THE TRUTH ABOUT 
THE WOMAN'S HEAD COVERING 
1 CORINTHIANS 11:1-16 
Below is a reproduction of a tract written to correct the misconception about the hair being the covering 
Recently I was handed a tract entitled, “Are You Covered?’. This tract was another attempt to explain away the woman’s responsibility concerning head veiling.  I have read and answered many such attempts. They often have a show of sincerity, but have not been well informed concerning the historic context of the Scripture, or the faith of the first century. It is unfortunate that our generation is so ill informed about church history and the practice of head-covering. The Bible is a historic document that can only be interpreted in it’s historic context.  
I was raised Baptist and never heard of “head-covering”, never saw one, and never heard I Corinthians 11:1–16 taught that way until I was out of Bible college and pastoring a church. When confronted with it, I immediately argued against it; but as I studied to be “first century apostolic” in my faith and practice, I discovered I had been misinformed. Due to my goal of being accurate in my Bible teaching, I have had to change many things I was taught in college. 
I would like to answer some popular attempts to discredit the apostolic tradition of head-covering. Most people interpret the Bible by referencing off the world around them, which is quite different from the world when Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was written. This makes it hard to follow the mind of the apostle. A casual reading does not always render the proper understanding. Even in Paul’s day there were those who, due to being unlearned, wrested the Scripture to do as they pleased. Even in Paul’s day Timothy was admonished to “rightly divide” the Word. Motive plays a big part in finding the truth of God’s Word.  Unfortunately for many, the goal is simply to find some other way to explain the passage.  
Many will acknowledge the teaching in the passage concerning headship order, yet reject the material head-covering on the physical head. This passage, however, is not directly dealing with headship, but only indirectly. It is primarily dealing with a matter of first century feminine modesty and what it symbolizes
Historians all agree with the following quote from Adam Clarke, “It was a custom, both among 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.” Jewish men could divorce their wives for going in public without a veil. The trend of feminist rebellion seemed to be: First, going unveiled, and second, having the head shorn (cut short). This was so in Paul’s day, and has been the trend of the feminists in America. Some cultures in the past would shave the head of a woman taken in adultery. The symbolism was strong and universal in ancient societies. The Pulpit Commentary says for a woman to be in a public assembly with her head unveiled was “against the national custom of all ancient communities, and might lead to the gravest misconceptions. As a rule modest women covered their heads with the peplum or with a veil when they worshipped or were in public.”  
That this passage is speaking about the material veil and it’s symbolism was the understanding of all denominations through 1800 years of Christianity (and is still the understanding of many today in this apostate age.) During the reformation the Catholics, Protestants, and Ana-baptists all understood this to be the meaning. Luther and Calvin’s wives were covered. The Ana-baptists were covered. The Moravians were covered. The Episcopalians were covered. The Pilgrims and Puritans were covered, etc. The feminist revolution is what changed things in America. So those who argue that we have a different culture have obviously adopted the feminist culture as their own; because America’s founders (the wives) were covered as are the faithful today.  If God's faithful have always held to the practice of Head Covering as an Apostolic Ordinance, and the Devil's crowd have always faught against it (which is historical fact); then what side do you want to support? Many theories have been put forth to avoid the obvious teaching of the passage, and deliver women from being a “gazing stock” in this feminist society; but truth is truth and cannot he supplanted by those who wrest the Scripture for their own purposes.   
1. Some quote 2 Tim. 3:17, saying that we are ‘throughly furnished unto all good works” by the Word of God. Then they ask the question, “Does God ‘thoroughly furnish’ us to have a cloth covering, or headship, and long hair?” The obvious implication is that, since God did not naturally supply a woman with a material covering, then it must not be God’s will. Where is the Logic? Do you think God “thoroughly furnished” us by physical birth or by instruction? God doesn’t furnish modest clothes, but his Word instructs us to wear them. For the first 1800 years of Christianity the material veil was a part of the woman’s modest clothes. She made it the same way she made the rest of her clothes, and did so because God furnished the instruction, not the material. 
2. Some attempt to make the man’s head (11 :4a) and the woman’s head (11 :5a) to be their “personal  headship” (personal office of authority) rather than their physical head. It is clear that your physical head represents your personal decision making faculty so that self-will is called “heady”, “stiff-necked”, etc. However, that this chapter is not only speaking of “personal headship”, but primarily dealing with the physical head and the symbolism involved, is easily proved by 11:5b-6. "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 word for “cover” in all verses except where speaking of the hair (11:15) is a form of Katakalupto - a hanging veil, from kata – down or downward, and Kalupto – to cover or veil. To take off this veil in public in the first century would equate you with a "feminist" or a woman of loose morals, so it was even all one as if she were shaven (taking the man's position of short cut hair). She was not shaven or shorn, but removing the material veil, like the man, was saying the same thing as removing her natural long hair, like the man.  It was usurping the masculine role and violating the headship order.   
  • Verse 6 goes on to show the shame was the same. The statement, “For if the woman be not covered (veiled), let her also be shorn,” proves that we are speaking of two different types of covering for the SAME THING – the physical head.  
    ·      JOHN WESLEY “If she will throw off the badge of subjection, let her appear with her hair cut like a man's...But if it be shameful for a woman to appear thus in public, especially in a religious assembly, let her, for the same reason, keep on her veil." 
    Everyone knew that it was the man's position to wear short hair and no covering - so Paul reasons that if you are going to usurp the man's position in removing the veil, you might as well usurp his position by cutting your hair short too.  But, if that shame is too much for you, being more obvious, then wear the veil also as the proper attire for a godly woman.  It is as though Paul says, "If you are going to usurp the man's position of unveiled head, then why not go all the way and cut your hair short?  But, if you are ashamed to cut your hair short, then have the same decency and veil your head." 
    The prostitute priestesses in Corinth didn’t wear a veil. Because these women were the respected spiritual leaders of the people in paganism, it would be easy for the idea to creep into the church that a prophetess could remove her veil while doing spiritual business -- maybe they thought this elevated them above the need to be veiled. Many pseudo spiritual women today have the same idea; but just as today: If it is wrong for a woman to be immodest and out of order, it is even more wrong for her to do spiritual business while she is immodest and out of order. The veil is not a ‘prayer veil” to only be worn while praying. It is a matter of feminine modesty and a symbol of God's order that should not he left out while praying or prophesying.  
  • Albert Barnes gives this note:   "With her head uncovered. That is, with the veil removed which she usually wore. It would seem from this that the women removed their veils, and wore their hair dishevelled, when they pretended to be under the influence of Divine inspiration. This was the case with the heathen priestesses; and in so doing, the Christian women imitated them. On this account, if on no other, Paul declares the impropriety of this conduct. It was, besides, a custom among ancient females, and one that was strictly enjoined by the traditional laws of the Jews, that a woman should not appear in public unless she was veiled." 
  • Paul is using the natural hair as a parallel to illustrate his point - because the hair and the veil cover the same area and share much of the same symbolism. Everybody understood what Paul was saying as a general rule, but due to some false prophetesses, some confusion had arisen in the Corinthian Church. 
    3. Vs. 10 also proves that Paul is speaking of the material veil on the physical head of the woman; because he is referring to well-known Jewish tradition. The Scriptures teach that holy angels are present to help us in spiritual business and evil angels are there to resist us in doing spiritual business. The Jews believed and taught that holy angels were always present in a worship assembly and would flee from an unveiled woman. They saw it as rebellion to God’s order when she went in public without the power (symbol of authority) on her head. Paul obviously agreed. 
    4. Vs. 13 also proves that we are speaking of the material veil on the physical head of the woman. How would it be uncomely for a woman to pray to God without her 'personal headship' covered? Who could see her heart while she was on her knees before God? However, it would be very easy to see whether or not she had the modest symbol of authority on her physical head (the material veil) while she was praying.  In the East in the first century everybody knew what Paul was speaking of.  It is quite obvious to those who consider the lifestyle at that time. For the first 1800 years of Christianity people in general knew what Paul was saying.  It would have been hard to find anyone during that time that didn't understand Paul to mean a material veil on the physical head. 
  • Adam Clarke:  Verse 13.   Judge in yourselves]  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?  The heathen priestesses prayed or delivered their oracles bare-headed or with dishevelled hair, non comptae mansere comae, as in the case of the Cumaean Sibyl, AEn. vi., ver. 48, and otherwise in great disorder: to be conformed to them would be very disgraceful to Christian women.  And in reference to such things as these, the apostle appeals to their sense of honour and decency. 
  • 5. Vss. 14-15 also prove we are speaking of the material veil on the physical head. How could the parallel lesson of nature be relevant unless we were speaking of something material which covered the physical head? How would the hair (which is material) covering a physical head be a parallel lesson of nature, if we were only dealing with the covering of “personal headship” by being submissive? Notice the wording: “Doth not even nature itself teach you...’ –by means of the hair, that the woman ought to have a veil on her physical  head? Here we have another teacher (nature), another covering (hair for a Peribolaion), for the same head with a similar purpose as the material veil. See #8.  Paul's teaching in this passage is: "That for a woman to remove the material veil, like the man, is the same as removing the long hair, like the man - it violated feminine modesty and headship order." 
    Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary says this: “As woman’s hair is given by nature as her covering (v.15) to cut it off like a man would be palpably indecorous; therefore, to put away the head-covering like a man would be similarly indecorous. It is natural to her to have long hair for her covering: she ought, therefore, to add the other head-covering, to show that she does of her own will that which nature teaches she ought to do, in token of her subjection to man.” 
    Albert Barnes on  "Doth not even nature itself..."  "The word nature (fusiv) denotes evidently that sense of propriety which all men have, and which is expressed in any prevailing or universal custom. That which is universal we say is according to nature. It is such as is demanded by the natural sense of fitness among men. Thus we may say that nature demands that the sexes should wear different kinds of dress; that nature demands that the female should be modest and retiring; that nature demands that the toils of the chase, of the field, of war --the duties of office, of government, and of professional life, should be discharged by men. Such are in general the customs the world over; and if any reason is asked for numerous habits that exist in society, no better answer can be given than that nature, as arranged by God, has demanded it." 
    Robertson on  "For a covering"  (anti peribolaiou). Old word from periballô to fling around, as a mantle (Heb 1:12) or a covering or veil as here. It is not in the place of a veil, but answering to (anti, in the sense of anti in Joh 1:16), as a permanent endowment (dedotai, perfect passive indicative). 
    FBN  "As God has made a distinction between men and women, nature and common-sense teach that in their appearance it should be duly observed." 
    6. Vs. 16 is very important because it shows that what Paul was teaching was the accepted practice of all the apostles ("we"); and the churches of God in Paul’s day. So what does history teach? How did the Corinthians obey what Paul wrote? They certainly understood what he was saying. What was the practice of all the first century churches on this issue? Did they just wear long hair?  
  • Tertullian (c.160-230)  “So, too, did the Corinthians themselves understand him.  In fact, at this day, the Corinthians do veil their virgins.  What the apostles taught, their disciples approve.” 
  • Every commentary and historian will tell you that this passage, historically, has to do with a material veil on a physical head. They may argue that we don’t have to do this today, but every one I have seen is honest enough lo admit the obvious first century usage. The one being contentious was the one going against the common usage of all the churches of God with whom Paul agreed – there is only one conclusion allowable here. The contentious persons were the same people spoken of in 14:36-37, where Paul says his instructions are the “commandments of the Lord”. "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.  What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."  Will you obey his instructions?  
    Adam Clarke  " But if any man seem to be contentious]  ei de tiv dokei filoneikov einai.  If any person sets himself up as a wrangler-puts himself forward as a defender of such points, that a woman may pray or teach with her head uncovered, and that a man may, without reproach, have long hair; let him know that we have no such custom as either, nor are they sanctioned by any of the Churches of God, whether among the Jews or the Gentiles.  We have already seen that the verb dokein, which we translate to seem, generally strengthens and increases the sense.  From the attention that the apostle has paid to the subject of veils and hair, it is evident that it must have occasioned considerable disturbance in the Church of Corinth. " 
    Albert Barnes  The sense of this passage is probably this: "If any man, any teacher, or others, is disposed to be strenuous about this, or to make it a matter of difficulty; if he is disposed to call in question my reasoning, and to dispute my premises and the considerations which I have advanced, and to maintain still that it is proper for women to appear unveiled in public, I would add, that in Judea we have no such custom, neither does it prevail among any of the churches. This, therefore, would be a sufficient reasons why it should not be done in Corinth, even if the abstract reasoning should not convince them of the impropriety.  
    FBN  Contentious; should any at Corinth contend that it was proper for women, in their worship, to appear like men, or men like women, Paul informed them that it was contrary to the teaching of the apostles and to the practice of the churches, and should be avoided. 
    JFB     if any ... seem--The Greek also means "thinks" (fit) (compare Mt 3:9). If any man chooses (still after all my arguments) to be contentious. If any be contentious and thinks himself right in being so. A reproof of the Corinthians' self-sufficiency and disputatiousness (1Co 1:20).  
    Williams translation: “But if anyone is inclined to be contentious about it, I for my part prescribe no other practice than this, and neither do the churches of God.” 
    Laubach’s Translation: “If any man wants to oppose my view of this question, my reply is: ‘neither we / nor the churches of God follow any other custom.” 
    7. Some say, “If v. 7 means a man shouldn’t cover his physical head, then hats and stocking caps must be of the devil!” This reveals a lack of understanding concerning first century usage. In the first century (and even today) it was improper for a man to stand as a representative of Christ (Eph. 5:22–33) and preach, pray, or teach in public with his head covered by a hat or Tallith (The Jews evidently have changed their practice since apostolic times).  
    Where did you think the custom originated for taking off the hat for prayer? For the woman it was a matter of modesty, showing she was the man’s property -- not displaying her beauty for the eyes of other men, and showing she was under the man as the church was under Christ. For the man it was a matter of proper order (modesty means well-ordered ). He was showing his position as the representative of Christ over his bride, the church.  Widows, young women, and unmarried women also veiled for modesty in submission to God’s order.  
    8. Some fight for the idea that the hair is the only covering spoken of in the passage; but are unaware that there are two different Greek words used here translated “covering”. For the hair in verse 15 the word is Peribolaion - “something thrown around”, translated “vesture” in Heb. 1:12. This is different than the Katakalupto (hanging veil) spoken of earlier. The hair is a parallel from nature that supported Paul’s teaching, so he used it for that purpose. The Christian women in the Apostles time did not just wear long hair in public for a covering.  
    9. Some have attemped to say that the first part of the passage is simply Paul restating the Corinthian’s question, and the answer is from verse 13–16. This is really reaching; and is refuted by verse 3 where Paul begins by saying, “But I would have you to know…”  This proves that the whole passage is instructional, not repeating a question.  
    10. Some have tried to say it was left to the Corinthians to do as they pleased. They, to support this fanciful position, quote verse 13 as though it said, “be your own judges” or “do what you think best”; but this is far from the apostles obvious meaning.  
    11. Some have tried to support women preaching and teaching in the church assemblies or only wearing the veil in church, but not in public. Both these are ignoring the historic usage of Paul and all the churches of God in the first century. I Cor. 14:34-38 and I Tim. 2:11-15 makes it very clear that the first century church didn’t allow women preachers and pastors. “Praying and prophecying” is “spiritual business” in speaking to God and speaking to man for God; but it is not restricted to “spiritual business” in the assembly. Women did plenty of witnessing and teaching to other women, youth, and sometimes men in public markets, at home, while doing laundry, while working in fields or grist mills, etc. etc. The veil was a part of her modest apparel -- which even non-Christians wore.  J.F.B. Commentary says, “Even those ‘prophesying’ women were to exercise their gift rather in other times and places than the public congregation.” 
    12. Some have tried to say Paul was just wanting them to follow local custom for the sake of good testimony, but it has no relevance in our culture. This is a shortsighted view of history. As already mentioned, American “culture” today is due to a feminist revolution – those who founded this nation were practicing the head–covering ordinance. More imporant is the fact that none of Paul’s reasons even hint of “going along with the local culture” idea. Every one of his reasons were based on spiritual principles that are relevant today: headship order, creation order, nature’s parallel of the hair, the reaction of the angels, modesty, and holding fast apostolic traditions – contending for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Christian people are not to be conformed to the world’s cultures, but live a counter-culture based on eternal principles and values. We serve a different Lord than the world. We are to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth. We ought to then practice every apostolic tradition handed down to the first century churches.  
    CONSIDER THIS:  THE "CULTURE" AT CORINTH WAS FOR PROPHESYING WOMEN (pagans) TO REMOVE THE VEIL WHEN PROPHESYING! 
  • ADAM CLARKE "The heathen priestesses prayed or delivered their oracles bare-headed or with dishevelled hair, non comptae mansere comae, as in the case of the Cumaean Sibyl, AEn. vi., ver. 48, and otherwise in great disorder: to be conformed to them would be very disgraceful to Christian women." 
  • Albert Barnes "With her head uncovered. That is, with the veil removed which she usually wore. It would seem from this that the women removed their veils, and wore their hair dishevelled, when they pretended to be under the influence of Divine inspiration. This was the case with the heathen priestesses; and in so doing, the Christian women imitated them. On this account, if on no other, Paul declares the impropriety of this conduct." 
  • 13. Some have attempted to focus only on some secondary applications and have made some positive conclusions, but in doing so they have wrested the original intent of the passage and undermined an apostolic tradition, which Paul commands all believers to observe and defend even to separation (II Thess. 2:15 & 3:6). This is serious business - beware the accountability for such actions. They are not only believing this error, but propagating it —this is more serious.  
    The word used for tradition in II Thessalonians is the same translated ordinance in Cor. 11:2 - Paul saw the woman’s head veil as an apostolic ordinance to be kept and observed. It was a part of “modest apparel” in the first century. It was important just as physical water baptism, physical bread and grape juice in communion, and physical greeting with a holy kiss - they all symbolize important truths. It is wrong to focus on the principle to the neglect of the symbol, just as it would be wrong to focus on the symbol to the neglect of the principle. 
    Paul is writing to a church in a wicked city with many parallels to American society. They were being confused by some false prophets and prophetesses coming from the pagan temples where women prophesied with “unknown” tongues, had their heads shaved or shorn to show who they were, and went abroad without veils or modest clothing. These women had been the spiritual leaders of the people while in paganism: so these feminist ideas were easily carried into the church meetings and confused new converts. Paul, in I Corinthians 14:34-38, deals with the woman not usurping authority over the man: but in chapter 11 he is dealing with the symbolism of the katakalupto, which was a part of the woman’s modest apparel (katastole), and was the symbol of her position under the man.  
    Have you not read in Isa, 47:2 where God describes Babylon as a virgin taken captive? Her modesty and delicacy are violated by having her head covering removed and her thigh made bare in her slavery. Her locks of hair are uncovered by the removing of her material veil from her physical head. The Septuagint reads thus: “Take a millstone, grind meal; remove thy veil, uncover thy white hairs, make bare the leg.”  Even the women in Babylon wore a head-covering according to Assyrian sculptures. 
    Maybe you have encountered some with a material veil, but without true heart submission and a living faith. Does this nullify the original intent of the passage?  Not at all.  History is set in stone, and it’s arguments are hard to overcome. We all know what the common custom of “all the churches of God” was. There is no way around it. Our faith and practice ought to be the same as the apostolic churches of the first century, whether the world changes or not.  
    Tertullian writing about 207 AD, complains about women’s veils getting smaller and says, “The region of the veil is co–extensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound...Arabia’s pagan females will be your judges. For they not only cover the head, but the face also.” This shows that the head covering was not a face covering as some false teachers today have indicated while mocking those who wear head coverings. It covered the head area where the hair covered when not bound up.  
    Our ladies wear a hanging veil to their shoulders with their hair bound up.  We invite you to come and strive to be doers of the Word with us.  
    Below is a copy of chapter 3 in our Living Faith Study Guide section 7, "TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE".  This is a verse-by-verse approach that may help clear up any difficulty. 
    CHAPTER 3 - TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE...HEAD COVERING 
    You need to understand that we are to be practicing the same faith as the first century apostolic churches had. This is vital. All the commentaries that I have read, which deal with the historical setting of  I Corinthians 11, all admit that the practice of the first century churches was that of the women wearing a head veil. So, before we begin to discuss the subject, let me ask you: Do you believe that we are to contend for the "faith once delivered to the saints"? Do you believe that what "all the churches of God" did in the first century, we are to be doing in the 20th century and the 21st?  
    There are many good books and studies on this subject, and my purpose is not to exhaust the resources, as there are many. "Let Her Be Veiled" (Tom Shank); "Demons In The Church" (Skolfield); Symbols of Divine Order in the Church (Shelter & Shank); The Head Covering (Timothy Nelson); "The Veiling Of The Virgins" (Tertullian); and many others are available if you want to study the subject further. 
    I've never met a humble seeker of truth who tried to refute or avoid this issue.  
    HISTORICAL SETTING 
    In the first century, for women to be seen in public without a head veil was considered immodest. A Jewish man was allowed to divorce a woman who went abroad without a veil. The apostle Paul sets forth, not just the cultural practice, but the Christian practice in I Cor. 11:1-16, 
    VS. 1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  
  • Does this apply to us? It sure does. Are you willing to follow a Holy Spirit inspired apostle? 
  • VS. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 
  • Are you remembering Paul in all things? The context is speaking of church ordinances. What is an ordinance? What is a city ordinance? It is law. This is part of the Law of Christ. It is part of the traditions spoken of in II Thess. 2:15 and 3:6 -- The Greek word translated ordinance in I Cor. 11:2 is the same Greek word translated traditions II Thess. 2:15 & 3:6. You don't have liberty to disobey God's Word. Christian liberty is not liberty to disobey the Word of God.  
  • John said that the world could not contain all the books that could be written about what Jesus said and did -- now, since God hand picked what we have in our small New Testament; you can be sure it is all important. Every tradition of the apostles that God wanted us to know about is in the Word. If God saw fit to put it in the New Testament, then it is important enough for us to obey. In the first century, you ladies would be wearing head veils in submission to the teachings of the apostles, or you would be excommunicated -- and lose your hope of Heaven.  
  • VSS. 3,4 But I would have you to 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.  
  • Preachers who disregard the head veil ordinance for the women in their church always take their hat off to pray, and would never wear one in the pulpit -- but never ask themselves why. 
  • VS. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head:  
  • 1. EVERY WOMAN is what it says. That is pretty clear to understand, if you want to obey Jesus. 
  • 2. Prayeth or prophesieth is a simple summation of "spiritual business". We are either talking to God, or talking to men for God. This in no way implies women leading in the church. Do we accuse Paul of senility? Or worse yet, the Holy Spirit?  
  • "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." I Cor. 14:34,35 -- see context in vss. 26-33. 
  • "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp the authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." I Tim. 2:11-14 
  • The prohibition is not against women singing, with the men, songs chosen for the church by the men; but against "leading" in prayer, teaching, singing in front of the church -- which is ministering in song (she doesn't qualify for a minister); or even asking questions in the assembly, because that can be used to argue, or lead the discussion. God said it, and you ladies will be best off to follow. Is your pastor "teaching you to observe this"? 
  • VS. 5b ..for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 
  • Do men take off their hair when they pray? No.  Is short, or cut hair "even all one as if she were shaven?" No. Paul says for a woman to pray with an "uncovered" head is even all one as if she were shaven. This cannot be said if the "uncovered head" was just the absence of "long hair"; because short or cut hair is not "even all one as if she were shaven" It simply is not so. 
  • This cannot be said if the "uncovered head" was an actual shaven head, because it would also not be "even all one as if" she were shaven--she would be shaven. This cannot be said of just having long hair up in a "bun" and then letting it down -- that is definitely not "even all one as if she were shaven". This can only be said if she took off her veil; and the shame of taking off her spiritual veil (all at once) was equal to the shame of losing her natural veil (long hair) all at once. In this situation only can it be rightly said, "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". 
  • Men took off their hat or turban, etc. and women didn't remove their veil. Paul is making a parallel between the natural covering (hair) and the spiritual covering (veil). To remove the spiritual covering (all at once); is compared to removing the natural covering all at once -- shaven. He is about to show that the common knowledge of shame associated with the shaven woman, is to be also for the uncovered woman as well. It is the same shame. 
  • VS. 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. 
  • "For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn:" Now, pay attention: If the covering is nothing but long hair, then Paul would not say, "let her also be shorn" -- for she would already be shorn.  What he is saying is this: "If the woman is going to be unveiled, let her also be shorn" -- there, that makes sense, doesn't it? Paul says that if you are going to be so immodest and bold as to take off the spiritual veil, then you might as well cut off your hair also, like one of the pagan temple prostitutes at Corinth.  Both, the cutting of the hair short, and the removing of the veil is usurping the man's position - feminists have now done both! 
  • This speaks of wearing the head covering all the time, not just in church. The women of the east who are not even Christians still wear the veil in public, if they are decent women. It is a shame to shear off your hair, and you should feel the same way about being without your spiritual head covering. This is a covering with spiritual significance, that covers the hair (the woman's glory) for modesty, and humility, in the presence of God, the angels, and man. See. Is. 47:1-3 to understand the Old Testament shame of uncovering the locks of the head. The long hair was to be covered. 
  • VS. 7-12 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. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 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. 
  • Where is the argument for following local custom? It is not here. Paul's reasons for this CHURCH ORDINANCE are all SPIRITUAL. 1. Man's relation to woman. 2. Order of creation. 3. Man and woman's relation to God. 4. Women's relation to the angels.  
  • Jewish tradition has it that Angels are present at worship services and will flee from an unveiled woman, because she is promoting rebellion.  A woman ought to be covered whenever she is being a light to the world, teaching her children, praying with the neighbor, witnessing at the market, etc. It is rebellious to do spiritual business when you are rejecting God's spiritual order and design. Does this attract evil angels to you, and drive good ones away? It may.  Paul seems to agree with the Jewish tradition. 
  • The idea here is that, as man is the glory and image of God, created for God's pleasure; so woman is the glory of man, created for man -- for this cause the woman should have a symbol of authority (submission to this order) on her head, because not to do so reveals rebellion to God's order. This spiritual neon sign tells the spirit world (angels) whose side you are on. When you are under your canopy of authority, you are protected in ways you may never know. There is no hint of Paul just telling them to follow local custom. 
  • VS. 13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  
  • Remember Paul is asking people who lived in the east about 2000 years ago, not an American. In that day and age the obvious answer of anyone, other than some grievous wolf, was NO. It wasn't even comely to be seen in public with your head bare showing off your locks of hair to men other than your husband. When a woman "lets her hair down" (letting it be seen down and flowing), she is understood to be laying aside her modest discretion. Adam Clarke says this:  "...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." 
  • If it was so uncomely to be seen in public without a veil; was it comely to be in public praying, prophesying, and thus representing Christ without a veil? If you can't think your theology back to the first century, then you will never find truth. 
  • VSS. 14-15 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. 
  • What is the lesson of nature? Does it back up Paul's teaching about the veil? Since he used it as a parallel for his argument in verses 5 & 6, lets look at it. Yes, men cut off their natural veil, and don't wear a spiritual veil. Yes, women wear the natural veil, and also should wear the spiritual veil -- Doth not even nature teach you? 
  • I find it shamefully humorous that so many argue that the hair is the covering, and then go around with bobbed, chopped, and permed hair. They are just rebelling.  
  • The Greek word for the spiritual veil is katakalupto: kata -- down, kalupto -- hide or cover. Something hanging down the head, which hides and covers the head.  
  • The Greek word for the hair being a covering in vs. 15 is peribolaion: peri -- around, ballo -- cast, throw, thrust. The hair was usually worn "around" the head -- thrust around; and is compared to putting a coat on the body. The hair was a coat for the head -- usually wrapped up around the head. This is the Greek word used in Heb. 1:12 for "vesture". So, even though some translations give "covering" for both words, yet even the Greek testifies that the veil and the hair are two different coverings: One which hangs down, and one which is wrapped around. 
  • VS. 16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. 
  • "In spite of all I've taken my time to explain, if someone wants to argue about it, then forget all I've said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, forget the angels, nature, order of creation, pleasing God, and the authority of the church, and just forget it" -- IS THIS WHAT PAUL IS SAYING? NO. GOD FORBID. Yet, some false prophets actually teach this.  
  • Here is what Paul is saying: If someone wants to argue, and say women don't have to cover their heads as I have just explained, then he must stand alone; because we apostles and all the churches of God have no such custom of women going without their heads veiled. Notice that Paul says all the churches of God had the same practice -- how foolish it is, in light of this, to say, "it was just a local custom", or "it was just long hair". We know what the churches practiced in the first century, and these churches were scattered over the Roman Empire. You could find what any one of them practiced, and thereby know what they all practiced. Are you one that "seems to be contentious"? There were some in Corinth, and let me share what else Paul said about them in I Cor. 14:37,38.  "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." 
  • Is this how you want the Holy Spirit to think of you, because you are over impressed with your argumentive opinion? YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH HISTORY. Paul said that all the churches had the same custom about women wearing head coverings --SO WHAT DID ALL THE CHURCHES OF GOD DO IN THE FIRST CENTURIES OF CHRISTIANITY? NAY, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR THE LAST 2000 YEARS, EXCEPT THE APOSTATE DENOMINATIONS. The burden of proof rests on the contentious person to prove that "all the churches of God" did not have their women wear veils -- I wouldn't want that job. History is unanimously in agreement with this pamphlet.  
    Did all the churches of God just wear the veil in church? No. Some will argue that since men can wear hats in public, women can also take off their veil. The spiritual significance has to do with women while praying, prophesying, etc.; but it must be also remembered that it isn't immodest for a man to wear a hat in public -- it is immodest for a woman to be uncovered. It doesn't affect the "angels" for a man to wear a hat in the cold, etc.; but it does for the woman to be uncovered. Don't argue that, "men can't ever wear hats, if women should not be out without their covering". You are ignoring the historical usage and practice of those who knew exactly what the apostle meant. 
    Is this for us today? If you want to be the bride of Jesus, "teaching them to observe all things", and following Jesus through Paul with "all the churches of God" -- it is. 
  • "The region of the veil is co-extensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound.... Arabia's pagan females will be your judges. For they cover not only the head, but the face also." Tertullian (Written about 207 A.D.)  
  • Tertullian complains in his day that some of the veils were getting smaller. There was also a question as to how young a girl should be veiled. He would have choked on some of this modern twisting of Scripture to allow women to be unveiled altogether. Go ask Tertullian if Paul was just speaking about the hair. He lived 100 years removed from the first century, and lived in the same part of the world, around the Mediterranean.  
    The early churches understood the value of the "traditions or ordinances" of the apostles. All who make Bible story books draw the women with head veils. The real argument is whether or not we have the liberty to discard what the faithful churches from the first century until now have died for. On which side will you stand? Is Jesus worth it to you? 
    QUESTIONS: 
    1. Why is it so important to look at what they did in history, can't we just see what the Word of God says? 
    First, the reason we look at history is because Paul was in history writing to real people living in that historical context, therefore, to understand the original intent of Scripture, one must find the historical context of the passage, i.e. “What did it mean to them”? To rip the Scripture from its historical context and interpret it in the context of America 2000 years removed is bad scholarship.  Some, due to ignorance concerning the historical context, have assumed the veil is a prayer veil, because the passage in I Cor. is only dealing with the problem of those who removed the veil while praying or prophesying.  When one studies the historical context, they will learn that wearing the veil was a matter of feminine modesty, which must not be layed aside while praying or prophesying -- See #2 below. 
    2. Was the problem in Corinth that women should put on a veil only when praying and prophesying? 
    The passage in I Corinthians is dealing with a problem: Not that women should put on a covering when praying and prophesying in public, but that women should not remove their veil when praying or prophesying in public. All decent women wore veils in public among Jews, Romans, and Greeks. A Jewish man would divorce a wife who went about without her veil in public - it was an important part of “modest apparel”. Paul’s command to wear modest apparel, when studied in the historical context, would be enough to warrant the wearing of a veil in public. The problem was that certain women were imitating the pagan priestesses and removing their veil while praying and prophesying. 
    3. If women generally covered their heads, then why does the Bible speak of the woman washing Jesus' feet with her hair, and why does Paul and Peter give instruction about not broiding or plaiting the hair? 
    Women often used part of their garment for their covering, as seen in Bible story books, and the hair was left down inside the garment, but could be pulled out and used to wash Jesus’ feet quite easily.  We see Muslim women today all covered in makeup and jewelry, while covering most of their head and face – Human nature is human nature; and it is not unlikely that women still fixed their hair with gold and jewelry braided into it, like the heathen around them, even though most of it was covered by the veil. Paul and Peter teach that this is still not in keeping with the humble, spiritual walk of the believer. You’ve seen women in Bible story books with their head covered, yet having some hair still showing – It seems from history that some would braid gold threads, etc. into their hair and leave some tresses showing. In every age you find people trying to get by with as much immodesty as they can without being condemned by their peers, and the bolder ones always lead the way testing fences and pushing the lines. It is this way in every church and age, only the lines have been drawn in different places. The true disciple isn’t trying to test fences and push the lines, they are seeking holiness of heart and conduct. The true disciple is going to avoid all appearance of evil, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. The question in the mind of the true disciple is never, “How much can I get by with?”, but “What will please and honor my Lord?”.