The issue of women wearing headcoverings has been argued ad nauseam in the Church probably since the Church was established. I believe the most important verse in this entire conversation by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 is this one: “But I would have you know, that he head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:2). We all know what this means and should walk in obedience to this clear command. Our husbands are head over us. They are our HEAD covering! If they want us to wear long hair, wear long hair. If they want us to wear a veil over our head, we will wear a veil over our head. If they don’t want us to wear one, then we won’t. It’s their decision since they answer to Christ (even if they are unbelievers).
I can tell you that after studying the commentaries of old, they weren’t even sure what this passage meant concerning women wearing a veil over their heads and this is the issue I will discuss with you. Some believe the veil is a woman’s hair and others believe it is a veil.
Near the end of this discussion concerning headcoverings by Paul, he makes this statement: But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering (1 Corinthians 11:15).
Matthew Poole’s Commentary had this to say about this verse:
“But, he saith, if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her. Long hair is comely for the woman, and accounted to her for a beauty or ornament, for God hath given her her hair for a covering. There have been books written about the lawfulness or unlawfulness of men’s wearing long hair, and the due or undue lengths of men’s hair, the substance of which were too much to transcribe here. That which in these verses seemeth to be commended to us, as the will of God in this matter, is: That men and women should so order their hair, as by it to preserve the distinction of sexes.”
God isn’t into transgenderism. We can be sure of that! We are told that the effeminate will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). Effeminate means to make womanish; to unman; to weak. In 1 Corinthians 11, there is a clear distinction in which the way men and women wear their hair. Our hair should be feminine and should be clearly distinguished from the way men wear their hair. It seems more and more women today are getting haircuts that look just like men and it is in rebellion to God’s design for them. I know some women can’t grow long hair and some women’s husbands like their hair short. It still doesn’t mean that you can’t make it look soft and feminine.
Gills’ Commentary said this: “But if a woman have long hair,…. And wears it, without cutting it, as men do:it is a glory to her; it is comely and beautiful; it is agreeable to her sex, she looks like herself; it becomes and adorns her: for her hair is given her for a covering; not instead of a covering for her head, or any other part of her body, so that she needs no other:”
This commentary believed that long hair IS a woman’s covering. Many women grow their hair long and keep it this way because of this verse. I would venture to say that most men like long hair more than short hair. It makes a woman look like a woman and very short hair makes a man look masculine.
Cambridge Bible Commentary had this to say: “The true glory of every creature of God is to fulfill the law of its being. Whatever helps woman to discharge the duties of modesty and submissiveness assigned to her by God is a glory to her.” I believe this to be the main point of the entire discussion: God has called women to be modest and submissive to their husbands because they are our head covering. This pleases the Lord and the highest form of worship is living according to the Lord’s will.
Even a newer commentary had this to say about these verses:
“What is this covering that Paul is saying a man should not wear but a woman should? In answering this unspoken question, Paul asks, ‘Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?’ (verse 13). He immediately answers his own question: ‘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’ (verses 14-15).
All along, Paul has been writing, not about a hat or veil, but the length of one’s hair! He is not saying a woman should wear something over her hair, but rather she should wear her hair long enough to be recognized as feminine. This wearing of her hair long shows her submission to the man.”
Now, we come to the verse at the end of the discussion by Paul: But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God (1 Corinthians 11:16). Again, the commentaries are not all in agreement with this statement. I believe that what God wanted us to clearly understand, He made very clear: men are the head over their wives and wives are to be in subjection to their husbands. This has been stated multiple times in the Word. On this issue of headcovering, it shouldn’t cause contentions among us. Obey your husband. It’s that simple!
Gill’s Commentary: “That is, if anyone will not be satisfied with reasons given, for men’s praying and prophesying with their heads uncovered, and women’s praying and prophesying with their heads covered; but will go on to raise objections, and continue carping and cavilling, showing that they contend not for truth, but victory, can they but obtain it any way; for my part, as if the apostle should say, I shall not think it worth my while to continue the dispute any longer; enough has been said to satisfy any wise and good man, anyone that is serious, thoughtful.”
We know from Gill’s Commentary that he believes long hair is a woman’s covering but his main thought from this verse is that there should be no contentions about it. It shouldn’t divide churches, nor friendships, not anything. There isn’t one male godly preacher or teacher of the Word (not even Michael Pearl who takes the Bible very literally and doesn’t allow culture or feminism to frame his teachings) that I listen to and trust who teaches women must wear a veil in the church.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary: “If any man seem to be contentious; if any man hath a mind to quarrel out of a love to show his wit in discoursing what may be said on the other side, or out of a desire to hold up a party, and contradict us. We have no such custom, of women’s praying or prophesying with their heads uncovered, or men’s praying or prophesying with their heads covered; or we have no such custom of contending for these little frivolous things; neither any of the churches of God; and good Christians, in their practices, ought, in things of this nature, to have an eye and regard to the custom of their own church, and also of other Christian churches.”
I will repeat one phrase in this commentary: “We have no such custom of contending for these little frivolous things.” I believe this sums it up. Yes, the man is head over his wife (her HEAD covering) and she is to live in submission to him. This is not frivolous since it’s made clear, as I have stated, but the issue of long hair and wearing a veil falls in the category of “frivolous” things (of little importance) so decide for yourselves with your husband’s approval what is right and proper and do it but please don’t force your personal convictions about this upon others and cause contentions over it.