Is there any Scripture that says women should not pray audibly in public?

   We do not have a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for everything in the NT as Israel did in the OT for, unlike them, we are not under law but under grace. If we had direct commands for everything we would be under law. However, I believe that there is sufficient in the Bible to settle every matter, if not directly, then indirectly.

   There are two dominant words in the Greek language for man:
anthropos and aner. Anthropos means man as distinct from angels and beasts. It is thus man as a race and embraces both men and women. Aner generally means an adult man as distinct from a woman and is thus used for husband.

   In 1 Tim. 2: 1–7 Paul exhorts that prayers be made for “all men” saying that God desires “that all men should be saved”. The word used is
anthropos for it is men as a race, not men as distinct from women. Again, anthropos is used in v5. In vs 8–15 Paul distinguishes between men and women and accordingly in v8 the word used is aner. There is that which is said to the men in v8, as distinct from the women, and that which is said to the women in vs 9–15 as distinct from the men.

   Now it is important to realise that what Paul says to the men (as distinct from the women) is based on what he has said in vs 1–7. He says “I will
therefore …” (v8, my emphasis). Thus we must take account of the first seven verses of the chapter. The first verse reads “I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made …”. This is general. It is not directed at any particular class of persons. It is a general exhortation to prayer. Note too the universal character of the verses in this paragraph evident by the frequent use of the word all: “for all men” (v1), “all piety and gravity” (v2), “all men should be saved” (v4) and “a ransom for all” (v6). Paul ends the section by speaking of himself as “a teacher of [the] nations in faith and truth” (v7). This clearly includes public teaching of which Acts 11: 26 is an example where it says that Barnabas and Saul “taught a large crowd”. We then get the “therefore” in 1 Tim. 2: 8 as he addresses the men as distinct from the women and later the women as distinct from the men. Now the only thing that he exhorts the men to do is to pray, even though in verse 1 he had already given a general exhortation for this very thing. Why?

   In verse 7 he had spoken of himself (a man) as a teacher and in v12 he categorically states that women are not “to teach nor to exercise authority over man” (
aner)––teaching necessarily involves authority (see Mark 1: 22 etc.). He further adds that the women are “to be in quietness”. This word for quietness, used in vs 11 and 12, is the same word that is used in Acts 22: 2 where we read “And hearing that he addressed them in the Hebrew tongue, they kept the more quiet”. This alone should be sufficient to establish that sisters should not speak publicly, whether in teaching or in prayer. However, there are three little words that decide the matter: “in every place” (1 Tim. 2: 8). Paul’s only word to the men is about prayer. He says “I will therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up pious hands, without wrath or reasoning” (my emphasis). All may pray continually such as a widow “in supplications and prayers night and day” (1 Tim. 5: 5) but only men in every place. 1 Tim. 2: 8 is a question of where not when, of place not time. As the apostle’s exhortation is to men (as distinct from women) it is clear, if words have any meaning and force, that women are limited as to where they can pray. Paul took a public position in teaching; men are exhorted to do so likewise in prayer––in every place. What then of the words “In like manner” in v9? Don’t they suggest that a woman can also pray in every place? No, for it is in like manner. The word manner refers not to what is done but to how it is done. Men are to pray in every place lifting up pious hands. Piety is also to mark the woman in her dress, adornment and deportment.

   Hence v8 is not just a repeat of v1––a general exhortation to both men and women to pray––but is directed specifically at the men as distinct from the women. It follows directly from his description of himself as a teacher of the nations, one who taught “everywhere in every assembly” (1 Cor. 4: 17; see also Col. 1: 28), that is publicly and audibly––hence the men ought to pray publicly and audibly as well. The converse is just as true: that the women are not to do so.