DRESSING FOR WORSHIP
Loving One, I am grateful for the potential and privileges of this day. Enable me to make wise use of each hour.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 11:2-16
On Covering the Head in Worship
2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
7 A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own[c] head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
- 1 Corinthians 11:3 Or of the wife is her husband
- 1 Corinthians 11:7 Or 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with long hair dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with no covering of hair dishonors her head—she is just like one of the “shorn women.” 6 If a woman has no covering, let her be for now with short hair; but since it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair shorn or shaved, she should grow it again. 7 A man ought not to have long hair
- 1 Corinthians 11:10 Or have a sign of authority on her
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do you wear for church worship services? How do you decide? Are you sensitive to others in the way you appear?
Paul wants both sexes to pray and prophesy in the worship gatherings (vs 4,5), and he wants their appearance to be appropriate for Christian worship, rather than the pagan lives they formerly had. In pagan prayers, men covered their heads, often by pulling their outer garment (toga) over their head. Outside their homes, married women wore a head-covering; women without a head covering were seen as sexually available, such as women provided by banquet hosts (men, of course) to offer sexual services to their (exclusively male) guests.
Hence, Paul says men should not cover their heads, to avoid appearing to pray to pagan gods (v 4), and women should cover their heads, to avoid appearing to invite sexual advances (v 5). Women and men are mutually dependent, expressed both in the creation story (vs 8,9, where Eve was created from Adam, Genesis 2:21-24), and in men being born from women (v 12).
In Christ men and women belong together in worshipping the God who has made them his own through the cross – and both are called to act and dress appropriately for their culture in public worship, so as to enable others to meet God, rather than be distracted.
Reflect on how you and your church handle the equality of the sexes and the differences between them. How could you better facilitate both sexes sharing in public worship?
Lord, I realize it is so easy to put worldly values ahead of you. Help me to always make kingdom values first in my life.
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