“I think biblical teaching – we can obscure it, we can suppress it – but I think the biblical vision of manhood and womanhood in a redeemed heart finds an echo… Finds an echo, meaning there’s a rightness to it.”
Jeff Purswell, Dean of Sovereign Grace Churches “Pastor’s College” and Board Member of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
“I started reading the Book of Mormon. I was only a few verses into the book, in 1 Nephi, when I felt something different. I began to debate between my feelings and my intellect. So I decided to ask God in prayer.
This was the first time in my life that I had prayed on my knees. The experience that followed became one of the most sacred of my life. A feeling of such overwhelming happiness filled me that I knew in my heart that the Book of Mormon was more than just a book. It was a book of divine origin. It had to be the word of God. I later came to understand that the feeling was the Spirit testifying of its truthfulness.”
Source: “If You Really Want to Know, You Will Know” by By Elder Walter F. González
Bob Kauflin, a pastor at C.J. Mahaney’s church in Louisville, KY, and David Zimmer, whom I assume is a part of the music/worship team at Sovereign Grace Louisville, have a podcast titled “Sound Plus Doctrine.” I came across the short article above introducing a podcast titled “What is a Women’s Role in Leading Worship in Song?” and though I was certain I knew what Sovereign Grace Churches’ position on the question would be I wanted to listen to what they had to say.
Before I tuned in to the podcast I wanted to check out the Scripture verses listed above – 1 Corinthians 11:33-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Finding that 1 Corinthians 11 only has 34 verses in the chapter I figured Bob had listed the reference incorrectly. I assume Bob meant 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, a favorite of the Complementarian crowd. The passage says:
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. Women should remain 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; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”[fn]. NIV
The passage appears to be quite straightforward, doesn’t it? Women should remain silent in the churches. But how many of you read the footnotes after verses? I confess I don’t pay much attention to them. The footnote after verse 35 states, “In a few manuscripts these verses come after verse 40.” Why is this significant? More on that in a minute.
I am currently working my way through a book by Philip B. Payne titled, “The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood.”
“Payne has a Ph.D. from Cambridge, has taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Gordon-Conwell, Bethel, and Fuller, and is known for his studies on textual criticism, the parables of Jesus, and Paul’s teachings on women.”
The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood is written in a manner that you and I can grasp. Payne has another book covering much of the same material in much greater depth, written in a more scholarly form. The title of that book is “Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters.”
What Payne wrote in chapter 6 of “The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood” blew my mind. Chapter 6 is titled “Did Paul Teach, “Women Must Be Silent in the Churches?” I Corinthians 14:33-35.
Payne’s answer is no. He bases this on a very strong case he makes that verses 33-35 were not in the original manuscripts. I can’t copy the whole chapter, but will include a few quotes and recommend you purchase the book and read it. (Today, Sept. 2, 2023, the Kindle version on Amazon was a mere $3.99.)
“Finally, as I will show you soon, many Greek manuscripts actually place verses 14:34–35 at the end of chapter 14, after verse 40. Scribes would not have done that if they thought that verses 36–38 refute verses 34–35. Nor would verses 36–38 refute text that begins after verse 40. Crucial evidence shows that the best explanation of the different locations of these verses is that they were not part of Paul’s original letter but were added later. Greek laws required women to be silent in public meetings. Consequently, it is hardly surprising that a typical reader who believed that women should be silent in public meetings would want to comment on Paul’s calling “all” to prophesy throughout this chapter. It would be natural for such a reader sometime before AD 200 to add in the margin the “conventional wisdom” expressed in 14:34–35. All Bible scholars know that various blocks of text have been added to New Testament manuscripts. You have probably seen notes in your Bible, such as the NIV at Matt. 18:11, “Some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10” and at John 7:53, “The earliest manuscripts . . . do not have John 7:53–8:11.” As I will soon show you, the oldest Bible in Greek marks both of these passages and also 1 Cor. 14:34–35 as later additions. Greek Orthodox scholar David Bentley Hart rejects 1 Cor. 14:34–35 as “almost certainly spurious.” BasisBibel notes that 14:34–35 contradicts 11:2–16 and is probably a later insertion. The famous Roman Catholic scholar, Joseph Fitzmyer, notes that “the majority of commentators today” conclude that 14:34–35 is a later addition. Textual scholar Kim Haines-Eitzen states this of “nearly all scholars now.” Gordon Fee, the most famous evangelical textual scholar, concluded that these verses were not in Paul’s letter but were added in the margin of a manuscript and inserted by later copyists either after verse 33 or verse 40.
If you’re concerned that I am playing fast and loose with Scripture, I don’t blame you. And I don’t take it lightly. But crucial evidence shows that verses 34–35 were added at a later date. Allow me to explain further. This section will delve into the art and science of determining the original text of the Bible, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible. The Bible as we know it does not come from a single manuscript that was preserved throughout history. Scholars determine its original text by comparing thousands of ancient manuscripts.
“Payne, Philip Barton. The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood (pp. 83-84). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Payne, of course, goes into much greater detail in his book, including photos of manuscripts that convincingly show the text was inserted after the original manuscripts were written.
In chapter 10 of “The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood,” Payne deals with the 1 Timothy 2:11-15 passage. Again, I will quote from this chapter, but encourage you to read the complete chapter in Payne’s book.
“Complementarians” widely regard 1 Tim. 2:8–15 as proof that women must not teach or exercise authority over a man. Some read into Eve’s deception that women are more easily deceived than men. Because such (mis)understandings of 1 Tim. 2:8–15 contradict Paul’s affirmations of women in leadership elsewhere, some Bible scholars conclude that Paul could not have written 1 Timothy. Even many self-identified “complementarians” believe that women can teach and exercise authority over men in some circumstances, particularly in the secular workplace or government, but also as Christian professors, theological authors, and spiritual counselors. So this passage at first glance seems to be difficult for everyone, whether they believe in male hierarchy or equal opportunity for women and men. Exactly what does this passage teach?
…Later on, when Paul left Corinth, Priscilla and Aquila went with him. Together, they went to Ephesus:
18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. (Acts 18:18–19)
That’s right, Priscilla and Aquila are in Ephesus, the same city where Timothy faces a crisis of false teaching. They are teaching people in Ephesus about Jesus. 24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more adequately. (Acts 18:24–26. Note that the Greek text states simply, “they took him aside” (cf. BDAG 883). The NIV incorrectly translates this, “they invited him to their home.” Since “took him aside” is not the NIV text, it is not italicized.)
Since Priscilla’s name is mentioned first here, contrary to normal Greek convention and to their introduction in Acts 18:2, it is reasonable to infer that she did at least some of this biblical teaching, and probably most of it—to a man—a dynamic preacher with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). Some people say she did not “teach” a man but only “explained to him the way of God more adequately” or “more accurately” (NASB), but if “explaining the way of God more accurately” is not teaching, what is? Others say that she could only do this because her husband was with her, but no Bible passage says a woman can teach only if her husband is with her. Still others say that because she was teaching just one man, this is different from what 1 Tim. 2:12 prohibits, but 1 Tim. 2:12 also specifies “to teach . . . a man” (singular). Apparently Priscilla had returned to Ephesus from Rome (Rom. 16:3) before Paul wrote 2 Timothy because Paul writes in 2 Tim. 4:19, “Greet Prisca and Aquila.” Paul gives her special respect by listing her name first and using the respectful form of her name, as Paul always does. Priscilla was probably Timothy’s best resource to correct deceived women in Ephesus. If she was in Ephesus when Paul wrote 1 Timothy, it is doubtful that Paul would silence his best resource. Keep this in mind as we dive deeper into 1 Timothy.
Payne, Philip Barton. The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood (pp. 140-141). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Finally, here is yet another reason for not utilizing the ESV Bible.
In 2010 I submitted to the committee chairmen of the NIV and ESV revision committees research documenting the use of this verb around the time of Paul to mean “to assume authority that one does not rightfully have.” It showed that the first clear instance of authentein meaning “to exercise authority” was from ca. AD 370 in Saint Basil. Doug Moo, the chairman of the NIV revision committee, provided my research to the committee for consideration and discussion. I still remember the day Dr. Moo phoned me to say, “The NIV revision committee has chosen to adopt your recommended translation, ‘to assume authority,’ which replaced the former NIV translation ‘to have authority.’” This is a refreshing example of a leading “complementarian” not only considering evidence provided by an egalitarian, but giving that evidence to the committee with the authority to change the NIV text. The fact that the committee, which included many other “complementarians,” adopted the change shows how powerful the evidence is for that change. In contrast, the ESV revision committee chairman did not even let his committee see my recommended changes.
Payne, Philip Barton. The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood (pp. 144-145). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
The comment below is a screenshot from SGM Survivors. This website has since closed down. (There’s a story behind that, but I will leave it for another day.)
Below is a screenshot of some endorsements for the ESV Bible.