Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 1, 1966

The Womans Covering

Billy Duncan

An article under the above title appeared in the October 27, 1966 issue of the Gospel Guardian. In it were some arguments on I Cor. 11. That the passage is applicable today is granted, but that "long hair" is the covering of I Cor. 11:6 is not. It is to this part of the article that I wish to direct our study.

From several considerations Paul argued that a woman ought to cover her head, and one of them was the argument from verses 14 and 15. His final argument is that for a woman to "pray unto God uncovered" (v.15) has no precedent in the apostles' teaching or in the practice of the "churches of God." (v.16). Verses 14 and 15 are not given to identify the covering of verse 6, but in further argument in favor of the covering of verse 6. While verse 15 shows that a woman's hair is "a covering," it is not said to be "her covering" or "the covering" as if it were the only one under consideration. A thing may be said to be "covered" in one respect and at the same time be "uncovered" in another. A body may still be "covered" with clothing though it has been "uncovered" from a landslide.

So the woman who is "not covered" in verse 6 may have long hair and be covered in that respect. The argument in verse 6 is for consistency, the woman who is "not covered" should, in addition (to be consistent) be shorn. She is not already shorn, for Paul says, "let her ALSO be shorn." Her hair is not cut off, but she is "not covered." The covering of verse 6 is not the covering of verse 15. Moffat renders verse 6, "If a woman will not veil herself, she should cut off her hair as well. But she ought to veil herself; for it is disgraceful that a woman should have her hair cut off or be shaven." Of interest also is Tertullian's statement, "From them, then, to whom is assigned one and the same law of the head, *one and the same discipline of the head, ** is exacted." (A. D. 160? - 230?, ANTI-NICENE FATHERS, Vol. III, page 687). The above footnotes: "* i.e. long hair" and "** i.e. veiling."

In the article it is stated concerning verses 4, 5, 6, 7,13, that "in these verses the covering is not identified." However, verse 6 forbids us to consider a woman's long hair as the covering under consideration there. While a woman's long hair (at all times) shows the propriety of her being covered when praying, yet the woman who is "not covered" in verse 6 still has unshorn hair.

It is further stated that "In verses 13 and 14 he spoke of a man having long hair and a woman being uncovered, Thus, "long hair" is used synonymously with 'covered."' This is a misuse of the two verses. The covering of verse 15 is used as an argument by Paul for the covering of verse 13. It is not the same covering, for if so, there would be no argument in verses 14 and 15. Certainly, a woman's hair is given her for a covering, but not the covering of verse 6.

Again, "Thus the verse is saying that LONGHAIR WAS GIVEN A WOMAN INSTEAD OF AN ARTIFICIAL COVERING." (emp. not mine-BD). I suppose that "instead" is the basis for the "artificial" here. I rather like "for" or "to serve as" as translations of the word "anti." I can see how hair serves to cover, but how that it is "instead of an ARTIFICIAL" covering is a little hard for me to grasp. Did NATURE make a substitute? But, again, the covering of verse 15, the woman's hair, is to be removed by shearing in order for the woman to be consistent with respect to her being uncovered in prayer. It is a covering that can be put on at will in verse 6 and 7, "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head," This is not the hair.

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