Question of the day: head coverings?

Hello all! Nick from Multitude of Counsel here. I thought I’d hijack question of the day today and give Heather a break, as she does work so hard to bring us so much. So, without further adieu—and in the spirit of Heather, as I know she hearts a good ‘discussion’—I present to you the question of the day:

What’s the deal with head coverings?

The passages discussing this issue—or lack thereof?—are located in 1 Corinthians 11:1–16. I’ll play both sides with some things to consider:

Should women wear head coverings?
If so, when and where? And for what purpose?
Is this passage merely cultural, and not relevant to our times?
Is the covering talked about synonymous with her hair (:15)?
If so, why would the word ‘also’ be used in verse 6?
What do the angels have to do with this issue (:10)?
If it is not part of a cultural custom, do we need to obey it (:16)?

Thoughts?

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Posted on April 11, 2011, in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Definitely not baseball caps, in the UK at least. ;o)

    Never really had in depth thought into the head covering issue. The only thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve been to churches with a head covering requirement and ones without, and the presence of God has been in both.

    Which makes me think that God can’t mind too much. It’s not like he’s kicking people out of His Presence nightclub if they’re wearing trainers…

  2. Well, I think the covering is the hair, and a woman should have decent length hair and not a buzzcut. I’m not sure about the “also” part, but I’ll meditate on it awhile. I believe that God has set it up this way as a perfect picture of Christ and the Church represented in the different roles God has assigned to male and female. It’s just God’s order, not a “I’m better than you” matter fit only for childish playground banter.

    The angels I think come into play by the meaning of what the women have done. If the hair is a symbol of headship over her, then when she has it cut off she is saying that she has no head. Which is…rebellion! What was Lucifer’s sin? Rebellion which had it’s root in pride! Seems to me that angels would be more easily tempted with such things given the example we have been shown my the demonic side of the supernatural. Same thing in my honest opinion. (‘course that and 25 cents will get you a gumball)

    That’s my take at least. Looking forward to further thoughts from more capable people than me.

  3. “Should women wear head coverings?”
    Yes.
    “If so, when and where? And for what purpose?”
    That depends on what you believe the covering is. As for the purpose: distinction, submission.
    “Is this passage merely cultural, and not relevant to our times?”
    No. Paul says in verse sixteen that all the assemblies agreed with such.
    “Is the covering talked about synonymous with her hair (:15)?”
    I believe so, considering that this is at the end of the discourse; a conclusion, as it were.
    “If so, why would the word ‘also’ be used in verse 6?”
    Well, the word can also be rendered “then” – perhaps it was saying if you have short hair, you should just go ahead and shave all of it off…

    And, yes, that’s probably not the best explanation. Just offering my thoughts.
    “What do the angels have to do with this issue (:10)?”
    The Greek word is aggelos, which can also be translated, “messenger.” This is a good possibility. That is, women should have coverings because of the messengers; they know they should, because they’ve been told directly.
    “If it is not part of a cultural custom, do we need to obey it (:16)?”
    Yes. Distinctions between the sexes are extremely important. Guys (and men) need to be masculine gentlemen and girls (and women) feminine ladies, in each and every way.

    A guy’s hair should be short, a girl’s long.

  4. I ended up with an interesting avatar. Heh.

    God bless.

  5. Define “long hair”
    Define “short hair”
    Define the extent of “covering” (all but the eyes showing?)
    Consider – what were other customs of the day that all would have agreed to? Should they be the accepted norm today, also?

    One cannot be a serious student of Scripture, I believe, and neglect the cultural context of the word being delivered.

  6. “Define “long hair” ”
    No need to do some “inch definition.” We know short and long when we see it…
    “Define “short hair” ”
    See above.
    “Define the extent of “covering” (all but the eyes showing?)”
    Covering of head=Covers head. Like, at least shoulder length; covers ears, neck…
    “Consider – what were other customs of the day that all would have agreed to? Should they be the accepted norm today, also?”
    This is directly covered in Scripture.
    “One cannot be a serious student of Scripture, I believe, and neglect the cultural context of the word being delivered.”
    Paul refers to nature itself. Besides, all of the assemblies agreed with all of the things Paul said, according to verse sixteen of the chapter.

  7. I find some things interesting to consider. In reference to having the women cover their heads, it was not just a custom when one entered the sanctuary, but also out in the open. This was the culture and custom of the day. The following is a portion from the commentary of Adam Smith:

    “…it was a custom, both among the Greeks and Romans, and among the Jews an express law, that no woman should be seen abroad without a veil. This was, and is, a common custom through all the east, and none but public prostitutes go without veils. And if a woman should appear in public without a veil, she would dishonor her head – her husband. And she must appear like to those women who had their hair shorn off as the punishment of whoredom, or adultery.”

    That being said, if ancient customs apply across the board, should women wear veils in public today, much like they do in Middle Eastern cultures? What changed? The accepted norm does not require it, but should that matter, especially if we want to apply a previous cultures norms to the present?

    Secondly, in looking at this portion of Scripture, it is interesting to note that Paul says, “…every woman that prayeth or prophesyeth…” The exact same language is used of both the man and woman. I am glad that if our women only wear something over their head, not just hair, or maybe just hair, they can “pray and prophesy” just like the men.

    Thirdly, “we know short when we see it” does not answer the question, but leaves the question open to individual judgment. What if one person’s understanding of “short” is a military cut, like the one I grew up with? My dad was asked to resign as music director back in the 70’s because his hair touched his ears two Sundays in a row! Can you say LEGALISM?

    Folks, do what you want in your church, but I will, as pastor of the flock God has given me, allow my women to come to church without a veil. The ugly ones, however, have the option to wear one if they want….just kidding.

  1. Pingback: Grow Up! Question of the Day « Multitude of Counsel

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