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  #21  
Old 03-30-2008, 02:26 PM
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Your question was answered in the third reply connie. A simple verse in the Bible - A woman's hair is given as a covering.

Unless there are certain circumstances, such as cancer treatment, or another illness, women should really have no excuse to have a haircut like a man, or no hair at all. If you do, wear a covering at church until it grows long again, and don't cut it short like a man.

It's really quite simple. I realise the whole chapter is not about hair, but about the order of authority, but verse 15 cannot really be construed any other way.
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  #22  
Old 03-30-2008, 04:02 PM
Connie
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Those who conclude Paul means hair is the covering are not rightly dividing the word of truth, and the vast majority of commentators recognize that much even if they disagree that we are to cover our heads today as Paul intended in his day (and that's a whole other mistake).

Paul may say some difficult things but he never says things in a purposely obscure way. If he meant hair he would not have gone on and on about a vague "covering." When he finally gets to hair it is merely to use the normal habit of women in wearing their hair long as an example for why they should cover it. Yes I understand there's something awkward about the way he uses it as an example but it's just absurd to think he wasted all those words just getting to the point of telling us to wear our hair long.

But the main reason he couldn't have meant hair is that WOMEN ALWAYS WORE THEIR HAIR LONG IN THOSE DAYS AND THROUGHOUT HISTORY until very recently. It was always a badge of shame or mourning for a woman to cut her hair. Clearly, Paul takes it for granted that women wear their hair long, and again, historically women always DID wear their hair long until the 20th century, so there's no way he was correcting a problem in the congregation of women cutting their hair when no woman in her right mind would have cut her hair in those days. The way Paul phrases it, clearly he expects people to recognize [in both verses 6 and 14] that a woman's hair by nature is worn long and that to cut it would be a disgrace, so obviously he had no reason to tell women to do what they were already doing. The best you can make of it is that since he says that "by nature" women's hair is long, then we should be wearing it long, but that is not the covering he is commanding.

The sad thing is that there are all these churches where women are doing exactly the opposite of what Paul is requiring of us, displaying their glory which is the glory of man when Paul is telling them to cover it so that Christ's glory will be seen in the assembly.

Doesn't even common sense tell you that long beautiful hair on a woman is SEXY? Wow, Hollywood sure knows that if Christians don't! Does Paul EVER recommend that Christian women present themselves in a sexy way? Aren't we called to present ourselves "modestly" as opposed to showing off one's feminine assets and attractiveness? (I asked some people at another board once how they read this passage and it brought up stories about how their mothers and grandmothers had long hair but kept it pinned up or covered and never let it down for anyone to see it but their husbands in private!)

I really find this way of misreading that scripture a terrific puzzle. It seems such a simple little thing but the devil sure has been working overtime over the last century leading people to misread it and disobey it.

Last edited by Connie; 03-30-2008 at 04:07 PM.
  #23  
Old 03-30-2008, 04:24 PM
Connie
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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:

Paul is saying here that because the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is man, therefore in praying or prophesying the man must not have his head covered because that would dishonor Christ, and the woman must not have hers uncovered as that dishonors man and her position in God's order.

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.

People stumble over this all the time, but it seems clear to me that Paul is saying that if she will not cover her head she might as well be bald because her hair does NOT suffice as a covering. He is also implying that they will recognize that it is a shame for a woman to have her hair shorn, which makes it HIGHLY improbable that any women in the congregation cut their hair!

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.

Paul is adding reason to reason why women should cover our heads and men not cover theirs. The man is specifically the image and glory of God, but the woman the glory of man. So he is saying that the image of God should be on display, uncovered, but the glory of man should be covered in worship.

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.

This is another reason, a further explanation of God's order. Woman came from man, therefore man has the primary position as the image of God. Women are also the image of God but since they were taken out of man they primarily are the man's glory and Paul wants this recognized in the worship service.

10*For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

This is another reason. "Power on the head" is usually interpreted as the wearing of a covering as a symbol of being under the authority of a husband or male leadership.

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.

Here Paul seems to be concerned to nip any abusive male domination over women in the bud by reminding us of this basic equality of the sexes.

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.

Here he's appealing to their own sense of what is right and proper, maybe meaning their Spirit-taught sense. In any case he expects them to recognize that women by nature DO have long hair, so he can't possibly be commanding it.

16*But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Apparently some were objecting to having women cover their heads. Sounds a lot like today.
  #24  
Old 03-30-2008, 04:38 PM
Connie
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Quote:
It's really quite simple. I realise the whole chapter is not about hair, but about the order of authority, but verse 15 cannot really be construed any other way.
Then it must be surprising to you to hear that UNTIL THE LAST CENTURY OR SO the passage was understood by everyone to refer to an additional covering over the head and hair, which by the 20th century had degenerated to the habit of wearing a fashionable hat to church though everyone had forgotten why (and the emphasis on fashion probably defeated the purpose of the covering anyway) and that NOBODY read the passage as meaning long hair until that same time period.
  #25  
Old 03-30-2008, 04:41 PM
jerry
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You use broad generalities that history does not support - everyone, nobody. There may have been a lot of people that had your position, maybe not - but certainly not everybody - or all the commentaries would be saying what you say, and they don't.
  #26  
Old 03-30-2008, 05:50 PM
Connie
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OK, you're right, it's always better to moderate one's language about such things, but of everything I personally checked, all the commentaries I could find online at various Bible websites, also using search engines, also my own few commentaries, not one of them before the 20th century interpreted Paul as saying long hair was the covering. Not Calvin, not Matthew Henry, Not Jamieson Faussett and Brown.

I also researched whatever I could find online of customs throughout history and found others discussing it who showed picture after picture of women with their heads covered. I did my own independent investigation too and found women in Greece and Rome in the centuries about the time of Paul NOT covering their heads, but after the church was established you find women in Europe covering their heads. I can't remember an exception but that doesn't mean there weren't some. ALL OF THEM HAVE LONG HAIR, IN ALL THE PICTURES. The only one that didn't was the Greek character Electra, who cut her hair in mourning for her father. Otherwise there are no women with short hair. Greek women are usually shown with it piled up on their heads and held with a band.

Most current commentaries don't interpret the covering as hair either. I read or listened to all the high profile evangelicals on this I could find, John MacArthur and Alistair Begg and Chuck Smith and Ray Stedman and many lesser known names and the only one I found who said it was long hair was David Cloud. I appreciate David Cloud on most of his Biblical preaching but I disagree with him completely on this.

A footnote in the NIV and entries in the popular Zodhiates' word dictionary claim that it is hair, but both are highly suspect sources of anything whatever. Otherwise there is David Cloud and with all due respect, and I DO respect him greatly, he got this one wrong.

I don't agree with the big name evangelicals either except in their judgment that long hair isn't what Paul meant as the covering. These and most other commentaries I found, including Matthew Henry, understand Paul to have been asking for a covering over the head and hair but they see that requirement as a cultural expression of femininity or female submissiveness in Paul's day, for which today they say we can substitute whatever is the equivalent in our own culture. In effect this cultural interpretation has nullified the scripture altogether so that now it is mostly ignored, because there is no clear cultural substitute today. Women dress mostly according to female fashion and consider that as sufficient.

Does it make sense that Paul would argue as strenuously as he does in that passage from universals, from God's creation order, from nature, not knowing he's only talking about a mere custom? He was a cosmopolitan man; his travels took him to many cultures, and Corinth was in fact a large cosmopolitan city in which many different cultures were in evidence with their various customs and styles, Jews, Greeks, Romans, even Germans and possibly Arabs, and no doubt in the church as well. No, that is not a mistake Paul would have made. I also can't see Paul caring one fig for any cultural custom anyway; all Paul cares about is what honors Christ and cultures are not a reliable standard for that. .

Also, why would Paul spend so much time focusing on the HEAD, the man's head, the woman's head, if the appropriate symbol of male headship could be reduced to any old kind of feminine attire?

P.S. You are right that I'm writing in broad generalities, and on some specific points you may find me in error. But I believe the generalities hold up overall. I did a lot of studying to understand this passage and this was my overall conclusion. I personally found NO one interpreting the covering as hair until recently.

Last edited by Connie; 03-30-2008 at 06:00 PM.
  #27  
Old 03-30-2008, 05:59 PM
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How am I not rightly dividing? There is no division here? Paul is speaking to the church, and I am living in the church age. It's not like he is speaking to Old Testament Israelites and their law based salvation. What he is saying applies to the Church age today, and it's very simple. Hair is a covering for a woman. Anything else is adding to scripture, and destroying the simplicity of scripture.
  #28  
Old 03-30-2008, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
I personally found NO one interpreting the covering as hair until recently.
Well that explains it. You found no one INTERPRETING the covering as hair, because nobody needs to INTERPRET it. It's written in english, plain for all to see. Anything else is of private interpretation.

Connie, may I ask, do you have short hair, and if so, why?
  #29  
Old 03-30-2008, 06:05 PM
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Let me add, however, that I also wasn't particularly focused on the long hair interpretation although I covered it in my study, because most commentators I first encountered, including my own pastor and his recommended sources, do not agree with that interpretation. The interpretation I most often encountered was the cultural interpretation so I spent most of my effort trying to find out how extensive that one is and where it got started. Even Matthew Henry seemed to think it's all about culture, and that really surprised me.
  #30  
Old 03-30-2008, 06:05 PM
Connie
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Quote:
Connie, may I ask, do you have short hair, and if so, why?[
I answered that question back in the thread.
 

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