This is Paul speaking succinctly to the Corinthians about imitating Jesus. Then Paul speaks from the bible about the coverings of the head. Read it and understand what Paul is speaking of from the Word of God.
First Paul identifies himself and Sosthenes as the ones that came to speak with the Corinthians through the will of God.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 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. 6 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. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.
13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: 11:1–16 The One who perfectly exemplified love for God and others was Christ (cf. Rom. 15:3; Phil. 2:5–8). Displaying the same spirit in his ministry, Paul urged the Corinthians to follow his example in this matter of food from a pagan sacrifice. They should allow their freedom to be regulated by love.
- christian liberty in relation to christian worship (11:2–14:40). The theme of personal freedom exercised without regard for the needs of others or the glory of God (which characterized the issue about eating food sacrificed to idols [8:1–11:1]) seems no less a part of this section which deals with practices affecting the assembly of the church. Here too Paul responded to the Corinthians’ spirit of self-indulgence by stressing the principle of glorifying God and building up each other in the church.
- The state of women in worship (11:2–16)
Paul began (11:2–16) and ended (14:34–35) his discussion of Christian freedom as it pertained to worship with remarks directed primarily at the behavior of women in the Corinthian church. Some have questioned whether his comments in this section refer to the actual meeting of the church or to extra-church occasions in which a woman might pray or prophesy. The fact that Paul appealed to church practice elsewhere as a feature of his argument in this section (11:16) suggests that he was discussing church meetings. Modern distinctions between meetings of the church for worship and other meetings of Christians seem based more on expediency than biblical evidence.
11:2. The Corinthians had expressed to Paul, either in their letter or via their spokesmen (cf, 1:11; 16:17), that they remained devoted to Paul and to the teachings, the central doctrines of the faith, which he had communicated to them (cf. 11:23; 15:1, 3). For this Paul commended them: I praise you.
11:3. Paul no doubt appreciated the Corinthians’ goodwill toward him. But more importantly, he wanted to see behavior in keeping with a Christian’s calling. As a prelude to his exhortation, Paul characteristically laid down a theological basis. In this instance it concerned headship. The word head (kephalē) seems to express two things: subordination and origination. The former reflects the more usual Old Testament usage (e.g., Jud. 10:18), the latter that of Greek vernacular (e.g., Herodotus History 4. 91). The former is primary in this passage, but the latter may also be found (1 Cor. 11:8). The subordination of Christ to God is noted elsewhere in the letter (3:23; 15:28). His subordination to the Father is also true in His work as the “agent” of Creation (8:6; cf. Col. 1:15–20).
11:4. When a man prayed aloud publicly or exercised the gift of prophecy by declaring a revelation from God (cf. 12:10), he was to have his physical head uncovered so that he would not dishonor himself and his spiritual head, Christ (v. 3).
The alternate translation in the NIV margin, which interprets the man’s covering as long hair, is largely based on the view that verse 15 equated the covering with long hair. It is unlikely, however, that this was the point of verse 4 (cf. comments on v. 15).
11:5–6. It cannot be unequivocally asserted but the preponderance of evidence points toward the public head covering of women as a universal custom in the first century in both Jewish culture ([apocryphal] 3 Maccabees 4:6; Mishnah, Ketuboth 7. 6; Babylonian Talmud, Ketuboth 72a-b) and Greco-Roman culture (Plutarch Moralia 3. 232c; 4. 267b; Apuleius The Golden Ass 11. 10). The nature of the covering varied considerably (Ovid The Art of Love 3:135–65), but it was commonly a portion of the outer garment drawn up over the head like a hood.
It seems that the Corinthian slogan, “everything is permissible,” had been applied to meetings of the church as well, and the Corinthian women had expressed that principle by throwing off their distinguishing dress. More importantly they seem to have rejected the concept of subordination within the church (and perhaps in society) and with it any cultural symbol (e.g., a head-covering) which might have been attached to it. According to Paul, for a woman to throw off the covering was an act not of liberation but of degradation. She might as well shave her head, a sign of disgrace (Aristophanes Thesmophoriazysae 837). In doing so, she dishonors herself and her spiritual head, the man.
11:7–9. The man, on the other hand, was not to have his head covered because he was the image and glory of God. Paul based this conclusion on Genesis 1:26–27. A woman’s (a wife’s) glory and image was derived from (1 Cor. 11:8) and complementary to (v. 9) that of the man (her husband). Man, then, was God’s authoritative representative who found in woman a divinely made ally in fulfilling this role (Gen. 2:18–24). In this sense she as a wife is the glory of man, her husband. If a married woman abandoned this complementary role, she also abandoned her glory, and for Paul an uncovered woman’s head gave symbolic expression to that spirit.
11:10. Paul offered a third reason (the first reason was the divine order—God, Christ, man, woman, vv. 3–6; the second reason was Creation, vv. 7–9) why womanly insubordination in the church should not exist. Angels were spectators of the church (4:9; Eph. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; cf. Ps. 103:20–21). For a woman to exercise her freedom to participate in the church without the head covering, the sign of her authority (exousia, a liberating term; cf. 1 Cor. 7:37; 8:9; 9:4–6, 12, 18), would be to bring the wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10) into disrepute.
Other (but less acceptable) explanations have been suggested for the words because of the “angels”: (a) evil angels lusted after the women in the Corinthian congregation; (b) angels are messengers, that is, pastors; (c) good angels learn from women; (d) good angels are an example of subordination; (e) good angels would be tempted by a woman’s insubordination.
11:11–12. Men and women together in mutual interdependence, complementing each other, bring glory to God (cf. 10:31). Neither should be independent or think themselves superior to the other. Woman’s subordination does not mean inferiority. Man is not superior in being to woman. Eve came from Adam, and each man born in the world comes from a woman’s womb (11:12). God created them both for each other (Gen. 1:27; 2:18).
11:13–15. Paul had based his previous reasoning for maintaining the head covering as a woman’s expression of her subordination on arguments rooted in special revelation. Now he turned to natural revelation (cf. Rom. 1:20) for a fourth argument in support of his recommendation. Mankind instinctively distinguished between the sexes in various ways, one of which was length of hair. Exceptions to this general practice were due either to necessity (e.g., Apuleius The Golden Ass 7. 6, “to escape in disguise”) or perversity (Diogenes Laertius, Lives 6. 65). No abstract length of hair was in mind so much as male and female differentiation. The Spartans, for example, favored shoulder-length hair for men (cf. Lucian, The Runaways 27) which they tied up for battle (Herodotus History 7. 208–9), and no one thought them effeminate.
Long hair was a woman’s glory because it gave visible expression to the differentiation of the sexes. This was Paul’s point in noting that long hair was given to her as a covering. Natural revelation confirmed the propriety of women wearing the physical covering (cf. Cicero On Duties 1. 28. 100). She has a natural covering, and should follow the custom of wearing a physical covering in a public meeting.
Some Bible students, however, say that the Greek anti, rendered “as” (i.e., “for” or “in anticipation of”) should be translated in its more normal sense of “instead of.” According to that view, a woman’s hair was given instead of a physical covering, for it in itself is a covering. In this view women should pray with long hair, not short hair. This view, however, does not explain the woman’s act of covering or uncovering her head, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:5–6.
11:16. Paul’s fifth argument for maintaining the status quo on head- coverings came from universal church practice. Paul was not trying to foist a new behavioral pattern on the Corinthians but simply to hold the line against self-indulgent individual excess in the name of freedom. As in the case of food offered to idols (8:1–11:1), Paul dealt with the immediate issue but also put his finger on the root of the problem, the Corinthian pursuit of self-interest which was unwilling to subordinate itself to the needs of others (cf. 10:24) or the glory of God (10:31). Throwing off the head- covering was an act of insubordination which discredited God.
Whether women today in church services should wear hats depends on whether the custom of head coverings in the first century is to be understood as a practice also intended for the present day. Many Bible students see that for today the principle of subordination (not the command to wear hats) is the key point in this passage. The intent of the custom of women wearing hats today, for fashion, seems far different from the purpose of the custom in the first century.
Remember bad angels are watching in the church as well as good angels, so we should all be careful not to temp them and to show much love towards one another and imitate Jesus at all times.
Writers Note: A good Christian woman and a good Christian man make a wonderful pair and have great Christian children who imitate Jesus. Think about it, doesn’t everyone want their children to go to God’s heaven? These families really make God smile.
Let those who hear pay close attention!!! For those who Fear God and honor Him there is only God’s love to receive. For those who do not fear Him or challenge Him, they only have God’s wrath to deal with.
God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?
Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.
Prayer: Father in heaven, hallowed is Thy Name. I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for Your grace in sending us Your wisdom about “Imitate Me.” I praise You for Your caring, Your loving kindness, and Your generosity. Only Your graciousness and love could forgive the sins of mankind and still allow him to become a Son or daughter of Yours. Please bless those who have read this article for they too seek Your righteous truth, love, wisdom and understanding.
May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving ha in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.
I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,