How we worship God matters. I believe that our worship reflects our heart. It should be pleasing and acceptable in His sight and we should seek to glorify God with our whole being.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer Psalm 19:14
I have been asked quite often in the past few weeks on the subject of headcoverings. Have I started wearing them? Why have I started wearing them? When do I wear them…etc. Today I’m going to share with you my thoughts on this topic and hopefully answer some of your questions. I do realize [though I don’t really understand why] the practice of headcovering can be quite controversial. This post is not meant to spread division. It’s meant solely to share my heart on the topic. If we have landed in different places on this topic I hope we can all respectfully disagree and still be friends
What I do not think head covering is:
A hill worth dying on. While I have come to the conclusion that I’m called to cover my head during prayer, church, worship and the like I’m not willing to push this conclusion to another sister in Christ. I think having conversations about this topic is helpful, conversing, praying and studying are all important, in my opinion this is not a hill worth dying on. I say that for my next reason.
This is not a salvific issue, meaning you are not saved by your works which includes wearing or not wearing a headcovering. Your salvation is not determined by anything you have done, your salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Praise God!
What I do think headcovering should be:
An act of humble obedience to God’s word, submission to your husband and obedience to the convictions of the Holy Spirit
On Covering the Head in Worship
Bible Gateway – 1 Corinthians 11:2-
2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
Let’s first talk about the creation order. God has created an order and we are called to submit to His divine authority and order. Beginning in verse 3 Paul lays out this order. Christ is the head of every man, man the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ. God –> Christ –> man –> woman –>
You can clearly see God’s created order in Genesis 1.
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
As we just read and as Paul points out in the earlier text, woman was created for man and not man for woman. Man and woman were created for different roles. both equal in value, both created in God’s image, but God clearly intends for man and woman to fulfill different roles. What I believe Paul is clearly saying here is because of God’s creation and headship order, it is good for a wife to cover her head because the covering is an outward symbol of submission to her husband and to God. However, as I mentioned above this is not meant to be a legalistic thing, but rather a heart posture. With that being said for a long time this was a topic I didn’t understand much about. I always assumed it was a cultural thing and if I am being honest, before truly studying the topic and spending time in prayer I was worried about standing out, looking weird, I was definitely being prideful. So I ask you, if this is something you’ve been studying and praying about, what in your heart is preventing you from doing it?
On the subject of culture. Many believe this was simply a cultural issue in Corinth at the time, however in my studies I’m not so sure it was just cultural. For example, Paul says in verse 7 that man ought not to cover his head. Is this not still true of today? Men to this day do not cover their heads to pray. In fact men to this day remove hats during ceremonies involving prayer, singing of the national anthem even, etc. Throughout history woman actually always wore some sort of covering. They certainly changed over time, veils, bonnets, ornate hats, but by the mid 1900’s they became a thing of the past. This alone leads me to believe it is now that they are not worn for cultural purposes, rather than them being worn for cultural purposes in Corinth. On the topic of culture, Paul has clearly laid out the creation order and headship which transcends time. So if the creation order and headship that God has made transcends time wouldn’t this practice also? Interestingly, coverings became a thing of the past beginning in the mid 1900’s as the feminist movement accelerated. Feminism has long since set out to destroy God’s order for men and women, sexuality, the home, the family.
Dale Partridge says, “It’s interesting that we take the other Pauline doctrines, but not the ones that are unpopular to the culture, or uncomfortable, may be difficult to understand. We can’t cherry pick…was the rest of his letter cultural too?” Are we yielding to the scriptures or not?” [Recommend listening to Should Christian Women Wear A Head Covering] Dale also points out that in this letter Paul is giving us a physical church practice to represent this spiritual truth.
“The wearing of fabric headcoverings in worship was universally the practice until the twentieth century. what happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ which is the pillar of the ground of truth.” RC Sproul
Martin Luther says this, ” Women should be covered with a veil for the sake of the angels.”
Because of the Angels
That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. What does this mean? Because of the angels. Well, this all comes back to the different levels of authority that Paul has laid out in this passage so far. We have the creation, nature, and now cosmic. We know that the angels are watching us. As a side note I listened to a fantastic series on angels from Pastor Carl Broggi on The Search the Scriptures App, that I highly recommend. Also John MacArthur has a sermon series on angels.
Scripture makes clear that the angels are watching and observing us. Again I’m pulling some insight from Dale Partridge because I feel like he explains this so well and it made so much sense to me. He talks about how the headcovering of a woman while praying or prophesying tells or shows the angelic world our spiritual status, this is outward evidence that you are under the authority of God. It displays you are submitted and yielded to your husband and the Lord.
I’ll leave you with this final thought. Again, this is not a salvific issue and I believe it should never be used to judge or condemn another woman spiritually. What truly convicted me was this, if my deepest desire is to honor God with my whole being and submit to my husband, to honor His Word and created order, why wouldn’t I cover my head as a way to display publicly that spiritual truth and to show humble obedience. In addition, I wonder why does this subject offend people so much? I think many feminists of the world would 100% object to this idea but the most opposition seems to come from children of God. We are called to be set apart and different. We are called to be in the world but not of it. Why wouldn’t we as Christian women want to go against the culture of the world?
Again, I do not want this to come across as legalistic. I’m not saying you have to do this or you should do this. But, I am asking you to pray and search the scriptures. Talk and pray about it with your husband. We live in a world that has literally thrown created order and biblical womanhood out the window. In a world that wants to deny the things that God has created and called good why not strive all the more to value our role as women. May we seek to honor the Lord and glorify Him with our whole being.