HEAD COVERINGS AND LONG HAIR
1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 11

Does the Bible say that a Christian woman should wear a veil (Vail) when she prays or prophesies in Church? Head coverings may not be the most important thing to argue about when you look at the state that the church is in today. There are other more important things that the church today do not know or care about. Nevertheless it should certainly not be completely ignored. The apostle Paul thought it important enough to take the time to write about it and instruct the church in these matters. Therefore this subject needs to be addressed and understood because we ought to obey the Word of God and this is always a good thing. Also, my daughters are starting to question why I want them to keep long hair, so this can be my answer to them.
     As I said, today most do not even care at all what the Bible says about whether women should wear head coverings or not, but those who do care have one of two theories and these are that the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 says that women should either wear a veil (vail) to cover their head, or that her hair is given her for a veil (or a covering). So what we must do is to find the definition of this head covering. The truth is that a woman's hair is given as a covering (not a veil), but even those who believe this still miss the point of it all and that is that a woman’s hair is given her not only as a covering, but also as her glory and therefore should be worn long.

1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
1Co 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 starts by saying we ought to follow him, as he is a follower of Christ. Some may have had questions about this then, but we should not now. What the apostle Paul says is from God and we must respect, believe, and obey it. He starts by praising them for keeping the ordinances that he had delivered to them, and here now he has more to say that we ought to listen to, respect, and obey.

1Co 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.

He would have us know the proper order of things, that the head of the woman is the man, the head of every man is Christ and the head of Christ is God. A lot of Christians today will not like the way this is heading, especially the women, but let me remind you that I did not write this, the apostle Paul did, and he wrote it by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, just as he wrote this as well.

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.

I am just explaining what he said. I will not go into great detail about the role of men and women at this stage, but it is relevant to what we are discussing here. Otherwise Paul would not have mentioned it. I will say just briefly that there is an order ordained by God and that order is plainly shown here. Many seem to get upset about this but perhaps this is because they do not understand that it is not so because one is of greater value than the other; it has to do with position and order, not worth. The king of a country holds a very important position but this does not mean that he is worth more than his fellow countrymen, even if he or others think so. There needs to be ranking and positions set out in this world so that things can function in an orderly manner.  We can see this in the army the police force and the government for instance. So too there needs to be order in the things of God. The man is the head of the woman, but this doesn't mean that he is more important or worth more. That is what people need to understand.

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

Paul says that a man should not have his head covered when he prays or prophesies. It does not state here what kind of covering he is speaking of, only that his head should not be covered when he prays or prophesies else he dishonors his head. This dishonor is not just a dishonor to his own head (or his own self) but I believe more so his head as in Christ.

1Co 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.

Now we have the opposite said of the woman, which is as I said before to do with God's ordained order of things, thus putting a difference between the man and the woman. Not making a difference in self worth between the two, but rather a difference between the roles we play. It is said that the woman should not pray or prophesy with her head uncovered, else she would dishonor her head, or her husband in other words. He then goes on to say that if she were to do so it is the same as if she were shaven. This is not conclusive but it is the first clue as to what this covering is, as he says that if she prays or prophesies uncovered then she might as well be shaven as this is considered to be the same. Although peoples' values have changed, it was and to many still is, a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven.  A woman’s hair is something that stands out and separates her from the man. It is a beautiful, feminine, and admirable aspect of a woman. It is a glory to her and it is a shame if people do not consider this to be so and cut it short as many do today. Cutting off a woman's hair has been used as a way to shame her and many women still value their hair greatly.

Jer 7:29 Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.

1Co 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.

Once again the same clue, it still doesn't say what the covering is just that if the woman is not covered then she might as well cut off all her hair. Note once again that a woman with no hair is a shame. Not only is it a shame for a woman to be shaved but also shorn which means to be cut short, and if it be a shame, which Paul says it is, then let her be covered. The question is, with what? Hair does fit nicely though. And I think that it has been well established that it is a shame for a woman to have short hair, that is all too plain to see, which most seem to ignore today.

1Co 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.
1Co 11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
1Co 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Now we have the reason why a man should not cover his head, and that is because he is the glory and image of God. But the woman is the glory of the man, also the woman was made for the man and she was taken from him, when God built her from Adam's rib.

1Co 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

This verse is sure to stump a lot of people. Perhaps it has to do with the ministering angels which are said to be always present, and so the woman is to have her head covered as a sign of submission to male authority.

1Co 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the
woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Paul says that although the man has power and authority over the woman as we have seen,  the man is not completely without need of the woman. But we need each other in the Lord.

1Co 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Even though the woman came from man (Adam's rib), the man also comes by the woman when she gives birth to him; but all things are of God and so we are all under his authority.

1Co 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Here we have a big piece of the jigsaw puzzle that makes everything fall into place. We are asked to judge in ourselves if it is comely (or right) and decent for a woman to pray to God uncovered? Obviously the answer Paul is looking for is NO. Up until now the apostle Paul has made it quite clear that it is a shame for a woman's head to be shorn or shaven, and that a woman's head should be covered when she prays. But he has not as yet outright stated what that covering should be. In verse 4 before we even look at a woman’s head covering which was the next verse, Paul stated that a man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonored his head. Then in verse 7 we see why he should not cover his head and why the woman should. Now at verse 14 he does not suddenly change the subject, but it all ties in together. It is apparent that he follows on from verse 13 to verse 14 when he says (doth not even nature itself teach you). You can not start a new subject this way, but rather he is carrying on from what he has previously said and asks a question in verse 14 to prove what he said in verse 13. So these two verses and in fact verse 4+7 as well, and everything we have seen so far is all linked together. In verse 13 he speaks of a woman's covering and then in verse 14 he speaks of a man's hair. You could think that a veil and hair may come under the same heading of (head coverings) but it doesn't fit well and later we will read it all together and look at another translation to compare the two theories.  And now he says of the man.

1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Paul says, judge in yourselves is it proper that a woman prays to God uncovered? Doesn't even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a shame to him? These two verses 13+14 and all from verse 1-16 are linked together. In verse 4 Paul was saying that a man ought not to cover his head. In verse 7 Paul says why he shouldn't. Then we see in verse 14 that a man should not have long hair. He did not change the subject at all in these verses so if it is fair to say that the covering Paul was speaking of in verse 4 was a mans hair, as we can gather from verse 14 then I think it is fair to say that  the covering Paul said a woman should have in verse 5 is her hair as well, especially since he most positively said that a woman should have long hair and that it is a shame for her to be shorn or shaven. He also actually says in the next verse that her hair is given to her as a covering.

1Co 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.


Now once again he follows on and links verses 13 and 14 with verse 15 by saying (BUT), we will return to this shortly. Verse 15 says that a woman’s hair is her glory, and it is stated here that it is given her for a covering. So finally we see what this covering is. It doesn't say that she should use a veil as a covering but that her hair is given her as a covering and that it ought to be worn long as it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven. It is also very clear that a man's hair should not be long as it says in verses 4+7+14. So if in verse 15 a woman's hair is the subject then it is also the subject of verses 13 and 14 which means that the woman's covering is her hair. Now lets read these three verses together.

1Co 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1Co 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's and a man's hair is the subject from start to finish. There is no foundation to read anything else into this. There is no mention at all of a veil or anything else besides hair. Many will scoff at this, but I can show you why I believe the covering is hair. You show me where it mentions a veil, or even hints at another kind of covering. I could consider it if there was something, but there is not. So to read anything else into this is unfounded and therefore unscriptural. In the end we must believe what the Bible says, not what people think or say.

1Co 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Some say that this means we should not fight about these silly unimportant things, but this is not so, in fact quite the opposite. Paul says that if any man is contentious about these things then he should know that there is no other custom, no other way of doing things, not in the churches of God. Unfortunately this is no longer true because these days people are either mixed up or don't care.

A FEW OTHER ARGUMENTS

Now that we have seen all this if you read back over these verses it will all fall into place and make sense that the covering that is spoken of throughout these verses is hair. Even if you still think that a woman should wear a veil it would be hard for you to deny that Paul was saying that a woman should have long hair and that a man should not. He did undoubtedly make these points, so if you believe that he was also saying that a woman should wear a veil then this would not fit very well. There is no mention of a veil but a covering, and hair fits perfectly all the way through. As I said before we will take a look at all this as a whole and compare it to another modern translation.
    Concerning verses 5-6 some say that these verses are difficult to be explained if one says that Paul was speaking of hair only and not a Vail, because if her hair is too short it doesn't make sense that you should cut it off as it is already cut off. But I do not see the difficulty or contradiction. It simply means that if a woman will not sufficiently cover her head with hair, or in other words not grow her hair to a respectable length then it is the same as if she were shorn or shaven. Which means that it is not only a shame if a woman is shaved, it is also a shame if she is shorn. In fact, if her hair is simply not long enough then it is as if she were shorn or shaven as this is one and the same. So instead, let her be covered or let her grow her hair to a respectable length, not shaved, not shorn and not too short either. Some may say that this is ungovernable and who is to judge when a woman's hair is not long enough? But I would like to point out that Paul does not give measurements when he says that if a man's hair is too long then it is a shame to his head. So if he expects us to judge when a man's hair is too long then I find it to be entirely reasonable for him to expect us to judge when a woman's hair is too short also.
     Some also think that it would not have been necessary for Paul to tell woman to grow their hair long at that time and they think it is most important to look at the customs at the time that this was written. However I believe that although we can have more of an insight at times by looking into customs etc. We must also understand that the Word of God was written for all times and all customs which Paul and God both know. If he had no reason to mention these things and so did not, then we would have nothing to refer to in this day and age. In Deuteronomy chapter 17 God gave some instructions as to setting a king over the children of Israel. Then we see in 1st Samuel chapter 8 that when they did set a king over them it was not His will for them to do so. Yet because of their stiff necks and hard hearts He allowed them to. But God had already set some rules concerning their king that they would have, hundreds of years before they asked for one. So God can and does think ahead of time to instruct us in what he wants us to do whether it seems relevant for the time or not.
     One of the reasons why it may be hard for people to accept is because they (like myself) have always been taught that a woman should wear a Vail. Also it is a known fact that this is a common custom. When I began to write this I thought that I would look at all the commentaries, that I had to gain a fuller understanding of all this and see what other peoples' opinions were about this subject of head coverings to be able to address this subject more comprehensively. I do not simply accept what others say and at times it is better to, at least at first, not even look at what others think, because so many times people do not have the truth and it will only confuse you. The more I looked at this in the commentaries the more I realized that I should just go back to what the Bible says and to what I had already found to be true. Then everything made sense again. Study tools can be good and useful and I hope that others may gain something from what I write, but ultimately the truth is what God says in His Word. It is amazing how much stuff there is out there and how little of it is really true. So much is written by people who may be very intelligent, but intelligence and knowledge is not what will give us the truth. We simply need to desire it and look for it and then it will be found for us, or more accurately God will give it to us. So put aside what we have heard and been taught and grab hold of the Word of God.

THE VEIL AND HAT VIEW.

In order to make this easier to understand I have chopped out some of the verses which were talking about the role of men and women to leave only the most relevant ones needed to understand what I am now showing you. In no way would I ever take from, add or twist the word of God. The only reason I left them out is to make it shorter and more to the point which will help you to understand what I am saying. By all means read it all together later, I encourage you to do so. I am here using the LITV. This seems to be the way many see these verses but to see it written this way only proves more so that they are wrong. The first 5 verses talk of veils and hats. Then we have a change of subject from veils and hats to hair which also splits verse 13 from 14+15 which are supposed to be together.

1Co 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having anything down over his head shames his head.
1Co 11:5 And every woman praying or prophesying with the head unveiled dishonors her head, for it is the same as being shaved.
1Co 11:6 For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn, or to be shaved, let her be veiled.
1Co 11:7 For truly a man ought not to have the head covered, being the image and glory of God. But woman is the glory of man;
1Co 11:13 You judge among yourselves: is it fitting for a woman to pray to God unveiled?
1Co 11:14 Or does not nature herself teach you that if a man indeed wears long hair, it is a dishonor to him?
1Co 11:15 But if a woman wears her hair long, it is a glory to her; because the hair has been given to her instead of a veil.

Its like he is saying that a woman should wear a veil and a man should not wear a hat from verse 4-13. Then in verse 14 he tries to prove this point by asking “doesn't even nature itself teach you that a man should not have long hair?" Then in verse 15 he says that a woman should! It would seem slightly out of place, don't you think? Unless of course he had been speaking about the length of a man's and a woman’s hair! Which he was.
Now we will look at the same verses in the KJV and read it this time with hair as the subject from start to finish and see if that makes sense.

THE HAIR AS A COVERING VIEW.

1Co 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Co 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.
1Co 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.
1Co 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.
1Co 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1Co 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

That is about all that I can say about this subject for now. I hope that you now may be able to see what I am saying. Gaining an understanding of the Word of God does not come from reading something once or twice. It comes from a genuine desire and thirst for the truth and then with an open mind reading and studying, most importantly with prayer, even fasting and prayer. Mostly you will have to read something many, many times before you finally understand something, sometimes for many years. This is no different, so like I said I encourage you to read all these verses over and over prayerfully with an open heart and God will reveal the truth to you.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
NEW STUFF
head coverings veil or long hair