Saturday, May 24, 2014

Head Covering

I have only been familiar with the issue of head covering for a couple of years. I don't add any cloth coverings  on top of my hair nor am I an advocate.  But it seems to be a practice that is on the rise and I decided to study my Bible to see what God's word says.

First of all, every Christian must understand that there is nothing that can be done to add to the finished work of Christ on Calvary. If more people just read the bible rather than study guides and books, there would be fewer troubles in the churches of God.

I'll state my conclusion clearly right up front: wearing a head covering is a work. And an unnecessary, unbiblical one. I will back up what I say with Scripture. This article is long, so please read it all before you make any comments.

If you're ready, open your King James Bible with me and lets read.

I'm not going to allegorize, parenthesize or squish them around to say what I want. No lexicons, no Greek & Hebrew, no study guides. We'll  simply read the King James Bible, comprehend the words, understand the sentences, and believe what they say. Ready?

Beginning in 1 Corinthians 11 ~
1. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 
2. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.  
Paul instructs the Corinthian church to follow him because he is of Christ. He praises them for remembering him and keeping the ordinances he gave them. Then he gets right into the point of his letter with a "BUT"....
3. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 
Paul makes a vital point right off the bat. Establishment of headship and authority. This is key to the entire passage. He obviously has some correcting to do as he insinuates that the people had some mistaken ideas about who's the boss.  He tells them plainly.  God over Christ, Christ over Man, Man over Woman.

Pausing for a moment: I'm going to cut to the chase right here. Paul reveals the definition of the terms "cover, covered, covering" in verse 15. If you read them you will see clearly that it is hair.  It's almost as if he wrote the beginning verses as if they already knew that is what he was talking about. If you read the entire passage with that in mind, you will see that there is no other alternative meaning. With that in mind, in the next verse we see that Paul gets right down to business:
4. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 
He's already established that the head of a man is Christ. So Paul declares that a man with his head covered (with long hair, as is revealed in vs. 15) dishonors Christ.

Next comes another BUT. (There are many in this chapter!)
5. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head Uncovered (i.e. without long hair) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
Here is the first mention of hair. A woman with her head uncovered (with long hair) dishonors her husband (her earthly boss), and is the same as if she had a shaved head.

The point I see Paul making here is that the issue of long hair is magnified for a Christian. In the spiritual realm, there are obviously some serious ramifications concerning prayer and prophesy. So here, Paul says a woman might as well have a shaved head if her head is uncovered. He is going to the extreme. Sort of like we would today if we said, well if the front part of your skirt is transparent, you may as well be not wearing a skirt at all!
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.
The wording "let her also" trips up some women. But it's really clear that Paul's just reiterating what he said in the previous verse - if she's not covered (which vs. 15 identifies as hair), she might as well shaved.  In verses 7, 8, and 9, he is reminding them of what he began his letter with - headship. It's that important. So important, that he goes over it again and again.
7. 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. 
8. 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.
9. 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. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
A woman's hair (vs 15) symbolizes what, if any, authority she is under AND signifies a message of POWER to the angels.  A woman needs power on her head because of the angels. The Bible calls her the "weaker vessel". This is authenticated in Genesis when Satan waits quietly until Eve comes on the scene and then targets her with his deceptive tricks. He knew Adam would be too clever and guarded.

Next, Paul clears up any confusion by stating some obvious facts about men and women and while they have different ranks, they are of equal importance.
13. Judge in yourselves:is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15. But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her:for her hair is given her for a covering.
*Note: Verse 13 says "with her head uncovered" not “without a covering”.

NOTE: Verses 14 and 15 are not parenthetical verses. When God wants to use parentheses, they will appear plainly. In this passage, there are no parenthetical verses.  In fact, these sentences seem to  illuminate verse 13 perfectly.  In verse 15 we have another BUTRemembering that the word 'but' is always used to introduce something that is contrasting with something already mentioned. What is Paul contrasting in verses 14 and 15?  Hair. 
Long hair on a man — wrong/bad/shame. 
Long hair on a woman — right/good/glory.
As I mentioned before, Paul asserts what the covering is at the bottom of verse 15. 
15b. For a woman’s hair is given her for a covering. 
Here, Paul concludes his entire teaching/argument and it ALL rests on length of HAIR. Can you see it? He could not have stated it more clearly. A woman's hair IS her covering. Nowhere in these passages of Scripture can we find instruction for a woman to add another covering on top of the covering that God has given her
To the point...

Look around in your Bible. Observe how clear Scripture is, especially concerning things so important as what God expects of his own. He is always explicit and straightforward in his commands.
God knows how to use words and I am content to accept the plain English that God chose to use in the King James Bible. They are perfect and pure, just as they are. If God wanted women to put a cloth on their head to symbolize power for the sake of the angels, he would have simply said, "For her hair is NOT given her for a covering; she must ALSO wear a cloth on top of her hair”. 

But He does not say that. When it says, “her hair is given her for a covering” — that’s precisely what it means. Her covering IS her hair. How can this have been missed? And worse, why would someone want to reinterpret (there is no private interpretation II Peter 1:20) this Scripture?

There are words for cloth all over the Bible. Why would one of them not be present here? Is God handicapped? Does he stutter? No. The word veil is used in the Bible seven times. If he wanted her to wear a veil, HE WOULD SAY SO.  Do you believe that the Word of God is inerrant? I do. God's Word is inerrant because God is inerrant. The Bible - literally the words of God - proclaims itself to be pure and perfect. Perfection is without flaw. No errors, no mistakes, no impurities. 

When people start breaking out their Lexicons, I think it's because they want to make Scripture say what they want it to say. 

But the King James Bible is sufficient for English speaking people and requires no Greek Lexicons to help us understand. Greek Lexicons were authored by corrupt men who using the corrupted Sinaiticus texts. (Read "Which Version is the Bibe?")
Verse 16 is the clincher and it wraps the whole issue. There is no need to seek an “easy” way to understand verse 16 when it's already easy and clear. Be careful when reading verse 16: it's not saying there is no church custom concerning women praying uncoveredIt's saying there's no church custom regulating the length of hair (verses 13, 14, and 15). Beginning with another but...
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

  1. Paul is addressing MEN, not women. A man is the head of his wife and his household. The head covering movement is almost all women initiated. Contrast this with Titus 2 where the instructions are clearly and unmistakably directed to women. 
  2. Paul begins with a "but" (even so, nevertheless, despite, just the same, etc). If a man is contentious (argues about it) Paul just drops the issue and stamps it "NO CUSTOM".

Bada bing, bada boom. Today it might sound like "If one of you men want to raise a fuss over this, let me just set the record straight right now - we have no custom (tradition, practice) and neither do the churches of God. It’s not a law, so don’t fall on your sword over hair.  We’re not going to throw you out of church over it. You’re not going to lose your salvation over it."

It's an open and shut case. 

Now I'm going to add my own but!  BUT we have been warned.  There are some mysterious (and serious) consequences when it comes to hair length and the angels. So much so that God gave us 16 verses of holy Scripture to warn us about it.

Further, I believe that women wear a cloth on their hair, not because God has told them to (there is NO CUSTOM), but because they WANT to. They like the feeling that they are doing something. But dead works do diddly squat. There is nothing wrong with hats and scarves, unless you start attaching spiritual connotations to them. Then you're in trouble. 
A woman's appearance, especially in public, is an outward symbol of our respect and love for God and our husbands. And according to Scripture, a woman's hair length sends a powerful sign to the angels..."Don’t mess with me!" 

This is a side note, but it is interesting that Satan was called a "covering cherub". He got prideful and profane because of his beauty. I don't have a lot of deep insights to this, I just found it interesting. 
Ezekiel 28:16-17 “...therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God:and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”

For women, God has some things to say when it comes to her apparel and appearance. Head scarves and doilies count as apparel

1 Timothy 2:9 focuses on modesty in clothing (apparel), expression (shamefacedness) and mind (sobriety). Our appearance should not draw undue attention as it would with "costly array" (expensive duds and dazzles).  We’ve all seen women with costly array. They are attention seekers. 
1 Timothy 2:9-10  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Our "adorning" should be of good works. Wearing a head cloth does not denote good works. 1 Peter 3:3 deals with apparel. Another word for apparel is garment or cloth.

1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.

The last phrase is pertinent to this particular topic.  Our adorning shouldn't be outward. It has nothing to do with putting on apparel. A head scarf is both an outward adorning and "putting on of apparel", which Paul states "let it NOT BE". This flows beautifully with I Corinthians 11 in which hair is the clear topic— not apparel.  
According to Scripture, the only outward adorning on women that God gives any instruction on is her good works and chaste conversation - not with garments. 

In conclusion, those who wear scarves/cloths on top  of their hair and consider that their covering have invented a work of the flesh. It might make them feel more Godly or holy, but God says our holiness is not of ourselves. It is the finished work of Christ. All we must do is walk in it. 


Anonymous said...

First of all, every Christian must understand that there is nothing that can be done to add to the finished work of Christ on Calvary. If more people just read the bible rather than study guides and books, there would be fewer troubles in the churches of God.


Anonymous said...

I too have found over the years of bloggers who cover that not one of the ladies' husbands initiated the covering. Thank you for taking the time to present this.

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