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Joined: 2005/11/26
Posts: 496

 Head Coverings??

This is not "myfirstlove", but her husband, Sean. From reading the other thread I've noticed that there seem to be quite a few people who are against the biblical teaching of head coverings. What I'd like to do, is to post an article and ask for those who oppose this view to comment on the article and show me where it's wrong. I can't see how anything this man says in unscriptural. He accurately shows what the scriptures teach on this subject, and shows why it's not a cultural issue and one that applies to all the churches.

For those interested, here's the article:,%20Robert%20-%20Should%20Christian%20Women%20Wear%20Head%20Coverings%20Today.pdf

*****EDIT: I've posted the article in this thread also*****

I'd like to hear different people's thoughts on this article if you'd like to comment.

God Bless...

IN Christ,



 2012/2/5 17:26Profile

 Re: Head Coverings??

Hello Sean; I'm Brothertom. I just posted this on another thread, and thought it relevant. I am going to read your article and then throw in my two mites. It is something that needs to be addressed in our body, and our children, who need a Godly foundation in their lives, as to respecting the opposite sex and the marriage covenant, and growing up into Godly health in these important matters.

Head covering. Greater issues and observations.
Wow, Roadsign...sometimes your logic shocks me, even though we disagree, this last post was brilliant, and I must say amen!

In it though, I would like to address another related issue to you, Roadsign, and to sisters here; whoever.

The issue of modesty, and dress. At what point does a woman's dress become unacceptable? I, obviously am male, and attracted to the female by my nature. This does not mean I lust though. I must walk in the Spirit , and deny my nature, which allows fellowship. I must not, and will not, know any man or woman after their nature, physical or soulish.

Often it seems, that women with the head-dress ARE the more modest, and there is a plague today that allows our sisters to dress with seducing intent, after the nature of their bodies. THE BLUE JEAN. How many women wear pants today....and I notice it...tight seductive, curve revealing clothing designed to arouse male intention.

This is a plague, I tell you, and it draws men into their old nature. As I said, I am not promoting the head dress, nor am I against it...let a sister be free...but I wanted to interject the Word here. This is the goal;[ about Godly womanhood.]

"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

"But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

"For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:"

This places the intent of the Holy Spirit clearly where it should be, IN THE HEART!..Not outward legal adornment.

The second issue that can be related to the head covering, as a symbol to remind and obey, that it is a MEEK AND QUIET SPIRIT that God desires, and especially that in Submission to their own Husbands.

Paul even goes so far as to say "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

So, in a general way, not to any one person at all, I ask to the Christian sister;

Are you meek and quiet? and love will show.

Are you chaste, and for the married, obedient to your husbands? To many reformed sisters, especially, the head covering represents this, and to many it is not legal, but voluntary, and helps them, reminds them of their daily walk to perform it. I didn't read Zac's article, but in this light, it may be interpreted differently I bet.

There is a great battle going on against women in general in the spirit realm...on one side, Jezebel is waiting as queen of the kingdom enticing her to be all that you can be, and take command, and the Throne...subtly manipulating all the way....and the other...meekness and submission. This is where the joy of womanhood is displayed, or stolen by a life of lust and power over all.

And the head-covering can be death to, for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

Your Thoughts?

 2012/2/5 18:21

Joined: 2005/11/26
Posts: 496


Here's the article. Your comments?



A Brief Examination of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

Should Christian women wear head coverings? There is only one way to answer this question: examine what the Bible says about the subject.

1 Corinthians 11:1-16 (KJV)
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, 2brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man 3 is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head 5 uncovered dishonoureth 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 6 a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man 7 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 8 woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the 9 woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to 1 0 have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the 1 1 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 2 all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto 1 3 God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have 1 4 long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a 1 5 glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem 1 6 to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

What did 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 command its original readers to do?

It instructed women to place a piece of cloth or fabric (a.k.a. head covering or veil) upon their heads when praying or prophesying. The size, shape, and color of the head covering is not specified. It is designed to cover the head (vv. 5, 6, 10) and has a function similar to that of hair (vv. 14-15).

This passage also instructed men to pray with their heads uncovered. Men should not pray or prophesy with hats, prayer shawls, skull caps, or other head coverings on their heads. The code of good manners in North America still reflects this tradition, which is why men remove their hats for prayer at sporting events, graduation ceremonies, etc.

When should women cover their heads and men not cover their heads?

Paul instructs women to wear head coverings whenever they pray or prophesy (v. 5). Similarly, men are instructed to keep their heads uncovered when praying or prophesying (v. 4). At a minimum, this means women should have their heads covered (and men should have their heads uncovered) when the Body of Christ is gathered corporately for prayer, edification, and/or worship.

However, women pray throughout the day and in many locations. Women often speak God’s Word to children and friends outside of church settings. Thus 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 does not describe a situation that occurs only in public church meetings. For these reasons, some maintain that women should wear head coverings always and not only in church meetings. This is a reasonable and defensible position. Both Old Testament Hebrew women and Christian women throughout church history wore head coverings all the time and not at worship services only.

Other Christians point to the second half of 1 Corinthians 11 (which deals with the Lord’s Supper) and argue that the context for both instructions seems to be formal public gatherings of the Body of Christ. Accordingly, these Christians conclude that the instructions in 1 Corinthians 1:1-16 are applicable only in public meetings of the church. This also seems to be a reasonable and defensible position, although this second position (in my assessment) is weaker than the first.

We conclude that the Bible clearly commands that women’s heads be covered in public church meetings, while it is less clear (but probable) that women should wear head coverings all the time.

But isn’t a woman’s hair given to her to serve as a head covering (v. 15)? Does not a woman’s long hair qualify as a head covering?

No. Much of the argument here is superfluous and even irrelevant if all the apostle meant to teach was that women should have long hair.

The Bible is referring to a piece of cloth or fabric when it com-mands women to wear head coverings (and commands men not to do so). Beginning in the late nineteenth century, some argued (based on verse 15b) that Paul is instructing women to have long hair and that the so-called head covering is nothing more than long hair. If this “long hair equals head covering” interpretation is true, then we should be able to substitute the phrase long hair for the word covering in this passage (and short hair for no covering) and retain the passage’s meaning. However, this substitution of phrases (and thus this interpretation) does not make sense. For example, if covering means long hair, then verse 6 would be arguing that those women with short hair should cut their hair short— which is a logical absurdity. Likewise, verse 5 ould then mean that a woman with short hair is one and the same with women who have no hair— again, a logical absurdity.

This is why the Greek word used in verse 15 for the covering of a woman’s hair (peribolaion) is different from the Greek word used in verses 6 and 7 for the covering of cloth (katakalupto, which is derived from kalumma, a word that means “a covering, a hood, or veil”). The two Greek words are not interchangeable.

When Paul says in verse 15b that a woman’s long hair is given her as a covering, he is not defining the nature of the covering. By the time he reaches verse 15, the inspired apostle has already presented his argument at length. His readers know what he is talking about, viz. a piece of cloth called a head covering or veil. He is now bringing to bear additional considerations for his listeners to weigh. One such consideration is how our innate sensibilities tell us that women’s heads ought to appear different than men’s heads. Our own natural sensibilities, says Paul, tell us that women’s heads should be more covered than men’s. This is what Paul means by his reference to hair in verse 15b.

It is only in the past century that some commentators have attempted to make this “hair equals head covering” argument. Whether we look at Hebrew women in the Old Testament or Christian women through the ages (and in a variety of different cultures), God’s people have always understood that the head covering is a piece of cloth or clothing worn upon the head and not merely a woman’s long hair.

Is this command applicable today? Is headcovering a cultural commandment and an instruction given only to the Corinthians (due to their articular cultural conditions) and therefore not applicable today? Or is the wearing of head coverings a transcultural commandment given to all of God’s people at all times and in all places?

Perhaps the most commonly heard explanation of this passage today is that it is merely a cultural commandment. (Cultural means applicable only in a specific culture and a specific time period.) According to this view, these instructions do not apply to Christians today. This view of the passage understands it as a culturally-specific response to a prostitution problem in 60 A.D. Corinth; female prostitutes there were easily identified by their uncovered heads. Unlike virtuous Corinthian women (the explanation goes), prostitutes did not wear head coverings. Paul therefore tells the Christian women at Corinth to wear head coverings because it is scandalous to look like prostitutes. The head covering (according to this view) served to distinguish Christian women in Corinth from ungodly prostitutes.

Understanding 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 in this manner results in regardingthe head covering as a culturally-specific commandment (i.e., a commandment that applies only to a specific culture due to local factors). If head overings were prescribed as a specific response to a specific Corinthian cultural problem (i.e., bare-headed female Corinthian prostitutes and the equation of bare heads with prostitution), then head coverings need not be worn in North America in the twenty-first century. Women who do not wear head coverings in America today are not necessarily thought to be prostitutes; therefore (as this line of thinking goes), our different cultural situation makes this cultural commandment unnecessary and non-applicable today.

We do not doubt that ancient Corinth had a prostitution problem. Nor do we disagree with the logic that says that Christian women ought not to look like prostitutes! However, this understanding of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 rests upon a weak exegesis of the text.
There is no indication in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 that this instruction is given because of the bare-headed prostitute problem. There is no suggestion in Paul’s words that cultural factors in Corinth motivated his instructions. Nor is there any indication that this commandment is only for the Corinthian people in their specific cultural setting.

On the contrary—and this is extremely critical—the Bible provides transcultural rationales for the practice of head covering. (Transcultural means applicable in all cultures and in all time periods.) Transcultural rationales indicate that women’s head coverings is a transcultural commandment, or a commandment based upon permanent and universal theological principle and not temporary local customs or conditions. In 1 Corinthians 11, the inspired apostle does not merely tell the church at Corinth how to behave; he goes further and gives five reasons why women should cover their heads. Each of the five reasons refers to timeless spiritual realities (i.e., transcultural realities) and not local Corinthian cultural practices.It is critical that we appreciate the importance of this aspect of the 1 Corinthians 11 passage. By providing eternal and transcultural rationales for head coverings, the Bible makes it clear that wearing head coverings is applicable to all Christians at all times.

What five reasons does the Bible give for wearing head coverings?

First, the apostle refers to the created order that God established at the beginning of the world. In 1 Corinthians 11:7-9, Paul says women should wear head coverings because they were created subordinate to men. This references Genesis 2 and the creation of Adam and Eve. When the Bible grounds a command/practice in God’s creation ordinances (i.e., God’s principles that He articulated at creation and recorded in the early chapters of Genesis), we know the command/practice is applicable to all cultures and all peoples. Reference to the created order indicates a timeless principle. The head covering is an outward sign that testifies to God’s created order.

Second, Paul refers to the angels. All admit that 1 Corinthians 11:10 (“because of the angels”) is a difficult verse. However, the important thing for our consideration is clear: angels are not cultural phenomena particular to Corinth. Angels are spiritual and transcultural. Women should wear head coverings “because of the angels,” and angels are as real in Atlanta or Paris or Montreal today as they were in Corinth in 60 A.D.

Third, the inspired apostle appeals to nature or the natural order of creation. 1 Corinthians 11:13-15 says that the natural order of human existence confirms that women should cover their heads. The main point in these verses is not that a woman’s hair serves as her head covering, but rather that humans know intuitively that women’s heads are to be covered in a way that men’s heads are not. In making this argument, is the apostle appealing to specific cultural conditions in Corinth, or is he appealing to timeless values that are rooted within the very fabric of humanity? He is doing the latter, which again attests to the transcultural character of this command.

Fourth, the apostle concludes his instructions by informing the Corinthian church that all the churches have their women wear head coverings. Note that in verse 16, the word churches is plural. The church at Corinth is instructed to adopt a practice that is uniform throughout the Christian churches at this time. Churches in a variety of locations and in a variety of ethnic and cultural settings all practiced the wearing of head coverings. A contentious man (writes Paul) may reject the church’s universal practice and attempt to establish a new custom (that is, the practice of women not wearing head coverings); however, no churches have a “no head covering custom.”

Fifth, the head covering is an external symbol of a truth taught throughout the Bible: the headship of a husband over his wife, and the wife’s corresponding duty to honor her husband’s leadership. (The head covering is not a symbol of female moral purity, which is an assumption often made in the Corinthian prostitute argument.) Just as God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of man, so the man is the head of the woman (v. 3). This principle—that the husband must take primary responsibility for Christlike leadership, protection, and provision of his wife—is applicable in all ages, in all places, and in all cultures. The principle that is being signified is applicable today, so the external sign of that principle (i.e., the head covering) is applicable today as well.

When considering these five rationales, the important point is not whetherwe like the apostle’s reasons, or whether we find his reasons compelling, or even whether we fully understand his reasons. The important point is that the Bible gives transcultural, eternal, and spiritual reasons to justify the wearing of head coverings. The Bible does not justify head coverings in terms of local customs; it justifies them in terms of theological principles.

If Paul had cited culturally-specific reasons for wearing head coverings (e.g., do this so you won’t look like prostitutes, do this because it is what the Jews expect, do this because the Greeks expect religious women to cover their heads), then we would conclude that the head covering practice was culturally-specific and does not apply to Christians today. If Paul had provided no rationale for the practice (i.e., if Paul had simply commanded the wearing of head coverings without explaining why they should be worn), then we would have to do our best to construct Paul’s probable rationale. Lacking clear biblical data, our conclusions would be tenuous and speculative. But neither of these situations exist here. The Bible does not merely provide an explanation— it provides five of them. All five reasons are transcultural. Thus we may conclude (with a high degree of confidence) that wearing head coverings is a transcultural command that applies to all peoples, all cultures, all places, and all ages.

Is this a minor and non-essential item that really isn’t important? Godly women are taught to wear head coverings not only in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 but implicitly throughout the Old Testament. All Hebrew women wore veils. (In passages like Isaiah 47:1-3 where God pronounces judgment, He likens a wicked nation to a woman and speaks of “removing the veil” as an act of judgment and humiliation. Such language would make no sense unless the women in Isaiah’s audience wore head coverings routinely.) Paul is reaffirming in 1 Corinthians 11 something that God’s people have always done. This is why the apostle begins this discussion by referring to “the ordinances” or “the traditions” to which we should “keep” or “hold firmly” (v. 2). Indeed, both verses 2 and 16 in 1 Corinthians 11 imply that all the early Christian churches practiced head covering. Paul was bringing the Corinthian church in line with universal church practice.

It is noteworthy that the inspired apostle devotes fifteen verses—a sizeable piece of Scripture—to head coverings. Many important Scriptural issues (e.g., baptism, the Trinity, the eternal destiny of babies who die in infancy) do not receive this kind of sustained and intentional treatment. We often piece together a verse here and a verse there to arrive at positions or practices that we regard as important. However, we do not need to do that with head coverings. A sovereign God ordained that the subject receive an extended discussion, a discussion that includes the behavior prescribed and five reasons for that behavior.

Is the wearing of head coverings important? This subject is discussed in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; notice that the very next passage (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) deals with the Lord’s Supper. Does anyone argue that 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 is unimportant? Does anyone maintain that 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 expresses a “cultural ommandment” that was relevant only to the Corinthian church and is not applicable today? Whatreasonable hermeneutic principle allows us to dismiss 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 as unimportant and somewhat eccentric, and yet enables us to exalt 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 as one of the most important and ever-relevant portions of the Bible? Should we not exegete the second half of 1 Corinthians 11 like we do the first half?

We need to reconsider the belief thatsomething declared in God’s Word can be minimized as unimportant, non-essential, or minor. All agree that the wearing of head coverings is not necessary for salvation, and all agree that women’s head coverings are not on the list of the first five things we teach new believers. But if God has said something—indeed, if God goes so far as to devote half of a chapter in the Bible to the matter—do we dare undermine Jehovah’s own words by calling the matter unimportant? How can we dismiss God’s own words by declaring them non-essential?

What has the church historically believed regarding head coverings?

Virtually all Christians practiced head covering until the late 1800s. Tertullian (160-220), the Apostolic Constitutions (325), Chrysostom (347-407), and Augustine (354-430) confirm that Paul’s teachings regarding head coverings prevailed throughout the early church. Women during the Middle Ages, Reformation-era women, Puritan women, Revolutionary War-era women in America, and nineteenth-century women all wore head coverings. As late as the mid-1800s, American theologian Robert Lewis Dabney wrote, “[F]or a woman to appear or to perform any public religious function in a Christian assembly unveiled is a glaring impropriety.”

Only in the last 130 years has the Western European and American church abandoned this practice. Veiling still continues in many Eastern European countries. Up until the late 1950s, most Roman Catholic churches (even in North America) requested that women wear head coverings (in the form of small top-of-the-head veils) during worship services.

In North America, women in the late 1800s replaced the simple cloth head covering (or bonnet) with a hat. In time, the woman’s hat became a fashion accessory rather than a religious statement. Even as the religious
rationale for head covering waslost, however, women’s hats were normative in North America until the 1950s. Regardless of Christian denomination, most women attended public worship services wearing some kind of hat.

Do any prominent Christians teach that Christian women should wear head coverings today?

R. C. Sproul, Sr. teaches that headcovering is applicable today. He has expressed this in both his audio tape ministry (Ligonier Ministries, Tape #675, “Hard Sayings of the Apostles,” Side B: “To Cover or Not to Cover?”) and his Coram Deo daily devotional magazine. In June 1996, Coram Deo exegeted 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 as part of its systematic Bible teaching for devotional purposes. Here are quotations from Sproul in Coram Deo.

Head Coverings Are Required for Women: “One’s dress reflects the principles that one lives by . . . . even our exterior must conform to the order that God has established, especially in matters pertaining to public worship. The apostle makes the point that the veil [a.k.a. head covering], as a symbol of authority, is inconsistent with the position of the man, but it is required for women, who are subordinate to men.” (18 June 1996)

The Woman’s Hair Does Not Qualify As the Head Covering: “It is obvious from this comparison between men having their heads uncovered and women having their heads covered, that the covering is not hair. For if the covering in this context were hair, verse 6 would make no sense in the context of this passage.” (18 June 1996; cf. 19 June 1996)

TheHead Covering Command Is Binding Upon All Cultures: “Nowhere does [Paul] give cultural reasons for his teaching, i.e., abusive practices of a pagan society that placed prostitutes with shorn heads in the temples. Paul points us back to God’s established order in nature. Whenever a teaching in Scripture refers to ‘creation ordinances,’ that teaching is binding for all cultures in all ages.” (20 June 1996)

The Head Covering Is God’s Command: “While [Charles] Hodge says that women should conform to the ‘rules of decorum,’ it must be maintained that these rules, regarding the worship of God, are established by God Himself not by the whims of culture. It is proper for a woman to have a symbol of authority upon her head; what that symbol consists of does not matter, but the necessity of the symbol remains fixed even as the authority of man remains fixed. . . . As in all things regarding worship, we must strive to be conformed to God’s regulations in all things, no matter how seemingly insignificant.” (21 June 1996)

What should I do if I am unsure of the Bible’s teaching regarding head coverings? What if I am partially but not wholly persuaded?

These words from R. C. Sproul, Sr. are helpful: “What if, after careful consideration of a Biblical mandate, we remain uncertain as to its character as principle or custom? If we must decide to treat it one way or the other but have no conclusive means to make the decision, what can we do? Here the biblical principle of humility can be helpful. The issue is simple. Would it be better to treat a possible custom as a principle and be guilty of being over scrupulous in our design to obey God? Or would it be better to treat a possible principle as a custom and be guilty of being unscrupulous in demoting a transcendent requirement of God to the level of a mere human convention? I hope the answer is obvious.” (Knowing Scripture, pp. 11-12)


A. Hermeneutics and Interpreting Biblical Instructions
When we consider any teaching text in the Bible, we interpret it with one of two initial presuppositions (or assumptions).

Presupposition A: We assume the passage under consideration does not apply to Christians today and was binding only upon its original listeners. We place the burden of proof upon the position that claims this instruction is binding upon us (or is applicable) today. In other words, we assume the rationale for the instruction is cultural in nature or is dictated by peculiar cultural factors, which means it is binding only upon its original listeners. When we approach a commandment or instruction with this presupposition, we must be convinced by strong evidence before we decide this instruction is binding upon (or is applicable to) Christians today.

Presupposition B: We assume the passage under consideration does apply to Christians today and was binding upon both its original listeners and all future listeners. We place the burden of proof upon the position that claims this instruction is not binding upon us (or is not applicable) today. In other words, we assume the rationale for the instruction is transcultural in nature or is dictated by timeless and eternal principles, which means it is binding upon all men everywhere. When we approach a commandment or instruction with this presupposition, we must be convinced by strong evidence before we decide this instruction is not binding upon Christians today.

Presupposition B is more sound. This is the assumption we normally use when we interpret the Bible. For example, pastors do not begin sermons on “children obey your parents in the Lord” by proving that such instruction is applicable to Christians today. We all assume (correctly) that such teaching passages are applicable unless we have strong biblical reasons for believing otherwise.

Regarding 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, this means that we must see solid evidence that we are not supposed to do this today before we reject the instruction. The burden of proof rests upon the man who says we do not have to obey this biblical command.

Unfortunately, we don’t treat the issue of head coverings in this manner. We place the burden of proof upon those people who maintain that we should obey the Bible’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. We would never do this with other instructions in the Word of God. Why the double standard? Perhaps because obeying this particular instruction might mark one as peculiar. Our strong desire to fit in with our prevailing culture may well influence how we interpret the Bible. Surely this is a danger that we must guard against.

B. What about Paul’s command to “greet one another with a brotherly kiss”? If we conclude that the woman’s head covering is a transcultural commandment, then is the brotherly kiss a transcultural command as well? Is this command to greet brothers with a kiss a command that is binding upon us today?

In several instances, inspired apostles instruct Christians to greet one another with a kiss (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Peter 5:14). It is interesting to note that the Bible handles this subject very differently from the command for women to wear head coverings.

1. Paul gives explicitly theological reasonsfor wearing head coverings. However, the Bible gives no reasons whatsoever (theological or otherwise) for greeting with a brotherly kiss.

2. The Bible never explains to us what the brotherly kiss symbolizes or accomplishes. We are told quite clearly, however, that the head covering symbolizes a timeless and transcultural spiritual reality, namely woman’s submission to man.

3. Paul discusses head coverings in the middle of a lengthy letter to the church at Corinth and in the midst of a clearly didactic section of this epistle. He is correcting disorders in the Corinthian church and teaching preemptively so that other disorders will not appear. Part of his remedy for Corinthian problems are substantive issues like head coverings, the Lord’s Supper, a proper understanding of spiritual gifts, and agape love. On the other hand, the brotherly kiss phrases only occur at the very end of several epistles in what are clearly the concluding “farewell” portions of those letters. It is only when biblical writers conclude their didactic teaching and write personal farewells that we encounter the brotherly kiss.

4. The brotherly kiss was not universally practiced in the nation of Israel. Israelites and Jews did not greet one another with a kiss for theological reasons. When apostles mention the brotherly kiss in the New Testament, they are not continuing and reinforcing a long-established Biblical practice. The opposite is true of head coverings: Israelite and Jewish women always wore head coverings.

5. Head coverings have been worn by Christian women for the past two thousand years in various places and in different denominations. However, the brotherly kiss has not been practiced throughout church history. Notice that the Word of God addresses the head covering issue quite differently. We can make a sound case that the brotherly kiss was never intended as (and thus does not appear in Scripture as) a transcultural command. Scripture itself gives no rationale for the practice, and the concept is not communicated in the teaching (or didactic) portions of the New Testament epistles. Church history suggests that the church did not deem the practice to be applicable in all generations. But unlike the brotherly kiss, Paul goes to great lengths to establish a theological and transcultural rationale for wearing head coverings. The instruction is located in the didactic sections of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. In addition, the Christian church has always enjoined the wearing of head coverings (at least until recently).

The brotherly kiss is a good example of how a cultural practice appears in Scripture but is not mandated by Scripture. The woman’s head covering is a good example of how a transcultural practice appears in Scripture and is mandated by Scripture.

***This article can be found here:,%20Robert%20-%20Should%20Christian%20Women%20Wear%20Head%20Coverings%20Today.pdf

You can also read the article on my blog, where it's formatted a little better.

IN Christ,



 2012/2/5 23:34Profile

Joined: 2011/6/16
Posts: 183


Why some men be-labor this "teaching" is beyond me. What is the purpose? And with so many, many words they seek to rationalize 15 verses in the scriptures as if it is a major doctrine. Truth be told, it is not even a minor doctrine.

"a timeless and transcultural spiritual reality, namely woman’s submission to man."

How Islamic of you! Husbands and wives are brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost! They are both mutually submitted to the Lord and each other in Love not outward ordinances.

Since you cannot prove inward submission to the Lord you find the need to "mark" women with a symbol of outward submission to man!! And what about proof of your mutual submission to her?

The fruits of the Spirit are enough for men but not enough for women? Is that what you think?

I will reference some quotes for you dear brother from another thread. Perhaps this will help you.

From BrotherTom
"PS: I found Fee’s commentary most refreshing. Rather than turn scripture into a (yet another) prohibition, it liberates the believer (women) to be responsible and mature members in God’s kingdom. This is bound to create effective mutual accountability - and a spiritually healthy church."....Roadsign

From roadsign
"It is always tempting for males to find ways to serves their fleshly power drives, BUT it is also appealing for women to have a “covering” ….. or rather a “knight in shining armor”. I wonder how many charming-type males in this movement found themselves needing to be “spiritual coverings”. I wonder how many questionable relationships were spawned in this doctrinal environment – where healthy relational boundaries were compromised by a misuse of scripture. I wonder how many marriages were broken.

Amen! My sentiments exactly. Sisters have been reduced to second class citizens within this servitude/submissive role that quenches their gifting and ministry.

And, to be honest, I can think of one: A close relative of mine by marriage is a direct descendent of one of the names mentioned in the article. Whatever happened, and if it relates to her parent’s divorce, remains a mystery. She refuses to talk about this entire movement. She doesn’t want to relive the pain. As she said, “It’s better to put it out of my mind.” All she disclosed is that the movement took precedence over the family. The full story remains hidden… for now.

False teaching, like this one, reaps its fruit, but sometimes it is the subsequent generations who must eat it."

I have many friends whose marriages have been hurt by this legalistic teaching and many other teachings of the B.G. Ministries. This is just one of several "ministries" that propagate this hellish doctrine of false submission (which is nothing but control).

"The Fallacious Biblical Argument Exposed

The one Scripture that is used more than any other to try and validate the “covering” doctrine is I Corinthians 11:10 which, in the NKJV, reads, For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head because of the angels. If you are reading the NKJV you will notice that the phrase a symbol of is in italics. This is the translators’ way of letting us know that these words have been added and are not in the original Greek text. The same is true of the NIV which has a sign of which is not in the Greek text. In other words, this passage has nothing to do with a symbol or sign of authority as so many have made it out to be.

The Greek text literally reads, For this reason the woman out to have authority on (or over) her head because of the angels. The preposition translated “on” is epi and ordinarily means “over.” This has led some New Testament scholars, such as Dr. Gordon Fee, to conclude that Paul is here saying that the Christian woman ought to have authority over her own head to decide if she wants to wear a covering or not. He, therefore, suggests that a more accurate translation would be, For this reason the woman ought to have the freedom over her head to do as she wishes.[2]

This entire passage is obviously about a cultural issue in Corinth where the wearing of some sort of head covering or veil is a customary practice. Some have speculated that this passage is related to a situation in the Corinthian culture where only the temple prostitutes of Aphrodite, whose magnificent temple was in Corinth, went about with shaved and uncovered heads. Be that as it may, Paul is addressing the question of whether Christian women must adhere to the cultural norms of the city in which they live. The best interpretation of the passage is that Paul is affirming the right of Christian women in Corinth to decide for themselves if they want to wear a head covering. The passage has nothing to do with being under someone else’s authority

What about the phrase because of the angels? New Testament scholar, Philip Payne, has suggested that the answer lies with I Corinthians 6:3 where Paul says that in the future world the saints will judge angels. Paul’s point would be that the Christian women of Corinth, who would one day judge angels, should be exercising authority now over such insignificant matters as whether to wear a head covering.[3]

God Himself Will be Your Covering

Through Jesus Christ our One Mediator, we can have a personal, intimate relationship with our Creator and know Him as our “covering,” as David spoke of in Psalm 91. Psalm 91:1 reads, He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Under the shadow is a metaphor or word picture for “a protective covering.” The protective covering is not a pastor, church or denomination. It is, instead, a personal thing between the individual and God. God Himself—El-Shaddai—will be our covering when we live in that secret place—that place of intimacy and fellowship with Him. This passage is clearly saying that the one who dwells continually in a place of personal intimacy with God will live under His protective care and be nourished and sustained by His own life.

Concluding Thoughts

Respect Christian leaders, Christian institutions, and fellow believers, but do not allow anyone to become a mediator between you and God. Maintain the Biblical truth of the priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5-6). Remember that the redemptive work of Christ applies equally to both men and women as Paul so aptly states in Galatians 3:28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

As a Christian leader, I believe that an attitude of genuine humility and security in our calling will eliminate the need to promote oppressive “covering” doctrines that paralyze the body of Christ. I believe that as believers in general practice a mutual love and respect toward one another, the need and desire for an authoritarian “covering” will dissipate like the morning dew for we will realize that we are all under the covering of Christ and in mutual love we will hold one another accountable and be a protection for one another and for our brothers and sisters around the world.

Who’s your covering? It should be Jesus Christ! It should be God Himself!"

In Christ,

 2012/2/6 0:41Profile


It depends on how big our God is. I believe He convicts each individual heart on this topic. For the sisters I've known who have decided to wear one for times of fellowship/prayer, noone asked them to do it, there was no pressure. The Lord simply put a desire on their heart to search out the scriptures, pray about it, then do as they felt the Lord leading them to do.

I believe in all of the Word, and the inerrant simplicity of it all. I find if it becomes confusing, then it tends to not be of the Spirit but from man. As with many topics in the Word, it seems best to let the Lord teach us His ways. If one is provoked to follow man's ways, then it doesn't come from the heart. For me, inasmuch as the Lord leads me and shows me, I believe that it's important to follow all parts, not to just pick and choose areas to follow or believe in.

Another note, if this issue (or other biblical issues) provokes unGodly feelings (unrighteous anger, rebellion, bitterness, etc.), then maybe one needs to pray about it and look within our own heart to see what the true root of the issue is? I know when someone tries to legalistically impose something upon me, my flesh is the first to respond, maybe from rebellion or perhaps a root of bitterness? Either way, let the Lord lead you in all things and not a fear of man.

 2012/2/6 8:27

 Re: Again a story

On the eve of the Bolshevik revolution the Russian Orthodox Church was said to be debating the important doctrinal question of the ages. That question was how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. What insued through the poison of communism was the slaughter of Christians. More Christians were killed under the rule of Stallin then Jews under Hitler.

As you debate this all important issue of the head covering none of you have any idea what is being set in place for the remnant in America. As a matter of fact if you knew the reality of what awaits the followers of Christ in America it would scare you. Honestly a number of you would be frightened out of your minds. If you think shipping containers and death camps are in Eritrea and N. Korea guess again.

If we are imprisoned and martyred for our faith I doubt the head covering will be of little concern. Might I suggest there are greater concerns such as extended time in the word and prayer.

You are camping in 1 Cor11. How many of you have studied and meditated through the truths of Hebrews , 1 Peter, and Revelatio?. I think you will find the truths of those letters to be more rewarding for the soul and sustain you in prison then the head covering. But then the head covering might keep a sister warm in a cold jail cell.

Baine Scogin

 2012/2/6 8:49

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


I think you will find the truths of those letters to be more rewarding for the soul and sustain you in prison then the head covering.

Hello Blaine, It’s true that our narrow dogmas will be useless in times of persecutions. As Wurmbrandt wrote: “I did not live on dogma then (ie when in prison)”

However, I object to any suggestion that the topic be banished. It can be fruitful if we so choose. Why not go back to the original thread and join BrotherTom. His aim is to take a flimsy and fruitless biblical application and turn it into a powerful living reality – one that will indeed be most useful when persecuted in prison. There is a place for the “head covering” especially in circumstances where evil abounds. And you have much to offer which can keep it steered in that direction.

See you there. There's good stuff happening!



 2012/2/6 9:43Profile

Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3559
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: Head Coverings??

Where is the original thread? I thought that this was a "new" thread and said, "Ugh, here we go again." I wish people didn't just see "Post New Thread" and think that was "Reply." I will look for the original thread.


 2012/2/6 10:09Profile

 Re: Head Coverings??

The question of head covering is this,

If a woman doesn't cover her head with some material object is she dishonouring her husband?

If she doesn't cover her head is she being rebellious and hell bound?

You'll know my answer by the way I present these verses to you. I am fully persuaded that what Paul was talking about had nothing to do with external material objects seeing that the man spoke more about Spiritual matters than outward appearances.

These are the verse and to which I stand firm on.

Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you NO GREATER BURDEN than these necessary things;

Acts 15:29 That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves[from], ye shall do well. [emphasis mine]

Paul would not have gone over and above this command hearing from the foundation itself and from what the Holy Spirit was instructing them. He would not have placed more burdens on top of burdens to people as he later said in the same chapter, "We have NO SUCH CUSTOMS, neither the Churches of God."

 2012/2/6 10:11


"Why some men be-labor this "teaching" is beyond me. What is the purpose? And with so many, many words they seek to rationalize 15 verses in the scriptures as if it is a major doctrine. Truth be told, it is not even a minor doctrine."

Sarah it's a control issue. It has nothing to do with true submission, it has all to do with control.

If anyone were to look into the spirit as to this teaching, they'd see the devil laughing back at them. It's devilish because it brings rebellion. That is why Paul said that we have no such custom, he was releasing people from this obligation if they wanted to.

Paul knew that if you bring some external law that HAD TO be obeyed, he knew that it would bring about lawlessness. We have to remember the mosiac law was given TO INCREASE THE TRANSGRESSION. I mean, come on. God brings in a law that He knew could not be obeyed in it's entirety. It's very design was meant to be broken by sinful flesh.

It's the garden of Eden all over again. God brings in a law saying, "don't touch". If you have a creation that is made in your image and you tell that image, "don't touch", he is bound for failure before he even started. How do you tell the image of God NOT to touch something? It's like telling Jesus not to heal on the Sabbath. He's going to do it.

Likewise, if women are commanded to wear a hat on their head or to grow their hair down to the floor, they are going to rebel against that because it's only natural to do so, "For what the law could not do being weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh".

Does anyone see that, or better yet, does any one hear that?

Through the working of the law through the flesh was sin. He is not saying the law is sin, but the law working through the flesh PRODUCED SIN, it increased it.

This is why there is no law regarding head coverings for women, and that is why Paul said, there are no such customs in the churches of God.

If a man who has a wife has a conviction on such matters. The way to go about it is NOT to force the issue but rather just tell her your convictions and to leave the matter with her.

Don't tell her, "Thou shalt wear thy hair longeth". Say something like, "I want us to be right in all things concerning the scriptures, and if you have a conviction that you think I should be living up to, please state them now so we can be not only right before God but right before one another".

Pray once about it and leave the matter before God. When and if any changes come they will come naturally out of your heart and not out of a commandment that is either written on stone or in ink.

 2012/2/6 10:41

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