The Forum

The Forum

This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.

Dear Brother:

Referring to the question last month in the Forum about women’s hair and head covering, there are two matters touched on in the question and these should be considered separately. The writer who has asked for light, specifically refers to the question of the length of women’s hair, but the questioner goes on to wonder what the angels think when they look down on the sisters today. From 1 Corinthians 11:10, the angels are looking at, or for, the covering which women should have on their heads, not at their hair or the lack of it. As to the latter part of the question, generally all in assemblies today recognize and practise the teaching of the Scriptures and the doctrinal principle involved that women should wear a head covering when attending meetings of the church. This is not the hair but a veil or hat.

I quote the following from J. R. Littleproud’s The Christian Assembly under Appendix E. by Lester Wilson: “Some claim the veil referred to is the hair. Let us look at a verse in this passage (1 Cor. 11), verse 4, “Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered dishonoureth his head.” If the covering referred to is the hair, then any man praying or preaching with hair on his head dishonoureth his head, which is Christ. Therefore, only a baldheaded man could pray or preach. — The Apostle says in verse 6, “For if the woman be not covered let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” Let us quote this verse using the hair as the covering. “For if the woman has no hair, let her be shorn.” Does that make sense? Now read it with the covering being the veil or hat. “For if the woman goes without a hat, let her be shorn.” That is, if a woman is not going to wear a hat, but have her hat off like a man, then let her have her hair cut off like a man; but if it be a shame, then let her keep her hat on.” For those having access to the above book, there will be real profit in reading Appendix E in its entirety.

As to the matter of the length of women’s hair, 1 Corinthians 11:15 simply states that “if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her” and in contrast verse 14, says “that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him.” A woman’s hair, then, should be long. But some immediately ask: How long? One obvious answer from the context of the passage in 1 Corinthians is that it should be sufficiently long to be sharply in contrast to a man’s short hair. Note that nothing in the passage forbids trimming or cutting the hair. But, a woman’s hair should never be made to look like a man’s, and the converse is also true, a man should never let his hair grow to look like a woman’s.

Sisters should not be conspicuous in their dress and appearance, and this would apply to the way the hair is worn. “Women (should) adorn themselves in modest apparel — not with broided hair or gold or pearls or costly array —” (1 Tim. 2:9). Extremes in hairdress which includes very short hair as well as obviously old fashioned hairstyles, either of which would attract undue attention, should be avoided by the Christian sister desiring to please the Lord.

Sincerely S.G.