bitterreaper asked a question”
Could you explain what you think the deal is with head coverings in the bible? I know that it says that men should have shaved heads because they’re from god and women should have head coverings because they’re from men. And the angels want women to wear head coverings in church. But is it wrong to not? It doesn’t feel wrong. Most sin feels sinful.
Hey my friend, I would like to point you to perhaps the longest post I’ve ever written. It was written two years ago but I think I still agree with 98% of it. Feel free to skip around or just read the parts you need. As always, please feel free to disagree as well.
In short, I believe head covers was a cultural staple of that time due to a particular transition in the Corinthian church. The letter to the Corinthians had two purposes: unity and order. Paul was trying to create a safe gracious church in which disorder was kept to a minimum, especially for new Christians, which is why he comments on speaking in tongues. He also forbids getting drunk off the communion wine and sleeping with your stepmom. Seriously, the Corinthians were grimy.
During this period, prostitutes had shaved heads and were newly joining the church, and the sight of these shaved heads was causing a bit of commotion to visitors and new Christians (this will make sense out of 1 Corinthians 11:5-6). It appears Paul is speaking to this one specific church as a temporary consideration for others, not to control what they were wearing, but to make a larger point that we are mindful of “weaker” or new believers, as outlined in Romans 14.
Also, this specific church had a tradition about head covers, and Paul uses these cultural symbols as a way of teaching about husbands being the “responsible head” and wives being “modest,” and how both husband and wife belong to each other (1 Corinthians 7:4). The context here is that the men were being lazy and argumentative, and women were getting up during worship service to yell about doctrine. So Paul had to say something and he basically says, “So you know how you guys have this thing with head coverings? Let me make this a teaching example for you guys.” You know, like a pastor’s illustration in a sermon.
Many churches have carried on this tradition of head coverings, particularly churches that are predominantly minorities, either as a fashion statement or because they interpret Paul’s words as a command for today. Personally, I think wearing hats in church is fine, as long as it’s not made mandatory for a gender, and as long Christians can understand the historical grounding of these Bible passages.
I know that some scholars or pastors might disagree with this interpretation, and that’s fine. This is not a primary doctrine worth fighting over, and not a place I’m willing to raise my flag either way. To me, it’s about what honors Jesus and each other the best.