Throughout church history, we see Christian men taking their hats off during prayer and preaching and Christian women putting hats (veils, bonnets, etc) on during prayer and preaching. The practice is derived from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and is found in the opening text of chapter eleven.
However, in the modern church, this practice has been kept by the men but not by the women. Why? In this episode, Dale and Veronica look at this passage to understand what it’s truly instructing for Christians.
1 Corinthians 11: 2-16 (NKJV)
2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short.
But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
Takeaways From This Episode
- Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, John Gill, Matthew Henry, William Tyndale, Watchman Nee, Augustine, Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, and RC Sproul, all taught that Christian wives should wear a head covering while they pray or prophesy.
- “At first, my biggest fear was how I looked but then I realized that it had become a powerful visual testimony to other women that I was submitted to God’s word and my husband.” -Veronica Partridge
- Paul says the reason for this teaching is “because of the angels.” I expect this is to be viewed similarly to a wedding ring. What does a wedding ring say to an onlooking world? You’re unavailable. It tells the world about your relational status. The text seems to be teaching that a man’s head uncovered while praying and a woman’s head covered while praying tells the angelic world (heavenly and fallen) about our relational status with God.
- God wants his invisible spiritual structure visible to the physical world.
Ladies, if you’re struggling with wearing a head covering you might consider asking yourself why? Is this an off-limits area with your relationship with God?
We must remember, at the core, this is not about covering or uncovering your head. It’s about God’s spiritual order being seen. Not value. But order. It’s about being okay with showing the world that you’re under God’s authority and your husband’s authority.
Useful Resources For Your Journey
- HeadcoveringMovement.com: We have not reviewed all of the content on this site but find ourselves generally unified with what we have read. They offer a variety of useful resources in your personal study of this topic.
- Garlands of Grace: If you’re looking for a head covering, this company offers a variety of styles and options for ladies.
- Video: What R.C. Sproul Believes: The late R.C. Sproul is one of the theological giants of the 20th century and offers his position in a scholarly form with a panel including John MacArthur.
- Video: Head Coverings and Christian History: This short video offers a quick survey of biblical history and how the head covering has lost it’s adoption in Christianity through fashion and feminine independence.
Obviously, this topic requires sincere evaluation and prayer. After watching or listening to this episode, what is your opinion? Do you have any questions or comments? Maybe you have something to add to the discussion? If so, let us know in the comments below.