Skip to comments.Does a woman still need to Pray with her head covered
Posted on 03/16/2009 11:28:45 AM PDT by Mind Freed
1 Corinthians 11:3-6
3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her headit is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.
Not in the Catholic Church.
I remember when I was a little boy, and my mother and I went to church to make a visit. She left home without her hat - she wore a glove on her head when she entered the church.
You may still wear a veil, of course, but I think Vatican 2 changed that. I may be incorrect about that, however.
In the 50’s to the early 60’s most women went to church with their heads covered and wore white gloves. Then “feminism” came along ... . This “tradition” went away. My take is that regardless of feminism, this is not a requirement in our time.
This link sums it up for me:
Q. I periodically re-read sections of the bible. Each time I find more that I did not see before. This time I am in 1 Corinthians 11. I am concerned that I need to cover my head when I worship or pray. This chapter speaks about honoring your head (authority over you). It says men should be uncovered and women covered. I know that women used to wear hats etc. to church on Sundays but thats no longer the case anymore (at least in my church). Can you expand on what this chapter is referring to?
Should Women Cover Their Heads In Church?
A. I believe that Paul was using a local custom to illustrate a timeless truth, and that is that our God is a God of order. He has established a hierarchy in His creation that begins with Him, then goes to Jesus, man and woman in that order. In the society of the day, a woman going out in public with her hair uncovered was a demonstrating her rebellion against that hierarchy. It was a sign that she was available, and therefore an insult to her husband. Paul was reminding them that our worship services are regularly attended by angels and out of respect for them we should be careful to adhere to the established order while in worship.
Today the head covering for women is not customary, but we should still be careful to act in a manner that pleases the Lord and is acceptable in His sight, especially in worship. For instance how many people routinely show up late for worship, or fail to demonstrate the proper reverence while there, or in other ways by action or appearance distract other worshipers? Would they look or act this way if they could see their angelic visitors, or even the Lord Himself in their midst? Worship is not a time for musicians to show how talented they are or for worshipers to call attention to themselves by the way they act or look. Its a time to pay homage to the Lord, to focus on Him, and to express our gratitude to Him. Its not about us, its about Jesus.
A big NO!
Having one’s head covered doesn’t necessarily mean LITERALLY having it covered. Some sound orthodox exegesis could help the understanding of this. ;-)
With all we have to deal with, do you even think that God has time for such silly issues as this?
Both the act of a man "uncovering his head" and a woman "covering her head" are symbolic. In the culture and time these verses were written, both of these acts were symbols of respect and reverence.
So, I believe that Paul was speaking in contemporary terms (with contemporary examples) to the Church, telling them that their attitude in worship must be respectful and reverent and that message should be obvious to all who see them in the act.
That message is clear today. Should I uncover my head and my wife cover hers? I say no.
Should we conduct ourselves in a way that makes our respect, reverence and worship of Jesus as our Lord obvious to those around us? I say yes.
Paul said this, not Christ,,important difference. You don’t necessarily have to obey the word of Paul. Just saying.
No....unless the persons religion dictates this and the person believes that his/her religion is the way things are supposed to be.
That being said, there are extremes that are NOT ok no matter what is believed. The head scarf thing can be debated to be an extreme but I think is as simple as removing your hat when you walk into a room. Just benevolence.
Personally, I think Paul blew it on this one but then I’m no biblical scholar. Paul did write some great stuff. Really great stuff.
We believe the Bible teaches that a womans covering is her hair so that her hair should be uncut. (New King James Version)1 Corinthians 11:15
But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
We also believe a woman should keep silent in The Church Assembly 1 Corinthians 14:33-35
Head covering was a cultural practice in biblical times in Israel that showed respect and submission. If we in America have a cultural practice that shows the same, and if we refuse to do it when praying, then we are in error as much as the woman in Israel 2,000 years ago who prayed with her head uncovered.
It's not the 'thing' we do to show respect and submission to God - it's the state of our hearts, and whether we truly respect and submit to Him.
The Abaptist churches still generally require women to wear a covering. The Anabaptist churches include Amish, Mennonite, and Breathern in Christ. Some of the more liberal churches have dropped this requirement, but many still follow this custom.
They cite your Bible verse.
Good point,,expecially about the musicians. Sometimes you just got to shake your head at the overblown “productions” during worship. It’s like you stumbled into the American Idol studio. Same with those hare krishna-like chanting “praise” songs that repeat the same verse over and over. Just my opinion. I think the old hymns were discarded too quickly.
Please excuse me, should be Brethern in Christ.
Very well put.
I know that Laura Bush covered her head when she met the Pope, but it was meant as a gesture of respect.
What year is this?
Okay first we need to understand the context and the culture of the passage. One of the reasons the Apostle Paul wanted women to cover their heads was to make many different people and families of different income levels feel welcomed in service. Women at that time adorned their heads with jewels and decoration, and it was a great sign of wealth.
The reason they covered their head was to take away from that distraction in worship. Paul was trying to help those in worship to focus less on worldly things riches and to focus on the eternal.
Everyone’s head is covered at my synagogue.
I am very aware of the serious issues that are facing this country today. Excuse me if I had a question and just wanted to hear what others had to say. If you thought it was a silly question, then you didn’t have to reply to it.
I’m thinking that Paul wrote to the Corinthians because they had a special need/problem ... as with all the letters he wrote to the different churches ... each church was being addressed for their particular needs ....
Just my 2 cents.
Its a free country, do whatever you want.
Sounds like more of a cultural than a spiritual issue.
“Paul said this, not Christ,,important difference. You dont necessarily have to obey the word of Paul. Just saying.”
Ummm....”All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16-17). No truly orthodox, Trinitarian Christian should have a problem with that.
It’s a cute trick that liberals try to pit Paul against Christ and his “red letter words”. If they were truly consistent liberals then they would also argue that husbands shouldn’t love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for the church since Paul said that in Ephesians 5:25, not the “red letter words” of Christ. Somehow, when liberals like something Paul says they never make that same argument. I wonder why?
I like some of the newer praise songs but don’t like them turning into mindless chanting.
“I am very aware of the serious issues that are facing this country today. Excuse me if I had a question and just wanted to hear what others had to say. If you thought it was a silly question, then you didnt have to reply to it.”
Well put, Mind Freed. You and everyone else have every right to ask a question concering any part of God’s Holy Scriptures. If the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write it, I don’t consider it silly or irrelevant to grapple with it and I don’t see how any true Bible believing Christian would have a problem with anyone doing that about any part of His word.
Sad thing is, so few people actually read his word today because they’re too busy watching American Idol, gossiping about Brad and Angelina, etc., etc. It’s even sadder when Christopher Hitchens probably knows the Bible better than many American Christians do.
One of the problems with current theology is that a great deal of it is based on knowledge and fallen human understanding. These are the same elements that led Cain to worship God according to his "interpretation" of the clear word he no doubt received from his parents, and the Lord had no respect for his offering. I don't assume that you haven't done this but, pray over the verses and ask the Lord what you should do. The Lord lives in you.
How did I get to ask the imam, from FR?
When I was little (60’s) my mother & grandmother made sure I wore a hat & gloves to church every week (Episcopal or Congregational Church)
And NO woman was in pants & men all had on suits.
That was over with by the 1970’s
Excellent point DesertRhino.
Some years ago a woman sought my opinion regarding 1 Corinthians 11:3-6. She had a specific concern, and as I came to find out, it was a concern shared by many women in her predicament. The woman was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, losing her hair, and considered shaving her head to end the her discomfort over the hairloss. The woman had Christian women and men pointing to 1 Corinthians 11:3-6 telling her that shaving her head was forbidden as it would be shameful.
Having reason to question the words of Paul, I sought the consul of the highest authority, God.
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself (My note: himself and he throughout this passage means the person, male or female) to the LORD, 3 he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin.
5 All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. 6 All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body. 7 He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. 8 All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD.
9 And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. 10 Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; 11 and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. 12 He shall consecrate to the LORD the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.
13 Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 14 And he shall present his offering to the LORD: one male lamb in its first year without blemish as a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering, one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings.
16 Then the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.
11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
What Paul meant is subject to much debate, but this I know. Regardless of anything Paul wrote, Jesus said He did not come among us to rewrite the law, nor did He intend any of His followers to rewrite the law. I believe both the Old Testament examples above mute what Paul wrote on the subject. People would do better to trust the law as given to Moses by God, and amplified by Jesus.
As for the woman I mentioned, she did shave her head to end the great discomfort of daily hairloss due to the chemotherapy. She has since recovered. She was not alone in her consternation caused by 1 Corinthians 11:3-6. Women with a wide array of health issues face the same dilemma, which is made all the harder for them because they are told it will shame God. I absolutely believe the laws given to Moses were not intended to shame, but to honor God.
And don’t forget to sacrifice a lamb.
Eastern Orthodox view:
I seriously cannot understand how so many can literalize the creation story and then allegorize almost all of the NT (e.g., “This is my body” but not really, “cover your head” but you don’t have to, “Don’t add anything” but we can write novels and make movies about Revelations).
I’ve noticed that whenever our culture finds something strange or uncomfortable, it becomes a “question of culture” and “better viewed with proper exegesis.” When it comes to the six days of creation, it’s an absolute Truth and the OT and NT must be taken literally.
Pick one. Stay there.
That was a very well thought out comment. Thank you for adding your input.
1 Cor 7:25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
So in this verse is Paul acting solely according to human judgement, albeit judgement that must be given great respect, or is he actually inspired even though he says he isn’t?
I’m not being a smart aleck here; I’ve wonderd for thirty years.
Fair question. I make no claim to being a theologian and you would be wiser to talk someone far smarter than me concerning this but I do like what John MacArthur writes in his commentary on this very verse:
“The conviction given here is not a command, but is thoroughly dependable and sound advice to remain a virgin, which is counsel included by the inspiration of the Spirit from a trustworthy man.” Courtesy of the MacArthur Study Bible.
And today it’s gotten to the point that a lot of folks come in to church looking like they are wearing what they slept in the night before.
>> 1 Cor 7:25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lords mercy is trustworthy. <<
It’s not smart-alecky at all; In this verse, Paul gives a sense of his mode of inspiration. He is not writing revelation, but inspiration. The gospel is revelation, as were the ten commandments. In Paul, we have a human judgment which is assuredly correct, since Paul has been perfected by the Holy Spirit and his writings proven by the history of the Church. But we have to read the basis of his judgment. Both in declaring that women must have headcovering and men must not, he insisting people demonstrate respect by doing what their culture does to demonstrate respect. In applying it to our culture, we must consider what in our culture demonstrates a similar respect.
In our culture, I would argue that a headcovering may be a valid show of respect to people, but it may also seem like an alien imposition to others. I would also say that asking whether a woman must still have her head covered, while failing to ask whether a man must still have his head uncovered could be interpreted as a show of disrespect. I’ll presume Mind Freed meant none.
As a man, I would never leave my head covered when I entered a church. It’s the way I show respect to God. But I would never tell a woman to cover her head; that would be to show her disrespect.
Isn’t that the truth
I still enjoy dressing up for church, seems more & more of life is casual
I’m Catholic, and know a few women who do this.
I do not feel called to do it myself, but respect them doing so. They do not make a big deal of it; they pin a hankie to their hair as they enter the church.
I think it is a lovely devotion, but, as I said, I do not feel called to do it myself.
She looked sooo beautiful in a veil.
Sometimes I go to a church where the women veil up. My feeling is, if they can go to the trouble to cover their heads, I can go to the trouble to wear a coat and tie.
Sure, it’s kind of retro, but it’s a sweet tradition, and who is ANYBODY to say people shouldn’t keep tradition if they want?
And the african-american Ladies wear their “crowns”. Catholic women don’t have to wear veils, they can wear hats. It’s like you say, a lovely devotion. The first time I saw it it seemed backward, especially since the women who do this tend to have large families, and not be afraid to make their family’s clothing.
Roughly 75% of the women wear head coverings at the local extraordinary form Latin Masses.
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?" He saith unto Him, "Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." He saith unto him, "Feed My lambs."