Quarter’s Theme: ORDERLINESS IN THE CHURCH
Unit 3: Orderliness In Worship – Unity In Diversity (Lessons 7-9)
LESSON 9 3/5/2015
THE POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 61, 150
Devotional Reading: TITUS 2:1-5
Topic For Adults
DON’T SUBVERT GOD’S ORDER
Topic For Youths
KNOW YOUR LIMIT
Topic For Intermediates
DON’T SUBVERT SPIRITUAL LAW FOR WOMEN
1 COR. 14:33-40
Memory Verse: Let all things be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Be Teacher Of Good Things
Though women are not permitted to teach in public worship that comprises of all categories of age groups, but they are not forbidden from teaching fellow women in the word of God and on good things. In today’s passage, older women who are genuinely saved and are matured in Christ are enjoined to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers, not given to wine, but be teachers of good things. They need to teach the young women on the need to love their husbands and children, to be pure, to be wise, to be good home makers and not home brakers, obedient, etc, just as they also (older women) had done in their families. Once women do this assignment faithfully, they have fulfilled their God-given ministry in life.
Point of Emphasis: Old women must teach younger ones good things about God and general life.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to be what You want me to be that your name may not be blasphemed through me.
Some Christians have misinterpreted 1 Cor. 14:34 as Paul’s injunction to deprive woman from playing leadership role in the church contrary to his intention. This week’s lesson sheds light on the passage to understand the meaning of Paul’s statement that women should keep silent in the Corinthian church.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) LET THE WOMEN BE SILENT IN CHURCH WORSHIP (1 COR. 14:34-40)
Paul, having put the Corinthian church through on how the gifts of tongues and prophesy should be used in church services, further gave the instruction that Corinthian women should keep silent in the church, for they are not permitted to speak (v. 34). The question is, “does it mean that women should not speak in church services even today? When we observe what Paul said in 1 Cor. 11:5, we will discover that he had hinted that women often prayed and prophesied in public worship. It is also clear from chapters 12-14 that women are given spiritual gifts, which are meant to be utilised for the edification of the body of Christ. So, Paul could not have meant that they must not speak at all.
Paul used the word silent in the context of some women interrupting the church services during the teaching of God’s word. In using the word, Paul had been influenced by the Greek culture that discouraged women from saying anything in public and they were certainly not allowed to confront or question men publicly. Apparently, some of the women who had become Christians thought that their Christian freedom gave them the right to question the men in public worship. This was causing division in the church. Hence, Paul’s injunction for them to keep silent for a while during the service, so that it will not be disrupted, but it does not mean women are never to speak in the church. It means they are not to ask inappropriate questions that would disrupt the services.
Paul advised that if they have any question bothering them, they could ask their husbands at home (v. 35). Paul referred to the laws as supporting his claim (v. 37). Though no specific law was mentioned by Paul, but he could be referring to Gen. 3:16 where the men are given the authority to rule over women. So women could be leaders of various groups in the church, but this should also be restricted so that they will be able to take care of the home properly without complaint, which is their God-ordained assignment.
Paul made it known to the Corinthian church, who thought that they were the one who were right in their practice of spiritual gifts than other church, that the knowledge of God’s word does not begin and end with them. He also reiterated that if they refused to listen to his authority which was a command of the Lord, he has nothing to tell them again, they were on their own. He concluded by advising them that the essence of these various stipulations was to ensure that everything is done properly and in order. Worship services should be intelligible and marked by mutual respect and proper behavior. The church as a whole and in every separate congregation should be a harmonious well-organised body.
(2) THE ROLES OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH (1 COR. 14:34,35; LK. 8:1-3; ACTS 9:36-41)
Women have many roles in the church, however, we shall consider some notable ones here. During the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, there were certain women who supported Him by providing for His ministry from their substance. This is called “help ministry”. The church needs this noble ministry. We also note Dorcas (Tabitha). The Bible says she was full of good works and charitable deeds. These and many others roles of women in the church are clearly stated by Paul in his letter to Corinthian brethren.
Another good example is Priscilla, the wife of Aquila. She and her husband did a lot to assist Paul in his ministry. She even travelled with Paul on the sea (Acts 18:18). She instructed Apolos. In fact, Paul personally acknowledged her in his letter to the Romans. She even risked her life to save Paul. What a loving Christian woman! Another notable woman in “help ministry” was Phoebe (Rom. 16:1-2). Paul called her a servant of the church and a helper of many (including Paul himself).
The church of Christ should adhere to this biblical examples as civilization does not and cannot overrule God’s standard. This is the background to which Paul gave the instruction that women should keep silent in the church.
It is clear from the lesson that Paul’s injunction is not for women to be useless in the church. As a matter of fact, they have various roles they are to perform in the church to keep the church running smoothly. They are not permitted to teach God’s word during worship service, but they are to learn under men. This is not to demean them, for they can utilize their potentials in their various meetings among themselves to ensure decency and decorum in the church.
(1) What gifts did Paul discuss in 1 Cor. 14?
(2) Explain how the gifts are to be exercised during church worship.
(3) Why did Paul say that women should keep silent in the church?
(4) Does it mean women are not to engage in leadership role in the church? Give reason for your answer.
SOIS DISPENSATEUR DE BONNES INSTRUCTIONS
TITE 2 :1-5
Bien que les femmes ne soient pas autorisées à enseigner dans le culte public qui comprend les différentes catégories de groupes d’âges, il ne leur est pas cependant interdit d’enseigner à leurs jeunes consœurs la parole de Dieu et de bonnes choses. Dans le passage d’aujourd’hui, les femmes plus âgées qui sont véritablement sauvées et mures en Christ sont enjointes d’être révérencieuses dans leurs comportements, de n’être ni médisantes, ni adonnées au vin mais dispensatrices de bonnes choses. Elles doivent apprendre aux jeunes femmes le besoin d’aimer leurs maris et leurs enfants, d’être pures, sages, de bonnes bâtisseuses de ménages et non des briseuses de ménages, obéissantes, etc. tout aussi comme elles (les femmes plus âgées) firent dans leurs familles. Une fois que les femmes remplissent fidèlement ce devoir, elles ont accompli le ministère qui leur a été donné par Dieu dans la vie.
Point essentiel : Les femmes âgées doivent enseigner aux plus jeunes Dieu et la vie en général.
Axe de prière : Seigneur, aide-moi à être ce que tu veux que je sois afin que ton nom ne soit pas blasphémé à travers moi.