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Why Head Covering Is About Love

by Christiana Kuhlow

“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.” – Elisabeth Elliot


Do you struggle with the fear of what other people will think of you for covering your head?

Most of us who cover probably have. When I first began to drape a scarf over my hair in church, I was petrified. I was the only one. While my husband and I were wholly convinced that this is what Scripture mandates and were glad to follow it, my personality is that of someone who strongly dislikes sticking out or doing anything that causes people to notice.

Would I lose old friends? Repel potential friends? Be gossipped about?

What would others think? Would they think I was legalistic, doing this because I believed it made me better in God’s eyes? Would they think that I sat in judgment of women who didn’t cover as I did? Neither of these was true, and the thought of it all made me sick to my stomach.

The one thing that has most sustained me through these questions is to rest my eyes on the Savior, and to do it for love of Him.

Many couples are into “love languages.” Even those who aren’t still tend to be familiar with the concept: knowing what speaks love specifically to your spouse. Some people feel most loved through quality time or conversation, others by acts of service, others by thoughtful gifts, others through physical touch, and still others through words of encouragement.

But, have you ever thought about what God’s love language is? God IS love, the Bible tells us. So He is the One Who gets to define it, and He certainly gets to tell us how to love Him.

Scripture actually leaves no question as to what God sees as love toward Himself.

It isn’t passionate words about how much we love Him.
It isn’t singing and praising and basking in the emotional glow of worship.
It isn’t faithful church attendance and ministry.
It isn’t service and sacrifice.
It isn’t even reading the Bible, or time spent with Him in prayer.

All of those will be the natural outpouring of a heart that loves Him, and all are necessary — yes!

But one can do all of those things and not love God.

How does God tell us we can show our love for Him? Read more

What Age Should Children Start Head Covering?

As the parents of five daughters (from 9 months through 12 years), my husband and I have had to consider whether or not we want them to wear a head covering to church — and if so, at what age they should start. I think this question is very common in families where the mother has started to cover. In this article I’d like to consider this question of age from three angles:

  1. What does the Bible say?
  2. What does this look like practically?
  3. What have we done as a family?

What Does The Bible Say?

When considering any sort of life change, it’s always important to observe what God Himself has said about the subject. So, does the Bible offer any guidance that would help us decide at what age females should start head covering? I believe that it does.

1 Corinthians 11:4-5 says:

“Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 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.”

So, every woman must pray or prophesy with her head covered, or else dishonor her head. But, since the New Testament was originally written in Greek, what does the word woman specifically mean in the original language? Could it mean all females, both children and adults?

An excellent Greek lexicon often utilized in New Testament scholarship is “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature”¹ (often referred to as “BDAG”). It notes these three meanings of the word “woman” (or gune in Greek):

  1. an adult female person, woman
  2. a married woman
  3. a newly married woman

So, gune refers to either married or unmarried women, but it apparently does not include female children. In 1 Corinthians 11, this same word is used in verses 3, 5 (quoted above), 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15. In other words, gune is used throughout the whole passage to indicate an adult woman.

According to Bible Study Tools (an online Bible study aid), this same word is used 221 times in the New Testament. In 129 occurrences it refers to “women,” and 92 times it refers to a “wife.” Never is it used in the Bible to describe female children.

Rather than gune, Scripture uses the Greek terms thugatrion (translated as “little daughter”) and korasion (“girl” or “little girl”) when referring to female children. For example, Mark 5:42 uses korasion to describe a 12-year-old girl that Jesus raised from the dead. Along similar lines, Matthew 14:21 lists “women” separately from “children,” indicating that the Greek word for “women” refers to adults. Read more

Why Single Men Shouldn’t Look for a Head Covering Wife

Why Single Men Shouldn't Look for a Head Covering Wife

A Head Covering Standard?

Head covering is a beautiful symbol because of the divine truths that it communicates. Godly men are often attracted to this as it appears modest, humble, and shows a seriousness for one’s faith. So, it makes sense that if a man who believes in the practice of head covering was seeking a bride that he would desire her to be one who covers.

However, I would counsel against making this a standard in finding a wife. My premise is simple: head covering women are rare and even among them, some do not reflect the lifestyle and character of biblical womanhood. Instead, a wise man will focus on the woman’s heart & her relationship with the Lord (see Prov. 4:23, 31:30; 1 Pet. 3:4).

Character First

For many women, head covering is a relatively easy thing to do. In fact, that is usually the case for all outward symbols. Putting on a wedding ring is effortless, but it takes significantly more work to have a godly marriage. Being baptized is fairly straightforward, but walking out the Christian life day-by-day is much more involved. Likewise, it can be easy to put on a head covering, but much harder to embody the character and lifestyle of biblical womanhood.

Young men, you don’t want a wife who is willing to wear the symbol without it being a reflection of her life. In other words, it is simple for a lady to “fix” her lack of head covering — she literally just needs to put one on. But it is much harder for someone to correct issues of the heart, such as long-standing patterns of selfishness, unsubmissiveness, contentiousness, or a lack of quietness (1 Pet. 3:4).

Also, since head covering is an outward practice and also a minority view, it can sometimes appeal to women who are immature in their faith. Legalistic people love rules and outward displays of religion (Matt. 23:5), especially religious practices that only a few people hold to. It is important for men to understand this as some of the most unsanctified women are willing to wear a head covering. To be clear, this dynamic is not unique to head covering; it can be at play in any practice that is both outward and unpopular. Read more

Is Your Husband Your Spiritual Covering?

Is Your Husband Your Spiritual Covering?

Objection: Cloth head coverings are not biblically required. In Scripture, the Apostle Paul spoke only of a “spiritual covering.” Specifically, he taught that a woman’s husband is her “covering.” The woman’s responsibility is not to put a piece of cloth on her physical head; rather, she simply is to live under the spiritual covering provided by her husband (her spiritual head).

SYMBOLISM & LITERALISM

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul provides instructions for two important symbolic practices within Christianity. The most well-known is the Lord’s Supper, also called “Communion” or “the Eucharist.

The Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.1) 1 Cor. 11:23b-26, NASB.

The death of Jesus — the powerful event behind our salvation — is symbolically portrayed here in the Lord’s Supper. And just as Jesus commanded, this personal and meaningful tradition has been regularly practiced by the Church for the last 2000 years.

Unfortunately, though, some Christians have mistakenly understood this passage to mean that during the Lord’s Supper, the bread literally becomes Jesus’ body, and the drink literally becomes Jesus’ blood. This belief is called “transubstantiation” and is often associated with the Catholic Church. In effect, transubstantiation substitutes the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus (Heb. 10:10) with a recurring sacrifice of His “real” body & blood during the Eucharist portion of each Catholic Mass.2) “The Eucharist performs at once two functions: that of a sacrament and that of a sacrifice… the sacrament is intended privately for the sanctification of the soul, whereas the sacrifice serves primarily to glorify God by adoration, thanksgiving, prayer, and expiation [atonement for sin]. The recipient of the one is God, who receives the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son; of the other, man, who receives the sacrament for his own good. Furthermore, the unbloody Sacrifice of the Eucharistic Christ is in its nature a transient action, while the Sacrament of the Altar continues as something permanent after the sacrifice.” Pohle, Joseph. “Sacrifice of the Mass.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 24 Mar. 2019 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10006a.htm>.

In addition to the statement, “This is my body,” Jesus made a variety of other comments that were also intended figuratively. For example, He said, “I am the door” (John 10:7), “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35), and “I am the true vine” (John 15:1). These words were obviously not meant to be understood literally, but rather as figures of speech. However, an opposite type of confusion can also occur: Christians sometimes disregard the plain (and literal) statements in Scripture, as they seek to discover “deeper” figurative or symbolic meanings behind those statements. Read more

References

1.
 1 Cor. 11:23b-26, NASB.
2.
 “The Eucharist performs at once two functions: that of a sacrament and that of a sacrifice… the sacrament is intended privately for the sanctification of the soul, whereas the sacrifice serves primarily to glorify God by adoration, thanksgiving, prayer, and expiation [atonement for sin]. The recipient of the one is God, who receives the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son; of the other, man, who receives the sacrament for his own good. Furthermore, the unbloody Sacrifice of the Eucharistic Christ is in its nature a transient action, while the Sacrament of the Altar continues as something permanent after the sacrifice.” Pohle, Joseph. “Sacrifice of the Mass.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 24 Mar. 2019 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10006a.htm>.

How Do I Talk to Others About Head Covering?

I clearly remember how I felt as someone confronted me during a conversation on the phone. At first, I was a little hot in the face, but by the time our conversation was over, I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I could barely even say, “Goodbye.” Actually, I didn’t have a chance to, because the other person hung up on me. My hands were trembling uncontrollably. I wanted to cry. Thankfully, that discussion was completely unrelated to head covering. But, it could have been.

The thought of having to explain why we cover to fellow church-goers, family, or friends can make us nervous. In my experience, very few people have approached me about head covering. However, the question still lingers: What if more did? What would I say? Many head covering women have probably had that same feeling. In this article, I’d like to suggest a few ways we can prepare ourselves for those conversations — while honoring God and maintaining our peace.

Realistically, talking about head covering & biblical roles for men and women isn’t much different than talking about any other aspect of the Christian faith. We will always encounter people whose beliefs are not exactly the same as ours, whether non-believers or believers. No matter what the topic of discussion is, we can apply the same principles.

The late Francis A. Schaeffer, a famous evangelical philosopher of the twentieth century, wrote this about communicating with those who have different beliefs than we do: Read more

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