Headcovering for Christian Women, Is headcovering for today?



What does God’s Word say about headcoverings??? 



11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
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.
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
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.
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.
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.
For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.



If a woman has repented of her sins, been born again in Christ Jesus and is walking in obedience to the scriptures as fruit of her salvation and her love of Christ, she is to be submitted to both Jesus Christ and her husband.  In doing this the act of wearing a head covering shows her obedience to scripture, the reverence for God’s order and her submission to her husband.


11:1-2 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.   Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.


Paul is praising the brethren for keeping the ordinances he has taught them.


(Ordinance means: a precept; specifically the Jewish traditionary law: - ordinance, tradition.)



Verse 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.


Paul then goes on to establish the headship, authoritarian and governmental order that God has set up.  Women cannot argue that God has set men in the authority position over women as it was stated from the Garden of Eden.


Genesis 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.


Verses 4-6 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.  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.  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 Greek work for covered is katakalupto


kata meaning ‘down’
kalupto meaning: to cover wholly, that is, veil:- to veil, or cover one's self up.


This shows that a woman is to have a veil, hanging down, on her head to cover herself.
So let’s use the word veil (as Paul is saying) in this verse instead of the word ‘covered’.



Verses 4-6 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered dishonoureth his head.  But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head (unveiled) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.  For if the woman be not (veiled), let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be (veiled).

Paul is showing us women how disgraceful it is for a woman to be shaved or shorn and thus saying that being unveiled is the equivalent of that disgrace.  To be disobedient in this area is a shame and disgrace to our head (authority).  If a woman refuses to wear the outer covering (veil), she should have both (veil and hair) taken away.  



This is not a cultural issue as Paul says in


1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord 

...and let's be reminded again that he also states in 

1 Corinthians 11:2  Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the ordinances just as I delivered them to you. 



Do you realize that the next ordinance or tradition that Paul reminds us in that same chapter is the Lord’s Supper?  If we toss out head covering then we must toss out the Lord’s Supper as well.



From Paul’s inspired teachings and for 1900 years, women who professed faith in Christ, wore a covering.  It wasn’t until just the last 100 years or so that feminism exploded and women sinfully tore off the headcovering in disobedience.   (Studies reveal pictures of the women in the catacombs wearing head coverings.)



A woman is to cover her glory, vs 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.  Verse 15 says a woman’s hair is her glory.  

Only Jesus’ glory (man) is to be uncovered.  If a man covers his head while praying or prophesying he would be symbolically abandoning his God given authority and therefore would dishonor his head, Christ.  Therefore a man’s glory (woman) is to be covered, and if man's glory is to be covered then it would stand to reason that a woman’s glory (hair) is to be covered as well.  An unveiled woman dishonors her husband to God because that which is a glory to man should be covered before God's so that God receives the glory.  



Verse 8-9 For man is not from woman, but woman from man.  Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.



Paul reminds us again in verses 8 and 9 that from the foundation of the world, the man was to be the head of woman. 



Verse 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 



God still has angels today that can be everywhere, not just in religious settings.  Could this also be a spiritual protection?



Verses 11-12 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.   For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.



Verses 11 and 12 establish that there is no more importance put upon one sex or the other as they are both equally important because one cannot be without the other. See:



Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.



Paul then uses verses 13-15 to prove that women are to be covered simply by looking at nature and how God has created them.  Men were created to have short hair therefore they should not be covered, women were given long hair and thus as an example of how a woman is to be covered. 



Verses 13-15 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.



Verse 15 is not stating that a woman’s hair is her covering (veil) because all the verses prior to vs 15 use the Greek word katakaluptos (veil) for the word covering.  We know that is to cover wholly, to veil, to hide with a veil hanging down.  In verse 15 Paul uses peribolaion which means: something thrown around one, that is, a mantle, veil

Peribolaion does not denote 'covering' of the head.
God has given women long hair as something that is trown around such as the manner of a mantle or veil.  This (nature) therefore shows us the example of what sort of covering Paul is referring to.

Let's do an exercise with verse 4-6 using the word 'hair' for covering.


Verses 4-6 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head (with hair), dishonoureth his head.   But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head (bald/no hair) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.  For if the woman (be bald, no hair), let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her (be not bald, have hair). 

  Ask yourself this: how can a woman shave a head that already has no hair?   Paul is saying that if you are going to shame yourself by not wearing a veil, then you also have no right to have the long (glory) of hair that was given to you.

If Paul was talking about long hair in verses 4-7, why didn't he say 'Every man who prays or prophesies with long hair dishonors his head and every woman who prays or prophesies with short hair?" Also, why would length of hair be an issue only when praying or prophesying?  How could a woman only have long hair when praying or prophesying?
What is long?  Do we really think God will leave it up to women to decide a relative word such as that?  What of the unregenerated woman who has short hair when she comes to Christ and is born again?  If 'covering' means long hair then this woman (a new believer) cannot pray to God for a few years until her hair grows long.  What of the woman who has lost her hair to chemo?  This is foolishness.

Some will argue that the meaning of these 16 verses is that the man is simply the covering for the woman.  This goes against scripture because it’s clearly shown that Paul is talking about a physical veil (katakaluptos).  Aside from that if a person takes that stand by saying that man is the covering for woman and if she doesn’t have a man to cover her, she can never pray.  On the other side, Christ is the head of man so man would have to take Christ off as the covering in order for him to pray uncovered.  It makes no sense. 

Verse 16
 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Some people think that Paul spent 15 verses explaining the foundation of headship, God’s governmental order of submission in relation to why a woman must veil her head; only to contradict himself in verse 16 by saying if you contend this then you don’t have to obey.

What is Paul (remember these are inspired words from God through the Holy Spirit to Paul) really saying?

If any man seems to be contentious (literally means 'loves quarreling') and says that he sees nothing wrong with a woman praying uncovered, let him know that none of the churches have any custom of praying uncovered.  It could also be interpreted that: We have no custom of being cotentious about what God says.  

Paul is rebuking anyone who wishes to become contentious over the necessity of man's head being uncovered and woman's head being veiled. Those who continue to ignore the reasons given will have to be silenced by Paul's (the Holy Spirit’s) authority and general church practice. All followed the practices Paul wrote of (inspired by the Holy Spirit) in this chapter. It was not just a local church practice at Corinth, it was a universal practice in the Church for 1900 years until the sin of feminism.  Even the reformers, who had many unbiblical practices, taught  this inspired teaching. 

When should a woman have her head covered?  Many people claim that it is only in the church body gathering that she must be covered but what does God's Word say?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

The greek word for pray is: proseuchomai  to pray to God, that is, supplicate, worship: - pray (X earnestly, for)

So we are to pray without ceasing.  Prayer is part of worship.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service

We are to be a ‘living’ sacrifice until we die.  So as long as we are living, we are to present ourselves (without ceasing) as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The greek word for thanks: eucharisteo be grateful, that is, (actually) to express gratitude (towards); specifically to say grace at a meal: - (give) thank (-ful, -s).

Who are we to express this thankfulness, gratefulness, gratitude toward?  God.  When are we to express it?  In ‘everything’.  

Keep this in mind: most people look at the covering as something that is to be 'put on' while praying or prophesying but let us look in context: many women in that time who didn't wear a veil as a normal part of their clothing were considered immoral (similar to a harlot).    So could Paul be saying NOT to remove the veil (which was already on the head) when praying or prophesying? 

We also see evidence of women in the bible covering their heads on a normal basis and it was considered shameful to uncover the head.  


And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head (Numbers 5:18)


Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.  (Isaiah 47:2)

This show example also shows us, as well as scripture above, that women are to be covered all times and not just put one on to pray.

 God's Word doesn't say how long the headcovering/veil should be, nor what color it should be but we know in keeping with shamefacedness (1 Timothy 2)  and absent of using it as adornment (1 Peter 3) it should be a plain veil that covers the head and hangs down and in keeping with Isaiah 47:2 (shame is uncovering locks) it should cover most of the hair. 

God's Word does not say how long the veil should be, how far forward on the head, how much on the sides or how much hair in the back should be covered so in keeping with the letter of wearing a veil and the spirit of headcovering, it should be hanging down and cover most of the hair.  That is all that we can see in scripture.

Many cry out “But it’s just a small or minor issue!”  Where in God’s Word are we told to ignore whatever WE ‘think’ or ‘feel’ is small or minor?  If that’s the case we can individually rip out pages of our Bible based on the level of importance we have personally deemed of lesser value.   If All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
is then any of it small, minor or inconsequential?

Let’s consider what happens when we stamp our severity level on the importance of the Word of God and dictate what is or is not necessary for today.  We become as the Pharisees that Jesus rebuked; keeping in line with their traditions (like culture) of man.


Mark 7:6-9  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

There you saw rebuke for those holding to traditions of men.  Traditions of men, or in other words 'CULTURE' is dictating what women should wear and the Word of God is being ignored and called a small or minor issue.  

Along with that goes this verse in dealing with the 'least of these' commandments.



(See BIBLICAL APPAREL as well for more instruction for ladies.)


Matthew 5:19-20


Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Beware lest you think higher than the scriptures.


Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

Man's way is not God's way.


1 Corinthians 1:27-29  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. 

Jesus said in John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 1 says Jesus is the Word and what is the Word we have today?  The bible.


Romans 2:6-8 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,


Those who love God will obediently keep His commandments and follow Him, through His Word.


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