The Bible definition of church

These are the plain commands of the Lord as to how He wants His church to function:

If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convicted of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. How is it then, brethren? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that in turn; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge. If anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be submissive, as also says the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is shameful for women to speak in the church. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brethren, be eager to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Cor. 14:23-40

Paul qualifies this passage by saying these are the commandments of the Lord for the functioning of the church (vs 37). This means there is no room for negotiation on the issue: obedience is not optional here, it’s not a matter of preference, it’s not a matter of culture or tradition, these are the plain commands of the Lord as to how He wants His church to function, so he says if someone wants to be ignorant of these principles, that is, decides to reject them and not put these commands into practice, just leave him alone. But it follows, then, that if such a person is deemed to be ignorant they have no credibility among the brethren, their opinions and baseless objections are to be ignored.

After having read these commands of the Lord, what do you think? Judge for yourself whether you are someone Paul would call ignorant – someone who ignores or mocks these commands of the Lord.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be submissive, as also says the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is shameful for women to speak in the church.

Many women aren’t going to like this, but Paul says here that the sisters in the Assembly are supposed to be “submissive” in relation to the men. Whatever role the sisters play in the Assembly, as far as praying or prophesying (1 Cor. 11:5), it is to be done in a spirit of submission to the brothers. Paul means they are not permitted to speak if they are not speaking from a place of submission to the male spiritual authority in the Assembly (and it is disingenuous to suggest that Paul meant anything other than this). This means that if they have questions, that is, they disagree with anything that is taught in the Assembly, then let them raise the matter privately rather than speak out publicly and thereby disrupt the order set in place by God.

3 Responses to “The Bible definition of church”

  1. ian vincent Says:

    My comment on a forum:

    The texts you’ve quoted are commands. The translation you’ve quoted doesn’t change them from being commands into suggestions.

    We should simply try and read the NT objectively, meaning, what does it actually say.

    You are reading into the text something which is not there, and i can only assume you are doing so as a reaction to false expressions of authority.

    Regardless of how much spiritual authority has been wrongly understood and wrongly applied in Christendom it doesn’t change the original text.

    As i said before, Paul’s use of spiritual authority was correct, and in harmony with Christ, as he never lorded it over the faith of others.

    Let me explain some more: to objectively read the Text means to try and find out what it mean’t to the writer and to those he was writing to.

    But if we let our bad experiences with institutional church color our thinking, and even cause us to read the Bible on the rebound as a reactionary, then we will bring our own subjective interpretations into it.

    To the person who has been hurt by false authority, even the word “command” may seem a little too strong a language.

    But Paul said that they weren’t his commands, they are the commands of the Lord.

    Whether people receive them as commands of the Lord, or not, is up to them. We would strongly advise them to do do.

  2. ian vincent Says:

    1 Corinthians 14:38 ►

    Parallel Verses

    New International Version
    But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

    New Living Translation
    But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized.

    English Standard Version
    If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

    New American Standard Bible
    But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

    King James Bible
    But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    But if anyone ignores this, he will be ignored.

    International Standard Version
    But if anyone ignores this, he should be ignored.

    NET Bible
    If someone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    But if a man is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    But whoever ignores what I write should be ignored.

    Jubilee Bible 2000
    But anyone that ignores them shall be ignored.

    King James 2000 Bible
    But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    American King James Version
    But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    American Standard Version
    But if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    But if any man know not, he shall not be known.

    Darby Bible Translation
    But if any be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    English Revised Version
    But if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    But if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    Weymouth New Testament
    But if any one is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    World English Bible
    But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    and if any one is ignorant — let him be ignorant;

  3. ian vincent Says:

    1 Corinthians 14:38

    But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    Or, …let him be considered as ignorant.

    Or..

    If any man does not accept that all the directives Paul gave are explicit commands direct from the Lord Jesus then that man is not to have any credibility in the church.

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