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Head Coverings   Leave a comment

Should women wear head covering?

The verse in question is 1 Cor. 11:5-6

5 “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.”

Are these verses actually speaking about veils, hats, or having her head covered somehow? Or is there more to understand here? At first glance, one might easily make that assumption. However, once we truly understand these passages, we see that the subject in question is actually length of hair.

Often is the case, that to understand a difficult scripture or set of scriptures, one simply needs to read it in the context of the surrounding scriptures.

For this particular scripture, let’s start in verse 15 of the same chapter.

1 Cor. 11:15 – “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her HAIR is given for a covering.”

We see that Paul is speaking here about long hair as the covering or veil, not some hat or piece of cloth.  It is similar in the way that we use certain words in referring to something else. For example: “Pea-shooter” is a gun. “Lid” can be a hat. We sometimes call food, “grub”.  I can’t think of what that is called when we do that, but Im pretty sure there is a name for it. But I digress…

In verse 6, Paul discusses various lengths of hair. Note the four lengths he mentions:

Verse 6 – “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.”

The four lengths are:

  1. Not covered – short hair
  2. Shorn – very short, cropped hair as when a sheep is shorn
  3. Shaven – designates totally bald head
  4. Covered – long hair

So keep in mind that this refers to the length, not the style. Yes, ladies, your long hair can be worn in all sorts of styles. 🙂  It’s not the “appearance” but the actual length that matters as we will see.

Question… if verse 5 and 6 are referring to some sort of man-made covering of the head, what would that have to do with shaving ones hair? So we see, it has to be referring to hair, and not cloth. Again, what does cloth have to do with shaving or being shorn? So Paul is saying that if a woman is going to have short, cropped hair, she might as well go all the way and shave her head bald. It would be just as shameful for her, in other words.

To further show that this chapter (and the verses in question) is dealing with hair lengths and not cloth coverings, let’s consider verses 4 and 14.  Verse four says that if a ma has his head covered when he prays, he is dishonoring his head who is Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 11:4 – “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

Now look at verse 14.  “Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?”

Again we see Paul is referring to hair length. Now look at verses 7-10 of this chapter.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man.
9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless, neither is a man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.

Let’s look at verse 10 again, but in the Amplified Bible: “Therefore she should be subject to his authority and should have a covering on her head as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do the angels and not displease them.”

These verses are showing that the Christian woman ought to have a covering as a sign that she is under the authority of her husband, and therefore also under Christ.  Long hair is that sign that a woman is willing to be in subjection to a man, her husband, and that she acknowledges the need for protection by angels.

Let’s look at one more verse: Verse 3 – “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

Since God has placed the man, the husband, as the head of the woman, the wife, the woman should have a sign of her submission to his authority. That is a beautiful thing. This sign is the woman’s long beautiful hair. And it has nothing to do with any mad-made veil or hat on her head. Instead, it’s the true beauty that God created, the woman’s long hair.