1 Corinthians 14:35
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
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(35) If they will learn any thing.—Better, if they are desirous to learn anything. They are not even to ask questions in public assemblies. They are to ask their husbands at home on every point on which they desire special instruction. (See 1 Corinthians 8.)

14:34-40 When the apostle exhorts Christian women to seek information on religious subjects from their husbands at home, it shows that believing families ought to assemble for promoting spiritual knowledge. The Spirit of Christ can never contradict itself; and if their revelations are against those of the apostle, they do not come from the same Spirit. The way to keep peace, truth, and order in the church, is to seek that which is good for it, to bear with that which is not hurtful to its welfare, and to keep up good behaviour, order, and decency.And if they will learn anything - If anything has been spoken which they do not understand; or if on any particular subject they desire more full information, let them inquire of their husbands in their own dwelling. They may there converse freely; and their inquiries will not be attended with the irregularity and disorder which would occur should they interrupt the order and solemnity of public worship.

For it is a shame - It is disreputable and shameful; it is a breach of propriety. Their station in life demands modesty, humility, and they should be free from the ostentation of appearing so much in public as to take part in the public services of teaching and praying. It does not become their rank in life; it is not fulfilling the object which God evidently intended them to fill. He has appointed people to rule; to hold offices; to instruct and govern the church; and it is improper that women should assume that office upon themselves. This evidently and obviously refers to the church assembled for public worship, in the ordinary and regular acts of devotion. There the assembly is made up of males and females, of old and young, and there it is improper for them to take part in conducting the exercises. But this cannot be interpreted as meaning that it is improper for females to speak or to pray in meetings of their own sex, assembled for prayer or for benevolence; nor that it is improper for a female to speak or to pray in a Sunday School. Neither of these come under the apostle's idea of a church. And in such meetings, no rule of propriety or of the Scriptures is violated in their speaking for the edification of each other, or in leading in social prayer. It may be added here, that on this subject the Jews were very strenuous, and their laws were very strict. The Rabbis taught that a woman should know nothing but the use of the distaff, and they were specially prohibited from asking questions in the synagogue, or even from reading. See Lightfoot. The same rule is still observed by the Jews in the synagogues.

35. Anticipation of an objection. Women may say, "But if we do not understand something, may we not 'ask' a question publicly so as to 'learn'? Nay, replies Paul, if you want information, 'ask' not in public, but 'at home'; ask not other men, but 'your own particular (so the Greek) husbands.'"


This must be understood of speaking to the congregation, for the instructing them, or speaking in the congregation to the minister, or any of the people, for her own instruction, for the woman might, doubtless, say Amen to the public prayers, and also sing with the congregation to the honour and glory of God. But for her to speak in an ordinary course of prophecy to instruct people, or to call aloud to the minister, or any members in the assembly of the church, to be satisfied in any thing wherein she was in doubt, this she is forbidden. And if they will learn anything,.... If they are desirous of learning anything in relation to doctrine, duty, or discipline, and of improving their knowledge of divine things, which is very commendable in them; if any difficulty arises in their minds whilst hearing the word, which they want to have removed, or any question to ask for information sake,

let them ask their husbands at home; privately, when retired from the public assembly; for though men might ask one another concerning this, and the other point, in the church, as was usual in the synagogue worship, to which this church at Corinth in many things conformed; yet women were not allowed this freedom, and even in things which belonged to women to do; as for instance, making the cake of the first of their dough, which was to be an heave offering to the Lord, the men were to teach the women at home how, and when to separate it from the rest (d). So the apostle directs women, when they wanted to be informed about any point, to apply to their husbands at their own houses, if they were such as were capable of instructing them; if not, they might apply to other men that were Christian men, and men of knowledge, especially to the prophets, pastors, and teachers of the church, at their habitations:

for it is a shame for women to speak in the church; it is a shame to themselves, as being contrary to the natural modesty and bashfulness of the sex, and a shame to the church, to the non-members of it, and especially to the elders, and more experienced part of it, to be taught and directed by a woman; it is a disgrace to herself and sex, as betraying uncommon pride and vanity, and an unnatural boldness and confidence; and a disgrace to the church to be under such a ministry and conduct.

(d) Bartenora in Misn. Challa, c. 3. sect. 1.

And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1 Corinthians 14:35. Even questions for their instruction should not be brought forward by the women in the assemblie.

ἐν οἴκῳ] has the emphasis. At home, not in the assembly, they are to obtain for themselves by inquiry the desired instruction, and that from those to whom they, as women, are naturally referred, from their own husbands.1 Corinthians 14:35. εἰ δέ τι θέλουσιν μανθάνειν: “But if they want to learn something”—if this is the motive that prompts them to speak. This plea furnishes an excuse, consistent with the submission enjoined, for women raising their voices in the Church meetings; but even so P. deprecates the liberty. As between μανθάνειν and μαθεῖν after θέλω and the like, El[2198] thus distinguishes: “when attention is directed to the procedure of the action specified, the pr[2199] is commonly used; when simply to the action itself, the aor[2200]”—In bidding the Cor[2201] women of enquiring minds to “ask at home of their own husbands,” P. is laying down a general rule, not disposing of all cases that might arise; since the impv[2202] of 1 Corinthians 14:35 admits of exceptions, so may that of 1 Corinthians 14:34 : the utterances of Pentecost (Acts 2:4) proceeded from “all,” both men and women (cf. 18 f.); there is also the notable instance of Philip’s “four daughters which did prophesy” (Acts 21:9). At Cor[2203] there was a disposition to put men and women on an equal footing in public speaking and Church leadership; this is stigmatized as αἰσχρὸν (turpe, inhonestum; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:6; 1 Corinthians 11:13 ff.); it shocks moral feeling. For ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, see 1 Corinthians 11:18.

[2198] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[2199] present tense.

[2200] aorist tense.

[2201] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[2202] imperative mood.

[2203] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.35. let them ask their husbands at home] Rather, ‘their own husbands.’ The women were not only not permitted to teach (see 1 Timothy 2:11-14) but even to ask questions in Church, a privilege, says. Grotius, permitted to men, but denied to women, among the Jews. It seems to be assumed that the unmarried ones would not think of doing so. This rule applies in its strictness only to the East, where women were kept in strict seclusion, and only permitted to converse with their male relatives. Calvin remarks, “When he says husbands, he does not prohibit them, in case of need, from consulting the prophets themselves; for all husbands are not qualified to give information on such subjects.” Estius allows the right of women to consult pious and prudent men, so long as it be done without giving occasion of scandal.

for it is a shame] The original is even stronger. It is disgraceful.1 Corinthians 14:35. Μαθεῖν, to learn) by speaking.—θἑλουσιν, they wish) This is the figure[130] occupatio.—ἸΔΊΟΥς) their own, rather than others.—ἐπερωτάτωσαν) let them ask. It was the exclusive privilege of the men to put questions in the assembly.—ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ) in the assembly either civil or sacred.—λαλεῖν, to speak) either in teaching or asking.

[130] See Append. Anticipating a reply or objection which might be made by a supposed opponent.—T.Verse 35. - Let them ask their husbands. Here again St. Paul is dealing with general rules.
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