Silent in the Churches (1 Corinthians 14:33-40)

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C.J. Mahaney has contributed a chapter entitled “How to Encourage Husbands to Lead and Wives to Follow” to a book edited by Wayne Grudem and Dennis Rainey entitled Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood. Mahaney opens this particular chapter with the following true story:

The engineers at General Electric were baffled. A great complex of machinery had broken down, and they didn’t know why. It was the early twentieth century, the Industrial Age was pumping along at full throttle, and this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening to a powerhouse like GE.

Uncertain where to even begin, they called in Charles Steinmetz, recently retired from the company, a man whose electrical genius was the stuff of corporate legend. Steinmetz arrived and walked slowly around the interconnected machines, performing various tests. He took a piece of chalk from his pocket and drew an X on one particular component of one particular machine.

When the engineers disassembled that component, it proved to be the precise location of the problem. A few days later GE received a bill from Steinmetz for ten thousand dollars, a seemingly outrageous figure. They decided to return the bill to Steinmetz with a request that he itemize it. After a few days they received the itemized bill, which read:

  1. Making one chalk mark–$1.00
  2. Knowing where to put it–$9,999.00

As you hold that thought in mind, let me begin on another front.

I am sure you would agree that the Western world is collapsing, much like Rome of old. Evidence of this can be seen in family disintegration, manifested by an increase in divorce, cohabitation, child abuse, spouse abuse, homosexuality, etc. We live in a culture that refuses to grow up. Our culture is increasingly intemperate, manifesting a distinct lack of self-control. It also seems to be continually and increasingly irresponsible. Blameshifting is on the increase. Our society is morally corrupt and increasingly feminised.

But who is to blame for this? To take us back to our illustration, where ought we to chalk the X on our culture? Should we blame Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud or Gloria Steinham? Should we blame the philosophers like Georg Hegel? Perhaps we ought to blame rock ‘n roll? To all of these suggestions, I say, “No!” Where, then, must we put the X? Who is to blame to the decline in Western culture? Surely the only correct place to chalk the X would be on the church.

You see, the Bible clearly teaches–in no uncertain terms–that the church rules the world. Jesus Christ is on the right hand of the Father, and the church is in Christ. I have often heard it said, “As goes the world, so goes the church.” No, the truth is, “As goes the church, so goes the world.” As one man, under whose teaching I recently sat, said, “The biggest problem with the world today is the church!”

Sadly, the church has dropped the ball. I should make it clear here that I am not speaking primarily of the true church, but of the church at large. Why do I place the blame for the corruption of society on the church? Let me explain.

God created the world with order, which He expected to be upheld. Male headship–which was God’s design–would result in acceptable worship, and would yield faithful and fruitful stewardship. The fall, however, ruined this. The fall resulted when Eve stepped out from under the headship of Adam, and when Adam did nothing to prevent this. God’s beautiful order was now marred by sin.

But–praise be to God–through Jesus Christ, we live in a new world order. In biblical language, we live in a new heaven and a new earth. Thus, if the church is ordered biblically, then the world can be impacted as God’s kingdom, through the gospel-faithful church, comes to earth. It all begins right here: with the church local and the church universal understanding her responsibility to properly worship God.

Now, some may wonder why I am speaking so much of worship when this is a series on gender. I am convinced that the two are intimately connected.

The church needs desperately to return to an understanding of the enormity of worship. When we gather as the church, we gather to worship Almighty God. And we gather not only with those whom we can see, but also with “an innumerable company of angels,” with “the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven,” and with “the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-24). That is, we gather with saints here, with saints departed and with the heavenly host. Together, we worship God. And as we properly worship God, we will be good stewards of the gospel and will, consequently, impact the world in a greater way.

The church can impact the world if her worship is acceptable. But a key to biblically acceptable worship is a proper understanding of biblical headship. If the church exercises biblical male headship, her worship and her stewardship of the gospel will be strengthened, and she will be fruitful as never before.

This is our third study of passages directly pertaining to male headship in the church. We first considered 1 Timothy 2:11-15, then 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, and now 1 Corinthians 14:33-40. Whilst each of these passages certainly deals with biblical male headship, each does so in the specific context of corporate worship. That is greatly significant for it teaches us, if nothing else, that as goes the headship, so goes the worship. I trust that I can show you this truth afresh from this passage.

It is important that we understand the text at hand. But our desire ought to be greater than that. We must see the bigger picture: that worship is at stake when we consider what the Bible says about headship in the church. Thus, we must understand that this is more than a mere academic issue. Much is at stake. Let us therefore learn what these verses teach us about headship, worship and stewardship in the church.

The Context

This is a somewhat difficult passage and therefore, as with all Scriptural passages, we must first determine its context.

The General Context

The Corinthian church was one that had real church life. Paul acknowledged them as a church that did not lack any spiritual gift (1:7). Of course, if a church has life, she will also have problems, and the church in Corinth was no exception.

Thus, in the opening six chapters of 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses several problems in the church that have come to his attention. These problems included factions, immorality (and a refusal to discipline it) and lawsuits between brethren.

But from the seventh to the fifteenth chapter, Paul shifts gears, and begins answering questions that had been posed to him by the Corinthians. “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote to me,” he begins (7:1). He proceeds to answer questions with regard to the marriage relationship (chapter 7), and questions with regard to eating meat offered to idols (chapters 8-10).

The immediate context of our passage of study is the Corinthians’ questions with regard to corporate worship. Paul deals with three major aspects of corporate worship.

First, he answers questions concerning the proper demeanour of women in corporate worship (11:1-16). In this section, the apostle urges that women’s dress must reflect a disposition of biblical submission to male leadership.

“To bun, or not to bun: that was the question.” In that culture, modest women wore their hair in a bun. To wear one’s hair loose was to manifest a loose, lewd, rebellious character. The major issue here was not the hairstyle. Whilst it was important that they wear their hair the proper way, hairstyle was simply a cultural symptom of an underlying, spiritual problem. For a woman to wear her hair in a bun was for that woman to respect the headship of her husband and of the church leadership.

As noted in our previous study, this does not suggest that women today must wear their hair in a similar way in the church. Nor does it demand that women wear hats or shawls to church. The principle is that of submission to male headship, and the woman’s demeanour must show this submission in the corporate life and worship of the church.

It is important also to note that both the woman’s dress and her demeanour were to display submissiveness to proper leadership. It was no use dressing properly if she had an improper attitude to leadership. Paul might say it this way, “Don’t come to church with your hair in a bun but a bad attitude flowing down your back.”

Second, Paul addresses the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34). Once again, the context of the Lord’s Supper is corporate worship. It is evident from the apostle’s words that there were problems in the Corinthian church with regard to the Lord’s Table. There was disorder, disgrace and division in the church when it came to this sacrament.

Third, Paul shifts focus to questions regarding the proper exercise of spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40). Once more, there was disorder, disgrace and division in the church with regard to these spiritual gifts. It seems as if there was something of a “free for all” attitude to the exercise of spiritual gifts; thus, Paul lays down rules for the use of gifts in public worship.

But note that in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul addresses a doctrinal issue. In fact, it was a serious problem: the gospel was at stake.

It is of the utmost interest that Paul addresses doctrine after having dealt with corporate worship. Problems in corporate worship had opened the way for doctrinal error in the church. And this is the way it will always be: a problem with headship in the church will lead to problems with worship in the church, which will result in failed stewardship in the church.

We should now see that the issue of gender roles in the church is far more important than simply winning a debate about whether or not women can pastor a church. It is a serious issue for if we compromise here our worship will eventually become unacceptable to God and we will thus lose the stewardship of the gospel. As a result, the church will not conquer with the gospel and we will have the mess that we see today. That is why I would place the X of blame for the state of the Western world squarely upon the church.

The Specific Context

The issue in question in the immediate context of our passage is that of the exercise of the spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy. I will take no time in this study to address the question of whether these gifts are still in operation; suffice it to say that they were in operation when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians.

Apparently, though these gifts were exercised, there were some problems. There was disproportionate use of the gifts (chapter 12; 14:1-5, 27-31); there was distasteful use of the gifts (12:31-13:13; 14:23); there was disorderly use of the gifts (14:33, 40). In the midst of these problems, a disregard for God’s order was clearly manifested, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (14:34).

Paul thus writes to put things in order. He begins 1 Corinthians 14 by pointing to the priority of the gifts (14:1-5). He then points to the profitability of the gifts (14:6-25). Here, he shows that, in many ways, prophecy was more profitable than tongues: he shows the problem of tongues (14:6-19), the purpose of tongues (14:20-22) and the power of prophecy (14:23-25). He then comes to the section with which we are concerned in this study: the propriety (proper use) of the gifts (14:26-40).

In this third section, the apostle lays down some rules to ensure that propriety and order are maintained in the corporate worship services of the church; again, the goal is that acceptable worship might take place.

The Immediate Context

Paul begins this third section by stating the motive expected in the exercise of tongues and prophecy, “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying” (14:26). Simply put, the motivation behind the exercise of tongues and prophecy was to be edification; the building up of the church.

The manner in which the gifts are to exercised is then explained:

27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…

(1 Corinthians 14:27-33)

The manner in which Paul expected these gifts to be exercised can be summarised in a single word: “order.” Notice the specific rules.

First, if the exercise of tongues took place in the corporate worship service, it could only be “by two, or at the most by three.” That is, no more than three people could speak in tongues in any particular worship service. Second, these three–if the gift was exercised–had to speak “by course.” In other words, they could not all speak at the same time; each one must have his or her own turn. Third, “let one interpret.” That is, if the gift of tongues was exercised, there must be an interpreter, someone who could tell the church what was said by those speaking in tongues. If an interpreter was not present, those inclined to speak in tongues must “keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.”

Notice here that the concern was for the body, not for the individual. If the exercise of the gift could not benefit the church, then the gift could not be exercised. Of course, for the entire congregation to speak in tongues at the same time benefits no one, for the service is then chaotic, and no one is edified. Similarly, failure to interpret the tongue is also to no one’s benefit, for then no one understands the Word given from the Lord. The principles of order and edification were paramount.

Paul then shifts focus to the gift of prophecy. Again, certain limitations are set. First, only “two or three” prophecies were permitted in any given service. Second, someone had to “interpret” these prophecies. As with tongues, if “no interpreter” was present, the prophet was required to “keep silence in the church” and to “speak to God, and to himself.” Once more, the body was more important than the individual. If the body could not be edified through interpretation of a prophecy, then no prophecy was to be given in the church.

Self-control was expected of the prophets. Again, “two or three” prophets were to speak, and someone was expected to “judge.” The word “judge” means “to weigh.” Prophecies in those days were a dime a dozen; in orderly worship, someone had to be present who could discern whether or not the prophecy truly was from God. If no “discerner” was present, the gift could not be exercised.

But more than discernment was necessary; the prophecy must also be interpreted and applied. That is, someone had to be present who could interpret the prophecy and apply it to the church, instructing the congregation to obedience through the prophecy. Moreover, if one prophet was busy speaking and “any thing be revealed to another than sitteth by,” then “the first” prophet was to “hold his peace.” The prophets could not compete against one another; as God gave prophecies, so those must be spoken in an orderly fashion. Only as prophecies were given “one by one” would the church corporately “learn” and “be comforted.” “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,” adds Paul. That is, the prophet must rule his spirit in the church; he must not allow chaos to ensue.

The apostle then brings the matter to a vital conclusion, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” In other words, “Don’t blame God for disorderly, disgraceful and divisive worship; that is entirely your fault!” If worship is exercised God’s way, it will be orderly. The word “confusion” is a translation of the Greek term akatastasia, which means “a disturbance” or “a state of disorder.” It is translated in the King James Bible as “commotions” (Luke 21:9), “tumults” (2 Corinthians 6:5; 12:20) and–as here–“confusion” (James 3:16).

Thus, the stress of the immediate context of our verses is that of order in the corporate worship services of the church. This immediate context must be kept firmly in mind as we proceed through the verses before us. As we noted in our previous studies in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, God’s created order is at issue in the headship of the church; what follows in our passage of study now will reflect this principle of male headship. Let us look closely at our passage in light of this context.

The Commandment

In the KJV, 14:33-34 are divided as two sentences. This same translation is followed in the NKJV and the NASB. It should be kept in mind that there was no punctuation in the original Greek text. Thus, any punctuation reflected in English translations of the Bible have been supplied by the translators. The KJV translators chose the following punctuation, “33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (14:33-34).

What Paul says, according to the kjv, is that God is the author of peace in all churches. Whilst that is certainly true–God is the author of peace in all churches–I suspect that the ESV offers a better flow of thought, “33For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says” (14:33-34).

Do you see the difference here? Rather than stating that God is the author of peace in all churches, Paul says that the practice in all churches was for women to “keep silent in the churches.” Thus, we really have three major areas of teaching addressed:

  1. Rules for Tongues (14:27-28)
  2. Rules for Prophecy (14:29-33a)
  3. Roles for Women (14:33b-35)

The overarching theme in each of these sections is that of order (14:26, 36-40). Note that I am not correcting the Bible here; I am simply seeking to determine the proper flow of Paul’s thought, which I believe is reflected best in the ESV.

If, as I suspect, the esv properly reflects Paul’s flow of thought, a significant principle is stated from the very beginning. Again, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches.” That is, the silence of women in the churches–whatever precisely that means–is a rule for all churches. It was not simply a cultural issue at Corinth: it is a principle that applies across the board–to all churches in all places at all times. With this cross-cultural truth firmly in our minds, let us consider the precise restriction that Paul lays down here.

The Restriction

“33as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (14:33-34). The restriction “in all churches of the saints” is for “women” to “keep silence in the churches.” The reason for this is that “it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” Notice several principles.

The Restriction is Universal

As noted, the restriction that Paul lays down here is universal: it applies to all churches in all places at all times. The reason that it is universal is not simply “because Paul says so,” but because it is biblically and theologically grounded: “as also saith the law.” Let’s consider this claim.

Women in all churches “are commanded to be under obedience.” The Greek word here translated “under obedience” is the word hupotasso, which means “to put under,” “to be in subjection” or “to rank under.” The word is used some 49 times in the New Testament; of these occurrences, it is only three times translated as “obedient” (Titus 2:5, 9) or “obedience” (14:34). The concept of obedience is certainly implied in the word, and thus “obedient” or “obedience” is by no means a bad translation. Nevertheless, the word does not speak of a blind, rote obedience.

When I perform a wedding, I always ask the bride if she will “love, honour and obey” her husband. This is good, biblical terminology to use, for a wife is certainly expected to “love, honour and obey” her husband. But the “obedience” of the wife to her husband ought to be a cheerful, willing subjection to follow his leadership. In the same way, Paul commands women in the church to have a cheerful, willing subjection to (male) church leadership. Part of this subjection involves women being “silent in the churches,” a phrase we will consider in greater detail once we have established what Paul says in the entire context.

The reason that women are to be “under obedience” or “in subjection” is because thus “saith the law.” We may be accustomed to thinking of “the law” as the Pentateuch, but Paul here uses it as a summation of the entire Old Testament. This is why Paul quotes Isaiah 28:11-12 as “the law” in 14:21. Thus, “the law,” the Old Testament Scriptures, command women to be “under obedience” to men in the worship of the Lord.

The obvious question is, where do the Old Testament Scriptures teach this “obedience” or “subjection”? The answer is that God has revealed the principle of male headship in the husband’s headship over the wife. All along, God’s Word had taught the principle of male headship; thus, women in the church were (and are) to submit to that principle. Thus, whatever the precise restriction is, it has to do with honouring male headship in the church.

The Restriction is Not Unqualified

It must, however, be noted that Paul’s restriction–whatever it is–is not unqualified. That is, women are not commanded to keep absolutely silent in the church. The silence–whatever it is–has a specific context.

We know this because Paul in this very epistle allows for women to pray and prophesy in the church (11:5, 13). Philip also had four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). Some have objected that the prayers and prophecies of women in these verses were exercised in house meetings rather than corporate worship services. I reply that those distinctions are false, because the early church met in houses for corporate worship (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2). Thus, there was no distinction between “house meetings” and “corporate worship” in the New Testament church: corporate worship took place in houses.

The restriction is further qualified by 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.” The context would indicate, “If they will learn with reference to what has just been revealed in the prophecy.” That is, if they have an opinion or need clarification with regard to the prophecy revealed.

I suspect that 14:35 indicates the scene that had arisen in the Corinthian assembly. In the early days, the church followed the practices of the synagogue in her worship. In synagogue meetings, it was customary for men to sit on one side of the sanctuary, and for women to sit on the other side. Picture this setting in a church service.

Now, picture a husband standing up in the church to “judge” (14:29) and “interpret” (14:27) a prophecy. “Here is what the prophecy means,” he begins, and proceeds to give the interpretation. Suddenly, his wife stands at the other end of the room, “I disagree, actually. Here is what I believe it means…” Or, perhaps she has a question, “Excuse me, honey, but could you please clarify what you just said?” You can see how this would cause disruption in the service. Thus, Paul commands the wife to listen quietly to the interpretation and to reserve her questions until her and her husband get home. It was a “shame” for a woman to “speak in the church” and disrupt the service. Such disruptions brought “shame” or “disgrace” upon herself, her husband and, ultimately, Christ. This does not excuse a man from disrupting the service; the fact that Paul wrote these words indicates that there was a problem in the church with women disrupting the services.

So, what does it mean that “women” must “keep silence in the churches”? Is she forbidden to speak at all? No. Is she forbidden to pray out loud? No. Is she forbidden to contribute her “prophecy” in the church? No. Is she forbidden to contribute her insight into God’s Word? No. What she is forbidden to do is to comment on the prophecies that are given in the church. In the Corinthian setting, it was forbidden for a woman to “judge” and “interpret” the prophecies given in the service. In contemporary language, she is not to expound, to interpret and apply God’s Word to the church. And she is certainly not to verbally question the judgement of those (men) who interpret and apply God’s Word in the corporate worship of the church. She could contribute, but she could not lead. One man has summarised it this way, “Paul is thinking of church-teaching and authoritative direction as a role unfit for women.”

The Responsibility

Paul now gives his final word on the matter: his readers had a divine responsibility to submit to God’s revelation:

36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order.

(1 Corinthians 14:36-40)

Paul now employs sanctified sarcasm to wrap up his argument. He had given God’s Word on the matter, and he expected the Corinthians to submit. They should not think that God’s Word had come first and exclusively to them, as if they had the right to interpret it as they wished. Those who were truly spiritual would acknowledge that Paul’s words were God’s words, and would consequently submit. On the other hand, there was little hope for those who rejected Paul’s words; they would answer to God themselves. Prophecy and tongues were important and should be exercised, but “all things” must “be done decently and in order.” Chaos must not reign in the corporate worship of the church, “for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”

The Review

This passage does not command absolute silence of women in the church. It does command the respect of male headship, both in the home and in the church. Thus, this passage exhorts women to display a biblically feminine demeanour in their participation in corporate worship. The result of this is that God’s order is honoured, He is acceptably worshipped, and the gospel is thereby guarded in faithful stewardship.

The Principles

Having considered the passage in its proper context, let us make several practical observations from this passage. Practically speaking, what do we learn about corporate worship from 1 Corinthians 14:26-40?

First, corporate worship is regulated by the Word of God. Acceptable worship is not a “free-for-all” guided by the “cultural climate” of the day. Instead, we must worship God’s way. It does matter how we worship, for our worship must be accepted by God:

22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

(John 4:22-24)

With reference to the gender issue, the Word of God must govern our disposition and demeanour. And men must take the lead in this! Where should the X of blame be placed for the corruption of the Western world? Upon the church! Upon whom in the church? Godless women? Evangelical feminism? No, but upon men in the church. If Christian men will lead as they should, this world can be greatly impacted with the gospel of Christ. Strength yields strength; if Christian men will be strong, biblical men, then Christian women will find it far easier to be strong, biblical women. Then the church will be strengthened to be stronger in her stewardship of the gospel.

Second, we should note that corporate worship is a huge issue. Even the angels are watching the way in which we worship Almighty God (1 Corinthians 11:10). Thus, as we gather to worship, let us be sure to gather with the proper disposition, demeanour and dress! Listen how serious God is about worship, and then be sure to worship Him acceptably:

10Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

(Isaiah 1:10-15)

Third, let us be convinced that biblical male headship is a huge issue. Apart from biblical male headship, worship will not be acceptable, and the church’s stewardship of the gospel will fall away. Read 1 Corinthians 15, and note the serious doctrinal divergence of the Corinthian church, all because she lost sight of biblical male headship!

Who was to blame in Corinth for the problems in that church? No one else but the men of the church! Where were the elders? Why did they not stand against the increasing tendency to feminisation of the church? If the men of the church were biblical men, Paul would never have had to write to them! The same can be said of the men in the church at Ephesus. Why did these men not protect the women in the church? Doubtless, the problem could be traced to one thing: the men were not submissive to their Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Men, learn the principle of male headship in the church and then live it out in the home! I find it interesting that the New Testament deals more with male headship in the church than it does with male headship in the home. Why? Because the home is patterned after the church. If the church is a biblical church, it will produce biblical homes. That is why one requirement for an elder is that he biblically lead his home (1 Timothy 3:4-5): if a man is not leading his home properly, it is because he is not leading the church properly. Thus, let us not “focus on the family”; let us instead focus the family on the church–assuming that church is focused on Christ. I am not suggesting that biblical churches will have perfect homes; I am suggesting that if a church is plagued with family problems, that church probably has only itself to blame.

If we respect biblical order, our worship will be increasingly acceptable. It was when Eve stepped out from under Adam’s headship that that family ceased to worship God, and a great fall occurred. Men, understand that you are under submission to Christ. Only as you understand that will you lead your wife biblically, and only then will the church’s worship be acceptable to God.

In our churches, let us focus first and foremost on Christ. Let us be sure that we have biblical male headship, which focuses the church on the enormity of worship; for only then will our worship be acceptable, and only then will we be faithful in this world with the stewardship of the gospel for the glory of God.

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