Learning How to Minister From I Corinthians 14:26-40 -- By: David Joel Hamilton

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 17:4 (Fall 2003)
Article: Learning How to Minister From I Corinthians 14:26-40
Author: David Joel Hamilton


Learning How to Minister From I Corinthians 14:26-40

Part Two

David Joel Hamilton

This article is chapter 15 from the book Why Not Women: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton, produced by YWAM publishing, 2000. This article is used with permission.

David J. Hamilton is a veteran missionary and scholar who wrote his master’s thesis on the difficult Bible passages related to the ministry of women, an extensive work in which he cites some four hundred books and articles. David recently coauthored Courageous Leaders Transforming Their World and served as one of the senior content editors for the Christian Growth Study Bible. He has served with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for more than twenty years, currently as an international associate provost for the University of the Nations, and also as assistant to the president. He and his wife, Christine, have four children.

Part One of David Hamilton’s analysis was printed under the title “Should Women Keep Silent?” in the Summer 2003 issue of Priscilla Papers.

Paul’s first word to women in this passage was corrective. He wrote, “Women should be silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home.”1

Over the years, Paul’s command to the women to be silent has been the focal point of much discussion. However, many overlook the important fact that this command does not stand alone. Paul had already given the exact same command to be silent twice in this very passage. He had told various individuals and groups who were disrupting the service to be silent. Each of these three commands was given so that the Corinthian worship would reflect the character of a “God of peace” and result in the edification of all present.

Paul hammered home again and again the message to remain silent. However, we have lost the impact of his deliberate repetition of this one command by the way it has been translated in the NIV:

  • Those who speak in tongues “should keep quiet” (verse 28)
  • The prophets “should stop” (verse 30)
  • The women “should remain silent” (verse 34)

These appear to be three different commands, but they are not. Paul repeated the exact same word in Greek to each group. He intended for us to see a deliberate continuity of thought ...

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