The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

Spurious texts: 1 Corinthians 14:33-35

The words that start in the middle of 1 Corinthians 14:33 and run through verse 35 may well be fake later additions to the Bible.

They say:

‘And as [is true] in all the congregations of Holy Ones;
The women should remain silent in the congregation.
They shouldn’t be allowed to speak out.
Rather (as the Law says), they should be submissive.
And if they wish to know something, let them ask their husbands [when they get] home.
For it’s disgraceful for a woman to speak out in a congregation.’

Here are the reasons why we question these verses:

1. The words move locations in ancient manuscripts.

In some manuscripts, these words appear at the end of the chapter instead. Such moving around gives scholars the impression that the words are later additions, perhaps added marginal notes of someone with a strong opinion on the matter.

2. There is no such injunction in the Law of Moses.

The words claim that the restrictions against women are the same as what ‘the Law says’. However, the Old Law says no such thing!

Also, Paul went to great lengths to tell Christians that they were no longer under the Old Law. So he would hardly tell them to obey it. Thus, not only is the claim a lie (and therefore, cannot be inspired by God), it doesn’t make sense for him to say such a thing.

3. These injunctions fly in the face of God’s use of women.

Jehovah/Yahweh had previously appointed women as judges of IsraEl and even as Prophets; both very prominent positions. It is not possible to be a judge or a prophet and ‘remain silent.’

God had the words of women recorded in the Bible in multiple places, such as the words of Mary and Elizabeth. God even told Abraham to listen to his wife’s voice. Two entire Bible books are about women: Ruth and Esther, and if it were not for Esther bravely speaking up, the Israelites would have massacred.

It would make absolutely no sense for women to be now told to not speak or even ask questions.

4. Previously in 1 Corinthians, women were mentioned as praying in the congregation.

Back in 1 Corinthians 11:5 specific instructions are given for women praying. Therefore, Paul did not require them to ‘keep silent in the congregation’ at all. It’s right there in the text. If we accept both statements, then there’s a massive contradiction in the text, and not even far from each other.

5. Removing it improves the flow of the text.

Removing the words doesn’t seem to damage the flow of the chapter, which you’d expect, but improves it. Before these words, he was talking about people making a prophecy, and afterwards about the same thing. These words are out-of-place.

Conclusion

For these reasons, we seriously question the authenticity of these verses. It seems far more likely that these began as marginal notes written into a scroll by someone who felt strongly on the matter. These were then move into the main body of the text upon copying. This is called interpolation.

However, we could be wrong, so the words are left place (crossed-out) for readers to see.

As for the words at Colossians 3:18 (‘Women; Always obey your men, since this is proper [for those that are] in the Lord.’), these seem to be in context, and are in line with other scriptures. Therefore they are probably authentic. The other words talking about women at 1 Timothy 2:9-15 are horribly mistranslated in most Bibles.

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