Let me state at the beginning of this post. Good Christian men and women have struggled for as long as the Word has existed, with the issue of the woman's role in the Church. I do not pretend to be an authority or to fully understand Paul's prohibition on women speaking in the assembly. He stated in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that "the head of the woman is the man." In 1 Corinthians 14:34, Paul wrote that women are not permitted to speak, but are "to be under obedience." It is obvious then that a wife is to be obedient to her husband, and an unmarried woman is to be obedient to her father. In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Paul taught that a woman is not to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. So to sum it up, a woman is not to ask questions, to speak, to teach, or to rule over a man.
In today's Church, if these rules were taken at face value, there would be only male teachers of adult Bible classes. Woman would teach only other women and children. Women could not serve on committees which had oversight of any ministry in which a man served. Women could serve as missionaries but only teach women. Women could not testify in the assembly about what the Lord had done for them. Women could not sing. It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it
Our church has sent and support women missionaries (I think that is good). We have a woman teaching an adult Bible class in Sunday school (the men who attend it think that is good). Women serve on committees of all sorts (apparently the persons who selected them think that is good). Women sing during the services (it depends upon the talent whether anyone thinks that it is good). We have a woman church secretary who reads the minutes during business meetings (we are lucky to have her). My pastor, with whom I have never disagreed over the seventeen years I have known him, views Paul's statements as having to do with the formal assembly of all the local believers in the weekly worship services. My only problem with that interpretation is that it ignores the fact that the Church is where the gift of prophecy is to be expressed; if a woman prophesies, it would have to be in the assembly. The context of 1 Corinthians 14 is regarding the assembly. Verse three says that prophecy is spoken unto men. Verses four and five say that prophecy is for the Church. Verse twelve states that spiritual gifts are for the edification of the Church. Verse twenty-two says that prophecy is for believers. Verse twenty-four says if all prophesy and an unbeliever comes in (to the assembly v. 23), he will be convicted. It is a good thing Paul wasn't present at the day of Pentecost, or a large number would have been rebuked of him. When the Spirit fell, the Church was assembled!
All I know is that God wants us to be in unity. If this topic can not be resolved to every one's satisfaction, then it needs to "take a back seat" to other, more important issues, like winning the lost to Christ. Is it any wonder why Paul wrote what is our thirteenth chapter and placed in in the middle of twelve and fourteen?
He ends fourteen with "Let all things be done decently and in order." Can I get an Amen?