Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

This question has been posed to the ladies in our family more times than I can remember!  I have answered so many emails about it and each time it comes up again, I feel like I am typing the same response that I have done multiple times before.  So the decision has been made to compile all my thoughts (or at least most of them!) and publish them in this format.

When I was about four years old, my mother was convicted to wear a headcovering while praying, based on this passage of Scripture:

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.  For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. – 1Corinthians 11:5,6

She began wearing one while she was praying, but did not wear it all the time and would sometimes scramble to find one when a prayer need came up, especially if she was on the phone talking to a friend.  My father once took a picture of her with a cloth diaper on her head – a clean one, of course!  After some time, she started to feel that she should be wearing one all the time but was hesitant. Then we were in a restaurant while traveling somewhere and when my father left the table to take us children to the buffet, a man started making inappropriate advances toward my mother. She felt strongly that if she had been wearing a headcovering, that would not have happened.  From that point on, she started wearing one pretty much full time and I decided to also.  I did not really understand why but just followed her example.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

And this is slightly unrelated but I just want to add: Mothers, you have incredible influence on your children when they are young.  They want to imitate you and get your approval.  There is a cartoon drawing that has gone around of a mother laughing at her little girl who is saying bad words and behaving immodestly … and then the mother wonders where she went wrong when her teenage daughter ends up pregnant out of wedlock.

If you value dressing modestly/wearing a headcovering, your young daughters will also.  If they are exposed to worldly influences and allowed/encouraged to think that being immodest is “cute” and desirable, is it any wonder if they go astray as they get older?  Back to the topic …

For many years I wore the headcovering because my mother did, the ladies in our fellowship did, and the ladies in the community (ex-Amish/Mennonite) did.  Positive peer pressure!  But as I grew older, it was time to make a personal decision and answer the question for myself …

Why do you wear a headcovering?

There are two reasons I wear a covering.  Actually three.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

1Corinthians 11 says that a woman should wear a headcovering when she prays or prophesies, or have her head shaved.  No two ways about it.  There are three main arguments for why women should not wear headcoverings, in regard to this passage.

1). That these instructions were only for that culture/congregation/time period.

2). That a woman’s long hair is her covering.

3). That a woman’s husband/father/male authority figure is her covering.

My thoughts on these objections are as follows …

1). While I agree that these instructions were for the Corinthian congregation, I also believe they are for all other believers who read them.  If we can disregard this passage as “cultural”, what else in the Bible can we disregard as “cultural”?  Why not determine that all of the instructions given to the Corinthians are inapplicable for us today?  This is a dangerous viewpoint, a slippery slope.

2). Many say that a woman’s long hair is her covering and quote verse 15 – “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.”  I am not a Greek scholar but I do believe in studying the words that are used in Scripture to the best of my ability, especially when they seem to contradict another verse.  It is interesting to note that the word used for “covering” in this verse literally means a mantle or veil, in other words, something tangible/material.  In verse 6 Paul says, 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 verse instructs that if a woman is not covered, she should cut her hair short.  This makes no logical sense in light of the viewpoint that long hair is a covering!  Why would she shave off her covering?!

Also, if this passage is saying that long hair is a covering … how long is long?  Who gets to decide?  This would seem to be a very important factor.  We should also keep in mind that a man is to pray with his head uncovered … thus, if hair is a covering, he must take off his hair every time he prays!  These are some of the reasons why the hair-is-a-covering idea does not make sense to me and I believe that verse 15 could be better understood if it said “for her hair is given to her for covering”, like one might say “the body was given for clothing”.  Not that it is clothing/covering, but it needs clothing/covering!

3). Regarding the third opposition, verse 3 of this chapter says, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is God.”  A woman’s husband (or father) is her spiritual authority or “head”.  This is confirmed in a number of Scripture passages.  But it never says that he is her covering, in the sense that the word is used in this chapter.  And logically speaking, does that mean if a woman is not married or does not have a father in her life (i.e. is not covered), she should shave her head?  This makes no sense!

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

In conclusion, I do not understand how people explain away the instructions in 1Corinthians 11.  At the same time, I do believe that this passage is specifically referring to the public prayer/prophecy in the congregational setting.  Some people use it to support the idea that a woman should wear a covering all the time, citing the injunction in 1Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing, but I am not convinced that it applies.  After all, you can’t wear a headcovering while you’re washing your hair!  Does that mean it’s a shame if you pray in the shower?  This is why I believe this passage is referring specifically to the congregational setting.  However I do try to wear a headcovering most of the time and this falls under my second reason – modesty.

There are several references in the Bible to uncovering a woman’s head/hair and in both situations, the woman is in a disgraceful position.  One is Numbers 5, when instructions are given regarding what to do if a husband thinks his wife has been unfaithful to him.  The priest was to uncover her head and make her drink a bitter water made from dust.  If she had no reaction, she was innocent.  If she became ill, she was guilty.  The other reference is Isaiah 47, speaking of young women who were in shameful circumstances.  These references seem to imply that it was normal for a woman’s head to be covered, and to be uncovered was a sign of shame.  Sound familiar?

In light of 1Corinthians 11:15, which states that the woman’s hair is her glory, it is interesting to note Isaiah 4:5 which says, “then YHWH will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.”  Melanie Ellison expounded on this in detail in her article for Shining Stars Magazine, The Headcovering: A Chuppah Of Divine Protection.  Essentially, the meaning of this word for covering (over “the glory”) means “divine protection”.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

That corresponds exactly to my mother’s revelation in that restaurant 20 years ago, and we have experienced numerous times that the headcovering does provide protection and inspires respect.  It is definitely an outward sign or symbol of being set apart.  I wear the headcovering in public for the same reason I dress modestly: I respect myself too much to reveal “my glory” to anyone and everyone.  To me,  it is more important to wear the headcovering in public, than in private.  There are times when I do not wear a headcovering around the house but I feel strongly about having it on when I go out.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

And for the third reason, that my parents want me to … that’s pretty self-explanatory!  It is a family conviction and if I were to stop wearing it, I would more or less be rebelling against their wishes.  If I marry and my husband has a different understanding and prefers me not to wear it at times, I certainly don’t think I would be in sin to follow his leading.  But I do believe in submitting to the authority that the Heavenly Father has placed in my life right now – my parents.

With all that being said, let me make it very clear that I believe the decision to wear the headcovering is a very personal one.  You cannot find a chapter and verse that say “Thou shalt wear the headcovering”!  It seems to me that the principle is clear throughout Scripture but it something that each person must decide for herself.  After all, if someone only wears a headcovering because of the influence of someone else, there is very little conviction involved.  Each person must prayerfully consider her responsibility, study the Scriptures, seek Godly counsel and come to her own conclusions.

I have shared how and why I have come to mine … may each of you be blessed as you establish your own!  If you do wear a headcovering, I would love to hear your reasons for doing so!

P.S.  This is the last day to enter the giveaway for the headcovering from Rosi’s Boutique … if you haven’t entered yet, you can do so here!


98 thoughts on “Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

  1. Great post! Love the point about the man’s hair coming off. Hilarious! I would add to your excellent reasons another one I have been mulling over for some time – the fact that women of faith have covered their heads in all ages, up until around the 1960s, when rebellion really took hold. It was considered improper in this country to leave the house without some kind of hat in the early part of the last century, largely due to the pervading Christian culture. Up until the 50s, and in some circles into the 70s and beyond, women were expected to wear hats in church. I think this is relevant because I would rather side with the example of prior centuries, whose understanding was closer to the source of those instructions than with any trend of “freedom” from the 60s! 😉 blessings!

  2. I am surprised that you did not use the following example. How many times have we seen a man take his hat off to pray … at a picnic or at a ball game? If he is doing that, so that he should not pray with his head covered … he should quickly take his hat off and put it on his wife’s head. After the prayer he can put his hat back on!!!

    1. When I finally heard these verses in the Bible about why a man shouldn’t pray with his head covered but a woman should, I immediately thought of how all the men I knew removed their hats for prayer. They are taught to do this from a young age. As the only woman in our church who covers this is usually the first thing I say when asked, “Why do you wear that on your head?” I say, “Have you ever noticed that the men remove their hats to pray? Where do you think that comes from?” Then I read the verse and they are blown away. Often they were raised their entire lives in the church and have never had this verse read to them. I love your suggestion, he should take his hat off and put it on his wife’s head!

  3. I agree with you about wearing a head covering. As a Catholic, there was a rule when I was growing up to always have your head covered. Unfortunately that is not the case any longer. I always wear a mantilla,kerchief or hat when in church. I love to see some of the women still following this way,but not many do.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I was hoping it would come across that way! I’ve had people tell me that I come across too strong and harsh sometimes and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case 🙂

  4. I really appreciate you explaining this here Hannah. Your sweet spirit and humility shine through every post.

    We discussed this as a church and prayed about it as individual families many years ago. Some came to the conclusion that the ladies should at least cover during church (and a few did). We did not for the reason that you stated “I believe in submitting to the authority that the Heavenly Father has placed in my life”; my husband at that time, preferred that I not.

    But this is definitely a subject worth revisiting.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Cheryl! And you are totally right … when it comes to issues like these that are not extremely black-and-white clear, I believe we should submit to our authorities’ decision. They might be wrong but it is still our responsibility to submit and we will be blessed for our obedience. Blessings to you and yours!

      1. Dear Hanna, I am a Young fourteen year old who just descovered 1st Cor. 11:5-16. What it said. I believe that it is what God wants me to do but at the same time, I wasn’t raised on my father’s side to I don’t know, cover up, I guess. I don’t know what he would think and my mom says I should only wear a covering when I pray. But the problem is I pray 24/7. What do I do?

        1. Dear Rachel, thank you for leaving a comment. I’m honored that you would ask my thoughts and I will definitely be praying that the Father will give you clear direction in this matter. My belief regarding a young lady of your age is that if there is a conflict between her interpretation of Scripture and her parents’ wishes, she should submit to her parents rather than “rebel” against them to obey God! There are certain situations when we are required to obey God rather than man, but I personally don’t believe the headcovering issue is one of those – because there are many conflicting interpretations. However I would encourage you to talk to your parents and explain why this is a conviction for you and respectfully ask their permission to do so. Perhaps you can work out a compromise … if their objections have to do with appearance and they don’t want you looking like a Mennonite (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) perhaps you can wear a more stylish type of covering, like fabric headbands or hats. That way it isn’t as noticeable for other people but you are honoring your conviction to be covered. Praying for you!

  5. Your blog is such a blessing, Hannah! Keep up the great writing! I sympathize with the story of how before your mother covered full time, she occasionally scrambled to find the closest covering-like thing. I’m certainly guilty of doing the same! Never with a cloth diaper though, haha. Covering full time is something I’m continuing to pray about and discuss with my husband. It seems so much simpler sometimes, but I worry about drawing too much attention to myself in my workplace.

    1. Hannah, thank you so much for the encouragement! Interesting thought about drawing attention to yourself. If your conviction is to wear one because of prayer, there are some headband style coverings or even hats that don’t scream my-head-is-covered-for-religious-reasons and yet they still cover one’s head!

  6. I really appreciate this post. I’ve never really understood the wearing of head coverings because I didn’t grow up in a family or church where it was done. It definitely is something to think about. Thank you!

  7. I’m not from a tradition that wears head coverings, but sometimes I wish that I were, and the reason is this verse: “For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”
    (I Co. 11:10. I’m fascinated by the fact that the angels have anything to do with it. What else should I be doing “because of the angels”? Probably many things!
    Your post is very informative and I’m glad to have found it today!

    1. Very interesting thoughts, Michele! This verse about the angels has always intrigued me and I still don’t understand it all, but it makes it sounds as though the headcovering is definitely important – especially if it has to do with angels!

    2. Personally I believe because the angels can see your head covering, as they saw the blood on the door posts back in Egypt….If God gives a command the angels can see…. They can’t read your mind like God can.

  8. Shalom Hannah! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this! I enjoyed learning why you wear head coverings. It’s definitively a beautiful thing when it reflects a godly and submissive heart and is a symbol of being under authority. My parents do not care whether I wear one or not, but while I was in Israel I had my head covered a lot of the time (with the hair color that Yah has given me, I’ve had problems with young men acting inappropriately toward me in the Land), so I can definitely see how it can be a protection to wear one. I would enjoy talking about this more sometime, because I still have some questions on it. Blessings! ~ Joy

    1. Dear Joy, it’s so good to hear from you 🙂 Thanks for commenting! I’d love to talk more about it … we really missed you this weekend 🙁 hopefully we can get together soon!

  9. Your hair coverings are very beautiful and I appreciate hearing your point of view. Though I have long hair, I have chosen to wear a head covering to church and during formal prayer at home. You have given much food for thought. Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

  10. I have always wondered why some women wore head coverings! Thank you for enlightening me. I also love your pictures of your head coverings. I have never seen anyone in real life wear head coverings that were so pretty!

  11. Thanks for sharing this with us Hannah! Like you said, the decision to wear a head covering is a personal one. It’s nice to understand how different people feel about covering of the head.
    Thanks for sharing on the Shine Blog Hop!

    1. I certainly don’t mind! Thank you for sharing it! I have just been browsing your blog and you certainly have a knack for writing! I had to keep from laughing out loud when reading the story of the Catholic Jewess, and was also touched by your sharing about the difficulties in coming back to the States. Our family had similar experiences when returning from living in Israel several years ago … a large family in a tiny house, disappointments and discouragements, appreciating the conveniences and luxuries and beauty here but not wanting to get caught up in it … I could certainly hear my mother writing a post similar to yours! You have a beautiful family! Blessings to all of you 🙂

  12. Excellent Article ~
    Thank you for sharing ~

    Yes I cover full time for the same reasons (at least the first 2) that you do. For Modesty and because Scriptures tell us to. I am the only one in my family who covers ~
    I found that being covered does bring respect and safety.

  13. I just wanted to say a simple thank you for sharing your thoughts and convictions, along with the reasoning behind them. This is a subject I am unfamiliar with, as it has never been a part of my beliefs or teachings I was raised with. I appreciate having a better understanding of individuals who choose to wear a head covering.

  14. This is a wonderful post and great explanation on head coverings. Myself and my two daughters wear a head covering in our worship service! My husband and I were convicted through Scripture a few years ago about this! I think it is one of the most beautiful things that brings glory and honor to Christ!

  15. I have been praying through this for two years. I once came to the conclusion that when in doubt, start covering until the Lord tells me otherwise. Problem was, once I decided to cover, I couldn’t figure out how or (forgive my innocence) what counts as covered? Can I have hair showing out the back? (I have a TON of hair) Do I sleep with it covered since the first thing I do when I wake up is pray? So many variables. I couldn’t find on google the how-to’s.
    I appreciate your words today. I’m not sure you provided any new information to me, but you have been a gentle reminder and an encouragement.

    1. Hi Deborah, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think this is a question that many women wonder about. I don’t know that there is a definite answer. There are times when I cover all of my hair, and other times when I wear more of a headband style covering. I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to do it … I believe each lady should prayerfully consider how the Father wants her to do it and act accordingly!

      1. But if her hair is her glory and her glory should be covered, doesn’t that mean her hair should be covered in public?

        1. I grew up in a Christian home, but never taught about a head covering. My parents believed that long hair was a covering. I became friends with former Amish ladies,and some that are German Baptist. After studying Scriptures, I became convicted to wear a head covering. I agree,I have been treated with more respect since I started wearing dresses and a head covering. It has become a great tool in witnessing to other people. Every time I am asked why I wear a covering I give them my testimony of salvation and explain why.

  16. Hi Hannah. I do not cover my head. Even if I had no hair I would not cover out of obligation. Here is my main reason; I come from a Moravian background. In centuries past Moravians covered their heads. But they have a tenet of faith that I live by everyday, especially when it comes to believers who don’t believe exactly the way I do. The Moravian creed is,
    “In essentials unity, In nonessentials liberty and in all things love.”

    I have read a biography about the Apostle Paul, called ” Paul, the Apostle of the Heart Set Free” that suggests the reason he felt so strongly about the covering of heads in Corinth. Many of the new pagan converts in that city had been temple prostitutes. Temple prostitutes were recognized because they shaved their heads. So, there were those in fellowship who were used to having shaved heads and Paul wanted to point out the inappropriateness of still identifying with that lifestyle.

    I think it is something to consider. Of course, I would never fault anyone for choosing to cover their heads. But it would be very sad if those who do stood in judgement over those who choose not to.

  17. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s an important topic!
    It took me years to get over myself and finally wear a covering in church, and I am not proud of my selfish stubbornness.
    I also want to recommend http://www.headcoveringmovement.com which has great resources and explains 1. Corinthians 11 in depth.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Anna! And for the link to this website. I think this article may have actually been featured on Headcovering Movement, since I’ve seen quite a few trackbacks from that site!

  18. Thank you for sharing on the issue of the woman covering her head. I appreciate the sweet and humble spirit that shines through. I also grew up in a setting where the head covering was practiced. Sadly many of the girls/ladies wore it because it was a church regulation and could not have explained any other reason for wearing it. My husband did not come from a church where it was practiced and he has a problem with the term “wearing” a covering. He feels that can make it become just an article of clothing that we wear, and lose the significance of it. The focus in the Bible is not the covering, but the covered head. Personally I wonder why so many feel that it only means to be covered for worship. The passage says nothing about public service (other that it’s added in some versions), but rather for prayer and prophecying. My husband doesn’t think it is necessary to wear it all the time, but it surely is more convenient to wear it much of the time, especially if you are a praying woman. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing

  19. According to these verses women should have their heads “covered,” and men should not. In fact, if a woman’s head is not covered, that is just as bad as if she were “shorn” or “shaven.” Notice that the Bible says that it is a “shame” for a woman to be shorn or shaven. We all know what “shaven” means, but what does the word “shorn” mean? The Bible uses the word “shorn” one other time in the New Testament:

    Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

    The vow that the Bible is referring to here is a Nazarite vow from the Old Testament. Notice what the Bible commands about the Nazarite vow in Numbers 6:

    Num 6:5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

    Num 6:18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

    Once again, the Bible is its own dictionary. Being “shorn” is another word for being “shaven.” Paul having his head shaved with a razor is referred to as him being “shorn.” Therefore God is saying that a woman being “uncovered” is just as shameful as her shaving her head completely bald as Paul did in Acts 18.

    So, what is this “covering”?

    1Cor 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
    1Cor 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
    1Cor 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

  20. If you stop and really study it and go back to the original translation you will find there is two different words for a womens covering and a man having his head covered. Also a womens hair is given to her for a covering like donuts are for coffee. Therefore a mans hair is not given to him to put a covering on as a women is. Great article but we really need to go to the context and original language to study it.

  21. I appreciate the time & effort it took in sharing this. Not coming from a church family, but having been raised among Amish/Mennonite folk till 12 years old. When I got saved at 27, my first haircut after that, the Lord spoke to me, ” Your cutting off my identity. ” the Wesleyan church believed long hair was the covering. However, since relocating, much of our business placed us in Holmes & Wayne county ( Ohio). I began wearing hats. Eventually, if not in a hat, I felt”incomplete” . One day my husband asked if I ever considered wearing a headcovering. After scripture study, prayer & asking Godly counsel, we on my birthday, 10/4/14 made our way to Mt. Hooe & he
    selected for me the size. Time & time again it has presented opportunity to pray & tell of Jesus leading me in this light…for me its been a blessing and just one more step of obedience to His will for me. Feel its been another “piece” to my personal salvation suit.

    1. Good point! All of my sisters and I have chosen to wear it because of personal conviction and the example of other Godly women … not because we were told to. When my youngest sister was about 4, my mother found her crying one day and asked why. She said the Heavenly Father had told her to wear a covering but she was concerned that since she was such a little girl, she might forget sometimes! My mother assured her that the Father was merciful and to do just to the best she could 🙂

  22. This post is newly going around web world again – so showed up on my FB feed recently. 🙂 That chapter and verse you were saying isn’t there?….’ You cannot find a chapter and verse that say “Thou shalt wear the headcovering”! This is a very weak argument that I’d ask you to reconsider. There are many, many teachings in the NT that we’re to be following that don’t have a ‘thou shalt’ in front of them. Baptism doesn’t even say that. But on this head covering topic? It DOES say – ‘Let her be covered’… I believe that’s pretty clear. And if your someday hubby were to ask you NOT to cover? Well if Jesus (thru Paul) says we should – I think you’d be wise to get that clear before you say ‘I do’. I can’t find anywhere in scripture where we’re to obey something our husbands ask of us when it’s different from what God asks. (I’ve walked this road – did ask before marriage…- yeah – I believed it mattered. Thanks for all your tho’ts and willingness to share on this often controversial and overlooked topic. The Lord bless you!

    1. I definitely agree with the importance of discussing this issue with a potential husband and plan to do so! I would still have to disagree that it is a clear command though … there are different ideas/understandings about the meaning of this passage (many of which have been discussed in comments on this site or the Facebook page) and while I’m not convinced that they’re right, I do allow that possibility 🙂

      1. I believe every NT instruction is a command… I want to be careful of ‘compromise’ as it relates to how we view scripture. It’s a challenge to stand for what is unpopular – and takes courage. Let’s keep seeking Jesus on it. He will show each of us His will is it relates to things instructed in His Word.

  23. Love this! I just started covering a few years ago. Right now I only cover during worship but reading this has supported my thoughts of covering full-time, especially out in public. When I first started covering a man asked me why am I covering my “glory”? He was suggesting that I shouldn’t cover it but show it off. They way he said it made me feel dirty in a way. That situation was a confirmation that I needed to cover.

  24. I have a question that I have always wanted to ask someone who has knowledge of Hebrew culture . Hopefully it comes out as a simple question and not any offence to anyone because I only mean to ask in a sweet tone of voice 🙂 Hebrew men wear a Kipa and some others during special occasions wear a nice black hat. If the verse says men are not to wear “hats” during prayer and women are supposed to cover during prayer , why do men walk around on a daily basis ( I saw a man at Costco the other day wearing one) and on special occasions with a “hat”. Would the men not be acting disobedient to these verses ?
    Thank you 🙂 ! Corinthians 11:4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.

    1. Hi Leticia, thanks for the comment and no worries – it was taken in the spirit in which it was intended 🙂 My personal understanding is that the covering to which Paul was referring in 1 Corinthians was a feminine piece of attire. There are other historical references that concur. I believe he was telling men it was a shame to wear the headcovering – in the sense of a feminine garment. He was correcting androgyny. Men look like men, women look like women.

      There is a lot of tradition surrounding the use of the kippa. Some Jewish men wear it to remind them that there is someone greater above them … some wear it because the priests were commanded to have their heads covered … some wear it because in the Bible, being “uncovered” is a sign of shame and being “covered” is a good thing … and some, I’m sure, have no clue why they wear it! Generally speaking, most of the men who wear it do not accept the New Testament as part of the Scriptures, and so the 1 Corinthians passage is of no interest to them. There are some believers in Messiah who believe in wearing a kippa, or covering of sorts, and it’s my understanding that most do so because they believe this passage is not referring to a masculine headdress, but rather a feminine one. I knew of a man who was confronted … took off his kippa and held it up saying, “If your wife was wearing this, would you consider her head covered?” His opponent replied in the negative, and so the other man placed the kippa back on his head and answered, “I rest my case!”

      The men in our family do not wear them, because it is not Biblical. To clarify, my father and brothers will wear one if they go into an environment where it is required, but not in normal day-to-day life. They do wear hats at times though, especially on cold winter days, and that does not keep them from praying because they believe (and I agree) that a hat is not the covering to which Paul was referring here. The Greek word used, when Paul says a man ought not cover his head, is katakalyptō which means to cover up or veil. I guess most men don’t feel that they are veiling themselves when they wear a hat!

      Hope this answers your question!

  25. This is very interesting discussion. I often wonder why this command is picked apart, argued, and discarded so much. I wonder why Paul would have gone to such an extent to explain why we should veil ourselves if it was of no importance? I think that we’ve allowed our culture, rather than scripture, to guide our beliefs. My personal belief is that Paul meant what he said, that our hair is given for a covering. To me that says long, uncut hair. You can’t wrap short hair around your body. (How is Eve covered in pictures you see of her in Eden? Of course that’s someone’s imagination but get my point.) That doesn’t mean it’s a veiling. Only a covering. I also believe it is a command and maybe Hannah would feel as I do? That there are Christians who do not veil their heads. I believe they are either ignorant or living in disobedience. And no, I’m not their judge. As I believe the word by obeying it, I am an example to others. But it must be a conviction of a heart in tune with God, not merely a cultural practice. That is where I envy you who are taught of God alone. My teaching came through culture. I still had to personally embrace it but I feel like I am not as much of a witness because people look at me & say, oh that’s their culture. I know if you are alone in your church you may well face opposition but I want to encourage you to be humble and meek, not judging others. The scripture judges them and they may lash out at you. Remember it’s not about you. A sweet spirit speaks loudly. I would also argue that if a man’s weather garb is not considered a veiling than how can an insignificant hat be our veiling? Why do we want to hide it’s purpose? My husband says long hair “turns a man on”. Why would I want to make occasion for unholy thoughts toward me from other men? So much of the “freedom” in our culture comes with huge costs. Broken homes; teenage pregnancies; other unwanted pregnancies; abortions; sad, sad & lonely men, women & children; men turning to men & women to women because the natural, God-given roles have been distorted. It all started with “little” rebellions by women who wanted “liberty”. What will follow in my wake?

  26. This post is very inspiring to me, and I thank you so much for it. I have felt for a long time that God has asked me to wear a head covering also. For a while, I ignored it, because I was afraid that it would get in the way of my passion for creating costumes. Today is the first day that I have officially decided to wear a head covering, and I am SUPER excited!!!
    I had returned home from a ballet class last night, and began praying about the head covering, after talking to my mother(who also wears a head covering), and I told God that I was afraid of wearing one. Instantly, God put three head covering ideas in my head, and one of them was for a costume that I had finished making. I was so happy, and thankful that God was instantly helping me with ideas for my future life.
    I am 16, and the oldest of nine children, and I believe that God is having me wear this head covering, because my time as a child is almost done, and I will begin looking for a future, godly husband.
    My mother had explained to me that a head covering shows a sign that you are submissive to your parents as a child, your husband when you are married, and to God through out your whole life.
    I thank you so much for this post, and how it is helping me in my next step in life.

  27. Thank you for this! The topic of the woman’s head being covered is one I’ve pondered for quite some time! While I am not convinced that women should cover their heads today, you make some excellent points! I like the way in which you examine the Scriptures and desire to please the Lord and your parents! That is a beautiful testimony and one I greatly respect! I’ll certainly be thinking on this topic some more!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Lydia! While I do like to see women wearing the headcovering, I am the first one to say that it is a conviction one must acquire on their own and not at the urging of someone else. I’ve seen so many women start wearing it because of peer pressure and then take it off because they did not have a heart conviction about it 🙁

  28. Hi Hannah!

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I have often wondered about whether or not I should be covering my head. I am in several different Christian circles: church, homeschool group, etc and NONE of them practice covering, so it’s pretty easy to dismiss and write off. I have been repeatedly told that my husband is my covering . . .but I’m going to be giving this matter some serious prayer.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Tiffiney, thanks so much for your comment! I think that so many women in our culture don’t think about covering their heads because they don’t know anyone who does it! It’s associated with the Amish/Mennonites (or in some cases, orthodox Jewry) and if you’re not part of that, you don’t think about it! But it can definitely be a blessing! And I honestly don’t understand why so many people say that a husband is a woman’s covering – the passage says he is her head, not her headcovering! Plus, as I think I mentioned in the article, the word used for covering denote something tangible/material. But as I have said over and over again, it’s not a cut and dry issue and I would never tell a woman that she is supposed to be doing it! It’s something that each person must pray about it and decide for themselves 🙂

  29. Dear Hannah, I’m also a headcovering woman. I’ve worn one for as long as I can remember, one, because my mother wore one, and two, because that was the belief our fellowship held to. Eventually, though, I felt convicted to make a personal decision to make this teaching mine, so to speak. That was in my teens. I’ve had other times of conviction on modesty that I believe go hand in hand with headcovering. Most recently, a few years back, my family(father, mother, 4 sisters and brother), who had also believed in covering, gave that teaching up along with other Scriptures on women’s roles when they began a new work. I don’t know why their stance changed, but it caused my husband and I to once again dig into the Scriptures to find out why we believe what we believe. Our convictions became stronger than ever to advocate headcovering. We also heard an excellent message on the correlation between Satan’s inability to submit as the covering angel and our strong wills when we fail to submit in this area. There’s my story in a nutshell. 🙂 What I like is that God continues to reveal truths to us no matter what age we are!
    God bless you and yours, Mrs. Reed

    1. Thank you so much for sharing “your story” 🙂 I love to hear other people’s testimonies and to know that there are so many who take their faith very seriously and are dedicated to studying the Word and seeking the Father for wisdom in how to live!

  30. Your post was great!:-) i come from a Mennonite background and are obligated to wear a head covering even if we dont know the reasons behind it. i have looked into myself already and came to some of my own conclusions but this post covered an emense about of information to the questions i had. Something i do wonder though, does it say anything about the length the head covering should be? In my culture at the moment they prefer the headcoverings longer while the new generation are making them so short they almost just look like headbands.. any thoughts on whether the size and color should matter?

    1. I’m not aware of any scripture reference that instructs us on the length, style, color, fabric, etc! I imagine that was left open so that we can allow people to make their own decisions based on prayer and personal reflection, rather than forcing our opinions on others. I think that is one of the reasons the headcovering has become such a divisive issue … people/churches start making rules for other people instead of allowing personal liberty. Since I see the headcovering more as a modesty issue, I usually treat it as such regarding style. If I’m around the house, I might wear a shorter covering/headband with my hair down. But usually when I’m going out to town I keep my hair up and wear something that covers it. If our hair is our glory, I think we shouldn’t go displaying it for anyone and everyone! That’s just my personal opinion!

  31. Hi sisters and brothers in Yahushua HaMashiach,

    Beware of false doctrine and unnecessary work of the flesh.
    The head covering is not an accessory to be in the Spirit and Prays the father.
    Yahushua was very clear and straight, “The Father is Spirit and true worshipper worship Him in Spirit and Truth.”
    If you need a head covering before starting a prayer like the example of your mother, then you are provoking ABBA to jealousy, because this head covering becomes your idol.
    You are free to apply what your conviction, but remember that this is to remain silent, and the father will reward you in silence.
    but if you are promoting a work of the flesh, and if this becomes, and clearly is a stumble for others, you are committing a sin, Sister.
    You should go back into History and search, because this head covering is not what you understand.
    The woman have suffered enough, and Liberty has come with the Spirit of Yahushua, and yes, we are reminded to remain humble and virtuous.
    The work of the Ruach hakodesh is spiritual, and if you guys want to understand the Spirit, you should be in the Spirit.
    It is very common to be in the flesh, but talk about spiritual things, as if…
    When the baptism of YAHUSHUA and his fire will fall on You…
    Sister, your mind will be renew.
    Forgive me if there is any offences in my answer, sincerely, Rudy Delest Elietser.

    ABBA is Spirit, Look for the Spirit and its manifestation, The Power of TheRuach Hakodesh is still at work. Seek Him 1st <3

    1. I am sorry that you have misunderstood our motives as well as the Scriptures themselves. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead you into truth. Blessings!

  32. You gave me a chuckle when you mentioned your mom grabbing a diaper in a pinch, because we actually discussed that in our class for full-time evangelizers. The teacher, while not siting every style, said an appropriate headcovering would be whatever is ‘normal’ headcovering for women in the area you live, be it hat, scarf, turban, wrap, etc., not a paper towel or diaper. Also, didn’t have to be fancy or expensive, ala the ‘Easter Bonnet’, just neat and serviceable. Whether the hair was completely tucked in was optional.

    I appreciate how you came to your decision, esp. the modesty aspect.

  33. I was not brought up wearing a head covering. Nor the church I grew up in ever taught about the covering. So needless to say, I never heard about the head covering, nor knew what it was. When I got married, I learned that my neighbors around the area are Mennonites where the women do wear head coverings. At that point I started feeling convicted. Then, I attended a local church, but the women do not wear coverings. However, I felt led to read the Scripture more. The one day I was reading the Scripture, & came across 1 Cor. 11. which was a surprise for me since I never heard about the head covering, yet, felt convicted. At the same time, my husband or myself knew the responsibility of him suppose to be head of the household, or me understanding my position as a helpmeet. But when I read the passage of 1 Cor. 11, I asked him what he would think if I started wearing a head covering, & he said, I don’t care, your the one going to wear it, not me. So the next day I went to the local fabric store where they sell ladies head coverings, & bought one, & have been wearing them since. That was years ago, & I still wear a head covering, even though the church says it’s not for today. Also, I was told by a member that I am being legalistic. To me, it is for today. Just like it says in Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Well, He is the Author of The Book. The only way to be, is to be obedient in Christ.

    1. Thank you for sharing your testimony, Wendy. That’s such a great thought about Him being the same yesterday, today and forever. And His desires/instructions for us remain the same!

  34. Hi Hannah. Though I did grow up in a strong Christian home, I did not grow up being taught to cover. I started about 4 years ago (well, at least consistently, had prayed, researched and tried the idea on and off for a couple years before that), so my 13-year-old did not learn to cover in early childhood and is still praying through her own convictions on the matter. I will be passing your link along to her so she can read the perspective of another young woman. Thank you. My reasons and early journey are posted at http://infertilitymom.blogspot.com/2013/10/headcoverings.html

  35. One thing that seems strange to me is the pictures with a head covering but in the same picture the lady is wearing jewelry. The way I understand scripture its just as clear that woman shouldn’t wear jewelry as it is about the head covering. I do wear a covering too and wouldn’t want to do without.I appreciated your article on it except for the strangeness if the pictures. God bless n guide u.

    1. Thank you for the comment, Mary. I understand that some people believe the Scriptures prohibit the wearing of jewelery. However in trying to study the issue in context and considering all of the Scriptures relating to it, I am convinced that it is not forbidden but should be done modestly and in moderation.

      1. For a while I stopped wearing ear rings because my youth group teacher told me that in Egypt it was a sign that you were owned by some one. I have a little rebellion in me so that satisfied me. So, if I wore a cover, I think my Mom is afraid of people making fun of me. I was home schooled, but now is my first year of high school and i decided to go to the local high school. My mom has told me to think about it a while longer, but I think this is what God wants me to do….

  36. This is a great article. God bless you. Where could I purchase the pink head covering pictured on the Pinterest pin?
    Thank you

  37. HI, u mentioned that you don’t wear a he advocating at home at times but u feel strongly convicted to wear one out of the house. My question is, Why wear one out of the house if u don’t wear one at home? God sees you everywhere. I think if one wants to wear one then one should always wear one, not just to certain placed cuz like I said God’s everywhere

    1. Hi Eva, thanks for the comment. I believe that the 1 Corinthians 11 passage that instructs women to wear headcoverings is in reference to a public setting/worship. If it is truly a shame to pray silently or in our personal alone times without a headcovering, then one cannot pray in the shower for instance. And if we’re supposed to pray without ceasing, how would that match up? So I think that we are definitely supposed to wear a covering when we will be praying or prophesying publicly, but I don’t think it is required to wear one at other times. A good idea, perhaps, but not required – as far as I understand the Scriptures.

  38. I was raised Mennonite, but it is not a huge community in our area. My husband and I don’t presently attend the Mennonite church, but I still dress like one for the most part, including a white veil. Headcovering is not practiced at the church we attend, though an occasional hat shows up. I have wondered about changing to a less distinctive style, but after reading your article and everyone’s comments, I think I will keep what I wear.
    One thing I want to point out–and it will be obvious to some and new to some– is that covering the head is perhaps chiefly covering the top of the head, and how far your veil hangs down past your hairline is of no importance unless you’re Mennonite and want to identify with a particular congregation, etc. A way to test whether your head is covered (and I say this to Mennonite types whose “covering” rides on the back of the head and covers their hair bun) is to put your hand on your head. Do you feel a covering under it?
    Do you want to comment on whether it is a head covering or a hair covering? I think they are 2 separate but related issues. I would say that your 1st reason (I Cor 11) is related to covering the head, and your 2nd reason (modesty) is related to covering the hair.
    I was taught that the veil was a symbol of accepting (submitting to) the order of authority outlined in the beginning of the passage– Father, Christ, man, woman. There can be problems when it is only a “symbol”–I have seen women wearing the square-inch equivalent of a Jewish kippa believing they have a covering on. I was glad for your input on that subject, by the way.
    For input on the “because of the angels” part, I found Ellis H. Skofield’s book _Demons in the Church_ to be helpful. I believe a PDF can be found online.
    Thank you for your article, and for enabling this practice. 🙂

  39. I have gone back and forth on the headcovering debate for decades now. I can never make clear sense of the passage, and every side of the issue seems to make logical sense to me. I have prayed about it and read it over and over and over again. I just wish it were as clear as “Thou shalt not steal.”

    Regardless, my husband does not wish me to cover, or alter my dress too far away from the cultural norm. I did try covering in the past, as I love the Wrapunzel style coverings, but found they gave me headaches.

    I know, I sound like I am making excuses, but I really wish I had a crystal clear understanding of this passage.

  40. First of all, I’d like to commend you strongly for being faithful to what you believe the Scriptures teach. It’s rare to find people
    so committed, even in the lesser things. Also, I once understood the passage in question to dictate that women should wear headcoverings
    in worship, and I encouraged my wife to do so. But now, based on a careful study with help from Dr. Leonard Coppes’ pamphlet, written
    by a real Biblical scholar who assisted in the NKJV translation, I understand that women are not required to wear headcoverings in worship. I would highly recommend this pamphlet, which you may order by email: http://www.denverprovidence.org/html/books___articles.html
    Having said that, they look great, and I would never question a woman wearing a covering in worship, if she wants to.

  41. I think this is a really interesting perspective. I did read an article (link: https://godwords.org/should-christian-women-have-long-hair/ ) about girls and short hair (as a girl with really short hair, that passage has always confused me, since I didn’t think it was a sin to cut my hair short). I read that, in Corinth, those who worshiped Dionysius, a Greek god, would frequently cross-dress. This led to men with long hair and women with short hair, since the point was to show that they worshipped Dionysius. I personally wouldn’t stop someone from growing their hair long or wearing a head covering, I just thought that was interesting and wanted to share.

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