Tuesday, February 1, 2022

What Law Silences Women in the Assembly?

By Maria Merola 
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, April 2007

To summarize in a “nutshell,” the Corinthian men wrote a letter to the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul), and they quoted a passage from the Jewish Talmud, citing the following:

“Let your women keep silence in the assemblies: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says 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 assembly ” (1st Corinthians 14:34-35). 

What Sha’uwl (Paul) says in the next verses are often ignored:

1st Qorinthiym (Corinthians) 14:36 What? Came the word of Elohiym out from you? Or came it unto you only? 

1st Qorinthiym (Corinthians) 14:37 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 YHWH. 

*Explanation: in verse 36, Sha’uwl (Paul) is objecting to this Talmudic law, and in verse 37, he is making a distinction between the commandments of YaHuWaH, verses the man-made, oral traditions found in the Talmud! 

Sha’uwl (Paul) is obviously not in agreement with the Talmudic silencing of women, because he goes on to say the following words:

1st Corinthians 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 

Did you see Pauls response to the men that quoted from the Jewish Talmud, about how it is shameful for a woman to speak? 

He is rebuking the Corinthian men who had written to him, suggesting that women should keep silent in the assembly. But he goes one step further, and is  calling them “ignorant,” in verse 36-38! 

You see, the Greek Language did not have quotation marks in those days, therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to know if Paul is quoting someone else, or if the words being spoken are his.

One such example is in 1st Corinthians 14:34-35, where it appears that Paul is quoting this Talmudic Law back to the men who wrote to him, but he is objecting. This is obvious by the next two verses, where Sha’uwl (Paul) objected to the Talmudic law of silencing women.

Thats why he said in verse 36: “What? Did the word of Elohiym come only to you?” He was referring to the men! 

Proof that Paul was not in harmony with the Talmudic silencing of women is found in other passages: 

Acts 2:18 And on my servants and ON MY HANDMAIDENS, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and THEY SHALL PROPHESY...

*Explanation: The Greek word for “prophesy,” is “propheteuo,” and it means “TO SPEAK UNDER DIVINE INSPIRATION, TO TEACH, TO PREACH!” 

1st Corinthians 11:5 But every WOMAN THAT PRAYS OR PROPHESIES with her head uncovered dishonours her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 

*Explanation: a womans head uncovered is a Euphemism for not being under her fathers or husbands authority. Paul went on to say that the womans Yah-given hair is her covering” (1st Corinthians 11:15). 

Philippians 4:2 I beseech Euodias [a female disciple], and beseech Syntyche [a female disciple], that they be of the same mind in YHWH. 

Philippians 4:3 And I intreat you also, true yokefellow, HELP THOSE WOMEN WHICH LABOURED WITH ME IN THE GOSPEL, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

To learn more please see this blog: Does the Mosaic Law Silence Women in the Assembly?

In order to understand what the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) was referring to in 1st Timothy 2:12 concerning women teaching men, we must first discover what was taking place in that culture, at that particular time in history. Additionally, we must get back to the original language that Sha’uwl’s (Paul’s) letter was first written in, which will give us more light on the situation.

The Male & Female Relationship in Marriage

In Sha’uwl’s (Paul’s) letter to Timothy, he was obviously addressing the marriage relationship (specifically), as he was telling a woman not to usurp her own husband’s authority. When looking up the Greek word in 1st Timothy 2:12 for “woman,” the actual word means “wife.”

The Greek word is “gune” which literally means “wife.” 

#1135. gune: goo-nay’ probably from the base of 1096; a woman; specially, a wife:--wife, woman. 

There is a more generic word for woman in Greek which means “female” and that word is “thelus.”

#2338. thelus: thay’-loos from the same as 2337; female:--femalewoman

The Greek word in 1st Timothy 2:12 is defined in the Strong’s Concordance for “man” as “aner,” which literally means “husband.”

#435. aner: an’-ayr a primary word (compare 444); a man (properly as an individual male):--fellow, husbandman, sir. 

Some would try and argue the fact that the Greek word “aner” is sometimes used to describe “a man” in general, and that this word does not necessarily always specifically referring to a husband. But in the Greek language, there is no word for “husband” that is not also used to describe “man.” 

Here is a case-in-point:

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 5:25 “....husbands (aner) love your wives (gune) ....”

The reason why the word “aner” (husband) is used in Ephesians 5:22 is because the word “aner” is more specifically used to apply to the term “husband” and not the male gender. The English translators obviously translated the Greek word as “husband” properly in Ephesians 5:25, yet in 1st Timothy 2:12, they erroneously translated the word “aner” as “man,” leading the reader to falsely believe that he was prohibiting females from teaching males.

Sha’uwl (Paul) used “aner” because that is the only word in Greek that applies to both husband and man. There is no Greek word that is used for “husband” only. Hence, in 1st Timothy 2:12 Sha’uwl was not making a case against the female gender being allowed to teach the male gender.

The word for “male” in Greek pertaining more specifically to the male gender is as follows:

#730. arsen: male (as stronger for lifting); male, man.

In Galatians 3:28 Sha’uwl (Paul) is expressly stating that there is no difference between male & female because the genders are “one in Messiah:”

Galatiym (Galatians) 3:28 There is neither Yahuwdiy (Jew) nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male (arsen) nor female (thelus): for you are all one in Messiah Yahuwshuwa.

If the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) was making a ruling against females teaching males, he would’ve used the terms “thelus” and “arsen” in 1st Timothy 2:12 and he would’ve stated “I do not permit a female to teach a male.” But obviously, he was not saying this at all. Paul was obviously addressing the chain of command with regard to the marriage relationship, and this is the reason why he went on to explain that Adam came first and then Eve. 

Here is another case-in-point:

Romiym (Romans) 1:26 For this cause Elohiym gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women (thelus, female) did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Romiym (Romans) 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, (thelus, female) burned in their lust one toward another; men (arsen, male) with men (arsen, male) working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

As you can see by the above passages, Paul used the Greek word “thelus” (female) even though the English translators used the more generic term “woman.” He also used the Greek word for “male” (arsen) even though the English translators used the word “men.” This tells us that Paul was being “gender specific” in this passage, whereas in 1st Timothy 2:12, he was specifically speaking to the role of a husband a wife and not to the issue of gender.

Now that I have laid the foundation for properly understanding the context of his letter to Timothy, we can read it with more clarity.

1st Timotiyos (Timothy) 2:

12 But I suffer not a woman (gune, wife) to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man (aner, husband), but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

You will notice that the Apostle Sha’uwl is addressing the marriage relationship (specifically), because he goes on to describe the marriage relationship between Adam and Eve. He explains that the woman (just like Eve) was, and is saved through child bearing. In other words, the woman’s deceptive nature is purged from her when she goes through the tribulation and suffering of giving labor.

In Philippians 3:10, we are shown that suffering brings us closer to Messiah as we “know him” through being acquainted with what he has suffered for us. Similarly, a woman becomes more like Messiah, when she suffers in order to bring forth her children.

Both Genders Created in the Image of YaHuWaH

I have often heard the argument that only the male gender was created in the image of Elohiym, whereas the female gender was not. These same people would argue that females were created in the image of man, but not in the image of Elohiym. So let us examine this passage:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 1:26 And Elohiym said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: 

The Hebrew word for “man” in this verse is:

#120. Adam: human beingmankindperson, individual.

This word “adam” is not limited to the male gender, for it is describing the human race, in other words, all of mankind or humanity. 

This is where the Greek word “anthropos” for “mankind” comes from. This word “anthropos” is the Greek counterpart for the Hebrew word “Adam:”

#444. anthropos: anth’-ro-pos from 435 and ops (the countenance; from 3700); man-faced, i.e. a human being:--certain, man. 

Therefore, Elohiym made mankind (to include the female gender) in his image. The Hebrew word “Adam” is therefore describing the human race, whereas the Hebrew words for male & female are defined as follows:

Strong’s Concordance #2145 – zakar: adjective, masculine noun; male (of humans and animals). 

Strong’s Concordance #5347 – nĕqebah: female, woman, female child, female animal.

Now, let us take a look at how these two Hebrew words are used:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 1:27 So Elohiym created man (adam, human beings) in his own image, in the image of Elohiym created he him; male (zakar) and female (neqebah) created he them.

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 5:2 Male (zakar) and female (neqebah) created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Awdawm (Adam), in the day when they were created.

The above verses are now made much clearer as we realize that when YaHuWaH created mankind (humanity) in his image, he included both genders (male and female). Thus, the word “Adam” (man) is describing both male and female genders collectively.

Often-times whenever the subject of women teaching comes up, I will hear people quote the following verse as if it is telling us that the male gender shall rule over the female gender:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 3:16 Unto the woman (ishshah) he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband (iysh), and he shall rule over you.

As you can see by the above verse, Elohiym is telling the “wife” (ishahah) that her husband (iysh) shall rule over her. He did not tell her that the zakar (male) would rule over the nĕqebah (female).

Do you see the difference? While the Hebrew word “ishshah” can mean “woman or female,” it is the only word that is used to describe “wife” in Hebrew. However, the word “neqebah” is more specific to the female gender. If YaHuWaH was telling all females that all males on the planet would rule over them, he would have said the following:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 3:16 Unto the females (neqebah) he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your males (zakar), and he shall rule over you.

Obviously, YaHuWaH is not telling all males to rule over all females. He is speaking specifically to the marriage relationship. 

Now, let’s take a look at the Hebrew words for “woman” and “husband” in Genesis 3:16:

Strong’s Concordance #802: ‘ishshah: woman, wife, female, woman (opposite of man); wife (woman married to a man); female (of animals); each, every (pronoun).

Strong’s Concordance #376: ‘iysh: man, male (in contrast to woman, female); husbandhuman being, person (in contrast to God); mankind; champion; great man; whosoever; each (adjective).

Therefore, whenever the TaNaKh (Hebrew Old Testament) is specifically speaking to the marriage relationship, it will always use the word “ishshah” for wife and the word “iysh” for husband. In the Greek New Testament, the word that is always used to describe wife is “gune” and the word that is always used to describe husband is “aner.” 

Now that I have made a distinction between male and female in scripture, versus husband and wife, we can move on to the other evidence showing that Paul was not forbidding females to teach males. In his letter to Timothy, this was a specific letter written to the Congregation at Ephesus, and this congregation had a unique situation which would necessitate that Paul write to them concerning the proper role and function of a husband and a wife in marriage. This is why he outlined in Ephesians 5, the proper function and purpose of the role of the husband and the wife as it relates to Messiah and his assembly.

The Female Dominance Cult in Ephesus

In order to understand Sha’uwl’s (Paul’s) letter to Timothy when he commanded wives (gune) not to usurp the authority of their husbands, we must first become aware of the historical background of this congregation that he was writing to in Ephesus. 

The Assembly at Ephesus was a group of former pagans who worshiped the Great Diana Artemis. This religion taught that Eve came before Adam and that she conceived Adam. This cult would emasculate men by making them eunuchs (removing their reproductive parts), and then the women would be dominant over the men, and they would sacrifice these men to this pagan goddess Diana. 

This is the reason why the Apostle Paul made reference to this: 

1st Timotiyos (Timothy) 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve

Why would the Apostle Sha’uwl need to explain that Adam was formed first and then Eve? Don’t we know this already? Well obviously, the Assembly at Ephesus did not already know this because they had been taught the lie that Eve was the mother of Adam. This lie is much like the lie in the Catholic Church today where it is taught that “Mary, the mother of Jesus was born without original sin, hence it was her divinity which was passed on to Jesus…”

Since Catholicism teaches that Mary is the Holy Spirit, they conclude that “Mary is the author of Jesus” just like the lie that the Ephesians were taught about Eve being the author of Adam.

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