In the Lord

1Corinthians 11:5-11 But every woman that prayed or prophesied with her head uncovered dishonours her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 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. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 

‘But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.’ Women were to remain under their customary veils when praying or prophesying.

Ten reasons Middle Eastern and Eastern women were to be veiled: It had been a custom for ages for women to be veiled (Gen. 24:65; 38:14, 19; Ruth 3:15; Isa. 3:23; Son. 5:7). It was a Jewish law that no woman be seen in public unveiled. Among Greeks, Romans, and other nations it was also a custom. Only public prostitutes in the East went without veils, hence to pray or prophesy without a veil would be identifying Christianity with harlotry. If a woman appeared in public without a veil, she would disgrace her head – the husband (11:3). It would be the same as women who had hair shorn off as punishment for whoredom and adultery (11:5-6; Num. 5:18). The man was not to wear a veil because he was the image and glory of God. The woman needed one because she was the glory of the man being created for him (11:7-9). The woman needed to wear her veil on her head as a sign of the husband’s authority over her, thus setting an example of humility and submission to her head – the husband. She would thus be a lesson to angels to submit to God (11:10; 4:9; Eph. 3:10-11; Eccl. 5:6; 1Tim. 5:21). The woman needed to cooperate fully with the husband and keep the customs as being equally blessed by God (11:11-12; 1Tim. 2:9; 1Pet. 3:1-7). It was becoming to a woman in that day to be veiled and not common for a Christian woman to pray or prophesy unveiled. That would make her like the heathen priestesses who prayed and delivered the oracles bareheaded or with dishevelled hair. It was natural for women to have long hair thus indicating they should be veiled.

‘Prayed or prophesied’ – This is proof that women did pray and preach in the congregations (11:5; 14:3, 23-25, 31; Acts 2:16-21; 21:9; Joel 2:28-32).

‘Uncovered’ [Greek: akatakaluptos] unveiled (11:5, 13).

‘Covered’ [Greek: katakalupto] veiled (11:6, 7) not hats as proclaimed by churches today.

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