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HeadCoverings.org

These charts were created by Pat Donahue and are available as a Microsoft® Word™ document at his website.

Chart Listing - Covering - Custom

Affirmative


  1. Headship
  2. Shame Like Shorn Or Shaven
  3. Image And Glory
  4. Order Of Creation
  5. Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 – Argument Against Women Preachers - Tied To Creation
  6. Order Of Creation – Alan Highers
  7. Order Of Creation – Ben Vick
  8. Order Of Creation – Ted Clarke
  9. Order Of Creation – Bobby Graham
  10. Order Of Creation – Two Baptists
  11. Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 – Argument For Women Preachers - The Culture Argument
  12. Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 – Argument For Women Preachers - Tied To The Covering 1
  13. Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 – Argument For Women Preachers - Tied To The Covering 2
  14. Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 – Argument Against Women Preachers - Means What It Says
  15. A Christian On I Corinthians 14:34-35
  16. Because Of The Angels
  17. Artificial Covering Needed By Same Gender As Natural Covering
  18. No Such Custom
  19. Summary Of God's Reasons For The Covering
  20. All Of God's Reasons For The Covering Must Be Shown To Be Temporary
  21. Prayeth Or Prophesieth
  22. Godet's Conclusion

Negative


  1. I Corinthians 11:13 Judge In Yourselves
  2. I Corinthians 11:13 Comely
  3. I Corinthians 11:14 Nature
  4. I Corinthians 11:14 Only A Shame, Not A Sin ?
  5. I Corinthians 11:16 Paul Said It Was A Custom ?
  6. I Corinthians 11:16 "Custom" Means Allowed, Therefore It Can't Refer To The Sin Of The Contentious Man ?
  7. Scholars Say Custom ? (recent)
  8. Scholars Say Custom ? (in antiquity)
  9. Covering Like Kiss and Foot Washing ?
  10. Holy Kiss And Feet Washing - Consistency
  11. Must Hang Down ?
  12. Must Cover the Face ?
  13. Spiritual Gifts Only ?
  14. If Covering Cultural, What About - Women Preachers?, The Lord's Supper Elements?, Immersion For Baptism?
  15. Covering Can't Be Binding Since It Doesn't Go Back All The Way To The Beginning ?
  16. The Figurative Covering Position

Headship

I Corinthians 11:3-5a teaches that a woman ought to be covered when she prays or prophesies because of the order of HEADSHIP:

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. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head ...

Is man still the head of woman?

Many of our more liberal brethren say no, male headship was just "cultural" (sound familiar?), so they allow women preachers, elders.

Since man is still the head of woman, and since the covering requirement is based upon the headship principle, then the Bible still says that if a woman prays to God uncovered, she dishonors her head (man).

You can't just pick and choose what you want !

-- you can't have headship without the covering --

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Shame Like Shorn Or Shaven

I Corinthians 11:5b-6 teaches that a woman ought to be covered, because to be uncovered is shameful like being shorn or shaven:

... 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.

I ask my opponent, is it still a shame for a woman to be shaven? Then the Bible still teaches it is likewise a shame for a woman to be uncovered when she prays or prophesies.

Actually the verse uses "if" in the sense of "since" (like in Colossians 3:1). Since it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. It is not left up to the reader.

A woman should be covered even Today !

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Image And Glory

I Corinthians 11:7 teaches that a man should not wear the covering because he is the IMAGE AND GLORY of God, while the woman is the glory of the man:

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.

I ask my opponent, has anything changed about this reason for the covering?

Does God still recognize this fact of creation when assigning man and woman their roles?

Then the covering still applies Today !

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Order Of Creation

I Corinthians 11:8-9 teaches that a woman ought to wear the covering because of the ORDER OF CREATION:

. the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Likewise, I Timothy 2:11-13 teaches that a woman should not be a "pulpit preacher" because of the ORDER OF CREATION.

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

Since it is the same argument for both practices, if one practice does not apply anymore, then neither does the other.

Consistency would demand that my

Opponent Accept Women Preachers

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Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 - Argument Against Women Preachers

Tied To Creation

First, the woman preacher advocates argued the prohibition against woman preachers was only because of the culture of that time.

Notice Ralph Gilmore's response:


  • These scriptures are not tied to culture. They are tied to creation ... I do not know how they can say ... this is a cultural matter when at least these two instances, and probably three instances [i.e., I Cor 11, I Tim 2, and I Cor 14], it's tied to creation, it's tied to creation, it's tied to creation.–p.57
  • I Timothy 2:12-15 is not cultural because it says the woman came from the man, and woman was deceived in the transgression. - p.72

Lynn Mitchell's Reply: In I Cor 11, Paul bases his discussion on whether women should wear veils on the doctrine of creation & the order that exists between God and woman.-p.133

Doesn't Lynn Mitchell have a valid point ?

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Order Of Creation - Alan Highers

against "women preachers" - The Spiritual Sword – January 1996:


With reference to I Timothy 2:11, 12, the most common approach is to contend that Paul was dealing with a situation that was unique to his culture, and that the principles do not apply to the culture in which we live now. Paul himself anchored his teaching, however, to creation, not culture (I Tim. 2:13, 14). He placed his instruction regarding the role of women in a context that makes it impossible for modern feminists to establish that it was merely cultural.

Order of Creation - I Corinthians 11:8-9:


. the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

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Order Of Creation - Ben Vick

against "women preachers" - The Informer – January 20, 2003:


Brethren, how can those who claim to be Bible believers and followers of Christ put a woman in a position of authority, teaching over men? No godly woman would put herself in a position such as that! Paul clearly said, "Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve." … A woman, any woman, is not to teach over a man, nor is she to dominate him. The passage is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century, notwithstanding the changes in culture, country and time. Paul showed that a woman is not to teach over a man based on the order of creation.... If the inspired Paul could transcend culture, country and time in giving reasons why a woman is not to teach or usurp authority over man, then, culture, country and time cannot delete the divine dictate that a woman cannot teach, nor have dominion over a man!

Covering – Order of Creation- I Corinthians 11:8-9:


. the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

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Order Of Creation - Ted Clarke

against "women preachers" - Fulton County Gospel News – Nov '97


The first reason given for the restrictions on women is the order of creation, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve" (2:13, NKJV). This certainly cannot be said to deal with just a local, temporary cultural situation or with a grumpy old man. This goes all the way back to the sixth day of creation and makes a fundamental argument for the headship of man over the woman – "Adam was formed first, then Eve" (cf. I Corinthians 11:8-9). This explains a basic concept of God's intended relationship between man and woman.

Order of Creation - I Corinthians 11:8-9:

For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

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Order Of Creation - Bobby Graham

against "women preachers" - Biblical Insights – November 2002:


Some have ... referred to Biblical restrictions on the role of women as merely cultural, reflecting the biases of the society of that ancient day. The truth stands out as quite different. Every passage dealing with such restrictions has within it the reasons for the restrictions, and they never were cultural. In I Corinthians 11 and 14, the apostle Paul very carefully showed that the reasons behind the limitations were related to the creation and to divine law. Likewise in I Tim 2, some of the same reasons were given for the restrictions imposed ....

Order of Creation - I Corinthians 11:8-9:

For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

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Order Of Creation - Two Baptists

Barry Presley (Baptist Army Chaplain) 10-16-00:


I Cor 14:34-35 – Is this a blanket prohibition from God, or Paul's advice to a particular city which has problems with ‘temple prostitutes'? ... What about chapter 11 injunctions about covered heads and short hair?

Carolyn Dickens, chair-woman of the Raleigh, NC First Baptist Church's board of deacons - Huntsville Times, 9-26-98


That passage (Eph 5:22-23) is meant to be understood in the context in which it was written: 1st-century Christianity

Culture has no more to do with I Corinthians 11:2-16 than it has do to with I Corinthians 14:34-35 or Ephesians 5:22-23.

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A Christian On I Corinthians 14:34-35

The "command" might not apply today at all .... It is my opinion that they objected because it was the custom of the day for women to remain silent in public assemblies, and let their husbands speak for them; and they were offended that some of the Corinthian women were violating this custom. (I interpret the issue of married women wearing a head covering in the same light.) Rather than allow the issue to cause disruption within the church, Paul upheld the social custom of the day

It is perfectly proper for churches to expect their members to adhere to societal norms and customs (as long as they are not in conflict with God's will, of course), and I think that is exactly the point that Paul was making when he wrote that women should remain silent in the assembly, and when he wrote that married women should wear a covering for their heads to show their subjection to their husbands.

... the churches need to reconsider whether or not the command for women to keep silent in the assembly is still applicable, now that the social conventions regarding the proper conduct of women in public have changed.

Greg Casteel 2-29-96

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Because Of The Angels

I Corinthians 11:10 teaches that a woman ought to wear the covering BECAUSE OF THE ANGELS:

For this cause ought the woman to have power (a sign of authority, ASV) on her head because of the angels.

I ask my opponent, has anything changed about this reason for the covering? Nobody even knows for sure exactly what this means, so how could anybody know that the reason/rule doesn't apply anymore?

The covering still applies Today -

Because of the Angels !

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Artificial Covering Needed By Same Gender

As Natural Covering

I Cor 11:13-15 teaches a woman ought to wear the artificial covering because she is the one given the natural covering of long hair:

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

Paul's argument is essentially this:


God has given women (not men) long hair as a natural/permanent covering; that ought to tell us that when it comes to the artificial/ temporary covering, God wants the woman covered, not the man.

Are women still supposed to have longer hair than men today ?

Then the veil is still required today !

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No Such Custom

I Corinthians 11:16:

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

So I Corinthians 11:16 teaches that the practice of wearing the covering was uniform throughout all the churches everywhere, and was not just a local custom. Compare to:


  • I Corinthians 4:17 as I teach every where in every church
  • I Corinthians 7:17 And so ordain I in all churches
  • I Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints

I Corinthians 11:2-16 was written "unto the church of God which is at Corinth ... with all that in every place upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord ." (1:2) ALL CHRISTIANS !

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Summary Of God's Reasons For The Covering

3-5a headship (man over woman)

is man still the head of woman?

5b-6 shame like shorn or shaven head

is it still a shame for a woman to be shaven?

7 man the image and glory of God; woman the glory of man

has this fact changed?

8-9 order and purpose of creation

has the order and purpose of creation changed?

10 because of the angels

does this still apply?

13-15 nature's teaching about the hair

in general do women still have longer hair than men?

16 apostles and churches had no practice different than the covering

My opponent must prove ALL of these reasons are temporary in nature.

Instead, none of these reasons are temporary or based upon local custom. All the reasons are permanent, & still apply today. So does the covering !

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All Of God's Reasons For The Covering

Must Be Shown To Be Temporary

If God called you on the phone and said "Buy A Toyota" for these reasons


  1. it has the best quality
  2. is the least expensive (at regular price)
  3. is the safest
  4. gets the best gas mileage
  5. is on sale till the end of the month

If you procrastinated and accidentally waited till next month, so reason #5 didn't apply anymore …

Would you then buy a Ford?

My opponent must prove ALL of the God given reasons for the covering are temporary in nature.

Instead, none of these reasons are temporary or based upon local custom. All the reasons are permanent, & still apply today. So does the covering !

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Prayeth Or Prophesieth

Are you trying to tell me that it was the custom of the Corinthian people (a bunch of HEATHENS) for their women to veil their heads when they prayed or prophesied? Since when do the HEATHEN pray and prophesy?

And do you really expect me to believe that Paul is telling the Christian ladies they ought to be veiled when they pray because the HEATHEN ladies were veiled when they prayed? Isn't that a little far-fetched ?

I don't know of a single scholar/commentary that says it was the custom in Corinth for women to be covered when they prayed or prophesied (that is, even in private). What I Corinthians 11:5 actually says → all scholars are agreed was not the custom.

The phrase "prayeth or prophesieth" shows the practice was peculiar to Christians (since they are the only ones that prayed and prophesied scripturally), and therefore proves that Paul is NOT just talking about a local custom.

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Godet's Conclusion

He who teaches that I Corinthians 11 deals with custom will have to get that idea from somewhere OTHER THAN THE TEXT. And he won't get it from scholars, if he will take all of them.

Godet's argument:


Was this conviction solely a matter of time and place, so that it is possible to suppose, that if he (Paul) lived now, and in the West, the apostle would express himself differently? This supposition is not admissible. For the reasons he alleges are taken, not from contemporary usages, but from permanent facts, which will last as long as the present earthly economy. The physical constitution of woman (vs.13-15) is still the same as it was when Paul wrote, and will continue so till the renewing of all things. The history of creation, to which he appeals (vs.8-12), remains the principle of the social state now as in the time of the apostle; and the sublime analogies between the regulations of God to Christ, Christ to man, and man to woman, have not changed to this hour, so that it must be said, either the apostle was wholly wrong in his reasoning, or that his reasons, if they were true for his time, are still so for ours, and will be so to the end.

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I Corinthians 11:16

Paul Said It Was A Custom ?

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom ...

I Cor 11:16 is saying that if a man would oppose God's covering teaching, the apostles and all the churches had no such custom/practice as his (the contentious man's). "Such" would naturally refer back to the last thing mentioned, i.e., the contentious man's custom/practice. Paul specifically said the custom in question was NOT his own! – we have no such custom.

If I said, Keith is bald, but I have no such problem - Who has the problem?

It makes no sense at all to suppose that, after arguing [for 14 verses, ptd] from the relationship of God to Christ, Christ to man, and man to woman, and from the order of creation, Paul would finally dismiss the importance of the whole thing saying in essence, "if you don't like what I've said, that's alright, because it's really all just a man-made custom." -Jeff Smelser

I Cor 14:37 the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord

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Scholars Say Custom ? (recent)

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges – In the remarkable fact that the practice here enjoined is neither Jewish, which required men to be veiled in prayer, nor Greek, which required both men and women to be unveiled, but particularly to Christians.

W.E. Vine - Among the Jews the heads of the men were covered in the synagogue. Among the Greeks both men and women were uncovered.

Expositor's Greek Testament - Paul's instructions do not agree ... with current practice. Jewish men covered their heads; amongst the Greeks both sexes worshipped with uncovered heads.

Morris in Tyndale Series - Jewish men always prayed with heads covered (as they still do). Greek women ... prayed with head uncovered.

Vincent's Word Studies - The Romans (the men), like the Jews, prayed with the head veiled.

Pulpit Commentary - Having his head covered ... The Jewish worshipper in praying always covers his head with his Tallith.

Moffat Series - Men and Women worshipped bareheaded in Greek rites.

Robertson in Word Pictures - Greeks (both men & women) remained bareheaded in public prayer.

Since scholars disagree on this (and just about every issue),

We are just going to have to accept God's revelation on the matter !

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Covering Like Holy Kiss and Foot Washing?

The Bible shows that both greeting with a kiss and foot washing had been a practice for centuries before the New Testament was written:

KissFoot Washing
Genesis 27:26-27, 33:4, 45:15
Exodus 4:27, 18:7, II Sam 14:33, 20:9
Luke 7:45, 15:20
Genesis 18:4, 19:2, 24:32
I Samuel 25:41, II Samuel 11:8
Judges 19:21, Luke 7:36-44

But it cannot be shown from the scriptures that covering the head during prayer and prophecy was a common practice before I Corinthians 11. As a matter of fact, the opposite can be shown → II Samuel 15:30-31, Exodus 34:32-33, 28:4,40). Keith Sharp said in "Unfading Beauty" - However, this custom was not universal among the Jews and was not demanded by the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures. ... the use of the veil as a regular article of dress was unknown to the Heb women. Hence they are NOT just alike.

In these two cases, the NT was just regulating centuries old practices:

  1. HOLY (not a sensual) kiss – other forms of greeting were used (Gal 2:9 handshake, Acts 20:1 hug). No single greeting was bound over another.
  2. Sandals on dirt trails - feet needed washing. We should be humble enough to do the same today under the same circumstances.
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Holy Kiss & Foot Washing - Consistency

Admitting that the holy kiss and foot washing were connected to culture would NOT necessarily prove the same about the covering:

  • Would this admission also prove that the "wives in subjection to their husbands" teaching (Eph 5:22-24) was just cultural?
  • Does it also prove "no women preachers" was just cultural?
  • Does it also prove "no women elders" was just cultural?

If not, why not?

What will my opponent say when our liberals argue the prohibition against women preachers and elders is just like foot washing and the holy kiss?

This argument is just like a denominational preacher bringing up the pitch pipe in a discussion on instrumental music. His argument may or may not call into the question the use of a pitch pipe, but his argument certainly doesn't show authority for instrumental music. And neither does my opponent's argument prove anything against the covering.

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Judge In Yourselves

My opponent's argument would mean the covering was not binding upon the local Corinthian saints, even at that time.

Asking someone to judge doesn't necessarily mean a matter of right and wrong is not involved. Notice Acts 4:19 -

Peter & John … said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God hearken unto you more than unto God, JUDGE YE.

Does this mean that it would have been a correct decision if the council had judged that it was better not to hearken unto God?

When I tell my children "you ought to know better," does that mean it is ok to engage in the activity if they don't know better?

Paul's argument says nothing to

make the covering non-binding.

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Comely

My opponent's point would make the veil non-binding upon the local Corinthian Christians, even at that time.

same Greek word (Strong's #4241) in Ephesians 5:3 -

But fornication, & all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be ... named among you, as BECOMETH saints

Is Eph 5:3 non-binding? (same with "becometh" & modest dress in I Tim 2:10)

comely - fitting, suitable, becoming (Wigram-Green)

I'm confident my opponent would agree that all of God's requirements are "fitting, suitable, becoming."

Nothing in this word "comely"

suggests the covering is non-binding

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Nature

This point would make the veil non-binding upon the local Corinthian Christians, even at that time.

Notice what Thayer says about "nature" (#5449):

nature, i.e. natural sense, native conviction or knowledge, as opposed to what is learned by instruction and accomplished by training or prescribed by law ... the native sense of propriety ... I Co. xi. 14 ... guided by their natural sense of what is right and proper, Ro. ii. 14

Arndt and Gingrich - "may mean instinctively"

Vine - "the regular law and order of nature"

Regardless, just because "nature" teaches something, that doesn't mean it is not binding. The same Greek word is also found in Romans 1:26 to refer to the fact that homosexuality is "against NATURE." Is Romans 1:24-27 therefore non-binding?


As a matter of fact, I have made this exact point in my "homosexual" debates, that homosexuality was against "nature" ("the body parts don't fit"). I did not mean by my argument that revelation did not teach against homosexuality. I meant that both revelation and nature teach against it.

"Doth not EVEN nature itself teach you …" - "even" indicates that something else (revelation in this case) had already taught the same thing.

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Must Hang Down ?

All these type arguments don't argue against the covering. If this one were correct, a woman would just need to wear a covering that hangs down.

My opponent says the prefix "kata" in "katakalupto" indicates that the covering should hang down, therefore it must be a veil (not a hat).

Same Greek word in Septuagint:

Numbers 22:5 people ... COVER the face of the earth

Jeremiah 51:42 Babylon ... is COVERED with the multitude of the waves

Ezekiel 38:9 like a cloud to COVER the land

Do these cases mean "hang down"?

I recommend that sisters wear a veil (which does hang down), but most likely "kata" here means "completely" or "fully":


Young (pg.209) - to cover FULLY

The text tells us exactly how much the covering is supposed to cover, and it says cover the HEAD, not the shoulders.

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Must Cover the Face ?

All these type arguments do not argue against the covering. If this point were correct, a woman would just need to cover her face also.

But must the face also be covered, since it is part of the head?

Just as we do, the Bible distinguishes between the head and the face:


  • Matthew 6:17 ... anoint thine head, and wash thy face
  • Leviticus 14:9 But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows …
  • Leviticus 13:45 And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip …

The text says that the veil should

cover the HEAD, not the face.

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Spiritual Gifts Only ?

This would void the whole NT. It was ALL written to/about miraculously endowed Christians, including the Lord's Supper assembly of Acts 20:7.

It doesn't just say prophesy, it also says pray. Women still pray today.

Every person riding in or driving a car with belt unbuckled breaks the law.

If you do either, you must be buckled.

Verse 13 mentions "pray" by itself. It is a sin for a woman to pray uncovered, even if praying is all she is doing.

Rom 12:6-8 lists prophecy with - giving, ruling, exhorting, ministry, teaching, showing mercy. Are these miraculous just because prophecy is?


Amos 7:12 - "... go ... into ... Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there." Is "eat bread" miraculous here?

I Corinthians 14:13-17 says "my spirit" (v.14). It is referring to the speaker's understanding versus the listener's understanding, not inspired prayer. The tongue was the miraculous part.

I Corinthians 12:1 - "NOW concerning spiritual gifts" - begins the discussion of spiritual gifts.

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If Covering Cultural, What About

Women Preachers ?

The Lord's Supper Elements ?

Immersion For Baptism ?

If the I Corinthians 11:2-16 covering and long hair requirements are just cultural, how do we know …

That the prohibition against women preachers wasn't just cultural? EVERYBODY agrees that was the culture of that day.

That the bread and juice on the Lord's Table wasn't just cultural? Wouldn't a hamburger and coke fit better with our culture/society?

That immersion for baptism wasn't just cultural? Isn't "culture" one of the arguments that the Methodists make for sprinkling?

What we believe is binding today becomes arbitrary.

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Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 - Argument For Women Preachers

The Culture Argument

Paul's concerns reflect ... concerns of culture (p.13)

... the prohibition (against women preachers, ptd) was due to circumstances in Corinth and Ephesus and other public churches but would not apply elsewhere.... wherever it would be a shame, women ought not to speak. The corollary is, of course, wherever it would not be shameful, the prohibition is meaningless (p.43)

Either we have a contradiction (referring to women preachers) or we begin to understand in the context of that culture and in the context of that particular church what was going on there. (p.79)

Paul is dealing with specific situations in two specific communities, and that is why he puts those restrictions on the women in those places. (p.81)

Paul has a righteous concern, but this does not mean that women are to be silent when the circumstances faced in Corinth are not present. (p.108)

What we have suggested about Corinth and Ephesus is that we have situation-specific concerns where Paul is concerned about the health of the church in those places. (p.163)

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Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 - Argument For Women Preachers

Tied To The Covering 1

... some gospel limitations are related to cultural and traditional limitations themselves, such as at Corinth. Other limitations may be originally proper but, when they cease to be cultural norms, may become oppressive and even sinful. For instance, requiring veils on our women here in Henderson ... - p.33

What it meant cannot always be the same as what it means to us (Else, for example, the Christian women in this auditorium would be wearing something on their heads.) - p.34

David Lipscomb ... argues in his Gospel Advocate Commentary that the Bible clearly teaches women are not to speak publicly in church ... On the other hand, Lipscomb also argued just as strongly that God through Paul requires all women to wear an artificial covering when they approach God in prayer whether in public or private - p.41

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Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 - Argument For Women Preachers

Tied To The Covering 2

McGarvey argued that the veil was essential for Paul's churches in the first century as a sign of subordination, but it is meaningless in modern churches. On this issue, McGarvey represented ironically the "liberal" position which eventually won out in all of our churches, but only after severe and painful struggles with such traditionalists as John T. Lewis. - p.43

In chapter 11 Paul plainly tells us that women were to pray and to prophesy with heads covered. The issue in chapter 11 is what their attire is when they participate in worship. He is as clear here as he is about silence in chapter 14, yet we hear 14 but we do not hear 11. Maybe it is that we have given up the veils as cultural and are afraid that if we admit it, we will have to face the fact that the admonition to silence has contextual meaning that mitigates against its being prescriptive. That is to say, silence in Corinth served a specific need for those women that is not replicated in our churches today. - p.107

The question in I Corinthians 11 that Paul was answering was not how man is related to woman. The question he was answering ... was whether women should wear veils .... And his answer was yes. - p.133

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Freed-Hardeman Forum 1990 - Argument Against Women Preachers

Means What It Says

An Argument Against Women Preachers:


There is a big difference between those who say the Bible means what it means and those who say it does not. It means what it means in I Tim 2. It means what it means in I Cor 14. ... because these passages are God's word and these passages do not mean the opposite of what they say -p.128

The Reply:


When I was young and foolish, I had just started preaching, I attempted to get the women in my congregation to wear something on their head because I believe Paul says what he means and means what he says. Didn't work. (p.134) ... And so it took me about five years, once I got on the kick of trying to get my sisters to wear something on their heads, to get over the fact that they weren't going to do it ... But it didn't take that long for me to understand some of the implications of that fact, and that is, that if my sisters were not going to give in to a symbol from the first century on that issue, they probably were not going to give in to another symbol from the first century. - p.155

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Covering Can't Be Binding Since It Doesn't Go Back All The Way To The Beginning ?

Foot washing has demonstrated humility since the beginning, but my opponent doesn't think it is still binding. He doesn't believe his own rule.

When a young lady gets married, she wears a white dress to represent her virginity/purity. But she only wears the white dress during the wedding ceremony, even though her virginity was supposed to be all the way from birth to the honeymoon night. So a symbol does not have to go as far (in time) as that which it symbolizes. According to my opponent's argument, unless she wears a white dress every day all the way from birth to marriage, her white dress on the wedding day would symbolize nothing.

The Sabbath was based upon creation (Exodus 20:8-11), but not binding in the NT. According to my opponent's argument, it couldn't have been binding in the OT, since it was not to be binding for all time.

Baptism and the Lord's Supper don't go all the way back to the beginning, yet my opponent understands they are binding today nevertheless.

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Custom Is Not Sinful, So Can't Refer To Contentious Man's Sin

The Argument: John 18:39 is the only other place in the NT where you have this exact word, and it is talking about something allowed.

Are you sure releasing a "robber" (verse 40) from his due punishment is not a sin?

You can't determine the full meaning of a word with only one Bible example, else I Corinthians 11:16 is talking about releasing a criminal on the Passover, since that is what the word refers to in John 18:39.

The word translated custom in John 18:39 is Strong's #4914. The same event is found in Matthew 27:15 where the word translated "wont" (#1486) is the verb form of #1485. Notice these examples of #1485:


  • Acts 16:21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive ...
  • Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is

#4914 is just #1485 with the prefix "sun" (meaning "with").

So "custom" can refer to a sinful practice, for example, the custom of a young man losing his virginity at a bachelor party the night before his wedding.

"Custom" in I Corinthians 11:16 simply means "practice":


If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we recognize no such practice, nor do the churches of God (English Standard Version)

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The Figurative Covering Position

The Argument: When Paul tells the woman to cover her "head," he is talking about her spiritual head, man (verse 3). She covers him by not praying through him (her head), but instead she prays directly to God.

Problems with this position:


  • Verses 6a, 6b, and 13 tell us the woman herself is to be covered. This includes her physical head, and can't refer to her figurative head, man.
  • This position works with prayer, but not with prophesying. The woman is not allowed to preach (I Cor 14:34-35) or teach over man (I Tim 2:11-12). Therefore she doesn't cover (figuratively) the man when teaching.
  • Paul's argumentation in this text (for example, verses 7-9) emphasizes the reason the woman should cover her head is not because of equality (as this position would dictate), but because of inequality (in roles).
  • Paul's argument in verses 13-15 is to compare the temporary/artificial covering with the permanent/natural covering. This argument makes no sense whatsoever if the temporary covering doesn't physically cover like the permanent covering does.
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Scholars Say Custom ? (in antiquity)

Leviticus 16:3-4 - Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of the a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. - NKJV

In the ancient Roman Empire, men traditionally wore their togas over their heads when offering sacrifices. Archaeology has discovered a large statue of Augustus, who ruled from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14, on which "his toga, the draped outer garment of the Roman citizen, is worn over the head, as it was characteristically in a Roman religious sacrifice" (Thompson, Cynthia L. "Hairstyles, Head-coverings, and St. Paul: Portraits from Roman Corinth." Biblical Archaeologist, June, 1988, p.101). The statue "was displayed prominently in a large civic building at the end of the forum of Roman Corinth, called the Julian Basilica," but was not erected until "several decades after Augustus' death" (Thompson, p. 101). Since it was erected near the time Paul wrote I Corinthians, it seems reasonable to conclude that Paul's readers knew about the practice of men covering their heads with togas when sacrificing to pagan gods. When not sacrificing, the toga normally was worn around the shoulders.

Raising questions about Roman practices, Plutarch asked, "Why is it that when they worship the gods, they cover their heads, but when they meet any of their fellow-men worthy of honour, if they happen to have the toga over the head, they uncover?" (Plutarch. Moralia, vol. 4., p. 21 Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1936. Aka Moralia, The Roman Questions 266c). - Plutarch lived 45-125 A.D. and wrote about 100 A.D..

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I Corinthians 11:14

Only A Shame, Not A Sin ?

First, this applies to long hair on men, not to the temporary katakalupto covering.

Same Greek word:


Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections ... (homosexuality is only a shame, not a sin?)

Same English word:


  • I Corinthians 14:35 ... it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
    (women preachers are only a shame, not a sin?)
  • Revelation 3:18 ... that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear ...
    (nakedness is only a shame, not a sin?)

I don't recall where the Bible ever says something "is a sin" using those words, not even the ten commandments. I Jn 3:4 - "sin is the transgression of the law" – so it is a sin to violate the law of I Cor 11:14.