Man’s Covering Uncovered

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Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head... For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man... Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?... But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God (1Co 11:1-16).
The Bible is very clear that an outward expression of wearing or not wearing a head covering illustrates a deeper spiritual truth of accepting God’s place in headship order. Even a casual reading of this teaching from the Apostle Paul gives spiritual significance to a covered or non-covered head. Can we observe one half of an ordinance in the Bible and not be sure where we stand on the other half?
So, a man should not have his head covered. What does this mean to us men? What about a hat during bad weather? Is all covering the head to be understood the same way? Since the Gospel is universal, are there climates and weather situations that prohibit a man from taking his religion outside into the elements? Of course not. We know that there is nothing wrong with wearing a hat in inclement weather. But even there, whenever possible, the hat should be removed while praying or teaching the word of God. God gave us this Scripture because He intends for us to obey it.
In America, most people know that it is respectful to remove a hat during prayer or in church. But how did they know that? Where did that tradition come from? Most people don’t realize that this rule of etiquette came directly from these scriptures. What was a Bible commandment became a rule of etiquette or a matter of common respect. In the old days and in certain parts of the world especially, women covered their heads with a physical covering, and men removed their hats during prayer and church services. (Most men worked outdoors, and so they would have needed to wear a hat.)
Today the tradition is still there, but most people do not know that it had scriptural origins. For some reason, long after it was acceptable in society and in common etiquette for women to cut their hair and go without a head covering, our society still would have considered it disrespectful for men to wear a hat when praying or when seated in a church house.
What can we learn from this teaching? One thing we can learn is that we should avoid wearing hats that have no value or purpose. We can understand that aside from weather protection, wearing a cap for protection from dirt or dust or wearing a hard hat in specific vocational settings may be a benefit or even a requirement. But there are many popular hats that serve no other function than supporting a sports team, making some sort of statement, or supporting a brand. What does God think of these fads? Will He overlook it because we are supporting some old tradition?
The same God who made it an ordinance for women to cover their heads gave direction for men to keep their heads uncovered. Our churches maintain that women should keep their heads covered at all times in case they would need to pray, read the Bible, or in some way keep the power of angels on their heads. Since it is the main responsibility of men to teach or prophesy, we need to give extra attention to keep our heads uncovered when doing so. When you are outside, and you desire to pray or teach, remove your hat each time. The Bible clearly tells us that women should keep their heads covered and that men should have their heads uncovered while praying and prophesying. Let us be true followers of Christ.