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Interpreting the Bible

Hi, I’m a fifteen-year-old girl and I noticed that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:35–36 that girls/women should remain silent in the churches. Why isn’t this verse practised today, when we say that homosexuality is wrong? I feel in a way that we choose what we want to practise, and do it, but on the other hand if there are things we don’t want to practise we then say that the Bible says they are sin.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


It’s great that you study the Bible and want to read it in the right context. We totally agree with you that we have to keep to everything the Bible says and not just choose what we like.

I want to write about three things:

1. Your question about women, remaining ‘silent in the churches’. This is a question about church order, not a question about church teachings, in other words what we actually believe. If you read just before the words you quote, in verse 33 it says, ‘For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.’ This is about how we should organise work in the church. It is not about which message we should preach.

We are not quite sure how we should understand this today. Churches at that time were called synagogues. If you google a picture of a synagogue, you can see that on the ground floor there is a large room, and a balcony on the first floor. The men would sit downstairs, while the women and children would sit upstairs in the balcony. There were no loudspeakers. Some researchers say that Paul, who wrote this letter, writes this because the women who couldn’t hear what was happening began to talk among themselves, and disturbed the meeting.

We do read in the New Testament that women preach and share the gospel. Paul mentions several of them, not least when he greets the co-workers in the churches he writes to. One of them was a deaconess called Phoebe (Romans 16:1).

2. Regarding having sex with a person of the same gender, this is written about in many places in the Bible – both in the Old and the New Testaments. God calls it sin every time, and a deviation from God’s will. In several places it is listed with other sins (for example 1 Corinthians 6:9–11). You can read more about this in other answers we’ve given.

3. We wanted to mention one more thing. It isn’t right to do something just because lots of people do it. Just because something is accepted and practised doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right. People have often read the Bible and found out that what they were doing was wrong. This has led to them changing their behaviour. Thoughts, attitudes and actions are right when they line up with what the Bible says. That’s why it’s so important to study the Bible and that we are keen to find out what it really says. That’s exciting!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: The Bible on homosexuality


Best wishes

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