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To me, it is one of the controversial topics of our church. Was Paul making a cultural address when he said a woman should cover her head or be shorn?
Please share your thoughts, please share your knowledge.

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This is indeed one of those issues that always attract a lot of commentary; largely because it is so misconstrued. At the risk of sounding arrogant, most people that I have heard comment on this topic are way off target. To their credit, Paul is not the easiest author to understand; so says Brother Peter.(see 2 pet:3;15&16).

I have heard some of the most respected Pastors offer the most distressing opinions on the passage, largely due to their lack of exposure to the appropriate tools for the job.

Paul's initial intention is to discuss the ordinances (see vs 2&20+). However, he takes the long route, giving himself the opportunity to make a few points on the way. Between vs 3 and16, he treats with :-a) The hierarchy of authority; b)The male/female relationship; c) 'Unisex' ideology; d) The God given 'cover'.

Since the question is very specific to the woman being covered, or else be shorn; and whether his pronouncement was limited to his culture or a statement of principle (implied), my response will be limited to these.

The key to arriving at an appropriate conclusion to what Paul is saying, lies in vs 14&15. No one, having read these could easily conclude that Paul could possibly be discussing 1) culture (note the idea,"...nature itself teach you...); or 2)Artificial head covering (hat, taj, veil, orni, hijab,etc), "... for her hair is given her for a covering."

This is one of the passages that is best understood by applying, what I call 'reverse hermeneutics'. There is a preposition in vs 15 that is largely missed, but is the key to solving the confusion, in part. The second use of the word 'for', is a very unfortunate translation of the original word 'anti', which may only be translated in two ways; viz- a) against; b) instead of.

The very context rules out the use of 'against', and in fact strongly recommends the phrase 'instead of''.

The NIV, TEV and the JB, render it "...as a covering", while the PME renders it thus,"...the long hair is the cover provided by nature for the woman's head". Since these come the closest to the original, I recommend them for consideration, in resolving the 'confusion' that is usually associated with this passage.

The words 'long hair' (koma), vs 15, refer to uncut/uncropped hair ( of whichever ethnicity). Paul argues (vs 5) that when the veil (peribolaiou-vs 15)is shortened, it is as if she is shorn/shaven, before God and the angels. Therefore the natural cover that a woman has is a 'gift' (dedotai-vs15) that is given to her by God. This makes all artificial covering redundant, for the purpose of worship.

Verse 14 clarifies any possible misunderstanding that may have been caused by vs 7. There is a principle in nature that teaches us that men should be ashamed to wear their hair long, while to a woman, it is a glory. This is one of the methods that we are to use in maintaining the clear gender distinction that God has mandated that we establish (in addition to our garments)

The use of any additional cover is purely discretionary and aught never to be imposed on any sister as qualification for 'service' in the house of God. Paul counseled that no one should be contentious on this issue, since there is no such custom in the churches of God
crimeny Steven could u not just make it short ?? Their was not a theological based need here for long speeches was their ?? haha .. Their was a issue in Pauls time that needed to be dealt with and brother Paul quite simply put it in its proper place .. . I do agree and so do most I have read it is not a issue in today's world ./ . . . Actually I just having fun I do like your approach here too it is informative thanks
Dear Saints it is good to review the bible in other translations and compare but As I see it many new translations are off in many places it is best not to take everything that is written in these translations literally word for word use for reference an comparing only N.I.V And OTHER translations like todays New Americam Standard Bible take too many liberties n though it sounds nice to the ears it be theoretically flawed..
I dunno why those that write the Sabbath School quarterly"s today use the N.I.V so much when it is not accurate? Maybe steven u could address this issue in another discusion hmm?
Oh Pleeeease. Don't encourage him on that topic. Just look up his volumes on the topic. It is well documented. How could you possibly have the time to read all that he has already written in his anti-NIV tirades?
that is a custom, not a law.
"The small bonnets, exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty. The hoops are a shame. The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt" Ellen White in 2SG p.228
HAHAHA The small bonnets exposing the face and head show a lack of modesty?? HEY N Him do u know where I can find any pictures of what she was refering too in all sincerity?? . Imagine if Sister White could See what they wear today in adventist churches skirts when standing up alone close to the thighs and the cleavage that is being exposed so that u can not even look them in the eye .
YES an this has been adressed already so iwont add any more so as to not cause an uproar.!
Yes MJ. We have progressed a long ways from small bonnets.
Women that are undergoing chemotherapy should!
But I agree with most of us that it is not a requirement to cover women heads inside the church except for tose those cultures which requires them to do so..
Just curious ... where do you get these ideas since Ellen White clearly did not indicate what you are. She would indicate that it was extremely corrupt to wear a bonnet and did not excuse those with cancer.
For a woman who suffer heavy hair loss, its better to cover their head than to show it with uneven distribution of hairs....
If we are to accept that the SDA Bible Commentary volume 6 has any authority, maybe it would be interesting to note that when Paul said "uncovered", he was not referring to being shaven (that is since we hold that the hair is the covering). The Greek word for uncovered is akatakaluptos, which means "not having a veil hanging down (from the head)". And here I quote the Commentary.

"For a woman at Corinth to take public part in the services of the church with her head uncovered would give the impression that she acted shamelessly and immodestly, without the adorning of shamefacedness and sobriety. Paul seems to reason that by thus discarding the veil, a recognized emblem of her sex and position, she shows a lack of respect to husband, father, the female sex in general and Christ." The Apostle concludes his delivery on this subject by saying "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God" Again I here quote the Commentary. ".....it was possible that there still might be someone in the Corinthian church who felt that he had a right to object to the instruction that women ought to be veiled......Such a person ought to realize that God is leading His church as a whole. He is not leading separate individuals, and personal opinion is to be surrendered to the voice of the church as the body of believers moves in accordance with the inspired instructions of the Lord." I therefore object to the position that it is a matter of personal choice.

Further note this. Indeed the woman's hair was given to her as a covering, but "it is a glory to her". A contrast is therefore established here, where covered with a veil (or hat or whatever) glorifies God, but covered with the natural covering " is a glory to her" and by extension her husband; "but the woman is the glory of the man."

Now let's not be legalistic about the writtings of Mrs. White. She said bonnet because that is what is was in her day. We do not have that today, but I'm willing to suggest that she was referring to something that was not fulfilling the function of properly covering the head.

This all now begs the question. If a woman covers she dishonours no one but if she is uncovered, is she dishonouring anyone?
I think if you look at the quote ... she is concerned with the evil of "exposing the face and the head". It is not only the head ... but also the face. Would seem significant to me. But then perhaps I am reading something wrong here?


"The small bonnets, exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty. The hoops are a shame. The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt" Ellen White in 2SG p.228

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