Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Covering of Head

QUESTION:

I wish to know your opinion and Bible teaching about wearing of trousers by women especially to church and in covering of head in the church by women. Waiting earnestly for your reply. Thank you and God bless.

Uchenna

ANSWER:

Uchenna:

Thank you for your question. It is a good one. One of the important things in interpreting the Bible is to separate God’s absolute, universal truths recorded in the Bible from the local cultural customs of the day and place that the Scripture was written. 

That is, we look for the absolute principles that stay consistent across all cultures and history. Then we can apply that universal principle to our local culture. In the Bible there are teachings that have a universal truth, but have their unique expression in the culture of that day and place. Your question deals with this problem. 

Scripture verses to consider include 1 Corinthians 11:1-19 and 

Deuteronomy 22:5.

General Bible teachings about women’s clothing are that they should be modest, and gender specific. It is the same for men. The Old Testament teaching states, “A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God” 

Deuteronomy 22:5

This is a reference to “cross-dressing” or dressing and acting to have the appearance of the opposite sex. The Bible is referring to transvestites who do this for immoral reasons. 

Regarding trousers, in many cultures, even the men do not wear trousers; consequently, trousers are not a universal men’s garment. However, in all cultures there is distinctive, gender specific clothing. 

That is what God is referring to. He wants men to dress, act and look like men, and women to dress, act and look like women – as defined by a particular culture, and even biology. He wants the gender differences to be apparent – as He created them. 

In the American culture, for example, women wear pants, but it is easy to tell they are still women. God’s creative design and order of creation is to be honored.

The same principle is involved in women covering their heads in church. Actually, the 1 Corinthians section refers to women covering their heads while praying or prophesying in a church gathering. If they are not praying or prophesying, they would not need to have their heads covered. 

Again, the key is that in that cultural setting of Corinth, the covering of heads by women was a “symbol of authority” in front of the angels who guarded the church (v. 10). It was an expression of respect, honor and recognition of the order of authority God has established among His creatures – and even within the Trinity (cf. vss. 3, 7). The covering referred to was the long hooded veil required by women of that day and culture.

I hope this helps. All the best, and God bless.

Dr. Newman

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