What is the meaning of having ones head covered or uncovered in 1 Co 11:5?
Why would Paul make such a big issue of women praying with their heads covered?
Let us look to the Old Testament to see if we can gather some insight to Paul’s cryptic words.
18 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe to the women who sew magic bands on all wrists and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature to hunt down lives! Will you hunt down the lives of My people, but preserve the lives of others for yourselves?
This passage sheds some light on the 1 Cor. passage. We see the women here are rebuked for trapping the souls of others, but I doubt this is exactly what Paul meant.
16 Moreover, the Lord said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps and tinkle the bangles on their feet,
17 Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the Lord will make their foreheads bare.
In this passage, The LORD, concerning the daughters of Zion, condemns their pride, afflicting their scalps with scabs and baldness, but again I doubt this is Paul’s meaning either.
16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.
We see Gods first rebuke of the woman and the role of Christ as redeamer is aluded to by the failing of the first man Adam, in Gen 3:17
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Notice God did not curse Adam but the very ground that formed his essence, contrast this to Christ, who’s essence is Spirit.
In 1 Tim 2:15, Paul’s words reiterate Ge 3:16, that by childbirth women will be redeemed, we see also
the words of Paul in 1 Co 11:3-7, He prefaces his comments on women having their heads covered by stating his meaning of covered or uncovered.
3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.
6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.
7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
This is symbolic of the way we are born anew in Christ. The authority is from the man as he comes upon a woman to impregnate her with the physical seed. The Holy Spirit is the same picture as he comes upon us to impregnate us with the living Seed of Christ, (see Matt 1:18 and Luke 1:35)
The men prophesying or praying in a public setting require uncovered authority. For propriety women are required to be under the authority of another, not because they are incapable of being Spiritual, but to fulfill Gods admonition of Eve in Ge 3:16.
Look again to the words of Paul. 1 Tim 2:9-15
9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
All Scripture quoted from”The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update"