Troublesome Topic: Where Did the Law Say Women Are to Be Subordinate? 1 Cor 14

1 Corinthians 14:34


let the women be silent

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in the assembly. For it is not permissible for them to speak, but to be subordinate,

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as even the Law says.


women should be silent in these types of assemblies. For it is not proper to allow them to speak in this setting, but rather they should remain subject [to their husbands or fathers]. I am not making this up; the Law also teaches this.


There are several parts of the Old Testament that Paul could have had in mind, but the primary one is not actually in the law itself, rather it is one of the corner stones on which the law was built. That instance is Genesis 3:16 which gives the following consequence to Eve for her part in succumbing to the deceit of the Serpent: “your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” In my paraphrase I present it this way: “You will desire to dominate your husband, but he will dominate you instead, and you will not like it.” Paul is indicating that the arrangement in which the husband is what I call the captain of the team, has come to us in part because Eve took the lead and lead Adam into sin instead of following him. Another reason given elsewhere is that Adam was created first and Eve was made from Adam.

Another passage Paul could have had in mind is what we call chapter 30 of Numbers (they did not have chapters and verses back then). It is a section about women making vows. It spells out clearly that the husband or father could veto a vow made by the wife or daughter. In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul is not talking about vows, so the connection to Numbers 30 is not a direct one, but the Numbers passage does indicate clearly that a woman was subject to the main man in her life (her husband or her father). Other parts of the law also imply the same dynamic, for the man was consistently seen as the leader of the family and the one who represented the family.

The next lesson is: The Idea of “Realms” 1 Cor 14



Unlike I Timothy 2:11 which uses the word “quietness,” this verse uses the word “silent.”


This is a compound word coming from “under” and “to arrange.” I can be rendered “be in submission, be subordinate, be subject to.”