|1 Timothy 2:12 |
12 And I do not allow a woman to teach or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.4
4 I do not allow a woman to teach or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. In 1 Cor 11:13, Paul says: But every woman who prays or prophesies. To prophesy is not just to predict the future; it is to speak for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 1 Cor 14:3. Here Paul shows that women who prophesy, that is who speak from the Holy Spirit's promptings and teachings to them, are speaking in the church. To prophesy is to speak out in the presence of listeners who are interested in what is said — women speaking in the church, but speaking under control of the Spirit. This proves Paul's restriction of women to teach or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence — were women who were newly initiated in the church, whose tongues were not yet under control of the Spirit of God, which Spirit was poured out on all men and women at Pentecost: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all men; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. No one is supposed to speak in a worship meeting, unless they are prompted by the Holy Spirit. And if women or men are prompted to prophesy, then they are to speak. Per Gal: 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In 1 Cor 14:34, Paul gives further understanding of his restriction applying to women not yet ruled by the Spirit of Life, but still under the law of sin and death:
Let your women keep silence in the churches. For it is not permitted for them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as the law also said.
Notice, this applies to women not yet led by the Sprit, and still under the law: But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18. A woman led by the Spirit, following the commands she hears spoken to her, is free from the law of sin and death, freed by the law of Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:2.
There are hundreds of records in the Bible of women prophesying. Paul was speaking in regard to unruly Greek women, not yet under control of the Holy Sprit. For extensive discussion on this point, see Margaret Fell's writing and George Fox's letter. I might add, I have personally been very strongly commanded by the Lord to accept women who are ruled by him, (who listen, hear, and obey), as unequivocal equals.
In all ages, the Lord will give commands for gospel order within the assemblies of believers in the true hope, gospel, and faith. These commands can differ from age to age. For example, George Fox and the early Quakers were given several commands including: 1) to address all individuals as thee and thou, and not you; for at the time, you was demanded by important people who were insulted if addressed as thee or thou, which was how the commoners were addressed, and 2) to never address anyone as Mr, because it was a contraction of the word Master, only given again to important people. Both were terms (in that age) that expressed honor to men. The commands made sense at the time, but today they clearly don't because the words do not demonstrate a respect to only important men, so the Lord no longer desires these commands to be observed. The same can be said about some of Paul's commands of his time, particularly relating to the need of the woman's head to be covered when prophesying. To retain elements of gospel order from centuries past, results in a form being created; the form being external observations, rituals, or practices that supposedly grant godliness, but in fact betray faith, grace, and obedience to the word heard from within.
These commands are different than the outward law and moral law that is written on everyone's hearts: do not steal, do not lie, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not covet, etc.; those laws never change with the time, and extend through the entire New and Old Testaments.