Understanding the “Head-Coverings” in 1 Corinthians 11

Are Christian women neglecting the command for head-coverings in church? Many believe that 1 Corinthians 11 teaches that women must wear garment head-coverings when practicing their faith around men. This text is about women praying and prophesying in the context of men. The text says, “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering” (1 Cor 11:15). The covering is first hair in verse 15, and this covering is the glory of the woman. A woman’s hanging hair is a glory given to her by God, and “woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor 11:7). See, man “is the image and glory of God” (1 Cor 11:7). How can a woman not cover her head in public worship without shaming herself, man, and God? If a woman lacked her God-given covering of hair, then she should cover her head with a shawl as though she has hair. 

By a woman not letting her hair down hang down, this was the same as having her hair cropped or shaved (1 Cor 11:5-6). By not letting her hair down, women claim authority over God, Christ, and man. With hair being the glory of women, the Christian woman should let her hair hang down in subordination to God’s order of headship and thereby glorified God, Christ, and man. The scriptures make these affirmations clear. Remember that God instructed the Christian women in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 to dress modestly not adorning their hair with braided hair with gold and pearls. The passage is clear that this behavior was immodest and insubordinate. By not letting the hair hang down, women dishonor God’s headship that man is head of woman. By braiding the hair up, women were or appeared rebellious to the birthright of men to lead and teach.

In 1 Peter 3:1-6, Peter also applied the decorating of hair to a wife’s subordination to her husband, whereas she would not insubordinate by arranging her hair adorned in gold. See, this was their pagan custom that powerful women of authority would dress as though higher than others. Remember that women in this time led worship to Diana and Dionysus, where women could exercise power (Morton, “Deceiving Winds”). Apparently, some Christian women still arranged and adorned their hair upon their heads and did not let their long hair hang down showing the glory of God, Christ, and man (1 Cor. 11:15). The Spirit of Christ taught through the Apostles that a woman’s hair was to hang down in such a way that is modest and glorified herself, her husband, and God’s headship.

The Apostle Paul concluded that if there was contention, the churches of God have no such custom of women praying and prophesying with heads uncovered (1 Cor. 11:16). Christians are to present themselves as humble and respectable to God by glorifying God first contrary to local practices of presenting social authorities. Today, long hair is still a woman’s glory from God despite that short hair or arranged hair shows no loyalty or claim to pagan society. Yet, such hair whether short, elaborately arranged, or decoratively with costly jewelry is a dishonor to the hair that God gave for a woman’s glory. Such behavior is disrespectful to God, and the headship of men to lead women through example and service.

Consider what James B. Coffman had to say about a woman’s hair being her covering:

Verse 4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head.

Having his head covered…
Here is where the misunderstanding of this passage begins. This clause, as rendered in the popular versions, is commentary, not Bible. As Echols noted:

“Having his head covered” is a commentary, not a translation. Lenski translated the sense correctly: ‘having something down from his head.’ What the ‘something’ is is neither stated nor implied in 1 Corinthians 11:4.

The logical understanding of this would refer it to ‘long hair,’ being long enough to hang down from the head, as clearly indicated by the apostles’ words a moment later: ‘If a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him’ (1 Corinthians 11:14).

The ancients accepted Paul’s dictum on this and went so far as to define the length of hair that was considered an infraction of Paul’s words.

‘The hair of the head may not grow so long as to come down and interfere with the eyes … cropping is to be adopted … let not twisted locks hang far down from the head, gliding into womanish ringlets.’

Significantly, the words ‘hang far down’ strongly resemble Paul’s words ‘having something down from his head.’ The above is from Clement of Alexandria and was written in the second century.

The notion that Paul in this place referred to the [Hebrew: tallith] (shawl), or [Greek: yarmelke] (skull cap) worn by Jewish worshipers is refuted by the fact that the Greek New Testament does not indicate in this verse an artificial covering of any kind. This does not mean, however, that Paul would have approved of the use of either in Christian worship. ‘For Paul such a covering probably symbolized that the Jewish male continued in spiritual darkness, from which Christians had been liberated.’ We may therefore interpret this verse as a simple admonition that it was a disgrace for any long-haired Christian male to participate in praying and prophesying; and this interpretation certainly harmonizes with verse 14. History has certainly vindicated this view; because universal human behavior has departed from it only in isolated instances and for relatively very short periods of time” (emp. added).

Referring to coverings in verse 5, Coffman wrote,

With her head unveiled…
The word here rendered ‘unveiled’ is [Greek: akatakaluptos]. ‘There is no intrinsic meaning in this word which suggests either the covering material or the object covered; it is simply a general word.‘ (See under 1 Corinthians 11:15.) Only in 1 Cor. 11:15 does Paul mention any kind of garment ([Greek: peribolaion]) and even there he stated that the woman’s hair took the place of it.’ [Katakaluptos] means covered completely. [Akatakaluptos] means not completely covered. Thus again, the passage falls short of mentioning any kind of garment. To suppose that Paul here meant ‘mantle’ or ‘veil’ or any such thing is to import into this text what is not in it. We have seen that he was speaking of ‘hair’ in 1 Cor. 11:4; and that is exactly what he is speaking of here. ‘Not completely covered’ would then refer to the disgraceful conduct of the Corinthian women in cropping their hair, after the manner of the notorious Corinthian prostitutes; which, if they did it, was exactly the same kind of disgrace as if they had shaved their heads. It is crystal clear that Paul is not speaking of any kind of garment; because he said in 1 Cor. 11:15, below, ‘For her hair is given her instead of a covering.’” (emp. added).

David Lipscomb addressed this very subject saying,

I understand that long hair serves as a veil or token of her subjection to authority; and if she has not long hair, she must cover her head when she approaches God in worship. I understand this to refer to her approach to God in private or in public assembly when others lead in worship. Many interpret this to mean that she is to do these things when she leads in public worship, but the Scripture says nothing of this” (Q & A, emp. added).

Within this previous context of hair being the “covering”, Lipscomb concluded this statement, “We understand verse 16 to say that the churches of God have no such custom as the women appearing in worship with uncovered or shorn heads.” The expectation was for women to have hanging hair in that society to show honor to the headship from Christ to God, man to Christ, and woman to man.

Still, some may ask about verses 5-6. These verses seem to imply that not covering with a garment for a covering is like a woman’s hair being cropped or shaved. A literal translation is,

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered [Gr. without hanging hair] dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered [without hanging hair], let her also be cropped. But if it is shameful for a woman to be cropped or shaved, let her be covered [with hanging hair]” (1 Cor. 11.5-6).”

Coffman said in agreement,

If Paul meant ‘hair,’ why did he use the word ‘covered’? The answer is that in the vocabulary of the Old Testament ‘to uncover the head’ was to shave off the hair. When Nadab and Abihu sinned (Leviticus 10:1ff), God commanded Aaron not to ‘uncover his head’ in mourning at their death; and this meant not to cut off his hair (the customary sign of mourning). Job shaved his head when he learned his children were dead (Job 1:20). Many examples of this usage could be cited” (emp. added).

“If it is a shame to a woman to be cropped or shaven, let her be covered” clearly refers to a covering of hair as seen in 1 Corinthians 11:15, “And if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her long hair is given to her for a covering.

What about verse ten’s reference to angels saying, “because of the angels“? Verse ten is referring to authority. This scripture shows how women take authority on her head toward God and man. The woman, who prophesies, receives revelation from God through angels to prophesy (Heb. 2:2, Rev. 1:1) and the woman has her prayers delivered by angels (Rev. 8:3-4). This instruction has to do with the woman’s service in prayer and teaching before God. She is to apparently be serving with respect and modesty. Therefore, “every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head” (1 Cor. 11:5). By not covering her head, the Christian woman dishonors herself being that God created her to be the glory of man as well as being created in God’s image. Remember verse 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.” The woman is subordinating to the man by her modesty and covering. Her hair hanging down is her glory for she is the glory of man. This is how the Christian woman honors the headship of God, Christ, and man.

Again, I must say that if any are contentious about this, then we have no such custom (1 Cor. 10:16).

About Scott Shifferd Jr.

Minister, Dean Road church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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594 Responses to Understanding the “Head-Coverings” in 1 Corinthians 11

  1. To discuss Christ and Deity go here or I can make another post for discussion. Thank you.

    http://godsbreath.net/2009/07/09/jesus-is-god/

  2. Michael R. Baggett says:

    Using 1st Corinthians 11:16 to teach that we shouldn’t argue about customs presents several problems for your position. First of all, if the custom you are referring to is the head covering as in veil; then, you have just admitted it was more than the hair. Second of all, Paul taught the same things everywhere in every church; if Paul is telling them to keep their own custom but we (apostles) and other churches don’t have such a custom; then Paul contradicts his won teaching found consistently throughout the letter to the Corinthians (See 1st Cor. 4:16,17; 17:17; 14:33; 16:1,2). Third of all, if Paul is authorizing an “existing custom” for Corinth, as some teach; then, you have just found an example of denominationalism (1st Cor. 4:16,17). The truth is Paul is saying that he doesn’t have a custom or practice such as that of a woman praying with her head uncovered (1st Cor. 11:13): a practice the contentious man would set forth. Paul has already taught earlier in the text in no uncertain term that a woman should have her head covered when she prays or prophesies (1st Cor. 11:5). She is to do this in direct relation to what is said about man being her head in verse 3 (Cf. 1st Tim. 2:11,12–over the man). She is to do this because of the order in creation (v. 7), and because of the angels (v. 10). Neither reason has anything to do with man’s custom. The commentaries and brethren you reference are clearly wrong. May God bless our own continued personal studies of these matters. I believed basically what you said in your article for about 30 years, but not any longer. Why? Because I seriously studied it and stopped repeating what I had always heard. The treatment of the doctrine of the head covering is the single most abused doctrines in the churches of Christ, for it is basically denied and ignored; yet, we beg others to speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where it is silent. May we be consistent in our practice.

    • “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 Co 11.13-16).

      1) The covering is apparently foremost hair (and then maybe a garment if without hair).
      2) The headship of woman to man, man to Christ, and Christ to God is shown in this custom (1 Co 11.3, cf. 1 Tim. 2.9-11 & 1 Pet. 3.3-4).
      3) This custom is not a tradition from God, or Paul would not say if anyone is contentious, “we have no such custom”. Use the interlinear tool at BlueLetterBible to understand what “such custom” means: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Co&c=11&t=NKJV#s=t_conc_1073016

      • Michael R. Baggett says:

        So the garment covering could be a covering. Scott, are you saying that man is no longer the head of woman today because that was a custom? You might want to delete what you wrote, my brother. Just because Paul appealed to their judgment doesn’t mean they had a choice to accept the covering of women’s heads while praying! Paul had already clearly told them what he wanted to them to understand about this ordinance (1st Cor. 11:2-10). He gave solid reasons based in creation for the practice. In verse 16, he is simple saying if anyone still disagrees with what he has said, we don’t have a custom such as the one disagreeing, neither the churches of God. Paul ends this section on men not covering their heads in prayer and women covering their heads in prayer believing what he told the Corinthians to do in the first part of this text. Paul did not change his mind. The custom was not the head covering, but the practice of women not covering the head. That’s the only way to make the whole context fit and make sense, else it will clash with Scriptures such as 1st Corinthians 4:16,17, where Paul says he teaches the same thing everywhere in every church. Thanks for getting back with me.

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          Scott, I misread what you were saying about the custom and the headship. Sorry I misquoted or paraphrased you. I stand behind the rest of my reply. Sure seems strange that Paul would say a man dishonor Christ by covering his head and a woman dishonors a man by not covering her head when praying only to basically take it all back at the end of the discussion. Seems like a waste of space. Guy N. Woods does not agree with your conclusions based on verse 16. He was perhaps the greatest the Church ever had, but he believed that Paul, the apostles and the other churches practiced the covering and that the contentious man opposed the covering for women in prayer. Certainly makes more sense to understand Paul agreeing with himself earlier than changing his mind. Don’t you agree? Check the RSV or NASV on this verse.

  3. Kate says:

    I agree that scripture does confirm that all churches must have uniform teachings and this is supported by the scriptures you have referenced (1st Cor. 4:16, 17, 7:17, and 14:33). With respect to the head covering Paul is quite clearly answers the question in 1 Cor. 13 “Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” in 1 Cor. 11: 14 & 15 that a women’s hair IS her covering when he says “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering”. In verses 3 to 10 Paul is describing false teaching that existed in the Apostles day as indicated by the “but” at the beginning of verse 3. He goes on to describe his teachings in verses 11 & 12 when he says “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God”.
    I am going to be very cautious in using any scriptures from 1st and 2nd Timothy because I was surprised to discover recently that some Bible scholars believe there is sufficient evidence to confirm that 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Jude were written in the second century and that Paul was not the author. Please review the documentation at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1timothy.html to see for yourself. Also, in looking closely at some of the statement in these books I believe they don’t agree with other scripture which is more evidence they are not inspired books. Consider 1 Tim 2:14 where it states “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner” which contradicts with what Paul states in Romans 5:12 “sin entered the world through one man”, and in Romans 5:17 “by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man”. This is also stated in Hosea 6:7 where it says “like Adam they have transgressed the covenant”. Another passage that doesn’t agree with other teachings is 1 Tim. 2:15 where it states “women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety”. Both men and women are saved by “grace through faith” Eph 2:8, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5. Certainly this must cast doubt in your mind on these books?

    • Kate,

      Be careful. You are going to get washed away in skepticism (Prov. 18.17). “Historical criticism” is a one-sided rationalistic approach to scholarship. The early Christians in the first century accepted the letters to Timothy. Irenaeus mentioned both of them. EarlyChristianWritings is not an authoritative source. He propagating outdated criticism. Look into canonical criticism and traditional positions. Study the early church writers. Read Irenaeus’s Against Heresies starting with books 2-5 and come back to book 1.

      We must start with Christ to interpret the Scripture, and not from a preconceived position of equality means equal roles. or that man is better than woman, etc. We must start with Christ. The received scriptures as the canon are innocent until proven guilty – a Biblical principle. For there must be witnesses against the accused to be found guilty.

      You think there are contradictions from 1 Timothy 2. Have you first sought to harmonize these passages? Reconsider. Does 1 Timothy say that Adam did not sin or that he was not deceived in the same way as Eve? Why Greek word is used to describe this deception? Does 1 Timothy 2.15 say “women” or “she” referring to Eve would be saved in childbearing? What was Eve’s command from God concerning filling the earth with children?

      Please consider accessing these sources: Eta Linnemann’s (1990) “Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology; Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical” – I recommend this simply for consider another position outside of both of us. Next, find a source like Carson, Moo, and Morris’ book (1992) “An Introduction to the New Testament”. Catch up on your scholarship. Biblical scholarship is moving right now. A thousand new Greek manuscripts have been discovered in the last 15 years totaling 6,000 manuscripts (cf. csntm.org).

      Do you believe that God will preserve His Word? Why disregard 1 Timothy, Jude, or 2 Peter? Some disregard John. Some of these critics say that the Gospels are anonymous and are written in the 2nd c. as forgeries. How do they know this? They don’t. They speculate and add more conjecture. Believe in Christ. He said that His words would never pass away (Mt 24.35, Mk 13.31, Lk 21.33). Christ said that He would send scribes (Mt 23.34). The Apostles’s oversaw the collection: http://godsbreath.net/2014/08/01/how-to-establish-the-canonicity/ & http://godsbreath.net/2014/09/12/how-the-new-testament-came-together/.

      Please, harmonize the Scriptures rather than disregard them. May God bless your studies.

      • Kate says:

        Inspired scripture never conflicts with itself because that would make God a liar which he is not. I don’t consider myself a sceptic but I am following the Biblical directive to test all things and hold fast to what is true. If we see verses that appear to conflict it may be the result of misinterpretation or uninspired text. Uninspired text can be the result of books being included as canon when they shouldn’t be, or additions and deletions from text, or improper translation. While the original Hebrew and Greek scripture is inspired, this doesn’t mean that all the books included in our Bibles or the varied translations are. This is why we must seek the truth with all our heart and soul because there is a great deal of deception that must be overcome to find the truth.
        I beg to differ with you on your comment that “the canon are innocent until proven guilty”. Before I became a serious student of the Bible I did accept that every book and every word in our Bibles was inspired because I was naïve about the extent of the deception that exists in the world at large. Now that I have some experience under my belt I have verified without a doubt that the King James Bible has added, deleted and changed text to support church doctrine such as the trinity. While I haven’t analyzed all the text in the Timothy books the two examples I found of uninspired teachings were quite damning. I will take a look at the books you recommended and look further into the Timothy books to get a complete picture of the teachings in these books and how they agree and/or disagree with Christ’s teachings.
        In God’s Word to Women by Dr. Katharine Bushnell paragraph 77 she states “The Bible, from its opening chapters, pictures woman as allied with God, in the eventual salvation of the world; paganism represents her as allied with the devil, for the ruin of man; this is one great mark of distinction between the true and false religions.” The statement in 1 Timothy 2:15 that women will be saved through childbearing sounds suspiciously like a Catholic teaching, and if this were in fact true then it only stands to reason that men could be saved by working the land. This would represent works which are not required to be saved proving again that this verse does not line up with Christ’s teachings. 1 Tim 2:14 where it states “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner” it is definitely confirming that sin started with Eve when scripture confirms that it started with Adam. While Eve was punished for violating the commandment, nowhere does it say that Eve brought sin into the world but scripture does confirm that Adam did. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Eve confessed her sin and was forgiven whereas Adam blamed God and Eve and was not, or the fact that Adam received the commandment from God before Eve was created. Regardless of the reason, it is clear that God himself believes that Adam brought sin into the world, not Eve.

        I appreciate your comments and the kindness with which you deliver them. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

        • It is disappointing. I do not think you considered my points. Also, your translation of 1 Timothy 2.14 is very poor. What “translation” is that? Please use a formal equivalent translation. You have Paul accusing Eve of something not in the text.

          • Kate says:

            Some translations are even worse than the one I quoted. Look at this verse in parallel at this site: http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/2-14.htm . There are two major reasons that the Pastoral Epistles are widely regarded as not having been written by Paul; first, the style is not apostolic but presbuteros (priest/elder); second, gender roles deviate from Christ’s teaching that we are one (John 17:11) and Paul’s egalitarian teaching in Gal 3:28, 1 Cor 12: 12 to 26. I see other inconsistencies as well. Scott I’m not asking you to take my word for it but please pray on this and ask God to reveal his truth because if we are believing a lie then it can put us in danger. If we use false doctrine in our teaching than whose side are we on?

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Gender roles are a reality. We are all one in Christ with different roles as men and women. It’s not a matter of value, it’s a matter of function and role. Most of all, it’s a matter of God’s will. I don’t understand what is so complicated about this issue other than the modern feminist movement disagrees with the Bible on women’s roles and gays. Paul says things about her equal treatment in the marriage bed in 1st Corinthians 7:4f, but she is also in subjection to her husband (Eph. 5:22f). She is told to cover her head when praying based on headship order (1st Cor. 11:3-10), but she is equally important as the man because we need each other (1st Cor. 11:11,12). She is not authorized to preach in public assembly “as also saith the law” (1st Cor. 14:33-37). She is not to teach nor to exercise authority over the man in public worship (generic–non merely husband) (1st Tim. 2:11,12). The reason given is because Adam was created first, but the women sinned first 1st Tim. 2:13,14). The order of creation (man before woman) is the same reason given for her wearing the covering in 1st Corinthians 11:7-10 as it is for her subjection to man as seen in 1st Timothy 2:13). There certainly is a similarity in the writing style of the authors here because they are the same: the writer is Paul. We must accept and not change what God has said. The danger today is seeking to change what God has said because it does not fit in with our current believes or the those of our society. God does not change (Heb. 13:8).

      • Kate says:

        Consider also Proverbs 31: 10 to 31 where it talks of a wife of noble character and she quite clearly works outside the home and no mention even of staying home having children.

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 is an exceptional woman. Yes, she worked at home and yes she sold item she sewed at home. “Her Children arise u, and call her blessed.” (v.28).

          • Kate says:

            Michael you are reading something into scripture that isn’t there when you say verse 28 where it states “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” means “she worked at home and yes she sold item she sewed at home”. Why are you fighting so hard to diminish the status of women in the church? It is not biblical and could impact on your salvation.
            When I have doubts about teachings found in scripture I pray to God through Christ for understanding. Just recently I prayed for God to tell me why Peter says that women are weaker in 1 Peter 3:7. The word weaker is from the Greek word asthenés defined as (a) weak (physically, or morally), (b) infirm, sick. As you can well understand this is a very important issue for women because to be morally weak is a dangerous condition and to say that all women have this condition is significant. In the NASB Greek text the word translated as weaker is the Greek word poieo which is defined as “to make, or make out of something”. So what was Peter really saying in 1 Peter 3:7? It appears that he is saying women were created from the man not that she is weaker and this changes the meaning of the verse entirely. This improved translation brings this verse in line with other scriptures that show equality among all of the body of Christ. My prayers to God have been answered with this information which shines new light on the subject.
            Scripture does confirm that all of mankind is weak and that there are weaker members but it is never on a gender or race basis that this is stated. Consider 1 Cor 4:10 where Paul states “we are weak, but you are strong”, and similarly in 2 Cor 13:9. Paul in describing the body of Christ and its many parts in 1 Cor 12: 12 to 27 is teaching that “members of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable” v22, and “God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” v24 & 25. Paul sums up in verse 27 stating “you are the body of Christ” which is confirmed in Romans 12:5, Eph 1: 23, Eph 5:30, Col 1:24.

          • Most Christians understand 1 Peter 3.7 as physical weakness as in lack of physical strength. Men are generally stronger.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Kate, I’m not fighting so hard to keep women down or keep them from certain roles in the church or home, but I’m simply stating principles of Scripture. One thing that 1st Corinthians 11:2-16 expresses clearly is there is a difference in men and women, and that is defined in the headship order as stated in 1st Corinthians 11:3. I would be afraid for my salvation if I denied this and the teaching of the New Testament, any of it, that regards the roles of women. I believe it. Herein lies our difference: you have admitted you do not believe all of the New Testament. We will never meet on common ground until we agree on the inspiration of the entire New Testament. Respectfully, Michael Baggett

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Well, the wife and the mother are told in Titus 2:4,5 to love their husbands, children and be keepers at home (home makers). 1st Timothy 5:14 teaches the young widows to marry, guide the house (under the headship of her husband–Eph. 5:22-25) bear children. While the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is shown doing many duties, she certainly stayed home and cared of her young children. I don’t think there are many women who would work night and day like her. She was likely a prince’s wife or someone of high statue who was praised in the gates. Married women have the primary role of keeping the home. The idea that she function exactly in the role of the man is modern and not what we find in the Bible. When the home is abandoned, it doesn’t take long for God to leave too. Children need Mothers. Anyway, this was a little off topic. Let me say that men need women and children need women. When women get out of their assigned roles, everyone suffers. God bless.

    • Michael R. Baggett says:

      Kate, thanks for answering, but I don’t think many readers will take you very seriously since you confess that you do not believe all of the New Testament. What was the false doctrine you allude too? Was it women who wore head covering? There is no doubt there were two covering under consideration. One requires actions as uncovered and covered are verbs in 1st Cor. 11:4-7. The hair covering “a covering” Paul compares this too is a noun (1st Cor. 11:15). Regardless of which covering you believe in, I believe in both, Paul obviously believed in it.

      • Kate says:

        It is critical to not place any undue burden on born again believers as it states Acts 15:28 & 29 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you”. In 1 Cor 11 Paul was defending against teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees which were very much about keeping up outward appearances which Jesus rebuked them for in Matthew 23: 26 to 28 which a veiled head would certainly be. As to headship scripture confirms that Christ is the head in Eph 1:22, Eph 4:15, Col 1:18 proving that Paul is pointing out false teachings in 1 Cor 11:3 when he says “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman” because scripture would then contradict itself. Scripture confirms that both man and woman were made in God’s image in Genesis 1:26 & 27, Genesis 9:6, and James 3:9 proving the statement in 1 Cor 11:7 to be false because it says that man “is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man”. You are misinterpreting scripture and laying on a burden for women to cover their heads that will not lead them to salvation and in fact may keep them from it. You should test doctrine against what we know to be the truth before adding it to your teachings otherwise you are teaching false doctrine which you will be held accountable for with God.

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          Let’s assume that the covering Paul tells women to use when praying is not a veil, but maybe only the hair. If a woman wears long hair when praying because Paul said for women to appear this way for worship and I taught women to do this today, would this be a false doctrine? The bottom line, Kate, is the conclusion causes Paul to teach false doctrine. Paul is not in conflict with anything Jesus taught or what they apostles told the Gentile churches in Acts 15. The inspired will of Christ was delivered bit by bit through the Holy Spirit who guided the apostles (John 16:13). What the apostles left us in these epistles, such as 1st Corinthians, are the commandments of Christ. Peter said that what Paul wrote is Scripture (II Peter. 3:16). Paul, himself, said that the things that he wrote are the commandments of Christ (1st Cor. 14:37). It is a dangerous conclusion to conclude that the things written to the Gentile churches in Acts 15 are the “only” things required of Christians. How to worship and how to appear, the covering, was not under consideration at the meeting at Jerusalem in Acts 15. Other necessary things are addressed elsewhere in the New Testament.

      • Kate says:

        One doctrine that can be proven false is that women are to be silent in the body of believers. There are two places this doctrine is stated – 1 Cor 14: 34 & 35, 1 Tim 2:11 & 12. I have already provided you with evidence that the Pastoral Epistles are widely regarded as not having been written by Paul so we must be cautious with doctrine found in these books that is not found elsewhere in the Bible, or opposes what we know to be Christ’s teachings. There is evidence that the verses in 1 Cor 14: 34 & 35 were not part of the original document of which there is a good summary on this site: http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1156/is-1-corinthians-1433-35-an-interpolation . Consider also that verses 34 & 35 differ from what Paul taught in verses 26 to 31 where he told all the brethren (male and female) whether they have “a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation Let all things be done unto edifying” v26, “let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern” v29, and that “all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted” v 31. In Christ’s foundational teaching all born again believers must confess him before men. In order to do this they must not be silent. So silence could result in women not confessing Christ which would lead to their destruction. This is why we need to test everything to ensure it agrees with Christ’s teaching because otherwise we end up with false teachings which we know are from Satan because God never lies. While some say that text is innocent until proven guilty I believe this is dangerous because we are talking about potentially false doctrine, the safer route is to apply the concept that we do to potentially bad food in our fridge – if in doubt throw it out. For my purposes I have set this doctrine aside but will consider additional information to reevaluate my decision if new information arises.

        • There is no manuscript evidence to remove 1 Cor 14.34-35 or 1 Tim 2.9-13. These are found in the oldest writings & the majority. Only one heretically altered text moves 1 Cor 14.34-35. Read 1 Cor 14.34-37 as a whole.

          The scary part is that you are doubting what you to doubt to throw it out. So, you believe innocent until it is thought suspect to your humanistic standard, yourself, and then you throw it out as though guilty.

          You are saying these passages are of the spirit of Satan rather than the Holy Spirit. What did Jesus say of those who speak of the Holy Spirit as the spirit of Beelzebul? Test the spirits (1Jn 4.1-6).

          Reconsider male leadership. God is described as masculine. Jesus was a man, and so were His 12. The leadership of men & women are different. Does not nature show us that men and women have different roles from God? Let the men lead by serving in example without lording over anyone (Mt 20.25-28, Mk 10.42-45, Lk 22.24-27). Men should be the speakers and teachers of the Assembly. This is their God-given role of serving. Remember 1 Corinthians 11.3. Any other teaching has been passed along from misandry and pagan feminism. Please humble yourself to God’s Word rather casting out what you doubt.

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          Here we go again denying the inspiration of parts of the New Testament. You are free to believe what you wish, but you will never convince me nor anyone else on this forum that we can ignore the passages dealing with women because you don’t believe they are inspired. The gay community will do the same thing with passages calling homosexuality a sin. I’m telling the truth.

          • Kate says:

            The Apostles stated that the wolves were among them during their ministries and I have provided you with some examples of false doctrine brought in by Satan’s seed. This is why the Apostles warned frequently about the deception and the need to test all things to ensure we are following sound doctrine. Some Churches, not wanting to question the predetermined Canon, have merged this false doctrine in with their church teachings and in doing so they have leavened the whole lump as stated in Gal 5:9. I believe this evil force is the mystery Babylon the Great of Revelation 17- the “great prostitute who sits on many waters”, that will be destroyed before the end.

            May God open your eyes to the truth setting you free from Satan’s lies! I will stop communicating with you now because I have warned you in keeping with Exekiel 3:19 and the choice is yours to make.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            That’s right, YOU have warned me. You have warned me based on your denial of what the apostles teach about women’s roles in the home and the church! I will put my faith in the written word. So long.

  4. CJ says:

    On Kate’s: Another passage that doesn’t agree with other teachings is 1 Tim. 2:15 where it states “women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety”. Both men and women are saved by “grace through faith” Eph 2:8, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5. Certainly this must cast doubt in your mind on these books?

    Is it really saying a woman will be “saved” as in Salvation or might it be “live through”, as in survive, childbirth?

    • mikebaggett@hotmail.com says:

      Men and women are equal in importance and stand on the same ground for salvation (Gal. 3:26-30). However, we have different duties or roles to play in our roles as males and females. First Corinthians 11:3 give the general principle of headships which must be observed. The man is the head in the home and the buck stops with him (Eph. 5:22-33; Titus 2:3-5; 1st Pet. 3:1-7). Man is to lead prayers and lead worship in the local churches (1st Cor. 14:33-40; 1st Tim. 2:8-15) God made it this way and, in fact, it all goes back to creation order (1st Cor. 11:8,9; 1st Tim. 2:13f). Man must do what God has called on him to do in the home and in the church to do God’s will after God’s assigned order. Woman must be content to let men lead and fulfill the duties which God has called her to do in the home and the church according to God’s will and God’s assigned order. These are certainly things which “accompany salvation.” We do what God wants for us because we love Him (John 14:15). Jesus says we are required to do the will of the Father in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21). We have not right to call Jesus our Lord if we do not the things which He tells us (Luke 6:46). What Paul, and in fact, Peter write about women is not unreasonable nor is it unfair or sexist; it is the will of God. Note that Paul tells men to love the wife as himself and even give his own body for her (Eph. 5:25-22). Does this sound like a woman hater? Paul also gives women equal rights in the bedroom as the husband and the wife are to give each other their due benevolence, and neither owns their own body it belong to the spouse, guided by love and consideration (1 Cor. 7:4f). Does Paul sound like a sexiest? Peter says the husband and wife share in the graces of life (1 Pet. 3:7). The home is both the man’s and the woman’s castle. When we judge the writings of the apostles in light of the feminist society in which we live, it’s easy to look for outs and question the validity of the command. This is dangerous ground because the apostles wrote Scripture and it is the same as Jesus saying these very things Himself (1st Cor. 14:37; II Peter 3:16). God loves both men and women, but God established an order (1st Cor. 11:3). The nation, the home and the church will not be what it needs to be until men and women find their rightful places and accept such stations in life with complaining to the create about “why have you made me thus?” God bless.

      • mikebaggett@hotmail.com says:

        Should say, “…without complaining to the Creator about why have you made me thus?

        • CJ says:

          Oh my, I guess I’m not such an effective communicator…I was only asking… In your studies of that particular word ‘saved’, could it possibly mean ‘don’t worry, she will survive childbirth. even tho it looks like and she feels like she’s dying…I will bring her through it’. That’s all.
          I don’t agree one bit with Kate’s view. And I don’t at all see Paul as a woman hater and didn’t think I insinuated that. The feminist crap has made a terrible mess of the family unit. It’s just one more of Satan’s ploys to dismantle God’s precious creation.
          If everyone believed God’s Word the Bible for what it is and behaved accordingly, oh what a glorious place this could be!!!! But we just have to wait for that.
          But thanks for taking the time and all the references God will put it to good use.
          (ps–I am a woman.)

          • I think you bring a plausible answer worth considering. From the context, she, who is being saved, is Eve. Yet, the Greek for saved can me rescued or delivered in the physical sense.

            Do you then think the woman will be delivered because of the faith, love, holiness, and self-control of both the woman and her husband? I speak of 1 Timothy 2:15.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            I apologize CJ for misunderstanding your intentions. I guess I was answering the whole matter including the response from Kate. I understand 1 Timothy 2:15 to teach that woman has a special role that has a direct impact on her salvation. She should be faithful in all her duties as a wife and mother and in her domestic duties. Some see this as a reference to Christ coming through woman to save us all. Could be a double meaning, but I do think in the context it has to do with women being what they should be in Christ in their duties included in the faith.

  5. CJ says:

    Thank you!

  6. Michael R. Baggett says:

    So, was Paul for the head covering or against? I believe the text bears out he was for it. Paul is not a politician who was “for it before he was against it.” LOL.

    • A woman’s hair is her God-given covering and her glory from God (1 Cor 11:15). Woman is the glory of man (1 Cor 11:7). Let her hair hang down covering her hair rather than be elaborately arranged or be covered with gold and pearls or a costly shawl (1 Tim 2, 1 Pet 3). If she have short hair, let her be covered with what hangs from the head. If anyone is contentious about women praying with her head uncovered, then let them know that the churches of Christ has no such custom. She must be covered to respect God’s headship.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Hello everyone,

    As a woman, I have a couple of honest questions here: so what about those of us who can’t have children? From the physical perspective alone, it seems hypocritical to suggest that a woman can only fulfill God’s place for her by bearing children. So am I some kind of outlier? Am I somehow less capable of salvation or being found delightful by God? Am I less human or less of a woman? Is a man who is mentally or physically weak less human or less of a man?

    And in regards to marriages with children, how does the justice system work? According to the Bible, Men are called to be responsible and to understand what being a master and a servant is all about. But many men I know are not experts on this, just as many women I know are not experts on submission. The legal, political, and social punishments have always leaned harder on the woman than on the man for not conforming to the Pauline image. It has been legally, politically, and socially acceptable throughout history for a husband to NOT treat his wife as himself in the same systems that allow male leadership over and ownership of women. In such systems, how wrong is it for women to call out that disparity? I think Paul here was doing something fairly revolutionary in comparison to what a lot of radical feminists have suggested. Here, Paul is suggesting a literal responsibility in tandem with authority. God as the head of both man and woman literally gave up his son in an attempt to reconcile them both back to perfection and immortality and goodness. God, as the head of both man and woman, has been biblically seen to listen to the requests and concerns of his people, and to provide them with free will to carry out those requests when appropriate (ex: Lot requesting to save people in Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus group crying out to not hear the voice of God because it was so terrifying to them, David dancing crazily in a way that made some people question his appropriateness but in a way that delighted God, etc). We also see evidence in the Old Testament in which women held positions of power outside of just that of the household (Deborah as the female judge, Jael who slew the antagonistic Sisera, Miriam who led the people in worship and rebuked leadership to remain Rahab the prostitute getting involved in political matters) and in which men showed typically more feminine traits regarding family and subordination to imperfect systems (Abraham’s desire to not kill his son despite God’s command for said sacrifice, Daniel subordinating himself to the authority of Babylon, in which God’s will and superiority was ultimately glorified, Moses complaining about being the leader and wishing for God to take the burden away or kill him).

    So we can see here that the definitions for authority and subordination have not always aligned to our socially traditional understanding of those words, which is precisely why the Christian God is known as a liberator, and why women in centuries past have looked to Christianity in a desperate attempt to find some form of equality.

    I have no fear of submitting my will to anyone, male or female, who knows more than me and is better than me at something I’m also trying to do. Have I misinterpreted anything so far? In what ways am I wrong?

    But if we look at history, we see that the Christian version of authority and subordination— as exemplified by the “suffering servant” Christ as the head of humanity—has in no way been legally, politically, economically, or judicially the foundation of many cultures or countries. Perhaps in name alone. Feminism (not radical feminism, but real feminism that requests equality between men and women) has simply suggested that man’s social structures have resulted in the abuse of power against women. If men did not abuse or mitigate women in these ways, we would not have a feminist movement, as it would be unnecessary. Just as we would not have a civil rights movement if we all just had simply accepted racial equality to begin with.

    Personally, I enjoy writing. (Obviously, haha). At one time, the social perceptions of educating women to think for themselves and read was looked down upon. Well, how did that system properly exemplify the Christian system of authority, when God Himself gave humanity the law to read and openly allowed Old Testament prophets to question him? Did he leave them unaware in an attempt to control them? Did he shut down automatically at their questions? Did he restrict the personal interests of anyone when they submitted their will to Him?

    It is socially assumed that man knows how to govern well and that the woman knows how to submit well. Reality suggests that neither of these are true. This is why I am perfectly fine with submitting to God, as a PERFECT being, and to his message of salvation regarding grace and faith. I have no problems with Him as my master. But to submit or govern an imperfect being simply for the reason of gender alone has a lot of perceived issues. This has resulted in governmental structures that do not in ANY way represent those seen as the ideal in the Bible.

    So why, when women question men’s authority, the automatic response is to receive reiterations of the verses that posit male authority without male responsibility or acknowledgement of what that authority actually entails?

    One of the better definitions of “equality” that I’ve heard is full citizenship in a community in which civil liberties (personal guarantees and freedoms) cannot be abridged by law or judicial interpretation. Humans who have citizenship in God’s community have personal free will and personal thoughts and personal strengths that are not mitigated. And in that community, God does not simply railroad himself or His will over anyone—he searches at the heart, and His will for that person aligns with the unique curiosities and talents of THAT person. This is the best definition of equality that we have: total affirmation and concern for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of other person.

    So if women who can’t have children are only saved and seen as worthy in God’s eyes by having children and by simply submitting to any man who lords power over her and only having authority in a household/family setting, then God himself has failed to provide for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of that woman. That division there just doesn’t even sound right to me. It’s circular insanity. It’s punishment based on the simple fact of existence, which is why free grace is so important here for both men and woman.

    And if a woman who has a deep love of science but can’t practice or receive recognition for that work because “Hey, it’s men’s work,” is that fully acknowledging and affirming her innate talents and directives as a human being? How is allowing women to contribute to society in ways other than just bearing children a BAD thing? Can a woman not love her family and perform scientific experiments on the side? Can a woman not take interest in political tensions in the world? Can a woman, who is usually the first educator to her children, not also receive an education and have valuable experiences in the public sphere of the world? Can a woman who knows more than a man not educate him? Historically, the answer has been NO. According to the Bible’s own examples and the equality feminists, YES.

    Men and woman are both fallen. Men have often abused their dominion, and women have often abused men’s sacrifices for them. Doesn’t make either right to do so, but in most historical spheres of influence, men have been allowed to abuse their dominion, and women have not been allowed to speak up or fully defend themselves. And whenever women abused men’s sacrifices for them, men were very vocal and more than happy to not only speak up but also exert severe punishment on that person through legal or judicial means—often ending in death.

    Now tell me where I’m wrong, as I’m not a pastor, and I am deferring to your authority to confirm or correct me in accordance to the biblically accounted manner with which God himself speaks to his flock. I’m trying to separate out historical hypocrisy from truth here, and to understand what you’re really arguing for.

    • Jennifer,

      In the context of 1 Timothy 2, the woman who is saved by bearing children is Eve. They are Adam and Eve, who continued in faith, love, and sanctification in sobriety. The word “continue” in verse 15 is in the aorist tense.

      Women underestimate their influence upon men especially faithful Christian men. Women have an influence (a power) that men do not have. God speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 11:7 where He says that woman is made in God’s image like man, but the woman is made in the glory of man whereas men is made in the glory of God. That glory of woman is apparent in her appearance and behavior, because 1 Corinthians 11 notes that the woman’s glory is seen by her hair (1 Cor 11:15). First Peter 3:1-2 demonstrates how women can influence men by their pure and chaste conduct. Yet, both men and women can pervert the appearance of women into lust or seek for what God’s sees that pure and beautiful glory of all women. Why should women lead the church and have twice as much influence than man?

      As women have this influence upon men, 1 Timothy 2 teaches that men have the right to lead worship and manage the church (1 Tim 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). This is not because women are inferior, but because God desired this from man when He created Him first (1 Tim 2:13). God also noted that women are more likely to be deceived to transgress, and men are more inclined to sin because of a woman’s influence (1 Tim 2:14, Gen 3). I find that women underestimate their influence and power even in the midst of suffering and oppressive men. When women submit to their husbands, they are trusting in God to fulfill His will (1 Pet 3:1-6). A wise woman will choose a man to whom she can submit. Women who rebel against this will only act contrary to themselves, and they will not escape the curse of sin that is “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16b). This rule of men is not necessarily an oppressive force but may simply be providential and inevitable due to sin. The instruction for women to submit to their husbands and be silent in church is God’s command to women — not God’s command for men to make women do this. Men who lord over curse themselves. Therefore, let the men have their glory given to them by God. Let them be men and lead in this way.

      When you understand the glory of women and the influence of their faithful conduct, then you are may understand our roles better. Yes, men are to be like the Head who is Christ. Faithful men will lead by serving rather than by lording over others (Luke 22:24-27, 1 Pet 5:1-4). Men are to be head of the house by love, nourishing, and cherishing their wives (Eph 5:22-33). Man is not to be a dictator or even a ruler (Matt 20:24-28). The Head of man is Christ (1 Cor 11:3).

      Everyone must submit to someone. All people are told to submit to their governments and employers (Rom 13, Col 4, etc.). These governments are imperfect being made of imperfect people who may even abuse us. Employers may take advantage of us too. What do Christians do? How do we overcome such oppression? How did the oppression come in the first place? First Peter 2:13-3:6 teaches that we submit to their authorities to overcome them just as Christ endured evil to overcome evil. In 1 Peter 3, there is also the instruction for women to submit to gain husbands who are disobedient to the Word to overcome them. Women should avoid abuse as Jesus did avoid harm to accomplish His teaching on earth until he fulfilled our atonement. Women may separate from their husbands to remain single or return to their husbands (1 Cor 7:11). Husbands must not separate. By the way, the only occasion for divorce and remarriage is via extramarital sex (Matt 5:32, 19:9).

      Yes, women did more in the Bible than what some men and women think they can today. These are immature, weak, or apostates. As far as civil rights, I could get further in the ancient Israel republic found within Scripture. For now, this will suffice.

      May God bless you in your studies.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Hey Scott,

    I appreciate your extensive response and clarification regarding Timothy. Thank you for taking the time to provide your viewpoint.

    However, I did not question male LEADERSHIP. I have instead questioned male DOMINATION. Again, I have no problem submitting to authority if it is deserving. As I have no husband and am single, I often make my own decisions, but I have several father and mother figures that I turn to in order to check and balance my decisions. Those people I rely on I know are trustworthy, concerned for my own well-being, and worthy of my submission to their ultimate judgments whether in agreement or disagreement to my original thoughts.

    If men and husbands were always acting in accordance to male LEADERSHIP as it is described in the Bible, then THERE WOULD NOT BE A FEMINIST MOVEMENT. Do you see the disparity there? The feminist movement is a reaction to the failings of men to properly wield authority. Historically, women have not been considered to have the same type of personhood or innate value as a man. This has resulted in several legal structures and social conditions with DOUBLE STANDARDS. As I stated before, “It has been legally, politically, and socially acceptable throughout history for a husband to NOT treat his wife as himself in the same systems that allow male leadership over and ownership of women. In such systems, how wrong is it for women to call out that disparity?”

    Are you therefore insinuating that a woman who has been denied her God-given value must continue to submit without question to the men who are perpetuating a toxic domination over her? Does a woman not have a voice in those situations? And what if the man is simply not spiritually fit to be in authority? If you would like me to provide you with multiple examples of these situations from around the world, I can do so.

    But here’s one example, one that has significant impacts to the health of the church:
    So let’s take Neo-Darwinism, otherwise known as evolution. That’s an incredibly sensitive topic because it’s directly in conflict with the basic church doctrine. I have a significant understanding of how evolutionary mechanisms work and how genetics work, and that scientific knowledge alone has ultimately allowed me to conclude for myself that evolution is in fact wrong. (If you would like me to explain this further, please let me know!)

    Now I have several male friends and several male associates who accept the doctrine of evolution as truth. You and I both know them to be deceived here. Evolution grants them power away from a deity and moral responsibility, and it also (interestingly enough) asserts their physical and mental superiority OVER women, maintaining the earthly status quo of male DOMINATION. Now that I’m thinking about it in conjunction with my understanding of Genesis 3, it’s literally the same rehash of the deception that Satan gave to Eve. So are these men not acting perhaps a bit…spiritually ”Eve-ish/womanish” in that they have been deceived, and yet they’re so blind to it, they can’t see it themselves?

    And if I can see it, even though I am physically a woman, would you prefer that I commit the same rehash of the crime that Adam committed when he silently stood there and just…watched it happen and passively accepted it? As a helper, do I not have a responsibility to act a bit…spiritually “mannish” to tell people that they’ve been deceived and help them back to reality?
    Am I wrong to feel a directive within me to exercise my knowledge in an attempt to bring people back to God? Between Richard Dawkins and myself, who do you think acts more deceived regarding evolution, and who do you think acts more aware of the truth? Does that not give me the right to expose that truth and act spiritually mannish, even though I am physically a woman and Richard Dawkins is physically a man but has more “Eve-ish” tendencies? Or would you prefer that I physically act as Adam here….and say nothing at all?

    Is that really the power structure you want to maintain, simply because of physical biology alone? Because this is the exact image that has been legally and historically perpetuated, which is male DOMINATION without CONTESTATION, not simply male leadership. And it is destroying us both, along with the church.

    • Reconsider that I said that women should resist abuse. You give the impression that women are mostly mistreated. My impression of feminism is mannish and mostly misandronist. Your answer is in Christ. How did Christ conquer evil?

      God bless. I am happy to hear your convictions against macroevolution.

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