Women & the Washing of the Word

This last Sunday my wife shared some thoughts before I preached – – both of us commenting on aspects of I Corinthians 14. Below is the gist of what she shared. Mine will follow.

Last week as Joshua preached on 1 Corinthians 14 he ended briefly addressing verses 34 and 35 “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. 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.” And I thought, I would like to say something about that, because if you are anything like me, initially it seems that this is restrictive and unequal.

There are different themes that have become apparent in the book of 1 Corinthians. The Corinthian church is a church full of the supernatural. The theme that I want to comment on is how God desires, makes provision for and works the supernatural in our marriages.

In chap. 7 Paul addresses two aspects of the supernatural work of God in the marriage relationship. The first is the importance of and blessing of physical intimacy within the marriage relationship. When Paul says that intimacy outside of marriage results in sinning against one’s body, it has to infer then that intimacy within marriage incurs a supernatural blessing.

The second aspect of the supernatural work that God does in a marriage in chapter 7, is the supernatural blessing that is bestowed by God on the unsaved spouse and children of a Believer. Paul says, in verse 14, “for the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.” Sanctification can mean “set apart by God” – – that is a supernatural work that God does. It is not clear what the outcome is, but it is definitely a good, intentional work of God for the unbelieving spouse and their children.

In chap. 9 vs. 5 Paul talks of the blessing it is for a married couple to fulfill the work of God together. “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife?”

In chap. 11:3 Paul states that there is an order of authority and supernatural blessing within the Godhead and that flows into the marriage. “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” There is no mention of lesser value or worth in that order, because how can God the Father be more important than Christ the son – when they are one essence? Thus it is the same within a marriage, there is supernatural order and blessing when a husband is the head of the wife, and when Christ is the head of the man.

So, now to the part I wanted to say something about. It is regarding the supernatural blessing of the word of God in the marriage relationship. Chap. 14:34 and 35 reads: “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. 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.” As Joshua said, we need to interpret the Bible with the Bible, remembering that women are prophesying and praying in chapter 11. And nowhere in scripture does it say the gift of teaching is only given to men. I won’t say anything more about 34.

It is verse 35 that I want to comment on “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.” This means that in their own home, with their own husbands, women can talk as much as they desire – with questions or thoughts regarding the word of God, written or spoken. The word of God, is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword. Through it Jesus works supernaturally. Paul is encouraging us to make the supernatural word of God central in our marriage relationship! How great to find something positive to talk about and that will work for the better for both spouses.

Not only discussing the word of God at home brings blessing between the husband and wife, but there is another aspect that comes through the headship of the husband to the wife, through the word of God, that the LORD renewed to Randy and I this last summer. This summer, we had so many things coming at us. On one of those really hot nights, where there was no air flow, I was awake at 2:47 in the morning. Things had gotten to be too much for me. I was sobbing and crying out to God. As I was crying out for mercy, I fell down on my knees beside my bed to pray, but I fell too hard and by inertia hit my head hard on the floor. That made everything worse. Randy did not know what to do, so he grabbed his Bible and just started reading out loud while I was crying. He just opened the Bible and started reading Ephesians chapter 1. I was still crying, so then he read chapter 2. My sobs became staggered, so he read chapter 3. I was now taking deep breaths but still begging God for mercy. He read chapter 4 and by chapter 5 I was calmed down. Then Randy read – verses 25-27 “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless”.

WE looked at each other and realized we had just lived out this scripture. Randy had read the supernatural word of God to me for five whole chapters until I could get cleansed of the burden that I was carrying. It was a supernatural work that happened that night through Randy reading the word of God to me. Since then He does this daily at the dinner table and before we go to bed.

God desires, has made provision for, and works the supernatural in our marriages.

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