The Headship and Glory
of
the Lord Jesus Christ
The only passage in the NT dealing with the subject of the head-covering is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.

1 Corinthians 11 deals with three issues and four symbols related to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ -









The issues of headship and glory are symbolized by the head and the head-covering.  

The issue of remembrance is symbolized by the bread and the cup.
Symbols -

1)        The head.
2)        The head-covering.
3)        The bread.
4)        The cup.
Issues -

1)        His headship.
2)        His glory.
3)        His remembrance.
Mis-interpreting / mis-understanding 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 -

  • This passage is not about the subjection, submission, or subordination of the woman to the man or of the wife to her husband.  If
    Paul had wanted this to be the subject of the passage, then he would have at least used one of those words and said so – as he
    does in -

  • Ephesians 5:22 - Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

  • Colossians 3:18 - Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

  • Titus 2:4-5 - so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure,
    workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

    While submission is involved in headship, the point of the passage is not submission, but headship.  The point of the passage is also
    not the headship of the man, but the headship and glory of Christ.

    This passage is not about man’s authority, but Christ’s authority as Head over the Church.

  • This passage is not about when a woman can or cannot, or should or should not, speak.  The point of the passage is the headship
    and glory of Christ.

  • This passage is not about the relationship between the man and the woman or between the husband and his wife.  This passage is
    about the role played by the man and the woman in declaring the headship and glory of Christ.

  • This passage is not to be limited to the husband and the wife.  Such an interpretation is too narrow and misses the point of the
    passage in declaring the headship and glory of Christ.  While the words ανήρ and γυνή can be translated husband and wife, they are
    also translated (as in this passage) man and woman.

  • The emphasis of the passage is not the head-covering, it is the headship and glory of Christ.  The head-covering is merely the
    means by which His headship and glory are displayed.              

When we put the emphasis in the wrong place or emphasize the wrong thing, we completely miss the point of the passage.  The point of 1
Corinthians 11:2-16 is the
headship and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2  Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

Traditions - παράδοσις - Can also be translated precept or ordinance.  

Unfortunately, the word
tradition conveys the thought of human opinions and customs being brought into church order and teaching.  This
is
not the type of tradition of which Paul is speaking.  It is not human-manufactured church traditions that are in view, but divinely-inspired
apostolic traditions -

2 Thessalonians 2:15 - So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the
traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by
letter from us.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 - Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who
leads an unruly life and not according to the
tradition which you received from us.

The head-covering, as a symbol declaring the headship and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a divinely-inspired apostolic tradition.  In
other words, it originated with God and was delivered through the apostle Paul.
The Principle of Headship – verses 3-6.

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.

  • The point of this verse is not one of inferiority - superiority, but rather one of headship.

  • Christ is not inferior to the Father, they are equal.  

    John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    John 10:30 - "I and the Father are one."

    John 14:9 - Jesus *said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has
    seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

    But Christ did willingly submit Himself to the headship and authority of the Father.  The difference is not one of relationship,
    but one of role.

    John 5:30 - "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My
    own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

    John 6:38 - "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

    John 12:49-50 - "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a
    commandment as to what to say and what to speak.  "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I
    speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."

  • The woman is not inferior to the man, they are equal.

    Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for
    you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    But the Scriptures teach that the woman is to willingly submit to the headship and authority of the man.  The difference is not
    one of relationship, but one of role.

    1 Timothy 2:8-12 - Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.  
    Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold
    or pearls or costly garments,  but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.  A
    woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.  But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise
    authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

    1 Corinthians 14:33-35 - for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.  The women
    are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law
    also says.  If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to
    speak in church.

    However, the point of the passage is not one of submission, but rather one of headship.


  • There are two types of heads mentioned in this passage.

  • The physical head which is on the end of the neck.  
















  • The spiritual head which is symbolically represented by the physical head.


















4  Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.

  • Note - the issue is not one of praying or prophesying (verse 5 also), but rather one of headship and the declaration of the headship
    of Christ.

  • The head-covering is a symbol declaring whose headship is to be seen in the Church.

  • If a man has a covering on his physical head, then he disgraces his spiritual Head - the Lord Jesus Christ.  The man covering his
    physical head would be the same as him covering his spiritual Head.  When he covers his physical head, he is covering Christ, his
    spiritual Head.














5  But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head,

  • If a woman has her physical head uncovered, then she disgraces her spiritual head - the man.  How does this disgrace her spiritual
    head - the man?  

  • Consider first what she is doing when she covers her head.  The woman covering her physical head would be the same as her
    covering her spiritual head.  When she covers her physical head, she is covering man, her spiritual head.  














    Thus when the woman covers her head, the only head being seen in the Church is man's head which symbolically represents
    Christ.  In covering her physical head, she is covering the headship of man and declaring the headship of Christ, and Christ
    alone.














  • Thus, when a woman does not cover her physical head, she is not covering her spiritual head (the man), and is therefore
    declaring that there are two heads in the Church - man and Christ.  For a godly man, it would be a disgrace to be put on a par
    with the Lord Jesus Christ, or to have his headship declared equal with the headship of Christ.














  • Note the difference in the roles between the man and the woman in declaring the headship of Christ -

  • The man is to remain uncovered because his physical head symbolically represents Christ and His headship.  To remain
    uncovered, means that Christ is symbolically uncovered and Christ’s headship is declared.  To be covered, means that Christ
    is symbolically covered and Christ’s headship is hidden.














  • The woman is to be covered because her physical head symbolically represents man and his headship.  To be covered, means
    that man is symbolically covered and man’s headship is hidden, and only Christ’s headship is declared.  To be uncovered,
    means that man is symbolically uncovered and man’s headship (in addition to Christ’s) is declared.














  • The man is responsible to show the headship of Christ.  The woman is responsible to show only the headship of Christ.  In order for
    the headship of Christ alone to be seen in the Church, the man must be uncovered and the woman covered.  The only head, and
    thus the only headship, to be seen in the Church is man’s physical head which symbolically represents Christ and His headship.  The
    man is responsible to show the headship Christ indeed.  The woman is responsible to show the headship of Christ alone.














  • Praying or prophesying - How do we reconcile the mention of the women praying and prophesying with Paul’s instructions in 1
    Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12?  It seems apparent that the instructions on head-coverings apply broadly to gatherings
    of believers to which the instructions on silence do not.  In certain gatherings of believers, the women are permitted to pray and
    prophesy with heads covered.  In other gatherings of believers, they are not permitted to speak.  

    The question then arises - In gatherings where they are not permitted to speak are they permitted to go uncovered?  See comments
    below - When?


for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.
6  For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair
cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.

  • It is a disgrace, in any culture, for a woman to have a shaved head.  The shaving of their head was something done to captive women
    to humble them -

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14 – "When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your
    hands and you take them away captive,  and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would
    take her as a wife for yourself,  then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails.  
    "She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full
    month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.  "It shall be, if you are not pleased
    with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat
    her, because you have humbled her.

  • Just as it is a disgrace for a woman to display a shaved head in the physical sense, it is also a disgrace for a woman to be uncovered
    in the spiritual sense.  She is disgracing not only her physical head (being one and the same with her whose head is shaved), she is
    also disgracing what her physical head symbolically represents - the man (declaring that his headship is on a par with the headship
    of Christ).

  • One could take this a step further with regard to verse 15.  Verse 15 states that her hair is her glory.  If she is not willing to cover her
    glory, then it should be removed.  If it is disgraceful to have it removed, then it should be covered.
This is man's physcial head.
This is woman's physical head.
The physical head of the man
symbolically represents his
spiritual Head - Christ.  
The physical head of the woman
symbolically represents her
spiritual head - the man.
The Principle of Glory - verse 7.        

7  For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

  • Man is the image and glory of God (Christ).  

  • Image (εικών) - Expresses the idea of representation.  

    2 Corinthians 4:4 - in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not
    see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    Colossians 1:15 - He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

    Romans 1:23 - and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds
    and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    Revelation 13:14 - And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform
    in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of
    the sword and has come to life.

  • Glory - Expresses the idea of manifestation - particularly of the essential character of something.

    2 Corinthians 4:4 - in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not
    see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    Romans 1:23 - and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds
    and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    The role of the man is to represent Christ and to manifest the glory of Christ.















  • Woman is the glory of man.














  • Notice that Paul does not state that the woman is the image of the man or that the woman is the image of Christ.  In other
    words, the role of the woman is not to represent the man or to represent Christ.

  • In fulfilling her role, the woman manifests the glory of man.

  • Consider (verse 15) - A woman’s hair is the glory of the woman.  It is important to note that a woman not only is a glory, but she
    also has a glory.  She is the glory of the man.  She has the glory of her hair.

  • The same thoughts mentioned for headship also apply to glory.  The head-covering is a symbol declaring whose glory is to be seen
    in the Church.

  • The man is not to have a covering because he is the glory of Christ.  To cover his physical head would be to cover the glory he
    symbolically represents - Christ’s glory.  















  • The woman is to have a covering because she is the glory of man.  To cover her physical head would be to cover the glory she
    symbolically represents - man's glory (in addition to her own glory - her hair).  When the woman covers her head, she is
    covering the glory that she is (man’s glory), as well as the glory that she has (her hair).  For the woman to not cover her head
    would be to say that the glory she is (man's glory) and the glory she has (her hair) must be seen in addition to the glory of
    Christ.




























  • Note the difference in the roles between the man and the woman in declaring the glory of Christ -

  • The man is to remain uncovered because his physical head symbolically represents Christ and His glory.  To remain
    uncovered, means that Christ is symbolically uncovered and Christ’s glory is declared.  To be covered, means that Christ is
    symbolically covered and Christ’s glory is hidden.















  • The woman is to be covered because her physical head symbolically represents man and his glory (in addition to the glory she
    has – her hair).  To be covered, means that man is symbolically covered and man’s glory is hidden (in addition to the glory she
    has – her hair), and only Christ’s glory is declared.  To be uncovered, means that man is symbolically uncovered and man’s
    glory (in addition to Christ’s and in addition to her own) is declared.




























  • The man is responsible to show the glory of Christ.  The woman is responsible to show only the glory of Christ.  In order for the glory
    of Christ alone to be seen in the Church, the man must be uncovered and the woman covered.  The only head, and thus the only
    glory, to be seen in the Church is man’s physical head which symbolically represents Christ and His glory.  The man is responsible to
    show the glory Christ indeed.  The woman is responsible to show the glory of Christ alone.
Role distinctions and cooperation - verses 8-9 and 11-12.

Paul makes it clear that there are role distinctions between the man and the woman in declaring the headship and glory of the Lord Jesus
Christ.  He also makes it clear that the headship and glory of Christ cannot be declared without the man and the woman working together.

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.
11  However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.
12  For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from
God.

  • It is the man’s role to declare the headship and glory of Christ indeed.  It is the woman’s role to declare the headship and glory of
    Christ alone.

    In the order of creation, and according to verse 7, the man was created to represent God (Christ) and to manifest His glory.

  • Verses 8-9 - Woman for the man’s sake - The woman was created to manifest the glory of the man and to assist him in declaring the
    headship and glory of Christ, and Christ alone.  

  • Verses 11-12 - Neither ... nor ... independent – The headship and glory of Christ cannot be declared in the Church unless both the
    man and the woman fulfill their God-given roles.  

    If the man chooses not to exercise his role, but the woman does, then the headship and glory of Christ is not declared.  















    If the man chooses to exercise his role, but the woman does not, then the headship and glory of Christ is not declared.  















    It is only when both the man and the woman exercise their roles that the headship and glory of Christ are declared.
Four reasons for the head-covering - verses 10-16.

  • Angels are watching - 10  Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

  • The woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head - Whose authority?  The head-covering is not a symbol of man’s
    authority - the headship and glory of man are being covered by the head-covering.  The head-covering is a symbol of Christ’s
    authority.  When the headship and glory of man are covered, then only the headship and glory of Christ are declared.

  • Because of the angels - Angels are watching how we, as the redeemed of the Lord, gather.  Whose headship is being
    displayed?  Whose glory is being manifest?  Our gatherings as believers are an object lesson to the angels in connection with
    the head-covering.

    Ephesians 3:8-10 - To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable
    riches of Christ,  and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God
    who created all things;  so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers
    and the authorities in the heavenly places.

    1 Peter 1:10-12 - As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful
    searches and inquiries,  seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He
    predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving
    themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to
    you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven - things into which angels long to look.

    Are the angels rejoicing when they see the headship and glory of Christ manifest?  Or are they grieving when it is not?  Are the
    demons being rebuked when they see the headship and glory of Christ manifest?  Or are they rejoicing when it is not?

  • Propriety – 13  Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

    What does a woman’s uncovered head signify?  

  • It signifies that man’s headship is being declared on a par with the headship of Christ.  Is this proper?

  • It signifies that man’s glory is being declared in addition to the glory of Christ.  Is this proper?

  • It signifies that the woman’s glory (her hair) is being declared in addition to the glory of Christ.  Is this proper?

  • Nature – 14  Does not even nature itself 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 for a covering.

    Even nature itself has an object lesson or example of head-covering.  We have in the natural / physical realm an example of
    what is to take place in the spiritual realm.  Remember – throughout this section Paul has used the physical to symbolically
    represent the spiritual.

    When Paul refers to nature, he is not referring to the nature of trees and rocks and rivers.  He is referring to who we are by
    nature (our intrinsic nature), or the physical as opposed to the spiritual, and not to what a particular society or culture does at
    any point in history.  Consider - Romans 2:14 (instinctively);  2:27 (physically), 29 (inwardly).  Galatians 2:15 (by nature);  4:8 (by
    nature) .  Ephesians 2:3 (by nature).

  • The man – A man having long hair is, from the standpoint of the natural object lesson, like a man wearing a head-covering
    which is a dishonor and a disgrace.  In the spiritual realm, a man with a head-covering would be covering Christ, and thus
    denying the headship of Christ and hiding Christ's glory.

  • The woman -

    The woman’s hair is a glory to her.  It should thus be noted that a woman not only is a glory (she is the glory of the man –
    verse 7), but she also has a glory (her hair).  The glory that she is manifests the man, the glory that she has manifests
    herself - both must be covered.

    In the spiritual realm, a woman without a head-covering would be allowing two heads to be seen in the Church, instead of
    Christ's headship alone.  She would also be showing forth the glory she is (man's glory) and the glory she has (her hair),
    instead of making sure that the only glory to be seen in the Church is Christ's glory.

  • The short hair of a man is nature's example of the man being without a head-covering.  The long hair of a woman is nature's
    example of the head-covering the woman should wear.  Nature itself shows God’s desire that there be a distinction between
    the genders and between their roles in declaring His headship and glory.

  • Hair length, according to this verse, is a mark of differentiation between the sexes.  How short is short?  How long is long?  
    Man-made rules expressed in inches would be out of place and would undoubtedly lead to a Pharisaical spirit.  The main thrust
    of the passage is that a clear distinction must be maintained in hair length as with other matters between male and female
    (Deuteronomy 22:5).  Exercised Christians will be a peace in their own conscience on this matter if they always seek the Lord’s
    will, listen to the advice of godly counsel, and err on the side of safety.

  • Her hair is given to her for a covering – See comments below.

  • Universal practice – 16  But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

    Though there have been many objections and disputes regarding the head-covering, Paul crushes all dispute with the might of
    apostolic authority and the universal practice of the churches of God.  In essence, Paul is saying - if you don’t like the practice,
    then take it up with the Author.
When? – The primary thrust of this passage is the headship and glory of Christ.  

  • Matthew 18:20 – "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."  

  • If we have gathered together in His name and He is in our midst, then are we not acknowledging His headship and glory?  And if we
    are acknowledging the headship and glory of the One in our midst, then should not the men be uncovered and the women covered?

  • What about when men are absent and only women are present?  Or what about when women are absent and only men are present?  
    Paul does not make this distinction.  Paul does not state in verse 5 that it is a disgrace for a woman to pray or prophesy with her
    head uncovered if men are present;  nor does he state in verse 4 that it is a disgrace for a man to pray or prophesy with his head
    covered if women are present.  Regardless of the presence or absence of the opposite sex, the man’s head represents Christ and
    His glory and the woman’s head represents man and his glory.  The man should be uncovered to manifest the headship and glory of
    Christ and the woman should be covered to cover the headship and glory of man (in addition to her own glory).  The absence of the
    opposite sex does not negate the reality of headship and glory.  

    Does Matthew 18:20 apply when the opposite sex is absent?

  • In short, anytime believers are gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ acknowledging the fact  that He is in their
    midst, regardless of the presence or absence of the opposite sex, His headship and glory must be declared and the instructions on
    head-coverings in this regard should be followed.  In other words, it is proper for a woman to be covered whenever it is proper for a
    man to be uncovered.

  • The head-covering was a cultural practice and is not applicable for today -

  • Where else in Scripture is the knowledge of ancient Greco-Roman social history and culture a prerequisite to properly
    interpret Scripture, such that a culturally-based interpretation negates the plain teaching of the passage?  2 Timothy 3:16
    states - All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.  
    When we start undermining the Word of God with cultural arguments, we begin down a path of human relativity that will erode
    away the foundation of absolute truth and leave us without any sure footing to stand upon.

  • In fact, there is no historical evidence to support the claim that the head-covering was merely a cultural practice.  When one
    considers the evidence, one finds - Jewish men and women prayed with heads covered;  Roman men and women prayed with
    heads covered;  Greek men and women prayed with heads uncovered.  Paul is instructing each of these cultures to do
    something contrary to what they had previously practiced.

  • Putting the lack of historical evidence and the missing Biblical references to culture aside, the fundamental truth of Bible
    interpretation is that cultural information is not required to interpret Scripture in such a way that undermines what it clearly
    states.  Paul is addressing headship and glory in the Church – these principles are transcultural.  

  • What from the context would lead one to this conclusion?  If the head-covering were merely a cultural practice, then the entire
    context would also have to be merely cultural.

    Is the headship of Christ (verse 3) merely cultural?  Consider – Ephesians 1:22;  4:15;  5:23;   Colossians 1:18.  

    Is the image and glory of God (verse 7) merely cultural?  Consider – Genesis 1:26-27.  

    Is the origin of man and woman (verse 8-9, 12) merely cultural?  Consider – Genesis 1:26-27;  2:21-24.  

    Is the fact that angels are watching the order in the Church (verse 10) merely cultural?  Consider – Ephesians 3:8-10.  1
    Peter 1:10-12.  Hebrews 12:22-24.  

    Is the remembrance of the Lord Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (remainder of chapter 11) merely cultural?  Consider –
    Matthew 26:26-28;  Mark 14:22-24;  Luke 22:19-20;  Acts 2:42;  20:7.

  • Since the head-covering is linked to the headship of Christ (which is transcultural) and the image and glory of God (which is
    transcultural) and the origin of man and woman (which is transcultural) and the fact that angels are watching over the Church
    (which is transcultural), then the head-covering must also be a transcultural practice as Paul makes very clear in verse 16 and
    not merely a cultural practice.


  • The prostitute argument –

  • Critics of the head-covering practice will often focus their attention on possible social issues of the day, instead of the clear
    teaching of God’s Word.  One such argument is the prostitute argument - The vestal virgins of the temple of Aphrodite were
    prostitutes and were known to be such because their heads were shaved and/or uncovered.  When the women in the
    Corinthian church had their liberation movement and cast off their head-coverings they now looked like the uncovered
    prostitutes of the day and the saved temple prostitutes in the church were left completely uncovered (having neither hair nor
    head-covering).  Paul is thus instructing the Corinthian women to cover themselves so that they didn’t look like prostitutes.  

    Those who use this argument state that since a woman’s uncovered head no longer signifies being a prostitute, then it is no
    longer relevant for today.

  • One would have a great deal of difficulty proving this argument with historical evidence;  in fact, the historical evidence seems
    to point to the contrary - the prostitutes were covered, not uncovered.

       Genesis 38:15 - When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face.

  • Does Paul introduce the subject of prostitutes at all in chapter 11?  No, Paul makes no reference to the social issue of
    prostitutes in Corinthian society.  Neither is there any mention of saved prostitutes among the believers at Corinth nor of Paul
    encouraging the women to cover their heads in public so as not to look like a prostitute.  Nowhere in chapter 11, or for that
    matter anywhere else in Scripture, are women told to wear a covering in order to distinguish themselves from prostitutes.  

    If Paul had wanted to talk about prostitutes, he could easily have done so - as he does in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16.


  • The woman’s hair is her covering and no other covering is necessary –

  • Many have attempted to get around the issue of head-coverings by saying that the woman’s hair is the head-covering that Paul
    is talking about throughout this entire section.  

    However, if the woman’s hair is the only head-covering that Paul is talking about in this section, what do we do about verse 6?  
    If the woman’s hair is the only covering Paul is talking about, then verse 6 would read – For if a woman does not have hair, let
    her also have her hair cut off ...  How can she cut off what she doesn’t have.  As one can see, verse 6 becomes ridiculous and
    the entire passage no longer makes any sense.

  • If hair is the covering, then it must apply not only to women, but also to men.  Thus, if men are praying and prophesying with
    hair, it is a disgrace to them.  Thus, only bald men can pray and prophesy.  Again, ridiculous.

  • The Greek word for covering (περιβόλαιον) used in verse 15 with regard to the woman’s hair is different from the Greek word
    for covering used in verses 5, 6, 7, and 13 (κατακαλύπτω).  The two words cannot be used interchangeably in this context.

    The word used in verse 15 (περιβόλαιον) refers to a fixed, wrap-around covering.  

    The word used in verses 5, 6, 7, and 13 (κατακαλύπτω) refers to a removable, down-over-the-head covering.  

    κατακαλύπτω  never refers to hair in Scripture – it is used to describe something removable, such as a cloth, which
    hangs down and covers the head.

    κατακαλύπτω  is used in the LXX –

    Genesis 38:15 – When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face.

    Esther 6:12 – Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered.

    Leviticus 13:45 – "As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be
    uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, 'Unclean! Unclean!'


  • The practice of women wearing head-coverings is legalistic –

  • We must first define legalism – Legalism is the imposition of man-made rules and opinions whose purpose is to supersede and
    / or invalidate the Word of God.

    Matthew 15:3 – And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the
    sake of your tradition?
    Matthew 15:6 – he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of
    your tradition.

    Mark 7:7-9 – 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'  8  "Neglecting the
    commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."  9  He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside
    the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

  • How can a practice given by divine inspiration through the apostle Paul be considered legalism?  

    How can something practiced by all the churches of God (verse 16) be considered legalism?  

    How can a practice be considered legalism when not to do so is considered a disgrace (verse 5) and improper (verse13)?


Glories Seen & Unseen: A Study of the Head Covering by Warren A. Henderson.
John 13:17 - If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.