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What exactly does the following verse mean for Christian women today? 1 Cor. 11:5  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.

ANSWER:: That is a big question to answer in a short space.. At Corinth there were many problems. Paul is writing them a corrective Epistle.  When he gets to Ch. 11:,  he starts putting the local gathering  in order.  Ch.11: is the most important because it deals with headships. and the Lordís Supper.  The women were speaking there and some of the saints were getting drunk at the Lordís Supper. (11:21) Which were both wrong.  In Ch.11: he shows that the order of headship is displayed to the angels who are looking on (10),by the physical heads of the man and woman. The man is to bare his physical head which speaks of unveiling his spiritual head, Christ. (That is, he also is to speak of Him, and not himself.) The woman in turn is to cover her head showing that she gives place to her spiritual head, the man. In doing so, she declares her subjection to man.

This order was lost in the Fall. Verses 7-9 Paul refers to creation as the reason a woman should be covered. She is to display always her subjection publically everywhere by wearing long hair as her natural covering (V.15). But  in the assembly she is to wear an artificial covering to display it to the angelic world. This order was never restored in the Tabernacle or Temple worship. It is only in a New Testament local church that it is displayed.  It is not being displayed in churches anywhere much today.

There were Christian Jews in the assembly at Corinth. They always wore a head covering in the synagogues and temple.  There is no doubt that some of them were praying with covered heads. Paul makes a two fold correction here. The man is to uncover his head and the women is to cover hers.
When it comes to her praying or prophesying he corrects that in Ch. 14:34, and declares, Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. Here again he goes back to the beginning where this was lost in the Fall and refers to Gen.3:16, Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

There is no thought that the woman is inferior to man, but Godís order should be obeyed in the church and the world also.

All comments and questions to:  Harold Smith

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Updated January 23rd, 2014 by Sandra Felix