This sermon is going to look into a complete guide to head covering in Christianity.
To make this semon a complete guide to head covering in Christianity, we shall attempt to touch on the following matters as sub headings:
- Where the controversy about head covering arises.
- Head covering vs hair covering.
- Head covering in orthodox churches.
- Shaving the head for women.
- Head covering in new age churches.
- Covering the head because of Angels.
- Head covering and sexuality.
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 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. 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. 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. For man is not from woman, but woman from man.
Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as the woman was from the man, even so the man also is through the woman; but all things are from God. Judge among yourselves.
Is it proper for the woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Corinthians 11:4-15).
Where the controversy about head covering arises.
The scriptural text above on head covering in Christianity, is one of the most confusing and controversial portions of the bible, that is why so many people have wrongly interpreted it.
Now from the above text we can establish the fact that an head covering for a man is a no go. But for the woman, the problem comes in verse 15; where Paul says that the long hair has been given to a woman for covering.
This means that in place of any other head covering, she can use a long hair.
In other words, a short haircut is forbidden; but if a woman has a long hair she can use it in place of a head tie or cap etc; which also saves as a head covering.
Head covering vs hair covering.
Another problem in the above text is that Paul was not talking about the covering of the hair but rather the head.
That is to say if Paul had said that a woman should cover their hair and afterwards talked about the hair being an head covering, it would have been easy for us to simply and quickly rule out the mentality of women using long hair in place of any other head covering.
But in order to understand this portion better, let us logically examine all the orthodox churches that descended from the time of Paul.
Head covering in orthodox churches.
The Catholics, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, etc, and see if women there are keeping long hairs as covering.
Because they are the only ones who would exactly understand what Paul was saying; since the people who always delivered his letters would interpret whatever Paul was saying, as well as he, Paul; would also do when he physically visits them.
And since after proper examination, we will not find any orthodox women keeping long hairs as a covering; we can therefore go back to review the passage and rely on the Spirit Who was given to us to reveal all mysteries in helping us to understand exactly what Paul was saying about head covering in Christianity.
Shaving the head for women.
In verse 6 Paul gave two options to the women; “if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn”.
Which is the same thing as saying: a woman should remove all the hairs from her head if she does not want to cover it.
But knowing that it is the head that makes most women beautiful, that is to say; if we do a proper experiment of bringing out all the women and have their heads shaved; most of them will look uglier than men.
Paul then went further to say:”it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved” and later revealed to us in verses 15 that long hair is a thing of glory for the woman.
In other bible translations like the Good News; the phrase “thing of beauty”is used to describe a woman’s natural long hair.
(Please note well how Paul began his statement in verse 14:”does not even nature itself teach you that…”)
Meaning that women are naturally beautiful when they have long hairs; since it is this long hairs that covers their ugliness.
And with this discovery, you can vividly understand how Paul arrived at the statement; “for her hair is given to her for a covering”.
Head covering in new age churches.
But it is however sad to discover that the misunderstanding of the discovery above; which leads to the misinterpretation of Paul’s statement of verse 15; has brought so much confusion among our so called “new age” churches. concerning the issue of head covering in the church.
They even go as far as saying that the orthodox churches did not really understand what Paul was trying to say about this issue.
But they forget that Paul’s letters back then used to be properly interpreted in the church when it was read; either by the bearer of that letter or Paul himself when he visited them.
But when it reached unstable and ignorant people they will misinterpret it to suit their selfish lusts; even as Peter himself pointed out in (2 Peter 3:14-16)
It might also interest you to know that Paul himself knew that people were misinterpreting his letters even while he was alive that was why he wrote to the Romans in (Romans 3:5-8)
And in case you are confused with the above scripture; let me enlighten you about what Paul means here.
He is writing about how people misquote him to arrive at a point where they say; “let us do evil so that good may come”.
And you get that understanding at where he says “as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
So there is no way Paul would not have ceased every opportunity to make sure all his letters were properly interpreted to every church he sent them to.
Head covering because of Angels.
Another point to note in this issue is what Paul said concerning head covering and the angels: “For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels”.
Beloved, angels, as we all know; are God’s messengers sent from heaven to minister to human beings on earth.
And there is no way they would attend to anyone who is not properly dressed; while they are in God’s presence.
Head covering and sexuality.
The next point to note is the fact that, the pagan or Gentile women; during the time Paul wrote the text were characterized by adorning of expensive hairstyles, costly apparels and jewelries, expensive perfumes etc.
And this they did as an imitation to the various gods they were worshipping, as well as to use it in trapping the male worshippers into all manners of sexual immoralities; as Paul earlier noted to the Corinthians that they have followed the pagans lifestyle and even done more than them.
It is actually discovered that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not named among the Gentiles-that a man has his father’s wife.1 Corinthians 5:1.
And as we clarify in the above text the Corinthians women, just like the Gentiles and even worst, were using their outward beauty through modes of dressing to tempt the men into sexual lusts.
And one of those ways was the adorning of arranging their hairs which Peter also warned the Christian women against in his epistles.
Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair…1 Peter 3:3.
That was why Paul admonished them to always have their heads covered while in the church.
And if you are still in doubt, then you are not conversant with the scriptures; because the same Paul, we claim said the hair was given to women for a covering; wrote to Timothy thus:
In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,1 Timothy 1:9
And with no further ado, the above text clearly over rules the misinterpretation of women using long hairs as head covering in Christianity.
Finally permit me to uncover the whole secret of this sermon which is in the very context of our main text.
But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.1 Corinthians 11:16
And as we can all bear witness, Paul concluded that text by telling us that there is no such custom that permits women in the church of God to use their long hairs as head covering.
Therefore, because of the sexual immorality rampant in our today’s society, it is very wrong for our Christian sisters to let their beauty be that of outward adorning of the hair as Peter said.
Most especially now that we have artificial hairs everywhere) while they are in God’s house (church).
And for that reason, let all our Christian women hearken to Paul’s instruction and have a symbol of authority on their head be it head ties, caps, canopies etc. if not for anything else but for the sake of the angels who will refuse to minister to them if they disobey this order.
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