Charles and Norma Ellis
1 Corinthians 14:26-36
26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
This passage is a key to church life. It is part of a section on gifts. In a way it is a parenthesis growing out of a section on the abuse of the charismatic gifts which had been plaguing Corinth. Paul found it necessary to remind the Corinthians that those gifts were not to be a source of confusion, marring the order and peace of a congregation of His people.
At first reading (and even the fifty-first perhaps) this section might be very jarring to the ear of the woman who has been told she has 'come a long way.' The thought of being barred from speaking up and even asking questions at church may humiliate or even infuriate her! Even when presented with the argument that Paul is safeguarding the calm and order of the body of Christ by what may or may not be a permanent regulation, and which may not apply equally in formal worship services and informal meetings, she may find her pride wounded.
But if we look at this passage (especially verse 35) in the larger context of the whole Bible we see that the apostle is assuming that homes are for learning! We stress at this point the importance of the family of God, the communion of the saints, the body of Christ. And well we might! The church is the beloved bride of the Saviour. But as we look at the whole of God's revelation, we see that the home, instituted along with Adam and Eve, is the basic unit of society. It is the home primarily where God's Word is to be taught and lived.
So one of the most pertinent applications we can make of verse 35 may come as a surprise. As the God-ordained teacher in the home, the husband should see to it that he is able to answer the questions of an intelligent twentieth-century wife as well as those of his young children! As a prophet he is to speak forth God's truths with the authority of Scripture and through the Holy Spirit. If the home is for learning, the father is for teaching. Mother will normally teach the children much of the time, but the head of the Department of Bible is the father. If this is true, and if father takes his task seriously, the wife will feel free to ask questions of him and will find real security and satisfaction in his ability to fill his role!
We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."
Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.
Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.
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