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Should women be limited in the church according to bible scripture in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Peter 3:1-3?
In 1 Corinthians 14:34, women are commanded to be obedient, and not talk in the church. From today’s perspective this seems to be extremely harsh, since we have some great and mighty women preachers of God. Back then the Jewish laws and customs did command the women to be silent in the synagogues. Later those same laws would have been carried over into the New Testament churches.
The women could only study, learn, and ask about the scriptures at home from their husbands and fathers. For those who had no fathers or husbands, I believe they would have been able to ask of the men who were kind enough to visit them and help them out. This is supported by James 2:27 when James talked about men who wanted to be pure in their religion and undefiled before God that they were to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. In that sense, God provided a way for the entire Jewish society to learn about Him, and not just the women who were lucky enough to have male relations and the men.
They were a people that followed and obeyed the law, especially God’s law. God’s law did make up the foundation and most of their society’s laws. The Pharisees did unnecessarily add to God’s laws. Women were ruled over by their husbands due to God saying in Genesis 3:16 the women’s desire shall be to their husband, and he shall rule over his wife. 1 Corinthians 11:15 is also used to make the women submissive to the husband. Yet the woman was created as a help-mete in Genesis 2:18. According to Strong’s 5828, help-mete means one who helps. Woman was created to help the man, be his wife, and friend so he wouldn’t get lonely. She was not created for him to dominate her.
There were many laws created by the Pharisees that the people did not need to follow. According to www.followtherabbi.com, the Pharisees believed that Moses gave a two-part law. The written law called the Torah, and additional oral commandments that passed through generations to help people understand and apply the written law. It became a complex guide to ever day life beyond the comprehension of the average person. It was often the oral Torah that Jesus condemned. The Torah taught by the Pharisees was a heavy burden sometimes obscuring the very law they sought to obey.
I suspect some of these laws allowed the husbands to dominate and strictly control the wives, since Ephesians 5:21-33 had to be written to remind the men to love their wives. A man who loves his wife would guide her and not dominate her. More than likely the women were questioning in the new church why they had to follow some of the strict rules that stifled them. Plus Jesus changed many things with his Gospel. He called the Pharisees snakes and vipers. He fulfilled many of the old laws on that cross that do not need to be followed any longer. Basically shook every one up.
The women could have tried to start their own small women’s movement to ease up on some of their restrictions without even knowing it. One restriction they were disobeying was speaking up at the church instead of asking a male relative at home. There were women who decided to follow Jesus, but their husband’s did not. They could not go home and ask their husbands or fathers, so they had to speak up in the church to ask questions. For those women who did decide to follow Jesus without their husband and more than likely without his consent, Peter did give them the knowledge and ok to do so by saying the wife sanctified the unbelieving husband in 1 Corinthians 7:14. Unfortunately that is as far as Peter went.
Reading the Epistles he and the other apostles were dealing with upheaval in the new church. The unrest inside the church would do more to break up the new church than any unrest outside of the church even with the threat of persecution and death for those who believe in Jesus. He needed to put back some type of stability into the church. Yes, he gave good instructions on how to follow Christ, and solved some disputes. He did so from the man’s perspective and from the strict laws that may have made some of the women feel like they were in a straight jacket.
Most people find comfort and stability in what they already know. With so many other changes happening and the fact they are putting their lives on the line, the small women’s movement failed. The women still had to stay silent, wear hats or head coverings on their heads, and follow many procedural restrictions.
If you take a look at Jesus’ ministry, he really didn’t treat women that much differently than men. He even went out of his way sometimes to talk with women when no other man would. For example, Jesus talked to a Samarian woman at Jacob’s well in John 4:7 when no Jewish man would even think about approaching her just because she was a Samarian let alone that she had several husbands and the man she is currently with is not her husband. Jesus choose to use a sinful woman to carry his gospel to her people. He used a widow and her mite to show how much more was her faith and devotion to God than the rest of the people at the temple in Mark 12:43-44. God even raised up in the Old Testament such as Deborah in Judges 4:4 who was a prophetess and judged all of Israel.
Today God can and will rise up great women to preach and speak in the church. Neither do I believe he wants women hampered by old traditions, nor have their husbands dominate them. Jesus has shown us more about how to treat, love each other, and how husbands should treat their wives than any writings of the Apostles. Jesus showed how to be loving, kind, and considerate to everyone including sinners. He showed how to give advice and lessons, listen, and share his word to women as well as men without dominating or forcing them to do what he wants them to do.
In today’s free world (I know in some parts of the world women have even worse restrictions placed on them because of religion), we don’t have religious or secular laws that restrict woman’s clothes, makeup, property she can own, the amount of money she can make, or where she can go. Yet at the same time women still need to be come aware of how we are acting, behaving, and dressing. Not only women need to do this, but men also. Would you feel comfortable if Jesus was standing in front of you right now? Are others around you comfortable, or are they nervous, blushing, and trying to look away without being rude towards to you? I don’t think anyone wants to be like a woman I heard about that sat in the front row at a wedding with a short dress on. The pastor announced in front of everyone asking if this is the KFC showing off your breasts and thighs.
The Jewish laws tried to regulate women to look and remain what they believed to be pure. That really didn’t work since they still had scandals and adulterers. Today with the freedom to choose, we also have the responsibility to act and behave as Jesus Christ would want us to. I honestly believe that would be to talk decently, act decently, and dress decently so others, no matter who they are, can be comfortable around us while we are helping them, spreading the Gospel, and having fun and sharing the love of God with friends, family, and neighbors.