VIII.  THE OUTSIDE:  FEMALE HAIRSTYLE

 

            In dealing with the matters of authority and being covered in such a fashion as previously presented, the women willingly in subjection to their God and their husband could be so signified by being covered by their long hair.  Those who were not in subjection could easily be identified as so by their short hair and we would not have any gray areas (confusion) in between.  This was God’s plan as described by Paul to eliminate confusion in the home and confusion in the church.  The character of women is such a foundational stone to both of these institutions that God wills for women to maintain their preordained position and therefore they would contribute greatly to stability.  When the character of our women becomes degraded, it is but a little while until the home and the church are in shambles.     

            Also, during this time of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the prostitutes from the pagan temples in and around Corinth wore their hair short.  According to Warren W. Wiersbe, "The Corinthian women who appeared in the assembly without the head covering [Here he is referring to the shawl of a sort that many use in this interpretation.] were actually putting themselves on the low level of the temple prostitutes.  The prostitutes wore their hair very short, and they did not wear a head covering in public.  Their hairstyle [Underline added.] and manner announced to others just what they were and what they were offering" (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume I, pg 604).  Short hair therefore would be perceived as being symbolic of a “loose” woman.  Obviously, short hair would be easy to care for when your occupation involved the hazard of pestilent lice and other body filth when interacting in sexual perversions as these temple prostitutes did. 

            Paul continued that "if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."  Being covered is the proper condition.  Any other condition is a shame (disgrace).  “Nowhere in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, will you find any mention of the cutting of women’s hair in a complimentary manner of a favorable light.  Women did not cut their hair except as a sign of disgrace” (What is Holiness?, William F. Hill, pg 53).  Therefore Paul does not place doubt here by using "if," but is plainly getting a little perturbed about the situation and seems to be answering somewhat sarcastically.  If you argue here that he does place doubt, then why does he use so much time on this argument defining the covering as the long hair?

            Then Paul continues the discussion by again bringing up the order of creation of the male first and the female second.  "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man" in verse 8 pertains to Genesis when God made the woman from the man and "for the man" in verse 9.  "Priority does not imply inferiority; for Paul made it clear that there is a partnership as well as a headship in God's creation.  The man and the woman are spiritually one in the Lord and one cannot do without the other.  Furthermore, the woman may have come from the man at the beginning, but today, it is the man who is born of the woman.  Man and woman belong to each other and need each other" (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume I, pg 604).  Thus in verses 11 - 12, it is defined that woman was created from man and for man, yet now women give birth to men.  And, there is a mutual dependency of one upon the other both in natural and spiritual matters with the man being the responsible member for the female and to Christ his head.  

            I want to add a lengthy but beautiful description here about the male and female relationship:  “The woman was made for the comfort and happiness of the man. Not to be a slave, but a help-meet; not to be the minister of his pleasures, but to be his aid and comforter in life; not to be regarded as of inferior nature and rank, but to be his friend, to divide his sorrows, and to multiply and extend his joys; yet still to be in a station subordinate to him. He is to be the head: the ruler; the presider in the family circle; and she was created to aid him in his duties, to comfort him in his afflictions, to partake with him of his pleasures. Her rank is therefore honorable, though it is subordinate. It is, in some respects, the more honorable because it is subordinate and as her happiness is dependent on him, she has the higher claim to his protection and his tender care” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Vol. 14).

            Next, I want to consider verse 10 "For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."  First, ponder the Greek definition of the word power which is exousia (Strong's 1849).  In the context mentioned, it is defined as a sign of the husband's authority (power) over his wife.  Others interpret “power” to be a veil or long hair.  I see both the long hair and the authority of the husband being implied here because long hair is a symbol of a woman having power on her head and being in submission to a man, her husband. 

            You can clearly see here why the so-called liberation of females has lead them to cut their hair.   In today's society, some women find this degrading.  They want their "freedom."  It is my opinion that this celebrated freedom has resulted in the highest divorce rates in our national history in the last three decades.  I found that there were 2,384,000 marriages in 1997, and there were 1,163,000 divorces (http://infoplease.lycos.com/ipa/A0005044.html).  I understand that many factors came into play to produce these numbers, but I argue that a major factor is due to the fact that men and women alike are out of the creational order of God.

            Along these same lines, God helped me prepare a lesson several months ago called “A Power Shortage.”  I played on the word power from I Corinthians 11:10.  I feel that we are missing what God intended here in this verse, both in the church and in the world.  It is my opinion that we have lost much of the “power” (doonamis Acts 1:8 “ye shall receive power”) in our services and ministering because our sisters are cutting off their “power” (hair) failing to submit to their husband’s “power” (exousia).  This is leaving churches grasping for fabricated spiritual experiences and entertainment. 

            Sisters, you play such an important position in bringing and sustaining God’s blessings.  My experience has been that Pentecostal churches who have a significant amount of sisters who willingly portray themselves to be submissive to God’s will, symbolized by wearing long hair, enjoy the Spirit of God more fully.  I am in no way saying that the long hair itself will bring God’s blessings.  Often though, if the sisters are willing to submit to Holiness standards, we find many of the other factors present that are needed to enjoy the Pentecostal experience in our services and lives.  It is obedience to God’s ordained standards that brings the blessings.        

            Now for the second part of verse 10 which concerns "the angels."  I offer two explanations.  First, some believe this refers to angels being present in worship services (as taught by many Scriptures).  Matthew Henry says, “We must not worship angels, but we must worship with angels.”  Therefore the females show their proper created order before angels by submission to their husbands.  This is symbolized by wearing their hair long and is pleasing to the angels who are in subjection to God. 

            John R. Rice states, "Thus, when a woman with bobbed hair and a rebellious heart comes to pray, angels who are near and see her head and see her heart are tempted to sin; are tempted to commit the sin which such women commit, the sin of rebellion against authority.  Because of the angels, every woman should wear long hair and be careful that she does not have a rebellious heart lest she should be a curse to the angels God has sent to our ministers and guardians" (Bobbed Hair, 1941). 

            Secondly, some believe that angels cohabited (literally had sexual relations) with females before the flood (Genesis 6:1-4) and their offspring produced giants.  Jude, in verses 6 & 7, presents one possible reason for these angels not keeping "their first estate" (original creative position), but leaving "their own habitation" (dwelling place of Heaven or position as angels of that which is good).  The angels, "even as Sodom and Gomorrha" inhabitants, were "going after strange flesh" which was human females who were insubordinate to human males as exhibited by cutting off their hair and presenting themselves as vessels of fornication (sexual perversion) to angels. 

            I know the second explanation sounds far fetched, but you must remember that "the wickedness of man (mankind) was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was on evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).  And, such was the wickedness that God put the entire planet under water for several months.  Also, whatever these angels did, we know it was enough to be "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude v. 6).

            While discussing the matter of angels presented above with another brother, he referred me to the Book of Enoch, which he stated described the situation concerning these fallen angels.  In the Book of Jude, Jude makes reference to Enoch prophesying:  (v. 14) “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (v. 15) To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  Jude, it seems, may have been quoting from the Book of Enoch.  I found this source on the internet at:  http://www.channel8.net/heaven/index.html.  Jude’s quote of Enoch can be found in the Book of Enoch  1:8-9.  I cannot attest to the validity of this source, but I do want to share of few quotes and observations, both here and in later sections.

        I found it very interesting how those chapters six and seven of the Book of Enoch read somewhat like chapter six of the book of Genesis.  I will include these two chapters here for your own reading and evaluation: 

 

[Chapter 6]

1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto 2 them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men 3 and beget us children.' And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: 'I fear ye will not 4 indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.' And they all answered him and said: 'Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations 5 not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.' Then sware they all together and bound themselves 6 by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn 7 and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, 8 Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaq1el, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. These are their chiefs of tens.

 

[Chapter 7]

1 And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms 2 and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they 3 became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed 4 all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against 5 them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and 6 fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.

 

            Believe it or not, we are still discussing the topic of hairstyle on females.  I told you it was lengthy, no pun intended, before I started.  We are nearing the end.  I want you to remember our images of male and female when we started on this journey several pages ago.  Now, as Paul in verse 13, I want you to "Judge (krino Strong's 2919) in yourselves."   In other words, pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong.  Is it "comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered"?  Remember that I found “uncovered” to mean her hair is cut short or shaven off.  Comely here means to be becoming, seemly, fit.  Is it fitting?  Is it proper?  I personally believe it is a dishonor (11:5) to her head (her husband), and "a shame" (11:6) before God.

            According to I Corinthians 11:15, the glory is for those who have long hair:  “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”  Glory is defined as dignity, honor, praise and worship.  Women who cut off their hair are failing to understand the nature of creation.  They are removing much of what makes them one the most beautiful creations of God.  “A woman’s long hair elicits admiration. The ground of this follows. ‘The’ long ‘hair’ is Nature’s gift, to mark her sex. It increases the womanliness of her appearance. It therefore accords with the constitution of things; and so calls forth admiration.  Nature has made a visible distinction of the sexes by covering woman’s head with more abundant hair. This teaches that the God of Nature designs the sexes to be distinguished, in the most conspicuous part of their body. This natural distinction is recognized in the general judgment of mankind that it is dishonor for men or women to assume, in this respect, the appearance of the other sex”  (Beet’s New Testament Commentary).

            There are those who would like to tear down all that has been presented and examined here by using verse 16, out of context, which says "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God."  They would argue that Paul is saying that we have no such customs as men wearing short hair and women wearing long hair.  Here is one such example:  Paul concludes by saying that the church ought not to make rules in connection with the matter of women's dress or men's hair. The really important issue is the inner man. It is the old nature which needs a haircut and the robe of righteousness. My friend, if we are clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness and if our old nature is under the control of the Holy Spirit, that will take care of the outer man. The haircut and the style of clothes won't make much difference. Paul is saying that he is not giving a rule to the churches. He just states what is best in his opinion” (Commentary, Thru the Bible).

            I disagree.  The outside is important.  Haircut and the style of clothes do make a great deal of difference.  If one cannot manage the outside that can be seen, I question the inside that cannot be seen.  The outside is the easy part.  If you hold this interpretation as presented above, then please help me understand the lengthy discussion about creative order, spiritual authority and accountability along with the defining of hairstyles and its impact on one's character before God and man.  How can one Scripture define shorthaired females as being "a shame" (v. 6) and another that longhaired males are "a shame" (v. 14) and then toss it all out with one verse at the end?  Wouldn't it make sense for Paul to cut straight to verse 16 and say God doesn't have any preference on hair length for either sex so you can ignore any customs or standards?  Then he could go on to the next topic.  But, instead, we have a lengthy well-defined portion of Scripture that plainly says men and women have a created position symbolized by the wearing of hair appropriately.   

            If you persist to deny the many arguments already presented, which is what Paul was confronting here, then let's take a look at being "contentious."  The Greek word for contentious is philoneikos (Strong's 5380).  It means fond of strife.  According to W. E. Vine, in Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the Greek word here is eris which means strife, quarrel, especially rivalry, contention, wrangling, as in the church at Corinth (pg 234).  And still, some women will say that their husbands like it short and he has the right to say so because verse 16 says that if any man is contentious, we can throw the entire discussion out.  But to be contentious is not a good situation to be in as is obvious from the defining of the term above. 

            Other Scriptures use a variation of contentious:  Proverbs 21:19; 26:21; 27:15.  And in such as Romans 2:8-9 "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentiles."  Here, contention is erithea (Strong's 2052) which means electioneering or intriguing for office, apparently, in the NT, a courting distinction, as desire to put ones self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts, partisanship, fractiousness.  I see this as describing one who wants to fragment himself from a particular established order.  In the case of I Corinthians 11, to be contentious, is to create a fraction (break) between you and what has been stated.  Whatever the case may be, it is evident that being contentious is not a privilege to be enjoyed and those who are contentious have nothing good to look forward to.  So, don't be contentious.       

            How can we take long hair, which Paul has defined as being "a glory to her" and then cut out the Scriptures as well as cut off the hair?  You see, verse 16 can be taken to mean exactly the opposite of previous interpretation which wants to throw out the entire fifteen verses.  And it seems to make more sense considering the amount and detail of the previous fifteen verses.  Perhaps instead of Paul saying we have no such customs which pertain to any preference of hair length, he is saying we have "no such customs" such as women wearing short (cut) hair or men wearing long (uncut) hair. 

            This interpretation would fall in line with the previous fifteen verses.  We have no such customs as men wearing long hair and thus being covered when they pray (approach God) or prophecy, nor women wearing short hair and thus being uncovered when they pray or prophesy.  Adam Clarke states:  If any person sets himself up as a wrangler-puts himself forward as a defender of such points, that a woman may pray or teach with her head uncovered, and that a man may, without reproach, have long hair; let him know that we have no such custom as either, nor are they sanctioned by any of the Churches of God, whether among the Jews or the Gentiles” (Clarke’s Commentary).     

            I want to end this portion of discussion with a quote from Warren W. Wiersbe:  "I do not think that Paul meant for all women in every culture to wear a shawl for a head-covering; but he did expect them to use their long hair as a covering and as a symbol of their submission to God's order.  This is something that every woman can do"  [And should do.]  (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume I, pg 604).

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