Re: Women in the Church

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Wed Aug 12 1998 - 22:35:05 EDT

At 23:55 98/08/11 +0800, Jeffrey L. Shelton wrote:
>Greetings all:
>see various comments marked with #### below:
>#### In 1 Tim 2:12 Paul does in fact use DIDASKW to speak of what women are
>not to do.

The context of this verse is the situation affecting, and the question of
the relationship between, husband and wife within the home-and-family
situation. As a careful assessment of the context will show (especially
with reference to the Greek), there is nothing in 1 Tim 2 which points to
this passage as referring to what may (or may not) be done in the assembly.
What is under consideration by Paul is the outworking of the husband's
headship in the marriage relationship, not what is done in the Christian
assembly. In this passage (1 Tim 2:8-15) ANHR and GUNH should be translated
"husband" and "wife", as in the parallel passage 1 Peter 3:1-7.

>>There is another word in Greek which refers to the fact or act of speaking
>>without necessary reference to the content of what was said. This word is
>>LALEW. This verb simply involves verbal utterance - it is what "the mouth
>>speaks" (Mt 12:34), the act of uttering words. Thus whenever the NT refers
>>to a person who has been dumb as now being able to speak, the word used is
>>always LALEW (Mt 9:33; 12:22; 15:31; Mk 7:37; Lk 11:14). What that person
>>says is irrelevant, of course: what matters is the fact that he speaks at
>#### Does the fact that he used the generic LALEW not in fact mean, as you
>have pointed out, that they are not to speak at all, no matter what the
>purpose of the speech may be? In addition to this I might add that in Acts
>5:20 LALEW is used in connection with speaking the word of life. In Acts
>11:15 concerning Peter speaking to Cornelius "words by which he might be
>saved" it is said that "as he began to LALEW [those words]" In Acts 4:29:
>LALEW is likewise used in Peter's prayer that he be able to LALEW the
>[Lord's] word.

As I pointed out earlier, LALEW is also used in reference to Jesus teaching
(i.e., Mt 13:3). All these occasions (including those of Acts, quoted) are
general references to the fact of speaking. The nearest of any use of LALEW
to a formal address would be Acts 5:20. When a general word like LALEW is
used in a context, that context will indicate the scope of its meaning in
that context. In 1 Cor 14:34-35 the alternative which Paul tells them to
follow - to ask their questions of their own husbands at home - indicates
that the activity of LALEW in which they were engaging was to talk to their
neighbours (or possibly, even, their husbands) in the assembly. This
context indicates that that is what they are not to do in the assembly.
Therefore I would not take this verse as being (or as intended to be) a
restriction upon women joining in the singing in the assembly, or praying
in the assembly (as in 1 Cor 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Cor 11:5).

>#### Your fellow servant
>Jeffrey L. Shelton
>President, Cebu Bible College
>Cebu, Philippines

And my best regards,


Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:

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