I’ve been preaching through 1 Corinthians this last year and recently covered chapter 14. While there are many things which are heavily debated in this chapter, I particularly wondered how to preach verses 34-35.
34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (1 Cor.14:34-35 NIV84)
Interestingly, the NIV84 (CEB, CEV, ESV, HCSB, NAB, NET, NJB and NRSV) makes 34a “women should remain silent in the churches” a part of the preceding statement in verse 33 (which in full reads: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,”). The KJV, NIV2011 (though see the footnote), NKJV, NLT, and TNIV read the last phrase of verse 33 with the first phrase and then end verse 33 with a period…thus separating 33 from 34. I personally prefer the reading of the latter.
Also, how does one preach “women should remain silent in the churches”? I know the traditional explanations I’ve heard about women speaking up asking questions but being too far away from their husbands and thus disturbing the congregational meeting, but I find this utterly unsatisfactory on historical grounds for congregational settings. How does remaining “silent” relate to Paul’s earlier instruction that women could publicly pray and prophecy (1 Cor.11:5, 13; 14:31)? I ended up essentially passing over this text with some comments about its questionable content and thus a need to not make doctrine of it in light of Gordon Fee’s arguments (NICNT “The First Epistle to the Corinthians” Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987: pp.705-708) for verses 34-35 being an interpolation (since one of the issues is that in a number of manuscripts this text is placed completely after chapter 14 suggesting their was early question of the placement — or authenticity???).
So how would you preach this text?