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Why Head Coverings? Reason #3: Nature

Biblical Case for Head Coverings

…the long hair is an indication from ‘nature’ of the differentiation between men and women, and so the head covering required is in line with what ‘nature’ teaches.” – John Murray (Professor, Westminster Theological Seminary, 1930-66) 1) From ‘Head Coverings and Decorum in Worship’ a letter from John Murray to Mr. V. Connors www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/head-coverings-and-decorum-in-worship-a-letter-by-john-murray

Paul’s third reason for head coverings is probably the most confusing and misunderstood of all his arguments. It’s an appeal to a persons sense of what’s right, based upon what nature teaches us. I’ll break that down more as we continue, but for now let’s look at our next verse.

Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? (1 Cor 11:13 NASB)

A rhetorical question according to the Random House dictionary is “asked solely to produce an effect or make an assertion.” This is what Paul is doing when he says “judge for yourselves”. We know this primarily because he just finished a lengthy defense for why we must practice head coverings. He wouldn’t then overturn that by allowing you to choose if you want to obey a doctrine rooted in creation. Rather Paul is declaring the debate closed. He’s saying “you all know this is the only right option”. No one would say that it’s proper for a woman to pray uncovered in church. That may not be so obvious to you right now, but stick with me.

This isn’t the first time believers are told to “judge for yourselves”. In fact we’ll turn to a few of those passages now to help us see this verse more clearly.

I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor 10:15-16 ESV)

When Paul asks the Corinthians to “judge for yourselves” is he saying that there are two perfectly fine options and you just need to pick the one that works best for you? One in taking communion participates in the blood & body of Christ, but the other not? Or rather is the answer implied that communion is participation in Christ?

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20 NASB)

When Peter & John ask the council to “be the judge” are they saying that there are two perfectly fine options and you just need to pick the one that works best for you? One chooses to obey God but the other chooses to heed man’s instruction? Or rather is the answer implied, that yes, we must obey God rather than man? You be the judge.

Now that we’ve seen other New Testament references for “judge for yourselves” let’s examine our text again:

Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? (1 Cor 11:13 NASB)

Just like the other examples Paul is not giving two perfectly fine options. He just finished saying “every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head” (1 Cor 11:5a). The answer to Paul’s question is implied, it is not proper for a woman to pray uncovered which is why he said “let her cover her head” (1 Cor 11:6b).

Nature Pours Forth Speech

There are two ways that God speaks to mankind. The first is through special revelation which would include the Scriptures and prophecy. The other way that God speaks to us is through general revelation, which is the silent witness of creation. In Romans 1 we’re told that everyone knows there’s a God because creation makes that clear. Now a little later in that same chapter Paul makes a reference to nature which is the Greek word “phusis”. Phusis according to Thayer’s Greek Definitions is “the force, laws & order of nature”.

Let’s take a look at the passage:

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another… (Rom 1:26-27 ESV)

Paul is arguing that we can look at creation and see that sexual relations were designed for a man to be with a woman. He’s saying we don’t need special revelation to know that’s true. Nature teaches this to us through the perfect fit of our sexual organs and because it’s the only relationship that can reproduce. Through looking at creation we can see a natural order.

Now back in 1 Corinthians Paul is not arguing that you can look at creation and learn about head coverings. What he is saying is there are distinct differences between men and women seen in the natural order. These distinctions when disregarded and crossed dishonor a person. He uses the example of our hair lengths.

Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15 NASB)

Paul calls a woman’s long hair her covering. This covering is not a symbol of subjection like the one mentioned in verse 10, but rather it covers her head with glory. It’s clear from creation that God has given longer hair to women and shorter hair to men. This is a fact that is confirmed scientifically as John MacArthur notes, “The male hormone, testosterone, speeds up the loss of hair in men. Estrogen causes women’s hair to grow longer and for a longer time.” 2) The MacArthur Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:14,15 (2005, Thomas Nelson) page 1589  This is natural.

Now to show why Paul’s question (1 Cor 11:13) was rhetorical for both him and his hearers, we must ask only one question. What is a head covering in the context of 1 Corinthians 11? In verse 10 Paul says it’s a symbol that you’re under authority and more specifically, male authority (1 Cor 11:3). Since that’s the case, wearing a covering during corporate worship is a symbol of biblical womanhood. So then what would nature tell us about a man praying covered? It would shout “disgraceful” which is exactly what Paul said in verse 4.

Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. (1 Cor 11:4 NASB)

And what would nature tell us about a woman praying uncovered, throwing off her symbol of subjection? It would also shout “disgraceful” which is what Paul said in verse 5.

But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head… (1 Cor 11:5a NASB)

Summary

There are two things that nature teaches us: 1) That there are distinct differences between men and women 2) When a gender distinction is disregarded and crossed that dishonors a person. To illustrate his point Paul gave the example of our hair lengths. He said that women having long hair and men having short hair is one of those gender distinctions that is seen in nature and dishonorable if crossed (1 Cor 11:14-15). Now, a head covering in the context of the local church is a feminine symbol of being under male authority. Since the symbol is rooted in our gender distinctions nature teaches us that to cross this symbol would likewise be dishonorable (1 Cor 11:4-5). So while head coverings are taught explicitly by special revelation, it is confirmed by what nature silently teaches us as well.

References

1.
 From ‘Head Coverings and Decorum in Worship’ a letter from John Murray to Mr. V. Connors www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/head-coverings-and-decorum-in-worship-a-letter-by-john-murray
2.
 The MacArthur Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:14,15 (2005, Thomas Nelson) page 1589

Jeremy Gardiner

Jeremy is the founder of the Head Covering Movement and the author of Head Covering: A Forgotten Christian Practice for Modern Times. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is a member of Fellowship Baptist Church. He is a husband to Amanda and father to four young children. Jeremy is also the founder and operator of Gospel eBooks, a popular website that provides alerts for free and discounted Christian e-books.

Latest posts by Jeremy Gardiner (see all)

  • Bernice Copenhaver

    Very well put! I believe it should be done at all times though, not just “corporate worship”. Its says to wear it during praying and prophesying. I pray many times every day. And if women we asked to be silent in church, how are we to prophesy during “corporate worship”. Just sharing my thoughts.

    • Karen Gattis Smith

      very good thought as well, I totally agree with you.

  • Thomas & Linda Vitale

    I hear so much from women in the church that v. 14 says that the hair is for a covering therefore we don’t need “another” covering. How specifically do you respond to that. It seems that Paul is reversing his teaching on women wearing a covering. That’s where I get stuck…
    Linda

    • Thanks Linda, we’ll answering this question with an article soon. We have two more articles slated to post before we begin answering the most common objections.

  • Brenda Weidenhammer

    I am loving these posts. I grew up in a church that practiced the head covering, however, the true meaning was never taught. It was something the church did (well the ladies anyway :) ) and it was a submission issue. Even though we no longer go there, I still practice covering. Thank you for going deep on this topic and helping me fully understand the beauty of covering my head.

    • Brenda, that was very encouraging. Thanks so much for taking the time to read the posts and comment.

  • Kym

    I believe that the covering should be worn in daily life because Paul said that a woman praying or prophesying (teaching) with her head uncovered was a disgrace and our lives are supposed to be continuously teaching others of Jesus and we are to pray without ceasing.

  • closetatheist

    “Paul’s third reason for head coverings is probably the most confusing and misunderstood of all his arguments.”

    How incredibly ironic. The author of this post doesn’t even know what Paul’s argument actually was. Let me help. The “appeal to nature” was commonly employed by those in the cultures of Paul’s day who were influenced by Greek thought. The argument does not refer one to observe biology or outdoorsy nature at all. Instead, the term “nature” is referring to current societal norms. So basically, Paul is saying, “Hey, we all know that women in our culture are praised when they have long hair and cover it, but that we all think that men with long hair look ridiculous. So lets just make sure everyone conforms to our current norms, k? It will make everything less awkward.”

    Another delicious irony is that the HCM claims that teachings on head coverings are not limited to the culture of Paul’s day but are meant to be universal. However, once we know what Paul is actually saying it becomes painfully clear that he was making and justifying his claims based on his own culture – he was not making claims grounded in the universal biology of the planet like this author would lead you to believe.

    Final thought: does anyone else find it absurd that Paul invites people to “judge for themselves” only for someone else to chirp, “No! Don’t! He didn’t mean it that way”? Even if Paul did mean it that way, it should be noted that neither God nor Jesus ever felt that it was an important enough issue to mention – and Jesus was known to have many female followers.

    • David

      The Greek word for “nature” is transliterated “physis” and it means: order, laws, innateness, or instinct. This word is the source for English words such as physics and physiology.

      Already the definition is sounding more physical than cultural. And this type of usage is found among those in Paul’s day. For example, Epictetus wrote about body hair (not head hair): “Woman is born smooth and dainty by nature; if she is very hairy she is a prodigy. But for a man… if by nature he has no hair he is a prodigy.”

      It was common to use the Greek word for “nature” to refer to non-cultural things such as birth, water, animals, etc. You can check out more examples of how the word was used by looking at the Greek lexicons directly. The Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon is a good start.

      Yes, nothing in Scripture records that Jesus taught on the topic of headcoverings. Of course, this doesn’t prove that He never spoke about the topic (since most of what He said is not actually recorded in Scripture, John 21:25), but we also know that the New Testament does contain valid teaching that isn’t included in the Gospels. Not that this means much, except that we should expect to find valuable and valid instruction apart from the recorded words of Christ.

      • Eliza Ryde

        One comment about Jesus not teaching on the head covering. Jesus preached to the Jewish people who would have already covered their heads. There wouldn’t have been a need for it.

  • St. James Harrell

    I have always struggled with the apostle’s comment regarding it being natural that women’s hair is long. In many African countries the coarse texture of women prevents the hair from being long as in the case the apostle presents. How would this be applicable as an arugument for a tradition that is supposed totranscend culture and time?

    • Great question, I think I should answer this in a full blog post.

      I see this similar to having babies. The Scriptures say “Yet she will be saved through childbearing” (1 Tim 2:15) and “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children” (1 Tim 5:14). There’s a problem though and that’s not all women are able to have babies. There are scores of women worldwide who want to have children, but cannot. Likewise, there are many women who want to have long hair (or hair at all but can’t due to cancer or other diseases). In a fallen world, we understand that diseases and genetic mutations (loss of genetic information) can take away/distort/limit what is a natural function. When we talk about “nature” we understand that it’s in a fallen world so we shouldn’t a perfect picture.

      • Leah Sykes

        I’m not sure that the best comparison, because African women ARE supposed to have hair of that texture as an adaptation to the environment they live in. It’s not a disease or mutation.

        • Just to clarify, by mutation I didn’t mean anything negative (red hair is due to a genetic mutation).

          My point was that nature won’t paint us perfect pictures in post-Genesis 3 world. We should expect exceptions to the rule on all natural functions and processes in a fallen world.

          • David

            Nature is definitely scarred because of “the Fall” in Genesis 3 (the biggest example is the fact that people started dying). However, I don’t think that African hair texture is a result of the Fall. While there are various Christian theories about how there came to be a variety of ethnicities, most of them point to God’s “good” act of Creation.

            Paul didn’t say specifically “how long” the woman’s hair should be. I think, from the passage, we know that at a minimum it should be longer than the man’s. African hair texture wouldn’t prevent that from happening. I think the commenter may unintentionally be making a (cultural?) assumption about hair length. That is, they have in mind a cultural view of how long “long hair” is, and are comparing it to another culture (African). For example, what modern day Western Culture may consider “long hair” doesn’t necessarily match up exactly with what Paul thinks of as “long hair” and what Africans may think of as “long hair.” Again, according to the passage and according to nature, at minimum the woman’s hair is longer than the man’s. The Somali ladies next door (though they, as Muslims, cover it most of the time) definitely have longer hair than the Somali men. So, I know that it can be done :-) Plus, they are just another example of the universality of “natural” hair lengths.

            Even though hair length is taught by nature (while headcoverings were taught by the Apostles)… it’s interesting to note that by the time that Paul wrote 1st Corinthians, there may well have been churches in Africa (ie., through the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8 and/or the evangelists of Cyrene in Acts 11:20, etc) following the same practices as all the other churches (1 Cor 11:16).

          • Henry

            David I think you are spot on. It is interesting to see this ‘natural’ sense of play out with many African ladies who go even further than you suggest by getting the whole braided hair things attached. Even though I don’t believe they have to do this in order to have hair that is ‘long’ it still shows their inner ‘natural’ sense of what is the glory of woman.

            This is essentially the interpretation that Stephen Clark got at in his excellent book ‘Man and Woman in Christ’.

            [This book used to be the “go-to” book on manhood and womanhood before Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Piper and Grudem) came along. Tim Bayly even calls it ‘far and away the best work on sexuality in print today’: http://baylyblog.com/blog/2008/05/complementarianism-simply-private-christian-conviction ]

            Anyhow, Stephen Clark’s chapter is available here and also contains a good defense of headcoverings:

            http://goo.gl/LCTBl

          • LaLaLoo82

            So, you are seriously suggesting that black women having short hair is an EXCEPTION to nature and femininity?

          • Missy

            i am not sure i agree with the concept that red hair is a genetic mutation. That concept seems like garb made up by Evolutionist who are trying desperately to explain something they do not understand. At the basic level calling it a mutation gives the impression that there is something wrong with red headed people. The concept is based on the idea that the first humans were dark hair and dark eyes. It could have been adaptation because red heads have the ability to process more vitamin D from a little bit of sun thus doing better in climates with a great deal of cloud coverage. Personally i prefer to believe that God made me just the way I am that makes me not a “mutant” but specially designed.
            Just a thought and thanks for your courage for head coverings. You have no idea how it has strenghtened my heart.

          • Hey Missy, while you’re still free to disagree I want to clarify that there’s nothing “moral” implied with mutation. I understand the word can have negative connotations since “mutant” is often associated with monsters in pop culture, but that’s not what I mean. I’ll try to watch my words so I’m communicating what I actually believe rather than throwing around terms that carry baggage with many.

        • St. James Harrell

          I came back to make that point also. Thank you.

  • Adrienne

    I am new to all this. I was raised by a working feminist mother who hardly raised me Christian. In saying that I am having a hard time understanding what exactly is considered correct doctrine here. Is this saying that I am wrong for having short hair because my husband prefers short hair? And that the Lord is not hearing my prayers because I am not wearing a covering? I was always told that our hair is our covering. If it is a shame for a man to cover his head during prayer then why do the Jewish men where a yamakah (sp?) when they site their prayers?

    • Hi Adrienne, welcome to the site :) I’m encouraged that you’re looking into this topic and I want to let you know we’re here for you as a community to answer your questions as best as we can. Let me briefly answer your questions:

      1) There are certain things in the Scriptures that God says he won’t hear our prayers in, but head covering is not one of them. The motivation to wear a covering is that it’s a command–an apostolic teaching.

      2) This practice is neither Jewish, nor Roman, nor Greek. It’s a Christian practice that started after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. We touched on this in the latest article (Can we replace the symbol?) but will be writing more on it at a later time.

      3) There is in a sense some relativity with the word “short hair”. You may have neck length hair and consider that long whereas the woman with hair down through her back would consider it short. Or you may consider it short hair but the woman with shaved hair would consider yours long. In matters like this, you’ll have to be the judge of if you have “long hair” according to your own conscience. Generally speaking, it means hair that is longer than mens. If you are convinced you have short hair and have the ability to grow it out, then yes, I do believe that is what you should do as per this text. God-fearing husbands are usually very understanding when their wives feel they need to do something because of Scripture.

      • Adrienne

        Thank you for replying to me in such a timely manner! I appreciate you taking the time and answering my questions. I will continue to read through your articles to get a better understanding. Thank you again! May Jesus be Glorified.

  • Henry

    Brother, I don’t think this is quite true:

    This is a fact that is confirmed scientifically as John MacArthur notes, “The
    male hormone, testosterone, speeds up the loss of hair in men. Estrogen
    causes women’s hair to grow longer and for a longer time.”* This is natural.

    Some men go bald, many others do not. Also, I think there is something like post-pregnancy hair-loss for women. Worth checking out.

    It would be great for you to sharpen this argument and not be open to the charge of saying things that may be silly:)

    • Henry, do you have a reliable scholarly reference that would propose contrary scientific evidence to MacArthur’s statement?

      Also, I don’t think exceptions to the rule nullify Paul’s point. Much like a person with homosexual desires dosen’t negate that it is “contrary to nature” (Rom 1:26 – same Greek word).

      Nature won’t paint us perfect pictures in post-Genesis 3 world. We should expect exceptions to the rule on all natural functions and processes in a fallen world.

      • Henry

        Hi Jeremy,

        I don’t think MacArthur has provided any scientific evidence, has he?. I think we as Christians must be extra vigilant not to make dubious claims as it opens up the faith to disrepute. All of the 2 or 3 google searches I have done on the question of “does women’s hair grow faster than men’s” do not seem to suggest what MacArthur claims. I’d love to be wrong, but I’m not sure that is what Paul is getting at. I’ve not got any scholarly sources to refute you, just basic online search. But that is not the point – you are the one making the claim that contradicts what I reckon most regular folk think about hair growth rates!

        I think Paul is saying our natural, uncorrupted sense of what is fitting shows that for a woman to have long hair is her glory just as our natural, uncorrupted sense of what is fitting shows that for men to commit sodomy is shameful and for men to wear long hair is dishonorable.

        Kind regards and great site,

        Henry

  • Isaac

    I’ve always had questions about this teaching. I believe he’s talking about the long hair being the covering “for her hair is given her for a covering”. I come from a group where the women have always worn coverings and judged anyone for not doing so as lesser Christians that don’t believe the bible and keep all HIS commands. We never seriously considered wether we were right or not we practised the covering and we wanted to stay that way, we were always looking for more proof and testimonies that would show that we were right and they were wrong. Finally I know that I’m open to the truth I’m not trying to defend my truth anymore I’m contending for the faith that was delivered to us. If a women needs an additional covering why did Jesus say “By this shall they know that you’re my disciples by the love ye have for one another” by this we can see that there was nothing to distinguish us from the world except our love one for another. Also if a woman’s hair is supposed to be covered why does Peter say “whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair” It seems like this would be a perfect place to remind them to cover there heads if it was a bible teaching. And to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:9) PAUL writes “That women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” Paul was teaching Timothy how to be an Elder so why mention all this about how the women should adorn themselves and not mention anything about the “HEAD COVERING MOVEMENT”.

    • Hi Issac, if you’re interested in learning about some of the problems we have with the long hair position you can read about them here: http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/is-a-womans-long-hair-her-covering

      Arguments from silence don’t negate a positive argument. The verses you quoted don’t contradict 1 Cor 11 as we understand it. Hair being exposed is only an issue if Paul commanded a certain style of covering that required all hair to be covered.

      • Isaac

        I just went to your article on why the hair is not the covering even though the word of God says it is. Your argument only works because your using a bad translation the word of GOD says

        1Co 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were SHAVEN.

        1Co 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be SHORN or SHAVEN, let her be covered.
        having short hair is not shorn or shaven. I’ve never shaved my head but yet I’ve always had short hair. But this always happens when people stain at a nat and swallow a camel, they shearch the hundreds of translations until they find one that says it the way they like it.
        The Greek word for Shaven is the same word that is used in Acts 21:24 (shave)
        The Greek word for Shorn is used in Acts 8:32 (Shearer), and !8:18 (shorn)
        If a women wants to have short hair let her be bald but if it’s a shame for her to be bald then let her have long hair.

        • Isaac

          Brother I’m not trying to keep people from following Jesus all the way. People that believe the Bible is commanding them to wear an extra covering but don’t because they say it’s not a salvation issue, probably need to get saved. Once your part of this royal priesthood you want to do anything you can to Glorify The KING. I’m just trying to make sure that we’re not following the Dead Catholic Religion. After ten years of trying to defend the head covering and ignoring the problem verses I’m finally ready to believe the bible even if it doesn’t say what I want it to say. I’m not trying to avoid persecution or fit in, as a matter of fact if my wife stops wearing the covering we’ll be looked at as lukewarm, carnal, worldly Christians or even just not really saved. But we are ready to live wholly for God.

          Gál 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. KJV.
          Lets not ignore the problem verses, let’s study through completely open to the Word of GOD. Brother would you be ready to stop this blog and tell everyone you were wrong if God showed you or is it to exciting that you have a “MOVEMENT”.

    • Martin Asare

      Dear one
      , the purpose of the passage is not about adornment of a Christian woman’s clothing like in 1 Tim 2 and 1 peter 3.
      Rather it is about men and women honoring christ and God’s appointed order of authority in their christian gatherings
      This is an application of roles dealing with authority which was instituted by God for mankind in all their generations as male and female throughout all time including even eternity,.
      ,1Cor. 15:16,20, Phil 3:20 both points out Christ was raised to be the first fruit and pattern of the believers resurrection .
      both Luke writing as Eyewitnesses of Christ after his resurrection,in Luke 24:39-43 & john reporteds the Jesus in his ressurrected body said , it is i myself so that they will know and believe that it is this same Jesus they knew before. To confirm this to them, he urged them to inspect him with their eyes, paying close attention to the scars in his hands and feet which scars were from the nails on the cross .the resurrected Christ also asked them to touch him to confirm He was truly human made of flesh and bones and not a spirit inorder to confirm to them and us that ontologically he is/was still anthropos ( human).even in his resurrection.
      John in John 20:24-29 says that both the 9 disciples and Thomas as well as the others all believed and knew the resurrected Jesus to be the same one they knew before because they all saw him and touched him. They couldn’t have said these things if Jesus was not human, a male, and did not bear the imprints of the nail nor could take nutrition as a human being does i.e eat.food..
      The scriptures also says he was raised and continues to rule in heaven as the son of God Rom. 1:4,Heb 1:2-5.
      The scriptures says when he comes back to rule he will end his reign in heaven by giving that rule from heaven to God the father and in submission(servant) to him will come back to earth to reign forever as the son of son of God and son of Man who rules the earth He created and now(the end ) renewing it in the new creation will , continue to rule it forever as that perfect and unique. son of God- son of man . A son who rules perfectly as God the father, and as the trully pefect human King like Adam reigned at the beginning before the fall…(1Cor .15:23-28,Heb.1:6-12). Thus Christ will will come back to rule the new heavens and earth forever as the son of man, son of God, a human and a male to rule (Daniel 7:13-14, Rev.19:11-21,21:22-24,,22:20),,, a male to rule shoseen the Lord ” cannot be said if he did not look like a male and human being whom He, God, created to reflect His i
      The image of God is the relationship between the father and son in their rule and authority over all things created. Wherein at creation the son , showed himself to be God’s son and servant when He being the word manifested the will of the father by bringing the creation to being through the agency of the Spirit. (Gen .1:2) role word who was the servant of God in the creation. That is He as the word, John 1:1, created the world in submission to the will of the father).
      . He created mankind and all his generations to manifest this image ( order of authority in bearing rule), when he created Adam before Eve. So that by this order of creation he demonstrated that in submission to the Lord God his creator and king, the man (Adam and males) should lead as head over the woman( Eve and females) in all spheres of life namely home, government, employment and even church where leadership is required. Likewise that the woman( females) in submission to the lord who is also her king and God, should submit to the man( males who lead) in all spheres of life .
      To show this teaching still applies to the new testament era where Jesus Christ is now the Lord and King of both the church and humanity, . Paul in this passage teaches that the church and Christians honor the authority of christ as Lord of tthe church when men( male) bearing authority as those who are called to lead prayer and teach in the church without their heads covered as a sign of their God given christ appointed role as leaders. In like manner women although not called by God to lead prayer or teaching in the church are to confess they are still in submission to men( males) and not usurping a man’s role in situations where they may lead prayer or teach though men be present. Thus the sign confessing this truth is her hair being covered when she is exercising authority in those situations where she in the presence of men is ie leads prayer, teaching and even singing,. Paul adds these signs ( head covered and uncovered during leadership) are adequate to confess this truth and wisdom of God to both mankind and angels. He confims their adequcy when he shows that because nature which is also Gods
      teaching tool to mankind. And even angels confirms the truth that the woman ( eve and all womrn) are created to be in submission under the authority of the man ( adam and all men) when cover of a man, covered hair( hair covered with an head gear) which God gives to her even in nature in a way ( longhair) that covering her head shows she was made to be in submission to the man and not vice versa. show application in the church as it testifies to the truth of God regarding his appointed order of leadership for mankind.

  • Leah Sykes

    I’m wondering how this would work in a professional situation. My employer is a Christian woman, and usually once a week we have staff meetings (which involve men and women) where she always opens in prayer. Also in Christian schools and universities, female teachers often begin their classes in prayer. There are very few employers – Christian or otherwise – that would hire a woman who wore a headscarf.

    • Hi Leah, it’s our understanding that the covering is only for when the church gathers together in worship. We defended that here: http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/where-are-head-coverings-to-practiced-in-church-or-everywhere

      However, if you remain unconvinced and believe you must cover at school/work there still shouldn’t be any issues. Employers are not able to discriminate based upon religion and Muslim women in the work force lend credence to that fact.

      • Martin Asare

        Its not good to be righteous more than required as well. Hence to say its OK for a Christian woman in the name of this passage to cover her hair in public , eg school like the moslem women is not right. Let’s honor our Lord according to the extent that he desires us to honor him. However its OK if a woman chooses to wear head gear as a part of her fashion or in order to reach Muslims like Paul had timothy circumcized so he could have opportunity with the Jews according to the use of Christian liberty in things indifferent. These ubteeorerations show the practice if thus has a context ie women leading prayer or teaching in any setting ( home, infornal church gatherings)where there are men

  • JT

    Any body, man or woman, who judges anyone for not having an additional head covering and considers those women “lesser Christians that don’t believe the bible and keep all HIS commands” are not just wrong — they are sinning. Check your attitudes at the door and focus on Christ. It’s not about us it’s about Christ. It is no wonder the world thinks Christians are the ones who devour themselves and shoots their wounded.

  • Martin Asare

    TheExposition Is Perfect And Sound. However The Application Is Not sound. For Paul Says ” While(She) Is Praying Or ProphesyIng Not When Someone Else Is Doing It. Since This Is In The Context Of Authority It Must Be Dealing With A Context When A Woman Is Leading Prayer Or Speaking The Word As A Leader. Since The Scriptures Are Clear ThaT Women Are Not To Lead In Prayer 1 Tim 2 Nor ProPhesy 1 CO 14 In TheFormal Gathered Assembly This Text Will Find It’s Application In Informal Gatherings Eg. Conferences, Devotions Where Men Are Present. Hence The Text Does Not Warrant The Covering At Church Services Particularly When Women Are Not Leading Prayer Or Prophesying ( Teaching, Preaching)

    • Martin Asare

      However for the man this text has application both in the formal church gathering and informal such as devotions, conferences and in home study in which he is leading the teaching or prayer. The argument by Murray that the leadership occasion of prayer or prophesying is only accidental intended to show the imppropriety that should occur if a woman is called upon to pray or prophesy is not accurate because the church could not by itself go against the apostles clear command in 1Tim 2 and 1 Cor 14. Which forbids women from prophesying or praying in a leadership capacity in the church. Hence the teaching of this text is about leadership and God appointed authority being exercised in the gatherings of the church and Christians and not about a general covering and uncovering of women and men in the congregation .

  • Colin

    Hi!

    Quick question, just to clarify. Would you say that nature, as Paul is referencing it in this passage, actually teaches that men must pray uncovered and women covered? Or would you only say that it teaches that there is a distinction between sexes?

    Thanks!
    Blessings in Christ,
    Colin

    • Hi Colin, there’s an argument to be made that nature indicates it’s proper for her since she has already been given a covering (a natural one, of long hair). Men likewise, show that a covering is not proper for them, since they have not been given a natural one (short hair).

      That argument has the difficulty of the fact that if nature taught it, wouldn’t it have been taught it in previous covenants too? Though it may be an argument for the form rather than the practice itself (why the instituted symbolism wasn’t the opposite–women being uncovered and men being covered).

      Those are just some thoughts to show that some would argue that nature actually teaches covering.

      My view is still as articulated in this article, that nature teaches us that’s there’s gender distinctions between the sexes and that it’s dishonorable to disregard those distinctions. What nature teaches us is then APPLIED to covering by the Apostle, rather than nature teaching us head covering in and of itself.

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