1 Corinthians 14:35

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And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church. (ASV)

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Verses 34 through 36 may have been added to 1 Corinthians by later Christians scribes. There are a several reasons why many scholars suspect this to be the case.

First, in our oldest manuscripts, these verses are sometimes placed in different places, such as at the end of the chapter (after verse 1Cor 14:40).

Secondly, they interrupt the topic so that 1 Cor 14 flows better without them. This can be seen by comparing the passage with and without them:


With 34-36:

31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 36Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. 39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.


Without 33-36:

31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, if anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. 39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.


Before verses 33-36, Paul is talking about how to have orderly prophecy. After verses 33-36, Paul is talking about how to have orderly prophecy.


Third, we don’t have 1st, 2nd or 3rd century manuscripts of this section of Corinthians, so Christian scribes had a long time during which they could have added these verses and we wouldn't be able to see the change. Our oldest manuscript that has this section of Corinthians is from the 4th century, about 300 years after Paul probably wrote 1 Corinthians. Of course, it only takes a minute to change a text.


Fourth, verses 33-36 don’t fit with what Paul says just three chapters earlier (in chapter 11), where he says that women can prophesy as long as they cover their heads.


Verses 33-36 mirror what is said in 1Tm 2:11. Scholars have long recognized that 1Tm is probably not actually by Paul (though it claims to be by Paul), but is a forgery. Perhaps Christian Scribes, knowing what “Paul” says in 1Tm, and agreeing with it themselves (if they didn’t like women speaking in church), added verses 33-36 in the margin, after which some later scribes incorporated it into the text, sometimes after verse 33, sometimes after verse 40? That seems to be a plausible explanation of the four points above.


(The description above is repeated for verses 33-36 inclusive)

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