1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 102
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2009|
|We’re talking about order in the church and this part 3, as Paul is trying to get some kind of integrity back into the worship experience of Corinth. There’s no way in the world—we’ve said it over and over again—that we can recreate or fully understand the chaos and the confusing situations going on in Corinth.|
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
John Ankerberg: Hi, this is John Ankerberg and today I want to present to you my very, very good friend, Dr. Wayne Barber. For 18 years he was pastor of the huge Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was co-teacher with Kay Arthur for 14 years at Precept Ministries. He studied with Dr. Spiros Zodhiates and co-hosted with him the national radio and TV program “New Testament Light” for 10 years. Wayne has taught the message of living grace, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, all around the world. He is president, founder and principle speaker of Living Grace Ministries. And in February 2011 he returned to Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as senior pastor. Wayne has authored several books. The most recent one is entitled Living Grace: Letting Jesus Be Jesus in You. And he’s also co-authored the Following God series of studies published by AMG. I hope that you’ll enjoy listening to Dr. Wayne Barber.
Order in the Church – Part 3
Dr. Wayne Barber: Would you turn with me this morning to 1 Corinthians 14. We’re going to be looking in verses 34-35. And I know you’re thinking, Wayne, you’re go so slow. Will you ever get out of chapter 14? Well, I want to promise you I can’t wait to get out chapter 14. I’m just having to go kind of slow so we don’t get messed up here. I think I’ve made just about everybody mad, so today I might as well complete this picture, as we’re dealing with the women speaking in the church. Oh, dear!
We’re talking about order in the church and this part 3, as Paul is trying to get some kind of integrity back into the worship experience of Corinth. There’s no way in the world—we’ve said it over and over again—that we can recreate or fully understand the chaos and the confusing situations going on in Corinth. There’s no way. Their public worship was a sham and both the men and the women were to blame. There were no spiritual leaders amongst the men and there were not many women who were willing to submit if there was. And so it’s just a real mess there and the women were out of control as well as the men. And so he’s trying to put some order back into their service.
I have so much respect for the apostle Paul. He loves these people, and for that reason he’s willing to step right in the midst of a really difficult situation, right in the midst of everything they were doing and tell them they were wrong. Now, either he’s incredibly stupid or he’s an anointed man of God, one or the other, because he just goes against the whole Corinthian denomination. He steps right in their face and says everything you’re doing is nothing more than flesh, and he tries to help them get it back on its feet to where it brings glory to God and not to the experiences of man. That took a lot of love for them and that took a lot of love for the Lord Jesus. And, you know, in 4:14, let me remind you, he didn’t say anything to them to shame them or to try to put them down. He said, “I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.”
Well in verses 27-40, after 26 verses of dealing with them speaking in this gibberish that nobody understood, finally he comes down and says, okay, now here’s the way your services are going to have to be. He puts the order back into them. In verse 27 he makes a concession. The little word et is the word that’s sort of a concession, where it sounds like saying, “alright.” I mean, he’s done this twice in this study. You can almost feel the frustration that he has of dealing with people that don’t want to be dealt with. It’s kind of the way it is today. You talk to people about what the Word of God says, they’ll throw their experience right back in your face. They don’t care. And every time you come back to the Word they’ll do the same thing.
Well, Paul was going through the same frustration. I get the feeling of that as I studied, and we see some of these words that he uses. And in verse 27 he says, “If anyone speaks in a tongue.” And if you’ve not been with us, “a tongue” is that gibberish that’s going on. He distinguishes “languages,” tongues plural, from “a tongue,” with what’s going on there in Corinth. That was nothing more than a gibberish. It came right out of their pagan worship 30 miles down the road, the oracles of Delphi, and then drug it right back into their experience there at the church. They thought it was spiritual. They even thought it was a sign to the believer. And he’s already corrected that error. And he says in verse 27, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each one in turn and let one interpret.”
Now the little word “if,” again, is used and he’s saying alright, alright, alright. If you’re going to do it, it’s going to have to be this way. There’s an order to it. Two, or at the most three, and you don’t do it all at one time. You do it one at a time. And there are two things he’s making sure of. It tells you a lot of what’s going on their service. One is that nobody’s speaking at the same time and there’s no more than three. Secondly, that it be interpreted, that it be interpreted. You see, when somebody speaks in a gibberish it can’t be interpreted. And so you see the subtlety of what he’s telling them right here. In other words, he’s creating a hypothetical situation. This really can’t happen, but for the sake of argument, if you’re going to do it, you’re going to have to do it this way. He cleverly slips in the nail that just sort of slams it shut. He says in verse 28, “But if there is no interpreter.” What, there’s no interpreter? What? Nobody can understand what you’re saying, then he says, alright, “let them keep silent in the church. Let him speak to himself or to God.” Because nobody else understands you, and you don’t know what you’re saying. Maybe God can get something out of it, but you don’t know what you’re saying. But don’t bring in the public worship service,” he said. No one can translate a gibberish, and that’s what he’s talking about.
Well in verses 29-33 he addresses those who speak in an understandable language. He moves from them to the prophets. Now remember, the canon was not complete. There was no formal doctrine that had been yet formulated for the church. It was being done as Paul was writing. So they had prophets a little differently, and perhaps these were the prophets of the early New Testament church. We see them phased out. We don’t have them anymore because we have the canon, we have the Word of God. But one would stand and speak and then another perhaps would give fresh revelation to what he had just said, but it all had to be accountable. And he said “Let two or three prophets speak.” And of course when a prophet would speak you had to understand what they said. “And let the others pass judgment.” And just to say this, not to go back and re-preach what we’ve already done, but in review, pass judgment means to have the discernment to be able to hold the one who had spoken or is speaking accountable to what God has said.
And so, again, you see the emphasis on the content of what one says. How can you ever say that speaking in a gibberish has any content to it, because it has no understanding to it? Even the prophets have to be accountable. And they speak in an understandable language. “But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.”
Now their way of doing things was drastically different than today. Anybody who would go into this chapter and try to mimic that way of worship misses the whole point. That’s just the way they were doing it in that time. But the point that we can glean from them is that the one who was speaking, there was respect for him. And so what was being said, everybody else wasn’t chaotic and trying to speak at the same time. Let the one who is speaking speak, let him be accountable for what he says.
Then verse 32, “And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.” That word “spirits” has to do with the mind, the understanding. And what he’s saying is the prophet who is doing the speaking must be in control of what he’s saying. Now, how different is this from those who would stand up and speak in a gibberish that nobody understood, totally out of control? He says, now listen, you prophets, when you speak, the other ones can’t because there won’t be an interpreter. But when you speak you’re accountable also and you be in control of what you’re saying. Don’t let it be a babbling gibberish.” Verse 33: “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” And the word “confusion” there is the word that means God is not the God of that which is out of order. God is not the God of that which is disruptive. It had to do with all that was going on in Corinth.
Now, as Paul continues his efforts now to put order back into the church, I believe now he begins to allude to the very root of the problem of all of it. Now, when I read this you’re going to think that I’m saying the women were the root of the problem. I know you are. I know you are. But don’t you do that to me. You let me finish everything I’m going to say today, because you’re going to be a lot happier than you think you’re going to be, ladies. You think I’m going to get on your case. It’s going to be a lot nicer and softer than you thought. Verse 34, however, says, “Let the women keep silent in the church.” Now don’t get mad at me, I didn’t write this. “For they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves just as the law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.”
Now what is Paul doing here? I know what he’s doing. He wrote this to get me in trouble in the 20th century. He knew that Wayne’s going to get everybody mad at him before this thing’s over. Now, what is he doing by bringing the women up? What role do they have in what’s going on, and speaking in this gibberish? That is his theme now, of all of chapter 14, is speaking in this babbling, this silliness of saying stuff that nobody can understand. He’s putting it down, putting it down big time. Why does he bring the women now, into the picture?
Well, let’s just wade into a very controversial area. Some places you go you put on hip boots, and some places you go you put on chest waders. I need a scuba tank. But let’s ease into it. First of all we need a definition. “Let the women keep silent in the churches.” That’s sort of an oxymoron, isn’t it? I heard somebody say, I was speaking in the book of the Revelation once, and I heard somebody say, “I know there’s no women going to be in heaven.” And I said “Why?” “Cause it says right here that there’s silence in heaven for 30 minutes.” I said no, no, no, okay. Everything’s fine. I’m going to dig a hole for myself before this thing’s over with.
One of the things that most women, most men, don’t know is that the word for woman and the word for wife are the same words in the Greek language. And the word for woman is gune. Now we have to determine whether he’s speaking to the women—obviously he’s speaking to women—but is he referring specifically to the wives, because the word means the same thing? There are those who say that Paul is giving a general principle that no woman can speak in church. They have to be silent. They can’t do anything in church, can’t pray, can’t speak, cannot do anything. Now, ladies, I think this is totally incorrect. So relax, I’m on your side. I’m not in the camp that they say what they’re saying. Now, you say, “Why is that, Wayne?” I’m going to explain it to you. Just stay with me.
In making our decision here we’ve got to make that determination, however. Is it a woman or is he speaking of wives specifically? Now the same thing you have to do in 1 Timothy 2:12 when it says, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” Now, again, you’ve got to make up your own mind. Is he talking about wives there, a wife over a husband, or is he speaking of women and men, because the words are the same in the Greek text. You say,” Wayne, what do you think?” I’m not getting into that. I’ve got enough on my hands this morning. That’s 1 Timothy 2. But that’s the same type of thing you get into when you look at this word. You’ve got to make up your mind.
Well, if you’ll look at verse 35, I think he clears up the answer for us in 1 Corinthians 14. To me it clears up the problem. “And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” Now, “if they desire.” Who are the “they?” If they’re just any woman, whose husband is she going to ask? It sounds to me like he’s talking about wives. If the wives have a problem, go to their husband. Why he singles that out I don’t know, but that’s the way I see the text. If he’s saying a woman must keep silent in the church that can’t be right, because she can’t pray—we saw that back in chapter 11 where they can—and prophesy, they can’t speak or they can’t even sing. That’s not what he’s saying.
But he’s saying something different, and I think he’s speaking to the wives right here, has a very direct word for them. And I think he’s also saying to the husbands, “husbands, you be in control of your wives.” Now what was going on in the Corinthian church, again, we can’t enter into. There’s no way we’re going to be able to mimic it today. But it was so chaotic evidently there was a problem there with women and he, to set order back in the church, instead of dealing with all the women, dealt with the wives and put them under a principle. “If you’ll get back under submission to your husband then we can have order there, then we can have order within the church.”
Somehow the women were a part of the confusion that was going on in Corinth. Now, I know some people don’t like that, but he’s very clear. He didn’t say, “Children, you go home and ask your parents.” He didn’t say, “Wives, yank a knot in your husband’s head.” He said, “You wives, you women,” he said “you be quiet; and if you’ve got a question, you go home and ask your husband.” Now, there’s a cultural piece of the puzzle that might fit in here, because in the setting of the synagogues the women would sit on one side and the men would sit on another. If you go to Eastern Europe normally, now not all of them, but normally the women will be on one side, the men will be on the other side. They still do it to this day. And you can see immediately how that would create a problem. If the husband’s sitting over here and the wife’s sitting over here with another group of ladies, and it gets real emotional, look out, because how’s the husband going to keep his wife under submission? So Paul says if you can get that in check, then order can come back into the services they were having.
And to me, that’s my opinion of what he’s speaking of here. And you’ve got to check it out for yourself. I’ve never said I’m the authority. God’s Word is the authority. But as I see the text he speaks of wives and he speaks of husbands. And he’s saying you wives, you be in submissive to your husbands. And you husbands, you help me handle this problem, because if you’ll handle, if you’ll take care and put your wife under control, then we can have order within the church. So the women had something to do with the chaotic situation of speaking in a gibberish in the early Christian church. And the way Paul sees order is by telling them to get back under submission to their husbands so that they can have order in both areas.
You remember one of the judgments to Israel in the Old Testament was you’ll know you’re being judged by the fact that women shall rule over you and when women get out of control. As a matter of fact, just for a second here, turn over to 2 Timothy. I want to show you something. Now, you do understand that all that went on in the pagan situation down 30 miles of road from Corinth was a very emotional thing when those oracles of Delphi would speak in that gibberish and that babbling. Now, I’ll tell you what, ladies, you understand what I’m saying. Men are not emotional enough, but more often than not, women are very emotional and get caught up in different things and are easily deceived because of it. You say, “Now, Wayne, you’re reading that into Scripture.” Am I?
Look in 2 Timothy 3:6. He’s dealing with false teachers, and I want to show you who they prey on. A false teacher is one, he says, “For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins.” You see, that’s what’s going on in Corinth. There’s so much sin nobody’s dealing with it. And he says, “Led on by [what?] various impulses,” the emotions of the time. Now this is the same way. He said in another passage, he says Adam sinned, but Eve was deceived. And it’s very important to understand. If you can get the women and the men to get their act together, and to get the women in order at home, and the men becoming the spiritual leader of that woman, then that’s going to bring order into the church.
So in the sense of a definition here we need a definition. And I think the woman is the wife. He speaks very specifically to her. But then secondly, all of us also need a classification. What is he talking about? Especially ladies, if you want to know what’s going on here you’re going to have to know what is it you can’t speak. Verse 34: “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they’re not permitted to speak.” Speak what? Well, the verb that is used for “speak” in verse 34 is the word laleo. It’s always used—now, it can be used in other places—but it’s always used when it comes to speaking in singular, leo. You wouldn’t use the word lego, which is the word of meaning speaking intelligently. You wouldn’t use that. You would use none of the other words that are used for speak. You only use laleo. And matter of fact, chapter 14 will show you what I’m talking about. Look in verse 2. The only word, now it’s used in other verses, but when you bring up “speaking in a tongue,” laleo.
And we covered this back in chapter 12, but for the sake of you that haven’t been with us we’ll look at it just for a second. Verse 2: “For one who speaks in a tongue [laleo] does not speak to men but to God.” Verse 4 of chapter 14: “One who speaks [laleo] “in a tongue edifies himself.” Verse 13: “Therefore let one who speaks [laleo] in a tongue.” Verse 19, and Paul is speaking of himself, but he’s contrasting what’s going on, so he uses that word. “However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.” And then in verse 27, “If anyone speaks [laleo] in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret.” The root meaning of the word laleo, and again it can be used in other ways, but the root understanding of it is simply by, according to Kittel’s, according to all the resources I went to, was simply a babbling; to make a noise, an uncertain noise. It was used of the sounds of animals.
Anybody in here say they understand an animal? I’ve had people tell me that. I’m thinking, you know, you were weird before you told me that, and now you’ve convinced me. I mean, understanding the sounds of animals. It’s used of musical instruments that are out of tune. Do you get the picture? Laleo, an uncertain sound, not a certain sound. Whenever God speaks, whenever His Word speaks, when the Law speaks it’s never used, the word laleo. It’s the word lego, and it’s the word for meaning intelligently speaking.
So in the context here what is he talking about? It’s not right for a woman to speak in church. What he’s saying is he’s tying the women right to the gibberish that’s going on in Corinth. And that’s what he’s driving at. This has been the context of the whole chapter. And in verse 34 that’s what he’s saying, when it’s not well, women cannot speak that gibberish within the church. If he wanted to say women cannot speak intelligently he would have changed the words, lego, but he did not. He left it laleo. His whole discussion is wrapped around the problem, the controversy that’s going on in Corinth. Lalean, the present active infinitive of laleo, has the particular and predominant meaning of make a noise, babble, an uncertain sound. Now what does that tell you? Again of the women being right in the core of this fleshly practice that’s going on in the church of Corinth.
Paul is not speaking of intelligent speak. It’s never forbidden of a woman to speak to a group as long as she’s under authority, as Timothy talks about in, to her husband and to the church. It’s never wrong for her to be able to share, to stand and share the Word of God. There are some who say it is. No sir, it’s not. But it’s always wrong for her to speak in that babbling in that gibberish.
Now, all of chapter 14 has been addressing this. But in nothing Paul is saying is he putting down women. Now, ladies, don’t get bent out of shape. Don’t get bent out of shape. Don’t get your hair uncurled over all of this stuff. He’s not putting you down. What he’s saying is he’s identifying the source of the problem, but he’s also saying not only is it wrong for you to speak, it’s wrong for your husband or any man. It’s wrong for anyone to do that within the congregation, the public worship. Back in verse 13 he says, “Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret;” anyone, it doesn’t matter who it is, man or woman. Verse 27, “If anyone,” anyone is the key, “speaks in a tongue, it must be by two, at the most three and each in turn and then let one interpret.” If he can’t interpret it, be quiet, men, women, all of them. But the reason he’s bringing up the women again is because they’re at the core of the problem of what’s going on in Corinth. He doesn’t want them speaking in the air. He says in 14:9, “so also you unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, understandable how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.”
Now, I want to make sure you understand what I’m saying. He’s not putting the ladies down. He’s identifying the problem. You say, “Wayne, you’re trying to read something in.” I’m not reading anything in. I’m just telling you, I didn’t write this. But the women were at the center, core of it and it was this speaking in a babbling and a gibberish and calling it a spiritual gift and even thinking that it was a sign to believers. And earlier in the chapter he blew that theory completely out of the water. By bringing up the wives of these men, he also is indicting those husbands I want to tell you, because those husbands evidently were not leading their families as they should have been. They weren’t the spiritual leaders that they should have been, because if their wives are out of control in church, you know that they’re out of control at home.
I wonder this—and I only wonder it and I’ll probably get letters on it—but I wonder this. If you took all the women out of the movement that has been along ever since Corinth, of speaking in a gibberish and in this other language and calling it spiritual, if you took every woman out of it, what would be left of that movement? What would be left of it? If you’ve ever watched, just pay attention; did you know that 80% of all the Christian books, no matter who wrote them, are bought by women? Only 20% are bought by men. And if you’ll look at the big conferences and places and watch it on television, look at the audience. And it was the same problem in the church at Corinth. Now, ladies it’s no put down to you. But he’s going to come now to the answer.
The last thing I want to share with you today; it’s going to take me the longest, is the answer. You have to have a definition; who’s he talking to? You have to have a classification; what is it they can’t say? And I think we’ve got that down. Then we come, there’s got to be a transformation in the Corinthian church, just like there’s got to be a transformation in the church of Jesus Christ today. If you’re going to live after the flesh all kinds of chaotic things are going to come out of your life.
Now, his specific context is this, but there are other things that you can add to that. Now what we need is a change in bringing order back into the family so when the family gets in order then the order can come into the church and the church can be in order. When you see a church that’s out of order you’ve got families that are out of order. And no wonder he addresses the wives and no wonder he addresses the husbands. Let’s look at this transformation. I think he’s alluding to the real problem, not only of Corinth, but of the church today.
Verse 34: “Let the women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak [this gibberish], but let them subject themselves,” now watch this carefully, “just as the law also says,” and then he immediately goes to husbands in verse 35. Let’s talk about this for a second. “Let them subject themselves.” What is that word? Now, men, we need to stop being so hardheaded and listen to these two words. There’s two words for subject, or to obey. And I want you to understand, this word that I’m about to tell you about is not used here. There are some men who take this as if their wife is a doormat and walk right over them. That’s not it at all. That would be the word hupakouo. That is used when the wind would obey the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He spoke the wind obeyed, no questions asked. It’s the word used of a child obeying his parents. It’s the word used of a believer obeying God. But it’s never used of a wife obeying her husband except in 1 Peter 3, giving the supreme example of Sarah and Abraham; the word hupakouo. So don’t get in your idea here, “It says wives, just obey your husbands, whatever they say.” No sir! That’s not it, no sir, that is not it.
But there’s another word that is used here and the context is beautiful because he’s not putting anybody down. Understand that. He’s trying to build you up. He’s trying to put order back into the family and order back into the church and make some sense out of this. It’s the word hupotasso. That’s a different word. Hupo means under, tasso means to arrange yourself or to place yourself under. It’s when you have two equals. My wife and I are equals in God’s sight. It’s when my wife chooses to submit to me by putting her life and arranging herself so that I can be in the position to lead, and therefore God can deal directly with me. And if I don’t lead He chastens and disciplines and scourges those who are His own. And so that word has the idea of two equals, but one chooses to submit to the other.
When the Southern Baptist Convention brought up women or wives submitting to their husbands it brought an uproar amongst the liberals all over our country, no matter what denomination or religion. Hey, what does God’s Word say? And why would a woman do that? I can hear a woman now saying, “That redneck. I’m more gifted than he is. I’m sharper than he is. Got a better personality. Why in the world do I have to submit to that redneck?” I’ll tell you why. Because God said so. You say, “Well, I don’t understand that.” What don’t you understand about submit? I mean, what part of it? Is it the first part of the word or the second part of the word? God said it. It’s kind of like a guy following a car. He says, “Follow me.” “Where’s he going?” I don’t know. What part of it do you not understand, “follow” or “me”? I mean, that’s what God said. That’s His order.
Now, if He’s got an order in the family He definitely has an order in the church. And what he’s saying is, you do it God’s way, period. You don’t do it man’s way. Corinth, as knowledgeable as they were, were doing it their way, and not doing it God’s way. This tells me that the fleshly attitudes of Corinth had infiltrated the family and that there was no submission of the wives to the husbands and there was no leadership of the husbands to the wives. And this is the problem when you come together for public worship: what goes on inside that house will come out some way, in a disorder, when public worship is happening. Back in chapter 7 we got a clue about how their families were all upside down. They didn’t have a clue about anything. They even thought that sexual intimacy in marriage was a sin. Paul said, “Good grief, people, what are you doing?” It took him a whole chapter to straighten them out. So their families were a mess.
But this also tells me; now, men, listen to me, this is not just an indictment to a woman. If you’ve got a wife that is out of control in a worship service, you’ve got a man somewhere that’s not fulfilling his responsibility of leading spiritually that lady. And see, even though he doesn’t bring men into the picture at all, just by bringing the wives automatically puts the men into the picture. And so there’s a twofold problem. Women that won’t submit, but men that won’t lead; not drive, lead.
I think he’s saying when you wives are willing to start submitting to your husbands, order can be restored. You know, I can hear some lady now say, “Well, why didn’t he say if you men would start living right the wives would submit?” Because the men were not the instigators of the problem at Corinth. The women were. Stay in the context. Don’t leave the context. I can’t answer all the questions, I’m just saying he’s dealing with the women and he’s saying submit to your husbands. Go home, submit to your husband. If you’ve got a question ask them, but don’t come into this body of believers and continue to create the chaos and the confusion that’s going on in Corinth.
He says, “But let them subject themselves just as the law also says.” Now, that threw me. That threw me. What law is he talking about? I couldn’t find a law anywhere in the Mosaic law that said that women were not allowed to speak. I did find in my research that the synagogues, they wouldn’t let them talk. But hey, where do you find that in the law? They did a lot of things in the synagogue that God didn’t have in the law. Where do you find that a woman cannot speak? I couldn’t find that law. So what law is he referring to? And he leaves it open. Most of the time when it’s a specific law it’ll be the law of Moses, but he doesn’t put what it’s referenced to. The only conclusion I can come up with—and I’m certainly not the authority; the Word of God is—but my conclusion is it’s the law of order that’s all around us. The very thing that God does is decent and in order, and therefore there’s an order in the family and there’s an order in the church.
You do it God’s way. When God’s a part of something there’s order, and there’s no disruption and distortion because God does it right. In 14:40 he says, “But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.” Why? Because that’s the way God is honored. God is not honored in chaos and confusion and distortion and disturbance that can come within the body of fleshly-minded believers. This law of doing things decently and in order would apply to the men as well as to the women. And so, as according to the law, he says, you do not speak, you submit yourselves. There’s an order in the family. There’s an order in the church.
Then he goes on and he says in verse 35, “And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.” Now, what in the world is he talking about? Well, now you have to bring this in. There’s a cultural situation here that he might have been talking about, but I think it’s deeper than that. But this has got to be factored in. If you’re a true student of the word you’ve got to know this. If the synagogue practice had filtered into the church, then the women on one side and the men on the other side, when they had a question the women would shout across to the men and ask them if they had a question. And you can see in a minute how confusing that might be. Is that what he’s saying? “Go home, take it home. Don’t do this in church. Don’t shout the questions back and forth in church.” That makes a lot of sense to me.
But to me that’s not the root of it. If they desire to learn anything. “If they really desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.” Now, here’s where I’m going to interject again my thinking on the text, and you just have to reason it out, see if it’d be so. Take your questions home and put the monkey on the back of your husband so he will become the spiritual leader of your family. You know what the problem is? And I see this everywhere I go. I preach all around the world. I go in a lot of places, and because of my relationship with Precept Ministries over the years, which has been a wonderful relationship, but there’s a lot of people that have known me through the video tapes that they put out. And I have watched this, and my wife has watched this.
They line up after a service to tell me that they enjoy the tapes. Now, that’s fine and I appreciate that. They are very gracious people. But what I sometimes pick up is they’re wanting me to get into Scripture and answer questions and questions and questions. And the thought just comes to my mind, especially when I was studying this, I wonder where their husbands are? Where are the husbands? Do you realize that a woman, by going to her husband—you say, “Well my husband is a redneck. He doesn’t know enough about the Word of God. He doesn’t even know where the table of contents is.” Well, I wonder why he doesn’t know that.
Now, I want to tell you something, ladies. I know us men are going to get burned. We get burned all the time for the stuff that we do and don’t do. And the Word of God just eats our lunch. In Ephesians 5 he says women submit yourself to your husband, or wives, and then he eats the husband’s lunch for about the next 15 verses, so we’re going to get our due. We’re going to get our due. One of the things I’ve noticed is if a man ever struggles with an immoral thought or whatever, a lady’s quick many times to just burn him because of that. And I understand that. But any man who says he’s never struggled with immoral thoughts is either lying or he’s dead, if we’d be gut honest.
But let’s just change it back to the other side for a second. What is the sin that Genesis says that a woman has? And you know what that sin is; “she shall desire to rule over her husband,” to be in control. Now, what’s any different? Why don’t we throw rocks back and forth? Men, get right with your sin, your flesh. But ladies, also, the same thing. Go home. Trust God. You say, “Wayne, my husband’s an unbeliever. How in the world do I submit to him?” I don’t know. Ask Simon Peter, because he wrote 1 Peter 3 and he says you ladies in the same way that Jesus submitted Himself to His Father likewise you women submit yourselves to your husbands. And if they be disbelieving husbands you’ll win them without ever speaking a word. I didn’t write that. I just wonder where all the problem’s coming from. God says there’s an order; trust God in the order. Don’t trust your logic to figure it out. Just go home.
I just wonder if that would not do wonders in turning the whole situation around and getting men to understand their responsibility. And I wonder if it wouldn’t keep women from getting so emotionally caught up in false doctrine that they begin to propagate it just like they did at the church of Corinth.
Where are the men that love God and that live a life not perfect, nobody’s perfect, but live consistent and predictable, and when they sin they come back to the cross? My wife told me years ago, she said, “Wayne, about the only thing that made me want to submit to you was finally I saw you learn to you submit to Christ and it made it so much easier for me to submit to you.” You get order back in the family, friend, you’re going to have order in the church. And you check out where all the emotionalism comes from. I didn’t write this, but, boy, I’ll tell you what, it’s like reading the newspaper in the 20th century. Paul doesn’t speak to the young people. He doesn’t speak to the husbands. He speaks to the women, and I think reference to the wives. And if you want to get the women under control, get the wives under control. Then they can become the influence for the single women and then you begin to have order coming back into the church the way God wants it to be.
Well, won’t you be glad to get out of chapter 14? He goes on and says, “For it is improper,” it’s out of place, “for a woman to speak,” laleo one more time, coming right back to his text; it’s been there all the way through, “in the church.” This gibberish, the women had a ton to do with it and it’s improper. Now, ladies, let’s put order back in your family. Men, you take your leadership where you ought to have it, the right kind of leadership and then we’ll have order back in the church.
We have a definition: What women is he talking about? I think he’s talking about the wives to their husbands. We have classification: What is it they can’t speak? The gibberish, the babbling that was going on in Corinth. And we have, and I pray we have, a transformation to where the families can get back into order the law of God which does things decently in order. And once the families are in order, that order can also be in the church.
I hate to read directions. That’s one of the faults of men again and that’s why we’re so hard-headed I guess. One Christmas Eve I was going to put together my son’s Christmas present, a Big Wheel. You’ve got to know our family. You’ve got to know our family. My wife looks at me when I have a screwdriver in my hand, she trembles. I’m very destructive. I can take it apart that quick, but I can never get it back together. But I said, “I’m going to put this thing together.” She said, “Are you going to read the directions?” Directions! It’s just a Big Wheel. A kid could put this together! I worked on that thing. It wasn’t that much to work on, I mean, I put all the pieces on. It looked good. It had those big old wheels. It was a one of those sick looking greens. Remember those greens. It was sick green, had little tassels coming out of the handlebars. Had the big old wheels on it, plastic thing. And I could just envision him riding that thing the next day, and I even thought about myself trying it, but it was a little too small.
And I put it together and I was so proud. There was one thing, when you’re putting it together, there’s one thing you’ve got to do. The last thing you do, you better make sure everything’s there, and that’s to put those little cap nuts on there, because if you put a cap nut on and you realize you’ve made a mistake and you take it off that cap nut, it never goes back on like it first went on. It’s loose from then on. You’re dead in the water. Is it all ready? I looked around. I couldn’t see anything. Put that thing on, those cap nuts on all the sides, and I was so proud. And I rolled that thing out across the room, and it was wobbling, and I’m thinking, wait a minute. That’s a different way to ride. And I threw it across and it was just wobbled everywhere. And my wife walks in the room at the wrong time. “How you doing?” “Oh, good, good, good, really good.” “Let me see it.” And they can tell. And she looked in the box and she said what are these four red little things right here? Oops!
Directions; the order in which you put it together; and the little things, you put them as it says so when you get it together the big thing will work like it ought to work. And I had forgotten to put those sleeves in there which would keep the thing from going, and it’d go straight. So I had to take the cap nuts off. I put the wheels on after I put the sleeves on. I thought it would be okay. No! All Christmas day I spent trying to calm my son down. He was crying because his wheels fell off, trying to find the stupid cap nuts somewhere in the grass. I finally got a thing of spray paint and I spray painted them a real loud, I think it was orange or something, but some real bright color so I could start finding those cap nuts because they kept falling off.
The big thing failed because the proper order of putting the little things together wasn’t there. If you want order in the church, it doesn’t start in a church, it starts at home. It starts with a wife and husband and a family. And those families become models for those singles. And when that submission is there and the father’s taking the leadership and you bring that back into the church, you’re going to have order in the church.