2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I handed them down to you. 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for it is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, have her also cut her hair off; however, if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, have her cover her head. 7 For a man should not have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10 Therefore the woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as the woman originated from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does even nature itself not teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her as a covering. 16 But if anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor have the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:2-16)

In NASB20 as well as in the vast majority of Bible English versions, editors have translated the Greek word κομάω (komaō, G2863, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2863/nasb20/mgnt/0-1) with “has long hair”.

However, some church denominations teach that it is a mistake and should be translated with “lets her hair grow”. Hence, they believe that women should never cut their hair.

Here is a 25-min video of the issue that is under discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a99LIDDiP8

So, which is the correct translation of the word in 1 Corinthians 11:15?

  • I added a video about this issue. May 23, 2023 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


First, it is theologically foolish to base a doctrine on the debatable meaning a word (κομάω komao) that occurs only twice (1 Cor 11:14, 15) in the NT.

Second, the listed lexical meaning is not debated.

According the BDAG:

wear long hair, let one's hair grow long

According to Thayer:

to let the hair grow, have long hair

NAS Concordance:

to wear long hair

Strong's Concordance:

have long hair. From kome; to wear tresses of hair -- have long hair.

The cognate noun is κόμη (kome) occurs in 1 Cor 11:15 means to have long hair. Obviously, to have long hair, one must have allowed the hair to grow long. This does not preclude that the long hair was sometimes trimmed to neaten it while still allowing the overall length to increase.

Many books have been written about the extent to which these rules apply to Christians in various times and places. I will not contribute to that volume as there are much more pressing matters to usefully occupy Christian minds.

  • You said the cognate noun "kome" means "to have long hair". But this actually means "hair" (blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2864/nasb20/mgnt/0-1). Was this a typo? May 23, 2023 at 13:02
  • 2
    @TruthSeeker - the Greek word for hair is θρίξ "thrix" as per Matt 3:4, 5:36, 10:30, Mark 1:6, Luke 7:44, etc. Kome is about having tresses in long hair.
    – Dottard
    May 23, 2023 at 21:25

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