The Word "Speak"

A Word Study of The Word "Speak"

by Rev. Jack Barr

The word "Speak" in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35.

The study of the words can help to understand the true meanings of verses being studied. While God has forbidden the changing of "one jot or tittle", (Mat. 5:18, Rev. 22:18-19), that is even one comma ( , ) , we will find many times that WE place an interpretation on a word that was never in the Original Language. However, We do not change a word by looking at it's definition in a dictionary.

I am not an expert and rely on Hebrew and Greek dictionaries called "Lexicons". My Strong's Concordance has such dictionaries in it. Note that every word in the Bible has had a number assigned to it for the purpose of finding that word in these dictionaries. By finding the word in the concordance, we also find the number, and using the number, we find the definition in English for that Hebrew or Greek word.

The word speak was chosen for our study. In a straight reading of these verses in the KJV it would appear that a woman would not be allowed to make a sound in the Church. This word has been assigned the number 2980. The definition :

2980 lalew lalˆo, lal-eh'-o: a prol. form of an otherwise obsol. verb: to talk, i.e. utter words: -- preach, say, speak (after), talk, tell, utter. Comp. 3004

Well that does seem to say that a woman can't say anything, but wait.... What is this Comp. 3004?? Well it says to look up the meaning of word number 3004 and to compare its meaning to this one.

3004 legw lˆgo, leg'-o; a prim. verb; prop. to lay forth, i.e. (fig) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse; whereas 2036 and 5346 generally refer to an individual expression or speech respectively; while 4483 is prop. to break silence merely, and 2980 means an extended or random harangue] ); by impl. to mean: -- ask, bid, boast, call, describe, give out, name, put forth, say (-ing, on), shew, speak, tell, utter.

Ah -- now we see that the word speak as used in 1 Cor. 14:34-35, means more than just talking or making a sound. We are shown that the Greeks had several words that we would translate as speak, but each has a little different meaning. In this case we see that the word speak, #2980, refers to a specific manner of speaking, and NOT just the act of speaking. It refers to talking in an extended or random harangue.

Golly, now what is THAT?? Well the word harangue is shown in my Encyclopedic Dictionary as:

harangue (ha-rang') n. A lengthy, loud, and vehement-speech; tirade. --v. -rangued, - rangu-ing v.t. 1. to address in a harangue. --V.i. 2. to deliver a harangue.

And in another dictionary:

harangue (ha-rang') n. a ranting public speech., That sounds a little different now doesn't it? We can see now how these verses fits in. In chapter 14, Paul is trying to correct the confusion that was destroying the church at Corinth. Paul in verse 33 is warning them that confusion is not of God. They had confusion in using the gifts of the Spirit, and it becomes evident that the confusion in their church was helped along by some of the women who were disrupting services by their rantings and ravings as if they were on a soapbox. Action would have to be taken to stop anyone, man or woman, who would not stop talking during the services, distracting others from worshipping God.

We could, with the above information, read verse 35 as "..... for it is a shame for a woman (or man) to disrupt the service by making long and loud ranting speeches in the church.

Make note that women have been and are being used by God. As a prophet, they would prophesied in the church, and as giving messages in tongues or interpreting messages in tongues, they would again do this in church. I believe that it is clear that Paul supported women to do both. And if you study what a prophet does, I am confident that you will find that a Prophet both teaches and leads, both men and women. God Bless each of you and may the Holy Spirit lead you into understanding God's Word.

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