No Such Custom

Corinthians 11:4-16

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered (long hair), dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered (short hair) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven (with a razor).

For if the woman be not covered (without long hair), let her also be shorn (sheared, as with scissors): but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn (sheared) or shaven (as with a razor), let her be covered (with long hair).

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head (with long hair), 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 (long hair; glory) because of the angels. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered (with sheared or a shaved head)? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair (covered), it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair (covered), it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The bible says that the carnal mind cannot know God. The carnal mind always seems to desire bondage, even though it likes to rebel against laws. But when men want to bind others, and be bound themselves, they will always find a way to distort some passage of scripture to support their ignorance. These pharisaical hypocrites do not wish to enter heaven, and they would take you down with them.* This brings us to the topic of head coverings, also referred to as veiling.

The passages above do not describe a prescription for the cloth veiling of women, or men. Paul is speaking from a creation standpoint, and not against a “cultural background”, that would in turn, be somehow (in)applicable today. As the general rule of exegesis demands, context is what determines the meaning. If anything, the Corinthian men and women were keeping customs that their culture (Greek) demanded, which was very liberal, such as bald heads, long-haired men, short-haired women, among other things, including nude statues.

In verse 3, Paul states that the head of every man is Christ, and that the head of every woman is man, with God being the head of Christ. So any man praying or prophesying with his head covered in long hair, dishonors Christ. Every woman praying or prophesying having her head uncovered with long hair, dishonors her husband.

We also see that in this entire chapter, Paul is disappointed in the Corinthians for their much division. Adding rules and not following the ones that are to be followed. But when pharisaical hypocrites study the passages of scripture to find ways to bind men, they see these passages as a command, even a salvific matter, that women should not only wear veils when praying *(I do not add prophesying here because these same morons do not believe in modern prophecy), but that they should be worn at all times, as a sign of submission to her husband.

They say that a man can never pray with, let’s say, a hat on his head, or at least his prayers will not be heard, nor considered. Although scripture speaks this way of prayer conditions, it never speaks of wearing cloth on the head to be heard, or without it.

But these men like to feel dominant and powerful over their women, and lord over them their many bindings for things that pertain to the flesh, and not the spirit.

Critical Thinking

  • If the long hair is given to women, for a covering of their bald scalps, and it is also a glory to her, then why would it need to be covered by cloth to hide it? Would it even matter then, if women had sheared or shaved heads? Why? The point is, that if it is comely to pray with a bald head, or a sheared haircut, then it is comely to be keep that appearance under normal circumstances*, and not just during prayer and prophesying.

  • What happens when you are in a situation, and that veil isn’t available?

    Are women to disrobe their shirts and put them on their heads just to pray? No where do the scriptures teach that the prayers of women can only be heard or considered while their heads are clothed with cloth. God says that He has given women their long hair for a covering. When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He made no mention of veiling, or hair.

  • Lastly, notice that this alleged command was left to us to determine subjectively and relatively. In other words, where do we draw the line in veiling concepts? Culture? Who says? Is it reduced to just a handkerchief on the head-top, or should it be covering the face? Is not the face part of the head? Why not go all the way and cover your entire head, face, and even the whole body, just to be sure, like the Muslims? Does the cloth material matter as well? Is it important or not? Why or why not?

Like it or not, these passages proclaim that men should look like men, and that women should look like women. There should be no guesswork or confusion regarding the identity of the sexes.

If man is looking to bound all over again, we have no such custom, and neither should the churches of God.

2 thoughts on “No Such Custom

  1. The traditional view is that it refers to head coverings, while the newer and more recent scholarly interpretation of this passage is that long hair is a sufficient covering. Both views has its merits. I have not come to a point where I can decide on one view over the other. In any case, it should be clear that the passage is speaking about the order of creation rather than to culture.

    Vincent Cheung also has a very brief write up on this.

    http://www.vincentcheung.com/2011/06/02/head-covering-and-hermeneutics/
    “It does not teach that a woman must wear a veil, but only that she should not look like a man. She should have long hair and maintain a feminine appearance.”

    Liked by 1 person

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