Head Coverings

In your book, you talk about having your head covered to symbolize subordination to your husband and to God. I feel convicted about this, but how can I cover my short hair in church without making a spectacle of myself?

To be clear, let me first supply a bit of background information about the head covering. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul talks about the head covering both literally and figuratively. Figuratively speaking, the “head covering” is the chain of command. God is the “head” of the man, and the man is the “head” of the woman (vs. 3). When Paul says that a woman is to cover her head, what he means is that she is to submit to her husband, who has spiritual authority over her. If she doesn’t, her prayers and prophecies (Bible reading or recitation) is powerless and vain (vs.10, Prov. 17:14 LXX). This is because when the chain of command is “jumped”, the jumper is called “lawless” and “usurping”. As a result, her prayers are considered “abominable” (Prov. 28:9 LXX), and the authority she wrongfully seized (from her husband or from the church) is not recognized by God (2 Tim. 2:5), and therefore also vain and powerless.

Literally speaking, Paul talks about how comely (both appropriate and beautiful) it is for a woman to have long hair. Her long hair is her glory, and is given to her by God as a covering (vs. 13-15). Because the issue at hand is her submission, a godly woman may choose to wear a head covering or keep her hair long as an outward symbol of her inner submission. Now, we all know that not all women who have long hair or wear head coverings are obedient! Neither is it true that all women who have short hair and no head coverings are disobedient. This is where the issue becomes contentious. Rather than make the head covering the indication of whether or not a woman is obedient, I suggest that women examine the state of their own hearts and bring themselves under submission to both Christ and to their husbands. If you have accomplished this, and feel convicted about wearing a literal head covering or having long hair, go for it! The Lord will bless your efforts to bring Him and your husband glory.

For women who have short hair, and have a desire to be covered, I would suggest wearing a light and simple scarf that covers the head while your hair is growing in. Such a scarf, unlike a hat or hood, would be a modest way to submit to authority without drawing attention to yourself.

Thanks for asking and thanks for reading!


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