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I believe that any woman who prays without her head covered & looks up is disgraceful to God & any man who wears ANY kind of head covering & looks down while praying is disgraceful to God. I also believe that this is what Paul is stating in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16.

4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for it is just as if her head were shaved. 6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off. And if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.

7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 For this reason a woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Doesn’t nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to dispute this, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.

Am I wrong in my way of thinking?

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    it will be good if you also ask this on Judaism stackexchange (avoid mentioning of the New Testament coz they are anti-Messianic) to know the Jewish current custom. I have seen Jews cover their head with some prayer shawl or something. I dont think its shameful for men to cover head like that.
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 9, 2022 at 17:33
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    @Michael16 Actually, since the question is about 1 Corinthians (presumably 11:1-16), I don't think the Judaism Stack Exchange is the right one. Either here or the Christianity Stack Exchange would be good. I edited the question to make it about a specific passage
    – The Editor
    Commented Apr 9, 2022 at 19:23
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    Hello, Cynthia. Here on the Hermeneutics Stack Exchange, our questions should be about a specific passage, not about a specific doctrine. However, we can ask if a specific passage teaches a particular doctrine so long as the question is about a passage (or passages). Because of this, I edited your question to ask specifically about 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. Is this okay with you? :)
    – The Editor
    Commented Apr 9, 2022 at 19:25
  • @Michael16, I'd say "pre-Messianic", not "anti-Messianic" (or should that have been "ante-Messianic"? ¶ Either way, that's not the reason for not using the term "New Testament". "NT" implies that the Tanakh is the "Old" Testament, which implies that it's no longer of use, or not as good. (E.g. consider a Muslim asking you a question about The Intermediate Book, implying that your scriptures were just a trial run for the real thing, the Qur'an.) Commented Apr 9, 2022 at 21:29
  • See history.stackexchange.com/questions/65639/…
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Apr 9, 2022 at 22:19

3 Answers 3

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Yes, it strongly does. For a man, the Bible is very clear about the man not to cover his head while praying or prophesying:

Every man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoureth his head. (1Cor 11:4)

....

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. (1Cor 11:7)

But that doesn't mean a man cannot wear a hat on a rainy day or a hot day, however, if he is going to pray at that time he would rather put off the hat and start praying in the midst of the rain or the sun's heat. You will be better off honoring God by keeping His commandment and enjoying this privilege than by protecting yourself from rain or heat and He will reward you on that Day if you are one of His redeemed. A prayer with sacrifice will ever be blessed when it aligns with His will.

Second the woman (because Adam was created first), there is a certain known difficulty in the translation of verse 1Cor 11:5

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering. (1Cor 11:15)

Another helpful rendering would be:

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her over against a covering. (1Cor 11:15)

The misleading translation would be thus:

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her as a covering. (1Cor 11:15)

thinking that the hair is the covering by itself, so eventually a woman does not need a covering while praying or prophesying, which is quite the opposite of what God teaches in this passage.

The Bible interprets itself by itself

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? (1Cor 11:13)

The answer is NO. Why?

For this cause ought the woman to have power on [her] head because of the angels. (1Cor 11:10)

What angels? The evil ones, but how?

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (Gen 6:2)

Evil angels will be judged:

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1Cor 6:3)

Given the above reasons and facts, in my opinion, minor details of how should a woman be wearing a covering are also important in light of the above verses, to this point I would argue against a woman wearing a covering that is partially covering her hair, or wearing a transparent covering, again because of the angels, but more importantly to be privileged pleasing the Almighty Savior.

Recommended for further reading

Many believing women are depriving themselves of an appointed privilege with regard to a covering in prayer, through a misinterpretation of the word used by the Holy Spirit in this verse

This excerpt was taken from an article titled "For a Covering 1Corinthians 11:15" as part of a compilation of articles written particularly for women who would like to be pleasing to their Lord, you can find it here: The Role of the Christian Woman in Scripture.

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The word of God is spirit and life. The Lord said we must eat and drink of him.., he later clarified that of course the flesh avails nothing. It is spiritual truths he is talking of. This "command" re head covering was never given by Christ. It was an explanation of a deeper truth by his disciple to a particular congregation.Yes,there are many explanations as to why a woman should or should not cover her head but ultimately like the "laws" listed in Deuteronomy not everything is compulsory (eating of certain foods for example)in this age,but a matter of conscience and wisdom as ultimately Christ is the embodiment of the law.Muslims cover their heads (religious piety) so in itself it doesn't take anyone nearer to Christ. It's like the eating of food sacrificed to idols and the instructions regarding it...it's not what a man eats that makes him unclean, but what comes out, likewise it's not what a woman wears...etc etc...but wisdom teaches us to dress modestly in order to promote the gospel. Head covering or not is just that..an outward garment and no more than that. If the flesh is nothing how much less a garment...religious observances are often more loved than the author and finisher of our faith. Head covering is a choice, a symbol for those who wish to make it such. But a person is no more righteous than the next person who does not do it. Whatever we do,say,wear,eat, however we pray, serve, minister we must do it as to the Lord and give Him all the glory.He will judge us all justly. This article makes a very nuanced case regarding Christian women's dress/ covering and how the culture of biblical times (and current cultures around the world) can inform our biblical interpretations. https://reflectionsblogorg.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/what-the-bible-says-about-dressing-for-women-my-theological-reflection/

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    Commented Jun 6 at 2:49
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  • Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate it. I'm new to this, so will definitely add the relevant citations/ documentation.
    – Caroline I
    Commented Jun 7 at 10:51
  • @CarolineI You are absolutely correct! Paul was explaining why the doctrine was what it was. Paul goes on to clarify that neither the church, the body of Christ, nor Peter's church of believing Jews keeps this custom: 1 Corinthians 11:16 "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God." Commented Jun 7 at 14:34
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We must always keep the scriptures in the context in which they are given. Paul was teaching them about their conduct in the assembly, when they came together for worship of the Lord. 1 Cor. 10:16 clearly shows a discussion of the communion which is done in the assembly.

"16 The cup of the blessing that we bless -- is it not the fellowship of the blood of the Christ? the bread that we break -- is it not the fellowship of the body of the Christ?" (YLT)

Chapter 11 continues with conduct of their head coverings in the assembly.

"16 and if any one doth think to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the assemblies of God. 17 And this declaring, I give no praise, because not for the better, but for the worse ye come together;" (1 Cor. 11:16-17, YLT)

The issue Paul was addressing was their eating during the assembly with their communion meal, and addresses it again in 1 Cor. 11:20-34. The issue of the head coverings concerned their custom of public prayers during the assembly, and even of publicly praying outside of the assembly. The woman's head covering showed submission to her husband, if married, but ultimately to God. When seen in public it was the symbol of reverence.

These issues came about because of their confusion about the spiritual gifts which Paul takes up in succeeding chapters 12 - 14.

"28 And some, indeed, did God set in the assembly, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, afterwards powers, afterwards gifts of healings, helpings, governings, divers kinds of tongues;" (1 Cor. 12:28, YLT)

The Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost in the 1st century AD on both men and women. Both men and women were prophesying and praying in the assemblies and in public. The context is of public evangelism, publicly prophesying, and publicly praying.

If the women were so blessed as to have been given these gifts, they were to wear a head covering when doing so in public. Paul was not addressing every instance of prayer. He was not addressing prayer in the privacy of the home.

The current custom of women wearing head coverings in some churches stems from Paul's instruction of their behavior in the 1st century, but the reason for it has been lost so that now women have been taught they must always wear a head covering in church.

There is no harm in doing so, but the true need for it is long past as today women are not prophesying nor allowed to lead prayer in most assemblies. If you feel so compelled then you are in the company of many. Just know that Paul's instructions in 1 Cor. 10 - 14 were for their conduct while assembling together for fellowship during those days which involved their use of the spiritual gifts.

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  • "the true need for it is long past as today women are not prophesying nor allowed to lead prayer in most assemblies." Interesting take.... is it similarly your view to permit a man to pray with his head covered if he is not leading prayer?
    – Austin
    Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 18:57
  • Paul was discussing the head covering for a woman, not the men. So, I don't see how your question applies. If you are thinking of the practice some men of certain religions have a wearing cap while praying, I think Paul's comment would preclude that.
    – Gina
    Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 19:52
  • 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.
    – Austin
    Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 20:10
  • Most people think of this passage with respect to requirements placed on women, but it also places complimentary requirements on men.
    – Austin
    Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 20:12

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