speaking of gender diversity…

Our church recently commissioned 4 new Elders–all of them female! That means that out of 12, there are now only 4 males on the Board of Elders. That changes the "picture", in that we’re so used to seeing mostly men taking that kind of decision-making leadership in the church; however, Craig (see last sermon notes) pointed out this question: what does that say about how involved the men are? Typically, it is women who are teaching Sunday School, and doing many other volunteer jobs in the church. Grant you, that may have been because of the stay-at-home mom’s, but there aren’t really a lot of those anymore!

Anyway, this is just to introduce something we want to share about what we learned before the sermon in our adult seminar, where we’ve been studying 1 Corinthians. You’ve heard about these verses (1 Cor. 14:34 & 35), the ones that say that women should "keep quiet" in church, and be "subordinate" to men? People explain it away by saying it was only for that day & age, because of the culture, etc. (And some even say no, it’s meant to be followed even today!) However, look closer.

Notice how the verses that come before and after those two, are talking about the gifts of the Spirit (including preaching), and how they are available for everyone. In fact, early translators were so confused by the incongruity (it’s also different in style), that they would take those 2 verses out of there and put it at the end of the chapter. (And "early" would be when people probably even believed it should be practised.) But when you realize that there was no such thing as punctuation in the Greek, and put either brackets or quotations around it, the clarity just jumps out at you. Because after the "quote", the next verse continues:

"What! Did the Word of the Lord originate with you?" (1 Cor. 14:36) So, it’s as if Paul first quoted what they were saying, and then, sort of in shock, says "What!"


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