Friday, June 21, 2024

Hair or Veil? (1 Corinthians 11:6-7)

"For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn" (1 Cor. 11:6).

In verse 14, Paul refers to a type of “covering” given in nature: long hair for the woman. Whenever we have a lesson both from the Scriptures and from nature, we are doubly bound to obey. We also must recognize that it is a rule rooted in nature, not custom. Regarding the covering of the woman, we have the example set before us that she is to be covered in the public assemblies just as she is covered by the hand of nature, established by God for the instruction of His divinely appointed order of authority.

Given this example from nature, Paul makes the comment in verse 6 that if a woman does not cover her head in the public assembly, she should be consistent and cut off her hair. Having her hair shorn would (and should) be shameful to her because it goes against nature. If it is shameful for a woman to have her head shaved, then she must realize that it is just as shameful for her to enter public worship with her head uncovered. We must not confuse Paul’s use of hair as “nature’s covering” and the covering he is exhorting women to wear in public worship. They are not the same thing.

The covering in public worship is not her hair. If it were, verse 6 would make no sense. “For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn.” If you assume the covering is hair in the first place, her hair would already be shorn for her not to be covered. This, however, is not the case for Paul says that if she is not covered, let her hair be shorn.

The reason a man does not cover his head is because he is the image and glory of God, i.e., he represents the authority of God. Woman, of course, is also made in the image of God in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. But she is not given the authority that a man is given. Instead, she is the “glory of man.” “That is, the woman is in this respect subordinate to the man,” Hodge wrote. “She is not designed to reflect the glory of God as a ruler. She is the glory of the man. She receives and reveals what there is of majesty in him. She always assumes his station; becomes a queen if he is a king, and manifests to others the wealth and honor which may belong to her husband.”

How do men, leaders in the church, husbands, and fathers reflect God’s glory as ruler? If you are a man, how should you improve your duty as ruler in your sphere? How do women, wives, and mothers reflect the glory of men in their lives? If you are a woman, how can you better reflect the glory of men in your life?