Silence and Silence

  In First Corinthians 14:34 Paul instructed the women to "keep silence" in the churches. This applied to the type of service under discussion in which revelations were being made. Women were to have no part in that. They were to maintain complete silence. We do not have such services today inasmuch as the complete revelation has been given. There were circumstances in such a service in which even men were to "keep silence in the church" (verse 28). This is not the pattern for today's services.

  In First Timothy 2:12 women are again instructed to "be in silence." This "silence" is not the same as in the previous verse. This means in quietness, not complete silence as previous. She is not to usurp authority over a man nor teach in such fashion that would violate that teaching. Preaching would violate this instruction. This does not mean she cannot speak at all in class or worship service. Otherwise she would be prohibited from singing and even confessing Christ. The two words are not the same. We must recognize this to understand the role of women in the church.