Monday, 17 November 2008


From: Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ ,by John Piper

Gracious and glorious Father,
because you are rich in mercy and great in love,
and sovereign in grace,
we ask that you would show us
a window onto the panorama of your glory,
and a skylight to your supremacy in all things.

By the truth-loving power of your Holy Spirit
grant that the glass pane would be clean—
that what is faithful to your word would be confirmed,
and what is not would be forgiven, not confusing.
We ask that your cloud-banishing illumination
would be given to our minds,
and that spiritual understanding would fill our hearts,
and that according to the command of your apostle,
we would grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

May we see the spectacular sins of the world
as horrible as they are.
And may we see the holiness of God
as pure as it is.
And may we see the rule of God over the sin of man
as righteous as it is.
And thus grant the steel of ultimate reality
to strengthen the spine of our faith,
and sweeten our lips for the bruised heart.

Put the ballast of biblical truth
in the belly of our little boats,
lest the crashing waves of calamity
in these changing times
cause us to capsize in the sea of trouble.

And according to your apostle’s warning,
forbid that the increase of our knowledge
would cause the increase of our pride.
Rather, O God of infinite wisdom,
reveal, with all our understanding,
the unfathomable sinfulness of our hearts without Christ,
and the infinitesimal smallness of our strength
in comparison to yours,
and the absolute dependence of our life on you,
and the unfathomable depths of your judgments,
and how dim is the mirror in which we see.

Grant to our minds and hearts
new and deeper capacities to see and savour
the glories of Jesus Christ.
With every new glimpse of his glory in your word,
let there awaken new affections in our hearts.
Ignite our souls to treasure Christ in a way that
destroys our sinful lusts
and delights the deepest recesses of our being
and displays his truth and beauty
to a world that does not know
that this is what it needs more than anything.
And from this all-satisfying treasuring of Christ
may there flow a liberation from selfishness,
and a triumph over bitterness and anger,
and a freedom from worry and fear,
and victory over depression and discouragement,
and the severing of every root of sensual lust.

All this freedom, Lord, we seek for the sake of love.
Grant that our contentment in Christ would be a
dissatisfied contentment,
eager to expand by including others.
Grant that the joy of the Lord would not be a solitary joy,
but the strength to sacrifice for the good of others,
even those who hate us.
May broken-hearted boldness and contrite courage
attend all our deeds of compassion
and all our commendations of Christ to a lost world.
Awaken in us tender affections for those who hurt,
and self-forgetful attentiveness for those in our presence.

And in this treasuring of Christ for his supreme glory
and this overflowing love for others,
may Jesus be exalted above all things—
honoured, admired, adored, esteemed, enjoyed,
praised, extolled, thanked, and worshipped.
May our light shine in this world
so that people see you in our sacrificial deeds of love
and our uncompromising words of truth
and give glory to your hallowed name, Father.

Through Jesus Christ your Son,

Thursday, 13 November 2008


These Scriptures have been a great tool in helping me focus my prayers and speak God's Word and blessings over Nigel's life...

May he be a righteous man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in his knowledge of the Lord.
I Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
Colossians 4:12
We always pary earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God.
Ephesians 1:18-19
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those he called- His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him.
Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that from His glorious unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 6:18
Pray in the Spirit at all times. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers.

May he grow in all ways as a man who will not be shaken- may he stand firm forever!
Psalm 15
Who may worshp in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip, bring no harm to their neighbours, and speak no evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honour the faithful followers of the Lord, and always keep their promises. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.

May he be a man of contentment and peace.
Proverbs 15:16:
Better to have little with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure with turmoil.
Philippians 4:11
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
I Timothy 6:6-8
True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can take nothing with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
Hebrews 13:5
Do not love money. Be satisfied with what you have, for God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

May he learn to take every thought captive- not being conformed to the world’s thinking, but being transformed by the renewal of his mind to think scripturally.
Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to the ways and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by the renewal of your mind through Christ. Then you will learn to know God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will for you.
II Corinthians 10:5
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

May he continually seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit daily, always growing in grace and dependence on God.
Psalm 119:1-2
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will and acknowledge Him in all your ways, and he will direct your paths.

May he ever be captivated by my love. May I always be a fountain of blessing to him.
Proverbs 5:18-19
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a leaping doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. Be ever captivated by her love.

May he be a man of great boldness, courage, and conviction.
Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will persoanally go ahead of you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
II Chronicles 19:11
Take courage as you fulfil your duties. The Lord be with those who do what is right.

May he receive Your wisdom and understanding to lead our family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Ephesians 1:17-19
I ask God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called- His holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for those who trust in Him.

May he have the grace to deal to the plank in his own eye before worrying about the specks in others’.
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about the speck in your friends eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hyprocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

May he be a called man- not driven, with well prayed-through goals in life.
I Corinthians 9:24-27
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified!

May he be a man of prayer, guarding his heart and mind, putting into practice what he has learned, full of thankfulness, joy, and the peace of God.
Philippians 4:4-9
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again- rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received, and the God of peace will be with you.

May he be strong in the Lord, standing firm against the schemes of the devil, and resisting Satan in all circumstances.
Ephesians 6:10-18
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on the helmet of salvation, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
James 4:7-9
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honour.
Job 1:22
In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

May he grow in spiritual maturity, putting away childish things and cultivating, understanding, and striving after the Christ ideal by partaking of the deeper truths of God, and by overcoming temptation.
I Corinthians 3:11-14
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials- gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. His work will be shown for what it is, because on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, that builder will receive his reward.
I Corinthians 14:20
Don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.
Ephesians 4:13
Continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be maure in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Hebrews 5:14
Solid food is for those who area mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
1 John 2:14
I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.

May he make me holy, cleansing me by the washing with water through the Word.
Ephesians 5:25-26
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.

May he learn to not depend on his circumstances for happiness, but on God alone.
Hebrews 6:17-19
God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
Job 2:10
But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
Job 5:17-18
But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. For though He wounds, He also bandages. He strikes, but His hand also heals.

May he enter into spiritual warfare with purity, power, and discernment.
Ephesians 6:11-12
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
I Thessalonians 5:8
But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armour of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

May he be infused with Your mighty power and strength!
Isaiah 40:28-31
The Everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth, He never grows weak or weary. No one can search His understanding. He gives power to the weak, and strength to the powerless. Even youths become weary, and young men fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength! They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Ephesians 3:14-19
I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.

May he have a burden to see the lost come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

May he always be kept safe from and untainted by evil men and women, and may his friends be wise men who walk with God.
Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

May his self-image be a reflection of the Lord's thoughts toward him.
Romans 12:3
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Ephesians 1:17-19
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Psalm 139
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down- you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before- you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, You are with me. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

May he willingly take responsibility for (and receive power to build) our family’s spiritual growth.
Proverbs 4:2-14
Get wisdom, and gain understanding. Do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you- love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendour. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, and do not let it go. Guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.

May he be protected from all deception, unbelief, and sin. May his roots grow deep in Christ so that he becomes fruitful and produces a crop that glorifies God.
Matthew 13:19-23
When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. He who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. He who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is he who hears the Word and understands it. He produces a crop.

May he learn to serve others with the gifts and grace given him, and to love others as God has commanded.
Romans 12:5-10
In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.
I Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Ephesians 5:25-30
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 2to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body.
Galatians 5:13-15
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature! Rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in this single command: "Love your neighbour as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out- or you will be destroyed by each other.

May he be strengthened to grow daily in character, and may the fruit of the Spirit be exhibited more and more in his life.
Galatians 5:16-23
Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
John 15:1-8
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
II Peter 1:5-8
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, kindness; and to kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things you will never fall.

May he be a willing shepherd: eager to serve, leading by example, growing in humility, alert, self-controlled, steadfast and compassionate.
I Peter 5:2-8
Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. Young men, in the same way, be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

May he always keep a clear conscience.
I Peter 3:14-18
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

May he cry out for wisdom, and may the Lord protect Him and guard his course.
Proverbs 2
If you store up my commands within you, turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding, call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright. He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair- every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Wisdom will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in the dark, who delight in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. It will save you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with seductive words who has left the partner of her youth. For her house leads down to death and her paths to destruction. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. But you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.

May the Lord enable him to manage his time well, and to know the will of the Lord.
Ephesians 5:14
"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

May he be filled with the Spirit, cultivate a grateful and joyful heart, and may the Lord put a song in his heart!
Psalms 33:1-3
Sing joyfully to the LORD you righteous, for it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the Lord and make music to Him. Sing to him a new song. Play skilfully and shout for joy!
Psalms 40:2-4
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Ephesians 5:18-20
Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Job 35:10
Men cry out when they are under a load of oppression. They groan beneath the power of the Mighty. Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Maker, the One who gives songs in the night?”

May he always have a holy fear of God. May the Lord encamp around him and provide all his needs, filling him with wisdom and understanding.
Psalms 34:7-11
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Fear the LORD, you his saints- for those who fear Him lack nothing they need.
Psalms 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. All who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.
Proverbs 9:9-10
Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


An old Farmer lived on a farm in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his BIBLE. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could. One day the grandson asked, "Grandpa, I try to read the BIBLE just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the BIBLE do?"

The Grand father quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, "Take this coal basket down to the river, and bring me back a basket of water."

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You'll have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, "See Grand pa, it's useless!"

"So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket." The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been trans formed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.

"Son, that's what happens when you read the BIBLE. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out! That is the work of Jesus in our lives."

Monday, 10 November 2008

1 Corinthians 14:33b-38

An Exegetical Study of 1 Corinthians 14:33b-38, 1Timothy 2:11-12 and 1Corinthians 11:3-5

In Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth and also in his letter to Timothy, Paul addresses the issues of orderliness in worshipping assemblies and women’s participation in these assemblies.

In 1Corinthians 11, Paul speaks of the order of relationship that should exist between men and women. In this section, he gives instruction as to the correct manner in which men and women are to publicly pray and prophesy. Whether women are obliged to physically cover their heads whilst they pray or prophesy, or whether their hair is that covering, is a contentious subject. In both cases, the intention of the act is clear: women are to act in a submissive manner toward men in the worshipping assemblies.

1 Corinthians 11:3 - 5
3 But I want you to know that the head [kefalh kephale from the primary kapto (in the sense of seizing); 1) the head, both of men and often of animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. 2) metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent 2a) of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife 2b) of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church 2c) of things: the corner stone] of every man [anhr aner 1) with reference to sex 1a) of a male 1b) of a husband 1c) of a betrothed or future husband 2) with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy 3) any male 4) used generically of a group of both men and women] is Christ, the head [kefalh kephale] of woman [gunh gune 1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow 2) a wife 2a) of a betrothed woman] is man [anhr aner], and the head [kefalh kephale] of Christ is God.
4 Every man [anhr aner] praying [proseucomai proseuchomai 1) to offer prayers, to pray] or prophesying [profhteuw propheteuo 1) to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict 1a) to prophesy 1b) with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God 1c) to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation 1d) to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels 1d1) under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others 1e) to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office], having his head [kefalh kephale] covered [kata kata 1) down from, through out 2) according to, toward, along], dishonors [kataiscunw kataischuno 1) to dishonour, disgrace 2) to put to shame, make ashamed 2a) to be ashamed, blush with shame 2b) one is said to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived] his head [kefalh kephale].
5 But every woman [gunh gune] who prays [proseucomai proseuchomai] with her head [kefalh kephale] uncovered [akatakaluptov akatakaluptos 1) not covered, unveiled] dishonors [kataiscunw kataischuno 1) to dishonour, disgrace 2) to put to shame, make ashamed 2a) to be ashamed, blush with shame 2b) one is said to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived] her head [kefalh kephale], for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved [xuraw xurao 1) to shear, shave 2) to get one’s self shaved].

The context of this passage indicates that Paul was referring to congregational meetings and not ad hoc social gatherings of believers. This can be understood from 1Corinthains 11:18 where the phrase “when you come together as a church” is employed. Since instruction is given in this passage as to the manner in which women are to pray and prophesy, it is evident Paul thought that women were permitted to pray and prophesy in these congregational meetings. The related contextual understandings give clear instruction as to the manner in which these prayers and prophesies are to be delivered – in an attitude of submission and deference to those men in authority in the assembly.

The Corinthian Christians had apparently asked Paul about spiritual gifts and their employment. He does not give any indication that the Corinthians had been experiencing any difficulty in their assemblies with regard to women speaking in any inappropriate manner. The apostle describes the nature and purpose of certain spiritual gifts, points to the benefits which the loving use of these gifts brings to the congregation, and urges the exercise of these endowments in the course of the congregation's public worship, especially the gift of prophesy. Paul also provides instructions for the God-pleasing, orderly conduct of believers who have assembled together for worship when some of those in attendance will use their special spiritual gifts.

In the midst of Paul’s instructions for the orderly assembling of the saints, he adds a word about an aspect of the conduct of Christian women during these assembly times. He gives the instruction that during these times, women are to be “silent” and to refrain from asking questions during the worship service.

1Corinthians 14:33b - 38
33b … as in all [pav pas 1) individually 1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything 2) collectively 2a) some of all types] the worshipping assemblies [ekklhsia ekklesia 1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously 1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting 1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake 1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body 1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven] of the saints [agiov hagios from hagos (an awful thing) Holy, characteristic of God, separated to God, worthy of veneration 1) Its highest application is to God himself, in his purity, majesty and glory. 1a) Of things and places which have a claim to reverence as sacred to God, e.g. the Temple. 1b) Of persons employed by him, as angels, prophets, apostles. 2) Applied to persons as separated to God’s service: 2a) Of Christ. 2b) Of Christians. 3) In the moral sense of sharing God’s purity. 4) Of pure, clean sacrifices and offerings.].
34 Let your women [gunh gune 1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow 2) a wife 2a) of a betrothed woman] keep silent [sigaw sigao 1) to keep silence, hold one’s peace 2) to be kept in silence, be concealed] in the worshipping assemblies [ekklhsia ekklesia], for they are not permitted [epitrepw epitrepo 1) to turn to, transfer, commit, instruct 2) to permit, allow, give leave] to speak [lalew laleo 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound 2) to speak 2a) to use the tongue or the faculty of speech 2b) to utter articulate sounds 3) to talk 4) to utter, tell 5) to use words in order to declare one’s mind and disclose one’s thoughts 5a) to speak]; but [alla alla 1) but 1a) nevertheless, notwithstanding 1b) an objection 1c) an exception 1d) a restriction 1e) nay, rather, yea, moreover 1f) forms a transition to the cardinal matter] they are to be submissive [upotassw hupotasso 1) to arrange under, to subordinate 2) to subject, put in subjection 3) to subject one’s self, obey 4) to submit to one’s control 5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice 6) to obey, be subject. A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”], as the law [nomov nomos 1) anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command 1a) of any law whatsoever 1a1) a law or rule producing a state approved of God 1ai by the observance of which is approved of God 1aii a precept or injunction 1aiii the rule of action prescribed by reason 1b) of the Mosaic law, and referring, acc. to the context. either to the volume of the law or to its contents 1c) the Christian religion: the law demanding faith, the moral instruction given by Christ, esp. the precept concerning love 1d) the name of the more important part (the Pentateuch), is put for the entire collection of the sacred books of the OT ] also says [legw lego 1) to say, to speak 1a) affirm over, maintain 1b) to teach 1c) to exhort, advise, to command, direct 1d) to point out with words, intend, mean, mean to say 1e) to call by name, to call, name 1f) to speak out, speak of, mention].
35 And if they want [yelw thelo 1) to will, have in mind, intend 1a) to be resolved or determined, to purpose 1b) to desire, to wish 1c) to love 1c1) to like to do a thing, be fond of doing 1d) to take delight in, have pleasure] to learn [manyanw manthano 1) to learn, be appraised 1a) to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge 1b) to hear, be informed 1c) to learn by use and practice 1ci to be in the habit of, accustomed to] something [tiv tis 1) a certain, a certain one 2) some, some time, a while], let them ask [eperwtaw eperotao 1) to accost one with an enquiry, put a question to, enquiry of, ask, interrogate 2) to address one with a request or demand 2a) to ask of or demand of one] their own husbands [anhr aner 1) with reference to sex 1a) of a male 1b) of a husband 1c) of a betrothed or future husband 2) with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy 3) any male 4) used generically of a group of both men and women] at home; for it is shameful [aiskron aischron 1) shame, base, dishonourable] for women [gunh gune ] to speak [lalew laleo] in worshipping assemblies [ekklhsia ekklesia].
36 Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached?
37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

It is clear that Paul’s instruction required the silence of women. What is not so immediately apparent is what he meant by this. On the surface is would appear that women are not permitted to speak during the assemblies of the saints.

Paul begins 1Corinthians 14:33-38 with the words, Hoos en pasais tais ekkleesiais toon hagioon . Some versions render ekkleesiais in this phrase as the word “churches”. A better translation could be “worshipping assemblies”. Ekkleesia comes from the adjective ekkleetos, meaning “called out”. In its ordinary Greek usage it refers to a gathering of citizens in a town or city called out from their homes into some public place, a lawful assembly of citizens. Compare the use of ekkleesia in Acts 19:39 as designating an assembly convened for the sake of deliberating and deciding an issue. In the Septuagint ekkleesia is used often as an equivalent to the Hebrew qahal, the assembly of the Israelites, especially when gathered for sacred purposes. In a Christian sense, the word refers to a local congregation of believers as in 1Corinthians 14:23, which speaks of the (local) ekkleesia coming together in one place for worship; or to the activity during which those assembled are worshipping, as in 1Corinthians 14:19 and 35. Here the reference is to what is occurring during the time of assembling together. It would be reasonable to render ekkleesia as “worshipping assemblies” in this portion of scripture as this sense is clearly discerned from the context. Though ekkleesia here can be translated in its plural form, as “churches” or “worshipping assemblies”, but it is to be understood as being in a local sense.

In the phrase “as is the case, or practice, in all these worshipping assemblies”, Paul wishes to indicate that in giving directives to the Corinthians with reference to the silence of women in their worshipping assemblies he is urging upon them the practice which is predominant in the worship services of all the congregations of Christendom at that time. There is no clear indication in Scripture that the church at Corinth was being singled out due to some peculiar error as a congregation so that they alone ought to observe these requirements concerning women at worship. Claims that the Corinthian assemblies were in error in the area of participation women by during worship are based upon extra-Biblical sources along rather than from clear Scriptural evidence.

Paul writes, hai gunaikes en tais ekkleesiais sigatoosan “let your women keep silent in the worshipping assemblies”. This article tais could be permissibly rendered “your” inasmuch as tais is frequently used as a possessive pronoun in Greek literature. This could signal a desire for conformity of the Corinthian worshipping assemblies to the practices of other worshipping assemblies. Paul was indicating that the Corinthian women ought to be “silent” as they are in other worshipping assemblies.

Hai gunaikes signifies women of any age, especially adult females, whether unmarried, married, or widowed. Gunee may also be translated “wife” in certain contexts (compare the plural gunaikes signifying “wives” in Ephesians 5:22) but not here, there being no preparation for this restriction in Paul's argument up to this point. It can be seen that women in general are referred to here and not wives only can be seen by considering 1Timothy 2:11-12. In these verses Paul offers instruction similar to those of 1Corinthians 14:34. In 1Timothy 2:11-12gunee appears together with aneer, which indicates any man. It stands to reason that gunee similarly refers to any woman and not only to wives.

1Timothy 2:11 - 12
11 Let [manyanw manthano prolongation 1) to learn, be appraised 1a) to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge 1b) to hear, be informed 1c) to learn by use and practice 1c1) to be in the habit of, accustomed to] a woman [gunh gune 1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow 2) a wife 2a) of a betrothed woman] learn [manyanw manthano
1) to learn, be appraised 1a) to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge 1b) to hear, be informed 1c) to learn by use and practice 1c1) to be in the habit of, accustomed to] in silence [hsucia hesuchia 1) quietness 1a) description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others 2) silence] with all [pav pas 1) individually 1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything 2) collectively 2a) some of all types] submission [upotagh hupotage 1) the act of subjecting 2) obedience, subjection].
12 And I do not [ou ou also ouk ouk and ouc ouch 1) no, not; in direct questions expecting an affirmative answer] permit [epitrepw epitrepo 1) to turn to, transfer, commit, instruct 2) to permit, allow, give leave] a woman [gunh gune] to teach [didaskw didasko 1) to teach 1a) to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses 1b) to be a teacher 1c) to discharge the office of a teacher, conduct one’s self as a teacher 2) to teach one 2a) to impart instruction 2b) instill doctrine into one 2c) the thing taught or enjoined 2d) to explain or expound a thing 2f) to teach one something] or to have authority [auyentew authenteo 1) one who with his own hands kills another or himself 2) one who acts on his own authority, autocratic 3) an absolute master 4) to govern, exercise dominion over one] over a man [anhr aner 1) with reference to sex 1a) of a male 1b) of a husband 1c) of a betrothed or future husband 2) with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy 3) any male 4) used generically of a group of both men and women], but to be in silence [hsucia hesuchia].

This passage indicates clearly that the appropriate order of relationship between men and women echoes that of Genesis; women are to participate with a submissive attitude toward those men in authority. Women are not to be given nor take opportunity to teach and exercise authority over any of the men. The Genesis account describes God’s judgment upon mankind in response to Adam and Eve’s sin; men are to have dominion over women. 1Timothy 2:13 and 14 indicate that Paul connects this order to God’s primary of creation man ahead of woman and the fact that it was Eve who was deceived and not Adam. He implies that these reasons give ground and support for the understanding that man is to be head over women and women are not to have authority over men and therefore they are not to teach men.

In both of these passages, Paul indicates that women are to be “silent” in worshipping assemblies. What precisely does he mean? Is this “silence” to be taken in an absolute sense, so as to signify that women may not join vocally in liturgical response, confession of faith, prayer, and song during worship? Or, if not, in what way should this command be understood?

The word that he uses for “silent” in 1Corinthinas 14:34 is sigaw sigao. In 1Timothy 2:11 Paul uses a different yet synonymous word: hsucia hesuchia . The first thing that may be pointed out is that in various other New Testament texts in which a form of the verb sigao appears, total or sustained silence is not implied. This is also true for the verb hesuchia. In many of these passages, the contexts in which these Greek words are used signify a period of time during which there was a cessation from talking, a silence, so that the hearer would be able to apprehend what is being said. Acts 12:27 is an example of this. Peter had been miraculously released from prison and had appeared unexpectedly amongst the disciples. Peter raised his hand and called for everyone present to be silent. This silence was to enable Peter to speak so as to be heard.

In some other passages, sigao and hesuchia do not signify physical silence at all, except in relation to certain things. An example of this is Luke 9:36 where Peter and John witness Jesus’ transfiguration. Following their experience, Peter and John reportedly kept quiet about what they had seen and heard. Clearly, they did not cease from talking as Zacharias did. Peter and John’s silence was only in relation to what they had witnessed on that mountain. 1Corinthians 14:28 describes Paul’s instruction regarding tongues messages when there is nobody present with a gift of interpretation of tongues. He says that any person with a tongues message in such cases is “keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” Obviously, the silence here is in direct relation to uttering a message in tongues since he is told to speak (lalew laleo) to use words in order to declare one’s mind and disclose one’s thoughts 5a) to speak) to God and himself instead. In like manner, 1Corinthians 14:29 says: propheetai de duo ee treis laleitoosan, “let two or three prophets speak” in the course of the worship service, and let others possessed with the gifts of prophecy and discernment attest the truth of what each prophet sequentially utters. Paul adds in verse 30 that, if one prophet is speaking and something is revealed to another then ho prootos sigatoo, “let the first one keep silent.” In this way the prophets can declare their messages in turn, and each edify the church. We see in these passages that the verb laleoo surely signifies special types of speaking in the worship service - in tongues or in prophecy - and that these kinds of speaking are placed in contrast to the opposite of each, namely, keeping silent which is designated a form of the verb sigaoo.

In addition to the meanings given above, the words rendered as “silence” in English can also convey a meaning of quietness as apposed to absence of talking. In 2Thessalonians 3:12 Paul commands that those who do not work are to “work in quietness (hsucia hesuchia) and eat their own bread.” Once again, it is obvious that these people were not condemned to live mute lives, never speaking.

Study shows that these words are used in a similar manner in numerous contexts when Jesus or an apostle or another Christian was communicating the word of God to a company of persons. Nothing is implied as to the hearers' total silence throughout the duration of their contact with the one who was communicating with them on these occasions . Their silence is such that they and others are able to hear that which is being communicated and is not disruptive.

In Paul's day, as in our day, it would have been expected that persons in attendance at worshipping assemblies would keep silence at certain times, for example, when the word of God was read or preached. This would constitute an exercise of consideration and courtesy both for the Word of God and the speaker. It would be most unlikely to assume that women in Paul’s day were silent throughout the duration of the assembling of the saints and did not participate in the worship responses, hymn singing, and offering of prayers vocally during congregational worship. The same thing is true of worshippers in our day.

From the immediate contexts and with reference to other the textual considerations cited above, it can be reasonably inferred that when Paul’s directive to women is that they are not to engage in particular kinds of speaking, for example, in tongues without interpretation or prophecy whilst another is prophesying.

In the 1Corinthians 14 passage, Paul then reaffirms the male/female order by saying of the women: alla hupotassesthoosan, “but they are to be submissive,” suggest in their meaning the idea that the women are to subordinate themselves – a voluntary act. This self-restraint represents and publicly exhibits on their part a subordinating of themselves to the men present at in the assembly. In the parallel passage 1Timothy 2:11-12 the apostle uses the noun hupotagee, as he directs: gunee en heesuchla manthanetoo en pasee hupotagee, “let a woman learn in silence with all submission”; and he adds, didaskeln de gunalki ouk epitrepoo oude authentein andros, alla einai en heesuchia, “I do not permit [turn over to, or allow] a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.” Here the authentein is to be regarded as explanatory of what manner in which the teaching of the word on the part of a woman involves or represents. It is to understood that in the process of any teaching a woman is not to exercise authority over a man – no authority has been given to her whereby she can direct or enforce any understandings or practices of faith. A woman having such an attitude whilst teaching men is opposite to that of subordinating herself to those men gathered at worship.

Paul also states that it is a tenant of the law that the women should assume this state of subordination when he says kathoos kai ho nomos legei, “as the law also says”. He is saying that the charge to women to be “silent” during worship, as a reflection of their subordinating themselves to men present at worship, is not simply his own mandate but is in harmony also with the instruction of ho nomos, “the law”. In the New Testament, as here and at other at times, the term ho nomos applies refers to the whole of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch.

The apostle provides additional information as to the law's instruction pertaining to the relation of the sexes to each other in 1Corinthians 11. After stating in verse 3, “1 want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God,” he writes in verses 8-9: “For man [and the reference here is to Adam] is not from woman [Eve], but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.” Summing up we may say: In creating the first man and the first woman God thought it would be wise and beneficial for their relationship (which happened also to be that of husband and wife) to have man be head over the woman, with the woman be subordinate to the man. This arrangement also became God’s permanent will concerning the relationship of all males and females living in future times and generations since creation. This relationship is expressed throughout the Scriptures. It is not a matter affected by societal differences in the course of history, by changing customs or human ways of thinking about the relationship between the sexes.

This order in no way implies any hierarchy of worth or importance or standing of man in the sight of God between men and women. Men and women are on an absolute par in the matter of spiritual standing or worth in the sight of God, as Paul makes clear, for example, in Galatians 3:26-28, when he writes: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In line with this understanding, man in his headship is not to domineer woman or treat her as inferior; neither is woman to feel inferior to man due to her subordinate position. The head, in this biblical understanding, is that which determines, that which begins, and that which leads, and thus that which exercises rule, as the physical head functions in relation to the physical body. A man functions as head over to a woman in the assembly when, for example, he teaches the word and in the process exercises authority over the hearers, including women present; or when he takes the leadership in bring correction or rebuke where that may be necessary. A married man provides similar leadership in the home, as “head” of wife and family. A woman's voluntary submission to man as head includes her renunciation of any desire to rule over her husband in favour of his leadership.

The Lord Jesus Christ exercised His headship over His body, the church, not by dominating the church, but by lovingly serving it and giving His life for it. Through His instruction and the supply of the Holy Spirit, He further heads the church by guiding her into the pathways of obedience to God's will and consequently to spiritual cleansing and conformity to His own image so that He can present her to Himself as a spotless bride. In the same way men ought to exercise their headship with respect to women in the church generally, doing all in their power to promote the physical and spiritual welfare of female members of the body of Christ. Christian women should gladly live in a manner that shows their submissive relationship to men for the Lord's sake, honouring God's will in this matter just as they seek to carry out all other directions He gives them for His glorification and their well being. The more love and commitment to the interest of others are present in the relationship of the man to the woman, the more this submissive relationship conforms to the Scriptural ideal.

In of 1Corinthians 14:35, Paul indicates that the Genesis account with respect to the order of Adam and Eve’s relationship has relevance to the relationships of males and females in all future generations; the submission of women to men is a permanent order of relationship and is to be observed in all Christian assemblies throughout the New Testament era. Any act on the part of women today which sets this relationship aside is a violation of “the law,” and therefore is a violation of the will of God as stated in His word. Some people attempt to claim that these ideas of submission were applicable only in Paul’s time and age and culture which assigned a different position to woman than is applicable in our day and age. There is nothing written in scripture to support the notion that God’s ideal for the order of male and female relationship has changed. Any alteration to God’s appointed order has, therefore, been done by man and not by God. The claim that the sexes are equal collides with the simple fact that God did not make them equal, and man cannot alter this. Whatever is permitted for women to be engaged in within a worshipping assembly must not conflict with the directives of the whole counsel of the word of God.

It may be surmised that in the course of early Christian worshipping assemblies opportunities were offered for those present to ask questions relating to understandings of the word of God, or about other matters pertaining to assembly life. It is likely that this prerogative was reserved for the men present. Some of the women may have desired the privilege of asking questions as the men did. Paul speaks of the matter and counsels against the practice. Women were not to speak in this manner at public worship. Paul reasons that women were not to be permitted to ask questions and teach in the worshipping assemblies, for in so doing they would exercise authority over men and leave their subordinate position. These activities would put women on a par with men; and in this way they would not give public demonstration of their subordinate position in relation to men and of their acceptance of this status.

There is justification for translating andras as “menfolk” and not “husbands” is simply that, as has already been pointed out, there is nothing in the context of the apostle's instruction here to indicate a limitation to husbands. Men, males, menfolk, as opposed to women, females, womenfolk are those to whom Paul is referring. The apostle conceives of the Corinthian congregation as consisting of families having husbands, fathers, sons, or other male relatives of the women, who would also attend worship services. Let the women ask their questions of them in the home; and presumably, if the latter would be unable to give the requested responses, the women could bring the questions to the expounder of the word or the congregational leadership privately and have them answered. The apostle is expressing a principle here. He therefore does not take into consideration the exceptional case of a lone woman who has no male relatives living with her. In such a situation the opportunity would likewise be there for such a woman privately to present her questions to the church leadership or other male acquaintance.

The violation of any of Paul’s directives, including these concerning women, is a serious matter. Paul adds: aischron gar estin gunaiki lalein en ekkleesia, “for it is shameful for women to speak in worshipping assemblies.” Here, the meaning of “to speak” is intended to be confined to the context as previously discussed. Her shame is fundamentally before God, who has clearly expressed His will in His Word, any violation of which is indeed a shameful thing. Hers is the shame also before genuine Christians, who seek to do the divine will in their lives and desire to have it carried out in the Christian congregation.

The word aischron derives from aischos, meaning “baseness,” “disgrace”; the adjective, accordingly, has the meanings of “base,” “shameful,” “ugly,” and “dishonorable.” In other contexts Paul says, for example, that it is shameful for a woman to be shorn, having her hair cropped closely to the scalp, or shaven bald (1Corinthians 11:6). With reference to the sexual filth and perversion of his day, he writes in Ephesians 5:12, “It is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret”. Earlier in the same chapter, he refers to the aischrotees, “baseness,” which is the abstract for the concrete word aischrologia, “obscene speech,” from which Christians are to abstain. In Titus 1:11 he refers to mind-deceiving false teachers who subvert whole households for the sake of shameful gain. These usages give a clear idea of the intensity of the shamefulness which the aischron family of words convey.

In conclusion, Paul’s instructions can be summarised as follows:
1. Women are to behave in a submissive manner during worshipping assemblies.
2. Women are to be silent in the following manner:
a. Not speaking out any tongues message where there is no interpreter;
b. Ceasing to speak out a prophetic message when another prophet has been given a message;
c. Asking questions in an interruptive sense;
d. Allowing others to speak without interruption.
3. Women are not to have authority over men.
4. Women are not to teach men with any authority.
5. It is shameful for a woman to behave contrary to these directives.
6. By implication, women are free to speak in ways that do not contradict the above directives, for example:
a. Sharing testimony;
b. Answering directed questions;
c. Worshipping the Lord in song;
d. Prayer;
e. Prophesy.

So then, Paul’s intention in these passages appears to be to convey the Lord's commandment with application to the regulation of procedures at first-century Corinthian public congregational worship. His overarching purpose is to ensure that worshipping assemblies share community together in love where each is encouraged to grow in Christ and serve one another in an appropriate and Scriptural manner. Those who fear and love the Lord in worshipping assemblies today will seek to observe His will in this matter as in all others.

Statement of Belief

Bible: We believe the Bible, consisting of 66 books, to be the inspired Word of God, without error, the revelation of His will for the salvation of men, and the divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.

God: We believe in one God who exists and operates as three: the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Father: We believe the Father created all things in heaven and on earth. He created human beings and desires a personal relationship with each of us.

Jesus: We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven.

Holy Spirit: We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict men, making them aware of their sin and the salvation available through Jesus. He regenerates, guides, instructs, and empowers the believer for godly living and service.

Man: We believe that man was created in the image of God and sinless, but fell into sin and is therefore lost and subject to judgement. There is nothing man can do to save himself from this judgement, but he can accept the death of Jesus as punishment in place of his own eternal death by acknowledging God and accepting the free gift of salvation.

Salvation: We believe that the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ provides the only way of justification and salvation for all who believe. Any who attach additional works of man as a requirement for salvation are false in that they infer Jesus' death is insufficient in and of itself to save and that human beings somehow have the capability to save themselves.

Grace Plus Nothing: We believe that it is only by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus that one is justified and receives salvation. It is heretical to add any additional requirements to God's grace, or to claim that certain prayers, water baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, or any other human work is essential for salvation.

Accepting the Sinner, Denouncing the Sin: We believe that no sin is too big for God to forgive. Therefore, as Christians we should be open and eager to share the Gospel with everyone regardless of their sin or affliction. However, making Jesus Lord of our lives means striving towards holiness and turning from our sinful ways. Therefore, while being open to all sinners, Christians ought not accept, ignore, or promote any sin as permissible.

Non-Essential Elements: We believe the above tenets make up the basis of Christian faith on which all Christians believe and agree. We also realize that many aspects of God's nature including His omnipotence, omniscience, holiness, and tri-unity are beyond human understanding, and have therefore intentionally omitted any statements regarding areas of legitimate disagreement (i.e., baptism, predestination, end times) on which agreement is not essential for salvation.