In the first sixteen verses of 1 Corinthians chapter eleven, Paul teaches the divine order in the relationship of the woman to man, man to Christ, and Christ to God. He states, "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." It is the man's duty to be in submission to Christ. Likewise, it is the woman's privilege and duty to be in submission to man. Though the order is plainly thus, it does not mean that a woman is of lesser importance; each is dependent upon the other. "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1Corinthians 11:11).
We read in Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image." The man is to worship bareheaded in his allegiance to Christ, his head; "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head." "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" (1 Corinthians 11:4, 7).
The woman, being in submission to man, is to pray with her head covered. "But every woman that prayeth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 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: (1 Corinthians 11:5,6). The apostle uses the natural covering of hair to support the practice of wearing a devotional covering. `'Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray to God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering" (1 Corinthians 11:13-15). A head covering or veil, worn over long hair by a Christian woman, denotes submission to God's order.
When should a woman begin to wear the devotional covering? When a woman finds herself in the spirit of God's order, the Holy Spirit will begin to give understanding and conviction in this matter. The wearing of the covering is appropriate whenever a woman prays or worships, at home or in public. "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Many Christian groups formerly practiced the Apostle Paul's teaching of the woman's prayer covering. It is only during recent years that women have begun to worship with the head uncovered.
The devotional covering should be worn because of conviction and faith in God's word or else it will lose its spiritual power and significance. The Church is held responsible for the maintenance of this biblical doctrine. Please read: Matthew 7:21 and St. John 14:21-23.
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