Women speaking in the assembly . . . is it proper?
however as we interact with one another there are subtle distinctions and rules we make up.
Let's consider women, and what Paul is accused of saying about their participation.
Paul seems to
make a statement that sounds very
discriminating against women:
"As in all the congregations of the qodeshim*, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly." 1 Cor 14:32-35 (*qodeshim, set-apart ones, translated "saints", would be all Israel of Paul's day, who met together for fellowship).
SOCIAL NORM OF THE TIME?
What "law" is Paul speaking of here? There is no such law. I've not found any TORAH prohibition which forbids women from speaking in a group-study of Torah. Could it have been an Oral Law (Talmud) tradition that clung to this Pharisee of Pharisees? Possibly, but there are more likely possibilities. Every scholar's commentary on this subject stumbles in the dark to find a shred of evidence in Torah against women speaking, so the "law" which Paul seems to be citing about women not speaking could be a social norm in that time and place. To Paul (or whoever monked with the text) it may have been "disgraceful" for a woman to speak in the assembly, but he also seems to be using the word "law". The Greek word "law" in this sentence is #3551, NOMOS - and generally is defined as LAW. However it can mean principal, norm, or rule. In a given life-setting, it could be a rule or principle to wear a toga and go barefoot into an eating establishment. That would not be acceptable today in certain areas of the world. It should be clear that people can't pick and choose which Commandment to obey, but Paul's writings are twisted constantly to say what people want to hear; to negate a Commandment, or make new ones. Paul doesn't have the authority to ADD or TAKE AWAY from the Torah, yet in practice that's exactly what we see people doing with his writings.
When Yahuah declares we are NOT TO WORK, but rest on the seventh day of each week as He rested, many people dodge obeying this and explain it away. But, when Paul declares that women are NOT TO SPEAK, even though Yahuah didn't mention it, THAT RULE THEY WANT TO ENFORCE.
Here's evidence that marriage exists in the animal kingdom:
No one is sure about Paul's marital experience, but we assume he was single for the latter part of his life. He spoke of the other apostles having wives. Most would rather take advice on marriage from someone who has been married, and preferably from someone who is in a successful relationship. In the Scripture quoted above,"they should ask their own husbands at home", "they" would be women in the assembly. They would also have to be married in order to have "husbands at home". Paul doesn't assume that any woman in the assembly would be unmarried if we take this verse to its logical conclusion, yet in other places he clearly recommends "singleness". His personal advice can be different from yours, or mine, and yet we can still accept one another. One person may want to wear a hat, another may not want to wear one - no need to freak-out. What if you brought your girlfriend to a fellowship and she asked a question? We need to remember to see things from Yahusha's point of view, and be gentle and tenderhearted toward everyone.
What we have today that we know as the "gospels" and letters of the earliest disciples of Yahusha were all passed down to us through what is known as the "Alexandrian Cult". These were early "church fathers" such as Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, and many others. It started during the second century with Marcion and Irenaeus. They chose what was "in" and what was "out" -- and they fiddled and tweaked what was accepted, but you'll have to study about that for yourself. From what they passed down to us in the Greek today, which only dates back to the 4th century at the most, Paul would apparently forbid women in the assembly to open their mouths; I want to hear the Voice of Yahusha no matter who it is that is speaking. Some "leaders" prefer that young children and babies be kept out of the assembly, to minimize the crying and disruption. I vote that we accept all, and let the women speak, answer questions, and like it -- like the male lion is doing in the photo above. I recognize what men have done to this planet. I also recognize the blazing intellect that my wife has. If I were to have to live without her wisdom, I'd be in serious trouble. As of August 18, 2013 we've been married for 40 years. She learns things from me, however it's a 2-way street in our house.
Here's a few Scriptures concerning how women are to conduct themselves as wives and among the believers:
These were penned by an unmarried man, and yet they are VERY good advice. Paul may have had some traumatic experiences with the female species, because he recommended that single people remain so, as he was. This advice goes against not only the normal pattern of every historical society which have all been based on the family unit, but is also very different from his own culture. Rabbis, Luite priests, and practically any average man of Paul's time would have been an oddity (QUEER, FREAKY) if they were unmarried.
The topic of "celibacy" is against the Command to "be fruitful and multiply", given directly from the Voice of Yahuah to men at Gen. 1:28, 8:17, 9:1, and 9:7. In fact, the word "celibacy" is not found in the Scriptures - check any concordance. If it is a good thing, and Yahuah would have us be celibate to serve Him better, why did He not tell us or instruct us? Those who may seem to read it into what Paul taught in his letters have 2 possibilities to decide between. Either the idea of "remaining single" was figurative language and simply misunderstood, or it was ADDED by Catholic monks to give legitimacy for their own vows.
Paul's "orders" to not allow women to speak in the assembly is one that causes a great deal of confusion, but when we assemble to study together, it's the women that seem to bring the most to the sessions.
At 1 Cor. 14:26, Paul tells us that when we assemble, EACH ONE has the ability to speak; then a few verses later states that the women can't speak! You can't have it both ways. It seems Paul wanted orderly conduct in the assembly, and at that time it may have been his experience to see women standing in groups speaking loudly to one another, and not paying quiet attention to the men speaking. We simply don't know his reasoning. What if Paul had said it was his opinion that MEN should not speak in the assembly, but should rather learn from their wives at home? If a woman believer has an unbelieving hubby, wouldn't you suppose it would be normal for her to teach him? We teach our children IN OUR HOMES, as the Torah instructs - yet people often find themselves carting-off their children to hear someone else teach them.
"What is the
outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each
a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an
interpretation. Let all things be done for edification".
1 Cor 14:26
Here's 2 witnesses from Scripture:
At Exodus/Shemoth 15:20, Miryam "the prophetess", the sister of Mosheh and Aharon, went out before the assembly of all Yisrael with "all the women", and they lifted up their voices in praise, and with dances.
A similar thing
happened at Judges/Shophetim 5, where Deborah sang before
Yisrael and Yahuah. There are many other examples we could use, but
all we need is the minimum of 2 witnesses.
"Then you will
know that I am in Israel,
that I am Yahuah your
and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Even on My servants, both men and women
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens and on the Earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be
turned to darkness and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahuah.
And everyone who calls on the Name of Yahuah will be saved;
for on Mount Tsion and in Yerushaliyim there will be deliverance,
as Yahuah has said, among the survivors whom Yahuah calls.
recorded speaking to a "Samaritan woman" for most of Yahukanon chapter 4.
If this woman
could address the Creator-in-flesh, Yahusha, converse with Him, then why do
we imagine that women are not able to address others (regular human beings)
in an assembly? There is a cultural blockage now, and there was then;
notice that Yahusha's own talmidim thought it to be inappropriate that He be
engaged in a conversation with a woman:
"Just then His disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, 'What do you want?' or 'Why are you talking with her?'" John 4:27 Note the argument below, based on "the body of Scriptural law", (whatever that may be).
Here's a quite simple, and I feel correct, view on this topic from Barron:
Here's one opposing view taking the view that women are "property", with my comments following:
Lew responds to the idea of the "body of Scriptural law":
I didn't buy my wife from her father. If that means we aren't properly wedded in Yahuah's eyes,
are we to go to a man or institution to get the proper permission and their blessing?
My wife came with no "dowry" either. It's a good thing we Natsarim aren't "policemen", empowered
to say who is and who isn't doing everything perfectly, according to the "body of Scriptural law".
This is how the Talmud, and the "traditions of the fathers" found their basis -- interpretation.
Adam didn't buy his bride, but he did make a "contribution" of sorts (his side, or "rib" area).
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