Whenever I get to the point of checking something out, I like to be very thorough. Time is precious for me, so if I'm going to try to understand something, I find it more efficient to really grasp and understand the issue at hand in order to prevent having to keep returning to the topic over and over again later. So, I did my research: I read the Bible passage over and over again, I looked up and read article after article and study after study from many different perspectives about head coverings, and I asked several sisters, both pro- and anti-covering, what they personally thought and took away from the passage. At first, I was a bit confused, but as I continued to seek an understanding and prayed for my Father's guidance through His Son, my mind cleared and I began to see the Scriptures in their own light. What I found amazed me--astounded me—to point of joyful conviction. (I say joyful because, to me, conviction is joyful—not always easy, but joyful—as it marks blessed stages of growth in one's walk with their Creator.)
So what exactly is my stance and personal take-away on this issue? I believe that both uncovering and covering are totally Biblical, relevant, beautiful, and important for sons and daughters of God. Now, I know that for a lot of you, this is probably hard to accept, as the practice of covering is not only so widely misunderstood, but it also seems cumbersome, unfashionable, and uncomfortable in our modern Christian world. Hey, I can totally relate to this, as these were my exact thoughts and feelings toward the whole issue. But I urge you, dear sisters, to approach God with a softness of heart towards this issue as with any other. Ask our Father to lead and guide you through His Son in this particular aspect which has close and important ties to our Biblical femininity.
More precisely, I believe head covering for women at large to be a symbol of a principle, that principle being the focal point of my worship experience, as it gives a visible testimony to who I worship and my own individual choice of submission and surrender to Him and His Son. As one sister pointed out to me, it's like baptism. Baptism is a symbol of the principle of cleansing from sin and receiving the Spirit of Christ. Likewise, covering or uncovering the head is a symbol of the principle of accepting the Divine pattern of the Father and His Son according to 1 Corinthians 8:6 and surrendering to the headship order.
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Corinthians 8:6
In verses 1–3 Paul establishes an introduction to the piece of instruction he is about to give as well as a foundation for the Biblical headship order, which is fashioned after the Divine pattern of the Father and the Son: the Father as head to His Son (1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:1–3), Christ to the husband or man, and the man to the woman (Gen 3:16; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 3:1). In other words, Christ is accountable to His Father, the man to Christ and the Father, and the woman to the man, Christ, and the Father. This is not only a fundamental object lesson on the nature of the God that Bible-believing Christians claim to worship, but is also a hierarchy in God's created order of respect, honor, and submission.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, 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 is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:1–3
- The obvious is that covering is a demonstration of submission to a woman's head, whether that be to man, Christ, or her Heavenly Father. Covering provides a visible testimony to one's acceptance of, submission to, and respect for God's order of role distinction given at Creation, and we're all about providing a visible testimony to what we believe in as modest maidens in a modern world! (Verse 3)
- As a side-blessing to the reason above, covering reveals the glory of the one in authority. Scripture says that when a guy covers while he is engaged in praying or prophesying (more on this later too), he is dishonoring his head. At Creation, man and woman were created in the image and likeness of the Father and the Son, and thus are like a type of the order of headship present between them (1:26; 2:21–24). So, back to when guys cover, they dishonor their Heavenly Father as a the image of since He is the head or source and Christ is the channel; likewise they can dishonor Christ, when looking at the relationship between Christ and His church, since Christ is head here. The same goes for Christian sisters when we are uncovered, it disrespects the order of headship ordained by God as it disregards the subjection of the church to Christ and so on and so forth. (Verses 4–12)
- “Because of the angels.” This reason is probably one of the coolest to me. Think about it: covering is a visible testimony to the invisible. Isn't that cool?! It shows to the righteous angels that we are under the authority and protection of our Father in heaven, while reminding the fallen angels of their rejection of Him and His ways. (Verse 10)
- According to Scripture, the natural order of things is that women have long hair while men have short hair. Paul mentions this and then brings up the point that the stronger presence of women’s natural covering (her longer hair, which is her glory) is a further proof that God intends for them to be the wearers of the removable covering, unlike man. (Verses 13–15)
Now, let’s discuss some very real concerns and thoughts regarding the practice of covering. These are some that I personally have struggled with before and some that I have seen others wrestle with when trying to comprehend the meaning of the text or when attempting to put the practice into a realistic perspective.
“Judge In Yourselves ”
“We Have No Such Custom ”
According to the King James Version, Paul seems to be referring to ‘custom’ as the contentiousness spoken of earlier in the sentence; he was saying that the churches of God have no such custom of being contentious over covering. Interestingly, in other versions where more of the meaning of the original Greek comes out, Paul appears to be saying that the churches of God hold to no other custom than head covering during worship.
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. 1 Corinthians 11:16, KJV
Now if anyone is disposed to be argumentative and contentious about this, we hold to and recognize no other custom [in worship] than this, nor do the churches of God generally. 1 Corinthians 11:16, AMP
I Need a ‘Thus Saith the Lord ’
When Exactly Should the Head Be Covered?
A Word to Address the “Salvational Issue ”
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9–10
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him:for he is thy life, and the length of thy days:that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. Deuteronomy 30:19–20