Should 1 Corinthians 14:34 be applicable in the modern world? That New Testament Bible verse is “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.”

It’s trivial, hence likely very wrong, to blanket every word of Scripture as though God meant it to be exactly so and forever pertinent. Broad example – Genesis 1 is liturgy not history (note the repetitive format and the elevated language) especially since Genesis 2 contains an alternative liturgy consisting of four days not six, and in a slightly different order.

Yet God did say “Let there be light” – 13.8 billion years ago. Following which the Word (see the first few verses of John 1) made all things that were made. So far as we can tell, that includes two hundred sextillion stars (a two followed by 23 zeroes) – one of which owns the planet that evolved homo sapiens. And after spending four point six billion years to get this far, on exactly the Jewish New Year of 3 BCE the skies come alive with signs and conjunctions (cf The Star of Bethlehem, a DVD available on the web.) This is a good candidate for the date that an angel tells Mary that she will bear the Messiah. Talk about precision, eh? Not to mention that the likeliest candidate for that Star which stood over Bethlehem; that likely date is 25 December of 2 BCE. God’s sense of humor sweeps me away. At least, I hope that’s His idea of a good chuckle.

Forgive the digression – bottom line God reveals Himself to us in myriad ways, and allows humans to be who they are all the way through. Paul on at least one occasion confesses that a particular command is from him not from God (if I recall correctly, the urge not to marry if you can manage your own domain, i.e. contain your lust) – so I infer that more culturally derived points which Paul included in his letters amounted to a human being intermingling his own notions with the vast, subtle understanding of all the Jewish Scriptures. And all the while, without intending to do so, he was laying down large parts of the Christian Canon.

Discern! All who read the Word must do so with care and close attention. So when something human leaps out, have the courage to accept that this may be the occasional peanut in the ice cream. Rather than equate this to the “Ten commandments – choose your fave eight!” school of theology, realize that God used men to convey his revelations. Not just the Revelation of John – all of the Torah, the Poetry, the History, and the Prophets that comprise the Jewish scripture bore the textual and conversational fingerprints of humans. Trying to hog-tie Genesis into being a scientific truth insults a God Who remains wholly beyond our understanding and Whose timing, methods, and manner of revealing Himself are outside our ability to critique.

In short, don’t count the bathwater as equal to the baby. Jesus came, revealed His purpose, endured bodily death on the cross, resurrected, and spoke again to His disciples before ascending into heaven. That’s the baby.

Or as Paul says in one of his letters, agreement in Christ is essential, other details less so, and charity is required in all things among Christians.

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