- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers - prayer and worship
- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2009 12:54
Two primary passages, 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:12, are likely the reason for this question. The first specifically deals with church gatherings, as the context in the chapter makes clear. The passage in 1 Timothy 2 is likewise in the context of public assembly gatherings. At least three considerations indicate this. First, in the next chapter, Paul clarifies that behavior in the house of God (v. 15) is the focus of this letter. Second, if this injunction in chapter 2 includes the home sphere, this seems to contradict Paul’s statement that older women are to teach younger women (Titus 2:3). If we understand 1 Timothy 2 to be public gatherings and the Titus passage, in keeping with its context, to be private instruction, the seeming contradiction disappears. Third, in 1 Timothy 2, Paul insists that the males pray in every place (v. 8). If the context of this chapter is the home, is Paul excluding women from praying in their closet?
The only remaining concern, then, is a woman’s "usurping authority over the man" (2:11). Strong’s Enhanced Dictionary gives the meaning of this verb as "one who acts on his own authority, autocratic, . . . to govern, exercise dominion over one." In the assembly where God’s design displays the male’s headship and the woman’s submission (1 Cor. 11:3-16), a woman does nothing that detracts from that display. The prayer in Acts 4: 24-30 is the assembly’s united prayer. Whoever spoke those words in prayer lead the entire assembly in expressing their desires. Thus, in a special way, praying in the assembly leads the entire gathering in the presence of the Lord. Were a woman to pray, she would be publicly leading and therefore limiting the display of male leadership.
Apart from assembly gatherings, a woman’s prayer more particularly expresses only her own burden. Hannah’s praying exemplifies this (1 Samuel 1:11). A woman praying aloud privately, with her husband or children, or with her friends does not affect the public testimony of male headship. She is not leading a united prayer as one does in an assembly meeting. Her praying in the home appears to be consistent with the Bible’s teaching.