Head Coverings and Women

This whole Corinthians discussion by Paul is not a discussion about head coverings, either literal or figurative, but about the authority of a man over his wife. It was a discussion of the roles of men and women, and the line of authority: God, Christ, the man, the woman. If it was talking about a physical head covering, then how do you explain the statement by Paul (vs 4) that if a man covers his head, he dishonours it.

But God covered the heads of the priests with turbans in the earthly sanctuary, and their dress (including the head covering) was given them for “glory and beauty”. If it was dishonouring in the Christian church time, why was it considered glory and beauty in Israel’s time? God doesn’t change. Notice that none of the “covering” root Greek words are words for a literal head covering until it gets to verse 15, where it talks about the literal head covering of a woman’s long hair.

The covering in the rest of the chapter is talking about the figurative covering of the authority of the man over the woman. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered (literally, “under”), dishonoureth his head. If he is under the authority of a woman, he dishonours his head–Christ. Because the head of the man is Christ. A woman who speaks out of turn, against the wishes of her husband, is dishonouring her head–which is the man.

The woman’s physical covering of hair is an illustration of the symbolic “covering” of her husband’s headship over her. Just as nature teaches us that a woman’s long hair is a beauty and a glory to her, so it is right for a woman to be submission to her husband.

Head Coverings

There is another area of covering which the bible defines as a principle which we want to absorb in the light of Gods form of covering to do with holiness and the position of honour.

1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoureth his head.

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.

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.

11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering.

This covering of a woman is taken to do with the glory of Gods form of covering.

1 Corinthians 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.

11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on [her] head because of the angels.

Because of the woman’s position she ought to have power on her head because of the angels.  It is a covering signifying that she is under the power of her husband because of the angels.  How does this relate to angels?  What do angels have to do with it?  Because of Gods form of positioning and the creation he has created, the head of every man is Christ.  Who is the head of Christ?  The head of every man is Christ and the head of every woman is man. The angels who are commissioned to do service for God are dependent on the sign to the people they are serving. The sign that this woman is submissive to Gods order is her long hair.  When they see a woman with her hair as a covering, then they can see this is the power on her head.  This is the indication that she recognises Gods form of government.  We live in a time today when women don’t like that very much and the angels can’t work very well with that rebellious spirit.  This kind of insubordination has to do with our dress.  It reveals the characteristic of the women of modern society.

Isaiah 3:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing [as] they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

3:17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.

3:18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of [their] tinkling ornaments [about their feet], and [their] cauls, and [their] round tires like the moon,

3:19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

3:20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,

3:21 The rings, and nose jewels,

3:22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

3:23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.

3:24 And it shall come to pass, [that] instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; [and] burning instead of beauty.

It is worth studying to see Gods mentality in this.  God is particular and the angels are connected with it because when the angels worship God and relate in heaven, notice what they do in full respect and honour of their position;

Isaiah 6:2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.

What were they covered with?  Garments of light and besides being covered with light, they covered themselves entirely as a token of respect and honour.  Covering relates to holiness.  We are to worship God how?  In the beauty of holiness.

1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory [due] unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Psalms 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.


Posted on 31/01/2012, in Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Head covering in my community is a big issue. They all cover the ir heads some of them 24/7

  2. Meat is not healthy bt there r other things dat we eat, n the way we cook food. Wat axactly must we eat n hw 2 cook the food

  3. C. Frank Bernard

    The “symbol of authority” in v.10 is for “her head” which as v.3 indicates is her…husband. She should crown his not-so-glorious head, not hide her own glorious covering of hair. https://www.facebook.com/notes/charles-franklin-bernard/head-covering-coronation-a-symbol-of-authority-a-wife-lays-on-her-husband/10150603632407506

    • Thanks frank. I like the Facebook discussion on this an show you show it’s not necessary.

      • C. Frank Bernard

        What’s necessary is a literal symbol of authority on her head, that is: her husband. I’m showing that in light of the immediate context and similar passages on head apparel and corresponding spousal authority/submission by both Paul (Timothy 2:9-15) and Peter (1 Peter 3:1-6) that the definition I picked fits better and forms a manly crown of authority, especially if you consider the “gold” and “pearls” and costly coverings prohibited to women, not men. The Greek word for “authority” in verse 1 Cor. 11:10 is exousia which is defined as: “a sign of the husband’s authority over his wife […] the sign of regal authority, a crown” — http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/exousia.html

    • I don’t understand. Are you for head coverings or not?

    • Please explain, what is the manly crown on his head? A literal hat or crown?

  4. C. Frank Bernard

    It is necessary in worship for the wife to crown her husband with a symbol of authority. She should not cover herself, and he should not cover himself. She naturally has a glorious covering of hair to show off, not hide. But he needs a glorious symbol of _authority_ which is a crown. But the last verse of the head covering section is an opt-out for a contentious wife: if she doesn’t cover her husband, she need not cut her glorious hair or be so shamed.

  5. C. Frank Bernard

    No, she should not wear anything on her own head. Yes, she should place a manly crown on her husband’s head.

  6. C. Frank Bernard

    Yes, a literal crown that she places on her husband, and this action in the church visually symbolizes both his authority for her and her submission for him as her “head”, or as Peter says: her “lord”.

    • does your wife place a literal crown on your head? what does it look like? put a picture up on your facebook or is one already there? that seems strange to me.

  7. C. Frank Bernard

    I’m still persuading my elders of the wisdom of wearing my cap (which is off-white cloth, not meshed) to cover my balding head. It’s a baby step to a costly covering. When crowns become liturgy, the next generation will not see them as strange. It will be better than parents telling their son:

    Proverbs 1:8-9 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

    Proverbs 4:8-9 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

    • Jesus gives everyone a crown in heaven. I think we can wait till then. We’re not to wear gold or costly array on earth.

      • C. Frank Bernard

        On earth as it is in heaven, especially in worship. Only a woman is prohibited by Paul and Peter to not braid hair with gold, pearls, costly coverings. And that makes sense considering 1 Cor. 11 where Paul says she should place a covering of authority on her head (her husband) because costly head coverings represent authority, especially gold badges or garlands or crowns.

    • its not exaclty like that. we eat meat here and we won’t in heaven. we wear artificial garments here and we won’t in heave http://sabbathsermons.com/category/vegetarianism/

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