Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why I Wear a Head-Covering

I have been wearing a head covering to "public worship" for about 2 years now. I have been a Christian for 13 years. I was not raised Christian and I definitely wasn't raised around women who wore head coverings.

When I became a Christian I remember reading 1 Cor. 11 and wondering: "Why don't women still wear head coverings? If God says it's a shame for women to have their head uncovered then shouldn't what He considers a shame be important to us?" The fact that it was in the new testament carried a lot of weight with me too in that it wasn't under the old covenant, this was a new covenant guideline.

The argument I often/almost always heard was: "it's a cultural thing." hmmmm, how do we get to decide what is cultural? Shouldn't God decide that? If He says a woman should have her head covered shouldn't we do that regardless of what the culture is doing? Since when is a Christian called to do what culture dictates? Don't we allow the Word of God to direct our lives/decisions?

I moved to WA about 3.5 years ago. When we came there was one family here that had a couple of the ladies wearing one. It intrigued me. So I asked them about it and how they came to that conviction. Fast forward a few months and I am on the phone with a friend that went to a church where there was a woman teaching pastor. I asked her: "How can you choose to go to a church where a woman is teaching men when the bible clearly teaches that shouldn't happen?" (1 tim. 2:12) Her response: "I'll give you the same reason that you aren't wearing a head covering, it's cultural." Oops. Can't argue with that. She was letting the current culture which says women should be able to teach man dictate that it was okay for women to teach men just as I was letting the current culture decide whether or not I needed to wear a head covering. I was convicted and on a mission to figure out once for all if God wanted women to wear head coverings and if He did, I would.

Let's look through 1 Cor. 11 together. Some of the information here was taken from a helpful website you can see by clicking here.

Paul starts out with saying in verse 2: "Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you." Interesting. Maintain traditions? Isn't our current culture all about doing away with traditions? Well, I guess that isn't just the current culture, looks like it's always been the case for people to stray from traditions and let the world determine what they will or won't do. Traditions aren't always popular but they often serve a purpose, especially if they are biblical (like head coverings). Paul commends the Corinthians for maintaining traditions.

Verse 3:  "
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." This is the beginning of explaining the symbolism of a head covering. We are to wear one as women as a symbol that man is the head of his wife. When I put my head covering on it reminds me of this. I remember that Scott is the head of me and our home, not me. This is also why I believe headcoverings are for married women.

Verses 4 & 5: "
Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven." This verse particularly intrigued me. MEN STILL PRACTICE THIS TODAY. They recognize it isn't talking about long hair but as an actual covering.  They have decided to not go with the culture, but to maintain this tradition, why haven't ladies made the same decision? In fact, it is seen as disrespectful and shameful to keep a hat on when we pray, just as God said it was a shame for a woman to pray with her head uncovered. 

Verses 6-9: "For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man." These verses again demonstrate the symbolism of head coverings, men are the head. The end of verse 6 confirms again that it is a literal covering and not long hair because it says: "let her cover her head."

Verse 10:  "That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels." This was one of the "clinchers" for me. This verse helped me in great ways to confirm that head coverings were not cultural. Angels do not change with the culture. Angels do not let the world determine what is right, they go by the Word of God and if they are involved with head coverings then I have all the more reason to wear one.

Verses 11-15 "Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. " Verse 15 tripped me up for years and gave me "permission" to not wear a head covering because I decided my hair was my covering. But, as I clarified earlier there were a couple verses prior to this that confirmed it was an actual covering. (When I went to a young lady who wears one and asked her about this verse she said: "Oh yes, people who don't want to wear a head covering love that verse." :)

There are also several passages indicating headcovering was a common practice among married/betrothed women. "And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself." Genesis 24:64,65
Another verse showing the practice of wifely headcovering was an established practice is in the case of a woman before the priest when her husband suspects infidelity. And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering...." Numbers 5:18 In order for her head to be uncovered it must have first been covered.

When I studied the greek I found further confirmation that our hair is described as a different type of covering.

Paul said that men should not cover/katakalupto (Strong's 2619) their heads. And in verse 11 Paul contrasts that with: "Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered/akatakaluptos?" (Strong's 177) Note that 'uncovered'/akatakaluptos is the opposite of 'to cover'/katakalupto. Katakaluptos basically means to UNcover or UNveil. So far, we have a 'men uncover, women cover' command. Now for where the confusion comes in: When Paul refers to a woman's natural hair covering, he uses an altogether different word: "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering/peribolaion." (Strong's 4018). Peribolaion means something thrown around (loose items like a veil, a mantle, a vesture). Hair is more like a glorious decoration given to woman. Now if Paul had meant the naturally occuring hair covering and the headship-type covering to be one and the same, he would have used the same word for each. Instead, a woman's natural hair covering (peribolaion) is being contrasted to this other covering (katakalupto) that women wear. In fact, the katakalupto actually *covers* the peribolaion.
Paul has begun this passage showing the contrasts between men and women in this passage: men are uncovered, women are covered. Then Paul supports his case for headcovering by pointing out that even in nature a women is given a covering -- by her long hair. But Paul never makes the leap that hair itself *is* a suitable headcover alone. If such a natural covering sufficed, then Paul is wasting his time teaching this since the women already had a natural hair covering. Paul deliberately used different words for the two coverings so we would understand they were complementary to each other but not identical. So there is no choice offered in this passage that one may choose to either shave one's head and cover it, or to leave one's hair long and remain uncovered. The natural order is to either wear a covering over the hair or to fully exploit the shame of being uncovered by also shaving off one's hair too. Better: if you resist submitting to the customary female headcovering, you may as well reject your natural hair as well. 

These are all the reasons I wear a head covering. I should also mention I only wear it to "public worship" since the chapter seems to be addressing "public worship" (which some of your bibles may state). It would also make sense that if it is a shame for a woman to have her head uncovered publicly than it would also be a sin for a man to wear a hat/be covered publicly. I believe the context is for public worship.

For further reading I highly recommend: This site is very helpful and encouraging and seems to prove that God is stirring women's hearts everywhere to cover their heads.

Lastly, the pretty girl pictured in this post wearing the headcoverings is not me :) She sells a plethora of beautiful headcoverings that can be found at:

Be sure to check out a second post here that has some more links!


  1. Thank you so much for linking to our site. What a blessing! May the Lord richly bless you. :)

  2. I agree with you! I just started head covering at church about 3 or 4 weeks ago. :) Although my covering (bought from garlands of grace) Isn't it looks are more of a thick lace headband....but it's how I have begun. :)

    1. That's exciting Katy! do other women at your church wear one?

      One of my favorites has actually become a simple one my girlfriend made for me by with a plain black t-shirt :) I am trying to learn how to sew so that I can learn the pattern.

      Wearing a head covering is such a simple way to obey. It's the whole submission part that's hard for me :)

  3. Greetings, I have worn a head covering on and off most my church days. I always carry one in my bible bag, but I put it on when I am in worship and prayer! It is a scarf.
    Good job on explaining it!
    Blessings, Roxy

    1. Hello Roxy! thank you for stopping by! A scarf is a great idea. do you cover at home when you are praying?

  4. We wear head coverings to church and formal prayer at home also... Thank you for sharing this information on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! :) When the culture comment is brought up with the Scriptures, I always cringe at what is coming next. So much we have to research to get the truth...

    1. Do you mean formal prayer with just you and your family? Have you ever thought of wearing one all the time? thanks for reading!

  5. The type of headcovering (veil) used in the Old Testament is very different than the physical head covering that is used today, as seen by your included picture. In the Old Testament, it was unsightly for a woman to uncover or show her head or face to anyone except her husband. Especially if she were an unmarried virgin.

    1. Thank you for chiming in Janelle! Do you have a site that can confirm this? Would be interested to see what they look like!

      I don't think it matters much what the head covering looks like as long as the head is covered. It is symbol. How this symbol looks doesn't matter much I don't think. It is the heart behind it. The heart that desires to obey God no matter what others are doing or are not.

      Thank you again for stopping by!

    2. It's late at night, here, and I can't quickly find the website I'm looking for. Veils change with cultures and time.

      I do agree that God looks at the heart and we need to be coming from the right place.

      I stumbled upon this interesting counter argument. Perhaps you'd be interested to read it.

      I should mention that I personally don't believe that wearing a veil or head covering associates a woman with a religion that professes a false gospel. Neither am I baptist.

    3. thanks for the link... I have to admit it was hard for me to stomach :) I think it comes down to women just not wanting to wear one or wanting to do what the Word plainly says... As I pointed out the long hair reference as a covering is a different word in the greek for head covering. They are two separate coverings. It is clear God desires to have women have long hair and men to have short and for women to wear a covering when praying or teaching and for men to not. We have carried on one tradition and abandon the other. Lastly his comment on modesty made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. It's articles like these that make me think women are looking for any reason to not wear a covering and these type of poorly written articles are just enough to make them feel good about their decision. I do appreciate the dialogue though! God continue to lead you, Katie

  6. Ah, I loved this, Katie! I'm glad to see this post. I've been covering full-time for three years now, and it's been an incredible blessing. I'm always so happy to find likeminded sisters. :)


    1. I am considering covering full time rather than just in public worship... what brought you to covering full time? Do you think that men should never wear hats? Also, do you make your own coverings?

    2. Hi, Katie!

      Such a fun topic! Love it.

      Here is my headcovering story:

      Three years ago, my husband and I really went through a huge growing time in our faith. It was a great time when we were really studying the Bible and being encouraged to live by our convictions. (It was during this time also that we made the commitment to be open to children.) Particularly for me, this was a time when I learned to let my husband lead and to value his decisions and opinions, rather than overriding them in the standard American fashion! :)

      One night during this time, while my husband and I were reading together in bed, my husband turned to me and said, "Hon, I think the Bible is saying that women should cover their heads. Would you mind trying it?"

      I was rather shocked. In America, or the West in general, one simply doesn't do that! It's written off as "that was cultural." But I said, "Um, okay." And I covered the following day - and every day after.

      It's been an amazing journey, and an incredibly blessed one, because this step of faith has enabled me to take God at His word in other areas of the Bible that we tend to ignore in the American church. Submitting in that one area has had far-reaching blessings.

      We never considered the option of covering only during worship - it's always been full-time. I suppose it's because of the "whenever praying" bit. Also, the witness of history has, I believe, been for continual covering. If you look at historical Christian communities (think Anabaptists, English Puritans, or pretty much any Christian community until the rise of feminism), female covering has always been full-time. However, I completely respect the "only during worship/spoken prayer" view, and I know that is the view taken by the Headcovering Community website. We know some friends-of-friends who also practice this view.

      Should men never wear hats? - You know, we've never talked about that! Good question there. For practical purposes, men do sometimes need hats. But again, their hats tend to be practical (sun, rain, etc.) rather than a constant spiritually-minded covering. That's an interesting question.

      Do I make my own coverings? - Alas, no. I'm not much of a seamstress, though I hope that changes in the future! I just use bandanas folded in half, and I have also received two from Garlands of Grace as a gift (I love them!). I'm always on the lookout in any Goodwill for new ones!!

      Thank you for your kind reply! I love conversing on this subject.


  7. Hi Katie,
    I found this post after following a link for another post you linked up today. So good to hear of so many Christian ladies deciding to be obedient and cover during worship. I have wrestled with this for about 4 years but have been covering full time for several months now and will be doing so in the future as I can see that this has become a real conviction for me. Thanks for sharing your heart---I hope your head covering decision has been a positive one and a blessing. It's been difficult for me not to be self-conscious as I'm the only person I know who covers---still, I'm thankful it's become a "no turning back" sort of conviction now and that I'm not so wishy-washy. Ha!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

    1. Hello Sarah! Thank you for stopping by! Yes, there are many women out there responding to this conviction and recognizing that just like all the other things God desires and lays out for us in His Word that we are called to obey we should be willing to obey in this area too! I know what you mean by the "no turning back" feeling and it is a good one to have! :)