Re: Women in the Church

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Sat Aug 22 1998 - 07:45:02 EDT

At 06:44 98/08/19 -0400, Henry Carmichael wrote:
>Date sent: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 15:21:07 +1000
>To: (Paul S. Dixon)
>From: Ward Powers <>
>Subject: Re: Women in the Church
>Copies to: Biblical Greek <>,
>> To mention, however, one facet of this which DOES turn upon the question
>> of Greek meanings: there is no conflict between these two passages you
>> mention if one takes LALEIN (twice occurring in 1 Cor 14:34-35) to have
>> its normal meaning of "converse, chat chatter", and accepts that THIS is
>> what Paul is forbidding, instead of reading into LALEIN ideas of "preach"
>> or "teach" in the assembly - for which meaning there are numerous other
>> Greek words, and which Paul is not discussing in 1 Cor 14:34-35 and which
>> he is certainly not forbidding in his comments there.
>But LALEIN is used throughout chapter 14 - unless we are to say
>that Paul has the saints "conversing in a tongue", or that the
>prophets are "conversing two or three." Or are we to look past the
>context of the chapter as a whole?
>In His service
>Henry Carmichael


Yup. True 'nuff. LALEW occurs quite a few times in the rest of chapter 14,
and in Paul's writings and the GNT generally. Almost 300 times, all up.

I am not saying that in every one of these occurrences you can translate it
by "converse" (or "chat" or "chatter"). But I am saying that the central
core idea for the word is that of making an audible utterance with one's
mouth, and that this is where the emphasis lies, and that the idea of
informal (as distinct from formal) utterance is usually present as well.

You may be aware that there are interpreters who see the LALEW references
of 14:34-35 as continuing the previous usage of the word, and thus
continuing to refer to speaking in tongues - this then being what the women
are forbidden to do (on this interpretation). After examining the chapter
carefully, I cannot accept this understanding of the meaning of LALEW in
this context. I would hold that in the other occurrences of LALEW in this
chapter, the reference in each case is to verbal utterance in an informal
manner, with a more precise degree of meaning to be drawn in relation to
the context of each use. In the verses we are looking at, I aver that the
immediate context indicates that LALEW is best taken (as previously
indicated) as being to women conversing and/or calling out questions in the
assembly, while Paul is saying they should discuss these questions with
their husbands at home.


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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