Posted by: clevsea | November 29, 2006


1 Corinthians 11

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.”

That was the Bible; NKJ

And here are Dr. Ryrie’s comments (not that I usually go in much for commentary but I have to make an exception when it’s this good).

“v1 The Corinthians are urged to imitate the self-sacrificing example of Paul and Christ

v2 “traditions” ie., oral teaching

v3 “the man is the head of a woman”. This teaching is based on Gen 3:16, and Paul makes it the basis for the wearing of a covering

v4 “who has her head uncovered”. Women should be veiled or covered in the meeting of the church, and men should not. Paul’s reasons were based on theology (headship, v3), the order in creation (vv7-9), and the presence of angels in the meeting (v10). None of these reasons was based on contemporary social custom. “praying or prophesying” In the light of what he says in I Cor 14:34-35, it is doubtful that Paul approved of those activities by the women at Corinth. He simply acknowledges that these were unauthorized practices.

v10 “a symbol” ie., the covering is the sign of man’s authority over the woman, “because of the angels” the insubordination of an uncovered woman (signifying her refusal to recognize the authority of her husband) would offend the angels who observe the conduct of believers in their church gatherings (I Pet. 1:12)

v15 “her hair is given to her for a covering” this is not the same word as that used vv 5-6. The point here is that as the hair represents the proper covering in the natural reallm, so the veil is the proper covering in the religious.

v16 “no other practice” ie., no custom of women worshiping without some form of a covering”


A couple of things I would add. I’m not as certain as Dr. Ryrie appears to be that this passage is all about the church meeting. If I thought that then I would ONLY wear a covering to a church meeting and that would really be different than what I do. I wear my covering at home, in private, in the car, at the grocery store and at church to name a few places. I wear it when I am praying or prophesying, or think that I will be at any given momment. If I’m fairly sure that I won’t be praying or prophesying I may take it off but keep it handy so that I can reapply it quickly if needed. The verb tense in the passage is in a continous voice because we women do have to put it on over and over again, to wash our hair if nothing else.

The other thing I would stress further are exactly what the two Greek words for covering are. The head covering mentioned all throughout the passage is katakaluptos, Strong’s number 2619 and its counterpart word akatakaluptos #177 for uncovered because placing the “a” in front of the word makes it mean “non” as in the word as*xual. The men are to be akatakalutos, in other words uncovered. The biggest thing lost in the translation between Greek and in this case English, is the word peribolaion Strong’s # 4018. That word is only used in verse 15 and it refers to the hair. The hair is the peribolaion meaning “covering, something to throw around one, ie., mantle, veil, vesture.” What I’m saying is this. If I were to translate this passage I would have said all through verses 4-7 the same word all Bible translations use “covering.” Cover your head if you’re a woman and don’t if you are a man, to state it quickly. But when I got to v 15 I would have translated that verse like this: “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a VEST.” Then the passage would read a little more clearly and we, the Body of Christ, would not have had such a difficult time and spent needless time wondering if the whole 16 verses were speaking of hair rather than a head covering such as a veil. I think it is in the “Let Her be Veiled” booklet that the point is made that if the covering is the hair then we’ve spent a lot of time talking about whether to wear our hair when we pray to not wear our hair when we pray depending on our s*x.

I do have one other point I would add if I were writing a commentary to this passage, which I’m not. Back in v 6 we see that “if” it be shameful to be shorn or shaven that “if” right there is a 1st class condition followed by the indicative mood. If you didn’t just step out of Greek 101 in short that “if” means “if…and it is” or in English we would use the word “because.” That’s because (pardon the almost pun) we do not have 4 cases or conditions of the word “if” in our language. If tends to mean “maybe” or conditionally. The reason that matters is some people say that it is not shameful to be shorn and therefore the women do not need to cover their heads in our time.

All that to say that I was very pleased with Dr. Ryrie when I first discovered how much he approved of head coverings. I made this discovery back in the very early 1990s when I first began to cover. After I made my decision (which took much work in the Greek) I then sought out the opinions of others. I found Ryrie’s commentary, the “Let Her Be Veiled” and “Baptist Women Exalted” to be the most helpful. I did not have the internet back then (16 years ago) and I did not have “real life” women for support. I did have my Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ and of course prayer.

There is much more I could write but I do believe that will do for now,


UPDATE: I am adding on the passage in Greek

The first section is the Greek, with English, with Strong’s Number. The second section is the passage in a straight transliteration and the third is just the Greek.
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
V1. Imitators (mimetes ��� 3402) of me (mou – 3450) be (ginomia �
� 1096) according (kathos ��� 2531) as I also (kago ��� 2504) of Christ (Christos – 5547)
V2. Now I praise (epaineo ��� 1867) you (humas ��� 5209) brethren (adelphos ��� 80) that (hoti – 3754) in all things (pas – 3956) me (mou ��� 3450) you have remembered (mnaomia ��� 3415) and (kai ��� 2532) according (kathos ��� 2531) as I delivered (paradidomi ��� 3860) to you (humin ��� 5213) the (tas – 3588) traditions (pardosis ��� 3862) you keep (katecho ��� 2722)
V3. But I wish ( ��� 2309, 1161) you (humas ��� 5209) to know (eido ��� 1492) that (hoti – 3754) of every (pas – 3956) man (aner ��� 435) the (he – 3588) head (kephale ��� 2776) the (ho ��� 3588) Christ (Christos ��� 5547) is (esti – 2076) but head ( ��� 2776 1161) woman (gune ��� 1135) the (ho ��� 3588) man (aner ��� 435) and head ( ��� 2776, 1161) of Christ (Christos ��� 5547) the (ho ��� 3588) God (Theos ��� 2316).
V4. Every (pas ��� 3956) man (aner ��� 435) praying (proseuchomia ��� 4336) or (e – 2228) prophesying (propheteuo ��� 4395) [anything] on (kata ��� 2596) [his] head (kephale ��� 2776) having (echo ��� 2192) puts to shame (kataischuno ��� 2617) his head (ten.kephale.hautou ��� 3588, 2776, 848)
V5. But every (, 1161) woman (gune – 1135) praying (proseuchomia ��� 4336) or (he – 2228) prophesying (propheteuo ��� 4395) uncovered (akatakalupto ��� 177) with the (he – 3588) head (kephale ��� 2776) puts to shame (kataischuno ��� 2617) her head (ten.kephale.eautes – 3588, 2776, 1438) for one (en.gar – 1520, 1063) it is (estin – 2076) and (kai – 2532) the (to – 3588) same (auto – 846) with having been shaven (te.exurememe – 3588, 3587)
V6 For if (ei.gar ��� 1487, 1063, First class condition, followed by the indicative mood, means if and it is) be not covered (ou.katakaluptetai ��� 3756, 2619) a woman (gune ��� 1135), also (kai – 2532) let her be shorn (keirastho – 2751). But if ( ��� 1487, 1161) [it be] shameful (aischron ��� 149) to a woman ( gunaiki ��� 1135) the (to – 3588) to be shorn (keiraasthai – 2751) or (he 2228) to be shaven (xurasthai – 3587) let her be covered (katakaluptestho ��� 2619).
V7 For man indeed ( ��� 435, 3303, 1063) not (ouk ��� 3756) ought (opheilei ��� 3784) to have covered (katakaluptesthai ��� 2619) the (ten – 3588) head (kephalen ��� 2776) image (eikon ��� 1504) and (kai ��� 2532) glory (doxa ��� 1391) of God (Theou ��� 2316) being (huparchon ��� 5225) but woman ( – 1135, 1161) glory (doxa ��� 1391) of man (andros ��� 435) is (estin ��� 2076).
V8 For not (ou.gar ��� 3756, 1063) is (estin ��� 2076) man (aner – 435) of (ek ��� 1537) woman (gunaikos ��� 1135), but (alla ��� 235) woman (gune – 1135) of (ex ��� 1537) man ( andros ��� 435)
V9 For also ( kai.gar ��� 2532, 1063) not (ouk ��� 3756) was created (ektisthe ��� 2936) man (aner ��� 435) on account of (dia ��� 1223) the (ten – -3588) woman (gunaika ��� 1135), but (alla ��� 235) woman (gune ��� 1135) on account of (dia ��� 1223) the (ton ��� 3588) man (andra ��� 435).
V10 Because of (dia ��� 1223) this (touto ��� 5124) ought (opheilei – 3784) the (he ��� 3588) woman (gune ��� 1135) authority (exousian ��� 1849) to have (echein ��� 2192) on (epi ��� 1909) the (tes ��� 3588) head (kephales – -2776) on account of (dia ��� 1223) the (tous ��� 3588) angels (angelos ��� 32).
V11 However (plen ��� 4133) neither (oute ��� 3777) [is] man (aner ��� 435) apart from (choris ��� 5565) woman (gunaikos ��� 1135), nor (oute ��� 3777) woman (gune ��� 1135) apart from (choris ��� 5565) man ( andros – 435), in (en ��� 1722) [the] Lord (kurio ��� 2962).
V12 For as (hosper.gar ��� 5618, 1063) the (he ��� 3588) woman (gune ��� 1135) of (ek ��� 1537) the (tou ��� 3588) man (andros ��� 435) [is], so (outos ��� 3779) also (kai ��� 2532) the (ho ��� 3588) man (aner ��� 435) by (dia ��� 1223) the (tes ��� 3588) woman (gunaikos ��� 1135), [is]; but all things ( ��� 3588, 1161, 3956) of (ek ��� 1537) the (tou ��� 3588) God (Theou – 2316).
V13 In (en ��� 1722) yourselves (humin.autois ��� 5213, 846) judge (krinate ��� 2919) becoming (prepon ��� 4241) is it (estin ��� 2076) for a woman (gunaika – 1135) uncovered (akatakalupton ��� 177) to (to ��� 3588) God (Theo ��� 2316) to pray ? (proseuchesthai ��� 4336);
V14 Or (e ��� 2228) not even (oude ��� 3761) itself (aute ��� 846) the (he ��� 3588) nature (phusis ��� 5449) does teach (didaskei ��� 1321) you (humas ��� 5209) that (hoti ��� 3754) a man (aner ��� 435) if (ean ��� 1437) have long hair (koma ��� 2863) a dishonour (atimia ��� 819) to him (auto ��� 846) it is (estin ��� 2076)?
V15 A woman (gune ��� 1135) but (de ��� 1161) if (ean ��� 1437) have long hair (koma ��� 2863); glory (doxa ��� 1391) to her (aute ��� 846) it is (estin ��� 2076); for (hoti ��� 3754) the (he ��� 3588) long hair (kome ��� 2864) instead (anti ��� 473) of a covering (peribolaiou �
� 4018 meaning: something thrown around on ie; mantle, veil, covering, vesture, the only cross reference is Heb 1:12) is given (dedotai ��� 1325) to her (aute ��� 846).
V16 But if ( ��� 1487, 1161) anyone (tis ��� 5100) thinks (dokei ��� 1380) contentious (philoneikos ��� 5380) to be (einai ��� 1511), we (hemeis ��� 2249) such (toiauten ��� 5108) custom (sunetheian ��� 4914) have not (ouk.echomen ��� 3756, 2192), nor (oude ��� 3761) the (ai ��� 3588) assemblies (ekklesiai ��� 1577) of God (Theou ��� 2316).
V1. Imitators of me be, according as I also [am] of Christ.
V2. Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things me ye have remembered; and according as I delivered to you, the traditions ye keep.
V3. But I wish you to know, that of every man the head the Christ is, but head of [the] woman [is] the man, and head of Christ, God.
V4. Every man praying or prophesying, [anything on] his head having, puts to shame his head.
V5. But every woman praying or prophesying uncovered with the, puts to shame her head; for one it is and the same with having been shaven.
V6. For if be not covered a woman also let her be shorn. But if [it be] shameful to a woman to be shorn or to be shaven, let her be covered.
V7. For man instead not ought to have covered the head, image and glory of God being; but woman glory of man is.
V8. For not is man of woman, but woman of man.
V9. For also not was created man on account of the woman, but the woman on account of the man.
V10. Because of this ought the woman authority to have on the head, on account of the angels.
V11. However neither [is] man apart from woman, nor woman apart from man [the] Lord.
V12. For as the woman of the man [is] so also the man by the woman [is]; but all things of God.
V13. In yourselves judge; becoming is it for a woman uncovered to God to pray?
V14. Or not even itself nature does teach you that a man if have long hair a dishonor to him it is?
V15. A woman but if have long hair glory to her it is; for the long hair instead of a covering is given to her but if anyone thinks contentious to be, we such custom have not nor the assemblies of God.
The Greek
V1. mimetes mou ginomia kathos kago Christos.
V2. epaineo humas adelphos hoti pas mnaomia kai kathos humin tas pardosis katecho.
V3. humas eido hoti pas aner he kephale ho Christos esti gune ho aner Christos Theos.
V4. pas aner proseuchomia propheteuo kata kephale echo kataischuno ten.kephale.hautou.
V5. gune proseuchomia he propheteuo akatakalupto he kephale kataischuno ten.kephale.eautes en.gar estin kai auto te.exurememe
V6 ei.gar ou.katakaluptetai gune kai keirastho aischron gunaiki keiraasthai xurasthai katakaluptestho
V7 ( ouk opheilei katakaluptesthai kephalen eikon kai doxa Theou huparchon doxa andros estin
V8 ou.gar estin aner ek gunaikos alla gune andros
V9 kai.gar ouk ektisthe aner dia ten gunaika alla gune dia ton andra
V10 dia touto opheilei he gune exousian echein epi tes kephales dia tous angelos.
V11plen oute aner choris gunaikos oute gune choris andros kurio
V12 hosper.gar gune ek tou andros outos kai ho aner dia tes gunaikos ek tou theou.
V13 en humin.autois krinate prepon estin gunaika akatakalupton Theo proseuchesthai ;
V14 e oude aute he phusis didaskei humas that hoti aner ean koma atimia auto estin ?
V15 gune de ean koma doxa aute estin hoti he kome anti peribolaiou dedotai aute .
V16 ei.d
e tis dokei philoneikos einai hemeis toiauten sunetheian ouk.echomen oude the ai ekklesiai Theou .
A little more information from a loop post. The question was:
“Do we cover our head or do we cover our hair?”
My Answer:
Katakalupto, Strong’s # 2619 “to cover wholly, meaning to veil.
Cover or hide.” The Greek-English New Testament Lexicon says the
word means: “to wear a veil.” Vines says “to cover up, having
(something) on the head.” There are the 3 dictionaries I have handy.
Zodhiates does not really give a dictionary definition.

So that’s the covering for the head, katakalupto.

The hair is a peribolaion, Strong’s # 4018. That word means
something to throw around one, meaning a mantle, veil, covering,
vesture. The only cross reference in the NT is in Heb 1:12

Moving on to my interpretation:

So the katakalupto is the head covering. And the hair serves us a
vest. We are to cover our heads with a katakalupto, our heads. Not
our eyes, (even though they are in our heads), not our noses (even
though they are in our heads). Paul had at his disposal some Greek
words that would have indicated that we had to cover our faces, he
didn’t use any of those.

I Cor 11:2-16 talks about covering the head (or not covering it if
male) it never speaks of covering the hair. Now, a woman may choose
to cover her hair because it grows on her head or she may think that
she has to cover her hair for a number of reasons, but I cannot see
a mandate in the passage in Greek or in English to cover the hair.
Even our loop is called “headcovering” not “hair covering.”

I was staying out of this because I hate to disagree with people. I
knew when the question was asked that there would be answers from
hair coverers and from head coverers, both. I would never tell
somebody to think like I think, or do as I do. I’m just Happy,
Happy, Happy, that we are covering our heads and I will not divide
over how we do it, or how often we do it, or with what colors, or
anything else. For that reason I wasn’t going to answer. But my
honest interpretation is that the passage says to cover your head,
not hair and that the hair is a gift, to be used as a vest. It is a
glory and it makes women look more feminine. But again, it’s not my
personality to tell others how to follow this passage.

One of my daughters wears her hair covered and I do not dissapprove
in any way of that. Nor do I dissapprove of any lady here on the
loop who covers her hair. But the original question was about
covering the hair or the head and I am a head coverer and my hair is
not covered.

As always hoping to help in love and in Christ,


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