Why I Cover My Head.

It all Began as I Wondered Why Women Stopped Covering Their Heads

1 Corinthians 11:1-16, is entitled, Head Covering. 

When I read that women used to wear a symbol of authority on their heads while praying, (interacting with God) or prophesying, (speaking God’s Word) I couldn’t shake the question, when and why did we stop this ancient custom?

Image result for Image of uncovered hair and covered hair

I spent countless nights reading opposing views on this topic.  Back and forth I went, like a wave tossed by the sea, every argument made sense to me and I wanted to believe that it wasn’t for today, but the question continued to make me feel unsettled inside.

I Learned the Original Greek Has Two Different Words for “Covering”

 A quick look at the Greek revealed two different words that have both been translated into English as “Covering;” Katakaluptatai.  One referring to a physical veil and the other, Peribailou, to a woman’s hair.

Katakaluptatai is a Physical Covering on a Woman’s Head

“every woman who prays or prophesies with her head, (kephale) un-covered, (akatakaluptato), dishonors her head, she is one and the same as the woman who is shorn, (xuroa) 1 Corinthians 11:5

“If indeed a woman does not wear a covering,(katakaluptatai), and if being shaved, (keiro), on the other hand, is shameful for a woman, let her hair, (keiro) be shorn, (xurao) or let her cover, (katakaluptato).” 1 Corinthians 11:6

Peribolaion Refers to A Woman’s Hair

“but that if a woman has long hair, (kome’) isn’t it her glory?  For long hair, (kome’) is given to her as a covering,” (peribolaion), 1 Corinthians 11:15

The woman’s hair is clearly her glory and it is given to her as a covering, (peribolaion).  Why would a married woman cover(Katakaluptato), her glory when she prays or prophesies?

“…since a man is the image and glory of God, but a woman is the glory of man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7

Today’s culture has no understanding of God’s order of authority, so most of us can’t make sense of what Paul is explaining to the first Century Corinthians:

“I want you to understand that the head of every man is Messiah and the head of every woman is man and the head of Messiah is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

For a woman to shave her hair, her glory, was equal in comparison to a woman who did not cover her hair, both are examples of dishonor.

A Physical Sign of Spiritual Authority

That is why a woman ought to have authority, (exousia) on her head, because of the angels, (angelous is any messenger of God)”  1 Corinthians 11:10 

“Because of the angels,” was a bit puzzling until I studied the Hebrew word, Malak #4397.  The Bible has stories of angels, (Malak) appearing in human form, as well as human messengers, (Malak) of God.  Malak also refers to both human and angelic messengers of God, Genesis 18:2Genesis 19:11.

“some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing,” Hebrews 13:2

It is for this reason a woman’s physical head covering was and is an observable Sign.  This Sign sets her apart from the world and the women who do not keep YHVH’s Commandments.

In other words, when a woman chooses to physically conceal her glory, which is her hair, it reflects her inner modesty and humble character.

 A Picture Can Say a Thousand Words

Years went by as I randomly searched and prayed for clarity.  Then one day I came across one of my old favorite Bibles that had footnotes and keywords in Greek and Hebrew.  I opened it right to 1 Corinthians 11, and there in the footnotes I read:

“head covering was regarding the blending of a Greek custom and a Jewish custom.”

The word custom jumped out at me and I realized Paul was telling the Corinthians to judge customs and Customs were not Commandments!

I quickly decided my answer;  Head covering was only a custom and it wasn’t the custom here in the U.S.  so I was elated and relieved that I could finally put the topic to rest.

I couldn’t wait to get to a quiet place so I could thank God for my answer.  As I bowed my head to the ground, I remember the smile on my face because I was so grateful, but the second I began to say thank you, my words were interrupted by a picture in my mind.

My closet was dark and my eyes were closed so I was seeing the picture the same way one sees a dream in their mind.

I was facing a crowd of disproving people.  I could see their faces glaring at me with derision and disapproval and  I knew it was because I was wearing a scarf.  There wasn’t a word, yet I could fill an entire page writing all that I observed in that moment.

Everything in me wanted to take off my scarf so the people wouldn’t be upset with me anymore.  Then I realized God was with me, facing the crowd, and I became painfully aware that my first desire was to please all those people.

My eyes welled up with tears at the reality that people pleasing was still more important to me than doing what was pleasing to God.

Wait a Minute, Head Covering Pleases God?

I caught my breath and jumped up to grab a nearby scarf.  I thought I had outgrown all those past insecurities, but my fear of disapproval, rejection and being misunderstood by people was caught in the flash of that picture.

I put the scarf over my head and resolved to wear something everyday as a reminder to please Him above people from that moment on, Hebrews 11:6.

Fear and Insecurity Don’t Die Easily

My greatest test came the same day.  I was on my way to the grocery store and later to meet some girlfriends.  Fear and insecurity began to surface as I put my scarf over my head before I left the house.

I can still remember my first step outside.  It seemed like slow motion.  I knew my life was about to change and it felt like I had just stepped off a cliff.  There was no turning back and I felt so light, it was as close as one can feel to floating out the door.

Empowering Humility

It was well over 100 degrees, in the Arizona summer, and I was wearing my only rectangle shaped, (wool) Pashmina.   I didn’t know how to wrap it, so I just draped the longer end of the scarf over my opposite shoulder.

Even now I smile at how I must have looked but honestly I forgot I was even wearing a scarf until I saw reactions at the store and my friends stunned expressions.

Wearing a scarf has freed me from the fear of upsetting people and begin worried about what people think and wanting their approval.

I understand now that my scarf is a physical Sign on my head, a statement that I am Holy to YHVH, because I keep His commandments and I walk in the Way of Truth and Life.

For more information on the figurative and spiritual the “Sign on our Forehead,” click this link:  Misunderstood Metaphors of the Bible

To learn more about The Crown of Life click:  HERE

23 thoughts on “Why I Cover My Head.

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