Head coverings - Faithful Generations

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Head coverings

Head coverings

Head Coverings

Head Covering
- The Glory of Man or The Glory of God

The significance of head covering is a truth long lost in this day of modern theology. Today I would like to show you from scripture why this is not a trivial topic and why it should be considered a fundamental rather than a non essential.

Last week we looked at Grace and how salvation is by grace through faith and not of works (Ephes 2:8-9). We often stop there rather than realising that though salvation is by grace through faith, faith has an outworking in obedience to the scriptures and is thus demonstrated by works. In no way is salvation attained by works but we are called to walk in the works which God hath before ordained for us and to be doers of the word (Ephes 2:10, Jas 1:22). So this is not about salvation, but conduct in the church of God.

1 Timothy 3:14-15

14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 27-31

1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 Corinthians 11:1-16

1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

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

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

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

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

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

V3: Not hierarchy but order, eg alphabetical order does not mean a is more important than z.

V4: Man dishonoureth his literal head as well as his figurative head, Christ

V5: Woman dishonoureth her literal head as well as her figurative head, man which in turn dishonoureth Christ.

This covering can not mean hair, does not make sense to compare uncovered with shaven if uncovered means no hair. Why compare no hair with shaven? It is a literal covering, see v6. The If in v6 is not asking a question which we have the prerogative of answering but is really saying, "since it is a shame for a woman to be shaven, and since being shaven is as bad as having her head uncovered, if she is uncovered then she may as well be shaven".

2619 katakalupto {kat-ak-al-oop'-to}

from 2596 and 2572; TDNT - 3:561,405; v

AV - cover 3; 3

1) to cover up

2) to veil or cover one's self

Note: woman praying or prophesying - this cannot contradict scripture, 1 Cor 14:34. As the whole of Corinthians demonstrates, this church was extremely carnal but Paul graciously deals with each problem in turn. If women are to keep silent then how are they supposed to pray and prophesy? See 1 Cor 12:26.

V7: Man is the image and glory of God and woman is the glory of man, thus, a man covering his head covers the glory of God while a woman who represents the man's glory having her head uncovered reveals the glory of man, and, no flesh should glory in his presence. You can see why this is much more than a trivial case of to cover or not to cover. As Ephesians 3:10 states:

Ephesians 3:10

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, ...

V8-9: Creation order, all one in Christ as far as equality but different order in creation.

V10: word power should be translated authority. Again, the reason is given: because of the angels.

V11-12: woman of man but man by woman, not independent but complementary.

V13: Another rhetorical question, not one we have the prerogative of answering, except by scripture itself.

V14: unfortunately nature has been violated because it seems that long hair on a man is no longer a shame ... or is it?

V15: the woman's long hair is her glory given to her as a covering or vesture/veil. If this is given to the woman as a glory then why should a man have a woman's glory?

4018 peribolaion {per-ib-ol'-ah-yon}

from a presumed derivative of 4016;; n n

AV - covering 1, vesture 1; 2

1) a covering thrown around, a wrapper

1a) a mantle

1b) a veil

Ah but one might say, there it is, a woman's head covering is her own hair. Since we must not take one verse alone but compare scripture with scripture, we see that although it is a covering for her, it is not a covering of man's glory but is her glory. The word covering used in v15 is a different Greek word to that used in v6-7. In v6-7 the word means to cover up or veil oneself whereas the word for cover in v15 means a veil, vesture or mantle, something like Joseph's coat of many colours? If this is not enough, we must remember v4-7 which clearly shows that a woman's hair is not what is meant by a covering as again, why compare a shaven head to an uncovered head if they are the same thing? The fact is, it is God's glory which must be visible in the meeting, not man's because no flesh should glory in His presence. Since woman's head represents man's glory it must be covered, and so must her own glory, ie her hair.

This covering should not be a fashion statement, for this is another artificial glory. It should simply be a plain piece of material which covers the head and hair and does not draw attention.

V16: This is the most misunderstood verse, many claim that Paul is saying that the churches of God have no such custom. If this was the case, why write half a chapter about it and be so emphatic about the importance of this doctrine, especially when he said in v2-3 that he praised them for following his teaching except on this point? The answer is simple: Have you not heard some-one say, there is no such/like/sort of shopping centre like Westfield Marion? Perhaps straight after saying how big and impressive it is? The word such in v16 does not mean not existent but rather that this custom is unlike any other in the churches of God.

5108 toioutos {toy-oo'-tos} (including the other inflections)

from 5104 and 3778;; adj

AV - such 39, such thing 11, such an one 8, like 1, such a man 1,

such a fellow 1; 61

1) such as this, of this kind or sort

This is an important warning to us men who often come up here and speak arrogantly. As we look back and see the covered heads of the sisters, it is a solemn warning that our glory is covered and that no flesh should glory in God's presence. This is why the silent covered women are an essential part of the worship meeting and their obedience to this doctrine is as important as the men's participation in the open worship.

In today's modern meetings, instead of the world thinking they are foolishness and different to what they are used to, they see similarity. Instead of God's glory they see man's glory. Instead of the foolishness of the cross they see the wisdom of man. If we are to glorify God and not the flesh then our worship meetings should be such that man's glory is covered and God's is uncovered. The meeting should be such that if The Lord Jesus Christ stood among us as pictured in John's vision on the isle of Patmos, we would not be ashamed.

We meet together to exhort one-another in spiritual things yet our conversation before and after the meeting seldom reflects spiritual content, instead, the meeting is like an interruption to an otherwise worldly schedule instead of a continuance of a life filled with the richness of the Word of God obtained by time spent in the Word and prayer.

We are invited to the Lord's table to remember Him. Do we take this flippantly? If the queen or some other worldly idol such as our favourite band or actor/actress invited us to an intimate meeting would we be late? Would we come unprepared? Until we worship God more than all the idols in our lives, maybe we will continue on as we are.

Remember, this is not about salvation, that is by grace through faith. This is about Church conduct. This is about not robbing God of the glory due to his name. Head covering is a simple act of obedience, as simple as the remembrance feast. It is not the only thing we need to concentrate on in order to give God glory but it is a simple starting point.

James 4:17

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ compel us to conduct our lives and hence our worship meetings in a manner that glorifies our Heavenly Father and clearly manifests His manifold wisdom to all who look on.

Hackham South Christian Church
J Stephen