Shameful For Women to Speak in Church

Shameful For Women to Speak in Church

Women today want to speak in church. I know this because whenever I write anything on this topic, I have a lot of women telling me that I am wrong and they use a few verses to try to prove it. I shared this on Facebook a few months ago:

A woman brought up this verse to refute what I shared. But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven (1 Corinthians 11:5). Apparently, women hate the thought of being quiet in church. (I have written about this topic before but women continue to take it out of context or read something into it that is not there.)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible has become my favorite commentary and this is what he had to say about this verse. “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth,…. Not that a woman was allowed to pray publicly in the congregation, and much less to preach or explain the word, for these things were not permitted them: see 1 Corinthians 14:34 but it designs any woman that joins in public worship with the minister in prayer, and attends on the hearing of the word preached, or sings the praises of God with the congregation, as we have seen, the word prophesying signifies, with her head uncovered.”

The main point of 1 Corinthians 11 is stated in verse 3: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. It’s not so much about wearing a piece of cloth on your head or having long hair or not since in verse 16 we are told, But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. It’s about God’s created order; man is head over his wife and the wife should live in subjection to her husband.

God doesn’t contradict Himself. By instructing women to be silent in the church four times and to be in submission to our husbands many times, He has made His will clearly known to us. Either you take Him at His Word of you try to find ways to disobey Him by making up your own rules. It’s your choice.

30 thoughts on “Shameful For Women to Speak in Church

  1. Thank you Lori I have written to you before about this. My husband thinks it’s ok for me to testify during service. He thinks it could help someone. My pastor feels it’s good it lets people know that you are saved. I feel like sometimes I have to or people question my salvation. I was thinking on this yesterday and feeling convicted over speaking (testifying) in church Sunday. I also felt controlling and dominating which feels masculine and wrong! I was so glad to see your post this morning ! I believe God was warning me to keep silent. I know if I do not speak in church my husband will not have a problem with it. I do desire to obey my husband and he loves and trust me to know I want to please the Lord. I just wanted you to know. Thank you ?

  2. Thank you again Lori for speaking boldly to what the Lord has said concerning women! The portion of the verse you quoted ” But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” I always took that to mean that we can do what we please concerning head covering but then I realized that I didn’t want to be labeled contentious. 😀

  3. I’ve had this conversation with a family member before and let’s just say we have to agree to disagree. He uses the “the culture at the time” argument saying that his professor told him that at the time it was common for women to yell across the room wanting something explained to them and that was why this verse was put there. I just have to say that we will never see eye to eye on this. He also tells me that because my husband isn’t saved, the verses about obeying and submitting don’t really apply. Again, I just have to tell him we will never agree on that one either.

  4. Biblical truth is hard even for the most mature Christian. Today’s society would have you believe that it’s ok to take a softer approach. The thing is whatever we are commanded to do isn’t god asking if it’s fits your life style first??

    We all need to take a good hard look at ourselves and ask are we truthfully living out Christ as our savior or are we just in our Christian comfort zone??

    We cannot Disobey just because we don’t want to or can’t follow his commands for whatever excuse we come up with

  5. I have heard this argument too, HH, and it’s as if women are no longer loud and forceful. Ha! Women are still the same and want to be in control. We talk too much and act like we know everything but we are definitely more easily deceived than men and men were made first by God to be the leaders. Godly women love God’s ways and will for them and don’t try to fight against them.

  6. God’s commands are perfect and the closer we become in obeying them with the Spirit’s power working in and through us, the more we are able to see how perfect they are for us! Thank you, Rob.

  7. I look at the part that states that they have “no such custom, and neither the churches of God” and the entire chapter is mainly about a wife’s submission to her husband, her head. I believe it comes down to conviction and what a wife’s husband wants her to do. If he wants her head covered literally, then she should wear a head covering but if not, then she should not.

  8. You may want to share this post with him, Karla, and see what he thinks since Scripture is clear that women are to be silent in the church but then leave the decision up to him since he is your head!

  9. It doesn’t help that there are certain widely accepted/used versions of the Bible with verses, discussing this very topic, that have been intentionally mistranslated. Here’s some interesting background info. Though the comments there can get pretty salty, they’re also usually pretty informative.

  10. I have read that article in the past and it makes sense why some popular women authors and speakers now have no problem teaching and preaching to men if they’ve been given the authority to do this by men. They didn’t take these positions, but were “assumed” into it by male leaders in the church. This is not okay according to the Word. Only the Lord has the authority to allow women to teach men in the church and He has made it clear what He wants.

  11. Most of the women i know who speak in church are arrogant and have admitted they like to ‘perform’. Ugh! Just disgusting.
    I have heard that some women take this to the extreeme and wont even direct their children quietly during church. (‘Shhhh! Be quiet, do you need the toilet? Stop annoying your sister!) That view is ridiculous. I just take it as i cant speak publicly in the church. Or bail the pastor up afterward because i took issue over something he said.

  12. …and He has made it clear what He wants.

    Yes, without question. There are multiple biblical witnesses to clear up any “ambiguities”. And if their ears weren’t itching to hear something else – if they had ears to hear, these women would know better.

  13. Lori,
    I have always been curious if the verses you refer to not only mean that women shouldn’t be preaching in the church, but is it OK for them to do any of the readings? In my church there is a woman (an elder, if you will) who occasionally leads the entire service when the pastor is away. I feel like that is against God’s Word here, but what about just standing before the congregation to read a Bible passage? If we are not throwing in our own opinions but merely reciting scripture, is it OK then to speak? I have always wondered how literally to take these verses. Thanks and blessings!

  14. Yes, you are right, but we must be careful to not disrupt the church service in any way. I have sat in front of women who chat quietly with each other for a long time during the sermon and it’s very distracting. It’s best if you can train your children to sit quietly in church, too, so as not to distract others. They can learn to do this but it does take training. During a church service isn’t the time to be scolding them, in my opinion.

  15. For one thing, women are not to be elders in the churches. A specification to be an elder is the “husband of one wife.” This woman has no God-given authority to lead a service while the pastor is away. I personally wouldn’t stand in front of the congregation to read scripture or pray. I believe these are what men should do.

  16. God also commands you to eat his flesh and drink his blood, and says it several times. Yet for some reason those verses are okay to ignore?

  17. If you knew your Bible, Emily, you would know that this meant eating bread (His body which was broken for us) and drinking wine (His blood that was shed for us) for communion in remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross and His shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins. It’s something our church does once a month.

  18. Lori,

    That women and men were separated in church is a false teaching held onto. They were not separated and did not yell across the room. Families were generally grouped together and the children obeyed. The men were to teach their wives and children at home (speak to them upon wakening and being put to bed). The men were encouraged to take control of (having their household in order, to be elders) their families and lead while the wife was told to follow (not allow her husband to lead). This is one the evangelical myths used for that verse to make sense in THIS culture. It wasn’t then and isn’t now uncommon for women to start asking questions regarding the apostle’s teachings about the prophecies of the old testament being fulfilled in Christ. Back then, women had no biblical education for the most part. Imagine a new teaching and having a new life in Christ to learn!

    Remember it was and is christianity that has given equal worth to women, so in their freedom they pushed the limits of their own submission. This was also due to the fact that apostles moved on from one place to another and it was the husband/father’s responsibility to grasp what the teachings were and to teach them to his wife and family and not “worship” the apostle (pastor as so many wives do).

    How many pastors empower the husbands in their own congregations to lead (every pastor) their families? How do they do it? By belittling him and telling him how horrible he is as man and husband. Then turn around and tell the wives to allow him to lead and that as a poor fool the husband should still be allowed to lead. They tell the congregations that most wives are better leaders, more spiritual, smarter…

    You are right, it was telling women to be submissive to their husbands and learning from their husbands.

  19. Thats right. Our children will sit quietly thru pretty much everything. But we occasionally have issues with our youngest ones. If they need spanking we take them out of the service. But its pretty rare. Ive sat infront of women who talked endlessly in the cry room about ages of their children , favourite tv shows and what they did all week. I was infuriated by the end of church as i missed the entire sermon as they were so loud. And they had noisy toys in the cry room too. Church is not a place to play and eat. Feed your kids before you come and only allow toys at home or friends houses. And crayons and pencils during church are horrid too. All of my kids are trained very early to sit still and be quiet during church without entertainment. And all of them love church.

  20. That was my bad usage of the term “elder,” I just meant she has been in the congregation and very involved in the church for a long time. She’s incredibly modest but yes, I agree she shouldn’t be leading the congregation, even if the pastor requests it. Thanks for the feedback and clarification! Things to pray about and consider.

  21. That is incorrect, because once again he is listening to the wifes voice, why would he desire her to do something that God says is wrong , he is of satan then…in that chapter it says I WOULD HAVE YOU TO KNOW THAT THE HEAD OF EVERY MAN…is christ, THE HEAD OF THE WOMAN IS the man, and THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS God…Then it says EVERY MAN…praying or prophesying HAVING his head COVERED dishonors HIS HEAD which is CHRIST…then it say BUT EVERY WOMAN that prays or prophesies HAVING HER HEAD UNCOVERED dishonors HER HEAD the man , FOR THAT IS THE SAME AS IF SHE WAS SHAVEN, so it is talking about HAIR. and then it says IF IT BE A SHAME THAT A WOMAN BE SHORN OR SHAVEN let her be covered. ITS NOT ON THE MAN CHOICE, its on the way that things look , then it says JUDGE IN YOURSELF, is it proper for a WOMAN TO PRAY TO GOD with her head UNCOVERED for her hair is her GLORY…so women if you are coming to give glory to GOD , how is your own glory being seen, wouldnt you desire him to get ALL THE GLORY, so IT WOULD BE PROPER TO COVER YOUR GLORY so HE CAN GET IT ALL….

  22. First, I must say discovering your blog has been a true blessing to me! Long story short, I am a homemaker with strong faith. I know this is God’s will for my life and am so content and happy with it! However, the hard part is the rudeness of others around me. (I’m only 35 and my children are young but both in school, so to most that means I should go back to work.) It has been such a blessing to find your blogs and know there are others out in this world who are Christian homemakers as well. Thank you for your Biblical teachings.

    I am wondering on this subject if during prayer time, if it is okay for a woman to ask the Pastor to pray for someone. I know my Mom has asked me in the past to speak up during prayer and ask so and so to be prayed for. I always get uneasy about it and ask my husband to do it (which he has no problem doing). Just curious on your thoughts on a woman standing up and asking to lift someone up in prayer?

  23. I wouldn’t, Kerri. I take seriously the several admonitions in the Word about women being silent in the church services. Ask before or after the service but not during.

  24. Lori, what are your thoughts on a woman teaching Sunday School? My Pastor has just asked me to pray about taking the young class, but I’m very conflicted about it.

  25. New to being a saved Christian man, about 8 years old in the lord. 52 years in this fallen world. Married and have two wonderful son’s with my wife. Still learning to be a son of God and husband to my wife and father to my sons. As I’m learning to be the man God has called me to be, am questioning things in His word. Not his word, my understanding of it. Thank you for what is on this site helping me to understand my role as His son. Have a blessed day.

  26. Hi, I hope you don’t mind me asking some questions regarding this verse. Since it’s shameful for a woman to talk in church and because women should ask their husbands at home (I don’t have a husband btw), does this mean that women can’t talk to people in the church after the service ends? Would this mean that even after the service is finished, I can’t go to the pastor or an elder to ask for counsel or prayer?

    I know the Bible clearly says that women are not to be preachers or teach men since it’s dominating over them, would it be considered a breach of authority if I were to paint a portrait of a man or taught a man how to paint? In the renaissance and 19th century, it was generally frowned upon for women to paint paint pictures of men or to study anatomy in academies, as this was considered outside their sphere. I’m not asking this to raise any quarrels regarding feminism, I’m genuinely curious on how I should be practicing submission.

  27. The verses refer to a church service, a gathering of believers to worship and learn the Word. You can talk with people after the service and ask an elder/pastor a question afterwards.

    There’s nothing unbiblical about teaching men anything other than the Word of God. This is what is forbidden.

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