Is 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 A Marginal Comment Or A Quotation? A Response To Kirk Macgregor -- By: Philip Barton Payne

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 33:2 (Spring 2019)
Article: Is 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 A Marginal Comment Or A Quotation? A Response To Kirk Macgregor
Author: Philip Barton Payne


Is 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 A Marginal Comment Or A Quotation?
A Response To Kirk Macgregor

Philip B. Payne

Philip B. Payne holds a PhD in New Testament from the University of Cambridge and has taught New Testament in colleges of the University of Cambridge, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Bethel Seminary, and Fuller Seminary Northwest. He is well known for his publications about textual criticism, the parables of Jesus, and his book, Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan, 2009).

Introducing Kirk MacGregor’s article, Priscilla Papers editor Jeff Miller affirms “a central purpose of academic journals—to foster scholarly discussion and thereby move toward the truth of important and difficult matters.”1 First Corinthians 14 contains the only passage in the Bible that at face value silences women or restricts their ministry in the churches. It is important for all who believe what Scripture teaches to understand the truth about this passage.

Neither the position I advocate, that 14:34–35 is a reader-added marginal comment (“gloss”), nor MacGregor’s position, that 14:33b–35 quotes the Corinthian men’s position that Paul then refutes, attributes the silencing of women to Paul. This does not mean, however, that either position should be accepted without adequate evidence.

To keep this response focused on that article’s statements, all references to it shall simply begin, for example, “Page 23 states. . . .” This response first identifies inaccurate or exaggerated claims that 1 Cor 14:33b–38 is clearly a quotation-refutation device. It then corrects that article’s most crucial misunderstandings of my position. In addition, the section on the fourth-century manuscript Codex Vaticanus identifies important new discoveries supporting that 14:34–35 is a gloss.

Is 1 Corinthians 14:33b–38 A Quotation-Refutation Device?

Page 26 states, “The linguistic evidence, then, permits no doubt that 14:33b–38 is a QRD [Quotation-Refutation Device].” Page 25 correctly lists all nine widely-recognized quotation-refutation devices in 1 Corinthians. Each displays three easily-recognizable features. First, Paul quotes a short, memorable Corinthian slogan with questionable content. Second, he follows that slogan with a disjunc...

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