Should a Woman Wear a Head Covering In Worship?
A woman having her head covered today is such a controversial subject in the Churches. But for what reason would these simple scriptures cause so much division? Has the scriptures changed? Do we change scriptures as time progresses? Who has the authority to change the Word in the first place? Today churches has changed so many doctrines to appease people that we forget there is no one on earth who has the power, or the right to change anything in the Bible to make people feel good, or more comfortable due to society, popular teachings, or traditions. The wearing of head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some Biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our Biblical views of women gradually erased by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church. If anyone has any issues according to the Bible, maybe we need to go back and start with the understanding of what submission to the Lord is all about.
I’ve been asked, “Do you really think this is important?” “How important could wearing a head covering be?” Surely it can’t be a sin, could it?” I have no say if it is important, not important, or is it a sin not to, but I do know if the Bible says it, it must be of great importance to our Lord, and He is the one that does have the say. Act 5:29, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” The question is, will you accept it?
It is often stated that Paul was merely writing to the Christians at Corinth simply to keep them from recoiling from the existing social customs of that day. Corinth was a city of much paganism, and the pagan priestess were cutting their hair short, going into the temples bare-headed, and the women of the church were being influenced by the pagan priestess, the women of the world who were flaunting there independence and displaying there insubordination before all men and women. Was Paul writing to only the church at Corinth, for his time, or was this more than a battle of a covering? 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 includes more than wearing a head covering, in depth it includes: the order of Headship, (v.3); the Creation, (v.8-9); Angels, (v.10); Nature, (v.13-14); and Universal (v.16). Let us reason together with the Word of God to come to a conclusion in harmony of what the Holy Spirit says. Paul begins with:
1Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Paul begins with explaining that he is a true follower of Jesus Christ, as he says, I make Christ my example. He is my model in all things. Christ is the only one Paul has chosen to follow, the same as those of Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. This is where we should be, followers of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:2, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” Paul had “delivered” to them certain ‘doctrines,” respecting the order and the government of the church; and they in general observed them, as you can see he made it a point to “remember” him in all things. He commends them for continuing in the teachings, he then proceeds to specify what would be proper in regard to the particular subject on which they inquired. The church had a relationship with Paul, and they had a desire to follow the teachings.
Up to now there usually is no problem, Paul is encouraging the Corinth church as it was the way of Paul, he truly Loved the people of the churches, but he also always gave them the truth, no matter what the criteria. Let’s continue, as this is where a lot of problems begin, but let’s not forget, our Lord made up the order. To bring into the picture of the covering, let’s bring in the meaning of the Greek words cover and uncover: kata meaning: down from, through out, according to, toward, along; katakalupto meaning: to cover up, to veil or cover one’s self; there is also the word ‘covering’: peribolaion meaning: a covering thrown around, a wrapper, a mantle, a veil. Another word to be concerned about is ‘uncovered’ akatakaluptos meaning: not covered, unveiled. You will find these words throughout the writings of Paul concerning the head covering.
1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Eph 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.” This is the order of Headship, from the beginning of time the Father, Jehovah, is the head of Jesus Christ our Savior, which is ahead and author of the Church, and creator; Man is over the woman, Gen 3:16 “Unto the woman he said I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” This wasn’t a statement from Paul, but from our Lord! Our Lord made the order of man and woman due to sin! Woman was the first in the transgression, being deceived by the devil, in fact 1 Timothy 2:14 says: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” So she has now sinned, penalty is now placed. Now, let’s look at the responsibility of man, he was the provider, the protector of his family, and above all, he was the Spiritual Guide and Example to his family, as well as to the tribes. 1Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” So we have: The Father, Jesus Christ, Man, then Woman. He states it very clearly for all to understand. 1Co 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” Our Father always has order, confusion is of satan order is of the Almighty.
1 Corinthians 11:4, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.” Does this not say that if a man prays or prophesy with his head covered with a hat, cap, or turban on dishonoreth his head, and who is his head? Jesus! Jesus is his head v. 3, the head of every man is Christ! The head being covered was a sign of subjection; and while he was in the public ministration of the word, he was to be considered as a representative of Christ, and on this account his being veiled or covered would be improper and disrespectful to our Lord. To remove the hat, the turban, or the covering of the head, is a mark of respect for a superior when in his presence. Dishonor here is the from the Greek word “kataischuno” meaning shame and disgrace. Man was made in the image of our creator, the first human being was man, Adam, created in the image of our Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:5, “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.” The man had his head uncovered, because he was the representative of Jesus Christ; the woman had hers covered because she was placed by the order of God in a state of subjection to the Man. The Greek word uncovered here is “akatakaluptos” meaning not covered, unveiled. We must remember from the beginning woman was made, created for man, Gen 2:18,” And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Gen 2:22, And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” So woman was brought to the man as a help mate, and so who set the order up? From the mouth of our Lord. So again it is clear that Man is the head of Woman, which we are to show honor to our husband, it is commanded! Honor: Reverence, submission, and esteem. Paul made it very clear for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered was shameful! Shame means consciousness of guilt, and disgrace. Does a shameful position ever change? Isn’t shame still shame, even today?
1Corinthians 11:6 “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” The word here covered in Greek is, katakalupto, meaning to cover up, to veil, in both places. If a woman engaged in public acts of worship without a veil, she would dishonor her head, her husband. Having a head covering is showing submission, respect and honor to her head, her husband. Having your head shaven was shame, a sign of guilt, she would then appear like to those women who had their hair shorn off as the punishment of whoredom, adultery, or following the heathen practices. This is how serious it was for a woman to have a covering in public worship. Paul was trying to make it clear to men and women how serious it was to come into public worship spiritually proper.
1Corinthians 11:7 “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” The Greek word here for cover is katakalupto, meaning to cover up, to veil. Very easy to understand, Man should Not cover his head, it is not because man is pure, but it is because he was adorned by his Maker with authority and dominion; he was superior to all other creatures, (Gen 1:28). The woman is, in the house and family, the representative of the power and authority of the man. Woman was made for him; she was made after he was; she was taken from him, and was “bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, and was brought to him by our Lord.” She should appear with the symbol of modesty and subjection, which are implied by the head covering. This is not a disgraceful action, it is an open, visual act showing our love, respect, honor and obedience to our husband, and most of all to our Lord!
1Corinthians 11:8 “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;” We have discussed this above, but it is vital to truly understand the depth of this simple scripture, woman came from man, our Lord made this very clear from the beginning, and it is the structure of the human race, and the family unit. 1 Timothy 2:13, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”
1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for man.” Pretty simple, the woman was made for the comfort, joy, and happiness of the man. Not to be a slave, but a help-meet; to be his aid and comforter in life; not to be regarded as of inferior nature and rank, but to be his friend, and to multiply and extend his joys; yet still to be in a state of submission to him. She was created to aid him in his duties, to comfort him in his afflictions. Being a woman is therefore honorable, though dependent, she has the higher claim to his protection and his tender care. Let’s not forget the Love the Lord has for the church, Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
1 Corinthians 11:10, “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” This shows that all women who prophecy or pray in public should be veiled, showing the ability and privilege, (power), of respect, and honor of the authority to the angels of God. Heb 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Psa 91:11, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Our Angels have a purpose in our lives, an important one! They minister to us, protect us, all through the power of our Lord! Paul makes it clear we are to show them honor and submission, we are speaking of Pure Spirits of God! The veil isn’t just a piece of material upon our head, it has meaning, showing a deep honorable, respect, and submission to our Lord, Angels and our Husband.
1 Corinthians 11:11, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” The man and the woman were formed for a union, unity for family and society. They are not in any way independent of each other. They are each there to comfort, support, encourage the other. The man is not to puff himself up and show an aggressive authority, they are to show each other proper respect, love, and tenderness. They are truly to become one, Gen 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This was a union, an arrangement made by our Lord, a man and woman united as one brought together by our Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:12, “For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” The woman, Eve, was first formed out of the side of man, Adam, but man has ever since been formed out of the womb of the woman; but they, as well as all other creations, are of God. Man and the woman are of God; they are made by Him, and after His image and likeness and that the man is the glory of God, and the woman the glory of the man. The authority of the man over the woman, and the subjection of the woman to the man, are of God.
1Corinthians 11:13, “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?” Judge comes from the word “krino” meaning conclude, determine, distinguish. Paul was now saying after all he brought to them of the understanding of the Man not covering his head and why Women should cover there head, now, come to a conclusion. Consider the subject in your own common sense, and then say whether it be decent for a woman to pray in public without a veil on her head! Paul said do you think it is “comely” (proper, fit, or right; comes from Greek word prepo), for a woman to pray to our God uncovered? Uncovered here comes from the Greek word akatakaluptos meaning: not covered, unveiled. So is it right to pray or prophesy uncovered? He is still pleading with them to see what the true meaning behind the veil is all about. Come to a conclusion, but also make sure it is according to our Lord’s authority, and not the influence of the pagan priestess or the women of the world. We have been discussing the head covering, for men not to cover their head with anything, hat, turban, or any covering, yet women were to have a covering on their head for the reverence of their husband and the angels. Now Paul goes a step further letting the men and women be grounded in the appearance and fashion of the hair. The women were cutting their hair short, looking like men, the men were in turn letting their hair grow long. The Lord is very clear of the differences of men and women. Men are to be the masculine, women the feminine. 1Corinthians 6:9, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” Effeminate: having the qualities of the female sex; soft or delicate to an unmanly degree; tender; womanish; voluptuous. Paul is now making it clear what the man is to look like, and it is masculine, not feminine. It actually is a death sentence! Pretty serious to our Lord when they switch appearances of what the Lord created.
1 Corinthians 11:14, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” Paul is so clear here that it really should not even be discussed, it is a Shame for men to wear their hair long! How much more clear can Paul be?
1 Corinthians 11:15, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” A woman having long hair is a glory: honor, splendor, dignity. That is how critical it is for a woman not to look like a man! Her hair is given for a covering, a natural covering, separate from the veil which she is to place on her head for worship. Hair comes in naturally, even if you shave it off, it will return, because the Lord wanted the woman to be feminine, always having a “covering” on her head, to separate the man from the woman naturally, but this is of nature, forced. The veil above Paul talked about was always talking about the importance of wearing a covering on her head for the respect of her Husband and the Angels. If it is just hair, she would naturally have it on her head when she entered the sanctuary for worship. Then men, if the covering is just hair, would have to shave off his hair before he entered for public worship. Why would Paul take 13 verses to clarify how important it is for a Man to be Uncovered in worship and a Woman to be Covered, if hair is the covering? The only discussion of hair is in 2 verses! He was making it clear to them Men should Not have long hair, and Women should Not wear their hair as men. Paul brings nothing out regarding worship in these 2 verses, why, because this had to do with the hair length for men and women, and to look as the Lord created them to look like. The world was creeping into the churches just as they are today, no submission, no respect, no obedience. Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Yes, we are to be different from the world, the worldly ways are not of God, He made it clear to separate yourself from the world, and that includes the appearance of men from women.
1 Corinthians 11:16, “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” If anyone is not going to be satisfied with the reasons given, of men praying uncovered, and women praying covered, and yet still have the desire to argue showing that they dispute over the truth, I will not continue to dispute this subject any longer. Enough has been said to satisfy any one that is serious in the Word. The other churches have not the custom of arguing and disputing over the covering, they have no custom of Not wearing the head covering, they accept and comply with the order that our Lord handed down to man. In summary this verse is telling us that there are no other choice, this is the way it is, our Lord was the author of the plan of man and woman, no matter how much you want to argue against this teaching.
Paul didn’t leave it to man to pick and choose what he wanted to accept or not, he just made it clear there is no longer Disputing over this matter, other churches have accepted this doctrine because it was of the Lord. How we look and appear before our King is important, and what He says is critical. If we are true Christians, Then we will obey Him with no questions. In this mixed and messed up world with same sex marriages, transgenders, women even behind the pulpit preaching, we need to know the truth, discern the spirits if they are of God or of satan. If we cannot comply with His teachings, how can we really think we could lay down our life for Him? As true children of God we should never appear outlandish in actions, or attire. Our attitude should be one of modesty, humility, submission and obedience in the Service of our Lord.
If you are having a struggle with submission, pray to the Lord, lift your struggle to the Lord, reach out to Him, He is waiting for you, and I guarantee, you will feel the Holy Spirit of the Lord lift you up, embrace You, as He proclaims:
“Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear,” Isa 59:1
May the Lord bring you Love, Joy, and Peace