the position of head
or chief; chief authority; leadership
Remember our passage, 1 Corinthians 11: 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. NKJV
Jesus Christ, as we know, is one with the Father, being God, and submitted His will to that of the Father’s. He did not act out of His own will but only that which was pleasing to the Godhead. This is to say, man is to submit himself to the authority and leadership of Christ, acting within His will alone and not his own will. Thus, the woman is to submit herself to the authority of her husband as ordained by God. We do not submit because we are inferior, rather our submission is symbolic of Christ’s submission, even submission to the cross. Just as God used Christ’s suffering for Good (salvation to all who believe on Him), He will also use a woman’s submission for a good that we perhaps cannot see right away.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 NKJV
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV
Getting back to 1 Corinthians 11, we are told that a man praying or prophesying with his head covered is a disgrace to his head. Put another way, a man who prays/prophesies with head covered dishonors Christ. Why is that? Because man was created in the image and glory of God! However, if a woman prays/prophesies with her head uncovered she dishonors her head, namely, her husband. Why? Because she was made from man, for man and is his glory!
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. 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 NKJV
If we do not cover our heads, we shame the man, who then in turn, by result, will shame Christ. Thus, the whole order is disgraced! What a responsibility and OPPORTUNITY woman has! Wow!
So then, we have established that a woman is to cover her head with a physical covering (veil, cloth) and that she is to do so because she is the glory of man. She is the glory of man. Okay, big deal. Why cover it up? BECAUSE ALL GLORY MUST POINT TO GOD!!! It is ALL about GLORY TO GOD! The purpose of life…all of it!
When a woman covers her head, she is saying she recognizes and submits to God’s divine order and wants all glory to point to Him.
So what about verse 15?
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.11:15 NKJV
The Greek word for covering in this verse is Peribolaion, which means a covering thrown around, a wrapper, a veil. Now look at this verse in light of its surrounding verses:
Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 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. A woman’s long hair is her glory. Remember, it is all about directing glory to God. I continue to find the fact that Paul used two different words for covering very significant. The English language is bad about giving words multiple meanings, such as “day”. Day could mean a specific date (July 4 1776) or an era…”In Paul’s day….” You get the point. The fact he used two different words is important, we just translate them into the same word.
Thus, she needs to cover the glory that she is (as man’s glory) with the glory that is hers (her hair) and her glory (hair) should be covered so there is no glory but God’s.
Let me also take a moment to mention that verses 5 and 6 say,
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. If a woman’s hair was meant to be her covering while praying and prophesying, then “let her also be shorn” would not make sense. The same goes for “that is one and the same as if her head were shaved”. Furthermore, if she is to have her head covered while praying and prophesying then how can she “put on” and remove her hair as the circumstance requires? Plus, if it is shameful for a man to have his head covered, then he should be bald?
No, the most reasonable explanation is woman is to cover her head with a cloth, veil, whatever, while praying and prophesying. This obedience and submission to God’s order is symbolic of Christ’s submission to the cross.
When I think about it, I cannot help but feel deeply grateful at the privilege of being given such a task! Woman has such a unique and special role in God’s order, we should never let today’s culture tell us we are short-changing ourselves because we commit to submit. We are a key element in the beautiful tapestry God designed before time began!
Join me in my next post concerning head coverings where we will discuss the mysterious verse ten!
For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. What does “because of the angels” mean?
We’ll discuss it next time! Thanks for stopping by!