1 Corinthians 11:2-16, head coverings, for today?                       By Jack Kettler



Should men wear hats in church? If not, what about women and head coverings?                                   


“2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3 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. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:2-16 KJV)


An overview of the text:


·         Verses 2-3. the headship principle

·         Verses 4-6. how the principle of headship is applied

·         Verses 7-10. the significance of the created order

·         Verses 11-12. the created order and the sexes

·         Verses 13-16. apostolic authority and the light of nature


Introductory comments:


What is Paul teaching in this selection from his first letter to the Corinthians? How can it be summarized, and is it for today? The apostle is teaching about the created order of men and women displayed by long hair or head coverings.


Are head coverings for today? The reason why this is a question is that verse 16, which seems to in spite of what has gone before in the section of the text, invalidate the church practice of head coverings.


What is the apostle referring to when he says, “we have no such custom” in verse 16? Is Paul contradicting what he taught in verses 2-15 regarding the created order of men and women in verse 16?


The key to understanding this section from 1 Corinthians comes down to a correct understanding of verse 16 and what the apostle is referring to when he says, “we have no such custom.” What is this custom? Is “custom” referring to what he had just taught regarding the created order and the symbols of this order?


For Christians today, being far removed from the 1st Century, it is not readily apparent as to the apostle’s meaning of verse 16. To start, for the conservative exegete, biblically and logically, Paul cannot be controverting what he had just taught in the preceding verses without being guilty of a blatant contradiction.   


Historically, it is evident that women have worn head coverings such as veils or hats in worship services, and men have not. Without fear of contradiction, this tradition is based upon our reading from 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. The head covering practice should be referred to as apostolic doctrine rather than a tradition since the use of tradition confuses the reader into thinking historic theological tradition and “custom” are the same.        


The following entries will provide some historical commentary to what Paul is teaching, particularly in verses 5, 7, 10, and 13-16.


From Vincent's Word Studies on 1 Corinthians 11:5:


“Her head uncovered


Rev., unveiled. The Greek women rarely appeared in public, but lived in strict seclusion. Unmarried women never quitted their apartments, except on occasions of festal processions, as either spectators or participants. Even after marriage, they were largely confined to the gynaeconitis or women's rooms. Thus Euripides: “As to that which brings the reproach of a bad reputation upon her who remains not at home, giving up the desire of this, I tarried in my dwelling” (“Troades” 649). And Menander: “The door of the court is the boundary fixed for the free woman.” The headdress of Greek women consisted of nets, hair-bags, or kerchiefs, sometimes covering the whole head. A shawl, which enveloped the body, was also often thrown over the head, especially at marriages or funerals. This costume the Corinthian women had disused in the Christian assemblies, perhaps as an assertion of the abolition of sexual distinctions, and the spiritual equality of the woman with the man in the presence of Christ. This custom was discountenanced by Paul as striking at the divinely ordained subjection of the woman to the man. Among the Jews, in ancient times, both married and unmarried women appeared in public unveiled. The later Jewish authorities insisted on the use of the veil.


All one as if she were shaven


Which would be a sign either of grief or of disgrace. The cutting off the hair is used by Isaiah as a figure of the entire destruction of a people by divine retribution. Isaiah 7:20 Among the Jews a woman convicted of adultery had her hair shorn, with the formula: “Because thou hast departed from the manner of the daughters of Israel, who go with their head covered, therefore that has befallen thee which thou hast chosen.” According to Tacitus, among the Germans an adulteress was driven from her husband's house with her head shaved; and the Justinian code prescribed this penalty for an adulteress, whom, at the expiration of two years, her husband refused to receive again. Paul means that a woman praying or prophesying uncovered puts herself in public opinion on a level with a courtesan.” (1)


Vincent, in his comments, says, “This custom was discountenanced by Paul.” If it can be determined, what custom was discountenanced, or which custom Paul refused to approve, the question of the continuity of head coverings for today can be answered. In refusing to approve of this custom, Paul gives his reason that it was because the custom was “striking at the divinely ordained subjection of the woman to the man.”   


According to Vincent, (not all Greek women) but the Corinthian women were proclaiming their right to cast off the traditional practices and symbols, which would be head coverings that signified the created order. The Corinthian women were praying or prophesying with uncovered heads.


In verse 10, “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” Verse 10 has perplexed commentators over the centuries.


From Vincent's Word Studies on 1 Corinthians 11:10:


“Power on her head (ἐξουσίαν)


Not in the primary sense of liberty or permission, but authority. Used here of the symbol of power, i.e., the covering upon the head as a sign of her husband's authority. So Rev., a sign of authority.


Because of the angels


The holy angels, who were supposed by both the Jewish and the early Christian Church to be present in worshipping assemblies. More, however, seems to be meant than “to avoid exciting disapproval among them.” The key-note of Paul's thought is subordination according to the original divine order. Woman best asserts her spiritual equality before God, not by unsexing herself, but by recognizing her true position and fulfilling its claims, even as do the angels, who are ministering as well as worshipping spirits (Hebrews 1:4). She is to fall in obediently with that divine economy of which she forms a part with the angels, and not to break the divine harmony, which especially asserts itself in worship, where the angelic ministers mingle with the earthly worshippers; nor to ignore the example of the holy ones who keep their first estate, and serve in the heavenly sanctuary.” (2)


For Reformed Christians, John Calvin’s view on 1 Corinthians 11:16 must be considered:


“16. But if any man seem a contentious person is one whose humor inclines him to stir up disputes, and does not care what becomes of the truth. Of this description are all who, without any necessity, abolish good and useful customs -- raise disputes respecting matters that are not doubtful -- who do not yield to reasonings -- who cannot endure that any one should be above them. Of this description, also, are those (akoinonetoi) would be singular persons who, from a foolish affectation, aim at some new and unusual way of acting. Such persons Paul does not reckon worthy of being replied to, inasmuch as contention is a pernicious thing, and ought, therefore, to be banished from the Churches. By this he teaches us, that those that are obstinate and fond of quarrelling, should rather be restrained by authority than confuted by lengthened disputations. For you will never have an end of contentions, if you are disposed to contend with a combative person until you have vanquished him; for though vanquished a hundred times, he would argue still. Let us therefore carefully mark this passage, that we may not allow ourselves to be carried away with needless disputations, provided at the same time we know how to distinguish contentious persons. For we must not always reckon as contentious the man who does not acquiesce in our decisions, or who ventures to contradict us; but when temper and obstinacy show themselves, let us then say with Paul, that contentions are at variance with the custom of the Church.” (3)


Calvin believed the custom the apostle is referring to in verse 16 were to those given to arguing and being contentious about the symbols of the created order.


Our next entry is from Thomas R. Schreiner. Schreiner makes a point that verse 16 does not cancel out the commands given previously in verses 4-9. If so, this would be a serious contradiction in Scripture.


Thomas R. Schreiner is an American New Testament scholar. He is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Thomas R. Schreiner on verse 16:


“Paul returns in the final paragraph (verses 13-16) to the main burden of the text: women’s wearing head coverings. This is another indication that verses 11-12 do not cancel out the commands given in verses 4-9. Here Paul appeals to the Corinthians’ own judgment (11:13), confident that “the very nature of things” will instruct them with respect to what is fitting or proper. What is the content of the instruction given by nature? Nature teaches that “if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,” while “if a woman has long hair, it is her glory.” What is the meaning of the word nature (physis) here? Is Paul simply saying that human tradition and customs have made a distinction between the hair length of men and women? The use of the word practice (sune ̄theia) in 11:16 could support this interpretation. But Paul’s use of nature elsewhere and the use of teach suggest that he is referring to the natural and instinctive sense of right and wrong that God has planted in us, especially with respect to sexuality. This sense of what is appropriate or fitting has been implanted in human beings from creation.28 Romans 1:26-27 is an illuminating parallel because the same word is used. Women and men involved in a homosexual relationship have exchanged the natural function of sexuality for what is contrary to nature, i.e., they have violated the God-given created order and natural instinct, and therefore are engaging in sexual relations with others of the same sex. Nature teaches, then, in the sense that the natural instincts and psychological perceptions of masculinity and femininity are manifested in particular cultural situations. Thus, a male instinctively and naturally shrinks away from doing anything that his culture labels as feminine. So, too, females have a natural inclination to dress like women rather than men. Paul’s point, then, is that how men and women wear their hair is a significant indication of whether they are abiding by the created order. Of course, what constitutes long hair is often debated-what is appropriately masculine or feminine in hairstyle may vary widely from culture to culture.29The function of verses 13-15 in the argument is to show that the wearing of a head covering by a woman is in accord with the God-given sense that women and men are different. For a woman to dress like a man is inappropriate because it violates the distinction God has ordained between the sexes. And, according to Paul, if a woman prophesies in church without wearing the symbol of being under male authority-i.e., if she prophesies while dressed like a man-she is in effect negating the distinction between men and women that God has ordained from creation. In verse 16, Paul concludes his argument by saying, “But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.” Now, some have said that Paul actually rejects the wearing of head coverings by women with these words because the Greek literally says, “we have no such practice” (toiaute ̄n sune ̄theian), and thus they conclude that the practice of wearing head coverings is renounced here by Paul. But such an understanding is surely wrong. Paul in this verse is addressing the contentious, who, the previous context makes clear, do not want to wear a head covering. The practice of certain Corinthian women who refuse to wear a head covering is what Paul refers to when he says, “we have no such practice.” Thus, he says to the contentious that both the apostolic circle (“we”) and the rest of the churches adhere to the custom of head coverings. The instructions Paul has given reflect his own view of the matter and the practice of the other churches. Those who see this advice as limited only to the Corinthian situation have failed to take this verse seriously enough. Paul perceives his instructions here as binding for all churches in the Greco-Roman world. Indeed, the other churches already adhere to the practice Paul recommends here. Such a universal word at the conclusion of the text is a strong indication that the principle that underlies this passage cannot simply be dismissed as cultural.” (4)


See Schreiner’s full article at the link below in the for more study section.




In the 1st Century, women wore head coverings, most commonly to show they were married and also in worship.


In verse 16, Paul is referring to a practice of Greek women in Corinth that were in opposition to the created order and accompanying symbols and traditions. It seems inescapable that the apostolic directive regarding head coverings is still in place. Paul’s directive, which is from the created order, or light of nature, proves that men and women are distinct. Paul uses similar language in “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Romans 1:26). Against nature or light of nature must mean natural revelation. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 11:16 cannot be considered a temporal, cultural phenomenon like Jesus wearing a robe, thus requiring everyone to wear robes.


In 1 Corinthians 11:16, two words are juxtaposed, contentious, and custom. The contentious person is against apostolic doctrine, namely, the outward symbols of the created order. The apostle is saying the church has no custom of debating endlessly about this teaching. 


John Murray was born in Bonar Bridge, Scotland. He was a Scottish-born Calvinist theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary and then left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for many years.


Head Coverings and Decorum in Worship: A Letter by John Murray:


“Badbea, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Ross-shire IV2 43AR, Scotland

16 November 1973


Mr. V. Connors

Presbytery Clerk

Evangelical Presbyterian Church



Dear Mr. Connors,


I am in receipt of your letter of the 8th. I very deeply appreciate your request even though I may not be able to provide any definitive advice on the questions asked. Allow me to give my judgement on the second question first.


If the Presbytery becomes convinced that a head covering for women belongs to the decorum governing the conduct of women in the worship of God, then I think Presbytery should declare accordingly. I would not suppose it necessary expressly to legislate. I think it would be enough to make a resolution for the instruction and guidance of ministers, sessions, and people. A higher judicatory has both right and duty to offer to those under its jurisdiction, guidance respecting divine obligation. This has been recognised in Reformed Churches throughout the world.


Your main question turns, of course, on the interpretation of I Corinthians 11:2-16. Permit me to offer some of my reflections in order.


1. Since Paul appeals to the order of creation (vss. 3b, vss. 7ff.), it is totally indefensible to suppose that what is in view and enjoined had only local or temporary relevance. The ordinance of creation is universally and perpetually applicable, as also are the implications for conduct arising therefrom.


2. I am convinced that a head covering is definitely in view forbidden for the man (vss. 4, & 7) and enjoined for the woman (vss. 5, 6, 15). In the case of the woman the covering is not simply her long hair. This supposition would make nonsense of verse 6. For the thought there is, that if she does not have a covering she might as well be shorn or shaven, a supposition without any force whatever if the hair covering is deemed sufficient. In this connection it is not proper to interpret verse 15b as meaning that the hair was given the woman to take the place of the head covering in view of verses 5, 6. The Greek of verse 15 is surely the Greek of equivalence as used quite often in the New Testament, and so the Greek can be rendered: “the hair is given to her for a covering.” This is within the scope of the particular argument of verses 14, 15 and does not interfere with the demand for the additional covering contemplated in verses 5, 6, 13. Verses 14 and 15 adduce a consideration from the order of nature in support of that which is enjoined earlier in the passage but is not itself tantamount to it. In other words, the long hair is an indication from “nature” of the differentiation between men and women, and so the head covering required (vss. 5, 6, 13) is in line with what “nature” teaches.


3. There is good reason for believing that the apostle is thinking of conduct in the public assemblies of the Church of God and of worship exercises therein in verse 17, this is clearly the case, and verse 18 is confirmatory. But there is a distinct similarity between the terms of verse 17 and of verse 2. Verse 2 begins, “Now I praise you” and verse 17, “Now in this . . . I praise you not”. The virtually identical expressions, the one positive and the other negative, would suggest, if not require, that both have in view the behaviour of the saints in their assemblies, that is, that in respect of denotation the same people are in view in the same identity as worshippers. If a radical difference, that between private and public, were contemplated, it would be difficult to maintain the appropriateness of the contrast between “I praise you” and “I praise you not”.


4. Beyond question it is in reference to praying and prophesying that the injunctions pertain, the absence of head covering for men and the presence for women. It might seem, therefore, that the passage has nothing to do with a head covering for women in the assemblies of the Church if they are not engaged in praying or prophesying, that is, in leading in prayer or exercising the gift of prophesying. And the implication would be that only when they performed these functions were they required to use head covering. The further implication would be that they would be at liberty to perform these functions provided they wore head gear. This view could easily be adopted if it were not so that Paul forbids such exercises on the part of women and does so in the same epistle, (I Cor. 14:33b-36): “As in all the Churches, for it is not permitted to them to speak” (vss. 33b-34a). It is impossible to think that Paul would, by implication, lend approval in chapter 11, to what he so expressly prohibits in chapter 14. Hence we shall have to conclude that he does not contemplate praying or prophesying on the part of women in the Church in chapter 11. The question arises: how can this be, and how can we interpret 11:5, 6, 13? It is possible to interpret the verses in chapter 11 in a way that is compatible with chapter 14:33b-36. It is as follows: --


a. In chapter 11 the decorum prescribed in 14:33b-36 is distinctly in view and Paul is showing its propriety. Praying and prophesying are functions that imply authority, the authority that belongs to the man as distinguished from the woman according to the ordinance of creation. The man in exercising this authority in praying and prophesying must not wear a head covering. Why not? The head covering is the sign of subjection, the opposite of the authority that belongs to him, exemplified in praying and prophesying, hence 11:4, 7. In a word, head covering in praying and prophesying would be a contradiction.


b. But precisely here enters the relevance of verses 5, 6, 13 as they pertain to women. If women are to pray and prophesy in the assemblies, they perform functions that imply authority and would require therefore, to remove the head covering. To do so with the head covering would involve the contradiction referred to already. But it is the impropriety of removing the head covering that is enforced in 11:5, 6 & 13. In other words, the apostle is pressing home the impropriety of the exercise of these functions -- praying and prophesying -- on the part of women by showing the impropriety of what it would involve, namely, the removal of the head covering. And so the rhetorical question of verse 13: “Is it proper for a woman to pray to God unveiled?”


c. This interpretation removes all discrepancy between 11:5, 6, 13 and 14:33b-36 and it seems to me feasible, and consonant with the whole drift of 11:2-16.


5. The foregoing implies that the head covering for women was understood to belong to the decorum of public worship.


6. The above line of thought would derive confirmation from I Cor. 11:10. Admittedly the reference to the angels is not immediately perspicuous. But a reasonable interpretation is that the presence of the angels with the people of God and therefore their presence in the congregations of the saints. What is being pleaded is the offence given to the holy angels when the impropriety concerned mars the sanctity of God's worship. But, in any case, the obligation asserted is apparent. It is that the woman ought to have upon her head the sign of the authority to which she is subject, in other words, the sign of her subjection. But this subjection pertains throughout and not simply when in the exercise of praying and prophesying according to the supposition that such is permitted. I submit, therefore, that the verse concerned (vs. 10) enunciates a requirement that is general within the scope of the subject with which Paul is dealing, namely, the decorum of worship in the assembly of the saints.


On these grounds my judgment is that presupposed in the Apostle's words is the accepted practice of head covering for women in the assemblies of the Church, that apparently this part of decorum was recognised, and that the main point of verses 5, 6, 10, 13 was the impropriety of any interruption of the practice if women were to pray or prophesy, for, in that event, it would be necessary to remove the covering in order to signify the authority that praying and prophesying entailed, an authority not possessed by women, a non-possession signified, in turn, by the use of the covering.


If you so desire I could send you two copies of the Westminster Theological Journal in which opposing interpretations are given, one by Noel Weeks and the other by James B. Hurley. My interpretation has been proposed by Noel Weeks and I acknowledge my debt to him. But the argument as developed is my own. If I send you these copies of the Journal they would have to be sent by surface mail and might take two months to reach you.


With my kind regards to you and the members of your Presbytery,

I am

Sincerely yours,

John Murray” (5)


Historical Quotes:


On the Veiling of Women, “that not nature only, but also her own will may have a part in her acknowledgment of subjection.” “For her to go without a head covering, contrary to Paul's command, is an indecency.” - John Chrysostom (347-407)

John Chrysostom, Homily 26 (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). Philip Schaff, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1889), 153-154. And John Chrysostom, Homily 15 (Ephesians 4:31)


“It is not becoming even in married women to uncover their hair since the Apostle commands women to keep their heads covered” (Letter 245, To Possidius). - Augustine of Hippo, Epistula CCXLV.


“For that reason, the wife wears a headdress, that is, the veil on her head, as St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians in the seventh chapter, that she is not free but under obedience to her husband.” - Martin Luther, Sermon on Marriage, January 5, 1525.


“It is dishonorable to the female sex to lay aside her veil.” - David Dickerson (Scottish theologian; (1583 - 1663) from his Commentaries on the Epistles


The apostle Paul provided “sufficient reasons for that order of covering or veiling the woman,” - George Gillespie; (Scottish theologian; 1613 - 1648) The Works of Mr. George Gillespie, (R. Ogle and Oliver & Boyd, 1846), p. 125.


“For this cause ought the woman to have power”, that is a covering, “on her head, because of the angels” 1 Cor. 11:10...Methinks, holy and beloved sisters, you should be content to wear this power or badge...” - John Bunyan,

The Bunyan quote is from Henry Stebbing, “A Case of Conscience Resolved (Women's Prayer Meetings),” The Entire Works of John Bunyan, Vol 4 (London: City Road and Ivy Lane, 1860), p. 418.


“The argument of the Apostle will not hold now, covering the head being not a sign of subjection [in our culture]'... I answer, Christian women may... observe the Apostle's injunction [for reasons beyond the issue of submission, because]... there are other reasons, which will always hold... [Regarding Paul's mention of 'angels' in v.10,] this reason is perpetual.” - John Edwards from An Enquiry Into Four Remarkable Texts of the New Testament, (J. Hayes, 1692), p. 130-135.


...secondly, verses 5, 13, that, on the contrary, that for a woman to appear or to perform any religious function in the Christian assembly, unveiled, is a glaring impropriety, because it is contrary to the subordination of the position assigned her by her Maker, and to the modesty and reserve suitable to her sex; and even nature settles the point by giving her long hair as her natural veil. Even as good taste and a natural sense of propriety would protest against a woman’s going in public shorn of that beautiful badge and adornment of her sex, like a rough soldier or a labourer, even so clearly does nature herself sustain God’s law in requiring the woman always modestly covered in the sanctuary. The holy angels who are present as invisible spectators, hovering over the Christian assemblies, would be shocked by women professing godliness publicly throw off this appropriate badge of their position (verse 10). The woman, then, has a right to the privileges of public worship and the sacraments...but she must always do this veiled or covered.” - Robert L. Dabney, from his Discussions Evangelical and Theological, vol. 2, p. 104.


“Do you think you and I have sufficiently considered that we are always looked upon by angels, and that they desire to learn by us the wisdom of God? The reason why our sisters appear in the House of God with their heads covered is ‘because of the angels’. The apostle says that a woman is to have a covering upon her head, because of the angels, since the angels are present in the assembly and they mark every act of indecorum, and therefore everything is to be conducted with decency and order in the presence of the angelic spirits” - (C. H. Spurgeon

From his sermon on Eph. 3:10, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 8, p. 263.


“The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century.” Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ, which is ‘the pillar and ground of the truth’ (1 Tim. 3:15)?” - R. C. Sproul, Source https ://       citatis.com/a15/


“During my high school years, when I went to church on Sunday morning, I never saw a   woman in that church (this was a mainline Presbyterian church) whose head wasn't covered with a hat or a veil. That is one of those customs that has simply disappeared for the most part from Christian culture.” - R. C. Sproul

R. C. Sproul, Now, That's a Good Question! (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011) p. 347.


Ligonier Ministries relevant to head coverings:


“Our actions must conform to the principles that God has established...Do you disregard the exterior aspects of religion, saying the heart is all that matters? If so, confess your pride before God today.


Whenever we have a lesson from both the Scriptures and from nature, we are doubly bound to obey. We also must recognize that it is a rule rooted in nature, not custom.

If it is shameful for a woman to have her head shaved, then she must realize that it is just as shameful for her to enter public worship with her head uncovered. We must not confuse Paul’s use of hair as ‘nature’s covering’ and the covering he is exhorting women to wear in public worship.


Nowhere does (Paul) give cultural reasons for his teaching, i.e. abusive practices of a pagan society that placed prostitutes with shorn heads in the temple. Paul points back to God’s established order in nature. Whenever a teaching in Scripture refers to ‘creation ordinances’ that teaching is binding for all cultures in all ages...


The ‘rules of decorum’...regarding the worship of God are established by God Himself not by the whims of culture. It is proper for a woman to have a symbol of authority on her head...The necessity of the symbol remains fixed even as the authority of the man remains fixed.” (From ‘Table Talk’ Devotional Guide for June 17-24, 1996, pp. 36-43 - quoted by Sanseri op. cit. pp. 278f.)


How can this apostolic directive be implemented?


Using Presbyterian ecclesiastical terminology, the implementation of using symbolic affirmation of the created order must start at the local sessional level, then for clarification, work the way through Presbyteries, and end at the General Assembly of the Church. The General Assembly of the Church can start by appointing committees both for and against the implementation of the head covering practice.


It is not that hard to implement:


In this writer’s opinion, a head covering of some sort can accomplish this, such as a veil, made of lace or cloth or hat would suffice.


A question for those that oppose head coverings in worship for women. Is it a proper decorum for men to wear hats in worship? If not, why not? Then again, if it is not proper for men to wear a head covering in worship, what is the argument for this. Admittedly, it is not 1 Corinthians 11:4. If the “we have no such custom” Paul referred to is 1 Corinthians 11:5, freeing women from head coverings, then men by implication must be free to wear hats in worship. Oh, the wonders of inconsistency.      


“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)




1.      Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies In The New Testament, (Mclean, Virginia, Macdonald Publishing Company), p. 246-247.

2.      Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies In The New Testament, (Mclean, Virginia, Macdonald Publishing Company), p. 248.

3.      John Calvin, Calvin's Commentaries, Corinthians, Volume XX, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), pp. 362-363.

4.      Thomas Schreiner, Head Coverings, Prophecies And The Trinity, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, online.

5.      John Murray, Head Coverings and Decorum in Worship: A Letter by John Murray Badbea, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Ross-shire IV2 43AR, Scotland, 16 November 1973.


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com


For more study:


Head Coverings in Public Worship by Brian Schwertley http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/web_head_coverings.pdf


What is the Head Covering in 1 Cor. 11:2-16 and Does it Apply to Us Today? By Daniel B. Wallace https://bible.org/article/what-head-covering-1-cor-112-16-and-does-it-apply-us-today


HEAD COVERINGS, PROPHECIESAND THE TRINITY1 CORINTHIANS 11:2-16 by Thomas R. Schreiner http://d3pi8hptl0qhh4.cloudfront.net/documents/tschreiner/RBMW_5.pdf


Covered Glory 1STCORINTHIANS 11& THECHRISTIAN USE OF HEADCOVERINGS by DAVID PHILLIPS http://www.hannoveribc.com/clientimages/25727/coveredglory.pdf