Women Covering Their Heads? 2005

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Hi N____,

Thanks for your question.

Yes, ‘Be not covered’ is indeed “primarily a spiritual statement regarding a lack of submissiveness to her husband?”

I cannot comment on whether the Corinthians were wearing prayer shawls or not. I simply haven’t had the time to check that out. I can comment on the verses in question:

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.
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.
1Co 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom [ short haired women or long haired men], neither the churches of God.

Christ is “of God.” The woman is “of the man.” Christ was created and through Him all else came. So also was the woman out of the man, and through her have “all living” since been brought forth.

Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

But it is important to God, for our sakes, that we never fail to realize who came forth from whom. It is disastrous when we fail to do so. For Christ to ever usurp His Father’s position would be disastrous beyond comprehension. But I speak as a man. Christ is spotless, and He is our goal. For this purpose God has given us the male- female, and the husband- wife relationship. Paul makes it clear that whenever husbands and wives are being discussed the real subject is Christ and the church.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This [ The subject of marriage] is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

We are to submit to Christ just as we would have our wives to submit to us. We are to love and cherish our wives just as we would have Christ to love and to cherish us.

Long hair may not be as much of a symbol in today’s mixed up society as it was in Paul’s time. But it is still generally understood that women should not look ‘butch.’ To this day, it is taken for a sign of discontent on many women’s part, with her supposed lower station in society.

Scripture does not teach that women are less than men in their relationship to God. It does, however, teach that wives are to submit to their husbands “as unto Christ.” This is an honor bestowed on women just as surely as it is an honor for us all to submit to Christ, just as as He is honored when He submits Himself to His Father.

Long hair and short hair are outward symbols of inward conditions. IF a man dresses in drag, it is an outward manifestation of an inward problem.

If I have learned anything in the past few years, it is “The words that I speak unto you are spirit…” Nevertheless, for the sake of order in the assemblies certain outward manifestations are to be observed. There are many shorter haired women who are very submissive to their husbands. There are women who cannot keep long hair clean and kept up and out of the way. On the other hand there are many woman with long hair who are anything but submissive to their husbands.

What it all amounts to is that there is nothing you can do outwardly that will change you one little bit inwardly. Conversely, it is impossible to experience an inward change that does not manifest itself outwardly. A homosexual who comes to know Christ will not want to please his homosexual friends as he once did. He now wants to please Christ. So it is with an unconverted, drunken, domineering husband. He will no longer want to please his drinking buddies. He will now want to please Christ. And what does Christ instruct husbands? “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.”

There is very little space given in scripture to outward manifestations of righteousness. Skirt length is never so much as mentioned. It is all covered in verses such as this:

1Pe 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 1Pe 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1Pe 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
1Pe 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1Pe 3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
1Pe 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Any woman who wants to please God will be outwardly affected by this verse of God’s Word. And what is God’s Word for men and husbands?

1Pe 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

According to this verse, if a husband and wife are at odds about how to please God, their ‘prayers will be hindered.’

Whenever Christ is in us, we are “of the same mind.” This is the meaning of “be not covered.” If a woman “be not covered,” she is not submissive to her head. A man on the other hand is uncovered to show his willingness to accept his position as the head of his family and as the son of God that he claims to be.

I hope I have answered your question. Frankly I think you answered your own question. An unsubmissive wife is indeed already shorn (bald), as far as God is concerned. Still I hope I have added something that you will find edifying.

Mike

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