VI. THE OUTSIDE: HAIR AND ORDER
Sisters, I purposely treated the male aspect first. It seems you bear the most difficult part of the easy part. Brothers should understand the sacrifice that the sisters accept is far beyond that of males. It is not so difficult for the male to cut his hair, but since some women have sprouted "wings of deliverance," they have expressed themselves more and more in the masculine sense. This has put a great deal of pressure on females who comply with nature and continue in their feminine position. It is not so easy for our Pentecostal Holiness sisters to maintain their feminine symbol of long hair. There are those who would like "to get some scissors in that long stringy hair." But, God said let it grow.
You see, the same Greek terminology for "have long hair" which I used earlier when discussing that males should not have long hair applies here when we say females should have long hair. Again, the Greek term, komao (Strong's 2863), means to let the hair grow, to have long hair. To let the hair grow is the opposite of cutting the hair. Males are not to let the hair grow, but females are to let the hair grow. Males need a haircut and females do not need a haircut. "If women only knew the charm and beauty of long hair on intelligent men and the reverence it inspires for godly women, they would never cut their hair" (Bobbed Hair, John R. Rice, 1941).
Now for some Biblical background concerning the hairstyle of females. I want to supply reasoning from Scripture as to why women should have long hair. The first area deals with order of authority. Another area deals with distinction of sexes, which I will address in a later section. I first want to address hair and order.
God has established order in the creation and part of that order is the order of authority within the family and toward God Himself. “God created lines of authority in order for his created world to function smoothly” (Life Application Bible Notes). The order is defined in I Corinthians 11:3 which states, "But I would have you to know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." So the order, going in sequence from the highest authority to the least authority, is as follows: God is the head of Christ, who is the head of man, who is the head of woman.
The order here being discussed is the order of authority as established by God. This is the proper channel for knowledge and operation of spiritual and family business to flow. I will be presenting here a lengthy discussion using Greek terminology for clarification beginning with the word "head." The Greek word for head is kephale (Strong's 2776): (1) it is used as the head of both man and often animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. (2) metaphorically, anything supreme, chief, prominent; of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife; of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church.
Here in the first part of the definition, we find that "head" literally means the part of the body which is defined as the physical head of an organism. In the second part of the definition, it pertains to authority or position of power. In interpretation of this Scripture, we will find that both meanings are implied using the same word. The word must be taken within the context of the writing to understand whether "head" means the literal head of a person's body, or the authority of an individual as compared to the position of another.
It is clear in verse 3 that Paul is using the word "head" in the authority context. It is from this passage that we derive that "the head of a woman is man" in the context of authority. God has given men, from creation, the headship of the woman. The Greek word for man here is aner (Strong's 435) and means: with reference to sex, of a male, of a husband, of a betrothed or future husband. And the Greek word for woman here is gune (Strong's 1135) and means: a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow; a wife, of a betrothed woman. Hence we see in I Corinthians 11:10 the position of a man as having authority or "power" over his wife.
Now, don't jump to conclusions. I have just started and I want to clarify myself. I am not bashing females and I am not saying that a wife must submit to a husband who is a rebel to God's Word and
Spirit. An unconverted husband is not fulfilling his position as God designed for him in creation and in fact, he can never be the spiritual head of the family and remain unconverted. Regardless of the amount of Scripture he quotes, a sinner husband is out of the order that God intended. He can only be the head in natural matters. Yet, the unconverted husband cannot force, especially using this Scripture, a holy sister to defile herself according to his carnal wishes. The Christian wife is accountable to God in the spiritual matters and to her husband in natural matters as long as he continues in sin due to the fact that he is out of order and therefore cannot claim spiritual authority when he himself is not spiritual.
"So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself" (Ephesians 5:28). Someone once said, "Men are to be loving leaders, and women are to be leading lovers." Each should lead, but in the proper perspective. He should lead her in a loving way, being the "head" of the home. She should follow him in loving way, being the "heart" of the home. It has also been said already and bears repeating that in creation, God did not take of Adam's head to make the woman to indicate that she should be the head. Nor did God take of Adam's foot to make the woman to indicate that she should be under his foot in a conquered way. But, God took of Adam's side and near his heart to indicate that Eve should assume her position by Adam's side and near his heart as his helpmate.
My point, being the head is not synonymous with being the master. The wife, being the "weaker vessel" (I Peter 3:7), is preprogrammed in creation to bear children, nurture, and "guide the house"
(I Timothy 5:14) regardless of what some liberal thinkers say. A female therefore needs the protection of a trusted leader in natural and spiritual things, yet this relationship is one of love and not one of bondage. These are the confines in which God intended all marriages to function. If you choose to follow another path, I offer the following advice: "A man who can only rule by stamping his foot had better remain single. But a man who knows how to govern his house by the love of the Lord, through sacrificial submission to the Lord, is the man who is going to make a perfect husband. The woman who cannot submit to an authority like that had better remain single" (David Guzik Outlines).
This position of authority applies in the church as well as in the family. Men are to hold the position of authority in the church. I Timothy 2:11-12 states: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." And again, I Corinthians 14:34 states, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." Now these Scriptures open up other topics that go beyond our discussion of the outward appearance, but I will attempt to touch on them because of the authority factor involved in our discussion of long hair on women.
The discussion of each of these Scriptures must be done in light of the fact that, preceding each statement, it is clear Paul had stated that women had the right to pray "in like manner also" (I Timothy 2:9), and to prophesy, "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth” (I Corinthians 11:5). As well, we see Priscilla accompanying her husband Aquila in evangelistic work in Acts 18. Paul spent some time with them according to Acts 18:3: “And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” They had in common the spiritual work of Christ to spread the gospel and the secular work of tent-making to fund their ministries. There is no indication that Paul was displeased with the Priscilla being a traveling evangelist with her husband.
Notice in Acts 18:26, when Aquila and Priscilla met Apollos “they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” I underlined the word “they” to point out that she had a part along with her husband in perfecting the ministry of Apollos. They worked together as a team with Aquila being the head of the team.
We have even more examples of women participating in prayer and prophecy. Anna is called a prophetess in Luke 2:36 and the daughters of Philip are said to prophesy (Acts 21:9). There were Old Testament prophetesses like Miriam and Deborah. Joel 2:28-29 states: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” God has not and will not prevent females from enjoying the Spirit of God and being used of Him in great ways.
However, there is a proper way to adorn oneself when praying and prophesying and a particular order of authority to respect and follow. When we look again at I Corinthians 11:5 "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head (physical head) uncovered dishonoureth her head” (spiritual head, her husband). We see that she is not rebuked for praying or prophesying. The dishonor that occurs is to the head (husband) of the woman who is “uncovered.” You see, the dishonor does not come in the fact that she prays or utters prophesy, but in the fact that she did it when not in accord with God's Word in which there should be order of authority and distinction of sexes. By uncovering her head (cutting her hair), she is out of order and therefore brings dishonor.
Does Paul say then for women to be silent in one Scripture and then tell them how to pray and prophesy in another? How can this be if we take “silent” to mean that women cannot make a sound? If “silent” is strictly forbidding women to make an audible sound, then doesn’t Paul present a contradiction? Here is one man’s solution to the dilemma: “Since Paul expressly and solemnly forbids women to speak in assemblies of the whole church, ‘praying or prophesying’ must refer to smaller and more private gatherings, probably consisting chiefly or wholly of women. For it would be ridiculous first to argue at length that they ought not to speak with uncovered heads, and then to forbid them to speak at all. On the other hand, common sense forbids us to extend this prohibition to prayer in the family circle” (Beet’s New Testament Commentary).
I did not read into the Scripture what the above commentator does. There is no implication of “smaller and more private gatherings, probably consisting chiefly or wholly of women” provided for in the verses. Though some hold to the same solution as offered above, I offer an alternative explanation which I think is much more logical. According to Dake, “It was the custom then for men to speak up in public assemblies to ask questions and even interrupt the speaker when they did not understand, but this liberty was not granted to women” (Dake‘s Notes). This seems to help explain I Timothy 2:11-12 which states: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” For the woman to interrupt a male speaker would be considered out of order and to usurp the authority of man. The female was to respect the headship of man as divinely appointed by God.
Also, the Greek word translated silent is used in II Thessalonians 3:12 “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” where it is translated “quietness.” The implication of quietness would be in order with other admonitions to women such as shamefacedness and being in subjection. This does not imply no audible sounds are to come from the female during worship or any other time. Clearly the woman is permitted to speak when she does it appropriately.
In I Corinthians 14, Paul was discussing the proper order of speaking in unknown tongues and about the order of prophesying. It is my understanding that the men in authority who were considered spiritual exercised the right to examine tongues and interpretation along with prophesying. "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge" (I Corinthians 14:29). This judgment was allowed to "prove all things" lest false prophets should enter in and deceive the people.
Among those who are accounted worthy to judge whether it was in fact a "word from the Lord," the women had no position of authority. Females were not allowed to examine openly in the church ("for it is not permitted unto them to speak") if the words spoken were true and from the Spirit of God. They must "keep silence in the churches" in these matters of discernment. If the wife wanted to express her opinion on the event of speaking in tongues with interpretation or prophesying that occurred before her in the church, she must limit her discussion to her husband and in their home ("let them ask their husbands at home"). This order would prevent confusion in the church.
The previous discussions however in no way indicate that women cannot pray, prophesy, or hold some positions in the church. It only makes it clear that women could not judge openly in spiritual matters and would not be allowed the position of authority over the man. This does not exclude females from prophesying. To define prophesying from the Greek word propheteuo (Strong's 4395) means: speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict, to utter forth, declare a thing which can only be know by divine revelation, to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of divine counsels, under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others.
This definition covers a lot of ground and it is clear from Scriptures that women could prophesy in the church. Preaching and prophesying are related. In fact, prophesying is a broader term within which I believe preaching is included. In accordance to Scripture, women can prophesy in the church, which includes speaking of past, present, and future events under divine inspiration. She does not have the privilege to judge openly in the congregation another sister or brother who speaks in tongues, interpretation, or prophecy. She cannot "usurp authority over" (authenteo; Strong's 831) which means an individual who acts on one’s own authority. She must pray and prophesy according to Scripture and in subjection to her husband, if married, and under the authority of her pastor. Therefore females have the privilege of preaching the gospel when in accord with the Word of God, in subjection to their husband, if married, and under the authority of a male pastor.
Before I leave this portion of discussion, I feel compelled to go one more step into the area of female pastors. As far as I know, we do not have record of females holding the position of pastor in the churches founded by the Disciples of Christ. The Greek word for pastors is poimen (Strong's 4166), which means: 1) herdsman, especially a shepherd; in the parable, he to whose care and control other have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow; 2) metaphorically: the presiding officer, manager, director, or any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church; of the overseers of the Christian assemblies; of kings and princes.
The Greek word for bishop in I Timothy 3:1 in the Greek is episkope (Strong's 1984). It means: investigation, inspection, visitation; that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds, character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad; oversight; overseership, office, charge, the office of an elder; the overseer or presiding officers of a Christian church.
We can see the overlap in these definitions of pastor and bishop. The two are nearly synonymous. Bishop appears to be a more inclusive term. However, both of them have the position of being the overseer of the Christian assemblies. In relation to the last paragraphs, discussing the position of women in the congregation, pastors and bishops would certainly be included in the group accountable to judge spiritual matters in the church. Since females cannot openly “judge” in the church, but are commanded to “keep silence in the churches” in such matters, pastors in no way can be female.
When writing to Timothy in I Timothy 3, Paul defines the office of a bishop. This is clearly masculine from beginning to end: "If a man desire the office" (v. 1); "the husband of one wife" (v. 2); "ruleth well his own house"(v. 4); "having his children in subjection" (v. 4); "For if a man know not how to rule his own house" (v. 5); "he must have a good report" (v. 7); and "Even so must their wives be" (v. 11). There is not the slightest room to argue the position that females can hold the office of a bishop and therefore cannot pastor in accordance to Scripture. To do otherwise is to "usurp authority over the man," which is prohibited in Scripture.
As I conclude the section, let us not forget the most important issue in I Corinthians 11:3. That is, "The head of every man is Christ.” “It is the normal and correct order for Christ to be the head of every man. Until a man is mastered by Christ, he is not a normal man. Some men are mastered by drink; some are mastered by passion; most are mastered by the flesh. Every man should be mastered by Christ”
(Commentary, Thru the Bible).