By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke
The church at Corinth had a great revival. In spite of that, as with every church, there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed.
Paul was such a great pastor that he could deal with these problems in a letter. Fortunately for us, we get to read and study the issues and how he dealt with them. It provides guidance and instruction for pastors today. You really need a pastor to help keep you on the correct path of service for Christ.
The problem: Chapter 14 presents a picture of confusion and disorder in the worship services at Corinth. There were so many messages and prophets that they were in one another’s way, and the Word of God was lost in the confusion. One of the issues seemed to be that women were being too forward and outspoken, perhaps taking over the services by giving out messages and speaking in tongues. Paul wanted to correct this and put the preaching of the Word of God in the place of dominance and respect.
The response: Paul felt that one great need was to remind the ladies that men still had the place of dominance in the home as well as the church. Never should a man abuse his role or authority as the head of the woman (I Cor. 11:3), but we should remember that God established this to provide order and security for our relationships. There are some scriptures that describe the homes where this order is not honored (Pro. 21:9, 21:19, 25:24).
To preserve the sanctity and proper atmosphere of the house of God, Paul advised that the women keep silence.
Our lesson: To “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15), we must consider all verses in the Bible dealing with this subject. Paul advised the women to keep silence in the church (I Cor. 14:34), but in chapter 11:5 he spoke of women praying or prophesying with their heads uncovered. Apparently women did speak in this church and were not chastised for it. Peter referred to the prophecy of Joel in Acts 2:17,18 where men and women were to be filled with the Spirit and would prophesy. We are also told that Philip the evangelist (who held the great revival in Samaria, Acts 8) had four daughters that prophesied (Acts 21:9). In my estimation, women are allowed to participate in worship in the church, but should remember: “(1Co 11:3) But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”