declares the diversity and glory of God.

  109. Thanks for the discussion about this matter. So many remarks and opinions. A lot to think about. How do I read or do I have to read Ephesians 5: 22 and 23
    regards
    Wien Breet

    • Eph.5:22-23 establishes a hierarchy within the home. When there is a difference of opinion, God puts the ultimate responsibility on the husband to make the [right] decision, and the wife should honor that; just as believers in the congregation are to honor the will of Messiah. This passage keeps marriages from becoming deadlocked when there is a one to one vote on an issue.

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    • The woman brought the falling away and God had to give her another covenant, Genesis 3:16 specifying her relationship with her husband from then on (He shall rule over thee). Paul is just echoing that. It doesn’t matter how modern we become, the woman is still subject to that law.

  110. Do I understand your comment well, that the role of the woman in Ephesians you cannot compare with the rule of the woman in Corinthiers? Is in your opinion the role of the woman in the church equal to the role of the man in the church?

  111. Oh Boy, Dr Eli! This was one of the longest of correspondence I’ve seen in a while. I read somewhere a while back that women weren’t segregated in the synagogue until around the 16th century. Is this true? When we first saw the film ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ all those years ago we saw Mary and the other women segregated off. Another thing that film is good for is the scene in the Temple where in Solomon’s Portico contained the rubble from the time of the Maccabees. I was told that after this cleansing there were defiled stones which they couldn’t agree on how to dispose of them, and they were going to ask Messiah when He came. There He is walking past them.

  112. Thank you Dr Eli for your explanation of 1 Cor 14. The standard denominational teaching on this has been an issue for me for many years as I have matured in my walk with the Lord. Within the particular denomination where I committed my life to Christ a woman could teach men and women in Bible study groups etc, have other positions within the church where she would have authority over men but was not permitted to preach or lead communion. I have no problem with men being spiritual leaders of the congregation (or in the home for that matter) so long as he acknowledges that he’s not the head of the church. Too often misinterpretation of Scripture has been used to “put women in their place”, an excuse to be abusive toward them.

  113. I think what is important for women in being part of the Church is to display humility. So, too, is it for men. Problems arise when women who are underhanded try to oppress other women in their flocks, be it through jealousy or envy or whatever else of a sinful manner is deemed unacceptable, either ethically or religiously. Women who condemn other women at church should be looking at their own sins first. I have seen firsthand the jealousy of women wreak havoc in church communities and it is not a pretty sight.

  114. Dr. Eli…..Here Paul is talking about the church assemblies not the public square. We also need to look at 1 Tim 2:12 It appears to me that women should not be in a pastor’s station at the pulpit. I think this scripture is pretty clear about that.

  115. Even though the Bible shouldn’t be taken too literally, it is good for all people (families and friends) to observe and show respect for proper worship and community. In 1 Cor 11:10, Paul wrote that all women should cover their hair for proper worship and respect…”because of the angels”.

  116. The covering of women’s hair is that it not only reflects proper worship, but also there is a supernatural reality behind it because of the angels who sinned and took women for their own (see Gen 6:1-4; Jude 6-7). It is from a book called “Reversing Hermon”. It’s quite amazing.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Leviticus and The New Testament and Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

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