Women in ministry in I Corinthians: A brief inquiry

Corinth, 21st century (courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

When we come to discuss the controversial issue of women in public ministry in a mixed congregation of males and females, there are two sections of Scripture that are trotted out as old chestnuts to oppose women in ministry. They are:

1 Cor. 14:33-35 (ESV) [2]: For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

1 Tim. 2:12: I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Mary Lee Cagle (& husband Henry), Pioneer Preacher, Church of the Nazarene

Courtesy Encyclopedia of Alabama

Surely these verses are clear: Women are to keep silent in the churches and must not teach and have authority over men! Women are to keep their mouths closed as far as public ministry is concerned in the church. Sounds pretty cut and dried! But is it?

This inquiry will deal primarily with passages in I Corinthians as I have examined the I Timothy passage in my paper, “Must Women Never Teach Men in the Church? (An interpretation of I Timothy 2:9-15).”

I am left with some significant questions from the biblical text of I Corinthians. These questions are not driven by a contemporary feminist agenda that has influenced me. They are based on an examination of the Bible, following my observation that some gifted women are being under-used or not allowed to function according to their verbal gifts in the evangelical church.

  • Questions that need good biblical answers

1. The God of truth

God/Jesus is the God of truth/truthfulness. See Isa. 45:19 and John 14:6. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 15:26; 16:13). God’s word is truth (John 17:17; Ps. 119:142, 160).

Therefore, since God himself is the essence of truth and speaks and acts with truthfulness, we would not expect him to contradict himself and hence create a lie.

Billy Graham has called his daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, “the best preacher in the family,” yet Anne Lotz has experienced some shocking harassment (abuse?) by pastors in the evangelical community.  Here’s an example:

Anne Graham Lotz [Billy Graham’s daughter] learned this lesson personally as she began her itinerant ministry 13 years ago. She was addressing a convention of 800 pastors. As she walked to the lectern, Anne was shocked to see that many of the pastors had turned their chairs around and put their backs to her. She managed to share her message but was shaken. She asked herself, Was the inaudible voice I had heard from these men, in essence saying, ‘Anne, you don’t belong in the pulpit when men are present’ authentic or not? Wanting to follow God’s plan for her life, Anne went home and opened her Bible. As Anne read, the Lord told her that He put the words in her mouth and that she was not responsible for the reaction of her audience. God confirmed the call in her life. Anne, you are not accountable to your audience; you are accountable to Me” [available from: Christian Broadcasting Network].


2.  God seems to contradict himself in I Corinthians if we accept the traditional view of closing down women in verbal ministry among men. 

This is what I mean!


a.  Women can speak

Elizabeth Hooten, a Quaker woman preacher

Courtesy Google


God’s Word states that women can speak in the church — they can pray and prophesy according to I Cor. 11: 5, “But every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head — it is the same as if her head were shaven.” Here a woman in the church is able to pray and prophesy. The head covering is another issue, but not considered here as it is not relevant to the primary topic of the validity or otherwise of women in public ministry.

It is possible to pray without opening the mouth, but I do not know how a woman can prophesy in the church gathering with her mouth closed.

We know what is involved in praying, but what does the Scripture mean when it says that a woman is able to prophesy? Surely that can’t be done through silence! Here is not the place for a detailed examination of the gift of prophecy. Let’s check out a few evangelical commentators for their views:

blue-arrow-small John MacArthur Jr., a prominent expository preacher, contends that “prophecy is the proclaiming of [God’s] [4] Word. The gift of prophecy is the Spirit-given and Spirit-empowered ability to proclaim the Word effectively.” [5] However, to get over the difficulty of prophesying meaning women proclaiming the Word in the local church, he claims that in I Cor. 11:5, Paul “makes no mention here of a church at worship or in the time of formal teaching. Perhaps he has in view praying or prophesying in public places, rather than in the worship of the congregation” [6]

What a way to weasel out of one’s unsustainable position! There is not a shred of evidence in the immediate context that this refers to a woman’s praying and prophesying in public and not in the church gathering. But in I Cor. 11:18 it is very clear that Paul is addressing a situation “when you come together as a church.” It is clear from passages such as I Cor. 14:29 that prophecy is delivered in the assembly/church gathering where “the others weigh what is said.”

blue-arrow-small Wayne Grudem, a noted theologian, concludes that the gift of prophecy “should be defined not as ‘predicting the future,’ nor as ‘proclaiming a word from the Lord,’ nor as ‘powerful preaching’ – but rather as ‘telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.’” [7]

blue-arrow-small Charles Hodge, an evangelical theologian and commentator of another era (A D 1797-1878) claimed that the “praying and prophesying [of I Cor. 11:5] were the two principal exercises in the public worship of the early Christians. The latter term . . . included all forms of address dictated by the Holy Spirit.” [8] The nature of the gift of prophecy, he writes, “is clearly exhibited in the 14th ch. [of I Corinthians]. It consisted in occasional inspiration and revelations, not merely or generally relating to the future, . . . but either in some new communications relating to faith or duty, or simply an immediate impulse and aid from the Holy Spirit. . .” [9]

blue-arrow-smallGordon Fee, a contemporary Bible scholar and exegete, states that

“The two verbs ‘pray and prophesy’ make it certain that the problem has to do with the assembly at worship. One may pray privately; but not so with prophecy. This was the primary form of inspired speech, directed toward the community [of believers] for its edification and encouragement (cf. 14:1-5).” [10] Specifically, the gift of prophecy “consisted of spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible messages, orally delivered in the gathered assembly, intended for the edification or encouragement of the people.” [11]

Therefore, we can conclude that for women to prophesy, it meant that they gave an oral message in a church gathering. They could not prophesy and remain silent at the same time.

b. Each one (male and female) may be involved in public ministry

There is a further emphasis in I Cor. 14:26 that all people have the opportunity of ministry when the church gathers (a far cry from today’s church gatherings). This verse reads, “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

The Greek, adelphos (brother) [12], here in the plural means brothers and sisters. [13] If you want a technical description, see this footnote. [14] A careful examination of the meaning of “brothers” cannot make it refer to males only here.

It is clear that when brothers and sisters come together in the church gathering, all of them, male and female, have the opportunity for public, verbal ministry in “a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” None of these ministries can be exercised without speaking.”

But we have this problem . . .

c. Women cannot speak

First Corinthians 14:33-35 states, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.”

What are women supposed to do, according to this passage? They “should keep silent.” This is an accurate translation of the Greek, sigaw. [15] Being a present tense command, the meaning is that women are to continue to keep silent. It is the same verb as that used in I Cor. 14: 28 where, if nobody is present in the church gathering to interpret “tongues,” the person moved upon to exercise the gift of tongues is to “keep silent.”

What are women not permitted to do in the church? They are not “to speak.” This is the standard Greek verb for speaking, lalein (from lalew), meaning “speak . . . to have and use the faculty of speech, in contrast to one who is incapable of speaking.” [16]

B. God is the God of truth and does not speak with a forked-tongue. 

This is the problem. How is it that the God of truth, who does not lie, tells women that they can verbally express their ministries in the church gathering (11:5 and 14:26), and yet in 14:33-35 he tells them to “keep silent”?

Isn’t this contradictory and in opposition to the very nature of the God of truth?

C. Speak and be silent do not make sense.

Could something else be going on here that relates to our understanding of the text and its application to all churches for all times? The evidence points in that direction.

Take a look at these verses and their context:

1.  There was confusion in the Corinthian church (14:33) and God wanted peace instead of disorder.

2.  Could it be that the women were contributing to this confusion by engaging in speaking that was disrupting the church gathering?  This was not happening in just one church (Corinth), but also “in all the churches of the saints” (14:33).  It was a widespread occurrence in the early Gentile church and Paul was forced to address it.
3.  This problem of women contributing to disorder and confusion in the church gathering, is suggested by 14:35 where the women are told that “if there is anything they desire to learn” then they should “ask their husbands at home.” Were they seeking to learn in the church gathering and it was resulting in rowdy confusion?

4.  If “it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church,” it cannot mean that she cannot speak at all for all times in all churches throughout church history, as 11:5 and 14:26 make clear. It has to mean that it is shameful for a woman to engage in disruptive behaviour while in the church gathering and so contribute to the confusion in the church meeting. This is a silencing of the women in “all the churches of the saints” (v. 33). The inference is that it applied to all of the churches as women seem to have been the culprits in creating the confusion. For one suggestion of what might have been going on, see this endnote. [17]  The corollory is that if men were contributing to similar disorder and confusion when the church gathered, men would be given instructions to “shut up” in the gathering.  But this was not a permanent instruction for silence, but simply to deal with an occurrence in some early church gatherings.

5.  This temporary silence of women in all the churches would stop the confusion, quit the disruption and “all things” would then “be done decently and in order” (v. 40).

6.  It is a tragedy that this passage has been applied to all women in all churches throughout the existence of the church, to silence women in public ministry among a mixed audience of men and women. 

D.  A more reasonable understanding

While the above explanation may not be acceptable to those who hold firmly to the conservative, traditionalist view of the silence of women in the church’s mixed gathering, I cannot see any other way out of it, without making God a liar or a perpetrator of contradictory messages. Such would be blasphemy!
This also seems a more reasonable explanation in light of God’s views of the change of women in ministry in the New Covenant.  Let’s take a look at what the Word says!

E.  The New Covenant and women

A limitation on female ministry seems to contradict the principle of mutuality in equality established elsewhere in the Pauline epistles (eg. 1 Cor. 11:5, 14:26, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 5:21).

A critical dimension of understanding the Bible is that God, being the God of all knowledge, is not going to give fragmented teachings in Old and New Testaments that contradict one another. He is the God of truth.

Therefore, it should not be surprising that God would tell us in advance what would happen with the coming of the New Covenant. He prophesied through the prophet Joel what to expect with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).

Gal. 3:28 affirms the mutuality of male and female in the New Covenant: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The Old Covenant had very different rules for men and women. There were special privileges given to certain male Jews and not to male Gentiles. Some had larger functions than others (e.g. the Levites). Women had a diminished role in ministry. The Old Testament congregation had almost no function.

This changed with the New Covenant. The law of God is written on the human heart. The Spirit indwells people who repent, believe and trust Jesus as their only Lord and Saviour – Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and non-slaves. Ministerial classes of people are abandoned as the Spirit gifts all people for possible public ministry. That includes male and female.

If women are to be silenced from public ministry in the church, including ministry among men, it will violate God’s New Covenant that “your daughters shall prophesy.” The New Covenant has done away with the silencing of women in public ministry among a mixed audience of male and female.
Does this include women in a teaching ministry of men? My paper on I Timothy 2: 9-15 demonstrates that the women who were silenced from teaching in that Ephesian church (see I Tim. 1:3) addressed in I Tim. 2, were silenced from teaching false doctrine. It was not a permanent cessation of women Bible teachers among all people.

F. Some practical issues

Catherine Booth, courtesy Wikipedia

1.    If women are excluded from a significant ministry in every church today (as they are in many evangelical churches), this will have ramifications at a deep level in the local, national and international church. Should not this restriction have been included in the Pauline passages dealing with the churches’ teaching ministry (eg. Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4)?  Except for the one sentence in 1 Tim. 2:12, the gifts of the Spirit to the church have never been differentiated on the basis of gender in the entire New Testament.

2.    Some of Paul’s writings make the teaching ministry available to all believers, including women. In Colossians 3:16, “teaching and admonishing” is the responsibility of “one another,” which must obviously include male and female. If “teaching and admonishing” are restricted to males only, consistency of interpretation should require that compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, bearing with, forgiveness and love (Col. 3:12-14, NIV) must be practised by males only. Such a conclusion regarding Christian character is untenable. See also 1 Cor. 14:26 where “each one” (male and female) in the church is encouraged to minister via a psalm, teaching, revelation, tongue and interpretation when the church gathers. If women are restricted from teaching, consistency of interpretation requires their silence with psalms, revelations, tongues and interpretations.

3.    According to the remainder of Scripture, salvation is obtained by grace through faith. I Tim. 2:15 links salvation to having babies. How is this possible?

4. What would happen if the mission field withdrew all of the women who are active in teaching and in other public ministries in mission churches?

5. Why is it that some of these very same women, when they return to Australia on furlough, are not able to exercise the same kinds of verbal ministries that they practise on the mission field? I am embarrassed to see women forced to do missionary meetings with women only when at home on furlough, when that is not their role on the mission field. We have to quit this hypocrisy immediately! Are we prepared for the missionary fallout if we forced all female missionaries to have no public, verbal ministry among men in the missionary churches?

6. There is the added problem on the mission field when the Bible is translated into the language of those people. They see women preaching and teaching in pioneer missions, but the Bible (in its traditional understanding) says that women should remain silent and not teach when men are present in the church. This creates a clanger of hypocrisy.

The better solution is for the church to have its theology of women in ministry so fixed that the pioneer missionary’s actions agree with consistent biblical interpration of the controversial passages.


Appendix A.  Can women be elders or deacons?

Photograph of Sarah Righter Major. (Courtesy of Brethren Historical Library and Archives, Elgin, IL)

Sarah Righter Major, preacher, The Brethren Church; courtesy newsworks.org


The Pastoral Epistles of First & Second Timothy & Titus are commonly referred to as a handbook for church leaders or a manual on church government. This is misleading. These purposes seem “to miss their occasion rather widely and simply cannot account for a large amount of the material. . . They reflect church structures in the fourth decade of the church as Paul is correcting some theological and behavioral abuses. But church structures as such are not his concern.” [18]

The “elders” term used in I Tim. 3:3; 5:17 and Titus 1:5-7 interchanges “episkopos” (overseer) and “presbyteros” (elder). See also Acts 20:17, 28. Therefore, “the term elders is probably a covering term for both overseers [bishops/elders] and deacons. In any case, the grammar of Titus 1:5 and 7 demand that elder and overseer are interchangeable terms.” [19] I accept this explanation as the most consistent with the biblical data.

It is very difficult to build a job description for elders and deacons from the material in Timothy and Titus. Paul seemed to be more interested in the qualifications for these roles than in designating a range of duties.

It should be simple enough to exclude women elders since one of the qualifications is “husband of but one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2, 12 NIV). Surely this is enough to exclude women from this kind of ministry!

But there are further difficulties!

1. The preference for ministry is for believers to remain single (1 Cor. 7:32-35). Paul to Timothy says that these elders and deacons have the responsibility to “take care of God’s church” (1 Tim. 3:5 NIV). They are very demanding and responsible positions. Paul (and presumable Timothy and Titus), as single men, would be excluded from this type of leadership ministry in the church. “Should marriage be made a universal requirement for Christian leadership, all single men would become disqualified, in contradiction to Paul’s explicit instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.” [20] This does not seem to be a satisfactory solution.

2. Jesus himself would be unqualified for such a position of leadership as an elder or a deacon if marriage was required.

This type of problem shows the necessity to “interpret all related teachings on a given subject comprehensively rather than to proof-text one passage as if it were the sole teaching on the subject. In this case, it becomes obvious that the requirements set down in 1 Timothy 3 are not exhaustive. They neither include consideration of single men and of women as elders and deacons, nor do they forbid it.” [21]

3. There are good reasons why the Ephesian women were not included in the “overseers” or “deacons” because one of the qualifications was being “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2). The Ephesian women who were engaged in heretical teaching were obviously excluded. According to I Tim. 2:9-15, the solution for these women who were teaching heresy was:

3d-red-star-small  to become learners (2:11);

3d-red-star-small to stop acting as teachers with the assumed authority of recognised teachers (2:12);

3d-red-star-small  “Just as Eve rather than Adam was deceived into error, unqualified persons will get themselves and the church into trouble (vv. 13-14)”;

3d-red-star-small  “Yet as Eve became the means and the first beneficiary of promised salvation, so Ephesian women will legitimately aspire to maturity and competency and to positions of service in the church (v. 15).” [22]

“The exclusion of the Ephesian women from teaching positions is not final. Just like the fall, which was not a terminally disqualifying transgression for the woman, so the necessity for the Ephesian women to learn in silence is a temporary restriction that will lead to avenues of service, once their training has resulted in the maturing of their faith, love, sanctification, and sound judgment.” [23]

[I am indebted to Bible exegetes and teachers Gilbert Bilezikian, Gordon Fee and M. D. Roberts [24] for helping me to clarify much of my thinking on women in ministry, in light of this sometimes confusing material.]

4. Let’s go a little further afield than I Corinthians!  If we examine Rom. 16:1, we note that Phoebe the deaconess is designated by the masculine, “diakonos” (deacon/servant). Paul used the Greek masculine, “diakonos,” in 1 Tim. 3:8 (cf. 3:11) to indicate male deacons, but there is clear biblical evidence here that the masculine “diakonos” was used for both men and women.

5. What about Romans 16:7?

This verse reads: “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me” (ESV). The NIV translates as: “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” These two different translations show some of the dimensions of the difficulties in translating this verse.

Literally, the Greek reads, word-for-word (English translation): “Greet Andronicus and Junia/the kinsmen of me and fellow-captives of me who are notable among/in/by the apostles who also before me have been in Christ.”

The controversy surrounds the gender of Junia, relating to the phrase, “among the apostles.” If Junia is feminine and she is among the apostles, this makes her a female apostle.

This is a brief examination of these 3 points.              

a. The gender of Junia.

The Greek form, Jounian (from Junias), depending on the Greek accent given to it, could be either masculine or feminine. So the person could be a man, Junianus, or a woman, Junia. “Interpreters from the thirteenth to the middle of the twentieth century generally favored the masculine identification, but it appears that commentators before the thirteenth century were unanimous in favor of the feminine identification; and scholars have recently again inclined decisively to this same view. And for probably good reason. . . The Latin ‘Junia’ was a very common name. Probably, then, ‘Junia’ was the wife of Andronicus (note the other husband and wife pairs in this list, Prisca and Aquila [v. 3] and [probably], Philologus and Julia [v. 15].” [25] 


b. Is Junia a female apostle?

The phrase “esteemed/notable by the apostles” is a possible Greek construction as in the ESV. [26] But it is more natural to translate as “esteemed/notable among the apostles,” as with the NIV. Why is it more natural? See this footnote.[27] Andronicus and Junia were probably a husband and wife team of apostles. [28]

c. Junia is therefore a female apostle.

This means that Junia was a female apostle, not one of the Twelve, but one of the ministry gifts of Christ to the church (See Eph. 4:11) – an apostle who was a woman.

6. What was the role of such apostles? I have addressed some of these issues in my article, Are there apostles in the 21st century? By way of summary, in the New Testament, apostles and associates (as per Eph. 4:11) probably did (pioneer) missionary work.


My purpose in trying to seek biblical clarity on this controversial subject has not been driven by my culture’s feminist movement’s agendas or the drive for ordination of women in many, especially liberal, churches. I have been forced back to the inerrant Scriptures by:

  1. the glaring contradictions I saw in interpretations of I Cor. 11:5; 14:26, 31 when compared with the traditional interpretations of I Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15.
  2. the Spirit-gifted women I see in the church who have been silenced.
  3. the crisis of conscience I experienced when I saw the way women had been excluded from ministry on the basis of an interpretation of I Cor. 14:34-35 that had not considered the wider context of I Corinthians.

In spite of the traditional, conservative understanding of closing down women in public ministry to men or to a mixed audience, the biblical evidence points to gifted women having a vocal public ministry among men and women.

This is in no way a complete summary of some of my current understanding of the women in ministry issues in 1 Corinthians and some other Scriptures. I am open to learning better ways of interpreting the material, but I have found the traditional approach of silencing women in ministry (including the exclusion of women from eldership) to be biblically inconsistent and stifling to the ministry of the churches with which I have been associated.  God-gifted women and men out to be set free to exercise their ministries in all churches.

Gold Chain Of Round Links Clip Art

This is a range of my articles on women in ministry (there may be a repeat of information in some of them):

3d-red-star-small Anti-women in ministry juices flowing

3d-red-star-small Women in ministry in church history

3d-red-star-small Women in ministry: an overview of some biblical passages

3d-red-star-small Women in ministry in I Corinthians: A brief inquiry

3d-red-star-small Women wrongly closed down in ministry

3d-red-star-small Amazing contemporary opposition to women in public ministry

3d-red-star-small The heresy of women preachers?

3d-red-star-small Women bishops – how to get the Christians up in arms!

3d-red-star-small Are women supposed to be permanently silent in the church gathering?

3d-red-star-small Must women never teach men in the church?


Gold Chain Of Round Links Clip Art

 In support of women in ministry see:
For a contrary view on Junia see:


[2] The ESV is The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton Illinois: Crossway Bibles, 2001. This is a highly recommended translation of Scripture. In this paper, all quotations will be from the ESV unless otherwise indicated.

[4] “That” was the word used but it referred to “God’s Word” in the earlier part of the sentence.

[5] MacArthur (1984:303).

[6] MacArthur (1984:256).

[7] Grudem (1994:1049, emphasis in the original).

[8] Hodge (1974:208).

[9] Hodge (1974:247).

[10] Fee (1987:505-506).

[11] Fee (1987:595).

[12] Here it is the plural, adelphoi (brothers) in the vocative case (of addressing somebody).

[13] For other examples of the word being “used by Christians in their relations with each other,” see Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 5:11; Eph. 6:23; 1 Tim 6:2; Acts 6:3; 9:30; 10:23; Rev. 1:9; 12:10 (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:16).

[14] “The vocative adelphoi occurs more times (21) in 1 Corinthians than in any of the other letters, although proportionately it appears more often in 1 Thessalonians (14) and 2 Thessalonians (7). . . Although it means ‘brothers,’ it is clear from the evidence of this letter (11:2-16) and Phil. 4:1-3 that women were participants in the worship of the community and would have been included in the ‘brothers’ being addressed. The latter passage is particularly telling since in v. 1 Paul uses the vocative adelphoi, and then directly addresses two women in the very next sentence. It is therefore not pedantic, but culturally sound and biblically sensitive, for us to translate this vocative ‘brothers and sisters’” [Fee 1987:52, n. 22. Please note that Fee refers the use of “brothers” in 14:26 to his explanation of “brothers” in 1:10].

[15]  The verbal form is sigatwsan, 3rd person, singular, present active imperative of sigaw , meaning “say nothing, keep silent” (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:757).

[16] Arndt & Gingrich 1957:464.

[17] Gordon Fee states,

    “The most commonly held view is that which sees the problem as some form of disruptive speech. Support is found in v. 35, that if the women wish to learn anything, they should ask their own husbands at home. Various scenarios are proposed: that the setting was something like the Jewish synagogue, with women on one side and men on the other and the women shouting out disruptive questions about what was being said in a prophecy or tongue; or that they were asking questions of men other than their own husbands; or that they were simply ‘‘chattering’’so loudly that it had a disruptive effect.
“The biggest difficulty with this view is that it assumes a ‘church service’ of a more ‘orderly’ sort than the rest of this argument presupposes. If the basic problem is with their ‘all speaking in tongues’ in some way, one may assume on the basis of 11:5 that this also included the women; furthermore, in such disarray how can mere ‘chatter’ have a disruptive effect? The suggestion that the early house churches assumed a synagogue pattern is pure speculation; it seems remote at best” (Fee 1987:703).

[18] Fee (1988:21).

[19] Fee (1988:22).

[20] Bilezikian (1985:188).

[21] Bilezikian (1985:188-189).

[22] Bilezikian (1985:183).

[23] Bilezikian (1985:183).

[24] Gilbert Bilezikia; two publications by Gordon Fee; and M. D. Roberts.

[25] Moo (1996:921-922).

[26] This is using the preposition, en, in its instrumental sense.

[27] “With a plural object [apostles], en often means ‘among’; and if Paul had wanted to say that Andronicus and Junia were esteemed ‘by’ the apostles, we would have expected him to use a simple dative [case] or [the preposition] hupo with the genitive [case]. The word epistemoi (‘splendid,’ ‘prominent,’ ‘outstanding’; only here in the NT in this sense [cf. also Matt. 27:16]) also favors this rendering” (Moo 1996:923, n. 39).

[28] Gordon Fee says that that Rom. 16:7 refers to “probably Andronicus and his wife [Junia]” (Fee 1987:729, n. 80).


Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W (transl & adapt. of W Bauer), 1957. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, limited edition licensed to Zondervan Publishing House.

Bilezikian, G, 1985. Beyond sex roles: A guide for the study of female roles in the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

ESV, 2001. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton Illinois: Crossway Bibles.

Fee, G D, 1987. The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament, F. F. Bruce, (gen.ed.).  Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Fee, GD, 1988. 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (New International Biblical Commentary).  Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrikson Publishers.

Grudem, W, 1994. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

Hodge, C, 1974. A Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians. Edinburgh: The Banner of  Truth Trust.

MacArthur Jr., J, 1984. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: I Corinthians. Chicago: Moody  Press.

Moo, D G, 1996. The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on  the New Testament).  Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Roberts, MD, 1983, “Women Shall Be Saved: A Closer Look at 1 Timothy 2:15,” The Reformed Journal,  April 1983.

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (I Corinthians 12:7).


Copyright (c) 2012 Spencer D. Gear.  This document last updated at Date: 14 October 2015.