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Verse 34. Let your women keep silence, etc. This rule is positive: explicit and universal. There is no ambiguity in the expressions; and there can be no difference of opinion, one would suppose, in regard to their meaning. The sense evidently is, that in all those things which he had specified, the women were to keep silence; they were to take no part. He had discoursed of speaking foreign languages, and of prophecy; and the evident sense is, that in regard to all these they were to keep silence, or were not to engage in them. These pertained solely to the male portion of the congregation. These things constituted the business of the public teaching; and in this the female part of the congregation were to be silent. "They were not to teach the people, nor were they to interrupt those who were speaking."—Rosenmuller. It is probable that, on pretence of being inspired, the women had assumed the office of public teachers. In 1 Co 11 Paul had argued against their doing this in a certain manner—without their veils, (1 Co 11:5;) and he had shown that, on that account, and in that manner, it was improper for them to assume the office of public teachers, and to conduct the devotions of the church. The force of the argument in 1 Co 11 is, that what he there states would be a sufficient reason against the practice, even if there were no other. It was contrary to all decency and propriety that they should appear in that manner in public. He here argues against the practice ON EVERY GROUND; forbids it altogether; and shows that on every consideration it was to be regarded as improper for them even so much as to ask a question in time of public service. There is, therefore, no inconsistency between the argument in 1 Co 11 and the statement here; and the force of the whole is, that on every consideration it was improper, and to be expressly prohibited, for women to conduct the devotions of the church. It does not refer to those only who claimed to be inspired, but to all; it does not refer merely to acts of public preaching, but to all acts of speaking, or even asking questions, when the church is assembled for public worship. No rule in the New Testament is more positive than this; and however plausible may be the reasons which may be urged for disregarding it, and for suffering women to take part in conducting public worship, yet the authority of the apostle Paul is positive, and his meaning cannot be mistaken. Comp. 1 Ti 2:11,12.

To be under obedience. To be subject to their husbands; to acknowledge the superior authority of the man. See Barnes "1 Co 11:3".


As also saith the law. Ge 3:16, "And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

{c} "Let your women" 1 Ti 2:11,12 {d} "under obedience" Eph 5:22; Tit 2:5; 1 Pe 3:1

{e} "saith the law" Ge 3:16; Nu 30:3-12; Es 1:20

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