Page 1 of 1

Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:24 pm
by Jacob HF
Hello,

I recently posted some scripture about women having long hair and I was asked in a pm to justify and expand on the context of that verse. I am doing it here because that thread was about DD, not theology. Please feel free here to have a thorough discussion of 1 Corinthians 11:2-15.

First, I want to say that the context of this passage is not a personal appearance. It's about procedures for prayer and prophesy. The comment about hair is not the main point, it is a comment made to explain the main point. However, it does reveal what is in the mind of the author (Paul and the Holy Spirit) about hair.

Here is the scripture:
. (2) Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered [them] to you. (3) 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. (4) Every man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoureth his head. (5) But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. (6) For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (7) For a man indeed ought not to cover [his] head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. (8) For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. (9) Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (10) For this cause ought the woman to have power on [her] head because of the angels. (11) Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. (12) For as the woman [is] of the man, even so [is] the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

. (13) Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? (14) Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (15) But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering.

-- 1 Corinthians 11:2-15 KJV
v3 starts with "but" telling us that what is to follow is not one of the ordinances (commands) referred to in v2. The main point of this passage is an instruction from Paul in his apostolic authority and under divine inspiration but not previously given by Christ.

The reason for this instruction is not fully explained, v10 gives it as "because of the angels." Much debate and many sermons have tried to explain that phrase, but I am convinced that we just don't know for sure why it would matter to the angels. What is clear to me is that this instruction is not culturally dependant, whatever is going on with angels isn't specific to 1st century Corinth.

v4-5 include the main point. Men should pray and prophesy with no head covering while women should do so with a covering.

v6 says that if a woman is going to prey or prophesy without a head covering then she might as well cut her hair.

v7-10 seeks to explain the reasoning for the difference between men and women. This seems to relate somehow to the principle of submission or marital roles, but it's a bit vague as a full explanation.

v11-12 are a parenthetical statement making sure that the reader knows that the author is still upholding the equal value of men and women in Christ.

v13-15 try to back up the previous point by appealing to facts that the reader already believes. One of those facts is "if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." Glory here is the antonym of shame.

v16+ deal with another topic entirely, that topic is contentiousness within the Body of Christ

So, in conclusion, neither God nor Paul is commanding that women must have long hair. They are saying that it is her glory to do so. They are doing so as a side comment in a discussion mostly about the use of head coverings during prayer and prophesy.

--Jacob

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:03 pm
by Kept-in-line
Thank you for this. I guess I don’t understand the logic, but if I understand you correctly you’re saying it’s not explained either.

But with this, is all hair considered cover? It says long hair, but it also talks about covering of head. In my opinion the head is covered even by shoulder length hair. And well that brings just a whole other set of questions. What is regarded long? Obviously given this it must at least cover the head..

How would you look at this if the man prefers short hair? And tells his wife to keep it short. Wives should according to the Bible submit to the husband in all things (not sinful). But it seems you’re saying short hair isn’t a sin. My though then is one would have to obey the husband and keep it short. What do you think?

It seems to me, I’m sorry if this is too much of an generalisation, that the majority (not all) men do prefer longer hair. I get the impression they like the femininity about it. And well, a woman should honour her husband, so I could relate to doing it to please the husband. Because well, for me I want to feel comfortable in my looks. But my husbands pleasure in my looks sure goes long way of helping that.

That became a ramble. I’m sorry.

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:45 pm
by Jacob HF
Kept-in-line wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:03 pm
Thank you for this. I guess I don’t understand the logic, but if I understand you correctly you’re saying it’s not explained either.
Correct, that is what I am saying.
Kept-in-line wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:03 pm
But with this, is all hair considered cover? It says long hair, but it also talks about covering of head. In my opinion the head is covered even by shoulder length hair. And well that brings just a whole other set of questions. What is regarded long? Obviously given this it must at least cover the head..
I think those are the right questions to ask. To my knowledge, the Bible doesn't answer them. My opinion is that how-long-is-long is probably cultural. In the same way that the Bible says men should dress like men and women like women, but doesn't clarify those. I think that the details are highly driven by culture and personal taste, but the principle is that women's hair should be longer.
Kept-in-line wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:03 pm
How would you look at this if the man prefers short hair? And tells his wife to keep it short. Wives should according to the Bible submit to the husband in all things (not sinful). But it seems you’re saying short hair isn’t a sin. My though then is one would have to obey the husband and keep it short. What do you think?
I concur. However, if the man is a Christian then someone should probably have the conversation with him that we are having now.

--Jacob

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:50 am
by leenicolelinn
Thanks Jacob for posting this.

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:13 am
by Rosey
I have been personally affected by this and had my head shaved (not cut as you wrote in your summary which would have been much different) as I did not wear a head covering in my father in laws home or maybe just outside his home ? I cant remember now. I don't think I was praying, but I did not understand the rules or the consequence. My husband was working away. And I had a sermon read to me and held still while it happened. I was in shock and I would start shaking whenever he spoke to me for months afterwards. He believed this was the best for me. But the thing is that if you dishonour a woman, there is no path back to honour. A man cannot create honour. Nor the woman. It has to be created by the people who see the woman as dishonourable. Men seem to be in a position where they have many chances to redeem themselves, but women, that is a tough path back and one that was impossible for me. Already an outsider, converting to my husbands religion, I too easily became an outcast in the community in case other women became led astray by my sin or because their husbands or fathers asked them to be polite but not associate. My husband only said to his father, she is not of the land we live in, and he also said, your job is to guide her. I felt incredibly let down he didn't say more, but that was a pretty big argument that he had. I am not having a go at my father in law, I do believe he thought he was doing the best for me and I did learn a lot by it. I just want to point out that some people believe differently and quite literally to you.

I wear a headcover, usually a head band or a nice covering or a hat. I like Garlands of Grace which have absolutely beautiful designs and fabrics. But I don't wear a head cover for God, I wear it because my husband asked me to and I wear it because for me it symbolises my marriage to him and my submission to him.

I struggle with many verses of the bible, this is one of them.

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:20 am
by leenicolelinn
Rosey, I want to be respectful, I don't understand what religion you are in? Can you explain?

Nic

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:37 am
by Jacob HF
Rosey wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:13 am
I just want to point out that some people believe differently and quite literally to you.
Oh, I believe quite literally about it. What happened to you was not a literal interpretation. Head shaving is not a punishment in this verse for not covering your head, it is an analogy for shame.

Which leads me to...
Rosey wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:13 am
Men seem to be in a position where they have many chances to redeem themselves, but women, that is a tough path back and one that was impossible for me. Already an outsider, converting to my husbands religion, I too easily became an outcast in the community in case other women became led astray by my sin or because their husbands or fathers asked them to be polite but not associate.
I don't know what religion that is, but based on your description it isn't one that follows Christ.

There re no outsiders in Body of Christ. Each of us has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We have no honor for there is nothing in us that commends us to God. If we have anything boast it is only in Christ who restores us. To Him and Him alone is all honor given. If you dissociate with someone in the church then you are not acting like our Lord. The only time that there are biblical grounds to shun someone like that is when the extreme step must be taken to put someone out of the church entirely.

If your husband wants you to wear a hat in public then you should do so, that is a separate issue between you and your husband.

But know this, if you repent and trust Christ there is no shame in you. You are washed in His blood and clothed in His glory. "To those who believe in Him and are called according to His purpose he gave the right to become children of God." You share in his glory and He has taken away your shame on himself. He is both the burnt offering that atones for sin and the scapegoat who takes it far from you.

If there is any uncertainty about whether these things apply to you then I urge you to watch the video at NeedGod.com (I have no affiliation).

--Jacob

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:24 pm
by Firmand
Jacob HF wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:37 am


There re no outsiders in Body of Christ. Each of us has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We have no honor for there is nothing in us that commends us to God. If we have anything boast it is only in Christ who restores us. To Him and Him alone is all honor given. If you dissociate with someone in the church then you are not acting like our Lord. The only time that there are biblical grounds to shun someone like that is when the extreme step must be taken to put someone out of the church entirely.

If your husband wants you to wear a hat in public then you should do so, that is a separate issue between you and your husband.

But know this, if you repent and trust Christ there is no shame in you. You are washed in His blood and clothed in His glory. "To those who believe in Him and are called according to His purpose he gave the right to become children of God." You share in his glory and He has taken away your shame on himself. He is both the burnt offering that atones for sin and the scapegoat who takes it far from you.
As a fellow Christian and as a lowly follower of the Master, even Jesus Christ, I humbly interject to testify Rosey, that Jacob's testimony quoted above is entirely correct, based as it is on the faultless life, teachings, Word and example of the Master as recorded correctly in Holy Scripture.

None are without sin, ALL have need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and by virtue alone of His infinite, eternal, perfect and complete Atonement for our sins, ALL may be forgiven through repentance and washed clean and, by virtue of His grace, be acceptable before Him...again and again and again as long as mortality lasts.

Rosey I say unto you with all the brotherly love of my heart, that you are a precious daughter of the Living God who gave His Only Begotten for you, and reaffirm His promise to you through the prophet Isaiah, that "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18)

With great brotherly love and respect to all my brothers and sisters of any faith or none as yet, I solemnly testify before God that those who lead homes or congregations should examine themselves in the light of the revealed Word of God, and repent of any false and hurtful teachings and practices born of the traditions of men, and cast out only the wolves from the flock, and not the struggling wounded sheep thereof, but be as the true Shepherd in gathering them in and feeding them, as they have so honourably done in the past.

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:37 am
by Rosey
Thank you. A lot happened since that time. We both paid a price. I forgave him one day, I meant to ask him to pass the beans and I accidentally said "I forgive you". I thought he was having an asthma attack he was wheezing so badly but he cried, the first time since childhood. We both learnt a lot, and my faith deepened. I wasn't wanting to put someone down, but merely pointing out that some people have taken this literally and possibly still do.

Re: Hair and the Bible 1 Corinthians 11:2-15

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:49 pm
by Firmand
What a beautiful, poignant and tender milestone to have reached and shared, bless you both, I do so desperately hope, and have prayed, that you have both found healing. What a great-hearted and righteous man you have in your home, to feel so deeply over you and your wellbeing, I rejoice that things are better for you all.

PS Psalm 30