Christian women should wear sandals

What happened to the practice of women covering their heads?

This article provides a good summary of the historical and current practices of Christianity regarding headgear.

Basically, before the 20th century, it was the norm for large parts of Christianity to wear some type of head covering, even for Protestants:

Among Protestant reformers, Martin Luther's wife, Katherine, wore headgear in public services, and John Knox and John Calvin encouraged both women to wear headgear in public services. Other commentators in favor of headcovering during the public service include John Gill, Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, AR Fausset, AT Robertson, Harry A. Ironside, and Charles Caldwell Ryrie. In fact, until the 20th century, no Reformed theologian taught against headgear for women in public worship. While Anabaptists, Amish, and Mennonites advocate wearing headgear at all times, as a woman could pray or prophesy at any time, Reformed teaching that "pray and prophesy" refers to the activities that take place in public worship as an apostle Paul deals with public worship issues in 1 Corinthians chapter.

For current practice:

At least during the service, headgear is still encouraged or required in some denominations and among the more traditional Catholics. Among these are Catholics who lead simple lives and are known as simple Catholics. Some Anabaptist denominations, including the Amish, the Old Order Mennonites and the Conservative Mennonites, the Old German Baptist Brothers, the Hutterites and the Apostolic Christian Church; some Pentecostal churches, such as the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of Apostolic Faith, the Pentecostal Mission, the Ministry for Deeper Christian Life, and the Christian Congregation in the United States; the Plymouth Brothers; and the more conservative Scottish Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed churches. Although most Protestant denominations have no official expectation that women will insure themselves, some individuals choose to practice headgear based on their understanding of 1 Corinthians 11.

However, in order to properly understand this phenomenon of changing practices, I find it necessary to understand Paul's literal teaching. There is both a cultural and a natural basis that explains both submission to the rule and its role. For Paul one should become "a Jew for a Jew and a Gentile for a Gentile". So if a certain culture indicated submission to her husband with a purple cone on her head, a Christian woman in that culture should also wear a purple cone on her head.

Let's look at the meaning of the apostles. Then explain well why this practice has stopped in many churches.

The biblical times in relation to headgear were no different than in various places in the Middle East today where the social meaning is the same (or similar) as in the time of Christ. One must be aware that women should keep their heads covered in these places, otherwise it will be seen as a major protest against a woman's submission to her husband. Doing this while praying would seem like blasphemy.

What complicates the problem, however, is that when Paul argued this case against some kind of biblical radical "feminists" willing to throw away the authority of men under the new changes in the gospel, he appealed to nature.

Paul said:

Doesn't the nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair it is a shame on him, but if a woman has long hair, is it her fame? Because long hair is given to her as a coating. (1 Corinthians 11: 14-15, NIV)

I believe we need to accept Scripture everywhere without forcing the language, and then post the "damage" on our own ideas and resolve apparent contradictions without distorting the original statements. So I think Paul is referring here now to something that is "non-cultural."

The way I accept this immutable rule while defying the enforcement of the culture rule, which is only relevant in the Middle East, is that way. First, in relation to nature, Paul is merely pointing out what most people recognize. In general, men with long hair look silly (with a few exceptions) and, in general, women with long, flowing, gorgeous hair (with a few exceptions) look beautiful. Nobody would ever be able to deny this, just look at models in magazines. Why is that? Paul argues that it is a natural symbol depicting a woman under the direction of the man. In the case of a man, his head is not in this world but is invisible. So when you pray to God, the free air is a better symbol. Not that a woman ultimately does not have Christ as her head, but that she comes from the man, ie the where-man, as symbols of the social organization from the original model of Adam and Eve.

Now, I wouldn't imagine for a minute that Paul intended to refer to natural observation in order to become legalistic so that in this day and age a woman cannot be bald if she so wishes, or that a man cannot have long hair Play in a Christian rock band or try out a Jesus movie that portrays Jesus with long hair for some reason. Since a bald woman was a great cultural disgrace at the time and not covering the head was interpreted as rebellion, the natural images of nature should not be rebelled at all. That was Paul's argument. Why rebel against a cultural ceremony if it has any support from nature? However, once a culture no longer has this meaning, the natural element of beauty becomes a purely personal matter. It's really about looking good for the opposite sex, or what takes the least amount of time in the morning to get ready, or what suits your career image, etc.

Even God didn't always follow His own natural symbolism, so we don't have to do so for legal reasons either. For example, the Nazi rite was instructed to take action against this symbolism as a revised symbol of his "devotion". Interestingly, his hair may have become a symbol of Christ in the flesh because when he grew up it may have represented his "head" on top of his own head, actually making his "commitment" part of the community offering. Whenever something is burned to sacrifice to God, it makes sense for us to draw pictures of Christ in the flesh.

Then the Nazirite must shave the hair at the entrance to the tent of the gathering, which symbolizes their devotion. They should take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the community offering. (Numbers 6:18, NIV)

Hence, in the Bible, an open, airy head may indicate the head of God as the divine Christ, but long hair could be the human manifestation of Christ.

Today in most countries we can do what we want, even let our hair die purple or green, and no particular cultural message is conveyed that would necessarily be offensive to Paul. The natural order of things no longer has any direct ceremonial and cultural significance as it did for most countries.

This explains why the practice has been abandoned for many. There was no biblical commandment to initiate it, but while a culture communicated its values ​​using this symbolism, there was no reason to oppose it. Since many cultures do not attach much importance to appearance in relation to the roles of men and women, there is no need to oppose forms of cultural communication. If Christianity attaches undue importance to clothing, it could be argued that men should wear tunics and sandals in order to respect the culture of Christ.


"Men look silly with long hair" ? Hey, have you ever visited an IT company ?! Hmmmm, think about it ...


"I think we have to accept script everywhere without forcing the language, and then deal with the 'damage' to our own ideas after the fact." Yes, I often hear people say something like, "The simple reading of this verse is X, but that may not be what it really means because most people today believe Y." Like yes, God said X, the last Gallup poll said Y, so God must have been wrong. God is sure to be happy that there are so many people out there who will help him correct any mistakes he made in his book. :-)

Caleb ♦

@Mike you could check this answer, the original question has changed quite a bit and all of it is not relevant / no longer hits the things it needs.

Jack Douglas

I am interested to know what you think wearing a headdress means in today's western culture - are you suggesting that it has no cultural meaning? The same does not seem to apply to the burqa: "The burqa is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of submission," and I suspect that this also applies to a lesser extent to more discreet headgear, namely, to a certain extent, recognizes ours Culture has a certain symbolism in wearing it.