Head Covering And Women
Head covering has become one of the heated doctrinal issues in the church. Many have come to terms with it as a better means to worship God. And many are of the view that it doesn’t matter and shouldn’t count while worshipping God. And because of this, head covering has created and generated unwarranted fuss in the church. Many women have been victimized and sent out of a place of worship because they didn’t cover their heads.
In the same manner, many men have been ordered not to pray in prayer gathering because they covered their heads. However, since head covering is a doctrinal issue the best way to put it to rest is to harness the stipulations of the scripture. Understandably, the sayings of the scripture are final and it settles every arguments.
Firstly, it is not out of place to have doctrinal disputes in the church. It means people are ready to learn and be corrected. Doctrinal disputes have been there even in the early days of the Apostles. Right after the resurrection of Christ, the Apostles started have divergence opinions about which doctrine is right or wrong. One of these instances took place in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Let’s see the verses below;
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.”
Head Covering Is A Doctrinal Issue:
The issue raised in the verses above is a serious doctrinal issue and the believers then didn’t take it lightly. It has to do with the salvation of man. The verse says “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” They taught the brethren that for a man to be saved he must be circumcised.
Here, Apostle Paul and his group didn’t stoop low for them, they counteracted their teachings. They have to go to Jerusalem to settle this doctrinal issue. And the outcome is that it is only through faith in Christ that one can be saved. The rightness of head covering during prayer or worship can only be ascertained through the understanding of the teachings of the Apostles. What they said should be the pivot by which this doctrinal discrepancy should be put to rest. Let’s see what Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians in the verses below.
“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. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 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.”
1 Corinthians 11:3-5
Understanding Scriptural Terminologies:
One of the ways to understand the scripture is to understand that the scripture is a book that has its own terminology. The writers of the scripture in most cases take time to define the words they use in their writings. This explanation is applicable to the verses above. Apostle Paul while writing the congregation in Corinth took time to define the terms or words he used in the verses above.
Firstly, he said “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.” Here according to Apostle Paul the word head here doesn’t mean head as in the head of a human being but authority. In this case whatever Apostle Paul is talking about has nothing to do with human head but authority. So the case study or subject matter here is not head as in head but authority.
Therefore, Apostle Paul said that the authority of every man is Christ, and the authority of the woman is man, also the authority of Christ is God. In this case to cover the head means to cover authority. And at the same time to uncover the head means to uncover authority. Therefore, every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head, means that every man doing the aforementioned with his authority covered dishonoureth his authority. Here again, the authority of the man is Christ.
The Meaning Of Head Covering:
This shows that no man should pray or prophesy while covering Christ. So a man should not pray or prophesy if he covers Christ in his household or elsewhere. Meaning every man praying or prophesying should make Christ known in his house and everywhere he works. Men are not supposed to hide Christ; they are supposed to make Christ known publicly.
The next statement to ascertain is this ‘But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head.’ The above statement implies that a woman or wife should not uncover her authority which is the man or husband. The word ‘uncover’ here means to expose her authority. That is, to expose the weakness of her authority, she should not wash the dirt linen of her authority outside. Therefore, a woman who prays and prophesy should not expose the weakness of her authority. She should not be abusive to her husband.
Head Covering Is not The Subject Matter:
The subject matter contextually is not prayer or head covering but family discipline. This should be maintained by the woman and man in the house. Apostle Paul in this epistle detailed out how a respectful relationship should exist between a husband and wife in their family. He is not saying that a woman should not pray if her head is not covered. And at the same time he is not saying that a man should not pray if he covers his head with a cap.
This is very important because the answer to prayers is not predicated on covering or uncovering head. Therefore, head covering is not an issue in prayer and should not be. Also head covering is not the subject matter in this chapter but authority. However, concerning head covering, doesn’t it matter if one covers her head while praying? Well, the answer is that it doesn’t matter; because it is a matter of choice. For this reason many pray head covering and their prayers are answered. And in the same manner many pray head uncovering and their prayers are answered.
Prayers are not answered based on head covering but based on one’s right standing with God. The right standing with God has everything to do with one’s faith in Christ.
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