Should Women Remain Silent in Church? What Does the Bible Say?

Should women stay silent in church?

Hmm. Tough question. What does the Bible say?


Act 1:14 They ALL joined together constantly in prayer, along with the WOMEN.


Act 2:4 ALL of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.


Act 2:17 I will pour out my Spirit on ALL people and your sons and DAUGHTERS will prophesy.


Act 4:31 They were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


Rom 12:6-7 If YOUR GIFT is prophesying, then prophesy; if it is teaching, then teach.


1 Cor 12:7 Now to EACH ONE the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.


1 Cor 14:5 Now I wish that you ALL spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy.


1 Cor 14:31 For you can ALL prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.


1 Cor 14:39 Therefore, my brothers and SISTERS, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.


1 Pet 4:10 EACH OF YOU should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.


1 Pet 4:11 If ANYONE speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.


If that doesn’t settle the issue for you, check out Acts 21:9, Romans 12:6, 16:1, 3, 12, 1 Corinthians 12:11, 27, 14: 27, 29, 39, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3:28, and 1 Peter 2:9.

You should have no doubt about the Bible’s position on this subject: Women are NOT to remain silent in the church. For the sake of the body, let every part function as God intended.

But wait – what about 1 Cor. 14:35?

The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

These are not Paul’s words; he is repeating a question put to him by the Corinthians. In the Greek and Jewish communities, women were expected to keep silent in the assemblies. They even had laws about it.

“Shouldn’t we follow their example and have the women stay silent in the church?” asked the Corinthians.

Absolutely not,” thundered the apostle.

What then shall we say, brothers and SISTERS? When you come together, EACH OF YOU has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (1 Corinthians 14:26)

One more time for emphasis: Women should NOT stay silent in church but should be encouraged to speak, sing, teach, pray, prophesy, and yes, even preach and lead, as the Spirit guides.

But can women really do all these things?

Enough already. Don’t you know we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who marvel to think that we would even ask such an unbiblical question? That we have bought into an idea so far removed from scripture, testifies to the perverse power of tradition and patriarchy.

It is time for us to renew our minds and stop muzzling half of the body of Christ.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.


Other articles about women in the church:

Are women permitted to teach?

Are women more easily deceived?

Do you have a Biblical view of women?

How did Jesus empower women?

If a women can’t be a husband, she can’t be a pastor, right?

Is the church too feminine?

Is the Bible sexist?

Jesus listened to women, why don’t we?

Jesus, pioneer of women’s education

Jesus stands with the accused

Should women be silent in church?

Submission doesn’t mean what you think it means

What does the Bible say about women pastors?

Who submits in marriage?

Women preachers? Where’s that in the Bible?!

Women pastors in the Bible


Escape to Reality is a reader-funded website. Sign up to be notified of new articles:

Join 40,639 other followers

22 Comments on Should Women Remain Silent in Church? What Does the Bible Say?

  1. // August 12, 2021 at 3:51 am // Reply

    Thanks…………love this information… I can’t keep silent, I would bust… Thank you Paul Ellis!!!
    Elaine Urie

  2. John K Cheeseman // August 12, 2021 at 4:06 am // Reply

    No arguments here. The statement for woman to be silent I believe was a jewish custom at the time. Not only that but it was a very dangerous time and got worse before Rome fell.

  3. I Corinthians 14

    35 Here is my “rendering” of verses 14:34-35, Women should shut up in church; they should know their place of submission just as they are taught in the law! If they need to know anything their husbands can instruct them at home; church is certainly not a place where women should voice their opinion; they also do not qualify to operate in any of the gifts of the spirit!
    Hee hee hee! This sounds like a grumpy scribe of the day, voicing his opinion!
    This is certainly not consistent with Paul’s revelation that in Christ there is neither male nor female! [See 2 Corinthians 5:14,16, Galatians 3:28, also 1 Corinthians 11:3-17].)

    38 Also verses 36-38, Now to add insult to injury, the same author of the previous verses lashes out against anyone who would not share his sentiment concerning women.

  4. “Enough already”, indeed! It’s almost as if the church needs to hit the reboot or restart button. We’ve gotten way off track on a great many things. We’ve gone the way of the Pharisees and have learned to study, study, study the scriptures to prove our points and defend a god that doesn’t even exist other than in our heads. The point of the Gospel is to cure us from our addiction to religion and our attempts to please the ogre god of our fallen minds. How can we be so dim as to use the bible as support for “muzzling half of the body of Christ”? It’s like we don’t have a clue who God really is. (hint: he is EXACTLY like Jesus) Obviously, there is something deeply amiss with us that the bible itself does not fix – otherwise, Jesus could have just dropped off a new book and said “Here, read this one and do what it says, this is the one that will get you people all straightened out”. To me, the church has put the bible on a pedestal it doesn’t belong on and we basically have an unhealthy assessment of the roll the bible plays in the grand scheme of things. Of course I love the scriptures, but the bible is not God. The word of God is named Jesus. The bible is a collection of writings of people who saw something that literally blew their minds and is too beautiful for words but they had to try and write about it. When we read it we are joining in on the discovery of reality and our minds are blown too. It’s not an instruction manual, or textbook. A renewed mind that has come to know the embrace of Jesus and the Father’s love that Jesus is lavished with and the unearthly comfort of the Holy Spirit does not see in scripture ways to prop up more religious bondage, but rather sees inclusion, hope, restoration, and how to be a real person and really SEE other people and care about them.

  5. Thank you Paul. This teaching & revelation needs to get out to the rest of the church!

  6. Brandon Petrowski // August 12, 2021 at 6:00 pm // Reply

    Excellent! Well said.

  7. Have you ever listened to _____ who says women are to be quiet in the church meetings period. Can you do a blog and explain the errors of _____?

  8. Amen Paul, if believers are honest we do not even agree with other religions who are “patriarchal”where men head,take the lead and forbid women to speak about spiritual matters and put them away from the main worship and have subordinate attitudes towards women “as it says so in their written word”so why do we think it is ok for us.This feeling of it is not right is not coming from us but Holy Spirit who is trying to enlighten us to the truth that it is not right or from from God. I am a female believer who is not only for males but females. I need both their spirit inspired inputs, they are just as relevant and important as the other.Being brought up in a non believing background I was subjected to this battle and argument of and over the sexes and it’s ridiculous,damagingunhelpful,distracting,time waster. When Jesus revealed Himself to me and I sought fellowship I thought this battle was over and peace was restored but it was still going on just dressed up in a different way! .Male and female are both prone to error as we are “ faulty as well as prone to being “good”. But this is not the issue the issue is we all need a perfect,faultless,trustworthyreliable,unfallen Saviour to lead,save,guide,direct us and hallelujah WE HAVE ONE!! Let’s not let ourselves get distracted from what or rather WHO really matters- Jesus His sacrifice at the cross for us and why we needed it and His she’d blood for both males and females.

  9. BUT WAIT! Prior to our move, the new pastor at the Evangelical Free (Very Northern Calif where Pelicans gather at a Bay) just, as of 2021, instituted an “all male eldership/deaconship” and females not permitted to teach if a male is in their bible study class. The remaining members voted agreement. Apparently attention-focused, common-sense reading of the scriptures is NOT rampant in pulpits today. All we can do is point to Jesus and carefully read the Word together, and allow the Spirit to bring clarity.

    • So sad. The more we grow in Christ, the more it seems the traditional western evangelical church theology is a bunch of stupidity and BS on top of more stupidity and BS that we have built religious empires around. When people say how could God love Hitler after what he’s done, I say how could God love the Western Church after what it’s done? Thankfully as things fall apart, as they will inevitably, we will find ourselves falling right into the passion of the Holy Spirit. We’ve got nowhere to run.

  10. I’m surprised you never addressed those who cite the “Jezebel spirit” in this series. Unless you did and I don’t remember. 🙂

  11. Thanks for sharing. Helped my wife.

  12. This is not our fight,battle it is the Lords ,common sense or rather God,Jesus,Holy Spirit sense will out. It takes the Holy Spirit alone to enlighten us and convict us ( of our righteousness of God in Christ)of the real true matter-at hand Jesus Christ and Him crucified for us and why, we can talk,debate,try and convince TIL we are completely blue in the face however things cannot and will not budge peoples deafness,dumbness,blindness,ignorance,stupidity,uncommon sense,thickness,resistance to the truth ,denseness will not cannot budge or be removed by us only Holy Spirit can budge it and enlighten us and fill us with the sense we all need. Before Jesus saved me there was no way I could see the light and the error of my ways and thinking and behaviour and try and do something about it in my own power,might,understanding. It took the Holy Spirit only to do that for me and even after He saved me it is still only the Holy Spirit that can do this for me for us all, Zechariah 4:6human help,wisdom is worthless powerless. We can witness to others speaking Gods words but only Holy Spirit can empower those words and drive them home into someone’s heart

  13. Psalm 68:11 the female proclaimers are a numerous host. ( along with the men)

  14. Dale Mark // May 9, 2022 at 8:31 am // Reply

    Is the word “patriarchal” in the Bible? Why was Eve not created first, and then a help meet for her was then created from her rib? Why isn’t it Mother God? Why didn’t Jesus specifically choose women as his disciples? Why is an overseer to be the husband of one wife? Why isn’t the Holy Spirit given a female pronoun? In the old testament wisdom is given a female pronoun. Why did King David have more than one wife? When the disciples talked about Gentile Christians (keeping from things strangled, from blood, etc) why did James speak up instead of a woman? Why did Jesus specifically call Saul of Tarsus to be a “chosen vessel” to him instead of a woman? Is all this because of patriarchy, and God at that time had no choice but to oblige? Aren’t Peter and Paul just acting out their misogyny then? Is there a difference between explicit evidence (no teaching/authority) versus implicit evidence (ALL were praying)? It seems like for over two millennia the church has been in error until now. I guess it took the unbelieving world and societal evolution for us to finally reach this point of illumination. A lot of people have loved and died since those dark days of 5he patriarchy then.

  15. Dale Mark // May 10, 2022 at 7:01 am // Reply

    You have whetted my curiosity, I’ll do some detailed research. But at best your arguments appear on the surface as obscure and implicit in their import. Words such as “I do not allow” or “keep silence”, or the “man was created first then the woman” or “man was not deceived, but the woman being quite deceived”. This is the same Apostle who in very logical discourse gives us the book of Romans and at length corrects the Corinthians with sound arguments. But hear we have to subordinate such arguments in the effort to be shown as “nice”. At one point Paul says “anyone” then clarifies it with the qualifications of an overseer. I don’t think you should assume one without the other.

    • Great! I encourage everyone to read the Bible and see for themselves. But remember, we need a whole Bible theology. We cannot lift scriptures out of context and say things like “Women are to be ruled by men because God said so in Genesis 3.” Context matters, and there is no more important context than the lens provided by Jesus. His death changed everything. The old covenant is obsolete; the new has come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.