Sunday, November 23. 1 Corinthians 11 – 14

In a way, 1 Corinthains 8 – 10 and 11 – 14 are about the same thing: how we treat one another. Chapters 8 – 10 have to do with how we treat one another in our daily lives. Chapters 11 – 14 have to do with how we treat one another in worship.

Chapter 11 spoke to the matter of men and women sharing the same roles in the assembly, then to the procedure of observing the Lord’s Supper while remembering that none of us is an island; God has made us a body. Chapter 12 extends this discussion into the exercise of spiritual gifts, remembering that whatever gifts we have are not to exalt ourselves, but for the benefit of all. Chapter 13 drives home the abiding principle that should guide all our dealings with one another: love.

In chapter 14, Paul proposes practical solutions to the exercise of spiritual gifts. First, that exercise should be for the benefit of others. Second, there should be order in the Christian assembly. Not everyone gets to speak at any one gathering. Third, disruptions should not be tolerated.

It’s along this last line Paul makes a comment about women speaking in the assembly. The idea is not that they should not speak (for he has already allowed it in 1 Corinthians 11), but that they should not interrupt. This kind of speaking is simply not allowed. Paul is very specific here. The idea context is the notion of “interrupting,” the asking of a question. There is a place for asking questions. Our modern Bible classes encourage that and the passage is not dealing with that scenario. The passage is dealing with presentations much like our sermons, where interruptions are properly considered rude and inappropriate.