Churches Of Christ/1 Cor.11


QUESTION: Hey Joe, I respect your answers to most of the questions you receive. I also agree with most of the answers you give. I have a question that has to do with the head covering of 1 Cor.11. Are the women today right for having cut off hair and no covering or were the women of the early 1900's back to the time of Corinthians right for having long hair and wearing a covering. Please do not give a flipped answer off the top of your head to blow me off. I have put a lot of study into this question and I really do want an answer that comes from your heart of hearts that you have learned from scripture. I ask because I want a learned and studied, prayerful answer. And I respect your knowledge of the Bible.Thanks, Dale a fellow AllExpert Member

ANSWER: Hi brother Dale,

Thank you for choosing to ask me your question. Thank you too for the kind words and for respecting my answers to most of the questions I receive. I really do my best not to ever give a flipped answer off the top of my head or to blow off anyone who asks me a serious question. I know that you are seeking a solid heartfelt biblical answer. My hope is that my reply to you will be one that you find is biblical and that I took you seriously and gave you an answer not off the top of my head.

I have studied this topic several times myself and when I was younger I struggled in what the correct understanding is too. It is important we all understand that there is an order set by God and that man is the head of every woman (verse 3). I think it is also pretty obvious that even today it is disgraceful for a man to have long hair but a woman with long hair is beautiful and it glorifies her. (verses 14 and 15) One thing I would like to point out though is that nothing is said about how long a woman's hair should be or how short a man's hair should be and if hair length were truly important I would think a specific length would be given. Paul does indicate a man's head should not be covered but a woman's should be covered and if her head is not covered she might as well have her hair shaved off completely. (verses 5 and 6) Paul does say her hair is given to her for a covering and so there is no indication they require a hat or something other than their hair. Since there is nothing regarding how long their hair should be I believe the length is not important so long as it's a style that is not manly in it's appearance.

Now there is one more verse that we must not overlook as well. That is verse 16. "But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God."

This verse indicates that nothing regarding head coverings is a custom within the church. So if that is true, why did Paul write so much about it? Well it seems to me the whole letter is a response to questions the church in Corinth had asked Paul. I do believe a woman's head should be covered and her hair is her cover. It doesn't have to be long. They just need to not look like a man in hair style. That is my personal understanding and position on this topic. I hope my answer is found to be carefully thought out, explained, and from my heart. I will always do my best to give you biblical answers from my heart. God bless you in your efforts to help others understand God's Word more accurately on the allexperts site.

In Christian Love, Joe Norman

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Again Joe, One more question, you said, "I do believe a woman's head should be covered and her hair is her cover. It doesn't have to be long. They just need to not look like a man in hair style."

Question: are you not being judgmental when you determine the length should not look like a man's haircut? If on one hand you say, "if hair length were truly important I would think a specific length would be given." So how can you bind the length of hair on a woman? Can you give Bible for your statement, "They just need to not look like a man in hair style."

Thanks in advance, I pray you again give a heart felt answer. I hope you need to consider your first answer. I believe it was heart felt, but not Biblical.

Your friend in Christ, Dale

Hi Dale,

I must express to you that your response and follow-up question did surprise me and puzzle me as well. When you first asked me about I Cor.11 you seemed to be unsure as to what it meant and wanted assistance in understanding it. At least that was the impression I had from things you said to me. You said you wanted me to take your question seriously and that you really wanted an answer from my heart of hearts that I have learned from scripture. You even stated that you respect my knowledge of the Bible. Yet in your follow up question you basically reject my answer and state that although you believe it was from my heart it was not biblical. You ask if I am being judgmental. I am not sure what you expected or wanted from me but it seems clear to me you had already made up your mind on this topic and that you were not really looking for an answer but were seeking to either have me agree with you or ridicule me for not coming to the same conclusion as you.

I do not see anything that I said in my first answer as contradictory or unbiblical. I stated clearly that Paul made no mention of a specific length. The key to the passage is what is seen as disrespectful in the culture we are currently living in. What was thought of as vulgar or trashy in style...what some would say was something a prostitute would wear or how she would do her hair, etc...these things change from one generation to the next and are different in different cultures as well. A Christian man and woman both should do all they can to avoid anything that would be seen as sinful, vulgar, immoral, etc...and these things are different in every culture and generation.

I pointed out that Paul makes it clear that nature shows it to be disgraceful for a man to have long hair but it is a symbol of glory for a woman to have long hair. Although this might not be true in all cultures and generations it has been true for most cultures and in most generations. What is also important to realize is that long hair is not always seen the same either. In the 1500's the length of hair on men was fairly long compared to most men today and yet it was not considered long in that time in most European/early American cultures back then.

The whole topic of hair length is cultural but the focus is on what is shameful and what is not shameful. This requires judgment from every individual seeking to live their lives as Christians and striving to show their love for God by obedience to His Word. I don't see any problem with my statement that it would be shameful for a woman to have hair in the style of a man's. How else are we to understand I Cor.11:14,15? I also stated that there was no custom within the Lord's church according to verse 16 - meaning...this is not commanded, but we as Christians must avoid anything that might bring shame upon us. I am not binding anything upon women. I merely stated that a woman ought not look like a man and that was based on verses 14 and 15. Paul said in verse 13 for them to "judge among yourselves".

Judgment is unavoidable by any of us. For you to determine I was being judgmental is a judgment. For you to state that my answer was not biblical is also a judgment you made. I firmly believe my understanding is right and biblical but you are free to judge otherwise. It is not a problem to me whether you agree or disagree. I would like to know your understanding though based on your careful study of this chapter and topic. Although I believe I do understand it and that my answer was biblically sound, I am never unwilling to consider what others believe and there is always the possibility I am wrong...if I am wrong, I am more than happy to learn the error in my understanding and learn the truth more accurately. This should be everyone's attitude and goal and so please enlighten me.

Thank you for asking me your questions. I am sorry that my answer did not seem good enough or biblical to you...God bless and may we both always continue to learn every day.

In Christian Love, Joe Norman  

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Joe Norman


I can answer questions regarding acceptable worship, organization of the church, or any apsect of the Christian life. I am the son of a preacher and have studied the Bible from cover to cover since I was 12 years old. I am strong in my research skills and do not follow teachings of men. Many will label me as conservative and some might label me as liberal, but I just seek to be biblical. I understand proper exegesis and hermeneutics and apply them. My desire is to share my knowledge of God's Word with others. Please always keep in mind that none of us who are listed as experts here are divinely inspired and therefore it is possible to get incorrect answers from any one of us. Study the Scriptures and decide for yourself if what is taught is true.


I am the 4th generation in my family to be a faithful member of the church of Christ. I was raised by a preacher and have studied the Bible everyday since I was twelve. I am 45 yrs old now. I am not a "scholar", but I am very familiar with the scriptures.

member of the church of Christ, served as a Deacon for a few years at LakeShore church of Christ in Waco, Tx. I currently live in the North Dallas area and am still very active within the church of Christ teaching, leading Bible Studies, and songleading as well. I am also actively involved in online ministry. I hope to open my own webpage eventually.

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