Traditionally in many Christian churches the women would cover their heads in worship citing 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Why has this practice stopped, and why has it stopped mostly in the last 70 years? Might we be offending the angels because we are not practicing this?

I am looking for biblical support for the answer not just cultural or opinion.

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    In russian orthodox churhes this tradition still lives.
    – arrowd
    May 25 '12 at 9:40
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    Its not stopped, at least in India. Our pastors insist on this even if women forget.
    – Benny
    May 29 '12 at 6:50
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    I'm voting to close this because I don't find it to be an answerable question. You obviously know about where the head covering practice came from and there isn't any indication in Paul's writing that churches should change, so there's no "biblical support" for any answer besides: "Women should cover their heads". The reason churches don't require women to cover their heads is that it's no longer culturally relevant. Insisting on a biblical basis railroads answers into one, particular direction. Sep 7 '12 at 22:43
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    Might I suggest rewriting this to focus not on the "should we or shouldn't we" which as Jon pointed out is basically unanswerable in the context of this site but on the historical implementations of this and their coming and going?
    – Caleb
    Sep 7 '12 at 22:49
  • This looks like a localized question, relevant only to a particular culture. Hat wearing is still common in many parts of the world. Dec 11 '12 at 6:11

Here's what Matthew Henry says in his short commentary:

We should, even in our dress and habit, avoid every thing that may dishonour Christ. The woman was made subject to man, because made for his help and comfort. And she should do nothing, in Christian assemblies, which looked like a claim of being equal. She ought to have "power," that is, a veil, on her head, because of the angels. Their presence should keep Christians from all that is wrong while in the worship of God. Nevertheless, the man and the woman were made for one another. They were to be mutual comforts and blessings, not one a slave, and the other a tyrant. God has so settled matters, both in the kingdom of providence and that of grace, that the authority and subjection of each party should be for mutual help and benefit. It was the common usage of the churches, for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was right that they should do so. The Christian religion sanctions national customs wherever these are not against the great principles of truth and holiness; affected singularities receive no countenance from any thing in the Bible.

As Matthew Henry says, the Christian religion sanctions national customs wherever these are not against the great principles of truth and holiness.

70 years or so ago, the wearing of hats was common. Upon entering a church, or any building for that matter, a man would remove his hat out of respect.

Customs have changed in the United States. Men wear baseball caps, if they wear a hat, and for the most part, women do not wear hats. Now, having said that, there are still some southern conservative churches where the women do wear hats to church.

In my church, a congregation of the United Methodist Church, our dress code is: wear clothes. We're not concerned with what people wear to church, and we even have meetings to discuss whether the church leadership is dressing up too much, and discouraging people from attending.

  • Gilbert, Like your answer but you did not answer the question as to why women stopped wearing hats. May 7 '12 at 15:36
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    I thought I did. Customs have changed. May 7 '12 at 15:38
  • Customs don't change for no reason. Was it the womens' liberation movement that pushed the change through, or maybe some other change in culture? May 7 '12 at 20:40
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    @Nathan Bunney: Your question about culture change belongs in a sociology stack exchange. I just observed that the culture did change. To answer your other question, I believe Paul is saying don't let contentions become more important than the gospel. Or, to put it another way, don't worry about the mote in your brother or sister's eye, worry about the beam in yours. May 8 '12 at 12:06
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    Perhaps it would help if you highlighted: "The Christian religion sanctions national customs wherever these are not against the great principles of truth and holiness." That seems to be the direct answer to the question. Dec 11 '12 at 4:26

Should a woman cover her head in Christian worship?

Why has this practice stopped, and why has it stopped mostly in the last 70 years? Might we be offending the angels because we are not practicing this?

The reason for the change in Christian worship is fashion. Women were told that they should have their head covered and they did this and it became the fashion. Women did not want to have their heads covered anymore and this became the fashion. Many Christian leaders then found new reasons for not having a head covered as they had for having a head covering before.

Paul wrote the Corinthians that he felt women with short hair should wear a covering if they were praying or prophesying.

1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Paul also says that long hair was given to women for a covering.

1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

The word "for" is "anti" which means "in place of" or "instead of".

The practice of all women wearing a head covering or no women wearing a head covering misses the instruction that if women have short hair, they should wear a head covering while praying or prophesying. If women do not publicly pray or speak prophesy or if they have long hair, it seems to not be an issue.

As far as the angles go, there does seem to be an aspect of Christian worship that is demonstrative.

Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

It may be that practices inconsistent with God's established order would demonstrate not the manifold wisdom of God, but the chaos that results from man following his own will.

Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

  • +1 for 1 Corinthians 11:15 "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." This is the biblical basis for why a fabric covering is not actually required.
    – Beestocks
    Dec 10 '14 at 23:06

1 Corinthians 11:2 NET I praise you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I passed them on to you.

Traditions are a views arrived at as a result of rejecting false views.

1 Corinthians 11:3 NET But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

The head here signifies a leader, a king, a protector. Israel done bad asking for a king.

1 Corinthians 11:4-6 NET Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disgraces his head. But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is one and the same thing as having a shaved head. For if a woman will not cover her head, she should cut off her hair. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should cover her head.

Praying or prophesying publicly is a dangerous task, equivalent to laying down one's life, picking up one's cross, work done by Jesus between His baptism and His atoning work.. When one uses any of these terms, they serve as metonymy, synechdoche. If someone talks about a 9/11 category event, all circumstances included in that event immediately come to mind. Compare this event with Christ's ministry:

Acts 7:53-60 NET You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it.” When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died.

In the East, a woman shaves her head when she is widowed, signifying her loss of protection, possibly the need to fend for herself and make her own provisions for her personal safety.

A woman ministering in public should not be endangered. The work of a martyr is a man's job. Not that women are not brave enough, but the role is a picturization of Christ and His Church. Just as it would be a bit inappropriate to use potato crisps and CocaCola to do the ministry of picturising the lifegiving work of Christ as symbolised by the Communion sacrament, it would be inappropriate to let women be at the forefront of prophesy. Thus the headcovering: her identity is hidden. A bare headed prophetess is picturizing an unprotected Church:

Ephesians 5:25-27 NET Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.

1 Corinthians 11 NET 7 For a man should not have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God.

Men are the picturisation of God sacrificing Himself for His children

1 Corinthians 11 NET 8But the woman is the glory of the man.

Women represent the one whom men sacrifice themselves for. Sidebar: ask Korean men why they don't cook after marriage!

1 Corinthians 11:9-14 NET For man did not come from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for man. For this reason a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. In any case, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman. But all things come from God.

The final decider in order of things is the Creation order. Apparently there is an ordered taxonomy in heaven with regard to our guardian angels appropos their rank and orientation. Children's angels ALWAYS face God!

1 Corinthians 11:15 NET Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

A man with long hair signifies a male who doesn't take sacrificing himself for his loved ones seriously. Spartans tied their hair up before war. Gladiators shaved their heads. Long hair is a serious handicap, and long haired combatants indicate either nonparticipation or over confidence. Not the signal you want to convey to your family. A woman with long hair conveys the message she is confident her protector is up to the task and she need not assist.


Accoding to scriptures women are required to cover their head in public prayer and ministry, wear modest clothing to churches, and barred from teaching or having authority over men in churches. Today most christian churches break these teachings of Jesus Christ through his apostle Paul, to satisfy misled feminists and gain money from the foolish "sheep" that follow them.

Regarding angels, God created man a little below angels (Hebrews 2:7). When women aren't covering their head to show submission to man and God, they are unknowingly submitting their authority to angels. Women of the past did this and had sexual intercourse with angels. Their offspring are the legends of the past whose exaggerated stories are depicted in all ancient mythologies. God never approves this union of woman with angels. God created angels for a different purpose - they are spirits sent out to serve those of mankind who are getting saved. The fallen angels whose leader is Satan, who rebelled in the ancient past (Revelations 12:7) and made the earth formless, void and covered with darkness (Genesis1:2) are what we know as evil spirits.

  • Hello Jason. Welcome to Christianity SE. That is a good first answer. I have edited your post to improve the formatting. You yourself can properly format your answer by using the buttons given on the top of editing screen. Also, if possible you should not post two separate answers for the same question. Hope to see you around. Sep 6 '12 at 11:02
  • @Monika Michael-Thanks for your encouragement,God bless you.
    – Jason
    Sep 6 '12 at 17:22
  • whoa - how did you get that "woman is the head of the angels"? We're told that we're but "a little lower than the angels"
    – warren
    Sep 7 '12 at 16:31
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    Angels aren't mortal at all - I think you have some unusual beliefs surrounding the nature of angels
    – warren
    Sep 7 '12 at 20:40
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    I don't believe these instructions from Paul equate to commandments from Jesus, and the whole first section that was recently added is highly argumentative
    – kurosch
    Sep 7 '12 at 21:58

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