S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 14:32 The spirits of prophets are under the control of the prophets. 33 God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace. Like in all the churches of God’s people, 34 the women should be quiet during the meeting. They are not allowed to talk. Instead, they need to get under control, just as the Law says. 35 If they want to learn something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is disgraceful for a woman to talk during the meeting.
O (Observation): My first reaction to this text is that somewhere in Paul’s setting, a group of women that were following some other deity were disrupting what was going on at the local gathering of Jesus-followers. He resorted to a general call for women to be quiet. Probably responding to a particular situation in a particular time in a particular place.
Perhaps the worship setting was becoming disorderly and folks had a hard time focusing on worship or hearing the teachings for the day. Perhaps this was a call for orderliness to a particular community. For Paul himself lifts up females in church leadership in other parts of his writings.
Not only does Paul lift up female leadership in the church, I seem to remember Paul writing something else about men and women…
Galatians 3 – “27 All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
A (Application): What are we looking for when we approach scripture? Tradition? New life? Forgiveness? Hope?
We can look for all of these and more.
Yet when it comes to female leadership in the church, we are stuck. And if we are okay with female leaders, we are not okay with paying them fair and equal wages.
God is revealed bit by bit for us. In our leaders – both female and male…and those who are still discovering their identity.
P (Prayer): Lord, guide us towards your perfect light. Amen.