1 Corinthians 14:32-36 (NLT) 32 Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people. 34 Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. 35 If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.”

Although this verse seems to be saying women may not speak, there are other New Testament Scriptures that teach women may talk in meetings. Let us harmonize all of the Bible verses on this topic in order to understand God’s will.

Corinth was a rough and rowdy city. Women in the church at Corinth had become disorderly and did not honor men’s headship as they should. These Christian women needed to be reminded that the man is to be the head over the woman, and Christ is the head over the man. (See Ephesians 5:23-24.) Thus, women were not to interrupt meetings but were to submit to their husbands.

Yet, this did not mean women were never to speak. Earlier in 1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul wrote, “…every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head….” Thus, when a woman prayed or prophesied in a meeting, she was obviously talking.

The main idea of a woman’s role in the church is given in 1 Timothy 2:12 (NIV), “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet (hēsychía in Greek). The idea of hesychia is quietness, or having a submissive attitude. The same Greek word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 where Paul teaches Christians to “lead a quiet life”. This certainly does not mean they should lead a silent life.

Women are to reflect the glory of man. They are not to teach in meetings, nor give sermons. But certainly, she may pray, ask questions and offer comments from the Scriptures with her head covered in a quiet and submissive manner.