Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
First thing Paul points out is that we are to follow Christ.
Part of following Christ is keeping His commandments, as stated in 1 John 2:3
And hereby we do know that we love Him, if we keep His commandments.
In order to follow God’s commands, we must first recognize His authority. Without acknowledging His authority, we can never follow His commands, or fully understand them to follow them; nor can we see the need to follow them.
Without recognising the headship of Christ, we can never accept His word as absolute truth, and worthy of our attention.
So many say that the covering is trying for holiness on our own, rather than letting God renew our hearts. That the covering is “outward holiness” but neglecting inward holiness. But the fact is, if we are truly striving to be like Christ, we will keep His commands out of love and respect for Him; not because they make us holy, or like Him; but because He is renewing our hearts, and we then want to follow them.
If our hearts are in the right place, it will become evident in that we are keeping His commands out of love for Him.
If there is no outward appearance of holiness, we can then safely assume there is no inward holiness. Outward holiness is a natural, inevitable result of having the right heart attitude.
As Dr. Daniel Botkin says in this article ~ http://www.thesimpletruth.net/booklet/headcovering.html
“We know from Matthew chapter 23 that many Pharisees of the New Testament period emphasized only outward holiness and neglected inward holiness. Many Christians, in their attempt to avoid making the same mistake, make the opposite mistake -- they emphasize only inward holiness and neglect outward holiness. The headcovering, they say, is just one of those outward symbols that only Pharisaical hypocrites are concerned about.”
Paul then commends believers for obeying ordinances -
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
At this point there is something that we ought to take note of: Paul is addressing the Corinthian church in this letter. So many argue that the head covering ordinance is meant for the Corinthians, and not for us today. Yet, we read the entire book of Corinthians, applying what we will to us today, but when we get to the head coverings, we skip over. This is highly selective reading in my opinion.
If the rest of the book is applicable to us today, why then do we skip over this as being only addressed to the Corinthians, when the rest is addressed in the same way, to the same people? If the rest of Corinthians applies, then so should the head covering ordinance.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Thus the head covering ordinance would be cross cultural, for all lands and peoples, through all generations.
There are essentially only two cultures, and that is how it always has been. There is God’s culture, and man’s culture. Man’s culture is sinful and full of error; God’s culture is flawless in every area. The head covering is part of God’s culture, and if we would be separate from man’s culture we would then willingly embrace this symbol of being in God’s culture, as His children.
Getting into the head covering ordinance - God being the ultimate head is an already established fact, referring back to the creation order.
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.
The word head is the same in every verse in the passage.
Head - G 2776 - kephale from the prim. kapto (in the sense of seizing); the head (as the part most readily taken hold of), lit. or fig.:- head.
This meaning is speaking of authority figures.
It is dishonoring for a man to have his head covered while praying or prophesying. Dishonoring to his head, or authority, which is Christ.
Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered, dishonoreth his head.
Man - G 435 Husband
Covered - G 2596 kata. to be in opposition, against, distribution or intensity. More excellent than God.
That’s pretty strong rebellion right there....
Praying - G 4336 proseuchomai. To pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship:- pray (earnestly for) make prayer.
Prophesying - G 4395 propheteue. To foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic offices - prophesy.
Now addressing the women:
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
Woman - G 1135 gune. Prob. from the base of 1096; a woman; spec. a wife:- wife, woman.
G 1096 ginomai. To be married.
Uncovered - G 177 akatakaluptos. unveiled;- uncovered.
Dishonoreth - G 2617 katauschuno. To shame down, i.e. disgrace. confound, be ashamed.
Shaven - G 3587 xuaro. To shave or shear the hair.
The women being addressed are wives, or married women, but the principal can be applied to both married and unmarried women; the reason being that the covering is a symbol of not only the woman’s own authority in the home, but that she is in submission to her head - or authority - which can be her husband, or father. Unmarried girls still being under their father’s authority would then wear the covering in submission to their father, until such a time as they should be married; at which time they would then wear it in submission to their husband.
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.
This quote from Watchman Nee says it quite plainly:
"Today people keep neither of these two commands [covering or shaving] of the Bible. If a sister will not cover her hair but shears or shaves it, she may yet be reckoned as hearkening to the words of the Bible. But today a woman neither shaves nor covers her hair -- a double disobedience.”
Covered - G 2619 katakalupto. To cover wholly, i.e. veil:- cover, hide.
Veil - Websters 1828 n. (L. velum) A cover; a curtain; something to intercept the view and hide an object. A cover; a disguise. To cover with a veil; to conceal. To invest; to cover. To hide.
Velum - Latin word, translated to English - Sail which is made specifically of cotton, linen or hemp fibers.
The head covering specifically mentioned for use during prayer and prophesying, is a veil or scarf, covering the head and hanging over the shoulders (at minimum), made of cotton, linen or hemp. Essentially, natural plant fibers.
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.
Glory - G 1391 (same for both man and woman) doxa. dignity, glory, honor, worship, praise.
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman: but the woman for the man.
The woman has been under the man since creation.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Power - G 1849 exousia. Capacity, competency, freedom, mastery, delegated influence: - authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.
The covering is not only a symbol of her being in submission to her head - authority -, but also a symbol of her own authority in the home. Her “delegated influence” as wife/mother, sister/daughter.
Angels - G 32 aggelos. Messenger.
An excerpt from this article written by Dr. Daniel Botkin ~ (while there are many things in the article that cannot be agreed with, he makes some very interesting observations on this part “because of the angels”) http://www.thesimpletruth.net/booklet/headcovering.html
“The second major reason for the headcovering, "because of the angels," is very closely related to the first, God's order of authority. The two reasons are tied together in 1 Cor.11:10: "For this reason [i.e., because of the roles of man and woman discussed in the verses right before this verse] the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head because of the angels." In other words, the headcovering shows that the woman is submitted to man's authority, and it is important that this token or badge of authority be seen by the angels, both the unfallen angels [the "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb.1:14)] and the fallen angels [those that are "chained in darkness" (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6) as well as those presently operating as demonic powers].”
“Those who do not take the Scriptures seriously may be amused by the idea that the presence or absence of a piece of cloth can affect angelic and demonic activity. After all, if angels and demons are real, do they really need to see a headcovering to tell them the woman is submitted to authority? Don't they already know such things?”
“Even unfallen angels are not omniscient; there are many things they do not know. The Bible tells us that the good news of the Messiah contains "things into which angels long to look" (1Pet.1:12). "The secret things belong unto God our God," Moses tells us, "but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deut.29:29). As it is with man, so it is with angels. There are "secret things" which God has not revealed to angels, and other things which He has revealed to them. God has decided that He will show the angels and demons His authority, and the woman's submission to His authority, by means of a visible, tangible covering on the woman's head.”
“To the natural mind, a piece of cloth on a woman's head may seem to be a weak, foolish instrument for imparting divine revelation of God's authority to angelic and demonic beings. But the Bible tells us that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and "God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty" (1 Cor.1:27). Readers of the New Testament may recall that when "handkerchiefs or aprons" which Paul had touched were brought to the sick and the possessed, "the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out" (Ac.19:12). This passage confirms the fact that a piece of cloth can, indeed, be used as an instrument to display God's authority to evil spirits, and affect what happens in the spiritual realm, which in turn affects what takes place in the physical realm.”
“We do not need to understand all the mechanics of exactly how and why God's ways work, in order to walk in them, just as we do not need to understand all the mechanics of how and why a car works in order to drive it. If the car works, and we drive it according to the rules of the road, we can expect to reach our destination. God's ways work, and if we walk in them, we can expect results.”
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
Here Paul is saying that men and women are equals in Christ’s Kingdom, tho’ not equal in station. The man is placed in authority over the woman because of the fact that the woman was deceived in the garden. Her punishment was being placed under him, rather than being his equal in all things. But even in punishment God gave the woman a high station: He gave her the high station of being a wife and mother, and being the second in command in the home; a station she has spurned, shunned and abused.
Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
Comely - G 4241 prepo. To tower up (be conspicuous) i.e. (by impl.) to be suitable or proper, fit, right;- become, comely.
Paul is not suddenly changing his tune, and saying it is for us to decide if we should follow the ordinance of the head covering; but he is asking the question in such a way as to get your attention, and make you think it out for yourself, and ultimately reach the same conclusion - that the head covering is a command from God almighty, and is not something to be ignored.
He is asking: Is it conspicuous when a woman prays with her head uncovered? As God’s children, we are to stand out. We are a “peculiar people” we are to “shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” (1 Peter 2:9)
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
How are we to “be separate” , how do we “shew forth the praises of Him…” if we do not look any different from the world?
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
Long - G 2863 (same for men and women) kamao. To wear tresses of hair:- to have long hair.
Tress - Websters 1828 A lock, or weft of hair; to weave, braid or twist. A knot or curl of hair; a ringlet.
Weft - Websters 1828 A woven thing.
This reference to nature I have heard interpreted as saying it is perfectly fine for men to have long hair, and women to have their heads uncovered because of how african lions are. The males have long manes and the females have short hair. That is one of the most absurd arguments, because the verse plainly says “it is a shame unto him”. “It is” is an objective statement. “Is it” is subjective. The “it is a shame unto him” statement is objective, not subjective, which leaves no room for personal interpretation. There is a time for interpreting, but when it is quite plain, and very clear what is being said, it is then rebellion to try and make it mean other than it says.
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
Covering - G 4018 peribolaion. Something thrown around one: i.e. a mantle, veil:- covering, vesture.
Mantle - Websters 1828 To expand; to spread. To joy; to revel. To be expanded; to be spread or extend. To gather over and form a cover: to collect on the surface, as a covering.
Vesture - Websters 1828 A garment; a robe. Clothing, covering. Dress; garments in general; habit; clothing; vestment.
The hair being a covering is obviously only for the times one is not in prayer.
The woman is not required to wear the veil/scarf always, as her hair is also given her as a covering, but in accordance with the admonition to Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) it would be wise to wear the covering as much as possible: Most importantly for corporate prayer/prophesying; though it would be advisable to wear it during any and all prayer/prophesying, whether corporate or private.It is certainly not required, but it is also not prohibited to wear it at all times. Therefore we can safely say the scarf/veil can be worn at all times for convenience sake, or any other reason.