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What if the text is authentic and expresses Paul’s own teaching? How would we then interpret the passage?

Reconciling with chapter 11

First, this passage can’t repeal the first half of chapter 11. And no matter how you exegete chapter 11, the fact is that women were praying and prophesying in the presence of men in the assembly. Some speculate that the early church had a separate event for prayer and prophecy, but (a) there is no historical or biblical evidence for this and (b) we know from chapter 14 that prayer and prophecy took place in the regular assembly. So if we interpret 1 Cor 14:33b-35 to simply say, “Women may not speak in the assembly,” well, that interpretation is flatly contradicted by chapter 11 and is therefore false.

Some argue that 1 Cor 14:33b-35 does not apply to Spirit-inspired speech. But there is nothing in the passage that actually says that. While the prophecy in chapter 11 was certainly Spirit-inspired, on what basis do we conclude that the prayers of the women were inspired by the Spirit any more than their questions? We can’t just assume and then ban half the church from speaking based on a human assumption. Doctrine built on assumption is nothing but speculation.

Honor and shame

Today, not a single congregation of the Churches of Christ requires female members to only ask husbands questions at home. We disobey this command no matter how conservative or traditional our views. Why? Well, because in American culture, it would be insulting, rude, and pointless — and not every husband is qualified to answer his wife’s scriptural questions and not every woman is married. Times have changed, and so we assume that this part of Paul’s command is based on the local culture. Many preachers aren’t willing to admit this, but this is what they conclude or else they’d be preaching this text as a command binding today. No one does. (If you doubt me, just ask your preacher to announce from the pulpit that he will not address questions of female members and they are required to ask only their husbands, not at church, but at home. See how well that plays out!)

Why did Corinthian culture insist on women asking their husbands at home? Well, because it was an honor/shame culture in which women were treated with a blanket of cultural dishonor. Men had honor. By and large, women did not.

Notice that Paul’s conclusion is “it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” “Shameful” translates aischros, meaning, “A term esp. significant in honor-shame oriented society; gener. in ref. to that which fails to meet expected moral and cultural standards,” according to BDAG. Therefore, Paul is speaking of the expectations of the surrounding honor/shame culture. That is, in that culture, it would shameful (dishonorable) for a woman to ask questions of a man outside of a household setting. Americans live in a guilt culture, which is very different — and it’s very hard for us to wrap our brains around how an  honor culture thinks. For now, it’s enough to realize that the church would be shamed in the eyes of its neighbors if it engaged in any practices that would bring shame.

The Greek historian Plutarch, a near contemporary of Paul, wrote in Conjugal Precepts 31:

Not only the arm but the voice of a modest woman ought to be kept from the public, and she should feel shame at being heard, as at being stripped. … She should speak either to, or through, her husband.

“Shame” means she should feel the criticism of other people. It’s not that she’s guilty of a sin but that others would see her as bringing shame on her husband — taking away from his honor in the eyes of the community.

Barclay comments,

The respectable Greek woman lived a very confined life. She lived in her own quarters into which no one but her husband came. She did not even appear at meals. She never at any time appeared on the street alone: she never went to any public assembly, still less did she ever speak or take any active part in such an assembly. The fact is that if in a Greek town Christian women had taken an active and a speaking and a teaching part in the work of the Christian Church, the Church would inevitably have gained the reputation of being the resort of loose and immoral women.

In referring to what would bring shame to the church, Paul was explicitly referencing cultural norms that do not apply in the American church but may well apply in some modern cultures that are similar to the culture of ancient Greece in this regard.

The Law

Frankly, if Paul didn’t mention his command as being supported by the Law, I think most readers would easily come to the conclusion that Paul is dealing with problems specific to the local culture. Just as the command for women to wear veils (not hats) in 1 Cor 11 does not apply in a culture where veils are not required for a woman to be thought modest, the requirement that women not ask questions of a man is peculiar to the culture of that time and place.

Paul’s reference to the “Law” is difficult because the Law of Moses says nothing about women being silent in an assembly or in the presence of men. Even the separation of women from men in the Second Temple — the “women’s court” separate from the court of Gentiles and men’s court (the court of Israel) in the maps section of your Bible — is based on extra-biblical descriptions of the temple. Nothing in the Bible says women can’t worship alongside men.

So when Paul writes that women “should be in submission, as the Law also says,” he is not referring to the Law of Moses. But the Jews also referred to the first five books of the Bible as “the Law,” and so the most likely possibilities are Gen 2 and 3. Hierarchicalists often argue from Gen 3:16 —

(Gen. 3:16 ESV)  16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

It’s hardly obvious why the husband having rule over his wife requires her to be silent in the assembly. Moreover, “rule” means dominion, such as a king’s authority over his subjects, not loving, gentle, Christian spiritual leadership.  It’s a word used for kings and tyrants. But then it’s also part of the curse on Creation resulting from sin. Paul sees the curse of Gen 3 as standing in opposition to Jesus (Rom 8:19-23). Frankly, any argument based on this passage is irresponsible because it ignores the narrative of scripture, the fact that God is seeking through Jesus to overthrow the curse (Rev 22:3 NIV, NASB), and God certainly does not command his children to submit to the product of sin.

That leaves Gen 2 as a possibility — and Paul discusses sexuality and marriage in light of Gen 2 in 1 Cor 6:16-17; 7:4; and 11:2. That is, Paul calls the church to honor marriage and sexuality based on the relationship of Adam and Eve in the Garden before sin entered the world. And among the lessons in Gen 2 is the fact that Eve was made to be a suitable “helper” (NIV, NASB) or “helper fit for him” (ESV).

Now, in English, “helper” typically indicates subordination and inferiority. If I hire someone to be my “helper,” that person will work under me. But in Hebrew, the word most commonly is used to describe God as Israel’s helper — hardly a subordinate role!

[God’s] remedy is to provide a helper suitable for him (i.e., for the man). The last part of v. 18 reads literally, “I will make him for him a helper as in front of him (or according to what is in front of him).” This last phrase, “as in front of him (or according to what is in front of him)” (keneḡdô), occurs only here and in v. 20. It suggests that what God creates for Adam will correspond to him. Thus the new creation will be neither a superior nor an inferior, but an equal. The creation of this helper will form one-half of a polarity, and will be to man as the south pole is to the north pole.

This new creation which man needs is called a helper (ʿēzer), which is masculine in gender, though here it is a term for woman. Any suggestion that this particular word denotes one who has only an associate or subordinate status to a senior member is refuted by the fact that most frequently this same word describes Yahweh’s relationship to Israel. He is Israel’s help(er) because he is the stronger one (see, e.g., Exod. 18:4; Deut. 33:7, 26, 29; Ps. 33:20; 115:9–11; 124:8; 146:5; etc.). The LXX translation of ʿēzer by boēthós offers further support for this nuance. The LXX uses boēthós forty-five times to translate several Hebrew words, and except for three occurrences (1 Chr. 12:18; Ezek. 12:14; Nah. 3:9) the word refers to help “from a stronger one, in no way needing help.” The word is used less frequently for human helpers, and even here, the helper is one appealed to because of superior military strength (Isa. 30:5) or superior size (Ps. 121:1). The verb behind ʿēzer is ʿāzar, which means “succor,” “save from danger,” “deliver from death.” The woman in Gen. 2 delivers or saves man from his solitude.

Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 175–176.

Nonetheless, while the Hebrew gives no indication of inferiority or even subordination, it does mean that the wife was created to be of benefit to her husband. She cannot work against her husband’s best interests and still be a helper. Therefore, in a culture where a wife’s questioning her husband in public would bring shame and dishonor on him, the wife must ask her husband her questions at home. Even in American culture, it would be wrong for a wife to publicly disrespect her husband — and in First Century Corinth, speaking to another man in public or questioning her own husband would be seen as dishonoring — contrary to the Law’s expectation that a wife be her husband’s helper.

That is, the command to be in submission is a reference to being a “suitable helper” — meaning the wife may not bring shame or disrespect to her husband. What actions might bring shame or disrespect will vary from time to time, culture to culture.

Husbands and wives?

In Greek, the words for husband and for wife can also be translated man or woman. The words themselves are entirely ambiguous, and so the meaning has to be gleaned from context.

Now, in v. 35, obviously Paul has wives in mind. Who else could ask her husband at home? And so we should translate,

(1 Cor. 14:33-35 ESV) As in all the churches of the saints,  34 the [wives] should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.  35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their [own] husbands at home. For it is shameful for a [wife] to speak in church.

After all, the Law says nothing to single women about how to treat men in general — and we really don’t want to raise our daughters to be in submission to all men — just to their husbands.

PS — The “own” in v. 35 is in the Greek and translated by the NIV and NASB. Its presence emphasizes Paul’s concern that wives not to speak to the husbands of other women in that time and place.

Arbitrariness

The hierarchic position assumes that we should have rules for men and women in the assembly that apply nowhere else. The women must be silent during the assembly but may ask questions in class. Women may supervise men at work but not at church. And yet it’s hard to imagine how the Law could create a rule that applies during the worship assembly but otherwise doesn’t apply at all.  The appeal of the foregoing analysis is that the rule for submission comes from the Law — Gen 2 — but how submission is shown depends on the local culture and circumstances. In the modern US, a wife should not disrespect her husband, but a wife leading a prayer or communion meditation before a mixed group would not be seen as shaming her husband — not at all (except in a church incorrectly instructed as to the meaning of 1 Cor 14:33b-35). But in First Century Greece, it would have. Hence, the rule — be a helper to your husband — is from the Law, universal, and will continue as long as marriage continues. But how respect or disrespect is shown will change from time to time, culture to culture.

7 Responses

  1. “First, this passage can’t repeal the first half of chapter 11. And no matter how you exegete chapter 11, the fact is that women were praying and prophesying in the presence of men in the assembly.”

    A good attorney will often overstate the evidence for the benefit of the client. It is NOT a “fact” that women were actively speaking in the assembly; it is an assumption == perhaps a strong assumption, but an assumption nonetheless, maybe enough for a civil court decision, but enough reasonable doubt to avoid a criminal conviction.

    But we are not dealing with a courtroom.

    Regarding whether “as in all… silent … in the churches. If we were to read the passage w/o the second ekklesia, Paul would be saying women were never to speak, thus the second ekklesia is expressing WHERE the women are to be silent.

    To point out inconsistent application of a Biblical principal does NOT negate the principle. Pointing out inconsistencies is the easy part to portray, but does little if anything to move the discussion forward to a biblical conclusion, if such is possible.

    What I have seen from personal observation is that theology sometimes changes not from faithful study but from family situations. “If I maintain my understanding of scripture regarding A,B, C I will be forces to “judge / criticize / ignore / disfellowship: my son / daughter / brother / etc. Therefore my theology must change. Not much different from the origin of the church of England.

    More when I have time.

  2. Regarding “shameful” (sorry I cannot adjust the Greek font error)

    this group was in common use and is thus often found in the LXX. The sense is “to shame,” “put to be ashamed shame” (God mostly as subject), “be shamed or ashamed” (personally rather than publicly). The main point of aischýn¢ is not “feeling of shame” but “disgrace,” i.e., the shame brought by divine judgment, though sometimes with a stress on “being ashamed.”

    B. The NT Usage. The same meanings are found here: “to shame” (1 Cor 11:4-5), “to bring to shame” (1 Cor 1:27), “to be ashamed” (Luke 16:3), almost “disillusioned” (Phil 1:20). aischýn¢ means “disgrace” (Heb 12:2; Jude 13), with a play on the sexual sense in Rev 3:18. aischrós means “what is disgraceful” (1 Cor 11:6; [note JAF: also in 1 Cor 14:35] Eph 5:12; Titus 1:11). aischrót¢s occurs only in Eph 5:4 where it refers to “shameful talk.” [R. BULTMANN, I, 189-91]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

    Notice that Paul concludes by saying 1 Cor 14:37-38
    If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. NASU

  3. Jay: “So when Paul writes that women “should be in submission, as the Law also says,” he is not referring to the Law of Moses. But the Jews also referred to the first five books of the Bible as “the Law,” and so the most likely possibilities are Gen 2 and 3.”

    I’ve pointed before to Numbers 30, a passage clearly relevant in the “law of Moses”

    Seldom does anyone advocating a “wider women’s role” care to discuss the meaning of hupotassw in context. The word is ALL about order and authority.

  4. John F,

    I don’t see an argument from Num 30. Here’s the text —

    (Num. 30:3-15 ESV) 3 “If a woman vows a vow to the LORD and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, 4 and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. 5 But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her.

    6 “If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself, 7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand. 8 But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the LORD will forgive her. 9 (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.) 10 And if she vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath, 11 and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. 12 But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the LORD will forgive her. 13 Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void. 14 But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them. 15 But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity.”

    This certainly makes a woman subordinate to her husband or father with respect to making vows, but it doesn’t make her generally subordinate nor does it speak to asking questions or being silent in an assembly.

    You’d have to argue something like —

    A. Num 30 makes a woman subordinate to her father or husband
    B. Subordination in First Century Corinth required silence
    C. Therefore, the Law requires a woman to be silent in First Century Corinth. In other contexts, she must be subordinate as the local culture dictates.

    That would be an argument that has some logic to it, but I would reject point A. I think it makes women subordinate as it says and that we should not add to the text — and that Paul would not add to the text. He said, “As the Law says,” not “As the Law might be expanded to say.” There is no secret hidden Law behind the Law so that this is a window into a broader, unstated principle that women must be subordinate in all contexts.

    There is nothing in Num 30 requiring silence or prohibiting questions. In fact, Num 30 specifically anticipates that women may make vows in the presence of men — and vows are the very opposite of silence.

    Moreover, a divorced or widowed woman who has not remarried is not subject to this rule. Would this allow her to preach since she is not subordinated to men? In fact, the subordination in Num 30 is to the wife’s husband or, if she’s never married, to her father. If a woman’s husband and father are not in the assembly, may she speak under 1 Cor 14:33b-35? There’d be no exercise of authority or insubordination to her husband or father.

    I’ll address hupotassw in another comment.

    1. John F,

      Let’s talk about hupostassw (hypostasso).

      1. The word is generally translated in the passive voice as “be subject to” or “be submissive to.”

      2. It does not appear in the Law in the LXX at all. Earliest OT use is in 1 Kings.

      3. It can used of the submission of subjects to a king, of wives to husbands, etc. But in Eph 5:21, it’s used of the submission that all Christians must have to one another. Context, therefore, governs as to how strong this submission is.

      4. No one has found a passage in the Law the makes all women subject to all men. It’s just not there. But I’ve already conceded that there’s a sense in which wives are to be subject to their husbands. I don’t think it’s Num 30 (very reminiscent of Victorian era contract law in the US — largely repealed about 125 years ago). Rather, it’s Gen 2 (and certainly not Gen 3).

      5. Moses, Jesus, and Paul all see Gen 2 as exemplary of the proper relationship of husbands and wives — although Paul modifies this in Eph 5 by saying that, also, husbands must be like Christ as husband of the church, that is, willing to die for their wives and exemplary of servanthood and submission (read what Eph says about how we are to follow Jesus —

      (Eph. 5:1-2 ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

      When Paul says, later in the same chapter, that husbands must be like Jesus, this is the idea he has in mind. Husbands must give themselves up as sacrifices for their wives. So this fits Eph 5:21 perfectly, which calls for mutual submission among fellow church members. (Our problem in understanding Paul’s teaching is our weak Christology. We want to make Jesus into a despot and so empower men to be despots over women. But Jesus is not that kind of king, and we Christians may not be that kind of husband.)

      So in 1 Cor 14:34, I take “submission” to mean what Paul says it means: wives are not to ask questions of another woman’s husband in the assembly. In that culture, this would be not only disrespectful, but bring shame on the wife and her husband.

      I’m reading McGowan’s book Ancient Christian Worship. He argues that the early church assembly was in the nature of a banquet (love feast) followed by a symposium — after dinner conversation regarding the scriptures. The sermon wasn’t unheard of, but it was usually a conversation.

      If a wife embarrassed her husband by asking questions of someone else’s husband, it would be seen as immodest. However, it’s easy to imagine that a woman prophesying or praying outloud might be entirely acceptable because her comments would not be directed at a particular married man. She’d be addressing the assembly as a whole.

      Among Jews especially, we know that the teaching was filled with give and take. Jesus was often asked questions, often disrespectful questions, in an effort to test his teachings. Imagine a woman engaging in Jewish dialog with another woman’s husband, peppering him with questions and drawing his attention to herself. In the US, this is no big deal, but in ancient Corinth, such conduct would have shamed her husband — and therefore been contrary to submission appropriate to a suitable helper. It would have been seen as drawing another man’s eyes to the woman asking questions — immodest in a way that is utterly foreign to contemporary America.

  5. A search for the word “upotassw” in the Greek text (Byzantine) brought out 20+ usages of the verb to submit. They are listed below.
    Luke 2:51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
    Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
    Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
    Romans 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;
    Romans 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
    Romans 13:5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
    1 Corintians 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;
    1 Corintians 14:34 Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
    1 Corintians 16:16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.
    Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
    Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    Ephesians 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    Colossians 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    Titus 2:5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
    Titus 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
    Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,
    1Peter 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
    1Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
    1Peter 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
    1Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

    Why apply a different understanding in Eph 5:21 than elsewhere? The usage here must be understood by usage elsewhere. If the mutual submission means equality (as some claim), then it follows that Christ is submissive to the church — the church is submissive to Christ. The point is that wives are to be willingly submissive (subject) to their husbands. That inherently implies a role relationship of a spiritual nature.

    Sorry I cannot format the Greek (UGH) but the meaning is still aeen

    37.31 u(pota/ssw
    37.31 NT:5293† ‎u(pota/ssw‎; ‎kataste/llw‎: to bring something under the firm control of someone – ‘to subject to, to bring under control.’ ‎u(pota/ssw‎: ‎kata\ th\n e)ne/rgeian tou= du/nasqai au)to\n kai\ u(pota/cai au)tw=| ta\ pa/nta ‎’using that power by which he is able to subject all things to him’ Phil 3:21. ‎kataste/llw‎: ‎katastei/la$ de\ o( grammateu\$ to\n o&xlon ‎’the town secretary got the crowd under control’ Acts 19:35.

    36.18 u(pota/ssomai
    36.18 NT:5293† ‎u(pota/ssomai‎; ‎u(potagh/‎, ‎h=$ ‎f ; ‎u(pei/kw‎: to submit to the orders or directives of someone – ‘to obey, to submit to, obedience, submission.’ ‎u(pota/ssomai‎: ‎dou/lou$ i)di/oi$ despo/tai$ u(pota/ssesqai ‎’slaves are to obey their masters’ Titus 2:9. ‎u(potagh/‎: ‎doca/zonte$ to\n qeo\n e)pi\ th=| u(potagh=| th=$ o(mologi/a$ u(mw=n ei)$ to\ eu)agge/lion tou= Xristou= ‎’giving glory to God on account of your obedience to the gospel of Christ which you profess’ 2 Cor 9:13. ‎u(pei/kw‎: ‎pei/qesqe toi=$ h(goume/noi$ u(mw=n kai\ u(pei/kete ‎’obey your leaders and submit to them’ Heb 13:17.

    (Louw & Nida: from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York.

    u(pota/ssw
    NT:5293 u(pota/ssw: 1 aorist ‎u(petaca‎; passive, perfect ‎u(potetagmai‎; 2 aorist ‎u(petaghn‎; 2 future ‎u(potagh/somai‎; present middle ‎u(pota/ssomai‎; to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection: ‎ti/ni ‎‎ti/ ‎or ‎tina‎, 1 Cor 15:27{c}; Heb 2:5; Phil 3:21; passive, Rom 8:20 (see ‎dia/ ‎B. II. 1 b.): 1 Cor 15:27{b} and following; 1 Peter 3:22; ‎tina ‎or ‎ti/ ‎‎u(po/ ‎‎tou/$ ‎‎po/da$ ‎‎ti/no$‎, 1 Cor 15:27{a}; Eph 1:22; ‎u(poka/tw ‎‎tw=n ‎‎podw=n ‎‎ti/no$‎, Heb 2:8; middle to subject oneself, to obey; to submit to one’s control; to yield to one’s admonition or advice: absolutely, Rom 13:5; 1 Cor 14:34 (cf. Buttmann, § 151, 30); ‎tina‎, Luke 2:51; 10:17,20; Rom 8:7; 13:1; 1 Cor 14:32; 16:16; Eph 5:21f (but in Eph 5:22, G T WH text omit; Tr marginal reading brackets ‎u(pota/ssesqe‎); Eph 5:24; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5,9; 3:1; 1 Peter 2:18; 3:1,5; 5:5; 2 aorist passive with a middle force, to obey (R. V. subject oneself, Buttmann, 52 (46)), Rom 10:3; imperative obey, be subject: James 4:7; 1 Peter 2:13; 5:5; 2 future passive Heb 12:9. (The Sept.; (Aristotle), Polybius, Plutarch, Arrian, Herodian)*

    (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon,

  6. Here is fuller discussion of huptotassw in the LXX
    1 Kings 10:15; 1 Chron 22:18; 29:24; 2 Chron 9:14; Hag 2:18; A: to put or place under [Ps 8:7 ; to put in place Hag 2:18; to subdue, Wisdom 18:22; to subdue somebody under Ps 17(18):48; be subjected (to the Lord), to submit (to the Lord); as a virtue) Ps 61(62):2, see also Ps 36(37):7; 61(62):6; 2 Macc 9:12; to be subjected, to be subdued (of political subjects) 1 Kings 10:15; to be subjected to 1 Chron 29:24; to submit oneself 2 Macc 13:23

    (from A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, Revised Edition, edited by Johan Lust, Erik Eynikel, and Katrin Hauspie, © 2003 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. All rights reserved.)

    It is seemingly impossible to avoid the idea of subordination, sometimes willingly (Rom. 13 & Maccabees); but more often a recognition of a superior force or authority.

    What does this mean? The equality so many seek is not found in the language of scripture; but in some “grand progression of liberation” that must be found in “proof texting” out of context and clarity of scripture.

    It may well be we have misinterpreted 1 Cor 11 — comments on that elsewhere.

    The “feminist agenda” is a reality; just look at the ACU summit classes such as “How We Did it; How You Can.” (Well attended, by the way.)

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