Taking One Verse to Negate Many Others
Our pastor taught us that “The Bible is a better interpreter than any commentary. Scripture is truly the greatest interpreter of Scripture.” This is so true! Many are so good at twisting Scripture to say what they want it to say rather than examining the context of the passage and cross referencing it with other verses to find out the author’s intent and what the author actually meant.
Let’s take a look at a verse and how many take it out of context while ignoring many other verses. “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head” (1 Corinthians 11:5). Many will say this clearly states that women can pray and prophesy in the church, then justifying why women can preach. Is this what it means?
First of all, you must look at the context of the verse. Is this verse referring to a church gathering? The chapter begins with Paul exhorting us to be followers of him as he is of Christ. Then he teaches us that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Next are the verses about covering of the head for men and women. There is no indication of this being a requirement in the church gatherings.
A few chapters later (1 Corinthians 14), we have a clear teaching of what should be happening in the church gatherings. Paul defines what prophesying means in verse three: “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” Then there’s teaching on speaking in tongues and directions for this. He brings up prayer, singing, and this: “When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” He refers to prophesying often: “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” This is in verse 31.
Now, just a few verses later, Paul wrote this concerning a church gathering: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (verses 33-35) In order to reinforce this teaching by Paul, he wrote in verse 37: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”
In 1 Timothy 2:11,12, Paul teaches us this: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” He goes back to creation why this is so. Adam was formed first and Eve was deceived.
So how can one verse in 1 Corinthians 11:5 negate all of these other verses? They can’t. God is clear that men are to be the elders and pastors in the churches. Women are to be silent in the churches. Yes, they can sing (this isn’t speaking) but they are to learn in silence with all subjection. They aren’t to pray or speak out loud in the churches. God has ordained men to do this as the leaders and teachers in the churches. (I have heard women pray in a church on stage and turn it into a sermon!)
Paul was teaching these things about women being silent in the churches to “all churches of the saints.” This is as relevant today as it was back then. In 1 Timothy, he goes back to creation. There is just no way that anyone can twist these to say the opposite of what Paul clearly taught to say women can preach and pray in the churches. Let’s take God’s Word as written. Read it in context. Back it up with other Scripture. In other words, become a student of God’s Word. Be a Berean and search for truth, not what is popular in the churches of our day.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.