Main point summary
Creation order intentionally purposes the roles of men and women in the church. Men, do not dress or present yourselves in ways that symbolize that you are a woman, for to do so brings shame both on yourself and your authority, Christ. You are to remain distinct from how a woman dresses because you are her authority and are called to lead her. Women, do not neglect to fulfill your role as functionally submissive to male leadership, humble and dress yourselves in a way proper to females and distinguishable from man, because he is your authority. When you pray and/or prophesy in the church, do so in a posture that seeks to honour your male leaders. Know that your submission does not imply that you are inferior in worth, essence or being, rather, like Christ and His Father, who are equal in essence and divinity, so too are you and man, equal in God's created image and value.
1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Now I commend you
ON ONE HAND, I boast of you
a because you remember me in everything
BECAUSE as you act, you remember me
and b maintain the traditions
AND BECAUSE you continue to apply the lessons that I taught you
c even as I delivered them to you.
ASTOUNDINGLY, just as I taught you
But I want you to understand
ON THE OTHER HAND, please know something you are missing
that d the head of every man is Christ,
WHAT I MEAN IS the authority of every person is Christ
e the head of a wife 1 is her husband,
AND JUST AS CHRIST IS THE AUTHORITY OF EVERY MAN, SO TOO is the husband the authority over his wife
and f the head of Christ is God.
THIS IS SIMILAR TO God's authority over Christ, not in a way that is inferior, but functional - not subordinate in essence or being, but in role
Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head,
THEREFORE, ON THE ONE HAND, every man who prays/prophesies with a head covering shames both himself (head) and his authority (head) (as this would be how a woman dresses)
but every wife 1 who prays or g prophesies h with her head uncovered dishonors her head,
ON THE OTHER HAND, when a wife/woman prophesies/prays in the public assembly without a head covering, she shames both herself (head) and her authority (head) (as this would be how a man dresses)
since it is the same i as if her head were shaven.
BECAUSE, to be without a head covering would give the appearance of looking like a man/her husband.
For if a wife will not cover her head,
FOR if a wife/woman wants to look like a man and not be submissive/humble/fill her role as a woman in the church/in the home
then she should cut her hair short.
THEN she should cut her hair short
But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair
BUT to cut your hair short would bring shame
or shave her head,
OR to shave your head would bring shame
let her cover her head.
THEREFORE, a woman/wife should cover her head.
For a man ought not to cover his head,
CONVERSELY, a man ought not to cover his head
since j he is the image
BECAUSE he is the image
and glory of God,
AND glory of God
but k woman is the glory of man.
HOWEVER, Woman is to honour /submit to man, her head/authority
For l man was not made from woman,
FOR 1) creation order is not man from woman
but woman from man.
RATHER, it is woman from man
Neither was man created for woman,
AND 2) man wasn't made to help woman
but m woman for man.
RATHER, woman was made to help man
That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head,
THEREFORE, woman/wife should symbolize her submission to her authority by placing a covering on her head
because of the angels. 1
BECAUSE angels are attempting to help maintain this order of creation(?) (Schreiner, pg. 127)
Nevertheless, n in the Lord woman is not independent of man
HOWEVER, ON THE ONE HAND, in Christ, woman needs man
nor man of woman;
ON THE OTHER HAND, man needs woman
for as woman was made from man,
BECAUSE, just as woman is created from man
so man is now born of woman.
SO TOO is man now born from woman
And o all things are from God.
ADDITIONALLY, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, both men and women are from God (and thus equal in essence and value though different in roles/function)
Judge for yourselves:
IN OTHER WORDS, use reason!
is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered?
QUESTION: Should a woman/wife pray (in public assembly) without covering her head?
Does not nature itself teach you
ANSWER: look at what you know instinctively
that if a man wears long hair
WHAT I MEAN TO SAY IS, IF a man has long hair
it is a disgrace for him,
THEN he is dishonoured (does not follow creation order)
but if a woman has long hair,
CONVERSELY, IF a woman has long hair/covers her head
it is her glory ?
THEN she is honoured (follows creation order)
For her hair is given to her for a covering.
FOR the hair of a woman is meant to symbolize her submission to authority (man/husband)
p If anyone is inclined to be contentious,
NEVERTHELESS (BUT), IF anyone thinks that head coverings for women is isolated only to the Corinthians
we have no such practice,
THEN they should know that we follow suit (our churches mandate head coverings for women) - we are not contentious
nor do q the churches of God.
AND so do the other Christian, God-ordained churches
don't look like your husband, because you were not made like your husband, and you are particular/distinct in your role as his wife (not inferior). To dress like your husband, is to show open rebellion against the created order (to want to be/look like your husband).
One who does not conform to the role God has given him/her shames both himself and his authority (Prov 10:1; 17:25) - Schreiner, pg. 123
praying/prophesying in the public assembly - from context that these chapters = referring to public worship and next chapter has to do with Lord's Supper - these are commands of what women and men should do/dress like in public worship, the point of prophesy = to edify the church (not a private expression - 1 Cor 14:1-5; 29-33a), and 1 Cor 14:33b-36 shows that not all forms of speaking for women are prohibited in public gathering (just not teaching from the Word of God/exercising authority) - thus, women can prophesy in public, but not weigh prophesy for that would require teaching. If they do prophesy/pray in public - wear a head covering to show you are in submission and humble to male headship and it is something that separates who the women are from the men (something that looks distinct to the women).
Woman honours (glories) man, just as her hair is her honour (glory), which contrasts men and how they are dishonoured/disgraced if they grow out long hair (14b) - woman should honour man, and such honouring comes by wearing a head covering showing that man is her authority/head.
Paul wants the woman to wear a head covering because such adornment appropriately distinguishes women from men. Indeed, the focus on male headship over women in verse 3 shows that Paul wants women to wear a head covering in order to show that they are submissive to male headship (Schreiner, pg. 126).
Nature - definition - " the natural and instinctive sense of right and wrong that God has planted in us, especially with respect to sexuality" (Schreiner, pg. 128 - and his reference to how Paul uses "nature" and "teach" elsewhere, e.g. Roms 1:26-27) How you wear your hair, is indicative of your willingness to abide by creation order.
Wearing a head covering, in the context of the Corinthians, shows that women and men are inherently different (not unequally worthy). If a woman wants to prophesy or pray without looking distinct from men (or being distinct from men), then she is negating the God's intention in creation. Further, how you wear your hair signifies your willingness to abide to the created order - women have long hair, because it is distinctly feminine, and men don't have long hair, because it is to keep women distinct from you.
Fundamental principle: God's creation order has set an intentional difference in roles for men to lead in the church and family, and for women to submit and help. If women pray/prophesy in church, they should only do so under the authority/headship of men, and in proper dress so as to retain their God-given femininity. However, women are not subordinate to men in essence, being or worth (just like how Christ is subordinate in role, but not in essence or being). They are equally valued by God and equally worthy to Him in Christ (as his creation in His image). Cultural application: women, wear head coverings, and men, don't wear head coverings