1Co 11:5-7 “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. 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. 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.”
Before we begin any discussion of these verses, we need to be reminded of what is ultimately under consideration. In verse three of this chapter, Paul says “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.” We must not lose sight of Christ in the discussion of this or any other scripture.
Although it is often socially unacceptable in this day and time, the word of God established an order to things. Over the years, the male gender has abused this order and in return the female gender has rebelled. God did not make males to reign supreme on the earth, nor did He make females to be slaves. His order was to engender a mutual respect and balance so that there might be peace in the home and in the church and an understanding that God alone is supreme in all things.
It is the supremacy of Christ (God the Son) and God (God the Father) that is being taught in these verses of scripture. Regardless of the social custom of the day in which Paul was writing versus the social customs of today, the supremacy of God is still truth. Since Christ is the head of every man, we cannot truly worship God if our head (Christ) is covered. He must be clearly seen in our songs, our prayers, our preaching, and every facet of our service.
Paul acknowledges the fact that God made woman from man, and in that act man is then the head of the woman. Again, remember that our focus is Christ and not man and woman. Since our focus is Christ, the woman must cover her head (the man) when she worships her Lord and Savior. Her husband cannot worship for her nor can he dictate the terms of her worship. She does not need to ask her husband’s permission to serve Christ nor does she need her husband to be an intermediary for her.
According to various historians, it was a sign of disgrace for a woman to openly display a shaved head (uncovered by her natural hair) in public. It was also a sign of rebellion for a married woman to go unveiled (without a covering) in public. Paul used these customs of the times to teach us that it is dishonoring to Christ for any man to assume that he has authority over any man’s or woman’s relationship to their Lord and Savior.
Finally, as the Bride of Christ, the church collectively needs to always reverence her husband, Jesus Christ. He is verily the image and glory of God, and there is none besides Him that can make that claim in its fullness. By His grace, His bride (the church; the woman) is the glory of Christ in the earth. We are here to manifest His dignity, His honor, His praise, and His worship. We should always be covered so that all who look upon us see Him.
May we live to the glory of Him who is the head of Christ and thank Him daily for our Husband!