Lately, I’ve been considering how a woman should speak and write. A friend of mine has been scrutinizing this matter, and I have been doing so right along with her. I greatly admire her willingness to conform herself to the truth of God’s Word, and I want to do the same. My aim is to be as true to the Bible as I can. If my opinions don’t line up with the Bible, then my opinions are wrong and need to be changed. After you read this post, you will understand why I am currently (though slowly) combing through my archives to see if there is anything I’ve published in the past that either needs to be revised in order to fit with biblical standards for feminine speech, or be thrown out all together.
The following is a sampling of verses from the Bible that refer to women being quiet, with my thoughts at the end. (But don’t skip the verses just to get to the part where I tell you my opinion :). )
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:34-37
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:11-15
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do no let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:1-6
The first quote from 1 Corinthians was written to the Christians living in Corinth. Was that an isolated situation? It does say, “Let your women learn in silence.” Let’s see.
The second quote from 1 Timothy was written to Timothy, who was overseeing the church at Ephesus. In that case, it says, “Let a woman learn in silence.” That seems to be referring to women in general.
The third quote from 1 Peter was written to Christians that had been dispersed throughout the regions of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. It emphasizes that “wives,” which is an all-inclusive term meaning all married women, should focus more on their conduct than on winning with words or on outward adornment. It tells us that wives should have “a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
I don’t see that the command for women to be silent/quiet was restricted to one region, or one time; it appears to be “the commandment of the Lord” (1Cor. 14:37) for women and wives in general.
How do we apply that to our own lives? Is it just in the church service where we are to be quiet? What about Bible studies? What about informal discussions with friends and family? What about when the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons come to our doors wanting to discuss theological matters? What about blogs? Certainly we are not supposed to be quiet all the time! I mean, mouths are meant for more than eating, right?
Here are some thoughts for us to consider:
~Women of God teach the Holy Scriptures to their own children and grandchildren.
…”when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” 2 Tim. 1:5 (Acts 16:1)
“and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures…” 2 Tim. 3:15
~Women of God teach other women, usually those younger than they, how to be good wives, mothers, and housekeepers.
“…teachers of good things–that they [the older women] admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:3b-5
~Women of God help their husbands share the gospel message accurately with others.
“When Aquila and Priscilla heard him [Apollos], they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Acts 18:26b
~Women of God give others advice, when sought for.
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” Judges 4:4-5
~Women of God lead other women in worship.
“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” Exodus 15:20
I consider that we women should abstain from voicing our opinions on theological matters in public. Perhaps the exception to this would be the gospel message. Mainly, we should be teaching our children, and instructing other women in how to keep the home, how to be a good wife, and how to be a good mother.
I talk a lot about birth control (and how I hate it). I believe this is within the realm of teaching women to “love their children” (even those yet unconceived). Also, my husband and I are in agreement on this issue.
I share my opinions regarding the culture, but I try to focus on those things that have to do mainly with women, and our conduct in general as Christians. However, I don’t involve myself deeply with doctrinal concerns (except the issue of salvation by grace alone).
Does this mean I don’t have an opinion on theological matters? Usually, I do! But, I believe it is proper for me to discuss those issues with my husband, and not necessarily with others. If anything needs to be said, I can let my husband be the spokesman. Have I always done so in the past? No, but I am trying to improve, and mold myself to what the Bible says is proper conduct for women.
Certainly, I need to be well-informed, because I am responsible for teaching my children (under the authority of my husband), but I need not teach everybody else! I need to be well-studied, because I want to make sure I am being obedient to the word of God, but I need not feel burdened to share everything I am learning in my personal study, publicly!
Women should be wise and learned, yes! I don’t believe in women being dim-witted; I don’t believe in women wasting their intellect. I do believe in being proper, and being biblical. Is there a way for us to be both “quiet” and mentally engaged at the same time?