A man dishonours his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonours her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering. A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory.1 Corinthians 11:4-7
It was the Greek custom (and therefore in Corinth too) for men in worship to be uncovered; whereas the Jews wore the Talith, or veil, to show reverence before God, and their unworthiness to look on Him. Wearing a covering or veil was a mark of subjection. This was a religious law at the time of Paul writing this letter. The Jewish Rabbis wrote “a man might not stand and pray, neither with his girdle on, nor with his head uncovered; nor with his feet uncovered.”
Yet there were also commands such as “that the wise men sit in the synagogues, “with the head uncovered”, to teach the people the words of the law’.
The Greeks worshipped their deities with their heads covered, excepting Saturn and Hercules, whom they worshipped with heads unveiled, contrary to the prevailing customs and usages in the worship of others;
But it seems that a different custom now prevailed from this Gentile or judaizing practice. Paul now dissuades them from such practice by observing that such an one that does that “dishonours his head”; meaning either in a figurative, spiritual, and mystical sense, his head is Christ. Therefore because of the liberty we received from him, and because He is above all in heaven, and clear of all sin, the head must be uncovered in public worship. Because Christ appears for him in heaven and opens a way of access for him and gives him audience and acceptance through his blood and righteousness. Therefore the man should appear with open face and head uncovered, as a token of freedom and boldness; otherwise he dishonours his head as if his blood and sacrifice were not effectual.
Another spin on it is that having his head covered dishonours his head because the head being covered was a sign of subjection. While he was involved in the public ministry of the Word of God , he was to be a representative of Christ, and so being veiled or covered would be improper. Paul’s advice was in direct opposition to the writings of the Rabbis; for they would not suffer a man to pray unless he was veiled, for which they gave this reason. “He should veil himself to show that he is ashamed before God, and unworthy with open face to behold him.”
Some commentators argue having the head covered does dishonour to Christ as his head (1 Co_11:2). It is the usual custom for one in a lower subordinate social position to pay respect to one of a higher status by removing the head covering. In the presence of a prince or a nobleman, it would be considered as a mark of disrespect for the head covering to be removed. That is possibly more cultural in these days in many cultures. The problem of course is that the practice is dependant on culture and so is ever changing. Paul alludes to this in 1 Cor 11:16. More on that later.
I hope this run down of the possibilities of meaning give you a handle on which to hang your thoughts. Continuing story tomorrow.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.Eleanor Roosevelt
The less we know, the longer the explanation.Anon