You wrote: In I Cor.11:2-16 Paul says that women must have their heads
covered (with something in addition to their hair) when they pray or prophesy
in the public assembly of the church. ... I Cor.14:34-36 appears to be a
prohibition of women speaking in church. ... The explanation may be that in
ch.14 ... Paul ... is here giving a rule for a particular situation, perhaps
because of particular disorderliness of Corinthian worship.
You and I will have to agree to disagree here. For the reasons I have
previously stated, I do not think Paul's words can be logically read in such
You wrote: The question of supposed contradictions in the Bible often arises
people think of the Bible as a collection of timeless abstract propositions
which have to be logically consistent with one another.
I don't see the Bible in quite that way, but I also don't think Paul would
contradict himself in a very short span of time. I also cannot believe that
Paul would have ever made a bunch of legalistic rules and regulations
forbidding women to teach in church, or for that matter forbidding them to
even ask questions in church. You seem to believe he actually told them to
keep absolutely silent in church and if they had any questions about anything
to go home and ask their husbands after the service. What if they had no
husband? What if they had a nonbeliever for a mate? The idea that Paul would
require women to dress in a certain way or wear head covering when they
prayed is, to me, also ridiculous. Paul was the apostle who worked tirelessly
to promote Christian freedom, and who said there should be no distinctions
within the body of Christ between Jew and Gentile, free man and slave, and
male and female. Paul is the apostle who fought hard with Peter over his the
issue of legalisms.
I don't buy your explanation of such passages. The understanding I have put
forth is the only one that makes sense to me. As I said, on this issue we
will have to agree to disagree.
So far as your presentation of what you see as various Bible contradictions
to justify the presence of apparent contradictions in Paul's teaching, I see
it as a pretty lousy way of defending your understandings of Paul's
teachings. You might as well say, "The whole Bible is full of contradictions.
Why should we expect Paul's letters to be any less so?"
You pointed out that Jesus said at one time, "He that is not against you is
for you," and at another time, "He who is not with me is against me" (11:23).
However, this is no contradiction at all. For at the time Christ made those
generalizations the boldness of His preaching had polarized most of those who
were familiar with His message. By that time those who knew Jesus had already
chosen sides. They had by then either decided to become one of His supporters
or one of His opposers. Very few in the crowds who had listened to Christ
speak for any length of time remained "sitting on the fence."
I also see no contradiction in Proverbs 26:4-5. "Answer not a fool according
to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his
folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." I see that these verses tell us
that for our own sake it is best not to argue with fools. For doing so most
often just makes us look foolish. On the other hand, if we don't sometimes
help those believing foolish things see the error of their way of thinking,
they may never gain real wisdom. The author of Proverbs is simply reminding
us that there is often personal risk involved in helping others.
Please don't throw more supposed Bible contradictions at me to prove that all
of Paul's sexist and legalistic words may have been his own. For just because
some apparent contradictory statements elsewhere in scripture are not really
contradictory does nothing to prove that some of Paul's words are not, if all
he wrote were his own teachings. I've played the "Bible contradiction game"
too often with Bible skeptics and atheists. I have no desire to play it with
You wrote: No, I don't think that there was a universal flood, but what I
irrelevant here. What is of concern is what Jews & Christians of the 1st
thought. & whether they believed that the flood was universal or not (but
probably thought it was) is not as important as the fact that the story of
covenant with Noah was thought of as an expression of God's will for all
So you are saying that the apostles felt justified in making a set of
Christian laws for new Gentile Christians because the apostles mistakenly
thought that Noah's flood was global and that God's blood law given to Noah
thus applied to all people by extension.
If that is what you are saying you and I are far apart in our view of the
scriptures. The letter sent to Gentile Christians was good advise on how they
could avoid offending their Jewish brothers and sisters with their new
freedom in Christ. It was nothing more. Christians are not under law. The
apostles, including Paul, never made any official set of rules which any
Christians were obliged to follow. Paul never made any special rules
restricting the participation of Christian women in the Christian church in
any way. Those are my beliefs. You are welcome to yours.
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