In many Christian and Hebraic Roots and Messianic groups, women worship in church services with their heads veiled or covered. Certainly we know Islamic women veil themselves, and in some cases all you can see are the eyes of the woman. What does scripture say about women wearing a veil for spiritual times? The Bible does discuss having a “covering”, but is a veil, hat, or some other form of man-made covering required? And if so, for what purpose? If not, then why is a covering mentioned?
Always first pray for understanding and light whenever you look to God’s Word for guidance. Guidance should always be from God’s word - not just someone’s opinion.
Here’s the main text used by both sides to shore up their teaching. Key: the context of the early verses of 1 Cor. 11 is about submission to God and to one another. The head covering, whatever that is, is to show you are obediently under submission to God and to those He has placed over us. We are ALL under God and we are all to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).Wives are told in Eph 5:22-24 to submit to their own husband as to Christ.Husbands are to give of themselves and love their wife as Christ does the church (Eph 5:25-28). As you’ll see, this matter of submission has everything to do with a woman’s head covering.
The head of the wife/woman is the man/husband (v.3). The Greek word translated “woman” and “man” here are the same Greek words translated elsewhere as “wife” and “husband”.
Let’s look at the text of scripture and we’ll comment a bit on it later.
1 Corinthians 11:2-12
“Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.
5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed 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 is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.
Let me talk about submission for a minute, then back to the point of head covering. Even in marriage, two separate individuals are to become one – to work as a perfect team, as partners. Paul makes very clear in verses 11-12 that men need women and vice versa. We’re not independent of each other. Pastors are not to lord it over the flock but serve as overseers (1 Peter 5:2-4). The younger are to submit to the older (1 Peter 5:5), and Peter goes on to say, “in fact, all of you be submissive to one another, in all humility”. So anything I say after this must be with the understanding that we are all to be humble to each other and submit to one another.
So the man isnot to “lord it over” his wife, though in times past I used to. My wife is part of me and I am part of her. I listen to her and many times I change the direction I was going in because of her wise counsel. I’d be stupid not to, when a wiser view at times is shown. She likewise submits to my lead many times in a week. Two minds are better than one. If I never listened to my wife, why would she be needed? Only a stupid man would insist his wife say nothing and always just “submit”. But having said that, scripture is also clear that the husband is the head of the home, under Christ, who is under God the Father (verse 3). And of course Christ is really the head of all of us – men or women. And all of us also bow the knee to God the Father as Supreme Head of all. It’s just that women also have their husband as another head besides Christ.
More on this in a minute. It will come to bear on this topic.
Click Continue Reading to the right here – to finish this blog and to learn what is clearly stated is the head covering for women. Also whether men should wear a prayer shawl or head covering.