Head Covering in Modern Times. Is This a Necessary Practice?

Head coverings. While Paul spends a good bit of time discussing them, whenever I read the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians, I usually walk away terribly confused. However, this past weekend I believe that the Lord has opened my eyes to something in this passage that I have never seen before, and I am just bursting to share it with you! (Hint: It doesn’t have much to do with headship, and everything to do with God’s glory).

My “view” of head coverings has changed over my life. When I was a teenager, I was taught that the entire passage was cultural, and had absolutely no place in our life today. I was told that in Corinth, only harlots wore their hair uncovered, so it was unbecoming for Christian women to do so during that time. At the same time, men in our culture regularly remove hats during worship and prayer. I was confused by the double standard. As a young adult, I believed that a covering was called for, but that this covering was long hair in women.

Let me step back for a moment, and share the passage in question with you.

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 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 woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a 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. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. ~1 Corinthians 11:1-16

You see, I took the words, “But if a women has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering,” as meaning “long hair fills all of the confusing requirements above”. Also, verse 16 wiped away the requirement in it’s entirety if there was “contention” (or so I thought).

A few years back, I ordered some homeschool material from Christian Light Education. With my order, they happened to enclose a tract about head coverings and my interest was peaked. Then almost one year ago I somehow stumbled upon a website called Garlands of Grace, that had the most beautiful head coverings that I had ever laid my eyes on. I did some research about head coverings, and realized that up until the sexual revolution all women regularly wore hats to church. If you have ever read my blog before, you probably know that I think that the feminist movement is detrimental to our families, and I aim to basically be the opposite of a “feminist”. I learned that Jacinda from Growing Home and Olivia from Fresh Modesty cover during worship, and my curiosity grew all the more.

Although this passage of scripture was still a puzzle to me, through study I figured out a few of the pieces.

  1. Paul did not say that the reason to cover is to distinguish the ladies of the Corinthian church from the harlots in town. I believe that if this was the reason, he would have said it. Instead, he appeals to the creation order and angels as the reasoning behind head coverings. I would say that these are reasons that are still in place today.
  2. While studying, verse 6 really sounded like hair was not the intended head covering. “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.” It wouldn’t make sense if the “covered” in this verse meant “hair”. For example, “For if a women does not have long hair, let her also be shorn”. If she didn’t have long hair, she would already be shorn. This just didn’t make sense to me.
  3. While the KJV and NKJV, says that “if anyone is contentious, we have no such custom,” a few other versions such as the NASB say, “if anyone is contentious, we have no other custom“. The use of “other” made so much more sense to me. Before I would wonder, “Why would Paul spend so much time on the topic, just to say, “never mind if you don’t want to”. Besides that, we should never be contentious about a teaching of scripture.

Given these discoveries, several months ago I decided to make a couple of wide headbands and purchase a few hats to begin wearing to worship. (These verses are in a section where Paul is discussing public worship). I was still puzzled, still confused, but I thought if this is something the Lord might possibly want me to do, then I should do it. It is a little thing, but I want to be obedient in the little and big things!

Up until this point, the only arguments that I heard concerning the covering was as a sign of headship. While it is true that covering is a sign of headship, it is also so.much.more!
Are you still with me? I hope that I haven’t lost you, I am getting to what in my opinion is the really important part.

Months ago I began subscribing to a site called The Head Covering Movement. (Yes, my husband has teased me for this, ha!) Anyhow, while reading their articles and blog posts I began to piece a few clues together that has made this passage become clear to me.

  • Clue #1 Paul used two completely separate Greek words for “covering” in the passage.

“The ‘covering’ mentioned in verses 4 and 5 is katakalupto which means to veil, cover up one’s self. The ‘covering’ in verse 15 is peribolaion which means to wrap around (as in peri-meter).

Why would Paul have used two different words if the Holy Spirit had wanted him to mean the same covering?”

Now the scriptures began to become clearer to me. Sometimes the English language doesn’t translate exactly right, and we must go back to the Greek. Paul most definitely wasn’t talking about hair in the beginning of the passage. He was specifically instructing women to cover their hair with a veil. But why?

  • Clue #2 It is all about God’s glory!!

Okay y’all, this is the most important part! I do not know how I have missed this as many times as I have read this passage!

When we are praying and prophesying in public worship, who should get the glory? Where should all of the glory fall? To God.

If we look back to 1 Corinthians, we see that in verse 7 “women are the glory of man“. Not God. Now let’s look at verse 15 again, which is the verse where many of us become confused and declare that our hair is enough.

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 11:15

So…while long hair is a “covering” given by nature, it is a glory to…us. I believe that Paul is instructing us to cover our peribolaion (hair covering) with a katakalupto (physical covering, like a veil or hat) so that all glory will go to God during worship. I also now better understand why some women chose to cover full-time, and I totally respect that.

I’m a big advocate for modest dress. I’ve been known to say that men cannot pay full attention to the worship service if women around them are wearing short skirts and low-cut tops. Why is this? Because women are the glory of man. In the same way, I believe that Paul is telling us that our hair is our very own glory, and that this should be covered during worship as well. Because when it comes to glory, God deserves it all!

Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul instructs us that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:27) Our physical bodies and hair are parts of our flesh.

From an article that I found online:

Notice the references in verses 7 & 15 to glory. When the church comes together as a congregation to worship God, whose glory do we want to see? Man’s glory? Or God’s glory? The Apostle Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 1:27 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” Think about the implications of this.

When we gather as a congregation to worship God, His glory is paramount, and our glory needs to disappear, get hidden, be out of sight. We don’t need to see any sort of human glory in God’s presence, the only glory seen in the church meeting ought to be the glory of Christ. Whether a person covers or uncovers their head depends on whose glory they want to be displayed.”

Since a woman’s hair is her glory, it cannot be the covering of her glory.

Also, I have always wondered why a covering would not be necessary if a woman’s hair was cut short. If it was a simply symbol of headship, why should it matter if a woman had hair or not? A woman is still a woman regardless of her hair length… 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 (1 Corinthians 11:6). I believe that Paul wrote this since if a woman’s hair (glory) is cut short or shaved, there is no longer any need to cover it in the presence of God, since it has lost it’s glory.

I think that I better understand verse 10 as well now, which has always been a complete mystery to me!

For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

1 Corinthians 11:10

Why in the world should women wear a head covering because of the angels? Because angels are in the business of glorifying God! Angels are present during our worship, and wouldn’t they want to see all glory going to God, and not the least bit going to ourselves?

I am beyond thrilled that a “mystery passage” of scripture has been made plain to me. If you have ever been confused about this passage, or have contemplated head coverings, I hope that this has helped.

Another resource that you might find helpful is To Cover or Not To Cover by R.C. Sproul at Ligonier Ministries.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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110 thoughts on “Head Covering in Modern Times. Is This a Necessary Practice?

  1. kate gold says:

    Also, I have to argue that the Garlands of Grace headbands are not real coverings- what do they cover, an inch? two?
    And, along with this, I feel that women should not cut their hair *at all* but thats a whole nother bucket of worms, isnt it?

      • Stacey Blevins says:

        Sorry, I feel I should expound a little more on my reply since it may not make sense what I was saying. Think about the Lord’s Supper, we do it as a symbol to proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection until He comes again. It doesn’t matter if we use the little wafer communion crackers or break whole loafs of bread…. it doesn’t matter if we use juice or wine. Each gathering usually has their own preference on what best communicates this symbol of Christ’s blood and body, but really the substance isn’t as a big of a deal as actually doing it in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, anything not done in faith will lead us right to destruction. We can’t put our faith in the object or even in the obedience, that would be legalism… instead we put our faith in God and do as He says because of that faith to the best we understand, knowing that He is merciful and sees the depths of our hearts. Just my thoughts on the topic, I’ve been praying through this for over a year now, and this is where I am as of now.

      • Nicole says:

        Stacey, I have always totally agreed with this (headband being enough, since it is a symbol). If it is simply a symbol of headship it is enough, but if it is to be a covering of our glory, so that only God’s glory is evident in worship than I’m not so sure. I think I might start wearing my hair up if I’m wearing a wide headband…but I don’t know. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, I am with you. 🙂

      • Sarah D says:

        I agree that the headcovering is a symbol and it isn’t clear exactly what it is to look like (a bonnet like the Amish; a little cap like the Mennonites; a snood; a scarf; a hat; etc.). And, all things that we do must be done in faith to please God. =)
        However, I must disagree with the use of the Lord’s Supper as an example along the same lines as a headcovering. I’m not trying to be contentious, but would humbly like to share what I’ve been learning about the Lord’s Supper. The only things that should be used in the communion are unleavened bread and grape juice. Here are the reasons: Passover and sin. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at Passover. During this time, the Jews were to completely rid their homes of any kind of yeast/ mold/ leaven. Regular bread would have some kind of leavening in it and would not be permissible during Passover. The same with wine: it is fermented and would contain yeast, also not permissible. Jesus would have used unleavened bread and grape juice/ unfermented wine. The second reason would be sin. When Jesus was talking to the disciples He said, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” Jesus was referring to sin (it seems specifically the sin of pride. Just as leavening “puffs up” the bread, so pride “puffs up” the person.). If God equates leaven with sin (not that all leavening, yeast, etc. is sinful, just the way Jesus uses the term here), then why would one use leavened bread to represent Jesus’ body? The bread and juice of the Lord’s Supper represents Jesus’ body and blood (it doesn’t turn into Jesus’ body and blood, but represents it) and Jesus was without sin. Therefore, one would have to use “untainted” bread and juice for this representation.
        As I said, I’m not trying to be contentious. I just wanted to share what I’ve learned so maybe to help others. =) I would never condone legalism, as it is adding or taking away from God’s Word. I am just one that is seeking to please God, just as we all are.

  2. amber says:

    Interesting topic and I have wondered about this myself. Although, I have discovered that Paul’s writings cause division, division, division. His writings always seemed to be used to try to prove that the ten commandments and sabbaths were done away with. I also question why he called himself an apostle when there were already 12 apostles even after Judas died and he was replaced by James. There was never mention of 13 apostles.
    The other apostles only referred to him as brother and he was always seperate from them when he preached and yet the other apostles traveled together. I have heard that the dead sea scrolls depicted him as the spouter of lies…… I do realize not everyone agrees on Paul but some scriptures that I find enlightening are first a warning that Peter wrote about Paul’s writings: 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest , as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before , beware lest ye also , being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Yahshua (Jesus Christ). To him be glory both now and for ever . Amen. 2 Peter 3:14-18.
    Sure, Paul has some great things to say but so did Ghandi, Muhammed, Buddha ect. And I believe that is why Yahshua says, ” Man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth’s out of the mouth of Yahweh” Matthew 4:4 I have prayed for wisdom and discernment and have discovered some great bible truths but yet I still find Paul’s writings quite confusing. He seems to talk in circles. Just another perspective on should we follow what Paul says? or should we focus on Yahshua and Yahweh’s words? That being the people we know he actually ordained to speak on his behalf.

    • Nicole says:

      Paul’s writing are part of the inspired Word of God. They wouldn’t be included in scripture if they were not. They aren’t Paul’s words, but God’s words.

      • Amber Hurd says:

        So he said, but where did Yahshua mention him as his disciple? It is just something to think and pray about that is all. Even at the congregation I attend no one can agree on Paul 🙂 I always enjoy your posts btw! Yahweh the father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will answer all! just like he says in Jeremiah 33:3 I just don’t understand why he gave all these supposed “rules” to follow when Yahweh already gave us the ten commandments and his son as an example. It just seems like what the Pharisees did that Yahshua spoke against. They were always making man made laws and traditions. Paul actually was a Pharisee, one that supposedly changed his ways but that was where he started from…… He was a saint killer that had a vision and suddenly turned from his ways. He was killing Jews who believed in the messiah because he thought it was what he was supposed to do. He actually rebuked Peter as well. Why would he rebuke his fellow apostle? Again just some things to think and pray about. That is what I am going to continue to do.

      • Amber Hurd says:

        Paul supposedly had a vision/dream of Yahshua. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 32:23 and The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation mentions only 12 apostles well. Also I stand corrected Mattias replaced Judas. But it stands to reason that they were 12 apostles not including Paul.

      • Dave Cooke says:

        Although Matthias replaced Judas, others were also called Apostles, athough not of the 12. Paul obviously is one, but James, Jesus’ half-brother is actually referred to as an Apostle as well, in Galatians 1:19, and Barnabas in Acts 14:14.

      • Sarah D says:

        That’s exactly right, Nicole. I would like to point out: Judas was replaced by Matthias, not James. Also, Christ chose His apostles. Mattias was chosen by the disciples casting lots. Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus and chose him as His disciple.

      • Amber Hurd says:

        Thank you Sarah 🙂 I did correct myself after about Mattias. We must remember that Paul did not see the physical Yahshua (Jesus) but he claimed to see him in a vision. Yahshua had already been resurrected and back up to his father when Paul came on the scene.

      • Amber Hurd says:

        Sorry to get off the subject this is just something I have been trying to figure out in truth and prayer. I too have wondered about head coverings. May I also suggest 119 ministries which examines biblical truths and encourages you to also study and pray on all truths that they examine.:)

      • Wayfaring says:

        He didn’t claim to see Jesus in a vision. The Bible is clear that Jesus met with him and spoke with him. The words that were spoken to him are clearly written for all to read and the encounter left him physically altered, all be it temporarily. Also this actual event is recorded in Acts by Luke under divine inspiration, so it is not Paul making “claims” it is Luke recording the very Words of God. These are the words that were recorded, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Acts 9:5

  3. Tara Jefferis says:

    Nicole, you are becoming a favorite blogger 🙂 You put things so clearly. I have some really pretty coverings but am nervous to wear them since noone else in my Church does, but they are so lovely they just look like everyday wear.

    • Sarah D says:

      Don’t be nervous! We have not been given a “spirit of fear”. I’ve been to many different congregations where almost no one else covers. I’ll admit that it feels awkward, but I just try to remember/ remind myself that I am not covering for man’s approval but to glorify God. Who knows? By you covering your head others may be encouraged to do so as well. =) I know when I cover that I’ve received many complements over the years from women and men. People generally respect a head covering, even if they don’t understand it.

    • Abbi says:

      I agree with Sarah to not be nervous. You will probably end up getting some questions from time to time as covering ones head is not normal in our day in age but you will find that most people have just never studied this portion of scripture. I personally generally wear a hat rather than a veil as to me that is more modest (in harmony with those I am around). I have pretty much always been the only one who covers in any of the congregations that I have been a part of or visited. People soon get used to it.

  4. Sarah D says:

    So glad you discovered this wonderful truth! I researched this some years ago and began wearing scarves or hats during public worship. Headcovering seems to be another casualty of the feminist movement as it was a common practice all through history until the last 50 years or so.

  5. Diana says:

    Nicole, good for you! Excellent article!

    I started covering, full-time, a year and a half ago after my husband turned to me one night and said, “Hon, I think the Bible is teaching that women should wear head coverings. Would you mind trying it?” It was such a freeing statement. I’d always wondered about that passage, but EVERY pastor seems to brush it off with a “It was cultural, let’s ignore it and move on.” Headcovering has been such a blessing. It’s a statement of obedience and submission, it’s a witness to the world, and it’s a great reminder to me. I love it.

    Thank you for having the courage to write! As someone said above, you’re becoming one of my favorite bloggers!! 🙂


  6. Amy says:

    Great post! We have been pondering this very passage for a couple of weeks now. This post cleared up some confusion for us. However, I am wondering now what exactly constitutes a head covering? I love Garlands of Grace but wonder, as someone else did, if that truly is a head covering since you’re not really covering much and they are SO pretty that you really are just drawing attention to your head covering……doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

    Also, how do you get the darned things to stay in your hair! I always thought I should ask one of the Mennonite women in my area but never had the courage. Whenever I wear a scarf (usually for “looks” not a covering) the darned thing never stays on and I give up. Bending up and down and dealing this little’s makes it even harder to get a hat/scarf/bandana to stay. Thoughts????

    • Nicole says:

      I’ve had some of the same thoughts! I usually wear a hat or a wide headband that I’ve made out of a plain plastic headband, felt, and fabric during worship. The fabric is 3 to 4 inches wide. A hat covers fairly well, but I do understand the need for more coverage! I also am now contemplating putting my hair up instead of wearing it down. I’m not there yet, it is difficult wearing something that nobody else does. 🙂 I’m open to do whatever The Lord leads me to do though.

      • Lara Elaine says:

        Hi Nicole! I think your totally right about the headcoverings! Women should wear head coverings during worship. My mom has just recently started always wearing a headcovering to church, she says its hard to do what nobody else is doing either! But she feels called to wear one and stand out. She sometimes wears a pretty messy bun with a beautiful head scarf as a headband, and it always looks so pretty.

    • Sarah D says:

      To keep a covering in place: bobby pins! =) When I wear a scarf/ kerchief/ bandana, I will place bobby pins in the fabric while making sure to catch some hair. I’ve seen Mennonites do this with their little hat coverings, too. Hope this helps. =)

    • A Proverbs 31 Wife says:

      Hi Amy, I wear two different styles of coverings, one that ties under my chin (and I really don’t like), and the other is a bandana style. I use little clip-its or bobby pins to hold it in place. But I do know that putting your hair up, or in braids also helps.

    • Kay says:

      I wear coverings from Garlands of Grace, and many of their styles are made to wear fully open or bunched into a band. They cover the top of my head and part of the back.

      I cover most of the time, but don’t feel I can’t pray if uncovered either. I pray in the shower or bed, etc.

      I also understand the glory of man to be a different glory than that mentioned in regards to long hair. Long hair is *a glory to a woman, but she is the glory of man whether she has long hair or not. So I don’t see this as an appeal to cover all the hair, or as a modesty issue. It’s about setting apart our personal glory and willingly submitting to God’s order.

      Likewise, I see the verses later on modesty to be more about demeanor than clothing. Physical modesty comes pretty easy. Modesty in behavior can be much more of a challenge. Just as covering the hair’s glory may come easily to some that might chafe at true submission to Christ.

  7. Amy says:

    And one other question – at what age should girls start covering their hair? My oldest is not yet 6 and I can’t imagine getting her to wear something on her head without losing it, let alone my youngers….

    • Nicole says:

      Personally, I don’t require my girls to cover, and since Paul seems to be talking to women I’m going to let them make their own decision when they are grown. But that is just me.

      • Sarah D says:

        Since Paul is speaking to the Church, it would seem reasonable to assume that one would need to be a Christian before being required to wear a covering. Just a thought. =)

    • Jacqueline says:

      In my church, women and girls wear a head covering. Usually a hat. Believe it or not, there are lots of little hats available that work well for little girls, although they do sometimes have to be replaced. 🙂

    • Kay says:

      Since I wouldn’t allow a small boy to wear a hat in worship or prayer time, I also put coverings on my young girls. I bought bonnets that are Amish (I think) and they stay put pretty well. (My girls are 5, 6, and 8)

    • Abigail says:

      I would think that at the age you require your sons *not* to wear a hat (covering) in a meeting would be the age you would require your daughter to wear a hat (covering.)

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for addressing this subject, Nicole. As I hinted at above in response to another commenter, this isn’t anything new to me – I’ve always attended the same church, and we wear head coverings during worship. (I understand and respect those who choose to cover full-time, but don’t feel that’s necessary for me.) It’s always good to hear a clear explanation of this rather difficult and often misunderstood passage. You mentioned considering wearing your hair up. I prefer to keep mine down. Although a hat doesn’t cover all of my hair, there’s also the issue of femininity, and having hair up under a hat can make it look very short/more masculine from a distance. That’s a personal preference, I guess. I think a scarf would be a more ideal head-covering, but in our church we wear hats, and if I were to show up with a head scarf, it would possible be perceived as irreverent since it’s not as elegant as a hat, and it would at any rate draw some attention to myself. So I stick with hats!

  9. Lisha says:

    I began covering a little over a year ago – so much of your writing here brings me back to my own journey. (I shared my thoughts in a post titled ‘Take cover!’) For years, I’d felt like the Lord was asking it of me, but there is no one I know in real life who covers her head so I kept feeling so weird about the whole thing.

    Then I researched it, and found much of what you lay out so clearly here, and decided to obey. And, what sweet freedom!, it has been such a blessing. I’m still the only person I know here in my community that covers, and I’ve gotten some looks/remarks/questions, but I know this is what the Father is asking me to do and that He is being glorified by it.

    Thank you for sharing this, so graciously!

  10. Amanda Jane says:

    I just came over from A Mama’s Story. I love the research you’ve done on this topic. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned.

  11. Melissa Fife says:

    At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I embarked on my head-covering journey over a year ago. I’m a scholar at heart, so I researched it thoroughly and was absolutely shocked to find that all eminent theologians (that I could find) prior to the 1960s agreed that covering during worship (at the least) was scripturally sound practice. It’s disheartening, in a way, to know that fashion and convention changed centuries of church practice so completely and thoroughly in a matter of a decade or two. While I would never claim that covering is a salvation issue, it does puzzle me that so many churches, pastors, and seminaries have dismissed it out-of-hand and don’t give it a second thought anymore. My own church, which prides itself on being theologically fundamentalist, does not promote (or even address) head-covering. I’m the only woman that does it. It makes me a bit sad, because it’s such an easy, simple act of obedience, in my opinion. Blessings to you on your covering journey.

    In Christ,

  12. Verna says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts/what God is bringing to your attention. I find this whole subject very fascinating. I’m eager to learn more. The headbands at Garland of Grace are so beautiful!

  13. middlewaymom says:

    Hopping over from Mama Moments Monday. I just wanted to say I find this very interesting. I love how you walk through your study step-by-step. As a Muslim, we cover our hair when we worship, or when we are in the company of men other than our husband or relatives. Many Muslims have pointed to the verses you mention in the Bible as a sign of previous religions covering as well, and it not being a new matter for Muslims. Anyway, I enjoyed your post! 🙂

  14. Alyssa says:

    I have been praying about this for months and have felt very convicted, but my husband said I couldn’t wear a head covering because it was weird and rode it off as my being prideful. Hopefully the Garlands of Grace coverings will be approved. If not, what do you suggest? I continue to go by my husband’s wishes.

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Alyssa, I would just keep praying. 🙂 If it is something that you feel would be absolute sin if you didn’t do, than keep looking for an alternative, but if not, I personally would follow my husband’s wishes.

    • Abigail says:

      Absolutely honor your husbands wishes! But I do think you could reasonably ask what he thinks of this hat, or that scarf, or this bandana, with the question, “would this be something you’re comfortable with me wearing?” And see what he says. If you’re respectful and give him options and value what he says, I imagine he will come around.

  15. Lois H says:

    I have studied this topic as a teen when a very close friend of mine moved with her family into an old order Mennonite community. And while I have not changed my belief on what these verses mean you have given me some food for thought and further study. Among other things my father (a Baptist pastor) has recently started teaching that head coverings are necessary. I have some serious disagreements with the way that he approaches things of a spiritual nature. However you brought out some points that I had never heard presented before. I will definitely be doing some further study on the subject.

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks Lois. I was pretty much astounded when I pieced together some of this from study this week. I’ve looked at this passage for years, and never saw this before. 🙂

  16. Amy says:

    Hi I’m new here. Good topic on headcovering. I personally don’t think just a headband alone is sufficient to cover your head. I believe their should be more coverage.

  17. Nan says:

    For me, I believe that this passage is talking about my spiritual headship and covering. And so, when I am in submission to my husband, he is my covering. Or rather, my submission to his (and God’s) authority is my covering. But I totally believe that you have to do what God is telling you to do when he tells you to do it. Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  18. Lisa says:

    I had the privilege of taking several Bible classes at Malone University, which is a Friends based liberal arts Christian university in Ohio. In one of those classes these verses were talked about. One of the accepted possible connections for “For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” (1 Cor. 11: 10) is Genesis 6: 2 and 4 (1 says daughters were born to men and 3 says God says man is mortal and will only live so long) ” 2 the sons of God (angels) saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God (angels) went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
    Now take this or leave it but women were to cover their hair to not attract the angels and make more Nephilim babies (angel – human hybrids). This can be seen as being supported by the previous sentence: “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.” Women were not created for the angels but for man. So a women’s hair should be covered so she does not attract the angels. This also might help http://gloryhidden.blogspot.com/2009/08/head-covering-long-hair-watchers-and.html

  19. Cathy says:

    A couple of questions. What about those of us that have short hair? I keep mine above my shoulders, it is very curly and thick and I have never liked it long. So is my hair not my “glory” because I choose to keep it short? Plus based on the verses, do women with short hair need head coverings?

    Funny that this came up, just yesterday my husband mentioned that he thought my hair would still look good even if it was long. Not sure I agree…….

    Verses like these still confuse me. I understand giving all the glory to God and not distracting those around us, but does a women’s hair really do that? In Biblical times it would not happen for a woman to be anywhere without a head covering unless she was a harlot. It just isn’t that way anymore. Is women’s hair still really viewed as “glory” that would take the glory away from God?

    I tell people we can’t pick and choose that we have to believe the whole Bible, not sure I am ready to live this one out.

    • Nicole says:

      It is confusing, isn’t it? In my own personal opinion, I think that this passage is saying that if you have short hair a covering isn’t necessary. How short is short? I don’t know. I’m one of those folks who say you can’t pick and choose verses either. For me, it isn’t too hard to wear a hat or headband to worship once a week, and that is how interpret the verses. I do think that hair is most definitely still a “glory” to women. Just take a look at the hair care aisle in stores, and I think you will know what I mean. Some women spend an hour or greater fixing their hair each day. Blessings to you!

    • Sarah D says:

      This is my personal opinion, so you’ll probably want to take it with a grain of salt. =)
      I’ve had both long and short hair while wearing a covering. When my hair has been short, I actually felt better having my head covered during worship. Most likely this is from my understanding that a woman should have long hair. I realize that not all women can have long hair (whatever that is; we aren’t told what length is “long”), but it seems the point of the verses is that a woman cover her head independent of the length of her hair.

  20. Trish says:

    I come from a church that teaches that long uncut hair is a woman’s covering. adult women are also generally expected to wear their hair up in worship. my hair is knee length so i usually wear it up just as a matter of convenience, or at least braided. If I leave it down, it attracts stares and comments. I am conflicted as to whether this is a way to be a testimony or if it is drawing undue attention to myself.

    I have read some of David Bercot’s writings regarding head coverings and I have to admit that he makes some pretty convincing arguments. I’m still not sure what to do. Some people already think I’m overly legalistic for wearing necklines up to my collar bone etc. I’m afraid I would embarrass my husband, since some people would no doubt believe I’ve come totally unhinged. But I do know from experience that even though being different is difficult, eventually people get used to it and don’t even notice anymore. What is the hardest is when those closest to you think you are going to far. being different from the world is one thing, being different in your church is another.

  21. Megan says:

    Hi there! I, like many others, have wondered about this passage. So, if a woman has short hair, there’s no need to cover? How short? I’m confused by the fact that there are certain criteria in regards to what length of hair will give a woman glory. I have short hair (to my chin), because my husband prefers it, and I’ve come to agree. I do receive occasional compliments on my hair, and I myself draw some measure of “self confidence” from having my hair “done”. I don’t do anything to draw attention to my hair (no color, clips, nothing); I just dry it and style as I go. It seems that, regardless of length, if a woman’s hair could be considered coaching, it could be covered? I personally feel this way about cloths, jewelry, hair, etc., for men and woman in general. I personally find anyone dressed in an immodest fashion distracting. Man our woman. These distracting detract from bringing God glory. Some responsibility lies with me in staying focused, and some with my brother our sister to dress with God’s glory in mind. I don’t see anywhere in the Word that says men are to dress modestly, but it just seems that if we’re to revere God and pursue His glory in all we do, we would naturally want to be modest.

  22. Hayley says:

    This is a very interesting interpretation. I agree with all but one point. If you have short hair, there is no need to cover? The woman should have both long hair AND cover. Please consider that the same passage mentions it being a shame for a man to have long hair. This would not only be talking about in worship, but always. The woman’s long hair is given her for a covering and is her glory, her hair is sufficient at home etc, but in public worship where the glory is to be given all to God, she needs an additional covering and, to hide her glory. If a woman shaved her head, it wouldn’t make it ok for her to go around bear headed. It would clearly be a shame “if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered”. See how clearly a woman should always be covered if her hair is cut off? When it is long, then she may wear the head covering in public worship only (of course she could continue to wear it all the time if she so chose). When Paul says “if it be a shame” that isn’t a question, it is a way of stating a fact. We know this by how he said “if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him”. The way the passage is worded with all the “ifs” is such a kind and gently way to get us thinking and connecting the dots so to speak. I hope I do not sound harsh or confusing.

    • Megan says:

      If you’re referring to my comment (I apologize for the typos which probably really confused my point!), I was referring to this comment in the piece: 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 (1 Corinthians 11:6).  I believe that Paul wrote this since if a woman’s hair (glory) is cut short or shaved, there is no longer any need to cover it in the presence of God, since it has lost it’s glory.
      I was just pointing out the fact that shorn is basically shaven, and unless she’s shaved her head, she’d need to be covered. And, as you pointed out, a woman with a shaved head would also cover because she’d be ashamed otherwise. The problem I have with hats, head bands, etc, as a covering is that they don’t cover your hair. If we take this instruction from Paul seriously, and accept what Paul teaches regarding the fact that the purpose of covering is to direct all glory to God, then shouldn’t we wear the most modest veil, that wouldn’t attract any attention and fully cover our hair, vs. jeweled hats and so forth? My pastor grew up in a church where all the women still wore hats, and he mentioned that it can become just as much as a “glory hog” as our hair. Ultimately, God is looking at our hearts, and for those who are truly His. I do think we, bringing to Him, should seek to be like Him, and obey what He’s given for us to obey. This truly is a difficult passage to understand, and many respects theologians have trouble coming to agreement. I’m just giving some extra consideration to all this lately.

  23. Hayley says:

    I was replying to the blogger’s post. This is what she wrote: “I believe that Paul wrote this since if a woman’s hair (glory) is cut short or shaved, there is no longer any need to cover it in the presence of God, since it has lost it’s glory.”

    I’m sure you must have been originally writing in response to the same part? 🙂

  24. Hayley says:

    Oh, and Megan, I know what you are talking about with headcoverings/hats being a “glory hog”. And many of them not really covering the head/hair anyway. Almost like jewelry for your head. lol I personally wear a crocheted barret (spelling?) type hat to church with my hair tucked in most of the time. I never thought about hiding the hair before though until now, it just looked more serious in my opinion, so I did it without thinking much. now i’m really thinking though! I would NOT call a headband a headcovering. It doesn’t cover your head, let alone your hair!

  25. Rashel says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart in this matter. I have pondered and prayed about this subject many times. I do not cover at this time and my husband is not convinced that is what the scripture means (we both find it confusing). After reading this, I know I will pray about it again and see if the Lord will lead us in what He would have me to do.

  26. Marie-Louise says:

    Some people I know don’t wear a covering when there are only women, only when among men and women. Other people say you should only cover when you’re married because of the husband-aspect. What do you think?

  27. carisa says:

    The Lord as also led our family to study headcoverings in the last couple months. It started with what you said about changing covering to hair, and it not making sense. We then studied with The Strongs, Vines, Interlinear Hebrew/Greek Bible, and Lexicon. We purposely did not look at men’s commentaries because we wanted to know what God said.
    One thing I learned what that the word “for” was different in vs. 15 was different than in the other verses. This for means “anti”, over against opposite.
    We also learned about the two different words for covering.
    After studying, we concluded to wear them all the time. One question I had was, if a woman isn’t to pray or prophesy in Church, why would she only wear it in Church? Paul says that woman are to be silent “hold ones peace” in Church.
    When I looked up the word for prophesy. I learned that it meant much more than what I thought.

    with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God

    to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation

    to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels

    under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others

    The last part is what concluded us to wear them full time. As the Lord prompts me to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, and comfort others all day. With almost 12 children, it is part of my daily tasks 🙂
    For me, when we first started getting conviction about it. My heart was hard. I didn’t want to, mostly because we are already “weird”, and I was having fear of man.
    It took probably a year before we started studying out what God said about it because I wanted to know, what He wanted and surrendered my will.
    I have been very blessed for being obedient. 🙂

  28. Sharon says:

    Hi, funny you should have written this. I hadn’t seen your blog for a few months but felt a prompting today to look you up. In the last week or so, I have felt a real conviction from the Holy Spirit to cover my head. I’d like to add a few things I’ve learned into the mix. I should add, that I was never brought up to do this.

    What really stood out to me was this

    1 Cor 11:4 “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head”.

    Paul can’t be talking about hair. All the men would have to be bald to honour God. It has to be something else.

    Secondly, I’m not so sure it’s just in worship. The previous passage is all about the marketplace and buying meat not about behaviour in public worship services. That verse isn’t until v17 well after this passage.That was a difficult “pill” for me to swallow. I didn’t want to change. I had many sleepless nights wrestling with God. My other thought is that it seems to be that married women are to cover whenever they pray or give a prophesy. Since I pray etc constantly throughout the day, as I raise my kids, homeschool etc, I have been wondering if I need to cover my hair all day.
    So 2 days ago I started doing this – with a scarf. I don’t know another soul who does it for this reason, but I’m still praying and asking for the truth.

    Can I also respond about someone’s comment about Paul teaching people they didn’t need to obey the law. It was in fact the exact opposite. He was accused of not teaching the law but that was the lie. The elders and everyone all knew this. Have another really good look at the Scriptures and you will see.

    Acts 21:24b “Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you (Paul), but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.”

    There are a heap of over verse also. Ask God to show you. Cheers!

    • Marie-Louise says:

      When women should wear a covering all the time, what about men that live in very cold/hot climates? Can they never wear hats? My neighbours need hats when they work in their gardens/ricefields…

      • Nicole says:

        A very, very good point. If women are to cover their heads at all times, then shouldn’t men uncover their heads always?

  29. Sharon says:

    Hi, (me again) I’ve been reading some of the above comments, especially about not picking and choosing scriptures. I’m interested if any ladies who think like this, wear 100% 1 fibre clothing e.g. 100% cotton or wool and or tassels? Hope you don’t mind me asking Nicole. Didn’t know any other forum to ask in. Sharon

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Sharon! For me, I look at the context of the scripture, and if there is any indication that it is for us today, I try my best to live by it. From my understanding, as Christians we are not under the Levitical law which was given to the Israelites to set them apart from other nations at that time in history. But I do believe that we can look at all of scripture for wisdom, and just like the Isrealites wore tassels on their clothing to remind them of who they belong to, I like to wear a cross necklace to remind me of the same thing. 🙂

  30. Emily says:

    I’ve been studying and praying about whether or not head coverings are required. I can read it either way – long hair or a material covering. I used to cover all the time but I stopped covering a few weeks ago, mostly because it stressed me out so much (falling off, not matching clothes, looking weird). I felt like when I left the house I was in such a bad mood that I couldn’t be a good Christian example. I am completely willing to start covering again. I want to please God and follow His will, but it’s so hard to when I don’t understand what He wants. So I’m hoping to come to a conclusion about the matter soon. (I want you to know that I’m not in any way trying to sound rude, just trying to type what I’m thinking in a polite manner.) I was wondering what you thought about Proverbs 20:29 -“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” Should a young man hide his strength or the old man hide his gray hair? I thought about wearing a covering but also leaving my hair down (since it seems that Mary’s hair was down when she wiped Jesus’ feet with it) but coverings fit so much better when my hair is up and it keeps my hair out of the way, yet I feel more feminine with my hair down. I just have so many different perspectives with the head covering. I’m so confused. I feel that God doesn’t want me to be so focused on this one thing but I need to make up my mind. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not super important to Him since it’s not stated too clearly. I just don’t know. Any advice is welcome. 🙂

    • Rhoda says:

      Hi Emily, I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you. 🙂
      I cover all the time, with my hair up when I’m outside, in public. At home, I sometimes leave my hair down. Yes, your hair is your glory, but for me, I would rather cover it them have it admired all day. My covering is a reminder to be humble, and to glorify God rather than myself all the time.
      I find that if my head isn’t covered, I can’t pray. I also see that historically, European/Western Christian women have covered their heads in public, and especially in worship.
      Blessings to you!

    • Trish says:

      I just thought I would also share my church’s(Wesleyan Methodist) teaching on this subject for your consideration:
      Some translations read this way “Every man who prays…with long hair dishonors his head. And every woman who prays…with no covering of hair on her head dishonors her head–she is just like one of the “shorn women”. If a woman has no covering, let her be for now with short hair, but since it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair shorn(cut) or shaved, she should grow it again. A man ought not to have long hair” 1 Cor. 11:4-7 NIV footnote
      This is why our church (along with other holiness and apostolic denominations) teaches that men should keep their hair cut short and that women should not trim their hair AT ALL. We believe that the woman’s covering is her un-cut hair and that it is just as shameful to trim or cut her hair as it would be to shave herself bald. It is also the general practice of our women to keep their hair up in a braid or a bun, so as not to draw attention to our glory (it is also more practical). Does this make sense? I’ll be happy to answer or clarify any questions:)

      • Joyce says:

        Trish – I have appreciated the Holiness churches stance on not saying this passage is just cultural and for maintaining truly ‘long’ hair. However, this practice/teaching leaves some things of the passage and history unaddressed. If the blogger allows – you may check out this brief post of mine on long hair vs. a veil. Blessings as we all keep searching the Word on this topic. I truly believe there is a Truth on this.

  31. Rose says:

    Thanks for this post. I came to very similar conclusions a few weeks ago and began covering my hair during worship. I use a sort of middle eastern covering that wraps around and covers most of my hair. Blessings to you.

  32. Dawn Segerson says:

    Your post is still blessing people. Your journey so very closely resembles my own! It’s very heart-warming to see I’m not alone! I’ve been covering since August of 2014. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  33. Tom Washburn says:

    Is it decent and in order for a man to comment? My bride of 25 years wears a covering almost all of the time, and it is not something I told her to do. It came straight from the Father. I have 5 daughters who also wear a covering, ages 24 to 11, and again, I did not tell them that they had to do it. If it does not come from the Father … to your heart, then it is simply an outward show … possibly a hypocrisy. As I say that, I don’t want someone to swing the pendulum over and determine that if they are not perfect 100% of the time, then they should not wear one. Hope that is clear.

    I have one concern about why ladies choose to wear a covering and it has to do with whether the covering looks good, stylish, beautiful or not. Our family wears “beautiful” coverings … often Israeli style … but should that be the goal? In other words, would you wear one if it did not look beautiful? Shouldn’t some of that beauty … dare I say glory … be reserved for the husband? Again, I don’t want the pendulum to swing and make a determination that all ladies need to look as “frumpy” as they can. There has to be a fine line in there somewhere and I believe it deals with the heart. And that is a judgment for you and the Father, for you … not you or me, for you!

    I can remember when my bride was first “wrestling” with this issue. She was convinced that she needed to cover when praying. I wish I had the picture of her throwing a “burpy diaper” on her head … baby in one arm … telephone in the other while speaking with a sister who needed prayer. She finally realized that she needed to be always ready to pray.

    Another situation happened at this same time, that solidified her conviction. We were coming back from visiting her mother and had two children at the time. We stopped at a buffet restaurant, and as soon as I took one of the babies to the bathroom, some guy came on to her in an inappropriate way. She was not wearing her covering. The next day, she decided to wear it in “public” for the first time. We lived way out in the country and we were going for a walk. A car approached us with four guys in it. They were hanging out of the car and obviously drunk. We both thought “Uh-Oh … this doesn’t look good”. When the car got up to us, they slowed way down and one drunk man looked at my bride, looked back at me and said “You’re doing a good job man … a good job man”. Even a drunk realized that she was doing what was right. Did he recognize something that the angels do?

    And that is often the case when my bride and daughters go out in public. She tells me that she does not get the “eye games” that men used to try to play with her. My ladies are shown such honor and respect. The only people that seem to give them dirty looks are the feminist type of women. I hope this testimony helps someone. Shalom to your home, Tom

    • Loretta says:

      Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed the article and can resonate with much of what Nicole has learned. Just wanted to comment here quickly…
      I did not cover for the first few years of our marriage. When I decided to cover (with husband’s blessing), it did seem that men were more polite in terms of opening doors, etc. I also think that I heard less unwholesome talk from all people. I still experience this and I’ve been covering full time (not while sleeping) for about 16 years now.
      One more thing.. I have a 9 year old daughter. I haven’t formally taught her to cover, but since she was younger, she has wanted to cover with hats, wide headbands, bandannas, etc. I think she ties them better than I do! As an aside, I think I am more aware of what I do in public (especially) when I am veiled. It is humbling, yet very freeing!

  34. Gillian says:

    So, I am curious, where di this leave you, Nicole? Are you covering? And if so, for church only? What did you end up using for your covering? Are you wearing your hair up all the time or just for church?

  35. WifeandMom says:

    I do believe women are to cover. However, my husband does not. He said that if I truly believe in submission to my headship, I would respect his wish for me not cover. I feel conflicted.

  36. TiffineyHolmes says:

    Hi Nicole! Thanks for sharing this lovely post. I’ve been a Christian since 16 and I’ve never seriously considered covering my head because none of the churches I’ve worshiped in have done so, but now that I’m 45 I have a lot of questions. I’ll have to go through all the links you provided prayerfully. I’ve also already purchased the teaching by Ligonier ministries. Thanks for being my neighbor over at the Grace and Truth linkup!

  37. sanctifiedtourist says:

    You have given me a lot to think about. I have never even considered this before. Blessings!

  38. Robbi says:

    A very interesting post! I have be interested in the topics of head covering, though most posts I have found lack substance, and are more “it can be made trendy”, which I think totally defeats the purpose…if we want it to be something that draw attention not to ourselves, but to God, why the need to be trendy? Thanks for sharing!

  39. Jennifer Clarke says:

    Wow – much food for thought here, Nicole! I come from a Biblically sound, evangelical church that does not teach women to cover our heads. I’ll be chewing on this for some time, and digging into the Scriptures on this topic for myself. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us at Grace & Truth!

    • Nicole says:

      Most churches, including mine, do not address it unfortunately. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  40. Amanda says:

    I love this article and it has given me much to chew on. I do have some thoughts. The hair is depicted as the glory of a woman. Therefore, if a woman wears a covering that would, in itself, be considered beautiful or fashionable, wouldn’t that just add to the glory of the hair that we should be avoiding?
    Also, these are the verses that some people take as saying that a woman should not cut her hair. It states that if it is shameful to cut the hair, then cover it. But if she does not cover it, then she might as well be shaved. And that if it is not covered it is a dishonor to her. Taken all in context, this, to me, states that a woman should not cut her hair and should wear a covering. It is confusing to the carnal mind. However, as my earthly father keeps saying, if a person pays for guidance before opening the Word, God will clear the confusion and reveal the meaning of what you read.
    By the grace of God.

  41. Anna says:

    Don’t be afraid. God will bless you for your obedience to him! I was the only one to wear a head covering for a long time, don’t let what others think about it hold you back from what you know you are to be doing. God will strengthen you if you ask. *hugs*

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