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Covered or Uncovered?
1 Corinthians 11:4-6
This portion of Holy Scripture does not necessitate that our women wear a veil during our worship services. I have many friends around the world who practice that custom; and I do not want to offend them. If a sister wants to wear a hat, a veil, a scarf, or any other form of head covering, I have no objection. I’m a southern boy. I like to see ladies in hats. — But do not insist that others do so; and do not try to find support for your practice in this passage.
1 Corinthians 11:4-6 must be understood and interpreted in the light of the customs of the day. In our day and in our culture, men do not kiss each other (1 Corinthians 16:20); and we do not normally wash other people’s feet (John 13:14-15). But we ought to practice the kindness, thoughtfulness, and tender care those things suggest.
In that day, it was a shameful thing for a woman to appear in public without a veil covering her head. If it was disgraceful for her to appear in public that way, it was certainly disgraceful for her to appear in the assembly of public worship in the house of God unveiled. For a woman to appear in the house of God with her head uncovered was to dishonor her head, that is to say, disgrace herself.
This, and this alone is Paul’s doctrine in 1 Corinthians 11:4-6: — When you come to the house of God, dress as ladies with modesty. Women who dress immodestly dishonor themselves. They shame themselves.
For those who insist that this passage requires a head-covering for women in public worship, the “covering” was truly a covering. It covered a woman’s upper body completely, except for her eyes. A fancy hat, a scarf, a lady’s handkerchief, or a doily sitting on top of your head is not a covering in the sense the word is used here.
Having said all that, I must acknowledge with great grief that it had to be said. Any time people press issues regarding such customs, Satan has won the day. When others see us observing strange customs, no matter how sincere we are in observing them, Satan has won the day. He has used us to keep them from hearing the message we preach —Jesus Christ crucified. How sad!